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Gracias Madre opens in Weho; authentic, vegan Mexican cuisine to die for

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Gracias Madre

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Gracias Madre, a vegan restaurant and bar that serves savory, delicious Mexican cuisine, saw its opening in West Hollywood last night.

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This is the restaurant's second location, the first being a well loved vegan staple in veg-friendly San Francisco, and created by the folks behind ever popular vegan hotspot Cafe Gratitude.

My dinner companion and I tried a variety of dishes, each more flavorful from the last. We started with appetizers consisting of guacamole and handmade corn tortillas, and the 'Quesadillas de Calabasa' (butternut squash and caramelized onions folded into tortillas with cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa). Cafe Gratitude fans will instantly recognize the familiar and delightful cashew nacho cheese that is also sold in jars at most Cafe Gratitude locations.

Accompanying the appetizers were seasonal aguas frescas, made in house with fresh juice. Apparently they brought in cocktail master Jason Eisner from Drago.

Already starting to get a bit full, but not through yet, our vibrant, colorful entrees arrived. My dinner companion ordered the 'Sopas Con Piña', (two masa cakes with guacamole, pineapple habanero salsa, pickled cabbage, cashew crema and cilantro) while I went for the Tacos: three corn tortillas topped with seared cauliflower, grilled calabaza verde, and mushrooms (topped with cashew crema, served with beans).

Needless to say, after this flavor fiesta, we were full and starry eyed.

Then came the cake.

Specifically, spiced pumpkin cake with maple cream sauce and homemade vanilla bean coconut ice cream. I'm not a huge dessert person, neither was my aforementioned dinner companion.

We devoured the cake. It was like nothing I'd ever tasted in my life. Bravo, Chef Chandra Gilbert!

From beginning to end, the experience was delightful. Upon entry, friendly staff and the manager were on hand to greet and accommodate guests, our waitress was attentive and thoughtful even as opening night saw a smidgen of delay in getting the entrees out, and the crown jewel, I must say, was the pumpkin spice cake.

Run, don't walk, to this delightful restaurant and sample its delicious, vegan Mexican fare!

The restaurant opens for lunch and dinner daily, 11am-11pm

8905 Melrose Ave
323-978-2170

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