What a delightful surprise was finding this gem from the team behind Café Gratitude. Set in Melrose Avenue this vegan restaurant and bar is the Southern California follow-up to the original San Francisco location.
Mexican and vegan? Yes and yes. The plant-based menu has nothing to envy to traditional Mexican food. Their amazing sauces, the cashew cheese, the fresh vegetables, the home made tortillas and the very tasty mezcal cocktails, make Gracias Madre one of my LA favorites.
Chandra Gilbert is the genius chef, whose menu features amazing dishes like the Quesadillas de Calabaza - Butternut squash and caramelized onions folded into tortillas, cashew nacho cheese, pumpkin seed salsa; The Coconut Ceviche - Two tostadas, black beans, coconut ceviche, guacamole, lettuce, cashew crème, cilantro, side of black beans; the Enchilada Verde - Spicy zucchini enchiladas with cashew crème, sautéed greens and black beans topped with mushroom chorizo, or the gorditas made with grilled potato-masa cakes and topped with salsa verde and cashew cream
The menu also includes sides such as local brown rice and seasoned black beans; and desserts starring the homemade vegan flan with burnt sugar caramel. Hey, nobody said that vegan meant low calorie. What’s more vegan than sugar?
Not only the food is delicious, but also the restaurant is gorgeous. Designer Wendy Haworth and architect Victor Corona, created this high-vaulted ceilings with wood trusses, brick walls and an cozy outdoor patio.
In their own words, their mission is “to celebrate and serve the presence of the mother which resides above us, within our hearts, within the earth, and in all those who nurture us.” I’ll drink a michelada with a giant jalapeño-basil ice cube to that. ¡Salud!