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Earlier this year, we dined at a vegan restaurant in Los Angles called Gracias Madre and had a lovely evening filled with margaritas and mouthwatering vegan tacos. We are pretty new to the vegan dining scene (since we aren’t vegan) and after our experience at Gracias Madre, we wanted to dine at one of their sister restaurants, Gratitude Kitchen & Bar. They offer organic plant-based cuisine and are located right in the heart of Beverly Hills.
We were already a fan of Gracias Madre’s ambience in West Hollywood and wasn’t surprised to see that Gratitude Kitchen & Bar had a similar stylish space. It’s definitely an Instagram-worthy spot and the quaint outdoor seating area had a lovely upscale vibe to it. Also, we were happy that a public parking garage was located right next door with free two-hour parking. That’s plenty of time to enjoy brunch and the surrounding area afterwards.
We were warmly greeted by Michael, the general manager, and he was very accommodating with our request to sit in a nice shaded spot outside. We initially sat in a corner out front, but the sun started to beam on us and when we asked to be relocated, he was more than happy to assist us. Thank goodness for his kind customer service. Sometimes asking for a new seating arrangement can be a debacle.
When we were greeted by our server, Brandon, he was full of excitement and happily went over the menu with us. He explained that all of the menu items, except for cocktails, are affirmation based. So instead of ordering the Buffalo Cauliflower, you would say “I am Eclectic” as the menu states. This seemed silly at first but when we stated, “I am Vivid” to order the Acai Superfood Bowl, Brandon kindly replied, “Yes you are!” and it just made you feel wonderful. We loved this concept!
When it comes to brunch, we get pretty excited about drink menus. Gratitude had a very extensive and interesting drink menu that we literally wanted to try every creation. The drink menu consisted of six categories from “Mules Around the World” to “Herbal Tonics”.
Crystal ordered a Queen Mary from the Brunch Cocktails section and I ordered the “I am CLEAN” from the Pressed Juice & Spritzers section. The clean drink was delicious, but also very spicy. It consisted of lemon, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, maple syrup, and H20. The spice was definitely from the cayenne and it was a little too spicy for me. I had to take sips of it and each time I kept wondering how much cayenne pepper was poured into it. Next time I’ll have to ask the bartender to go easy on the cayenne pepper.
Crystal’s Queen Mary was made with quinoa vodka, tomato, bell pepper, garlic and hot sauce. It was just the right amount of spiciness and the garnishes that came on top looked fresh and vibrant.
After her yummy Queen Mary, she ordered a Gratitude margarita. We enjoyed our margaritas so much at Gracias Madre that we couldn’t pass up on ordering one here as well. The margarita was excellent here too and Crystal was feeling pretty good after her two cocktails.
Question of The Day
Before we ordered our menu items, our server asked us a question that was written on their adorable countertop-sized chalkboard. The question was, “What breakdown has become a breakthrough?” It’s a pretty personal (and tough) question, but Crystal took the lead and answered the question so beautifully and with a sense of pride. It was such a great way to start our first meal of the day and it was also a great way to start a meaningful conversation with one another.
We began to feel that Gratitude’s concept of affirmations and questions were really starting to shine through. Their mission that love is served and that their culture is built on being grateful was definitely what we were both experiencing. It almost felt therapeutic.
Organic Plant-Based Cuisine
“I am OPEN-HEARTED”
Buckwheat Flax Pancakes
Growing up in Japan, we both have had plenty of dishes that consisted of buckwheat, so it was nice to see it on the menu as it’s quite rare in the States. Buckwheat is a great source of vegetarian protein and is a great alternative to grains as it has more vitamins and minerals and contains flavonoids for heart and circulatory health. Ok, so how did the pancakes taste? It was surprisingly delicious. We say surprisingly as we’ve tried a number of non-traditional pancakes that were VERY average. The added berries, banana, and whipped cream definitely makes this pancake a go-to if you are looking for something on the healthier side with a dash of sweetness.
“I am TRUSTING”
Barbecue Tempeh Scramble
We typically don’t order items from the savory side for brunch, but we were feeling a bit adventurous and the affirmation “I am TRUSTING” somehow tempted us into ordering it. If you aren’t familiar with tempeh, it’s fairly similar to tofu; however, tempeh has less fat and is less processed so it’s considered healthier than tofu. The market vegetables, mushroom, spinach, and avocado were fresh and delicately grilled to perfection. The barbecue flavor wasn’t overpowering and the caramelized veggies were just right.
“I am VIVID”
Açai Superfood Bowl
The açai bowl was by far our favorite dish. I’ve had plenty of beautifully crafted açai bowls in California, but I have to say that this one has them all beat. The crumbly quinoa cashew granola had an addictive crunch and the ginger syrup was both smooth and rich. The frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit was also topped with sliced bananas and our choice of two additional toppings. We went for the coconut yogurt and Incan berries. And to top it off, it was sprinkled with coconut flakes. I usually don’t like coconut flavors in my açai bowls, but I didn’t mind it at all here. Usually coconut flakes are too sweet for my liking, but these coconut flakes were mild.
“I am DIVINE”
We were going to pass up on dessert, but were enticed into a slice of strawberry shortcake. We both love strawberry shortcake, especially the kind that is airy, spongy, and not too sweet. When the strawberry shortcake arrived, we both looked at each other with a confused look. We had completely forgotten that we were at a vegan restaurant and that the visual we were accustomed to seeing in a strawberry shortcake was not what was in front of us. Crystal really enjoyed the strawberry shortcake and pretty much ate the rest of it after I had a few bites. I enjoyed the flavors, but as far as texture, I prefer my classic strawberry shortcake for dessert.
We both enjoyed our leisurely meal and a little people-watching at our cozy table outside on the patio in a shaded spot. The service was outstanding and everything we ordered was seasoned and presented beautifully. Now that we’ve both had a delightful taste at Gracias Madre and Gratitude Kitchen & Bar, next time we’re in LA (or San Diego), we’ll have to visit Cafe Gratitude.