My main beef with most vegan restaurants is the lack of flavor. However; Gracias Madre in West Hollywood is exceptional. Their sunny patio is a free source of Vitamin D. The whole restaurant is a gorgeous carrot dangling in front of you.
Gracias Madre is an offshoot of Cafe Gratitude. I'm not a fan of Cafe Gratitude. I find both the food and the staff generally tasteless and insincere. It takes a real mother/madre to get it right. Gracias Madre's dining room is large and beautiful. It's a graceful hippy dancing freely in a roomy dress.
I enjoyed the Coconut Ceviche Tostados ($18). Marinated chunks of meaty coconut mixed with lettuce, guacamole and cheese made from cashews. Each bite was a texture party. The base of a crunchy tortilla made a great foundation for the creamy, soft toppings. I smile when I meet bouncy coconut and tickling lettuce. I taste tart tomatoes wrapped in tangy cheese. The cilantro rounds out the Mexican profile.
When my plate goes back to the kitchen, I imagine some tough madre slapping the wrist of the cook for serving lemon not lime.
As I leave the patio, I light a candle at the entrance's alter. I write a note, Gracias Madre, I want you and me to live forever. I have all these Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons that never expire.
Anyone vehemently defending a vegan diet over a meat diet suffers from a lack of meat aggression. Live your life, eat what you want. Never argue with anyone's lifestyle choice. Be happy. You have a problem with that? Meet me out back. Damnit! That's the meat aggression talking. Oh an my new book is up at www.thepinkmarine.com
Gracias Gracias Madres. And mas like you, por favor.
Eat at Gracias Madre. 8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (323) 978-2170