What are you grateful for today?
Café Gratitude is one of the new hip vegan eateries popping up in Southern California, especially in Los Angeles. With locations in Venice, Berkley, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles the owners of Café Gratitude are culinary trend-setters with a fresh, inventive cuisine for a good cause, namely animal rights.
The regularly packed restaurant and outdoor seating area shows that patrons, vegan and non-vegan alike, have found a place they both can enjoy.
Everything on the menu is made from fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and whole grains. Even carnivores will not miss the meat dishes when being served this type of creative and delicious food. The menu offers a variety of items with two of the favorites being the organic corn tacos with chipotle butternut squash, black beans, avocado, seasonal salsa fresca, and cashew nacho cheese, served with a side of Mexican coleslaw; and the super delicious seasonal grain salad, with sundried tomato and preserved lemon pesto with local brown rice or quinoa, butternut squash, chickpeas, sundried olives, almonds and Brazil nut parmesan, tossed with radicchio and golden balsamic vinegar reduction. To top it all of you should taste their signature tiramisu with almond cake, espresso and coconut cashew cream.
Cafe Gratitude first opened their doors in the Mission District of San Francisco in March of 2004. Founders Matthew and Terces Engelhart included positive affirmations on their menu and used fresh organic foods for their inspirational creations. The staff is encouraged to support one another and trained to change their attitudes to a more positive outlook, not only in their professional, but also in their personal lives - a win-win for all.
What does it mean to be ‘Vegan’? Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of all animal products, mostly because of the unfair treatment of animals. This includes not only the commitment to a special meat and dairy free diet, but also to the shunning of leather products and the fur industry. It is a life philosophy, promoting that man should live without exploiting animals. The term ‘Vegetarian’ was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson when he co-founded the British Vegetarian Society, but vegetarianism can be traced as far as ancient India and Greece. Vegans, however, also abstain from eggs and all dairy products.
Mainstream acceptance of this gentler way of life has still a long way to go, as only approximately two percent of the American population call themselves ‘Vegan’. But the trend is definitely moving upwards.
Photography: Susan Placek
639 N. Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004