Having first heard about Café Gratitude from my vegetarian, hippie god-sister, I should have assumed that it was something of the hipster variety. But I had no idea just how hipsteresque it would be.
The place was pretty packed, but not so much that we couldn’t be seated within one or two minutes. We sat at a small table with a wooden chair on one side and a long orange couch, complete with pillows, on the other that tended to multiple guests at different tables. There was so much to take in: the back wall had a bright mural of mountains and an orchard, there was a giant mirror which took up a good portion of the brick wall to my back and there were so many chattering people around me. They looked relaxed and happy and most of them, with their full beards or headscarves, looked like, well, hipsters.[media-credit id=170 align=”alignleft” width=”156″][/media-credit]As ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2 played softly in the background, our waitress came up and introduced herself. “Welcome to Café Gratitude! All the food served here is completely organic and vegan…”
But no one around seemed crazy; they weren’t holding any chickens at least, so I decided to look at the menu and see what I could find.
The menu was a long white piece of paper but rather than boring, hackneyed titles like “House Salad” it described things like “I Am Thriving” or “I Am Renewed”. These titles, of course, had nothing to do with their items. Really, what type of food comes to mind when one hears “I Am Immortal”? The idea was something I’d never seen before, and I loved it.
After searching through the menu and seeing things such as, ‘Brazilian nut parmesan’, and ‘kimchee’, I decided to test my luck and pick an item solely based on its name from the menu. I chose “I Am Vibrant” without the slightest clue of what I had ordered until I glanced back at my menu seconds before the meal came out.
I had apparently ordered ‘seasonal greens sautéed with garlic and pumpkin seeds’, which, to my surprise, wasn’t half bad. It was salty and bitter, but in a good way. The big pile of greens on the orange plate in front of me was fresh with the added crunch of the pumpkin seeds. I enjoyed it so much that I ate the whole thing, revealing a clean plate and words that read, “What are you thankful for?”
After we had finished our meals and paid the check, we went to the back to check out the ‘Question of the Day’ chalk board. That day’s question, “What’s your secret power?”, was written boldly across the middle of the board. All around it were unique answers written in bright colors of chalk from things like ‘Girl Power’ to ‘I’m not telling’. Throughout the whole night I had tried to come up with what my power could be, but had no such luck.
As we walked out of the restaurant to friendly employees calling after us, “Come again soon!” I realized that my secret power was the ability to embrace new experiences.
Sure, the whole ‘vegan’ thing threw me through a loop at first, but that was quickly dismissed by the friendly service and tasty food. If you’re a vegan looking for something to do this Friday night or simply fearless when it comes to trying new foods and experiences, Café Gratitude surely won’t disappoint. But for those of you who are more hamburger and french fries people, the bar and grill down the street may be a better option.
I certainly don’t plan on becoming a vegan anytime soon, but one thing I do know is that I will be visiting Café Gratitude sometime in the near future, ready for the next question of the day and whichever menu title intrigues me most. Possibly ‘I Am Adventurous’?