Vegan eats at Larchmont’s Cafe Gratitude

I know it’s Valentine’s Day and restaurants will be crawling with couples. Blech!!! This post isn’t about where couples should go for a V-day dinner – this post is about going out to a place that appreciates you today… and gives YOU gratitude.

Cafe Gratitude is a popular vegan spot in my neighborhood that I’ve been wanting to try but also at the same time trying to avoid because of the crowds. However, one night I met up with my friend and his vegetarian girlfriend from Minnesota. I suggested this place because he vegan dishes are something the Twin Cities wouldn’t have. Cafe Gratitude has had their bit of news lately but this post is about the food so let’s get to it.

One of the really unique things about this place is the positive affirmation labeled dishes they serve up. They all start with the first person, “I”, and a positive descriptor. For my main dish, I ordered “I am transformed.” And yes, when they serve the dish to you, they say “You” and the descriptor.

My “I am transformed” was basically corn tacos with caramelized butternut squash, black beans, avocado, salsa fresca, and cashew nacho cheese with a side salad. The tacos were surprisingly filling and also rich with flavor. I liked the little kick in the sauce. When I finished the tacos, I saw this little surprise on my plate…

They had the same message on my “I’m so adoring” (aka tiramisu) plate.

The tiramisu is vegan so that means there’s no dairy. I was a bit hesitant at first but the waitress insisted it was one of her favorites. My fork smoothly cut through my slice of tiramisu that had layers of chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and almond-espresso batter. Because of the almond, it had a nice rounded nutty after-taste that I liked. This is a pretty dense dessert so I recommend splitting it with someone – I wasn’t able to finish it on my own.

So on this Valentine’s Day, I hope you give gratitude to yourself and enjoy some good food.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cafe Gratitude
639 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Veggie eats: Veggie Grill

Meat eating friends who shy away from vegetarian dining establishments, please don’t disregard this entry. Recently, my friend, Isabella, took me to a veggie place she had been wanting me to try for months: Veggie Grill. It’s an affordable super tasty veggie fast food place that has several locations in Los Angeles and Orange County.

When I asked my friend Isabella (aka Veggie Grill expert) what to try, she basically named everything off the menu because she loves it all. I settled on the Santa Fe Crispy “Chicken” wrap with a side of the veggie chili.

When you bite into the wrap, the battered and fried fake chicken (Veggie Grill’s fake chicken is a veggie protein blend)  has a great crunch to it that isn’t too greasy. I was a fan of the spicy vegan mayo because it had a nice kick to it. The fake chicken texture isn’t dense as real chicken but it comes close — plus the overall flavors and freshness of the vegetables compensates for it. The cup of chili was good but I kind of wish they had chili fries because it would have gone well on top of a bed of french fries.

I know what I ate was fried and it was fast food but after my meal I didn’t feel guilty… or overly full and bloated. If you’re trying to be healthy and eat less meat, I definitely recommend going to Veggie Grill.