Date: October 4, 2007
Times Visited: 1
If you’re looking for a compliment, hop on a train and get yourself to San Francisco’s Café Gratitude. With four locations, Café Gratitude is guaranteed to make you feel loved, fabulous and beautiful, if not roll your eyes on your way there. Wanting a full, but light meal before my departure out of town, I was taken to the totally raw café by area native Urban Housewife.
The 9th Street & Irving location was coffee shop-sized, with a back patio for more seating. The menu was extensive, featuring salads, appetizers, entrees, nut milkshakes and desserts; and every single item began “I am…” fill in the beautiful, praiseworthy blank. By the bar was a full dessert case, where you could ogle the raw tiramisu, key lime crème pie, and a handful more. Across from that was a to-go case, with salads, entrees and hummus. My dining partner and I wisely split two pricey dishes, the first being “I am Festive” a taco salad with fresh tasting greens, house made walnut seed taco filling, flax chips, a tangy nacho cashew cheez, salsa and a pleasant guacamole. The romaine lettuce was cut into easily forked strips, and with each bite I’d try to get some lettuce, cheez and the great, spicy taco filling involved. The flax chips had a nice, slight bite to them, and were the only bread/cracker item that my companion recommended.
The second was “I am Fabulous” raw lasagna. The raw lasagna featured a hefty layer of fresh spinach, super thin lasagna noodles, cashew ricotta, tomatoes, intriguing hemp seed pesto, marinara and a scrumptious olive topping. The shared feeling at the table was that that the spinach layer was a bit much. To me it seemed less like lasagna than the one at Nutshell, but that strikes me as more of a stacked napoleon as it is. Interestingly, this was also a prepackaged to-go option. I did prefer the taco salad, but I would honestly order the fresh lasagna again. The olive topping and smooth ricotta really tied the meal together – if I could have eaten olives in every bite I would have.
I was also “Beautiful” with Café Gratitude’s creamsicle smoothie. It’s a blend of fresh orange juice and their homemade vanilla nut milk ice cream. Considering how rich it was, I could have savored ¼ of this beverage and still been satisfied. However, the creamy goodness kept putting the straw back in my mouth, telling me I was on vacation and I should drink every bit of the $7.50 decadence. Two hours later, I was still beautiful, by that I mean FULL. Fortunately, our shared meals were on the lighter side, though I think if I had walked in and simply gotten a shake I would have been just as fulfilled. Not only that, but my wallet would have been spared. I took home a slice of raw tiramisu, and it was by far the most decadent raw dessert I have ever had. Flavors of cocoa, vanilla and coffee merged together in soft, creamy bites – plus it held up for the plane ride home and 3 consecutive days I ate it.
It’s not someplace I’d frequent in Portland (as we have somewhat less expensive Blossoming Lotus), but while away in San Francisco I easily shelled out the $12 entrée price, and thankfully didn’t feel ripped off. I’d go back for the shake alone…
I am Bright Eyed
I am Cheerful
I am Transformed
I am Elated
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Address: 1336 9th Ave, (@ Irving)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm