Cafe Gratitude

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 Fabulous Raw Lasagna
@cafe gratitude

I am Beautiful
@cafe gratitude

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
Phone: 415.824.4652
Fax: 415.665.4840
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm

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7 responses to “Cafe Gratitude

  1. ha ha! Yeah, the food is good, but how embarrasing is it to order? “Can I have a I am Beautiful with a I am Serene, please?” I just pointed at the items in the menu when I ordered.

  2. DAMN! I was looking at the pictures drooling while thinking I would go to this spot this weekend, then I realized it is in SF! How long were you there? did you have fun?

  3. lol @ Anna I’m sure I’d point too 🙂

    Ah, yum, you definitely make it sound luscious. I’m wantin’ that olive topping now.

    I love the name, Cafe Gratitude. Nice 🙂

    I think it would be entertaining if they’d incorporate some funny, euphemistic (a la Iyanla) “I am’s” … for those not feeling so up to par 🙂 Like maybe, “I am ‘temporarily out of cash’ pinto beans” lol 😉

    Or maybe, “I am just barely cute today Weenie in a Bun” heh-heh

    Or, sans the euphemism (hehe), how ’bout, “I am…okay, it’s a miracle I’m upright, just give me one of those week-old salads in plastic” lol

    🙂

  4. I stopped by there a couple months ago and kind of left before I ordered. Oops.

    If you go to SF again, you should try Herbivore! All I can say is

    holy.

    shit.

    That place is so good that I didn’t even manage to go to all the other places I had written down because I kept kind of finding myself back there again.

    And again.

    I like your blog, by the way. I came across it on blackle.com cuz I’m hoping to move to Portland from Michigan. 🙂

  5. Another thought. . .I saw your post about that Arabian Breeze and wondered how you can be sure if the vegan options in restaurants like that are truly vegan. . .because you don’t know if the fried veggies, for instance, are fried in the same oil as meat. . .and if other things are prepared/cooked on the same surfaces, etc. . .

    ?

  6. Hi Jackie –

    First off, a review on Herbivore is in the works, look for it by the week’s end.

    As for the vegan options in non-vegan restaurants, it does get tricky, and you often have to take a leap of faith/reassurance and ask questions. Fortunately, Portland is a very supportive and understanding city for veganism, and as with Arabian Breeze – even non-veg restaurants will have “vegan” marked loud and clear on the menu.
    Of course, you can’t always be 100% sure in a non-veg restaurant, but we try. And we don’t eat at Chili’s.

  7. Yes, we are lucky here. I once tried to order baklava at Nicholas’ and the server, noticing I had ordered all vegan food, inquired if I was vegan because the baklava has honey in it. It’s rare that I have to explain what vegan means to anyone in Portland.

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