This restaurant has the power to turn me vegan, period.
(For my SF readers, although I haven’t been to the Mission location I know it is owned by the same people – hopefully it’s just as good)
The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:I was really skeptical about Gracias Madre because, let’s be honest, it’s VEGAN Mexican food.Does that even make sense to you? All I think about when I think Mexican food is beef, chicken, sour cream, cheese – and, I would know, I’m half Mexican. Vegan Mexican food goes against everything I know. This can’t be right and isn’t for me (mental thoughts). Enter Gracias Madre. I was curious about it and had heard great things about their cocktails, which, by the way, are also vegan and organic. So I decided to go earlier this month when I was with Dennis in LA. I figured my mom, Dennis and I could go for drinks and check out the menu. We got there and I was totally surprised – super cute, huge location on Melrose. From the outside you would never guess there was that much space inside. The entrance isn’t loud or overstated. When you walk inside is has the minimalist grey and white feel that a lot of restaurants are adopting. Their indoor area can get pretty loud, but it’s nice because their set up allows for a lot of natural light. We chose outside and even though temperatures were nearing 90 degrees, it was pleasant and very laid back. They have tables, benches and cushioned booths. We chose the latter and enjoyed the shade and great service. Our waitress was wonderful; she was genuinely excited about the menu and knew exactly what she liked and why. I love when I can trust their opinion. We walked in without reservation around 3 pm on a Saturday and although we were seated right away, it was pretty full. They have seats that can accommodate larger groups as well!
Mon – Fri 11 am – 11 pm
Sat – Sun 10 am – 11 pm
Weekend Brunch 10 am – 3 pm
Weekday Lunch 11 am – 4 pm
Weekday Happy Hour 3 pm – 6 pm
What we ate:
- Up in smoke ($25)
- Purista ($11)
- Sangria ($10)
- Gorditas ($12)
- Flautas de camote ($16)
- Black bean burger ($13)
- Fudge brownie ($10)
Up in Smoke is part of their selection of smoked cocktails and I have to admit I fell into the gimmicky trap. But, you can thank me because since I did you don’t have to. For starters, this drink is $25; now I won’t presume to know what you think qualifies as a pricey drink, but I think we can all agree that for that price I better be getting 1 darn good drink. Especially because their other drinks are all in the $11 range – this tells me that this one is super special. Well it is in some aspects. The presentation and delivery of this drink is like no other. The tequila is smoked with hemp seed table-side in a water pipe decanter (read: bong). Then it’s mixed with celery bitters, lemon and cucumber soda. This sounded great because I’m a huge fan of tequila in my cocktails and, as you already know, I’m obsessed with cucumber. However, this just didn’t deliver. It was good, but they could’ve just served me smoked tequila and there would have been no difference. The taste was too overpowering for some of the more subtle ingredients. It also made me wonder – does this process make the alcohol content go down (just a thought)?
The sangria was a white sangria and it was very tasty – lots of strawberries and watermelon. Tasty and refreshing, but I’d definitely go with the Purista!
We couldn’t pass up dessert and our waitress recommended the brownie. It was topped with salted mezcal caramel, coconut bacon, and coconut cashew whipped cream. The ice cream was very tasty and the brownie itself was great, but the whipped cream really didn’t do it for me. It had an almost sour taste and you could tell it wasn’t a milk based product. It wasn’t bad I just wasn’t in love. They do have a few other options so I’ll just try another one next time.
Thank you Gracias Madre for bringing such a great variety and flavor to vegan cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely be back.