Friday Express Post: Gratitude and DC Dining Guide
November 4, 2011

Hey all! Glad the dilly white bean and beet stacks look so good. Winning recipe!

I’m back with a quick review of some new raw, vegan treats from one of the country’s most acclaimed raw, vegan dining spots: Café Gratitude. You may remember when I finally dined here, during my San Fran trip last fall, with my friend Amanda:

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What a meal that was! Heaping bowls of perfectly prepared, raw-foodist worthy salad, crackers galore, and dressings that made my heart sing. At the time, though, my friend Bitt chastised me for not ordering one of the café’s famous raw desserts. In my defense, I said, I rarely ever order desserts in restaurants, because it’s not my favorite course, and I really prefer to save my pennies for a sumptuous entrée. That was sound, but slightly parsimonious logic.

Thankfully, a year later, I have a chance to taste at least a few of the café’s goodies. The folks at Café Gratitude were kind enough to send me some of their raw cookies and granola to review. The good news is that I loved them all; the bad news is that I loved them so much that I ate nearly all of them before I had a chance to blog about them. The granola was superb—not overly heavy on nuts (it’s a dried apple and buckwheat base) and just the right amount of sweetness. I’m determined to try my own version here at home. The chocolate cookies (a simple nut and date mix) were exactly to my liking. And the two highlights—which I did manage to save for blog purposes—were the lemon coconut cookies and the raspberry thumbprints.

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As you can see, these cookies are a wonderful sweet and sticky mixture of coconut, lemon, and date. They are very tart, rather than overpoweringly sweet. Given my fondness for lemon in everything, I adored these.

But the highlight was the thumbprint cookies:

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It’s not easy to make raw cookies look quite so realistic (I’m sure the Twins could do it). These are basically a dead ringer for the thumbprint cookies you remember from childhood, only quite a bit denser. And much, much healthier: no butter, no eggs, no cholesterol. Just the wholesome sweetness of nuts and dried fruit. I loved them. And I have precisely six left, which I intend to savor, one at a time.

Added bonus? Nutrition data is included on the cookies, and none of them are overwhelmingly high in either fat or sugar. For serious. Even raw desserts tend to be heavy on both counts, so these are very outstanding examples of raw vegan treats prepared with a lighter touch.

Café Gratitude’s snacks aren’t available widely on the East Coast yet (though there is a big list of California stores that carry them). But if you want a taste, tell your local health food stores about the products: they can visit the CG website get set up to carry the goods. If it were up to me, I’d eat these cookies daily, so maybe Yes Markets are listening.

Thanks, Café Gratitude, for continuing to be a leader of taste and talent in the raw vegan world. We are all grateful!

Finally: for local readers who are interested, or anyone who plans to visit DC in the near future, I’ve got a comprehensive DC vegan dining guide up over at my friend Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Life website. You’ll recognize some of the spots, but others will probably be new to you. Check it out!

And, quite appropriately, I’ll be back here soon with a recap of a very special raw foods dining experience. Till then!

xo

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    19 Comments
  1. Cafe gratitude is closing doors!!! I am so depressed as there are not many other options in SF for vegan and raw food. Cafe gratitude- ill miss you!

  2. Thanks for the DC dining guide! I live outside the city and don’t eat out there that often, but I really want to try some of those places!

  3. I loved that place. Sort of had an eye roll about the “question of the day” and the surplus of gratitude (gratitude is great but sometimes “talk” about it all the time seems odd to me!) but I still totally loved it! Part of me appreciated the overflow of zenned out raw foody type of “love everything and all will come to you” attitude but maybe it was the delicious chocolate cake and the glass of red!

  4. The lemon coconut cookies look divine! I love all things lemon when it comes to desserts too. CG is definitely on my list of places to go if I ever visit San Francisco.

    Btw that first link is coming up 404’d – not sure if you realised.

  5. So cool that you got to try these. The Cafe G folks have the most admirable philosophy and are so kind and approachable: it makes me happy that they’re so successful.

    Must have been so much fun to put together a vegan dining guide!

  6. Wow girl, you are one lucky duck! (yes, I realize that that may bring back some awesome NYC memories for you, sorry) I work at a raw food place here in Vancouver, and we have our own lemon macaroons and cherry thumb print cookies! Great minds think alike.

  7. This sounds awesome! I think I remember a friend telling me that Café Gratitude has something called the “gratitude bowl” where they essentially offer a free meal with the expectation that you will donate something. I think that’s great-a healthy, nourishing, cruelty-free meal that can appeal to all people, regardless of how much money they may or may not have in their wallets.

  8. I would love to try those desserts..I like desserts of any kind; raw, sweet, vegan, baked, gluten free, and otherwise! 🙂

    Cafe Gratitude is on my bucket list of must-try restaurants…now, even more so.

    Love the picture of you and Amanda! Don’t study too hard this weekend, okay?!

  9. For a minute I thought you were headed back to San Fran. If so I would say, get the coconut cream pie! But I am sure the packaged goodies are delicious. I haven’t seen them retail anywhere on the east coast. Cafe Gratitude, get on that! 🙂

  10. I ate at the Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg and LOVED it. I believe they also grew their own produce, which was really impressive. I left feeling so happy. 🙂

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