Scoff as we may at Café Gratitude‘s notoriously over-the-top, self-affirming, hippie dippy naming of its menu items, we—like most Angelenos who’ve given the place a fair shot—love their food.
Health-minded, plant-based menu items with an ever-rotating roster of seasonal specials that more often than not leave you energetically satisfied, the café’s nomenclature, legitimately creepy cult-y origins, and general gestählt are a stand-up’s dream come true, but, at the end of the day, the reason for the small chain’s success is good food done well.
With crazy names. And employees being pressured to join the Landmark Forum. And wait staff asking you what you’re thankful for.
All that aside, we are personally thankful that they’ve teamed up Patina Restaurant Group—the group behind a bevy of well-regarded restaurants on both coasts and the Hollywood Bowl‘s myriad dining services—to make the Bowl’s take-out + dine-in options roughly 1000% more animal-friendly. In addition to take-out meals and desserts from Gratitude, Patina also offers a picnic basket you can order from the café’s latin-themed sister restaurant, Gracias Madre (one of our favorite spots in LA).
As Patina stated in a press release last month:
“Adding to the dining experience for 2015, Patina Restaurant Group has partnered with Café Gratitude and sister restaurant Gracias Madre, celebrated leaders in the plant-based culinary community. Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre will provide an expansive all-organic menu available at both Market Cafés, Rooftop Grill, The Wine Bar, and Staccato. New plant-based offerings presented through the collaboration include raw pesto kelp noodles, raw tiramisu, and more.”
Café Gratitude, pre-packaged offerings include a coconut bacon vegan BLT wrap (pictured below); raw pesto kelp noodles; a macrobiotic bowl with sea palm, shredded kale, and kimchi; “Yo Soy Bueno”, a Mexican grain bowl with cashew nacho cheese (also pictured below); and a number of other entrée and dessert items, including a raw vegan tiramisu (below).
For our money, everything we tried was great, but the BLT won for tastiness and ease-of-eating. The tiramisu was really good, but we’d recommend eating it right after buying it, while it’s still chilled.
And the vegan picnic basket from Gracias, which we saw from afar but have yet to experience first-hand, includes two tempeh “chorizo” torta with black beans, avocado, pico de gallo, pickled cabbage, and cashew crema; house-made tortilla chips; guacamole; roasted tomato salsa; pumpkin seed Caesar salad with cashew Caesar dressing; and a gluten-free fudge brownie with cinnamon chocolate sauce (serves two, $75). Pre-order the basket via the Hollywood Bowl to pick up at your leisure or have it delivered to your seat, all fancy like.
So, next time you’re headed to the bowl, not wanting weigh yourself down with home-made or store-bought animal-friendly options, and cool dropping some Los Angeles foodie-level cash on some food, we’d recommend the new offerings. You can rationalize/offset the cost by bringing some cheap libations from Trader Joe’s or something.
Sadly, in addition to jumping on the “plant-based” trend, Patina’s also jumped at the opportunity to be an asshole created by California’s overturning of the statewide foie gras ban earlier this year. So don’t be surprised by the various Bowl menus’ sudden saturation with that cruel product, including a—*sigh*—foie gras-stuffed burger.
Two steps forward, one step back?
On the plus side for the aforementioned stand-up comics who might be tired of Gracias Madre jokes, Patina also now offers a menu of “international and domestic spring waters carefully selected by America’s only water sommelier, Martin Riese”.
So have fun with that, guys.
Below, photos of BLT, Mexican grain bowl, and tiramisu, all paired with exceedingly positive namings. And Katie, who’s just all around positive as is.