UPDATE: This restaurant has permanently closed.
I first discovered Cafe Gratitude when we were wine tasting in Healdsburg. I fell in love with the food and have sought them out ever since. Since then, Zach and I have eaten at several of their other locations.
On this particular trip, we were hiking in the Forest of Nisene Marks. We took a break and headed into the quaint little town of Santa Cruz. This is definitely a veggie-lovin' hippie town and I was excited to find a Cafe Gratitude right on the main strip.
When you first walk in, you see a glass case showcasing all of the wonderful housemade vegan desserts. In fact, nearly everything in the cafe is housemade including the items they sell in the front of the store like granola, flax crackers, and shortbread. I should also note that the cafe is 100% vegan.
We took a seat in the back of the restaurant and took a look at the menu. One of my favorite things about Cafe Gratitude is the great selection of both cooked and raw foods. I also love how they name their items. By ordering each dish and drink, you must state that you are [some adjective]. This is quite amusing the first time you go there.
Zach started off with an "I am Loved" and I ordered an "I am Worthy." The "I am Loved" is a cafe latte made with your choice of nut milks. Zach got the hazelnut milk and really liked it. The "I am Worthy" was a fresh juice made of kale, beet, celery, apple, and ginger. Yummy!
For our entrees, I ordered raw and Zach ordered cooked. I had the "I am Elated," which was an enchilada in a live tortilla with a sprouted seed filling topped with spicy mole, cashew sour cream, and scallions. The mole sauce was rich and paired well with the nutty enchilada. It was served with a spicy Mexican coleslaw with fresh cilantro and a salad with a spicy dressing. It was scrumptious.
Zach went out on a limb and ordered the "I am Extraordinary," which was a "BLT" made with sauteed maple coconut "bacon" served on an organic wheat bun with romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, and avocado. It was really good.
I really haven't had a bad experience at any of the Cafe Gratitudes. They definitely aren't known for their attentive service, but that is mostly because they are all pretty laid-back cafes. Their food is very good, but also pricey. My enchilada meal was $13.75 while Zach's "BLT" was $11.50. Even the cakes were about $8 per slice.
Despite their high prices, they offer an "I am Grateful" dish that is their community supported grain bowl. They created this bowl to allow for those in financial need to have access to organic vegan food. Payment is by donation only and no one is turned away. That just leaves a great taste in my mouth. I plan to continue supporting Cafe Gratitude and would highly recommend it for anyone visiting northern California.
103 Lincoln Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060