Cafe Gratitude

March 2, 2011

in restaurant, sandwich, vegan

Is it possible for a restaurant to have groupies?!? I have been waiting in anticipation for Cafe Gratitude forever. Today, I showed up 15 minutes before they opened to make sure that I would be their very first customer!!!


And I was! I got to meet the owners, and they took pictures with me for their blog :)

With several locations all over the Bay Area, the Los Angeles branch is literally a 10 minute walk from my house.




I actually had zero appetite (I think my stomach’s still processing yesterday’s meal at Doomie’s) but I felt like it was my mission to order a sandwich for BVSLA research (*spoiler alert* – it made the list)

I got the “I Am Extraordinary” – their take on a BLT


Let’s see what’s under the hood, shall we?


Romaine lettuce, sliced avocado and tomato, and a ton of chipotle aioli


The restaurant doesn’t use any soy or fake meats as their protein sources. So the “Bacon” was sauteed maple coconut


The environment is totally conducive to dining solo



They bring out condiments, but I didn’t need any – everything was perfectly seasoned, and quite frankly, mind-blowingly amazing.


On the side comes a salad – which looks naked…


…but is actually dressed underneath


Very messy, but the cloth napkins did their job. I love how sustainable everything is – I feel like too many restaurants are relying on biodegradable/compostable utensils and plates these days. Not only is Cafe Gratitude truly earth-friendly, but community-conscious as well:


I also dug the positive messages everywhere – on my water bottle…


…in the bathroom…


…even on my check!


I apologize in advance to all my blog readers, because it’s going to get boring seeing me eat at Cafe Gratitude as regularly as I plan to. But because it’s so close-by, has free wifi, and allows dogs on the outside patio, I feel it’s my duty to uphold my reputation as their #1 Customer!


Once I’ve finished digesting, I’ll be back, for sure.


(Did I mention I wasn’t even hungry when I went?!?)

Cafe Gratitude on Urbanspoon


1 janetha March 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I went there in San Fran during foodbuzz and really liked it!

2 Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Your outings always make me hungry! This place sounds perfect!

3 Evan Thomas March 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I love that you got to the restaurant early just to be the first customer. That’s devotion.

4 Andrea@WellnessNotes March 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I still haven’t been to Cafe Gratitude. It’s been on my list for a long time. Glad you liked it so much!

5 she March 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I can’t wait to go and try the sauteed maple coconut!

6 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I have their cookbook, and I’m DYING to eat there some day!!! Looks like it totally lives up to the hype!

7 VeggieGirl March 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Wow, didn’t know they opened up that location too! Awesome!

8 Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) March 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Cool! I actually thought of you this morning when I saw the announcement on Facebook that this restaurant was opening today. I thought, “Lynn would really like this restaurant.” You are awesome and I can’t wait to see pics of more of your meals here. I can understand your excitement of being the first customer, that’s really neat! :)

9 Katie O. March 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I so wish I was near by, this place looks amazing. How FANTASTIC that they won’t turn anyone away? I LOVE LOVE LOVE that! Definitely something that more eateries should aspire to/emulate…

10 suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic] March 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm

#1 customer? That’s pretty neat. :) Wifi, dog-friendly, a quick walk? They couldn’t have picked a better place to set up shop.

11 kaitlinwithhoney March 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Ooooh how exciting! I went here in San Francisco when we were at Foodbuzz and I really liked it. I would be ALL ABOUT a blogger meetup here!

12 Lynn at The Actors Diet March 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm

yes we totally have to do a meetup!!!

13 Amanda March 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm

YES! I want to do a meet up at Cafe Gratitude.

14 Ada March 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I went to the Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley and absolutely loved it. The taco salad was amazing. I dragged my poor steak-loving friend who wasn’t as enthused though;)

15 Amanda March 2, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I want to try Cafe Gratitude so bad! I’ve only heard rave reviews. We’ll have to do a blog meet up one of these days!

16 Jan Schifter March 2, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Where’s your vegan dessert?

17 Lynn at The Actors Diet March 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

i was too full and have so much stuff at home – but rest assured, i’ll be back for those desserts!

18 clairedille March 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I second the blogger meet up there! I loved it…and I got a dessert to split…delicious too!

19 It All Changes March 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

So cute to be their number one customer.

I would have never thought to use maple and coconut in place of bacon. I can’t wait to make that sandwich at home!

20 cbrady3 March 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I would love that place! It sounds like the restaurant version of Operation Beautiful:)

21 RoseRunner March 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I live in the bay area and you’re right, there are a lot here — I didn’t know they expanded to L.A.!

I find the positive messages everywhere to be….kind of grating. Too much. Tone it down a little…I actually like the food, but feel awkward around the new agey waiters, so rarely go.

22 Monet March 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm

This made me smile….really really wide. I love the food and the philosophy behind this place. And how cool is that “bacon”? I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Thank you for sharing another day of delicious goodness!

23 Erin March 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

GAH it sounds amazing! I think in the case of this resto, groupies are so appropriate. I’ve read about it everywhere and am convinced that I need to go to LA for this purpose alone. Your meal looks beautiful. Love that they don’t use fake meat products either! So resourceful!

24 Vegyogini March 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

You and I definitely were on the same page today! I’m happy to see you enjoyed the experience as much as I did.

25 Ruby W. March 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Thank you for doing all these wonderful restaurant reviews. I am excited to try this place out.

26 joyo March 3, 2011 at 2:05 am

WHOA. that place looks amazing. and how beautiful, their commitment to feeding everyone. i love it.

27 CinZilicious March 3, 2011 at 2:13 am

Another great restaurant blog post Lynn!!! U make me wanna fly over to the states right away,lol.

Btw, i think its really cool and creative how Cafe Gratitude makes the experience for their customers so unique! It’s like they really care about you and make you feel special:) Excellent concept for a cafe/restaurant!!! I dont see how u can have a bad day if u go to Cafe Gratitude;)Plus that sandwich looks yummy and healthy!

p.s. love the docoration on the mirror in the bathroom, so cute:)


28 Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 3, 2011 at 4:49 am

If that place was in walking distance, I’d be there all the time, too!

29 Pure2raw Twins March 3, 2011 at 5:00 am

YUM YUM I am so jealous because Michelle got to eat at Cafe Gratitude in San Fran when she was there for Foodbuzz and all she could say that it was amazing!! I have to get there to try myself here soon ;)

30 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count March 3, 2011 at 6:51 am

I wish there were places like this in NJ!! I get a little boring sometimes too, eating at the same places. When you’re vegegarian, you don’t always have a lot of choices. This looks worth a trip to Los Angeles or San Francisco! I’ll wait until we move to New Mexico (soon, I hope…) Then it will just be a road trip!

31 glidingcalm March 3, 2011 at 10:06 am

That sounds like a great place and meal!!

P.S. I just read “Thick Dumpling Skin” and watched your video, and I just ADORE YOU so much Lynn. Thank you for sending such a wonderful message, and thank you for being honest, and thank you for being you!! I really connect and relate to Asians- since I grew up that way (Asian household, Asian diet, Asian best friends and God family, practically wishing I was Asian for a long time), and I loveeeeeeee hearing you talk.

Thank you.

32 Lynn at The Actors Diet March 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm

aw, thanks honey!!!

33 jessica o'brien | jessohbee March 3, 2011 at 10:06 am

i will def. be visiting very soon! i agree w/ your comment about the compostable options. they are still a disposable, which i try to avoid + many only biodegrade when processed properly in a composting facility. simply tossing them in the trash to go to a landfill do not ensure their proper end.

34 Olivia March 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

Sauteed maple coconut as BACON!?! OMG that sounds SO FREAKIN’ AMAZING!!! I need to find some way to recreate that based off of your pics:) let me know if you do first!

35 Rachel March 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I have been aching for this place to open for months now. Now I just have to find an excuse to head south to LA. I’m on my way.

36 Shanna, like Banana March 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I have never heard/seen of this place in the Bay Area. So I looked it up and there is one about 10 miles away…sweet! I’m going to go!

37 PrincessPamela March 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Great place! We have one in the Oakland Whole foods… its the reason i go there!!!

38 katecooks March 4, 2011 at 11:47 am

can i tell you how much i love that you were the first customer?? everything looks/sounds amazing! i’ll have to add it to the ever growing list in my head of MUSTS!

39 johnny March 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm

My Niece works there in the Mission District -


40 Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) March 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Maple.Coconut. I’m trying to wrap my head around how amazing that must be.

So is it bad to have fake meat now? I thought I was so virtuous when I chose that over the real stuff. Oh well, I just can’t win. May as well head to Mickey Ds :-)

41 After the Harvest March 5, 2011 at 9:39 am

Thanks for blogging about it — I am in Canada but I have a few online friends in the Cafe Gratitude community, and it’s great to vicariously live through your experience! I won’t get bored reading about your meals there :)

42 Anita Gent Williams (SKONI) March 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

My sister took me to Cafe Grattitude in Berkley & I was hooked ! & I am not even a vegan! I will see you there girlie as I have been emailing the owners monthly for the move to LA DAY! I AM GRATEFUL THE “CAFE” IS IN LA! YIPPEE:):):)

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