[This post is part of a series of reviews from my Winter 2014/15 trip to California]
One thing that amazes me about California, is the amount of 100% organic restaurants that exist and also the copious amount of avocado available on menus, which kept me smiling throughout our time there and make me want to go back – now! My parents love Gracias Madre, and while the rest of our family and friends went to a hockey game, my mother and I opted to dine at Gracias Madre (smart move, right?). Again, this is not a restaurant to eat at if you have severe nut allergies, they use a LOT of nuts in their dishes, and tons of cashew cream (which if you can eat, I highly recommend trying it…on everything!).
The space on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood is simply gorgeous – it’s white, large and bright but so warm and comfortable at the same time. The restaurant and bar are huge, but the patio, I would say, doubles the space, and includes comfy benches with blankets for chilly evenings, but there are plenty of heaters and even a fireplace, which I had the good fortune to sit next to, what a treat. It almost feels magical with the little lights strung around the space and the heavenly food.
The only disappointment here was that I didn’t have room to try more things, including their aged cheese plate, and multiple entrees, but such is life when dining with only two people. Keep in mind, if you are going to restaurants, to dine in larger groups so you can share and experience more.
Their drink menu includes a huge amount of cool sounding cocktails, tequilas and organic wines (my mom chose one) – but I stuck to a Vanilla Maple Cream Soda that they made in-house. It was a bit too sweet for me, but very delicious and would have gone well with dessert.
We started with guacamole, which was perfection! It had a great balance of chile, cilantro, lime and onion, and was taken to the next level when coupled with their fresh pico de gallo, housemade tortillas and salsa verde and roja (green and red sauce that was on the table, that we loved and ate most of!). We shared the Coliflor Frito with was basically flash-fried cauliflower to the point when all of the edges were golden brown and then all of it was coated in their cashew based nacho cheese, and squirted with fresh lemon juice. While thinking about this now, I am getting the strongest craving for this dish – sometimes simple really is the most awesmazing! We also shared a main course (the portions are really large and filling!) of Flautas de Camote which are rolled tacos stuffed with roasted, creamy sweet potato and caramelized onions, then topped with generous amounts of pico de gallo, guacamole, cashew cheese, cilantro and served with a side of black beans. This dish was colourful, creamy and absolutely awesmazing and was devoured quite quickly to the point that I was concerned that I wouldn’t get to the dessert menu! Luckily, my body knew better and saved room for their delicious warm Apple Cobbler. Think about perfectly roasted, sweetened, caramelly sliced apples underneath a thin, flaky, but still crispy top crust with a gigantic scoop of their housemade vanilla bean, coconut ice cream melting into the top.
Since I was so full, but still wanted to try their coconut bacon, I ordered a side of it to go. Later, back at our hotel, I ate the whole container in a matter of minutes! It was that good! I really hope that I have the opportunity to eat at Gracias Madre again. It also gives me hope that if this restaurant that is 100% organic and vegan is so busy always, that more people will open places like this around the world – and especially in Toronto!
Gracias Madre’s cuisine is inspired by the kitchens of Mexico sourced from locally grown organic ingredients – and served in a gorgeous space by nice people, how perfect is that?