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Restaurants & Bars

"I AM ABUNDANT" . . . Cafe Gratitude, San Francisco

Melanie Wong | Jul 16, 200604:01 AM     9

Last week I joined the girlfriends at the Harrison/20th Cafe Gratitude for our monthly dinner with a spiritual boost as a bonus. Only one of us had been here before, and the newbies were relieved to find that the raw vegan food could be so delicious. Also, the atmosphere was welcoming and festive, we couldn't help but be in good spirits with a birthday party next to us and the appearance of a wandering mariachi band. After some reluctance and self-consciousness, each of us managed to state our order by the self-affirming names for each dish.

For appetizers to start, we shared -

I AM HAPPY live hummus - Sprouted almond-sesame
hummus with assorted live crackers $6.50

I AM PRESENT cheese & fruit - Soft cashew “
cheese” of the day served with apples,
olive tapenade, assorted live crackers and toast $7.50

The live crackers, especially the reddish-colored flax seed ones for me, are so delicious and crispy. The thick-cut, brown one that looks like pumpernickel toast is tastier than most pumpernickel breads available around here. I liked both of these spreads very much, although I didn't think the tapenade was very good with them or on its own.

I had the -

I AM ABUNDANT sampler plate
Live nachos, kale-sea veggie salad, stuffed mushroom, olive tapenade, live hummus, and a mini Thai coconut soup. Served with assorted live crackers and almond toast. $12

My favorite thing on the plate was the crimini mushroom stuffed with a soy sauce-flavored nut pate. I also loved the coconut soup and the guacamole. It turned out that I was surrounded by non-avocado eaters, and I greedily scooped up the luscious guac on my friends' plates. The salsa accompanying it was fresh and spicy. The kale and seaweed salad didn't do anything for me, as I found it too stringy and disliked the bitter metallic aftertaste. I had a taste of a falafel from Kathy's "I AM FLOURISHING" Mediterranean plate and found it underspiced and mushy.

The biggest surprise for us was how much we liked the desserts. The lemon pie was sooo tart and zesty. I liked the natural sweetness of the dates played up with a touch of vanilla in the soft-serve ice "cream". The all-round favorite was the Key lime pie, satisfyingly creamy, vibrant with lime and a delicious date and nut crust.

We had the 2000 Chateau Thieuley Bordeaux blanc sec from my cellar with our meal. Corkage is $7 per bottle. The grassy, herbal and citrus tones were a good match for the vegan menu.

Cafe Gratitude slideshow -
http://flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/...

Cafe Gratitude menu -
http://www.withthecurrent.com/menu.html

Cynsa's post on the Sunset location -
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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