Gratitude Changes Everything.
Today at lunch I was nearly awesome, but then decided to be liberated. That is to say, I had lunch at Newport Beach's newest 100% organic, plant-based restaurant, Gratitude. But I have to tell you, I can't wait go back so I can be awesome, glorious, magical, and even transformed. It is really that good!
Gratitude is the upscale sibling to Cafe Gratitude, also completely organic & plant-based, which has 4 locations spread across Southern California. It's also the cousin to Mexican-vegan, Gracias Madre, which has locations in West Hollywood, and San Francisco. I was lucky enough to eat at the San Francisco location about a year ago, and it's really amazing too.
When I go to a restaurant, and can order ANYTHING on the menu, it makes me extremely giddy, and I'll tell you what, I am full of gratitude. There really is no better time to be vegan than right now! Especially here in Orange County, where it sometimes takes a little longer to catch up on food trends, and let's face it, other trends too.
Executive chef, Dreux Ellis nails it with his attention to detail. The plates look seriously enticing, and the depth of flavors and different textures that are sometimes missing in so many plant-based dishes, make me want to come back again and again (and again!).
There is one hitch though. You really have to be game to play along with their schtick by ordering the affirmation your dish is named after. The rules are told to you, so there's no mistaking how they'd like you to order. I am liberated, you'd say to order the rice noodle & pesto dish. It's a little corny, and I can't help myself from trying to avoid ordering how I'm supposed to. But thank goodness the attentive wait staff is there to set you straight if you slip up, and "forget" to use your affirmation to order. Though I have to admit, they are good natured about reminding you which affirmation you chose. I'm pretty sure they are used to this, and 'm not the only rebel who doesn't want to play along. I am a stick in the mud.
Whether you want to play the affirmation game or not, I think Gratitude is a much needed addition to a plant-based, sometimes boring repertoire of restaurants here in Orange County. And I admit, I am impressed.