Super Bowl is a day of feasting, and not in the sense of a holiday meal, but in a snacking and binge eating sense. We Americans put down nearly 30 million pounds of chips and over a billion chicken wings. A single chicken can only make four pieces of chicken wings — that calculates to 250 million chickens. Not to mention all of the avocados, burgers, pizzas, beer, nuts, pretzels, nachos, hot dogs, and whatever people eat on Super Bowl Sunday, its a lot of food.
Sometimes putting the Doritos down and putting something good in your body is refreshing. Cafe Gratitude is just what you need after a gorge fest of junk food — vegan/raw. Their food is clean, healthy, and at least for me, something I will rarely eat or enjoy. Ultimately, for a vegan meal, I thought it was great but not something I’d switch over to.
The “COMMUNITY” was a warm dip of spinach and baby artichoke. The choice of toasted gluten-free buckwheat crackers was a poor one as the crackers were just terrible. I mean, a vegan would probably love them, but the taste, texture and smell was something I wasn’t used to. The crostini bread was a little more what I was used to. The spinach and artichoke dip was healthy. No globs of cheese or mayo — just good and healthy veggies and some kind of vegan cream sauce. It was guiltless and somewhat tasty.
The “VIVACIOUS” were baked kale chips. These were more my kind of vegan snack. The baked kale was very crisp and one would think they were fried in oil. They had good texture and taste, especially dipping in the choice of garlic tahini, cashew nacho cheese, or creamy salsa verde dipping sauces.
The “BOUNTIFUL” was a baked gluten-free pasta. I guess it was the closes thing to mac and cheese. Their quinoa shells were crisp and almost crunchy. The roasted eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, and spinach gave the dish a lot of needed flavor. The almond basil bechamel was not creamy, but gave it enough sauciness to keep me interested — and the Brazilian nut parmesan gave the fake dish of mac and cheese seem cheesy. This was a great rendition of a classic mac and cheese, and though it was all vegan, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
The “AWESOME” was an eggplant parmesan panini. The Herb-cornmeal crusted eggplant was tasty and hearty. The absence of meat was almost forgotten. The grilled panini bread soaked up the marinara sauce and the cashew ricotta really tasted cheesy. The addition of tomatoes, Brazil nut parmesan, arugula, and basil gave the sandwich a lot of flavor and depth. A side of country style potatoes made this a very fulfilling dish. It was the least vegan of all of them, so I guess that makes sense.
I never wanted meat more than during this meal. I hardly often eat vegan, but when I do, I feel a little better about myself. After a binge of potato chips and ribs and chicken wings, sometimes, this kind of healthy stuff is needed. I don’t foresee myself eating vegan anytime soon, but if so, I suppose Cafe Gratitude can do me right.