I have to take a break from recounting my holiday eats to tell you about a new place that opened last week in San Francisco: Gracias Madre. This new restaurant, dishing up all vegan Mexican cuisine and brought to us by the folks behind Cafe Gratitude, has been a long time coming. That's the case with most restaurants I suppose, but this time it is well worth the wait.
We went on Saturday night and the place was packed. Here is where I mention the one downside of GM - the communal seating. I know it's supposed to foster a sense of community and encourage interaction and blah blah blah but I came to dinner with the person I want to eat with and really don't like (okay, HATE) having to sit with strangers at a big old table. I don't need new friends, thanks.
Ok, enough ranting about that. We were lucky enough to snag a seat on the couch, which meant sitting with only one other couple, and they were into talking to us as much as we were in to talking to them. Which is to say, not at all. Our focus was on the food, and boy was it good. We started with the guacamole above, and it is heavenly. Folks who know me know I am a guacamole afficianado, and I dare say the GM offering is second only to my own homemade. I really think it's the use of organic and fresh ingredients that does the trick. So good.
Next up I had the Platillo de Legumbres. This dish consists of two sides of your choice served with rice, beans, and tortillas. I went with the roasted butternut squash and the kale. I excpected it to be good, but it was fantastic! I can honestly say it was the best kale I've ever eaten, hands down. I would have enjoyed a bucket of it. And the squash was the perfect texture for mashing into the delicious blue corn tortillas (sadly not pictured). When topped off with the insanely good fresh salsas on the table, these hand held bites become mouth watering. I want to eat it all again right now.... not to mention try the rest of the menu!
Magically I still had room for dessert, and GM serves one of my favorite things on the planet - Mexican wedding cookies. Nutty and light and covered in powdered sugar, they're a real treat without beign overly sweet. Served up with nut-based dulche de leche ice cream, they are the perfect ending to your Mexican feast.
I had high expectations for Gracias Madre and they were definitely exceeded. Everything is so fresh and flavorful! The service was a little spotty (forgiveable in their first week) and you will have to sit with other folks, but the food is so worth it. I can't wait to go back to try more of the menu, specifically the cauliflower gratan, which we watched numerous other people order and enjoy.
Meanwhile, there are tons of other restaurants on my "to try" list and holiday eats still unblogged, so stay tuned!