With the aid of dehydrators, pressers and endless creativity the folks at vegan and raw-foods friendly Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg approximate nachos, cheese, yogurt, pizza and burritos along with a menu of other health-inducing concoctions free of, well, just about anything bad for you.
The Healdsburg location is the latest offshoot of the vegan/raw/self-empowerment kitchen that has won fans in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael.
So, deep breaths. You order by stating an affirmation that synchs with a menu item. I Am Passionate=marinara pizza. I Am Present=Caprese salad. The server confirms your affirmation when delivering the dish: You are Passionate.You are Thankful. You are Honoring. It’s hard not to feel like You Are An Idiot.
Best bets for the uninitiated: I Am Abundant sampler plate ($15). This share-worthy plate includes “live” crackers, hummus, olive tapenade, a mini-bowl of soup, a live spring roll, and “nachos”. It’s a tasty way to dip your toe into raw foods. Expect lots of chewiness, rough textures and stuff stuck in your molars for the entire meal.
My willing food assistant and I also gave the thumbs up to I Am Graceful ($12.50), a bowl of quinoa and fresh veggies with a spicy coconut Thai sauce. Also tasty are I Am Fruitful lassis with coconut yogurt ($8.50)
Skip the I Am Elated Special Enchilada of the Day ($15) unless you’re up for a full-on
assault of your taste buds. The combination of sprouted seeds, salsa and
cashew sour cream don’t quite work. It’s sharp, acidic and hard to get down. A vegan pal confirmed that this dish wasn’t a winner with her, either.
Desserts are where Gratitude shines. A single slice of key lime pie (I Am Awakening, $7.50) with a macadamia-pecan crust was rich, creamy and filling. Chocolate mint treats were a bit less impressive ($5) with odd, gritty green stuff in the middle that didn’t benefit from warming up in the car. Ack.
The lunch and dinner menu are the same and a meal can get into the stratosphere quickly: I spent a whopping $90 on lunch for two. Keep in mind that the preparation of raw
Gratitude is in some ways the anti-Healdsburg with its communal tables and crunchy aesthetic. And in other ways (like the hefty pricetag) so very Healdsburg. Its eco-consciousness and healthy, body-friendly menu clearly have appeal for the spa-set.
When it comes to Gratitude’s feel good ethos, you’ll either warm up to it immediately, go in for the novelty once or twice or run screaming toward a slab of bacon. Whatever your choice, I Am Supportive. Just don’t ask me to eat cashew sour cream again.
Cafe Gratitude, 206 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707.723.4462.