As you can probably tell, I'm a pretty healthy eater. I like creating clean eating recipes, though I have to say it's not always easy to eat well when dining out, but luckily that's been changing lately in Los Angeles. There are now many plant based, aka vegan restaurants like Plant Food and Wine, the Springs, Le Comptoir, Gadarene Swine and Crossroads to name a few. One vegan LA restaurant that's been on my list for a while is Gracias Madre. It took my birthday to coerce some friends into traveling cross town to eat plant-based Mexican food.
Gracias Madre is a beautiful restaurant with a sprawling patio to see and be seen, and an equally large Spanish style interior to take in some healthy fare. The food is all organic and in fact, they're even planting their own corn in Vacaville, CA to use in their restaurant.
There are still crowd favorites like freshly baked chips with homemade cilantro spiced guacamole and a duo of red and green salsas. You can also choose to mix things up with a flash-fried cauliflower starter with vegan nacho cheese and lemon. It's not quite as good as you want it to be, but you'll also lick the plate clean.
The vegans allow for some tasty drinks as well. In fact, Gracias Madre has a really impressive, dare I say overwhelming, cocktail list. It's overwhelming because each drink has about 8 ingredients in it and I wanted every one of them. I finally chose the I am Grapeful, which was like the best adult snow cone with a mound of shaved ice, keeping the tequila cool, and layers of Mezcal, Gruner Veltliner, grape shrub and house lime bitters. The Pie One On is pumpkin in a glass, and Mero Mero is another winner with spikes of artichoke and cherry liqueur. You could just come here for the cocktail and guac.
After drinks and people watching, it's on to proper food. There are vegetables many ways. My el Plato had a whole lovely mess of them with butternut squash and cashew cheese, chorizo mushrooms and cilantro pesto and escabeche, pico de gallo and black beans. These ingredients and flavors showed up in a lot of dishes so there's not a huge discernible difference from plate to plate, but lucky these flavors are good.
The flautas with sweet potatoes were crisp on the outside and creamy in with a light green salad on top. You could get a whole plate of plantains flash fried as a main, and I suggest you do.
We almost overlooked the homemade tortillas, but that would have been a huge mistake. The tortillas are light, but flavorful and proves you should really grow your own corn.
Gracias Madre is a great spot for a celebration, large get-together or some good people watching while taking in some plant based vegan food in West Hollywood.
8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood