Cafe Gratitude: I Am...
What I love about Cafe Gratitude is the way their menu is set up. Each dish is labeled with empowering verbs so when you order, they make the experience a little more fun. You can order as you normally would or you can add "I am" before naming your dishes of choice. The server then affirms and echoes your selections.
For the restaurant week menu, I chose I am...elevated, eclectic, bountiful ad mystical. I'll go into detail for each one.
Elevated is a rose water lemonade with agave and sparkling water. It was much lighter than anticipated in terms of rose water, but I enjoyed that it was lightly sweetened. The color is really nice as well, almost with an gradient effect of the rose water and lemonade. Friends had the Skinny Margarita and Cola Old Fashioned.
Eclectic was the buffalo cauliflower. The cauliflower is flash fried and tossed in an adobo buffalo sauce. Served with celery on the side and a spicy cashew aioli. This was so good! I'm normally not the biggest fan of buffalo since the tangy sauce gives my nose an itch, but the aioli was a ice complement to mellow out that tangy flavor. We also had Ecstatic, a maple miso brussel sprouts served up in a cast iron skillet.
For entree, the Bountiful dish was a blackened tempeh bolognese. Quinoa shells, cashew mozzarella, broccolini, Brazil nut Parmesan and spinach, this was to die for. I completely obliterated this dish and barely noticed the nut cheeses. I would definitely order this again. Other entrees on the table were Welcoming (stuffed phyllo) and Elated (mole abuelita enchiladas).
For dessert, there was only one selection. The Mystical was a macaroon and ice cream. You get a scoop of vanilla bean cashew coconut ice cream topped with a chocolate coconut macaroons and chocolate sauce. It's all coconut based, so if you're not a fan of coconut, the flavors are very strong. I had a couple bites and thought it tasted like suntan lotion, but I'm not crazy about coconut.
Overall, the meal was phenomenal. My only negative experience was the bill. We were charged the lunch pricing, so drinks were not included with meal. We pointed it out to our server and she made some sort of excuse that the machine wasn't working or cooperating with her input. I was a little baffled at the excuse, but she eventually took the bill to make the corrections. Even though the ending left a bad impression, I'm interested in trying more of their menu and juices. Until next time!
1617 Westcliff Drive, #112
Newport Beach, CA 92660