September 18, 2009 3

Cafe Gratitude (Berkeley: Shuttuck Ave.)

By in 04: SF+Bay Area

cafe gratitudeWe met up with Jon’s sister and her husband for dinner at Berkeley. Jon’s sister recently found out she has celiac disease, AKA gluten intolerance, meaning she is allergic to protein gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. So after researching  gluten-free restaurant, she found Cafe Gratitude which specialized in raw food cooking, vegan and gluton-free dishes. Usually when I hear “raw food cooking” I run the other way.

cafe gratitudeUpon arriving, we realize the place is beyond just raw cooking/gluton-free, it’s sort of a “theme” restaurant that based on a hippie-ish board game. Seeing the new agey paintings adorned the walls, we felt more and more skeptical. And then we took a look at the menu and saw that every item on the menu is named after an affirmation without irony! Like “I am celebrating” (lasagna), “I am warm” (miso soup), “I am insightful” (spring rolls) and so on. Some of us were too cynical and couldn’t help making jokes about it.

Since everything is raw food cooking, I am quite interested in how they make some of the dishes without using fire/heat, like soup, chips, rice and pizza. Apparently they use some tedious method to “dry up” the chips/cracker and “warm” the soup.

cafe gratitude
We got “I am generous”, aka guacamole, salsa and chip to share. For some reason they pour the salsa onto the guacamole. The guacamole is delicious. The chips were interesting, they were “flax chips” made with spicy sunflower seed and refried beans. They’re quite good! Though there weren’t enough of them so we had more than half of the guacamole left.

cafe gratitude
I’m the smartest one of our group for ordering “I am abundant” – the sampler plate. It’s got “8 affirmations”: I am happy (sprouted almond hummus), I am giving (Asian kale-sea vegetable salad), I am Exciting (hempseed pesto crostini), I am Honoring (spicy cashew nacho cheese w/ flax chips), I am Opulent (Olive tapenade with buckwheat crackers), I am Insightful (spring rolls) and Thriving (mini house soup). Since everything comes in small portion so I wouldn’t be stuck at eating something I didn’t like (perhaps “I am smart” should be name of the dish!). Out of the 8 items, I like the hummus, the chips, olive tapenade and the soup (surprisingly tasty, of course it’s only mildly warm and not hot).  The Hempseed pesto crostini and spring rolls (the veggie wrap thingy) were kind of gross tasting. And the kale was so-so.

cafe gratitudecafe gratitude
The rest of the group got the “grain bowl” because someone recommended them. Jon and his sister both got the “Yo soy mucho” aka the mexican bowl with shredded kale with quinoa, topped with guacamole, salsa and sprouts. Raphe got the “I am accepting” (the funniest name on the menu) which is a “sushi” bowl – steamed brown rice with kale, avocado, cucumber, nori, scallions and herbs in sesame-ginger sauce. They said they felt like they were in “kale hell”. You just feel like eating raw kale after kale. All of them could only ate few bites and then couldn’t eat more. There weren’t much flavors in them either, just the raw bitter vegetable taste which gets tired very fast.

cafe gratitudeHave to admit the bill came out sort of funny due to the names of the dishes. And as you can see, the food were quite pricey. Obviously none of us were fan, we couldn’t believe there are several outlets of this place in SF and the bay area!

With the raw bitter taste in our mouth we left and went across the street to a wine bar to try to cleanse our palette. Even though some of us weren’t full but our appetite were kind ruined, so we just order wine and hope it would wash the taste away.

Later that night all of our stomache didn’t feel well, perhaps they’re not used to all these raw food. In Chinese medicine term, our stomach had gotten too “yin” (or “cold” in English). Also according to Chinese medicine, human body isn’t made for solely raw food since it’s all about balance of yin and yang.  I’m a firm believer of this school of thought after this meal.

Cafe Gratitude
1730 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

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3 Responses to “Cafe Gratitude (Berkeley: Shuttuck Ave.)”

  1. tomoko says:

    wow. reminds me of when I used to live in Santa Cruz! ^0^;;
    (everyone was vegan and what-not. there were restaurants who had a strict policy of ONLY serving generic coke)
    I understand the feeling, after a while it gets… overwhelming( ̄∀ ̄;;)

    I’ve never had raw food cuisine,
    (I’m totally w/ you, it gets too yin for me too!!)
    but I can imagine that guacamole would taste good!!

    if they used strictly organic vegetables that uses no fertilizer or pesticides, the dishes would’ve been much better…too bad the veggies were bitter (;^_^A

  2. Sean says:

    I’ve had the same experience as you did too, my stomach didn’t know how to digest all this raw food. I went to the one in SF which I found out they closed down and opened else where. However there is one reason why i would visit this place again. “I AM COOL” – MINTY CHOCOLATE CHIP SHAKE, Hazelnut milk, vanilla bean, raw cacao nibs & mint milkshake. It was surprisingly really refreshing. Although I don’t know if this milkshake added to my upset stomach.

  3. Saskia says:

    Sadly, Cafe Gratitude is no longer gluten free. I contacted them yesterday and was surprised to discover that all their food is prepared in one central kitchen, which has recently begun preparing gluten containing foods (their new restaurant, Gracias Madre, has gluten containing items on the menu). I am so disappointed and hope they update their website which (yesterday) still stated they were totally gluten free.