San Francisco Vegan Dining

I was pretty bummed when I found out it was the last weekend of Dine About Town San Francisco 2010 and I would not be around to try some of the great restaurants the City as to offer, due to the fact, I was home visiting with family that was in town. Earlier in the week I had mentioned to my roommates that I wanted to try this new vegan restaurant in the Mission. So, rather than dwell on the missed opportunity, my roommate suggested we head to Gracias Madres, a restaurant specializing in vegan, Mexican cuisine and also the same owners of Cafe Gratitude (vegan) a restaurant that supports local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and environmentally-friendly products.

From the outside, it looked really small, but when you walked in, the place was quite large; a huge open kitchen, outside tables, bar seating, and several large “family” style tables (where several couples or parties share a large table). Even though the entire restaurant is environmentally-friendly and sustainable (tables, dishes, food, napkins, the menu) and you would think dull, plain, cold, there’s a warm, friendly, fun feeling the minute you walk in.

Something you don’t see quite often but something I love to see (sits atop the menu):

“Our food is 100% organic and vegan. Our menu is seasonal and determined by what is currently available at our Organic (biodynamic method) farm in Pleasants Valley, California, the Be Love Farm. All of our cheeses, milk, and ice creams are made using nuts. Our tortillas and tamales are handmade from non-GMO organic heirloom corn, some of which is grown by us on the Be Love Farm.”

The place was packed (did I mention it was a Sunday night), so we sat at a “family” style table with 2 other couples. I ordered the tacos: three corn tortillas topped with seasonal vegetables and cashew cheese (I got it without ), served with beans. I got to choose from roasted pablano chile strips sauteed with onions, roasted butternut squash, and sauteed wild mushrooms with garlic (I chose to try all three). My roommate ordered the tamal: stoneground heirloom masa steamed in the husk filled with butternut squash and green chili. Served with beans and pickled vegetables. Both were excellent; the mashed black beans were not too salty, the corn tortillas were amazing, and the vegetables had so much flavor. We opted not to order any dessert (although I was so tempted considering I normally don’t get the option to have vegan sweets); we were too stuffed.

{Gracias Madres Menu}
{Dining Room}
{Our “family” style table}
{Tacos with seasonal vegetables, served with black beans.}
{Tamal stuffed with butternut squash and green chili, served with black beans and pickled vegetables.}

We will definitely be back to try all the other great dishes… who knew Mexican food could be made healthy? Absolutely loved!