I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll never be a vegan.  I respect and admire those who can adopt a completely vegan diet, but I love my favorite foods too much. I love cheese. I love oysters. I love cured meats.  I could go on and on.  However, despite my omnivore ways, I’m always open to trying new-to-me restaurants, and Cafe Gratitude in KC recently caught my eye.

Cafe Gratitude originally opened in LA, and while a few locations have sprouted (ha, see what I did there) since then, the KC location is the restaurant’s first outside of California.  When I stopped by, I was a bit overwhelmed by the pretty extensive menu:


With starters, sandwiches and wraps, entrees, and sides, not to mention tonics and elixirs, juices, smoothies, shakes, coffee and tea, I didn’t know quite where to begin. The tonics sounded interesting though, so I thought I’d start with the Golden – a turmeric latte with almond milk and honey.

Alas, they were out of one of the ingredients, so I went with our waitress’ recommendation of the Immortal, a tonic of Reishi, Shilajit, and Ormus. Yeah, i don’t know what those are either.  However, it is served hot with coconut milk, cinnamon and honey, and all those things are a-okay in my book!  The Immortal was indeed delicious – it kinda reminded me of apple cider.


After doing my usual “okay, I’ve narrowed it down to 5 things” menu evaluation, I finally decided on the “Terrific”, Cafe Gratitude‘s interpretation of Pad Thai, with kelp noodles, carrots, shredded kale, cucumber, cilantro, basil, mint and scallions, topped with teriyaki almonds and sunflower sprouts:


The kelp noodles were crunchy (kinda reminded me of Chinese jellyfish, if you’re a fan of that), and the flavors of this dish were satisfyingly familiar to the Pad Thai noodle dish we all know and love.  The combination of herbs made this a refreshing dinner option, and I especially liked the crunch of the teriyaki almonds.

My eating buddy ordered the “Fabulous” (first photo), a raw lasagna layered with veggies, pesto, and olive tapenade drizzled with sun-dried marinara and cashew ricotta cheese.  Our waitress forewarned us that the dish, like revenge, was served cold but that didn’t deter Mr. eating buddy.  He thoroughly enjoyed his meal, and I also liked the bite I sampled – even though I’m not an olives fan.

The dessert menu was presented on a platter, and we decided to go with the two macaroon choices.  Salty caramel for me:


And chocolate for my eating buddy:


Both were delicious, but I slightly preferred the chocolate option. Yum!

Like I said before, I’ll never be a vegan, but Cafe Gratitude is a great option for a light flavorful meal that won’t have you feeling gross afterward.  The food was creative and well-executed, although I felt slightly self-conscious that the waitress announced each dish by describing us with the adjective (“You are Immortal”. “You are Terrific”).  My eating buddy was “Fabulous”, much to my amusement.  However, this one idiosyncrasy became quite amusing once I got used to it, and overall the experience was great. If this cheese-consuming, dessert-desiring food fanatic enjoyed it, I think you will too.

Cafe Gratitude 333 Southwest Blvd Kansas City, MO 64108