Cafe Gratitude in Santa Cruz

During a roadtrip my best friend and I took a lunch break in Santa Cruz. As loyal customers to the Cafe Gratitudes in Los Angeles, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit its northern sister.

We ordered two raw dishes that aren’t served in the LA locations: the “I am Transparent” and “I am Honoring.” The latter comes with four carrot-flax crackers donned on spicy tomato salsa, cashew nacho cheese, sprouted sunflower seed pâté and guacamole. It was a creamy dish. Yummy, but we needed something a bit tart to balance out the pâté.

Above: I am Honoring. The vertical placement of crackers makes me think of the layered panels used in theater performances to recreate ocean waves and other landscapes.

“I am Transparent” (far top photo) was the answer to our vegan prayers. This nori roll of kimchi, beet, carrot, sprouts, almond-sesame seed pâté and string of avocado was refreshing. It was served with wasabi and wheat-free tamari, which wasn’t necessary as the roll alone was a rainbow of flavor. The nori roll is a must-try! I’m tempted to drive six hours just to eat it again.

Here’s the interior looking in from the entrance. Not quite as fancy as the Cafe Gratitude in Santa Monica. And the service was not quite friendly nor attentive. The servers in LA raise the bar. Or perhaps I feel more welcome because they acknowledge their loyal customer? Regardless I would come back to Santa Cruz again for another refreshing nori roll on my next roadtrip.

Above: The interior with awkward angled pillar. Otherwise the place feels cozy.

Cafe Gratitude
103 Lincoln St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 427-9583

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