Who would’ve thought that Mexican food could go vegan? At Gracias Madre in San Francisco, ceviche is made of young coconut and tacos are topped off with cashew cheese. And just like authentic Mexican food these vegan dishes will fill you up, leaving your stomach satisfied yet craving for more.
While there is indoor dining, I sit outside facing the street. People watch if you’ve come solo. Forget HDTV. You’re watching real-life TV. Teenagers skateboard, a mother walks with her child hand-in-hand, and buses make their expected vehicular flatulence. Ethnic diversity exists in San Francisco yet this part of town seems concentrated of the Latino population. I begin wondering how many of the locals have tried and prefer the veganized Mexican cuisine.
Reading the menu, my soul jumps for joy. So many dishes to try, but only one stomach. With the majority of the menu being gluten-free, it’s even more difficult to decide. Shall I order the traditional hominy stew in an ancho-chile broth or the sautéed prickly pear cactus with pico de gallo and cashew cheese? The stoneground heirloom masa filled with zucchini, onions and garlic also call my name.
The Enchiladas con Mole scream the loudest. And that is what I order.
Molé-drenched mushrooms, onions and cilantro drizzled with cashew cheese sit on top of corn tortillas, conquering half the plate. The tortillas drown the ingredients into a sea of bland, so I eat the toppings without the base. The sautéed kale with pumpkin seeds are spicy in a friendly manner. If you prefer more fire, add in the complimentary sauces placed on each table. The black beans have the texture of mashed potatoes.
I order the Chocolate Cake with raw cacao-cinnamon sauce and homemade vanilla bean ice cream. It also contains coconut oil and cashews. The dessert is not gluten-free. It oozes with sugary goodness.
The homemade vanilla bean ice cream is thick and creamy. The flavor reminds me of half and half milk. Which I have no problem with. I used to drink shots of it as a child whenever my mother got her cup of coffee.