Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gracias Madre WeHo Steals My Heart with Vegan, Mexican Food

That feeling when you’ve poured over a menu for a few weeks, dreaming and drooling over the descriptions and then you finally taste the magnificence? Be honest, you’ve done it. I definitely have. Most recently was for Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, a completely vegan, Mexican restaurant. To celebrate being awesome, 8 of us went out this past Thursday for some pomelo margaritas and plenty of delightful food. 

My friend and completely kick-ass Mercy for Animals volunteer Melissa and I decided to split everything, except our margaritas…because why would we split when we can have our own? We split everything else so we could try as much as possible. I highly recommend this tactic.

The evening started with a perfectly sweet, tart, and just a little strong pomelo (grapefruity) margarita. I think with the exception of Melissa’s husband who favored beer, everyone who ordered alcohol went with this concoction. I’d get it again, except for the fact that I really want to try the lavanda (lavender) marg..they were out of lavender syrup. Poop. 
For an appetizer we went with the gorditas, which are potato-masa cakes topped with warm salsa verde, avocado, and cashew crema. Yes, that is the description on the online menu. These were absolutely fantastic. I would call them high end comfort food with the richness from the avocado and creme  the freshness of the salsa and the fluffiness from the masa cakes. Ummm, yum! And the thing is, these were our LEAST favorite and they were still fricken amazing. 
Nighttime outdoor seating=poor photo quality
Our main course was our favorite of the night: flautas de camote. Rolled tacos filled with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions, topped with pico de gallo, guacamole, cashew nacho cheese and cilantro all served with black beans. Do you hear the angels singing as you read that description? I do. I hear them. These were a little sweet, savory, and had a great texture contrast because the tortillas were fried (?) and crispy while in the inside was smooth. 
The post-entree appetizer was the quesadillas de calabaza. We went with a post-entree appetizer because we actually weren’t as full as we thought we’d be and weren’t sure if dessert would completely fill us up. Better to be safe than sorry. Anywho, these quesadillas were the bomb. The only reason they didn’t make number one, I think anyways-Melissa might have a different opinion- is they were mostly soft with not a lot of differing textures. But the butternut squash was sweet and smooth. Here’s the description. Butternut squash and caramelized onions folded into tortillas with cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa. The pumpkin seeds were amazing. 
And finally, because what’s dinner out without dessert, we had the pumpkin cake with vanilla bean ice cream. The cake was drizzled with a maple cream sauce. I’d lick that sauce off the floor. Seriously, it made the dish. Pumpkin anything is fabulous in my humble opinion, but paired with vanilla bean and maple and it’s just out of this world. 
I went home happy from good food and good friends. It was probably the highlight of my time in Los Angeles. If you ever find yourself out here, go there. Seriously, go there and eat.