I assume I don’t have to sell San Francisco to any of you. Occasionally there’s a year where Paris is the most visited city in the world, in which case San Francisco comes in second, but mostly SF is the winner. Certainly there is no need for me to be doing its PR. What I want, this month, is to acknowledge the inevitability of your visit to the city by the bay and to help to steer you away from the almost equally inevitable sourdough bread bowl full of clam chowder on Fisherman’s Wharf.
If what you’re looking for is a culinary experience that is as quintessentially San Franciscan as the aforementioned dinnerware cum dinner proports to be, Café Gratitude is what you’re looking for. It’s all organic, all vegan, all raw and all full of the feel-good-hippie-love that is truly what this great city has to share with the world. The cleanliness and simplicity of the food feels, in these times of national health care crisis, almost revolutionary, if you’ll allow me to be so bold. There is a small catch, though: Each dish is named with a statement of self-worth. For example, a bowl of tofu and rice might be called “I am beautiful.” Meaning that if what you want is a bowl of a tofu and rice, you have to tell your waitperson that you are beautiful. Seriously. The fun game, though, is to sit at Café Gratitude and fantasize about the grease pit you’re going to put into the empty storefront across the street, serving deep-fried Twinkies that you’ll call “I am worthless.”