“Hey, how about we get some soup?” I said to Athena as we drove past Cafe Gratitude in Venice on a drizzly Sunday afternoon. After she quickly concurred, I was grateful for the parking space right across the street and even more grateful for the father-daughter time I was about to spend at this organic dining spot right down the road from our house (Irene was with the boys at a birthday party). We opted for the counter to check out all the culinary action and Athena was in heaven from the moment she jumped up on her stool – smoothies being whipped up here, raw specialties being handed through the pass over there (creamy hemp seed pasta, anyone?).
“Why don’t we share a little soup and a crunchy snack?” I suggested, to which Miss A agreed once more. Crunchy was easy: the kiddies have been on a kale kick recently and the “Starters” section of the menu had an offering called: “I AM VIVACIOUS” ($8) – live marinated kale chips served with a choice of dipping sauce (we chose the garlic-tahini over the spicy nacho). We also ordered the hot soup of the day ($7.50) – celery root topped with crème fraiche and scallions (the cold soup on the menu was a butternut squash and Miss A had some trouble processing why soup would be anything other than hot). The menu also offers organic beers, wine, tea and coffee, and cold-pressed juices and “elixirs.” Breakfast is served weekdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (weekends till 3 p.m.) and there’s a great communal table at the west end of the dining room.
When our server handed us the bill (clipped to a clothespin with the words YOU ARE ABSOLUTE on it), Miss A asked about the staff’s v-neck t-shirts with the “L” and “O” on the right front shoulder and the “E” on the left, with the actual v-neck completing the message. So bohemian.
Great spirit, great food and grateful for a local spot like Gratitude.
I have officially handed down my preference for Jersey Mike’s to the kiddies, who profess their love for the sandwich franchise in an endearing reversal of the name: “We Love Michael Jersey’s!” Future spokespersons? Perhaps I should look into that!