After dinner out at Tortuga’s this weekend (which you can read all about here) I could not stop thinking about Mexican food! Rather than going back for a third round of delicious over indulgence in two weeks (you can judge me after you try it) I figured I’d take the lower calorie option of writing about it.
So you’ll notice that the title of this post has nothing to do with Mexican turtles or Princeton, NJ. The delicious little treasure that I’m going to tell you about is from my most recent trip to San Francisco, CA. The little iPad snafoo that occurred during this trip made posting very unattractive to me for a while. I think our relationship is more or less on the mend now though, so here we go 🙂
On Friday, the first day of my trip, Dr. M and I decided to go into SF to roam around without having to battle the weekend crowds of irritating tourists (not that I should be included in this group or anything…)
Note: Friday = weekend in touristville 😦
So, instead of standing in line for the cable cars and elbowing our way through the wharf we wandered our way through the Mission district for a calm afternoon and some good eats.
Enter Gracias Madre.
This cute little joint had outdoor seating, live music and a local, organic, seasonal, vegan, Mexican menu.
GM’s menu is seasonal and vegan. It is determined by what is currently available at their local organic farm, BE LOVE Farm, in Pleasants Valley, CA. All of their cheeses and milks and ice creams are made using nuts and their tortillas and tamales are handmade from non-GMO organic heirloom corn. They typically have a selection of antojitos, entradas, sides and postres.
We ordered three items to share.
1) The quesadilla de camote with sweet potato and caramelized onions folded into tortillas with cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa
2) Gorditas, grilled potato-masa cakes topped with warm salsa verde, avocado and cashew cream
3) Empandads, homemade pastries filled with grilled plantains, served on a bed of spice mole sauce and topped with cashew cream
Now I always get super excited about pumpkin dishes. And they seem to be trending right now – lets put pumpkin in this, lets put pumpkin in that. So, I’m not sure if I was too excited, or if they quesadilla wasn’t totally thought through before it was put on the menu, but there was too much pumpkin! I’m also not the biggest sweet potato fan (which seem to be everyone else’s hottest crush right now) so maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe. Probably. Anyway, the over-pumpkin + sweet potato gripe aside, the food was fantastic.
To be honest/fair/whatever, the flavors and textures were not those of your typical Mexican food. Frankly, I think this should be expected given that the dishes are made from very different ingredients. It isn’t a bad thing, you just can’t expect to taste cheese when use almonds. With this expectation, the food was delicious. It was fresh and rich and filling yet not heavy.
The staff was great. The waitress was helpful and the music troupe that migrated around the patio (and maybe inside as well) was adorable.
The ambiance was great too. The restaurant is on a relatively busy street in the Mission neighborhood and there are buses and cars and people going back and forth in front of the front patio. This gave it a nice cozy neighborhood feel.
And complementary blessings from La Madre herself!
Gracias Madre! 😉
The inside is a little bit more done up — nice tables, decor, lighting, etc… It was a great place for an afternoon lunch and I would anticipate that it’s a hot date night destination.
Very reasonable. Main dishes are <$15, sides are <$5 and our antojitos were <$10 each. We had plenty of food and given the quality of the ingredients used (which I am willing to pay more for), I think this is very affordable.