Gracias Madre

There are few places that I frequent to more than once in San Francisco, simply because of my seemingly enless list of new places to try. Gracias Madre is a notable exception because it embodies San Francisco: the food is vegan, organic, Mexican, local, and it’s cooked in an open kitchen. It’s also located in the heart of the Mission, making it walking distance for a lot of the nightlife. When a friend from out of town comes to visit, and we are looking for a hearty, unique, and no fuss dinner, Gracias Madre is my go-to. 

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The increasing frequency of natural disasters caused by climate change calls upon the need for all of us to reduce our dependency on meat and animal products; this movement is something no longer reserved for the animal-rights activists. Gracias Madre is an easy introduction to the delicious world of vegan cuisine, and the food is so good that even carnivores don’t miss eating meat.

The first time I had cashew cheese was when Gracias Madre opened nearly a decade ago. I could not believe such a creamy cheese substitute could exist! This is truly a dream for someone who is lactose intolerant, such as myself. The butternut squash quesadilla with a creamy cashew cheese sauce is grilled with an organic, handmade, maze tortilla is something I always order when I come here.

Enchiladas Verdes: Two rolled tortillas filled with squash, and topped with tomatillo salsa and crema. Served with sautéd greens and beans.

Pozole: Traditional hominy stew in a spicy red ancho broth, topped with avocado, cabbage and cashew crema.

Coliflor Frito: Flash fried cauliflower mixed with spicy cashew cheese.

César salad: Gracias Madre’s version of Caesar Cardini’s famous salad from Tijuana, Mexico with escabeche.

Quesadillas De Calabaza: Butternut squash with caramelized onions. Folded in tortillas with spicy cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa.