Monday, December 08, 2008

Trip to Cafe Gratitude and Thumbprint Cellars Tasting Lounge: Healdsburg, California

Last week I met my friend and Colleague, Kathy Nichols of, for lunch at Cafe Gratitude. Those of you who aren't all cheery and upbeat all the time might find the place a bit too much. For instance, your server will ask you to think about the question for the day. Ours, I believe, was, "what are you most grateful for today?" While I certainly didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it, I did notice that our server didn't check back to find out our answers. (Be aware that sometimes they do, so you might want to ponder a bit and have a snappy retort.)

When you order your food, you ask for dishes with names such as I am Cheerful, I am Celebrating or I am Elated. I got the latter which was the enchilada del dia. Kathy ordered the I am Whole macro bowl but she got a half so I'm not sure if that made her I am Half or was she Half Whole?

And when you order the server often repeats, You are Elated or whatever the upbeat name of your item is. When your item comes from the kitchen, they call out, You are Elated. After hearing a few minutes of this, it was too much for me. And if you happen to have someone celebrating a birthday in your vicinity, you will hear the Beatles song, They Say It's Your Birthday and lots of clapping.

Kathy said that she ate at the Berkeley location once and there were many birthdays, which bordered on annoying or even obnoxious (those are my words, not exactly what Kathy said).

I truly enjoyed eating I am Elated. The enchilada wrapper is dehydrated spinach and the filling was sunflower seeds spiced with chipotle and jalapeno, along with kale and olives. It was savory and smooth and mouth-tingling, in a good way. It came with large mound of perfectly cooked quinoa and less-than-interesting cabbage which might have been slaw but not the kind that I like.

Kathy enjoyed her half whole. And we split dessert, which was somewhat unnecessary but delicious. It was raw tiramisu, the name of which is forgotten. It may be Bliss. And if it was, that is a good description (except for the $8 price tag).

As I said to Kathy, you have to be able to afford to eat at Cafe Gratitude and get all that upbeat goodness. It's a novelty and something very Californian that you ought to check out at least once, if you get a chance.

You can buy Cafe Gratitude cookbooks, either the regular or strictly desserts, and make your own raw gratitudinous food. It will still take a couple of days to not-cook most items but you'll save a lot of green (as in money) by doing so. (I am mostly of the notion that eating salad as raw food is about all the non-cooking that I care to do.)

Last time I ate at Cafe Gratitude, I met my friends Erica and Scott Lindstrom-Dake for lunch. I actually was meeting Erica but she invited Scott which was just fine. I like both of them. They are wonderful people and have the most marvelous (and maybe only) tasting lounge in Healdsburg. You can check it out online or in person if you find yourself in Healdsburg.

Did I tell you that they sell my book The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment at the lounge? I feel honored as they sell only a small assortment of items other than their own cute as can be Thumbprint items. Oh, and did I mention that their wines are wonderful? Their viognier won a Gold Medal at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. And I must admit that I've had my fair share of their dry rose. But I am a bit of a rose nut. (That is not rose but I can't figure out how to get that accent mark in there.)

If you want to take a trip to Healdsburg, feel free to email me at and I will give you some other great tips for where to go. I hope that you have as much fun there as I did and do.


Sharon said...

I should live in California! You have so many choices for eating healthy food away from home.

The Veggie Queen said...

Yes, Sharon, you are right. But as I pointed out, you have to basically starve yourself for a week to be able to afford to eat there. And forget the cost of living here, it's outrageous.
The best part, which I forgot to mention, is that they have a regular and dessert cookbook, so that you can make their items at home. It probably still takes a day or two but at least it's way less expensive.

Virginia said...

Hi Jill! I can tell you how to get the "é" if you are on a PC. Hold down your "alt" key and use the number keypad on the right to type in 1-3-0. Voilà!

Also, there is another tasting lounge in Healdsburg that I know of: Longboard Vineyards is a short walk from Café Gratitude and has yummy Syrahs, among other varietals.

The Veggie Queen said...

I don't have a number keyboard on my lap top so can't do any of those types of things.

Next trip to Healdsburg, I have to get to Longboard.