Gracias Madre WeHo
Easily one of the best Mexican inspired vegan meals I've found out North of the border, it's no surprise Gracias Madre is as outrageously popular as it is. The tamal mojado, the creamy cauliflower, and the extravagant brownie with mezcal caramel and coconut bacon!
Best brownie in the world. Stupidly decadent to the point of excess, but you will still eat it all and wonder how something could be so great and then you'll want another one. The gorgeous presentation helps. My second favourite dish was the coliflór frito, fried cauliflower with nacho cheese (cashew based) and lemon. El plato is aptly named ("the plate" or more like "the plate"), with its 482 components and size of wonderment.
Transiting via public transport between accommodation, I stumbled through the door with my (small) suitcase and backpack. People dressed as if they're at a wedding, and even the casual crowd looked like they stepped off a studio set. Already having receiving the once-over by the girl at the door, I realised I did not belong. And I loved it, because really people? Perhaps my lack of cool contributed to the initial lack of service (ignored at my table for 15 minutes upon being seated and after plenty of eye contact with staff). My money not good enough? What?
The food, however, was good enough to not put me off, and on my second visit it was smiles and chatter and margaritas and joy. Gracias Madre might not like luggage. Soz guys, but not really because who cares. Anyway your food is ace and I want it all.
There's a Mexican restaurant with a vegan menu in London, but I want more (why can't we have nice things), even if it means a $100+ bill for two people (including two drinks apiece). It's a little pricey, but if you can treat yourself then Gracias Madre is the place to do just that – maybe leave large bags at home though.
The menu is large, but not too large (I despise million page menus that appeal to my lack of decision-making skills more than anything else), and it's balanced; don't expect a list of dishes with similar taste profiles that will leave you bored after a couple of visits. The sizes are very generous, so either go starving after some two week juice cleanse bullshit you just did or be prepared to take food home.
Go to Gracias Madre WeHo if...
- You're interested in an upscale take on vegan Mexican cuisine that's guaranteed to taste great and appeal to omnivores and vegans alike.
- Your wallet is fairly flush and/or you want to treat yourself to a nice meal out.
- You don't have luggage.
- You're anywhere nearby, because you'd be crazy to not try it.