What it means to be Vegan?

What does it mean to be Cafe Gratitude vegan? Cafe Gratitude founder Terces Engelhart shares with us what it means to her.

What I love about the vegan diet is you can be creative in the kitchen, eat really fresh food, and accommodate so many different diet considerations at the same time. The whole world of plants, herbs, seeds and nuts opens up to amazing flavors and combinations. In the dessert world nearly all of the “old time favorites” that often are associated with “guilt” for having eaten them, can be made, eaten and enjoyed without the “guilt”! 

In Season for December


Cafe Gratitude’s Head Chef, Dreux Ellis, shares with us December’s “In Season” produce! Get inspired for the Holiday’s and visit your local Farmer’s Market to find these organic delights!

Plant: beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, chard, kale, leaf and head lettuce, mustard greens, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips

In Season: arugula, Gwen avocados, beets, carrots, chard, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, rachicchio, dates, kale, leaf and head lettuce, mustard greens, peas, persimmons, pomegranates, radishes, spinach, sweet potates, tangerines, turnips

From Be Love Farm: arugula, butternut squash, red, gold and chioggia beets, broccoli, baby bok choy, caulifower, romanesco, napa cabbage, green cabbage, red cabbage, chard, lacinato kale, red russian kale, green curly kale, leeks, sweet potato, salad greens, baby turnips.

"all i really do in my free time… cafe gratitude is the loveliest place probably ever."


Thank you vegan-fit-life for visiting us! Get inspired by this post and check out their blog!

I had such a wonderful experience at Cafe Gratitude that I had to make a visit to the one in Venice. I loved the “I Am Magical” which was a black bean burger with fresh dill pickles, tomato, spicy mustard and chipotle ketchup all wrapped in a raw gluten free sundried tomato wrap. The best meal I’ve ever had!

I Am Relishing

Need a delicious appetizer for your holiday parties? Give the gift of health to your friends and family this holiday season!

“I Am Relishing” Buckwheat Pizza Crust/Flatbread/Crackers

Purchase Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Grateful” Recipe & Lifestyle Book for more mouth watering recipes!

Makes about 40 pieces

 Presoak for 8 hours or overnight, rinse, & drain:
•  2 cups untoasted whole-grain buckwheat (rinsed)
•  2 & 2/3rd’s cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, walnuts &/or cashews (any combination)

 Remaining Ingredients:
•  1 Tbsp minced garlic
•  1 & 1/2 cups Carrot Juice
•  2 cups veggie pulp (leftover from juicing)
•  2 tsp unrefined sea salt
•  2 Tbsp Italian herbs
•  1/4 flaxseeds, pre-ground
•  1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients together and pulse several times, pausing to scrape down the sides with a spatula occasionally, until you achieve a creamy consistency.

Prepare 5 dehydrator trays with both the grid and Teflex sheets.  Next, moisten hands with carrot juice or water.  Place one-fifth of the mixture on the top of the Teflex sheet. Moisten hands again and begin to spread the mixture out into a layer about 1/4 inch thick, making sure there are no holes and the mixture is evenly spread. This should fit onto five sheets.  With a butter knife, score each sheet into four squares. Then score again to make the squares into rectangles, or shape into any configuration you desire. I tend to use squares for crackers, triangles (a square cut on a diagonal) for chips, and uncut for a pizza or flatbread crust. You can also wait until they’re mostly dry and break up to form very uneven pieces.

Dehydrate at 145 degrees for no more than an hour. Then, lower the temperature to 115 degrees and continue dehydrating for several hours, or overnight. When the top is dry to the touch, you can flip them out onto the grid sheet and peel away the Teflex sheet so they will dry more quickly. Continue dehydrating until both sides are dry.

Eat or store for up to one week in an airtight container.

Be Brave and Stay Healthy

We love the change in seasons, but often it weakens our immune system. Stay energized and feel great through the holidays by keeping your body healthy and strong with Cafe Gratitude’s Brave Shot. 

What’s in this concoction you say? 

Oil of oregano - Oregano contains chemicals that help reduce cough and spasms. It also aids in digestion and fights against unwanted bacteria in your body. 

Ginger - Most frequently used to aid digestion, ginger is commonly used to treat various types of stomach problems such as motion sickness, morning sickness, upset stomach and nausea. Ginger is also used as an anti-inflammatory that relieves swelling and pain.

Cayenne pepper - Aids in circulatory problems and helps relieve congestion and stuffiness during cold season.

Lemon - This citrus wonder is a digestive aid and liver cleanser!

Turmeric - Known as the “granddaddy” of spices, turmeric supports healthy bones and promotes healthy blood and liver functions.

A vegan Thanksgiving at Venice’s Cafe Gratitude! Thank you LA Times for capturing the moment! A vegan Thanksgiving at Venice’s Cafe Gratitude! Thank you LA Times for capturing the moment! A vegan Thanksgiving at Venice’s Cafe Gratitude! Thank you LA Times for capturing the moment! A vegan Thanksgiving at Venice’s Cafe Gratitude! Thank you LA Times for capturing the moment!

Thanksgiving is a most fitting holiday at Venice’s Cafe Gratitude

On Thanksgiving, the folks at Cafe Gratitude feel that everybody else has finally caught on.

Plates are printed with the question that goes around many holiday tables: “What are you grateful for?”

And each day, there is a question of the day — a practice some find too precious for words and some take as a nudge to live mindfully. Thursday’s question was the obvious: “What are you grateful for?”

"We’re supposed to be grateful 365 days a year," said Ryland Engelhart, one of the owners of the chain of Cafe Gratitude restaurants and the company’s chief inspiration officer. "Thanks and giving. Why are those two words together? This is our quintessential holiday. This is our day."

The Cafe Gratitude just a few blocks from the beach in Venice opened its doors Thursday for a free meal, available to anyone rich or poor who walked in — after waiting in a line that stretched down Rose Avenue. It’s a vegan restaurant, and the executive chef, Dreux Ellis, prepared an animal-free twist on the classic meal, enough to feed 1,000 people. In the past, 400 to 600 people have shown up.

Dee Cass stood in line with her cats, Princess Cinderella and Prince Charming, in a pink buggy. She said she normally sleeps near the Marina del Rey fire station and walked to the cafe because a friend told her “they would have the to-die-for vegan meal.”

When she got to the front of the line, where volunteers held out donation cans, she dug into her coat pocket. “I can only give you a quarter, but I’m happy to give the quarter,” she told them. And later, her plate empty, she raved about the food.

"It is really nice to have somewhere to go that’s not full of dead animals," said Justin Sandler, who sat at a table with his wife, Mary Lou, and their friend, Vincent Garma. The Sandlers were celebrating their new "Beard Book," which will raise money for breast and testicular cancer research.

Cafe Gratitude employees supervised the 70 or so volunteers — customers, neighbors and friends who put on name tags with the slogan “I am service.”

Laura Taylor came from Laguna Beach to help out. “There’s a spirit of acceptance and love of everyone no matter where you are in your life,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you are wealthy or poor.”

Engelhart said it’s a challenge most days to combine love and gratitude with running a business, even one where the dishes have affirmations such as “I Am Grateful” and “I Am Whole.”

"Today we get to take commerce out of the equation," he said.

Before the doors opened at 11, the staff and volunteers formed a big circle, holding hands to hear about how the day would proceed and then to speak in English or Spanish about what made them grateful. Answers included family and friends, health, trees, the present moment, being of service.

The menu: a loaf made from red lentils, brown rice, kale, butternut squash and other vegetables; a raw stuffing with pecans, apples, nuts, celery and fennel; mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and mushroom gravy; roasted mixed vegetables; green salad with persimmons and pomegranate; pumpkin pie; and a fruit juice spritzer.

This was the second free Thanksgiving at the Venice location, but the company has offered the meals for a decade at some of its other spots; there are restaurants in L.A.’s Larchmont area as well as Northern California and Kansas City, Mo.

Some of Cafe Gratitude’s vendors donated supplies for Thanksgiving and the cafe paid for the rest, Engelhart said. The donations were for two employees, a bartender who has been out of work with knee injuries for six weeks and a woman who has had to leave work to take care of family.

The bartender, Jay Viola, came on Thanksgiving. He’s also a mixed martial arts fighter and a former heroin addict who has been using crutches or a cane for weeks and hopes to have surgery.

He’s thrilled at the financial help but not terribly surprised. “After being here a year, it wasn’t that big of a shock,” Viola said. “But I have a hard time accepting help. It’s one of the things I’m learning here.”


Café Gratitude: Serving Food and a Whole Lot More


By Matthew and Terces Engelhart

What Are You Grateful For? How one question has helped transform lives and build an empire.

There seems to be no end to theories and information about what it takes to build a successful business. CEOs and aspiring business professionals pour over the pages of Fast Company and Forbes and Inc. on a regular basis searching for information on how to survive and thrive in our somewhat difficult economic situation. As a result, businesses everywhere are become more creative, more employee focused, more conscious and more sustainable. However, as conversations about company success continue to evolve, Café Gratitude is thriving on a very unique, but powerful value system – that system is based on gratitude.

Positioning ourselves as an anomaly in our fast-paced profit driven world, we had no intention of taking the raw/vegan food world by storm when we opened the Café Gratitude’s doors 10 years ago. Instead, our goal was to create an environment where employees could come to work and use their shift as an opportunity to wake up and become present to the abundance of life, all while experiencing the transformational power of gratitude.

From the uniforms, to plates, to artwork on the walls and even the pre-shift clearing process it is evident that expressing gratitude creates the context for the unique experience that one finds in the cafes. The clearing process happens before people start work and it involves two questions, the first is a shadow question that is designed to pinpoint any distracting thoughts or feelings. The second is a question that allows the person being cleared to become more present – more awake. Often times this question will be, “What are you grateful for?” This powerful question has been the start of a transformational journey for countless employees and customers over the years.

We also believe this question has played an instrumental part in our ability to successfully lead and manage staff. The environment and level of appreciation the practice of gratitude creates allows us to really focus on the needs of our employees. As a result, we do not treat our company culture as an afterthought, instead most of our business decisions are made in light of what will benefit and enhance company culture most. This has created a business model that not only turns profit, but changes lives.

We formed Eternal Presence, LLC as the educational branch of Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre Restaurants. Through this venture we are not only able to define and develop the conscious culture that has resulted in the amazing work environment in the restaurants, but are able to share our unique and forward thinking approach to life with the world. Eternal Presence workshops are held multiple times a year and focus on a variety of topics including: Sacred Commerce (Business as a Path to Awakening), Community Building, tools for enacting a culture of sharing, Kindred Spirits, the Abounding River Workshop and Coaching with the Masters. For more information or to sign up for a workshop please visitwww.Eternal-Presence.com.

Matthew and Terces Engelhart have a unique approach to life and business. While many would say they are “busy,” the Engelharts’, prefer to refer to their lives as “full.” This spirit of gratitude and appreciation for the abundance of life has afforded this dynamic couple many opportunities.

Matthew Engelhart and Terces are the co-owners of Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre.They have co-authored 3 books together. When they are not on the road speaking or teaching, he and Terces live on “Be Love” Organic Farm where they grow food for their 6 restaurants. They have 5 children and grandchildren.

Kiss the Ground

Cafe Gratitude has been a major sponsor of Kiss the Ground’s effort to spread awareness of the soil carbon
story by building urban gardens and sharing how growing healthy soil grows healthy food  and can reverse
global warming.
Kiss the Ground is a group of dynamic and talented individuals, many of whom are from the Venice
community and involved deeply in the Cafe Gratitude community, it’s philosophies and it’s mission.
Founded by Gratitude’s own Ryland Engleheart, Kiss the Ground has worked closely with the Australian
Scientist and Social Entrepreneur Graeme Sait and his discovery of a possible means to reverse global
warming/climate change while also simultaneously creating a new, very sustainable and uniquely high
crop yielding agriculture practice, through a means of inoculating the soil with once plentiful micro
organisms that both ’feed’ the plants and sequester carbon at the same time.
KTG has been closely involved with many local community groups and has just ’broken ground’ at the
Beyond Baroque site with the help of Urban guru Mark Lakeman, (though they would tell you that they
are more in the business of ’repairing the ground’ than breaking it).
The group’s goals are to create a sustainable ’Hyper Local’ food movement that inspires local youth to
become more involved with education and learning where their own food comes from. They also work
closely with local and state wide governments to help co-sponsor new legislation to that effect, but the
largest goal of Kiss the Ground is to get this vital and important message of what they have coined ’The
Soil-Carbon Story’ out to as many people as possible.
Look for more information and activities coming from this group as they are highly dedicated to these
goals and they just getting started!
Members of Kiss the Ground at ground breaking for new Venice Victory