Gracias Madre, thanks for the inspiration

My grandmother was of Mexican descent. She grew up in New Mexico and taught my mom a lot of what she knew about cooking. We ate tacos once a week, and burritos—always with homemade tortillas, enchiladas, sopapillas, and tamales regularly. When I became vegan I just replaced ground beef with a meat alternative like Morningstar Farms Crumbles. It gets the job done.

A couple of years ago, a new Mexican restaurant opened up that rocked my world. Gracias Madre, in the Mission District of San Francisco, serves all vegan organic Mexican food. The restaurant even grows much of its own produce and therefore the menu is seasonal. And they use all whole foods. For their must-have appetizer, the Papas al Horno, or roasted potatoes covered in cheese, they use their own spicy cashew cheese.  All the cheeses, ice creams, and milks are made on-site using nuts. The fillings for their tacos change with the seasons, so now may be fall squash, mixed greens, and cactus.

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by Gracias Madre: tacos with kale, sautéed mushrooms, and kabocha squash with pinto beans on the side. I didn’t have time to make my own tortillas, but the fillings made the meal. If you’re ever in San Francisco, make sure Gracias Madre is on your list of restaurants to visit.