a couple of different people mentioned the restaurant to me before we headed out west, and i actually forgot about it a couple of different times(!) but thankfully somewhere it stuck. we learned how to use BART as soon as we got off the plane, which was a total blessing because we definitely saved money not taking cabs all the time. anyhow, gracias madre would have been a long walk, but it was an easy BART ride, and over dinner at millennium on sunday night, we made plans to meet our friend for lunch at gracias madre the next day. we awesomely arrived before they opened, and sat around outside the fancy iron gate that borders their outdoor seating area. when our server came to open the door, i blurted out, "we're excited!" and lucky for me, i think she was charmed rather than frightened. heh.
as soon as we got our menus we knew we were in for a special kind of lunch. absolutely everything looked amazing, and we had a tough time narrowing down our selections. eventually we settled on splitting an appetizer (the quesadillas de calabaza, which our server said was a super-favorite), and then i ordered the tamal del dia (again with the tamales, i don't know what my deal was on that trip), e ordered the caesar salad and the tacos (he picked three different ones), and a ordered some exciting 'wet' version of the tamal del dia, which involved a sauce and some other business. i fully intended to order the soup of the day (a roasted cauliflower something that sounded amazing), but to my dismay, i forgot. anyhow, when the quesadillas arrived, they were a little surprising (because they don't look like regular quesadillas) but they were FANTASTIC. good night nurse. the perfect blend of spicy and creamy. we made yummy noises the entire time we ate them. our entrees were similarly fabulous--mine came with creamy refried black beans, which were great. aaaaand, we forgot to take pictures. curses!
we also decided to go for it, and order dessert. i have such a hard time not ordering dessert when vegan dessert is available, and we were on vacation, so... i ordered the pumpkin cake, which came with dulce de leche ice cream and vanilla sauce. it was to die for. a ordered the mexican wedding cookies (which also came with the ice cream) and e ordered the coconut key lime cheesecake. we left stuffed, and very very happy.
by dinnertime that night, i was already plotting our return for the next day.
on our second trip, i planned poorly and had a bit of a full tummy when we arrived (wah), although my husband did not have the same problem. anyhow, i was excited to have a second chance at the roasted cauliflower soup, and it was well worth the wait. deeeelicious. i also had to have my very own caesar salad, which was dressed a tiny bit heavily if i'm being honest, but i powered through anyway because there is nothing not to like on that sucker. remember how i said i wasn't very hungry when i got there? well i also ordered the quesadillas again anyway. AND forgot to take a picture of them again. sigh. during the attempt to shove those down my gullet, i finally had to get real and surrender. i was able to eat half of one, and i gave the other one-and-a-half to my husband. at least they didn't go to waste. for his part, he had ordered the fig salad, and another plate of tacos. yum!
after we tucked all of that away, he still had room for dessert (i, on the other hand, thought i was about to die from stomach explosion), and so he ordered the flan. i tried a tiny bite and it was really good--and he loved it, too. so, back to back awesome meals at gracias madre. it's a good thing we don't live there or we'd be broke in a month.
i seriously can't recommend this restaurant highly enough. i think it might be my favorite place to eat in all of eatingville.