Shouldn’t restaurants cook their food?

a few weeks ago, sage was visiting here from the east coast and invited a bunch of us to have dinner. the place she wanted to go was called Cafe Gratitude. i knew nothing about the restaurant, but am always down to try a new place. when i arrived, during the million hour wait for a table, i scanned the menu and noticed that there wasn’t any meat being served. oh, one of those vegetarian places. the thing is, i actually have nothing against vegetarian restaurants. some of them are incredibly good, and also i totally respect what they are trying to do. i’m not a vegetarian myself, but i totally think that vegetaraians are doing the right thing.

after reading the menu some more, we noticed that the place wasn’t only a vegetarian restaurant, but it was vegan. all the cheese was made out of nuts, the milkshakes were made out of “nut milk”, and there weren’t any eggs on the menu. doh! but, despite all of this, unlike some people, i still had hopes that the food would end up being pretty good. do you really *need* meat and dairy for food to be good? after we were finally seated, and the waitress told us that almost half of the items on the menu were unavailable, we scanned through the meager choices left over, and picked some food.

it was only at this point that i realized the worst part about the food here: it was all uncooked. yes… RAW. for some bizarre reason, there are people out there who have the impression that cooking food is a bad thing and that all food should be served room temperature. ok, maybe there might actually be some scientific evidence to back this up… i dont know… and i really dont care, cause raw uncooked room temperature vegan food tastes like crap. how appealing does tepid soup sound? how about uncooked pizza? well, let me tell ya, it tastes even worse than it sounds.

pretty much everything that i ate tasted horrible. everything was gritty, tasteless, and bland as hell. i think due to the lack of flavor, they tried to make up for it by adding as much texture as they could… everything was crunchy and crumbly, so you felt like you were chewing a rock slowly till it disintegrated into sand. basically, i felt like i was a little kid again, and for some bizarre reason had decided to eat everything i could find on the playground: there was gravel, there was tanbark, and there was grass. there were a couple good things (guacamole and an olive spread), but for the most part, the food was pretty lacking in… well, just about everything. on top of everything, they served us a bottle of wine that had gone sour, and then got all angry when we sent it back.

the funny thing is that they told us that it takes an insane amount of work to make their food. apparently, the kitchen is open 24 hours a day so they can prepare the food. there are constantly people in the back milking nuts and making falafel balls out of sawdust and kitty litter. maybe if they bought an oven, they wouldnt have to spend so long getting the food ready and perhaps it might even end up tasting decent!


14 thoughts on “Shouldn’t restaurants cook their food?”

  1. Glad to see your journal back….I’ve been missing it. Sounds like the restaurant was a BAD choice. Many of the places you ate at in the rest of the world must have really topped it.

  2. there are constantly people in the back milking nuts and making falafel balls out of sawdust and kitty litter..

    BEST.LINE.EVER! I almost snarfed my coffee reading this! LOL

  3. Dood… that place sounds horrible…

    In a Nutrition class I took at SJSU, the professor said that the chances of eating only raw foods and eating healthy were very slim.

    Give me deep fried anything any day over that place…

  4. Stories like this make me even more suspicious of the west coast than I already am. You guys are weird out there! At least our hoity-toity vegan restaurants cook!

  5. i’m glad i tried it since i like to try pretty much everything, but yeah, the food was pretty awful.

  6. yeah, they are milking nuts in the kitchen.. how gross is that?!


  7. yeah, it always seems that the more extreme people’s diets are, the less healthy they look. you definitely *can* be a vegetarian and be healthy, but sadly enough a lot of people really aren’t. they dont bother to try to eat a balanced diet, and by cutting out meat/milk/eggs etc they are really screwing themselves.

  8. heh, actually we have a bunch of vegan restaurants here where they *do* cook the food and it’s super good! but this place… ugh!

  9. Yeah, I have heard of that place–sorry you didn’t realize what you were getting into. Kinda like expecting bomb ass tulip madness and getting a couple dead tulips in a pot. 😉 Sometimes things just suck, just gotta live and learn.

  10. there are constantly people in the back milking nuts and making falafel balls out of sawdust and kitty litter.


    Yeah, there have been blips of interest in that type of food over the years… I personally am all for cooked vegetarian food. As you said, it doesn’t need meat or dairy to be good, but what’s wrong with a little heat sometimes? As long as you don’t overcook stuff. My favorite restaurant back home is a vegan Chinese place… all of the meat is made out of soy protein/veggies/mushrooms/brown rice/etc… but you really don’t miss it. All of my meat-loving friends dig the place too.

  11. does your restaurant form the meat to make it look more meat-like? i remember being at a vegetarian chinese place and they had vegetarian squid that actually had fake little molded suction cups on the “tentacles”!

  12. My Professor was actually a vegetarian. She believed that you could be healthy and be vegetarian – and vegan – but she believed that if you just eat raw foods, you would be hard pressed to be eating healthy…

  13. Yeah, the meat is kind of shaped like it would be if it were the real thing. I don’t think they have squid there, but their shrimp looks pretty realistic. Man, what I would do for some of their fake general tso’s chicken right now.

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