Small Moments: Cafe Gratitude

Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.

Jennie here.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to have a long lunch with a handful of my co-workers on a slow Friday at work. As my company is based in the Venice Beach area, I had anticipated ending up at some healthy, vegan-friendly, and slightly overpriced restaurant. And oh was I in for a treat. We ended up at the famous Café Gratitude known for their 100% organic and healthy vegan and raw gourmet food.

And what should one expect at Café Gratitude?

  1. To be warmly welcomed by a handsome host - with an effortless man bun and exotic accent.

  2. To see the words "I adore myself and everyone else." inscribed across the mirror of the women’s bathroom.

  3. To order in positive affirmations and receive affirmations in return.

What do I mean by ordering in positive affirmations?

Every single menu item is named after a positive affirmation (e.g. “I am Dazzling” is a caesar salad, “I am Community” is a quinoa bean bowl, etc). And part of the experience is to order as stated and when your food arrives, the same affirmation is repeated back at you.

We sat outside on the beautiful open patio and here’s how our table ordered:

Co-worker #1: “I am Reborn.”

Co-worker #2: “I am Pure.”

Me: “I’ll just have the caesar salad.”

Waitress: “Okay, you are Dazzling.”

I squirmed in discomfort. 

A few moments later when our orders came, our waitress returned the affirmation to each of us.

Waitress: “You are Reborn. You are Pure. And you are Dazzling. Would you like the question of the day?”

My co-workers nodded.

“What brings you clarity?”

She smiled mysteriously and sauntered off.

As my co-workers thought about their answers to this reflective question, I watched a homeless man out on the street as he walked past the patio. I know you may be thinking that I’m making this up, but this actually happened. It was absurd.

Café Gratitude is an “expression of a world of plenty” and invites patrons to “enjoy being someone that chooses: loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for.

But if you ask me, it’s less about health and veganism and more about clever capitalism. You’re literally paying someone else to give you permission to love yourself.

To sum up my experience at Cafe Gratitude: I am Unconvinced.