In a space that blends a muted industrialism with a natural palate befitting a beachside community, diners of Café Gratitude’s Venice outpost are invited to share in a different kind of eating experience. From the communal tables to the naming of each dish (“Nourished” for French toast, “Connected” for chips and dip), the airy café is all about creating mindfulness, inspiring a more holistic way of eating. Connecting mind, body, soul, and the environment, Café Gratitude offers the kind of all-veg, all-organic fare that get people to move west.
Originally inspired by a board game, The Abounding River, the first Café Gratitude opened in the Bay Area in 2004, started by husband-and-wife team Matthew and Terces Engelhart. Since then, the Café Gratitude empire has become something of a family affair, with step-brothers Ryland Engelhart and Cary Mosier holding court down south. The food (and the message) has spread, creating something of a culinary consciousness that speaks to those who expect more out of their food… and of themselves.
In the last few years, Mosier has expanded his reach beyond Cafe Gratitude, opening West Hollywood’s most delicious, totally vegan Mexican joint, Gracias Madre. The theme, no matter what Mosier establishment you find yourself in, is certainly thankfulness… something you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by at Gracias Madre when you realize the outstandingly delicious, utterly sinful quesadilla you just devoured wasn’t even made with real cheese. Gracias, indeed.
Below, Mosier goes to task on our Interrogator questionnaire, talking pop culture pet peeves, homemade meals, and being a new father.
Place of residence:
Venice Beach, CA
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Quote to live by:
“We can complain that rosebushes have thorns or rejoice that thorn bushes have roses.”
Abraham Lincoln said that.
First job you ever had:
Least favorite part of your day:
3:30 p.m. This part of the day is always a bummer for some reason. I vote for America to start taking siestas!
Windows down, the song you’re playing is:
“Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum
Three guilty pleasures:
Movies where the main character is really smart or really rich.
Sugar and gluten
Memes involving cats
If you had to watch one movie on repeat for eternity, what would it be?
Groundhog Day (This answer is sooo META.)
You have a million dollars to spend on art, you buy…
Plane, train or automobile for a road trip?
Plane. I am the kind of person to looks forward to the destination more then the journey.
What IS your favorite road trip?
The destination doesn’t matter too much to me. Any road trip where I have a car full of friends and family sounds amazing to me.
Personal travel ethos:
Pack light and tell everyone you’re from Canada.
Drink of choice:
An Old Fashioned from my restaurant Gracias Madre.
Beach house or tree house:
Beach House. It’s the only way I’ll get the tan I want.
Where was the best meal you ever had and what was it?
Anything my brother Ryland cooks. He lives a block away from me and invites me over from time to time. He never has a plan about what he is going to cook. He always makes it up on the fly. I admire that ability. It’s always delicious. I always prefer a home-cooked meal over eating out.
What is the best news you ever received?
I just had a baby boy. When I realized he and mom were healthy, I was pretty happy.
Who or what is largely overrated. Explain.
Over-sexualized pop stars. I don’t get it. Are people actually buying into this shit? The marketing is so obvious. The shock factor is so over-played and repeated over and over again. I get worried when, as a culture, we idolize stupidity and unconsciousness. We need to stop making stupid people famous.
Briefly describe the best concert you have ever gone to.
Nine Inch Nails at the Hollywood Bowl. I had heard they were a great band live, and I have always thought Trent Reznor seemed like a mad genius. I was blown away. It was so unique and every detail was thought out. I felt like I was in an alternate universe. The very next day the guitarist was eating at my restaurant! I was pretty pumped about that.
Where do you go for inspiration, peace of mind?
These days, I love hanging out with my new son, Valentine. It is pretty crazy being a new father. You can stare at your child for hours and be totally content. It forces me into the present moment.
Photo by Tyler William Parker