I’m back in Canada for the summer and needless to say one of the first things I did (besides hitting up the grocery and health food stores to scope out options) was type my three golden words into google: vegan gluten free! Things have changed even in the two years I’ve been gone. Gluten free options are literally everywhere and at times it seems there are more gluten free goods than conventional ones. It may just be that I’m overwhelmed by the amount of it, but the fact that I feel that way at all leads me to believe that it’s not just me and there is a lot out there.
Right now I’m in Kelowna, B.C. which is a small city not far from my hometown. It’s known for beautiful lake country, wineries, orchards, and a ton of outdoor activities all at your fingertips. On my first search while here I stumbled upon Gratitude Cafe; a %100 vegan AND gluten free restaurant! This kind of thing is rare for even B.C. and it’s the only one of it’s kind in Kelowna. It’s a cute little cafe with an open kitchen concept that really does make you feel at home. The owner is not afraid to offer her recommendations either which I always appreciate. She runs the cafe single-handedly and is clearly a wizard in the kitchen.
First up, Chai Tea Latte with house made cashew milk. Cashew milk seems to be the latest craze here and is definitely not something that was overly popular when I left Canada. I’m trying to get it in all it’s forms while I can (they’re even making cashew ice cream now and it is seriously amazing.)
Unfortunately the latte was pretty underwhelming. It wasn’t as creamy as I imagine it could have been with a cashew milk base and surprisingly it lacked a lot of flavour. It fell flat for me as it wasn’t nearly as spicy as I like my chai.
As for food, Gratitude has their menu split between raw and cooked options. I had to get something from both (obviously) so we ordered the raw Cheezy Kale Tacos and split the Pizza on the owner’s recommendation and WOWZA am I ever glad we did.
The tacos may not look like much but there’s more hidden goodies stuffed inside like hefty chunks of avocado and purple cabbage. They’re a bit awkward to eat but the kale leaves here are massive and you can make do by awkward squishing it all inside and semi-rolling it into a taco. Fresh, creamy, tangy. I’ve missed the fresh crunch of kale so much and these really hit the spot. I swear I could feel my cells singing after I finished off the plate!
Gratitude has a list of pizza topping options but the owner recommended the works. Aside from onions as I’m not a fan if they’re undercooked, ours included: tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, spinach, pineapple, fresh basil, broccoli, pecans, purple cabbage, red pepper (and probably more that I can’t recall) all served up on a thin gluten free base spread with savoury homemade cheese and a tangy tomato sauce.
It may not be the prettiest thing in the world but there’s beauty in the chaos of it and in the explosion of colours. It all came together wonderfully and was the best pizza I have ever had and no I’m not exaggerating. I’ll be dreaming about this one for a long time to come.
Being able to walk into a restaurant and order anything from the menu is something that can be taken advantage of. When it happens to me (which has been very, very few times in my life) I almost get deer in headlights and forget about how happy I am in lieu of just feeling completely overwhelmed. Whether you’re vegan, gluten free, or both, Gratitude has multiple delicious options and is most definitely an experience worth travelling for.