What a wonderful story. I laughed and laughed and laughed.
And then, once I had sufficiently recovered, I laughed some more.
Apparently, the owners of a chain of vegan cafes in California – a chain which features irritatingly named “affirmation” dishes such the “accepting” sushi bowl and the “grateful” kale salad – wait for it… aren’t vegan.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it seems that the husband and wife team behind Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre haven’t been completely open about this lifestyle choice, and perhaps even less surprisingly, their patrons aren’t hugely happy now that they’ve found out about it:
“They are duping vegans to support their animal killings,” screams one post on the Facebook boycott page. “Fxxxing HYPOCRITES!!!! Hope they will be FLAME BURNED and eaten by Meat Eaters,” says another.
Sorry, Vegans. That’s not what we do. In my several (or more) years of eating meat, I have yet to eat human flesh. Especially hypocritical human flesh. Most other stuff: sure. I’ve tried sanctimonious lamb chops before and only last week I had a delicious overly sincere fillet steak, just to mix things up a bit.
The Engelharts spawned an entire industry with a carefully marketed message of peace, love and sharing, which includes a sister vegan Mexican restaurant, Gracias Madre, in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The couple have written several books, including Sacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening and Kindred Spirit: Fulfilling Love’s Promise. Their personal website is named Eternal Presence and references the board game they created in 2004, called The Abounding River Board Game, which was on every table in their San Francisco flagship; and which they said would train players to embrace “an unfamiliar view of Being Abundant” and develop a “spiritual foundation” for looking at money.
To be completely honest, it’s actually unclear (to me, at least) whether the couple had actively claimed to be vegan, or whether the hoards of puny leaf-nibblers visiting their restaurants along the west coast had just taken it as read. If it’s the latter, they were wrong.
Personally, while I’m sure that many diners will be choosing not to go to any of their outlets after learning this news, it wouldn’t put me off. Sure, the lack of any decent protein on the plate might be a bit of a downer, but you don’t sell 28,000 dishes a day if you can’t do something fairly special with a lentil. Or something.