We’ve made it through the Thanksgiving holiday! Of course, most of us might be a little heavier, but it’s all over … until Christmas anyway. I usually try to eat healthier between these monster caloric ingestion holidays, and that includes visiting restaurants that offer lighter fare but don’t make me feel like I’m grazing grass and will be hungry later. Vegan cuisine can be hit or miss in Los Angeles, especially because sometimes vegan and/or organic is attached to the connotation of being über expensive and terribly overpriced. A new chain of restaurants, Café Gratitude, is on the way to bucking that idea, offering wholesome feel-good food that won’t break your wallet.

This spot, originally started in the Bay Area, is fully dedicated to providing guests with a positive, upbeat experience every time you visit. The best way to describe Café Gratitude might sound like I’m describing a fairy tale, but it’s literally like stepping into Happy Town, USA. You walk in and through the flower lined patio is a board that asks you a poignant question of the day, my visit being “What are you grateful for?” I thought to myself, “Hopefully for this meal I’m about to consume.”

The menu options continue the positive affirmations with titles like I Am Whole, I Am Awesome and I Am Magnificent. I like that Café Gratitude offers raw and cooked options for those of you who need a little extra warmth, via a hot plate.

And just when you thought you wouldn’t have anything to drink in the alcohol realm, Café Gratitude steps up your visit with their organic options of beer and wine. From chocolate stout and blond ales to Prosecco and a crisp Pinot Noir, you can pair many of these with your food selections, just ask your eager-to-help server what’s best.

Speaking of the service, this is a full interaction style restaurant, where even the bussers who clean your table asking you how your experience is. Everyone takes pride in his or her ability to provide you with the utmost service; it’s about making you feel better about yourself – setting you up for success.

My starter, I Am Local, featured fresh farm-to-table baby arugula, sweet roasted beets and walnuts all tossed with a surprisingly tart fig balsamic dressing. I’m typically not a fan of cashews blended into cheeses, but this feta version spread on crostini was pretty good, and the soft saltiness contrasted well with the peppery arugula. Next was I Am Whole, a nice portion of homemade kimchee, kale, carrots and vegetables with a drizzle of tahini-garlic sauce over your choice of brown rice or quinoa. I opted to add avocado to enhance the creamy factor. The kimchee is the star of this macrobiotic bowl of flavor, and the perfectly cooked quinoa melded with my added avocado.

I Am Extraordinary, their toasted version of a BLT with crisp romaine, tomato and coconut glazed in chipotle, is my go-to dish. Something about that meld of smokiness with avocado makes me feel like I could not eat meat ever again and be totally fine. I know meat is really not a necessity of a balanced diet, but I love it and there are not too many foods I would give up for it. This dish is truly a star.

I Am Warm-Hearted is also a game changer, as I am a huge fan of polenta, and this one features it grilled with fresh tangy puttanesca and Brazil nuts ground up to make a wonderful parmesan. It’s so good.

The desserts are not to be missed – that’s a mighty big opinion from one who doesn’t like desserts. But come on, not only are they delicious, they’re guilt free! No dairy or flour to mess up the digestive system, just imaginative pairings of fruits and nuts to produce chocolate mousses, ice cream and truffles. Try I Am Bliss, the chocolate hazelnut mousse or the appropriately titled I Am Magnificent made from raw cacao beans.

At the end of the meal when our server asked the question of the day, “What are your grateful for?,” I was able to honestly answer that my eating experience was above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Here’s to eating healthy and feeling great about it, inside and out.

Café Gratitude is located at 639 Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 580-63683 or visit cafegratitudela.com.