Gracias Madre La Quinceañera Margarita

Cocktail Los Angeles

If you eat meat, or favor Mexican street food, Gracias Madre could be a hard sell. Cary Mosier and Ryland Engelhart, the brothers behind L.A. branches of Cafe Gratitude, also brought this flashy Mexican concept from the Bay Area. The restaurant features a sprawling brick patio strung with lights, a dining room with wood floors, a vaulted ceiling, and some of the most fashionable tiles ever to grace a restaurant (or Instagram). Fashionistas and celebrities instantly flocked to the Melrose restaurant to see and be seen. Chef Chandra Gilbert’s food, which is dense and focuses on plant-based meat and cheese substitutes, isn’t my speed, but it’s still worth visiting to encounter a parade of some of L.A.’s most beautiful people.

While you’re lounging, enjoy a drink from Beverage Director Jason Eisner. The long-time cocktail crafter makes three different House Margaritas, including a somewhat straight-forward Purista, a variation called Oh My Gatos, and my suggestion, La Quinceañera ($14). This colorful red and yellow drink honors a Latina’s right of passage into adulthood at age 15. The margarita combines tequila blanco with muddled kiwi, lemon, agave nectar, lime bitters, bitters, and mint leaf garnish. The drink also incorporates Mexico’s raspado tradition, which features a dessert of flavored syrup over crushed ice. Eisner even serves La Quinceañera with a long red and white striped straw that could double as a barber’s pole. This drink was on the sweet side, but pretty tasty, and a fun way to pass the time on the patio with family and friends.

My only question is why Gracias Madre offers gives the opportunity to “make it with the good stuff” for an extra $4, which is worrisome, considering the drink already costs $14, and should probably already have “good stuff” in the glass. Still, most people will forgive things like that once they spot a celebrity or gaggle of models, which is pretty likely.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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