Beethoven’s birthday

Yes it’s today. Or actually, December 17 is the date of his baptism. In homage to this famously cranky individual, I thought I’d print a little rant on Cafe Gratitude, a Northern California restaurant chain.

Cafe Gratitude’s statement about itself says it’s “a collection of 100% organic vegan restaurants specializing in gourmet raw and cooked cuisines. Our cafes create gourmet dishes with organic produce from our very own farm in Vacaville, CA (Be Love Farm). We honor the earth as we honor ourselves and have created a menu that promotes consciousness and sustainability for both our well being and health as well as the planet and all of its inhabitants.” Apparently this doesn’t include the well-being of employees who are suing them. The cafes are allegedly closing because of labor violation lawsuits that are “too expensive to fight.”

Until yesterday, I’d never been in a Cafe Gratitude, but there happened to be one in the Oakland Whole Foods, and I ordered a cup of green tea. It turns out that they don’t have green tea, they have “I Am Glorious.”  I could have had “I Am Eternally Blessed,” an espresso milkshake, or “I Am Enlivened,” the world’s only fresh algae from Klamath Lake, Oregon. You get the idea.  

It’s hard to envision a more unctuous menu. And Beethoven and I are so happy to be able to use that word in a sentence–a rare treat. I’m even going to provide the definition, as it fits this establishment perfectly:

That about sums up what I think of a $4.50 cup of pretty ordinary green tea masquerading as glorious. Couldn’t even get a refill on the hot water–they sent me over to Peet’s.

While I was standing in line, waiting to become glorious, the man next to me started talking about the fact that the cafes will be closing.

“It’s affected me more than the death of my parents,” he remarked earnestly.

I had no idea what to reply, so nodded vaguely and edged slightly away from him. But when I was telling Larry about this odd encounter, he came up with the perfect answer:

“Me, too.” Pause. “But then, I didn’t know your parents.”

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