What is the typical L.A restaurant? Clean, minimal, chic, modern. It most likely serves gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly versions of meals or is simply vegan. Relatively economical, tasty, and, of course, vegan is Gracias Madre.
Populated by the beloved Beyonce citing the restaurant as one of her “go-to”‘s, reserving a patio seating for four is apparently required weeks in advance. Nevertheless, we were lucky enough to get seated on a busy Friday in the communal seating side of the room. If fitness and health enthusiasts Beyonce and other stars claim this restaurant to be a favorite, I think it’s safe to assume that the food is good. So, take their word, and I will talk about something else.
We sat in the communal side, meaning the part of the restaurant that offers big, long tables where people sit if they can find a seat. We sat sandwiched between an old man and two college students. The guy was well in his 70’s but was lively and even fired, sometimes questionable, jokes at the waiters. Eventually, he started talking to us, in which we found out that:
- He was married to a Vietnam woman.
- She passed away two years ago from lung cancer despite never smoking.
- She designed costumes for movies such as The Mask, Super 8, and The Nutty Professor.
It was obvious the man missed his wife and was happy to have an audience listening to his stories, even pulling out accompanying pictures to go along with his stories. We stayed at Gracias for a little over 2 hours and instead of the four-person dinner we planned on having, it ended up being a five-person experience.
I wish all restaurants had communal eating. I know that the whole point of going to restaurants is to enjoy good food around the company of loved ones, but what about those who lost their loved ones? Eating alone is not something I am denouncing, but it’s nice to eat with people too. Seeing the man finish his meal and quietly slip away while the rest of the restaurant lingers on well after they have tucked in their foods is an image we see often but never ponder on.
I question what will happen to me when I’m older.