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V is for Vegan Desserts

Cafe Gratitude offers delightful and light without using sugar, butter or eggs.

If this were the 1970s I wouldn’t be raving about vegan desserts. In those early days of ‘hippy cuisine,’ eggless, dairyless desserts were all about clunky/chunky/funky lumps of granola-topped fruit, or cakes as dense as sofa cushions.

What a glorious revolution has taken place over the decades in terms of style, ingredients available and sheer creativity on the part of alternative cuisine chefs. Vegan desserts can be some of the silkiest, most voluptuous, flavorful and satisfying out there. Certainly they are a marvel at on the Miracle Mile, just where the San Rafael border beckons to San Anselmo.

Made without sugar, butter or eggs, Café Gratitude’s pastries are toothsome testimony to how date paste, coconut, ground sprouted nuts and nut milks of all kinds, fruits, cocoa powder, Yacon, maple and agave syrups combine in such sweets such as chocolate hazelnut and key lime pies, tiramisu, mocha cheesecake and carrot cake, to name a few. (Most are around $8 a slice.)

For example, the chocolate hazelnut pie is elegant enough to sweep the mouth like two-tone silk, all brown and white and creamy. The flavors punch home with the delights of hazelnut, subtle cocoa in the custard, with a rich, nut crumb crust. Key lime pie is gloriously tangy as well as exquisitely velvety in texture, with nuances of avocado smoothing the lime custard and a coconut kick to its crust.

The desserts are available by the slice, to eat in or to go; you call also buy entire cakes and pies for home entertaining; call in advance to order.

Café Gratitude is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s at 2200 Fourth St., 824-4652 www.cafegratitude.com. Free parking on site.

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