Posted by Lauren

On Saturday, after the Walnut Creek Half Marathon + cleaning out my car, I got ready for a hot date in the city. Kyle and I drove to San Francisco and headed straight towards…

l Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

(click for source)

Gracias Madre

2211 Mission Street, San Francisco, 94110

Gracias Madre is a vegan restaurant in the colorful Mission neighborhood. They focus on organic ingredients, seasonal dishes, and extremely fresh produce (from their Be Love Farm in Pleasants Valley). All tortillas are handmade from non-GMO varieties of heirloom corn, pressed fresh for all to see.

2011 12 12 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

Just past the patio area, you enter a dimly lit restaurant, with large wood tables. The long bar leads you back towards the hostess’ stand and open kitchen. The 30-minute wait gave us ample time to scope out the prep table + review the menu… deciding what to order is always a challenge for me, so it was nice to sneak a peak at all the dishes.

While we waited, we each enjoyed a salty-rimmed house margarita ($7) – fresh lime, agave, and soju. Other drink options include wine, horchata, mexican hot chocolate, sangria, and of course cervezas.

img 5350 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

Within no time we were directed to our seats. At the other end of our communal table, three friends finalized their bill and ordered a decadent piece of chocolate cake (it comes with cacao-cinnamon sauce and toasted coconut ice cream – sounds/looked amazing!)

We decided to split two entradas, even though the gorditas + quesadilla antojitos sounded great too!!

Tacos ($12) - Three corn tortillas topped with your choice of seasonal vegetables and cashew cheese, served with beans

img 5378 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

Our 3 Picks:

  • Honjos – sauteed mushrooms with garlic **MY FAVORITE… mmm garlic!
  • Platanos – grilled plantains **Surprising; tasted different than anticipated
  • Coliflores – cauliflower florets **Under-seasoned, I would skip next time

Enchiladas con Mole ($13.5) - Spicy mole enchiladas topped with mushrooms and cashew cheese, served with sautéed greens and beans

img 5379 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

The sautéed greens of the day were rainbow chard. They left a little to be desired. The pumpkin seeds on top were a nice touch. “Spicy”… “mole”… hmm, not so much – but still delicious! While the cashew cheese didn’t resonate with my “cheesy” taste-buds, it succeeded as a nutty crema (if that makes sense) with the ‘shrooms. The true stars: fresh corn tortillas and the black beans! Wow. From a girl who started eating beans somewhat recently, Gracias Madre’s were addictive….

I would have forced Kyle to stop at Humphry Slocombe after dinner, but we had places to BE!

Company Party :) at AT&T Park (aka home of the San Francisco Giants!!)

img 5354 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

Blue carpet entrance…..

img 5356 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

Fun stops on every switchback up the ramp: caramel corn vendor, a bar with the signature blue drink, a photo-op in front of giant backdrop. There were also fun signs along the way linking the Giants stadium to our site (i.e. 0.02% of members could fit in the ballpark)

Once inside, we signed up for a ballpark tour. 10 minutes later we were taking the employee elevators down to the field level area. Our guide led us inside the visiting team’s locker room…..

2011 12 13 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

And then out to the dugout & field….

2011 12 111 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

Played around with the telephones…..

img 5363 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

After a stop in the press box, Kyle and I rejoined the party.

The entire club level transformed into multiple lounge areas with funky lighting and white futons. A karaoke room on the McCovey Cove side and a live band on the Bay Bridge side kept my coworkers entertained for hours.

From point to point you could sample all types of food, including mini corndogs, blue cotton candy, cheesecake poppers (!!! I had so many !!!), grilled mango, chinese chicken salad, garlic fries, etc etc. Along with the open bar, there were many fun photo moments:

img 5798 Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

Gotta love photo booths!

holiday party krish sarah lo Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

And iPhone shots…

jake krish trophy giants Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

You could even take a picture with the World Series trophy! (yo, Krish, I stole this from your facebook… hope that’s ok!!)

This was my first swanky holiday party and I kinda wish I was more awake to truly enjoy it. After the 5 am wakeup call, I was low low low on energy. Plus, the fake eyelashes I wore totally didn’t help. I need to build up those eyelash wearing muscles lol. And I should probably get better at wearing heels while I’m at it!

Question: What holiday event are you looking forward to the most?!



10 Responses to Gracias Madre + Swank Holiday Party

  1. Dayum. Girl. I’ll party with YOU.

  2. Fun stuff! I went to a holiday party this weekend that my mom actually organized for a family friend which was over the top!! I love holiday parties!

  3. Fake eyelashes are so much fun. I wore one halfway up my eyelid once because my friend glued it on wrong…fail.

    Jealous of your company’s swank! Mine cancelled their holiday party tradition a few years ago before I joined to save $$. Bummer.

  4. Ohh I have been wanting to go to Gracias Madre– everything looks delicious and it sounds like it is worth the trek to the Mission! As a cheese-loving gal myself, that would be missed but I’d love to try that cashew sauce! And Kyle’s party looks like so much fun! What a cool work party! Love the photobooth shots too- you guys look great!

    • That was my party lol, kyle’s company stopped doing holiday parties the year before he started with them! Poor timing

      Go to Gracias Madre soon! It is closing along with the Bay Area’s Cafe Gratitude locations!!

  5. [...] and I have seen AT&T Park many ways (stadium seat watching a game, locker room during company holiday party, kayaking McCovey Cove) and now we can add heliviewing to the list! [...]

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