Jay Z might have to start going by Jay V after announcing on his website that he and Beyoncé are going vegan throughout December. While mortals might wait to start their strict new diets until after New Year’s, Jay and Bey have chosen the month that traditionally involves holiday overindulging to demonstrate their commitment to health, one another, and seitan. For Jay’s 44th birthday, the power couple, who usually spend their special occasions eating at Cipriani or drinking champagne on a yacht, celebrated by eating at the trendy California vegan restaurant Cafe Gratitude.
Cafe Gratitude is the kind of dippy health food restaurant that pairs food with affirmations. For example, specials have names like “I Am Generous” and “I Am Inspired,” which are as embarrassing to order as Denny’s “Moons Over My Hammy.” There are neither moons (eggs) nor hammy at Cafe Gratitude, as both are outlawed on the vegan diet. Instead there are items like gluten-free muffins, cashew nut crepes, lots of kale, macadamia nut cheddar, kelp noodle pasta, and faux-sausages unappealingly named “fennel rawtwursts.” It’s your standard hippie meal of healthful vegetables and tangy sauces, just with more cheese made out of nuts. It’s probably pretty good. Good enough to get past the “employees ask customers a philosophical question before orders are taken” angle? I can’t be sure until I’ve been there.
And of course there is juice. Lots and lots of freshly pressed juice, with ingredients like “Klamath Lake live blue green algae” and “Progurt, the world’s most powerful probiotic,” featuring “1 trillion CFU of live probiotic microorganisms served with seasonal juice.” Cafe Gratitude originated in the Bay Area, but its one L.A. location is its most successful yet, presumably because Angelenos were starved for the opportunity to be spiritually affirmed by strangers working in the service industry. Cafe Gratitude came under fire in 2009 when an employee came forward about the restaurant’s involvement with seminars run by Landmark, the controversial team-building company. Employees were ordered to attend Landmark forums and fired if they refused. I Am Intimidated?
But back to Beyoncé and Jay Z. They enjoyed their dinner among other health-conscious stars like Anne Hathaway and Ariana “I See Demons” Grande. They ordered the requisite pressed juice drinks, and dinner items like “curried lentils” and “corn tacos.” Did they have to say the affirmations like everyone else? I am assuming that Beyoncé said “I Am … Sasha Fierce” and they brought her everything on the menu. The best part of the whole photo opportunity is that Beyoncé wore a particular outfit for Jay’s birthday. Not a freakum dress, but PIZZA. She coordinated a top made from a print of tiny little pizzas with leggings depicting the texture of pepperoni pizza. Was she trying to attract the attention of the vegans in Cafe Gratitude, some of whom may have eaten pepperoni pizza more recently than they would openly admit? Or was it her subtle protest of Jay’s birthday dinner plans, a suggestion that she would have preferred going to Di Fara? Has she gone full-on Tumblr fashion? Or is Beyoncé just trolling us, like she’s been doing all year with her buzz singles and tour that never led to an album? Troll on, Queen Bey, founder of Beyganism.