If you hadn't heard about Gracias Madre — you're not plugged in to vegetarian circles, say, or you're past the age of 30 — and you found yourself meandering down Mission Street on a Friday night, chances are you'd be struck by the look of the place and wander inside. Everything you'd spy would be promising. The wrought-iron field of corn that stretches across the entryway. The enclosed patio, with its 10-foot mosaic of the Virgin, arms outstretched to soak in the warmth of the heat lamps. The raw pine tables and multicolored ceramic tiles inside. The cook pinching off balls of masa and pressing them into tortillas, the griddle next to her constantly covered in pale brown rounds. It's rare to find microbrews and mariachi singers in the same room. And when you pick up a menu, you'll notice something even rarer: a Mexican menu free of the sacred presence of pork. And chicken. Egg... More >>>