Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Erven Gives Los Angeles Its Best New Vegan Restaurant

I've always enjoyed Chef Nick Erven's cooking from his previous restaurant, the now-shuttered Saint Martha. I wasn't expecting him to open a vegan restaurant in Santa Monica, but I looked forward to it just the same, especially after hearing all the glowing reviews!

Erven is divided into two parts: the Marketplace side which serves sandwiches, cookies, juices, and such. Then there's the dining room which is open for a casual lunch, but the highlight is of course, the dinner service (although the vegan sandwiches are also great).

We started with a bowl complimentary fried chickpeas - the amuse bouche seems to rotate based on the other reviews.
Erven
The savory portion of the dinner menu is divided into "Snackables", "Shareables", and "Principles".
We tried a couple of the snacks including the Black garlic chickpea fritters with yuzu and Aleppo pepper ($5)
Erven
The chickpea fritter is a good way to start and gives you an idea of Chef Erven's cooking.

Purple sweet potato rice roll with avocado and Korean chili ($5)
Erven
Vegan kimbap, anyone?

From the Shareables section: Tiny Beets with avocado mousse, curry-almond streusel, and cilantro ($12)
Erven
The beets weren't really "tiny" but regardless this was a wonderful and interesting take on beets, with the crispiness of the streusel, combined with avocado mousse.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

VERTS, a New Fast Casual Mediterranean Grill Opens in Downtown Boston

VERTS started in Austin, Texas about five years ago. In that short period of time, this chain of healthy, fast casual Mediterranean grill has grown to 35 locations around Texas and it has now made its way to Boston as its first non-Texas location.
VERTS
I recently attended the opening party of the Boston location, in the Financial District, to check out the food that makes this chain so fast-growing.
VERTS
VERTS is a build-your-own concept, and you can choose between rice bowl, quinoa bowl, pita wrap, or salad.
VERTS

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lifehouse Tonics & Elixir: Taking Smoothies Up a Notch

Los Angeles loves their juices and their healthy foods, but at Lifehouse Tonics and Elixir, they take juices and smoothies a step further in terms of their health benefits. They mix smoothies and juices with healthy and medicinal tonics - but don't worry, they still keep the taste sweet and delicious like the treats smoothies should be. Oh, and it's all vegan.
Lifehouse Tonics
Lifehouse opened a cool little shop on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, blending tonic-infused smoothies and elixirs. You may find ingredients you have never heard of or cannot pronounce, but everything is natural, including the sugar substitute that they use, like erythritol and stevia.
Lifehouse Tonics
The menu board describes the drink with its main health benefits and the main flavor component. For example, the Greenhouse Chip is described as "energizing", "alkalizing", with mint as the main flavor component.

Greenhouse Chip (almond milk, cashew milk, mint extract, cacao nibs, barley grass juice, wheat grass juice, oat grass juice, maca, eleuthero, astragalus, cordyceps, tocos, cacao butter, almond butter, coconut oil, erythritol, stevia, $14)
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This is perhaps their most popular drink, and it's easy to see why. It tastes like mint chocolate chip shake! I haven't heard of a lot of the ingredients, so I googled some of them. Maca, for example, is a Peruvian plant from the Andes region. People use the root of maca plant for medicinal purposes, including increasing stamina and also for hormonal imbalance in women.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Picnic LA: Fast Casual with a Fine Dining Flair (Culver City, CA)

Culver City residents and workers have a great new lunch spot. Picnic LA is a fast casual, produce-driven spot that's perfect for a quick lunch, takeaway orders, and now even deliveries. Opened by trio Brad Zions, Noah Ellis (who formerly worked in the Red Medicine kitchen), and Eliot Silver, Picnic LA is slinging healthy, vegetable-heavy menu that features produce and proteins from local farms and ranches.

Walking in, you'll see today's selections of entrees, salads, and more displayed on the counter

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Each item can be purchased individually, or you can get a combo. A combination of any entree with any 2 salads will be $14.50, $17.50 for entree and 3 salads, or get 3 salads with no entree for $12.
Picnic LA
The bread they use come from Lodge Bread Co, a new darling in the LA bread world, which is also made in the Culver City area.

Picnic LA

As I mentioned, the items here are produce-driven so there are a lot of vegetable items featuring local farm products like in this Citrus and fennel salad
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Friday, February 12, 2016

Healthy Dining at Freshii (Boston, MA)

When you eat out as much as I do, and eat as much unhealthy stuff as I do, a dinner filled with salads and healthy options is a welcomed change. A couple weeks ago that change came in the form of a blogger dinner at Freshii in Back Bay.
Freshii
Freshii is a fast food franchise out of Canada that focuses on fresh, healthy items like salads, wraps, juices and such. They have multiple locations in Boston including one on Dartmouth St in Back Bay.

We tasted samples of quite a few things during dinner including the popular Metaboost Salad (field greens, spinach, kale, mangos, carrots, edamame, almonds, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette)
Freshii

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop Transforms with Hollywood Location

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop is transforming their look with the new Hollywood location. I still remember the Century City and Beverly Hills locations, a small, fast-casual lunch spot with salads and fresh juice bar. Small, bright, casual. But now, in Hollywood, the restaurant has an outdoor seating area where they also grow some herbs, a gorgeous full bar, a rustic, dimly lit dining room.

greenleaf
greenleaf
Still serving the same organic, healthy food as the other locations, but they've also expanded the menu with more entree-like options and cocktails.

The entrees are "build-your-own" where you can choose a protein and 2 sides. Salmon filet is $16.95 and I chose pomegranate quinoa and baked sweet potato fries as my sides.
greenleaf
The salmon was nicely cooked and the quinoa with almonds and pomegranate was almost like a dessert or a nice breakfast dish. They're healthy and delicious like other Greenleaf offerings I've had before, but definitely heartier than the usual salads.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Zinque Cafe and Wine Bar in West Hollywood

The old Nishimura space across the street from Pacific Design Center was always closed off by a tall wooden gate. Now it has turned into Zinque Cafe and Wine Bar and the gate gave way to a charming outdoor dining area, complete with a fireplace.

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The food menu is small, but we tried some good things here, starting with the Cheese Plate ($16) which included comte, blue cheese, and epoisses
Cheese
Though you don't get to choose the cheeses, they're all good and come with fun accompaniments. Now, the server might tell you the one at the end is brie, but I was told Zinque is one of the few places in town that serves Epoisses. Instead of brie, we had a slice of the wonderfully stinky epoisses, even better with the honeycomb.
Epoisses

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Freshology: Delivering Healthy Meals

We've seen a surge of meal delivery services recently, from vegan to raw to special dietary ones. One of the big players is Freshology. Freshology delivers a day's worth of prepared meals that are healthy, low calorie, and well made. They'll drop off the cooler in front of your door really early in the morning, so you'll have your breakfast ready.

Freshology
The menu changes daily, of course, but here's what I had:
Breakfast was oatmeal with almonds, a bit of milk, and fresh grapes and berries.
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The oatmeal was light instead of dense, and I really enjoyed it with the grapes. I normally eat pastries or something rather unhealthy for breakfast, and I have to admit I felt rather energized after finishing this.

For lunch, a shrimp salad sandwich with a side of watermelon salad (not pictured)
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Healthy Food that Surprises at Stamp Proper Foods in Los Feliz

If you're looking for healthier food that isn't boring, try Stamp Proper Foods that's recently opened in Los Feliz. Owner and Chef Catherine Baker was a model for 20 years before opening Stamp Proper with partner David Beckwith. Said partner is actually also Catherine's fiance, who apparently had lost a lot of weight since they started dating and loved the food so much he thinks she should open a restaurant.

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Sure, as with healthy restaurants, there are lentils, gluten free baked goods, smoothies/juices, and all that. But what I like about Stamp Proper Foods is Catherine's twists on all of these.

For breakfast, I really enjoyed the Moroccan Lentils and Eggs (lentils, sauteed spinach, poached eggs, date chutney, toasted almonds, currants, and grilled lemon - $14)
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It's the little things she added that impressed, like the crunch from the toasted almonds, and the sweetness of the chutney and currants.

Sandwich options included Bison meatloaf sandwich, with sharp cheddar, spicy ketchup on sourdough ($14, choice of house-made slaw or mixed greens)
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As you can see, this isn't a vegetarian restaurant, but they opt for the leaner meats.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Il Piccolo Verde (Brentwood)

With the rise of inventive and off-the-wall menus these days, we sometimes forget how good how good old school cooking is - like classic Italian, for example. At Il Piccolo Verde, a cute, small, Italian place in Brentwood, I was recently reminded of it.

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The Baked eggplant parmigiana is a bit different, since it is stuffed with zucchini ($12)
Eggplant Parmigiano
There's an old school wood fired pizza oven here.
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We tried the Pizza Napoletana, topped with tomato sauce, fresh burrata, and basil
Pizza

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Casual and Healthy Lunch at Twist Eatery

Twist Eatery recently opened in La Brea, serving breakfast, lunch and baked goods along with coffee.

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The lunch menu is mostly healthy (although they do have a burger if you're so inclined).
I got the Salmon Bowl, with lentil, quinoa salad tossed in a pomegranate, vinaigrette served with moroccan spiced salmon and a citrus salsa ($14)
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The salmon was nicely cooked, still moist, and the sauce and dressing were flavorful yet still light. I really liked this for a healthy yet still filling lunch.
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Now at Pinkberry: Greek Yogurt and Great Savory Bowls!

Did you know that Pinkberry now has greek yogurt? Not a "greek" frozen yogurt, but a bonafide greek yogurt, and they use it to make some great bowls! Yes, Pinkberry's not just about froyo anymore.

I was recently invited to the Pinkberry headquarters in Santa Monica to do a blind tasting of greek yogurts and try their new Powerbowls. When else will I get a chance to visit their headquarters??

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When I eat yogurt at home, I usually just add fruit and granola to it - maybe honey. That's it, and you probably do, too. But Pinkberry has been getting quite creative with their greek yogurt! I was amazed by their Sunflower Cucumber combination in which they top their greek yogurt (named "Pinkberrygreek") with cucumber, sunflower seed bites (like sunflower cookies), olive oil, and chili powder.
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You don't have to have dessert at Pinkberry, you can have something savory too! I never thought of making something like this with yogurt, and was very pleasantly surprised. It was sweet and savory, silky and crunchy. This bowl has a very Mediterranean flavor to it, and will make a great light meal or snack. I'm already itching to go to a Pinkberry to get this.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Healthy Vegan Cuisine at Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe (Downtown LA)

Being a food blogger is hazardous, so a healthy, vegan dinner is a welcome change once in a while. Recently this came to me with a preview dinner at the new Dr J's Vibrant Cafe in downtown LA.

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Dr J The owner of Dr J's is the young man in the picture who opened this cafe to honor his mother and her cooking. His mother is the cute little woman next to him. Story was that he got really sick after attending college and was supposed to go on life long medication, but his mother, Dr. J, told him to try eating her pure, clean eating lifestyle before going on the medication. As you can guess, he got better and no longer needed his medication. Now he wants to spread this lifestyle by opening the cafe.

What I liked about Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe is that the food is not only vegan but actually healthy - as in low sodium, low sugar etc. Some vegan or vegetarian places around didn't actually seem that healthy to me because they tend to be overly salty to make up for the lack of meat or dairy. The food here, like the kale salad, quinoa spring salad, or brown rice medley, tasted healthy but still has enough flavor (the rice noodle one was still a bit bland to me)
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Of the ones I tried, I really liked the brown rice medley (with peas, onions, carrots, and tofu) and the Curried Potatoes with carrots, green beans, and peas.
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop Starts Juicing

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop has been a popular destination for salad and other healthy breakfast and lunch options, with more locations slowly popping up. Recently, they've also started offering juices to meet their customers' demands. Their executive chef, Kristi Ritchey, explains that there are two types of juicers The centrifugal juicers are high speed and create heat. This type of juicer separates juice from the pulp. On the other hand, Greenleaf uses a slow speed juicer which extracts more fiber from the ingredients. I came in to taste the juices on my own.

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Red grape juice
Greenleaf sells pure juices including carrot and tomato ($5.95), orange, grapefruit, green apple, and red grape pure juices ($6.95). If those prices seem high, keep in mind that these are all 20oz servings and use higher priced ingredients. Even though red apple is cheaper, Kristi decides to use Granny Smith apple for the juice because it gives a crisper flavor. They also use red grapes instead of the cheaper green grapes because the green ones have a metallic aftertaste.

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You can also build your own juice for $6.95, for which you can select three main ingredients like kale, apple, pineapple, cucumber, etc and add one accent like ginger, celery, jalapeno, mint, or parsley. All the juices can be sold in a sealed bottle to take home (they do suggest consuming anything with ginger within a day, though).
If you're baffled by the choices, just go with one of their signature juices.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Perfect Croissants and More for Brunch at Luca on Sunset

About a month ago, e*starLA blogged that Luca on Sunset has the best pastries in West Hollywood, so when I got invited for a brunch tasting, I was quite excited. Little did I know I would be in for an eight-course brunch!

Our brunch started with a spread of the pastries we couldn't get enough of:
croissant, almond croissant, chocolate brioche, scone, apple danish, blueberry muffin, sweet potato speck biscuit, citrus poppy seed muffin

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The pastry chef at Luca, Rebecca West, apparently was a runway model in France, where she lived off of coffee and croissants. When that career had to end, she thought making croissants was the logical next step!
Well, it's true. The croissants are definitely some of the best I've had from the buttery plain croissant to the flaky chocolate brioche. I had been looking for a good pain du chocolat or something similar ever since Bite Bar closed, now I've found one.
If I didn't have the menu of the other seven courses in front of me as a reminder, I would eat all of them. ALL.

Unlike the muffins at most bakeries where they drop a few blueberries at the top so they're visible but there's nothing inside, Luca's muffin is chock full of blueberries inside!
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Healthy Eating at Fresheast (West Hollywood)

Being a food blogger is tough. No, really. You eat big, delicious meals day after day, sometimes multiple times a day. It gets to you - or rather, it gets to your waistline. When you're feeling particularly weighed down, an invitation to a healthy meal is very welcomed.

I admit, the first time I heard about Fresheast and what they were doing, I wasn't too enticed. They serve healthy, organic, Asian dishes and use no salt, butter, or nuts in their dishes (they still use miso, soy, and other sauces, though, so I don't think it's entirely sodium-free).

With all that said, a lot of their dishes turned out to be quite boldly flavored. One of my favorites were the Goa Shrimp ($11.95)

Tiger Shrimp
I was expecting food that are rather bland here, but the goa shrimp jumps with spices and flavors. The lamb curry as well was in fact quite spicy, again, unexpected from a healthy casual restaurant in West Hollywood. With the bold and spicy flavor profiles of Southeast Asia, perhaps you don't need extra salt after all.

Another dish I liked was the Bulgogi (Harris Ranch Natural Beef bulgogi, fresh wok’d vegetables), $10.95
Bulgogi
Well, they taste like a good, standard bulgogi but they're supposed to be healthier! The meat was pretty tender, too.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

True Food Kitchen (Santa Monica, CA)

Vegetable Crudites
Local Vegetable Crudites
True Food Kitchen which recently opened at Santa Monica Place has a mission of serving sustainable, healthy food without sacrificing flavor. They center their menu around Dr. Andrew Weil’s "Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Food Pyramid" (not that I knew about it before coming here).

Before they officially opened to the public, they held tastings and trial runs for friends and some media. I came for a lunch during these test runs. While waiting for my friend I ran into Pleasure Palate and her friend. We ended up joining her table and got to sample many more things.

Do try the Banana, espresso, pistachio, and date muffin ($3)
While I'm usually not a big muffin fan, this one is a must try! The muffin is really moist and loaded with pistachio and other goodies.

They have a pretty big list of cocktails (with fruits with alleged antioxidant properties, of course), wines, and beers, many of them organic. I didn't want to start drinking so early, though so I went with one of their non-alcoholic "elixirs": the "Red Moon" ($4): pink grapefruit, yuzu, agave, and soda.
I also like the Medicine Man ($6) made with olivello juice (more on olivello later), pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, black tea, soda water, and blueberries.

Today's Raw Fish ($12): Yellowtail
Yellowtail
A bit heavy on the sauce, but the fish was fresh.

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