Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts

Friday, December 9, 2016

Vegan Donuts Worth Trekking To at Donut Farm

I'm sure you know that I'm not vegan. Not even close! So when I say Donut Farm's vegan donuts are good, I'm actually saying they are good even compared to normal, non-vegan donuts.

Donut Farm, also known as Pepples Donut Farm, started in Northern California, but has since opened a location in Los Angeles. Silverlake, to be exact. The Silverlake shop is small, but there are seats so you can enjoy your donuts with some coffee while admiring the fun bunny mural from street artist Bunnie Reiss!
Donut Farm
Donut Farm's donuts are not only vegan, they are also 100% organic. They have both raised and cake donuts with a variety of interesting flavors and fillings - and did I mention, they were delicious??

One of my favorites was the Philz Coffee glazed donut. Donut Farm also serves coffee (hot and cold brew) so you can double the caffeine.
Donut Farm

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.

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.
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.

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
Well, they taste like a good, standard bulgogi but they're supposed to be healthier! The meat was pretty tender, too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vegan Feasting and Boozing at Shojin

I am never one who'd decide to go vegetarian one day, but I've heard many great things about Shojin, the organic/vegan/macrobiotic Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo from fellow bloggers (mainly LA-OC Foodie and inomthings).

Seitan Steak
Seitan Steak Marinade
I've been meaning to try it for a while and an invitation to a blogger dinner provided the last push and I finally made it there!
Shojin's Dining Room
Shojin's dining room was much nicer than I had expected, especially for being in that neglected mall in Little Tokyo. White tablecloth, chandelier, and all.

Shojin also recently started serving alcohol and we tried their "Mojito" made with unprocessed cane sugar, mint, apple juice, cranberry juice, vegan sake (Ichigo)

We started with a tasting of the three most popular appetizers:
Spicy rock shiitake tempura, spicy wasaby mayonnaise
Yuzu ponzu Seitan (pan fried sliced seitan with grated daikon and yuzu citrus sauce)
Spicy fried tofu (fried marinated tofu, spicy soy sauce)
The shiitake tempura was chewy and meaty. I loved the tofu which had a light yet crispy breading. Apparently the batter was made with whole wheat and arrow roots which makes it stay crispy for a long time. The seitan was unremarkable compared to the other two.

Shojin also makes sure to serve vegan wine and sake. Wine isn't always vegan? Nope, apparently most wines are filtered using egg whites or egg shells. The appetizers were paired with some Nottage Hill Chardonnay from Australia.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Whole Foods Market Take It Up A Notch: Animal Welfare Rating, Collaboration Wines

Late last year Whole Foods Market invited some bloggers to talk about their latest efforts to be more than just a grocery store. These efforts include a partnership with Global Animal Partnership to introduce new meat rating system called the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating and exclusive wines resulting from a collaboration between Whole Foods and local wineries.

If you've read Michael Pollan's books, you're probably aware that "free range" labels on eggs, milk, and meat don't necessarily mean that the animals were treated well or were even let out of their cages much.

The 5-step rating goes beyond simple designations such as "organic", "free range" or "sustainable" but just how well are the animals being treated? To be step-rated to begin with, the farm couldn't use cages or crates.
Many of the WFM locations don't actually have all meats with the highest Step 5+ rating, which required the animals to have spent their entire lives on one farm, cattles and pigs must be slaughtered on the farm and chicken can only be transported a short distance, on top of having no physical alteration of the animal like ID tags (step 5). I'd imagine each step up will be more expensive too but at least you'd be able to deliberate over the benefit vs. price difference yourself.

The Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific Region has been working with some Santa Barbara County wineries to create blends exclusive to Whole Foods. In Fall 2010, they released two wines named "A Collaboration".
The first wine is a blend of six Santa Barbara Country vineyards created by Margerum Wine Company and is based on their M5 wine. This wine is priced at $19.99, a deal compared to their M5.
According to Whole Foods' Regional Specialty Coordinator, Claude Ruau-Choate,  this wine is representative of the European palate while the second is more California with its fruit forwardness.
The second wine comes from Hitching Post Winery and features 73% Valdiguie and 27% Syrah, priced at $12.99.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blanc Haute Yogurt: The Rolls Royce of Froyo in Beverly Hills

After Pinkberry, there was Yogurtland, Red Mango, all the way to Fro Play (no I'm totally serious). Thinking that frozen yogurt had pretty much jumped the shark, when I heard about Blanc back in 2009 I didn't pay much attention even though it touted being a "premium" yogurt, organic, etc with "premium toppings". It wasn't until I finally went to their summer launch party did I find out - it really is an upgraded, sophisticated version of froyo.

Appropriately located in Beverly Hills, the modern decor is stark white and minimalist - my kind of place.

Blanc offers four flavors everyday, at least half of which would be 100% organic, and none of which uses high fructose corn syrup. The owner and founder, Leo Leonard, personally works on the recipes with the dairy factory who makes them in small batches.

You can find the usual fruit topping suspects (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mangoes) except that everything is organic and looks fresher and plumper than anything I've seen at Pinkberry or Yogurtland recently. They don't even peel and cut the bananas until you order them here.
On the not-so-expected side: black mission figs! And juicy amarena cherries (these are amazing with the vanilla) along with chocolate-dipped truffle-stuffed figs, Rabitos. Not into fruits? Top your creme brulee yogurt with Valrhona chocolate pearls, truffles imported from Spain, or organic carrot cake made by a local baker.

Some of the rotating flavors you can find here include creme brulee, chai tea latte, organic peach passionfruit, and of course organic vanilla and some sort of chocolate. There's no tart flavor in their vanilla, unlike Pinkberry's plain, because apparently that tartness comes from the addition of citric acid. If you want tart, get the peach passionfruit.

In about a month or so they will be rolling out the "crepe flute". Forget waffle cones, this crepe flute is crisp and more delicately crumbly than thick waffle cones. It complements the vanilla yogurt very very well.
The prices here are a little more expensive than, say, Yogurtland, where the small yogurt is $4 and each topping is $0.40 but the higher quality of the yogurt and especially the toppings shows, and is worth it.

Blanc Haute Yogurt
9465 Charleville Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 281-2633
Blanc Haute Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: This was a free tasting hosted by Blanc.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Great Chefs of LA. Great Food, Great Fun.

This year's Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles was held in the CBS Studio Center. Tents were set up outdoors among the bungalows of the studio. It was such a nice day to walk around outdoors sampling food while gawking over the chefs like celebrities (I wasn't the only one, I swear!)

Food and drinks were everywhere. Andrew's Cheese Shop was offering five different cheeses with bread and quince paste.

As far as drinks go, besides the numerous wineries, Sauza offered up margaritas, Courvoisier Cognac and Starbucks liqueurs, and Absolut LA was also there.
Non-alcoholic offerings from Izze sodas, Steaz for organic tea, water from Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, and POM pomegranate juice were also available. Dehydration was definitely not a problem here :)

Among the tastings there were (clockwise) cochinita pibil from Ciudad Catering, Ahi tuna (which will later be topped with caviar!) from Mark Kearney Group, a caramel apple with white chocolate from Melissa's World Variety Produce, kabocha squash agnolotti from BLVD 16.

Josie was also there serving some amazing gruyere quiche!

For La Terza, Chef Gino Angelini brought over his slicer and served up some prosciutto and salami parmiggiano!

The Dragos were also there. Yes, all four of them, and many of their different restaurants have their own booth. I think they probably took up half of the booths ;)
The Drago restaurant served wild boar with soft polenta and fig sauce (left). It was a bit cold already but we loved the combination! If only it was a bit warmer it might've been our favorite of the day. Another of the Drago restaurants (Tanino?) served smoked scallops with pomegratanes.

Other highlights from the events are the Pork Belly from Animal (the Two Dudes were there serving) and pork rib grilled cheese sandwich from 8 oz.
Both were delicious! The 8 oz sandwich is definitely going to bring me there for a real visit!

8 oz also had their bartender, Ryan, there, serving up some Pomegranate Sidecar and Orange Ginger cocktail! Strong and yummy.

Neal Fraser was there manning his booth for Grace and giving out dungeness crab salad with shiso on these cute little plastic spoons.
I got seconds, and also got a picture with Neal (to distract him from me grabbing a second spoon!)

Fraiche had an amazing chocolate dessert that the girl there didn't really tell us the name of - but it was great and despite my bad first experience there during a company dinner, I may now give it a second try.

Indulging in food and drinks aside, let's not forget that this event is a fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation of SoCal. The restaurants and sponsors not only have donated the food and drinks, they also donated some great items for both the silent and live auction!

I bid on the dinner for 4 at Grace and BLD but, alas, did not win :(
I also debated on a basket of Sauza, Plymouth, Cruzan rum, and Courvoiser but then wasn't sure if that was such a good idea after all :P At least not for my liver. And brain.

Some highlights of the live auction: A dinner for 20 cooked by chef Gino Angelini went for $5000. To top it off, a lady who originally lost this auction asked if he would do a second one for $5000 too! Gino said yes, and there you have it. Two dinners for 20 at your home for $5000 each! Go NKFSC!
4 people will get to spend 8 hours in the kitchen of Animal with Jon and Vinny, ending with a dinner and "all the wine you care to drink" (in the TwoDudes' own words) went for $1250.
A day with Chef Govind Armstrong from picking the produce all the way to dinner at Table 8 went for $1750.

One of these days I'll start making real money and can actually bid on these things ... Til then I will offer my small support on the silent auction items! Oh, and eat all the good food.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Want Me Tamales

This past weekend was the 4th Annual International Tamale Festival, held right by MacArthur Park/Mama's Hot Tamales in LA. The event was free and street parking wasn't too bad around the park.

The festival offered, besides tamales of course, various Mexican eats like Tortas, Platanos, and drinks like horchata and aguas frescas. I was obviously there for the tamales though. I had hopes for a blue corn tamale, but that didn't happen so I just got what I could.
Mama's International Tamales had some of the most interesting and varied offerings there. Pictured below are the beef adobo and the chicken mole tamales.Both were great! I really liked the beef adobo a lot, although it was pretty spicy. Drank 1/2 bottle of water but it was worth it. The chicken mole was not spicy at all but was also very good. I thought it was really messy as a tamale, but the taste of the corn tamale + mole sauce definitely worked.

Another interesting vendor was the White Girl Tamale Maker (aka La Guera Tamalera), which boasts authentic VeraCruz style (I don't know what that would be like, so I can't attest to that). Sounds weird? It also happens to be the only organic offering and also had very interesting sweet tamales creation.

Pictured below we had the chicken with green chile (left), and on the right was the fig-nana and also the ginger peach tamales.
The chicken w/ green chile was delicious and it might actually be my favorite of the day. Maybe. With a tastier corn, the tamale was also not that spicy, which suits me just fine since it was still very flavorful. The fig-nana and peach tamales were very sweet. They were tasty, but funny thing is that eating the peach tamale reminds me basically of peach cobbler of sorts.
These organic tamales were $5 each, compared to $3 tamales from everywhere else.

Overall a great lunch on a Saturday evening, followed by a short walk through the park (to the car). Will definitely return next year!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Long Live Breakfast Salad

Hugo's in WeHo was my favorite brunch place when I was still living in LA proper - or at least, they have my favorite brunch dish.
Since moving to Pasadena, I went on a Hugo's hiatus - especially since they were renovating and since the Pinkberry on my way there is being stingy with their fruits!

I recently went back though, for the first time after the renovation. I was surprised when I walked in. The decor now is much 'cleaner' and minimal compared to before. I preferred the cozier, homier feel of the old Hugo's though. Sigh ... why is everything in LA changing to this wide space, minimal decor look? The kitchen is now closed off though, reducing the noise from plates clanking greatly. That's one good thing from the renovation.

The place was not as busy as I remembered it- before I would have to wait 10-15 minutes for a table during lunch hour on a Saturday. Today we got a table immediately. It wasn't empty, but there was no line out the door like there used to be. Maybe the new decor? Maybe because they were closed for a while, a lot of people have not made it back?

At any rate, the food there is same as always - great tasting and healthy.
Hugo's serves you piping hot whole wheat ciabatta bread that is great with or without butter. (One time they served it cold, but we sent it back and got the piping hot bread).

Before, the Tofu Scramble used to be my favorite dish. Organic tofu scramble with sweet potato, green onion, tomato, spinach, garlic and mushrooms with ginger-soy sauce. The tofu is firm, and the ginger-soy sauce is really good! (There's no egg in here, even though it says 'scramble'). The spinach and tofu with the sauce is just a great combo. My only pet peeve about this dish is that there's too much sweet potato for my taste, but I know some people who looove sweet potato and didn't think there was enough ...

A great dish, and like I said, it used to be my favorite and I'd get it every week. Until one day I became adventurous and ordered the Breakfast Salad! Ever since then, this is my favorite!

Mixed greens topped with: turmeric rice scrambled with egg whites, almonds, spinach, wild mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Ahh ... the ultimate salad for me. I would have never imagined making a salad like this, and were it not for Hugo's I would have totally missed out. Maybe it is partly the Asian taste of the dish that makes me like it so much? Did I mention they're organic? Totally guilt-free :P

We didn't get desserts this time around, but the desserts at Hugo's tend to be very decadent (like bread puddings, pineapple upside down cakes, etc). Sinful? But they're organic? That's a notch down on the sin level, right? Right?

Also, I should mention they have a great selection of loose leaf tea.

8401 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 654-3993

Hugo's on Urbanspoon

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