Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salads and Wines at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop

After multi-course tastings all week, a dinner composed of salads is most definitely a nice change. That's why I happily accepted an invitation for dinner at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Century City. This location usually closes at 4pm and only open on the weekdays, so on a normal day, I would not be able to try it.

Antioxidant Orchard Salad
Antioxidant Orchard Salad
The ones responsible for Greenleaf are owner Jonathan Rollo and Corporate Chef Kristi Ritchey, who met when they were both working for the Patina Group. Chef Kristi's reason for joining Greenleaf is an interesting history. After being hospitalized during her tenure at Patina group, Kristi made a drastic change in eating habits and participated in bootcamps. She lost over 100 lbs but she started having difficulty maintaining her new lifestyle while making risotto fries and cheesecakes at work.
Even though the Beverly Hills location has had alcohol license for a while, the Century City location finally obtained theirs only recently. To celebrate, and also to celebrate the National Salad Month, during the month of May customers can get a free taste of paired wine with their salad purchase (w/ min $10 salad purchase). Want to know what they're pairing with what? Keep reading.
Before starting with the salads, we had the Wild Mushroom and Truffle "Pizza" ($9.95)
Wild Mushroom Truffle "Pizza"
The "pizza" is made using whole wheat tortilla made especially for Greenleaf. They worked with a tortilla maker to get a low calorie whole wheat tortilla that tastes good. The tortilla has 110 calories and the whole pizza is about 400 calories.

Afterwards, we had a sampling of their signature salads. At Greenleaf, you can build your own salads, which starts at $7.95, or you can order one of their signature salads. The signature salads are $10 each. It may at first seem expensive but the portions are big, and filled with meat and various ingredients. Compared to this, I paid $5 for a bit of grilled vegetables at my school's salad bar.

Antioxidant Orchard: Scarborough Farms baby mixed greens, grapes, celery, walnuts, dried cranberries, apples, blue cheese, mint, red onion, cucumbers, strawberries and blueberries, with pomegranate whole grain vinaigrette.
Paired with Au Bon Climate Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc blend.
Antioxidant Orchard Salad
I love fruity salads once in a while and this one is great: light, sweet, and crunchy. Kristi and Jonathan wanted to avoid using canned nuts to minimize the environmental impact, but they also do not want to fry anything. They then found out they can get the same flavors by roasting the nuts in agave. The wine was crisp and clean, with fruit flavors but it doesn't overpower the salad. It also helps cut the sweetness.

Lemongrass Chicken Salad: scarborough farms baby mixed greens, grilled chicken, mango, grilled pineapple, jicama, toasted coconut, cashews, thai chili and thai basil with lemongrass lychee vinaigrette.
Paired with Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc.
Lemongrass Chicken Salad
This was my favorite! An elevated chinese chicken salad if you will. I love the aromas from the various tropical ingredients (especially the thai basil). The chicken breast was moist and tender, as well. We get a sweet, fruity aroma from the wine, just like the mango in the salad. The pairing was balanced, the salad cuts the acidity of the wine.

Mexplosion salad: scarborough farms baby mixed greens, grilled corn and black bean salsa with cilantro, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, sunflower seeds, tortilla crunchies, jalapeƱo jack cheese on a whole wheat tortilla with jon’s citrus basil and spicy chipotle orange bbq sauce.
Paired with Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay
Mexplosion Salad
The tortilla in this salad is the same tortilla used in the pizza. There's a good amount of heat in the salad, just enough without being spicy. This was paired with a slightly buttery Chardonnay. The Talbott chardonnay is aged in oak for 4 weeks and 6 months in steel, so you get a bit of the butteriness.

Zorra the Great salad: romaine, scarborough farms baby arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, olives, red onion, fresh herbs, marinated artichokes, pita chips, on hummus with garlic herb vinaigrette.
Paired with Alma Rosa Pinot Grigio
Zora the Great Salad
Named after Jonathan's dog, for this greek salad they use housemade pita and housemade hummus which contains less garlic (more lemon) compared to the usual.

You can also get some side dishes, which run from $3-5. My two favorites were the green lentils and the beet-and-yam salad. The side dishes were paired with Talbott Kali Hart Pinot Noir, which paired well with the lentils.
Warm and hearty, yet lightly acidic (they used reduced balsamic as the dressing).
Beets and Yams
I loved the different flavors and textures in this. Between the beet, the crisp cucumbers, there were the yams roasted in cinnamon.

The desserts aren't necessarily low calorie, so the portions are smaller. I enjoyed both the moist mini carrot cakes and the chewy chocolate chip cookies (Kristi's grandmother's recipe).
Mini Carrot Cakes and Cookies

Greenleaf in Century City is only open until 4pm on the weekdays, and the Beverly Hills location is open a bit later and also on Saturday afternoons. If you can't make it to either one, though, their salads are also available at various gyms around town, including Equinox.

PS. They're also holding a "Build Your Own Salad" recipe/photo contest on their FB page, where you can win a free lunch and have your salad featured on their menu.

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop - Century City
1888 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: 424-239-8700
Open Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4 pm


Kung Food Panda

Some of these salads look quite tasty!

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