orange ale vinaigrette & arugula salad

The same Food & Wine that featured an Umami Burger on the cover, also had a recipe for an Orange and Ale Vinaigrette but it was the Taster’s eye that was caught initially and not mine. I decided it would be perfect to bring to a cookout as my “something healthy” contribution. Sometimes I can be relied on to bring a healthy dish, sometimes I bring something with lots of cheese and sometimes I bring both. It’s all about balance, right? Eating lots of cheese is justified when you eat arugula to go along with it. :)

The salad is bright and I promise the dressing doesn’t taste like beer – everyone was surprised that there was beer in it at all. Peppery arugula + sweet orange + salty feta + tangy vinaigrette = delicious, simple salad.

Orange Ale Vinaigrette & Arugula Salad - about 6 servings – adapted from Food & Wine

  • 1 orange
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey or agave
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1/3 cup India Pale Ale Beer
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 7 oz arugula (I used a bag)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles

Prepare dressing: Zest orange and add to small bowl. Add shallots, mustard, honey and orange juice. Mix together. Add beer and while whisking, add olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut orange segments into small pieces.

Toss arugula with dressing and sprinkle with orange segments and feta cheese.

restaurant: umami burger

One of the first stops in LA was Umami Burger. Obviously I have my priorities straight. :)

It was my second trip to Umami and it definitely won’t be my last – the burgers are literally out. of. this. world. Just like our Minneapolis favorite, The Bulldog, the combinations are creative and the ingredients are of the highest quality.

Deciding on a burger is easier said than done. The most recent Food & Wine had Umami’s Port & Stilton Burger (blue cheese, port caramelized onions) on the cover which essentially sealed the deal for the Taster before we even landed in California.

I on the other hand had some trouble deciding. The Greenbird (shelton farms turkey, crushed avocado, green cheese, butter lettuce, sprouts and green goddess) comes highly recommended by Lynn – I’ll get it someday – but the SoCal (butter lettuce, slow-roasted tomato, house spread, house-made american cheese and caramelized onions) was just too irresistible for me to pass up.

The burgers were both outstanding, the SoCal was easily in the top 5, maybe even 3 that I’ve ever had. We left Umami happy with our bellies full, sun-kissed skin and dreams of the future to come.

I doubt you could make a bad choice at Umami, but I’ll sure have a good time trying to find out.



los angeles

I was in LA this past weekend and it was wonderful, as always. I love that city. The sun, the hiking, the views, the food – whats not to love?

We got in on Friday afternoon and went straight to Umami Burger (more to come on that) – delicious!

Saturday was the Celiac Disease Foundation Conference and show – a full day of gluten-free samples! We (French Meadow) sampled our gluten-free tortillas and brownies – always a huge hit! :)

Sunday we left Universal City and ventured into LA before heading to my cousins for Mexican food and S’muffins! (When in LA, definitely try S’muffins, they are kind of life-changing.)

Monday started off with a hike at Runyon Canyon;

coffee and scones with Lynn (definitely a highlight!);

and some brown rice sushi for lunch. Interestingly enough, whenever I’ve asked for brown rice sushi elsewhere, they tell me it’s not possible. I’m here to say it can be done. :) Here is the proof:

On our last day, Tuesday, we woke up to rain so our planned morning hike was cancelled and replaced with breakfast. I can’t complain too much. ;)

Whew – what a weekend. Normal life resumes today!

kitchen gadget: juicer

Getting a juicer was beyond exciting for me as I love love LOVE fresh juice, but at $7/juice – it can be a rather expensive habit.

For the most part I love it, but am still learning the ins and outs, what we like in juice (the Taster does NOT like wheat grass powder mixed in) and how different fruits/veggies can change a juice.


  • fresh green juices with whatever ingredients I want!
  • not spending $7 for a single juice at the coop
  • so easy and fast
  • you can use produce that is a little past its prime (an apple that I may hesitate to eat, I have no problem with juicing!)
  • when heading out of town I throw in all of the leftover produce – no wasting and love starting a trip or vacation with healthy juice
  • starting my day out with a burst of vitamins and nutrients


Learning to Love:

  • cleaning up – it isn’t terrible, but our kitchen is somewhat covered in juice pulp (exaggeration)
  • the pulp! I need to figure out a way to use it – throwing it away makes me feel like an awful human being


Favorite Juicing Ingredients So Far:

  • romaine
  • apples
  • cucumber
  • lemon

    Do you like fresh juice?  Do you have any great juice combos?