restaurant: fresheast

I need to start this post by saying that I’m absolutely in love with the food here in LA.

I know, we’ve only been here a month.

I haven’t even spent a week at our new place, and yet, so quickly I’ve fallen in love with hills, the endless streets with amazing restaurants, and sun every day. (Ok, today was actually cloudy, but still 70 degrees.)

Yesterday I had lunch at fresheast with Juliana, who handles their PR, and now I’ve got another great restaurant to add into the rotation. Not as though I really need another one, but this one is in our hood. :)  I’m not sure if I should even admit this, but as I write this post, I’m here again.

Yes, you read that right, for the second time today. We’ve been trying to find a place that has wifi (still no internet at home) and something to drink. And I’m not talking about coffee. So when Juliana mentioned that they have wifi and happy hour and I mentioned that to the Taster – it was a done deal. Along with our wine we had an avocado roll (avocado, sun dried tomatoes, rolled in egg roll paper and pan fried) that we wouldn’t order again. In the Tasters words, “I’m just not sure the flavors work.”

What a food snob, sounds like a Top Chef judge! ;) But back to lunch…

Fresheast is a fast casual, asian fusion restaurant featuring cuisines from China, India, Thailand, Japan and Korea. They are committed to health and sustainability and believe that food can be flavorful and healthy (just like me!) – they also source produce locally, use natural meats and seafood, recycled packaging, utensils and create their amazing food without msg, refined sugars, butter, nuts or artificial sweeteners.

Which is all amazing. But for me, a restaurant has to deliver good food for me to come back. Thankfully, fresheast can deliver on all of their claims. Their food is flavorful, fresh and exciting and I love that you can customize any of the bowls, noodles or sandwiches depending on what meat or protein you want and what it is served on.

I started with the fresheast juice, made from orange, lemon, apple, cucumber, spinach, kale and red beets. The color was a beautiful deep magenta and although I’ve always been hesitant to juice beets, and kale for that matter, it didn’t taste “earthy” at all. :)

Then the food started coming.

First was the spicy garlic noodles. Super flavorful and loaded with vegetables like zucchini, carrots and broccoli, I was a fan, although was feeling a little bad after my paleo day yesterday. Oops. The Taster was an even bigger fan and I scored major brownie points when I brought leftovers for him. These noodles just might be the reason he was so eager to come back…

Next was the 5 spice salmon, the seasoning on this was spot-on and the salmon was crisp, just how I like it. I loved the beautiful presentation and large portions of all of the components – protein, whole grain and vegetable.

My absolute favorite of the day though, was the Mongolian Beef Bowl, served with brown rice. The beef was so flavorful, and served up with lots of veggies and brown rice. I don’t think I could ask for a more ideal plate of food. Juliana was sweet enough to let me take those leftovers home too and I had to use all of my will-power to not devour all of the meat morsels. Quite honestly, my will-power wasn’t that strong.

Thank you fresheast for an amazing meal.

I still can’t believe I live in this city…

fresheast

8951 Santa Monica Blvd

West Hollywood, CA 90069

310.859.9989

www.fresheast.com

restaurant: greenleaf gourmet chopshop

This past Wednesday, I was invited to try out Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop restaurant and meet with Chef Kristi, the corporate chef for Greenleaf.

The decor is bright, clean and green. In other words, I loved it! We visited the new Century City location.  And while it was a quick drive (by LA standards), the parking situation isn’t exactly easy (the majority of their patrons looked to be walk-ins from office buildings in the area).

Greenleaf is a healthy restaurant concept that uses eco-friendly products and creates gourmet food. They even have green bikes used to deliver the food! They have a number of salads, sandwiches, pizzas (made on tortillas, like me!) and take into consideration food intolerances, which is great.

 

Chef Kristi suggested a few of her favorites, and we stuck to those. I always figure that the people who work with and around the food probably know the best dishes – usually that works out very well for me.

Greenleaf was no exception.

It was tough to make the final decision, but, we went with a salad, sandwich and a side.

 

The Antioxidant Orchard Salad (suggested to add salmon) is one of their most popular salads and for good reason. It is bright, refreshing, flavorful and crunchy. Just what a salad should be. The salmon was perfectly cooked – it almost melted in my mouth and reminded me how much I love salmon. The salad contains scarborough farms baby mixed greens, grapes, celery, apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, apples, blue cheese, mint, red onion, cucumbers, strawberries and blueberries with pomegranate whole grain mustard vinaigrette. Yup. As good as it sounds.

 

Now I’m the one who typically orders salads and just eats a little bit of the sandwich, but I was soooo into this sandwich. The grilled chicken panini with avocado pesto on whole grain bread sounded good and I wanted something a little more substantial than a salad after an intense workout. (Ok, I guess I wanted some carbs?!) Back to the sandwich. It was so very lovely. Most of the time, panini’s are super greasy from lots of butter and cheese but the bread was grilled sans butter and the only cheese used was a small amount in a dressing that goes onto the chicken. (I seriously had to ask because I didn’t think there was cheese but it was so creamy!) Gotta love that avocado! :) The chicken was chopped into little pieces, tossed in a dressing, slathered with avocado pesto and stacked with spinach. A little messy but so worth it.

 

A very impressive aspect of this restaurant is that they do not have a fryer. I’m all for truffle fries, duck-fat fries, tator-tots, etc. but obviously not on a daily basis. I just couldn’t pass up the BAKED sweet potato fries with avocado pesto. Can you blame me? They were….um how should I put it…I could live on them. They were crunchy and sweet (not sure how they do it without oil) and were delicious alongside the pesto guacamole.

Yeah, everything was pretty average. ;)

I can’t wait to go back to Greenleaf – I’ve got a list of things to try!!

 

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop

1888 Century Park East

Los Angeles, CA 90067

424.239.8700

http://www.greenleafchopshop.com/

spicy pepper goat cheese spread

This spread is a favorite of mine.

It is slightly spicy, chock-full of vegetables and it contains cheese, so you know it’s got to be good.

The recipe inspiration comes from a favorite restaurant back in Wisconsin, High Rock, except that they have this special, secret hot sauce (Gilly’s hot sauce) that gives it kick. I don’t have Gilly’s hot sauce as it’s a home-made specialty so I had to use some jalapeno hot sauce, but it gives the same affect. Any type of hot sauce would work. Next time I think I might just try it with sriracha…

I can at least promise that sauteing garlic in olive oil will have everyone wondering what you are up to and when exactly it will be ready to eat. Isn’t it amazing how a simple ingredient cooking can bring everyone around to the kitchen?

spicy pepper goat cheese spread

Ingredients

  • 3 peppers (I used 2 green peppers, 1 red)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 11 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 baguette, sliced

Instructions

  1. Chop peppers and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in large pan and add peppers and garlic.
  3. Saute over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, until peppers are slightly browned.
  4. Add hot sauce to taste.
  5. Pour pepper mixture over goat cheese and sprinkle parsley on top.
  6. Serve with crackers or bread slices.
http://www.anutritionisteats.com/spicy-pepper-goat-cheese-spread/

restaurant: m cafe

To say that I’m excited for all of the restaurants that come with a new city, is a huge understatement. We’ve already got a pretty long list going and I’m sure we’ll be adding to it faster than we cross them off.

Apartment searching was a great reason to head out and try a few restaurants in potential neighborhoods. Food after all, is a huge factor in picking out a spot to live…for us. :)

I’d been intrigued by M Cafe after seeing it many times on Lynn’s blog and I was really excited to try it out. For our inaugural trip (there will be many, many more) I tried the M Chopped salad which was wonderful. It had hearts of romaine & mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, chickpeas, herb-baked tofu, scallions, umeboshi pickled radishes, carrots, beets, tamari-roasted almonds, crumbled tempeh “bacon” & tofu-peppercorn ranch dressing.

All kinds of flavors and textures going on for a perfectly filling salad.

The great thing about macrobiotic food is that fish is a-ok (unlike vegan/vegetarian food) which makes the Taster very happy. He went with the Grilled Tuna Burger that was delicious. Not just any old tuna burger – a tuna burger glazed with teriyaki sauce & garnished with sliced avocado, pickled red onions, daikon sprouts, spicy yuzu mayo, fresh shiso leaf and served on a house-baked whole wheat bun.

Oh yes. You also get to pick your side dish with sandwiches and while I urged him to choose the Kale with Peanut Sauce, he went with the soba salad. Good, but I have a feeling the kale will be better. :)

Next time we visit M Cafe (which will be very soon – I just picked up a groupon for it) I’ll be getting the deli salad plate so that I can try that kale. ;)