Tag Archives: California

Juice Ranch

image9Are you in Southern California, and thirsty for 100% organic, locally-sourced, glass-bottled, cold-pressed juice, in bountiful blends?

What you COULD do is mosey on over to Juice Ranch!

image2Recently, I visited the Westlake Village location (twice) and tried some of their “beverages with benefits.” These drinks are green-based, fruit-based, carrot-based, beet-based, or nutmilk-based.  Sooooo many choices…so little bladder capacity…*sigh*

image5Yeah…I did that.  The folks at Juice Ranch support sampling, and are generous to boot!  Notice the number of empty sample bottles in the above pics…*hangs head in shame*

image1I love how they organize their menu!  You can pick your potion based on the blend or the benefits.  This, combined with samples, makes the decision process a little easier.  Greens N’ Ginger, Jalapina, and Strawberry Pearl are just a few of my faves.  YAY and YUM!!!

Juice Ranch also offers a variety of shots and cleanse packages, to help meet your health needs, all served with a smile.  And, when you consider their glass bottle credit offer…

Y’all have to go back now, ya hear?

XOXO

 

 

 

Rainbow Grocery

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*singing*

“Sooome-WHEEERE, o-ver at Rainbow, are greaaat fiiinds…”

From herbs to housewares, there is so much to explore.

 

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And so my anti-Black Friday experience began at this AMAZING, worker-owned co-op in San Francisco.  No crazy hours, no camping-out, no crowds, no ridiculous lines, no pushing or trampling , no BOGOs or desperate discounts, and no commercial hype.  Just good people, with positive energy, offering great products, with smiles.  Sign. Me. Up.

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The spices and teas tho’…

I could [literally] stop there; but I didn’t, and I won’t.

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I live here, in the Bath and Body Department.  And THIS, my friends, is where I nearly lost my mind!  It happens every time.

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Despite my desire to [permanently] move in, I had to keep it moving.  So, I made my final selections and checked-out.  I appreciate the sweet employee, who suggested that I include one of their reusable canvas bags in my purchase.  It’s a souvenir that’s guaranteed to make me smile.

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But wait!  There’s MORE!  Did you know that they recently added a cafe???  Oh yes, they did!!!  I concluded my experience with a custom-blended Pumpkin Spice Latte, from their special Holiday Drinks menu.  YAY and YUM!

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Wanna see what I got???  Here’s a look at some of my loot:

Sjaak’s Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Bites

Matcha Green Tea & Spirulina and Coconut Ash & Banana Super Dark Chocolates by Vosges Haut-Chocolat

The Big Yummy Double Chocolate Brownie by Wholesome Chow

Herb Pharm Calendula Oil

Valentina’s Home-Brewed Magickal Mineral Bath Salts (True Love, Sweet Dreams, and Prosperity)

Propolis Extract by Y.S. Eco Bee Farms

100% Pure Virgin Coconut Hand Buttercream

Evan Healy’s Whipped Shea Butter for Lips

*singing*

“If happy, lil’ ole me can find…great stuff at Rainbow…

…GOOO…EX-PLOOORE…THOOOSE…AIIISLES!!!”

With Gratitude

During a recent trip to California, I dined at Cafe Gratitude. Previously, I had only patronized their Bay Area locations.  So, I was grateful for the opportunity to enjoy some heart-healthy food at this organic vegan eatery in Los Angeles.

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I AM…sooooo glad that I wore my Madewell Afternoon Dress in bright cobalt.  In doing so, I was *ahem* prepared to enjoy an abundance of vegan creations from their affirmation-filled menu…

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I AM…COMPLETE.  I love fresh juices.  For me, this blend of kale, pineapple, celery, cucumber, lemon, and turmeric, was the perfect “sweet green.”  Aaaaah!!!

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I AM…PRESENT.  How could I refuse the bruschetta when my friend passed the plate?  I must admit that it was hard to eat just one.  However, I felt the need to pace myself during our feast.  There was more to come.  Le sigh…

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I AM…DAZZLING.  I’m still thinking about this simple, savory, and satisfying caesar salad; and plotting to re-create the magic at home.  Yum!!!

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I AM…BLISS.  You didn’t think I’d leave without having dessert, did you?!?!  I’m convinced that this dreamy raw chocolate cream pie is one of the best I’ve ever had.  In fact, my son and I stopped short of licking the plate.  More, please, and thank you!!!

Cafe Gratitude is located at 639 N. Larchmont Blvd in Los Angeles.

Try it.  I AM…sure that you will like it.

Have a wonderful week, with an attitude of gratitude!

XOXO

 

Souley Vegan

Aaaaand speaking of Souley Vegan…have you eaten here?  Well, you should!  Founder/President Tamearra Dyson and her crew serve plant-powered, Southern-style classics that remind me of the food that my “Nana” used to make.

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Every year, during my Thanksgiving vacation in the Bay Area, I enjoy at least one meal here and grab some take-out for Thanksgiving Day.  This year was no exception, as my sister-in-law and I started our “Moms’ Night Out” here with dinner.

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My SIL loves the Portabello Sandwich, and “chased” it with some Seasoned Fries.  I opted for a plate of 3 sides:  Greens, Mac and Cheese, and a Biscuit with Gravy.  Some of my other menu favorites include:  Fried Okra, BBQ Tofu, Fried Kale, Okra Gumbo, Cornbread, and Peach Cobbler.  OMG…

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Cinnamon rolls, cookies, and cakes…OH MY!!!  We had to get dessert, right?!?!

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So, we ordered cake to-go.  My SIL chose the chocolate, and I went for the vanilla.  Truthfully, mine never made it out of the restaurant.  It was soooo good!!!

After dinner, we walked around the corner to the Regal Cinemas Jack London Stadium 9 to see Malcolm Lee’s “The Best Man Holiday.”  Loved it!

Souley Vegan is located at 301 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607.

Now go feed your soul!

 

 

Thanksgivukkah 2013

Yesterday, both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah (a.k.a. “Thanksgivukkah”) were celebrated for the first time since 1918.  This will not occur again until 2070.  During the course of the day, my family and I got a “taste” of both.  First, we visited our Jewish friends in San Francisco, who were making preparations for their annual Hanukkah party this weekend.  Although we will miss the festivities, we offered to help in the kitchen…

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We made Hanukkah cookies, while we discussed faith, family, and the future.

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Aaaaand we [sacrificially] offered ourselves as “taste testers” for the persimmon apple pie filling, and a quinoa dish (Hey, somebody had to do it!).

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Their pet pig was overcome by all of the delicious smells from the kitchen, and waited in anticipation for a snack.  She was too cute!

I was [secretly] hoping to watch our friends make jelly doughnuts (wife) and latkes (husband); but yesterday was not the day.  Not to mention the fact that we lost track of time, and had to make a quick exit to get to our family gathering in San Carlos.  We arrived just in time to pray and feast with our cousins…

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This was the “official” family spread; however, my crew and I enjoyed alternatives from Souley Vegan.

Overall, we had a WONDERFUL day, filled with food, friends, and family!  This is my favorite time of the year; and the fact that two holidays collided made it even more special.  I hope that you enjoyed your day with loved ones as well.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Veggie Grill

Vegan doesn’t have to be boring, and Veggie Grill serves up plant-based comfort food that is both delicious and budget-friendly.  When I was first introduced to this restaurant, a few years ago in Los Angeles, it was love at first bite…

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Honey, I’m HOME!!!  What’s for dinner???

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All Hail Kale Salad with Blackened Tempeh and a side of Mac-n-Cheese, that’s what!!!

Although I have tried other items on Veggie Grill’s extensive menu, the All Hail Kale Salad is my absolute favorite.  I love it so much that I searched far and wide for a recipe, so that I could “bring the party to my house.”  Fortunately for me, I am not alone in my addiction.  I found recipes here, here, and here.  And who couldn’t use another great salad recipe in their arsenal?!?!

The West Hollywood Veggie Grill holds a special place in my heart, so that’s where I get my “fix.”  That said, this casual contemporary eatery continues to expand.  For other locations check here.

Viva Veggie Grill and ALL HAIL KALE!

 

 

 

 

 

Crossroads Kitchen

Recently, I dined at Crossroads Kitchen for the first time during a visit to LA.  This gourmet vegan paradise was the perfect place for a birthday celebration for two vegan-lovin’ cousins.  In my opinion, it was much-needed and long-overdue.  LA has the “casual-vegan-dining-thing” down, so it’s nice to have a more upscale option.  Thank you, Chef/Owner Tal Ronnen!

Here, it’s as much about the experience, as it is about the food.  The atmosphere at Crossroads is beautiful.  Everyone on staff was warm, friendly, and engaging.  We were seated in a comfortable booth, at a candlelit table.  Once we made our selections from the menu, our server brought on the flavors, and we embarked on a gastronomic journey that we still talk about to this day.

Melrose Mule and Sunset & Vine "mocktails" at Crossroads.

Melrose Mule and Sunset & Vine “mocktails” at Crossroads.

For our drinks, we chose the Melrose Mule and the Sunset & Vine, and had them made as “mocktails.”  YES YOU CAN!  The Melrose Mule was light and refreshing, and the  Sunset & Vine was sweet and fruity.  Both drinks were delicious, and quickly disappeared.

Kale Salad and Asparagus Soup at Crossroads.

Kale Salad and Asparagus Soup at Crossroads.

Next, we enjoyed the Kale Salad and Asparagus Soup.  You can’t go wrong with kale, as far as we’re concerned.  And the Asparagus Soup was creamy and flavorful.

Artichoke Oysters, Kale Spanakopita, and Crab Cakes at Crossroads.

Artichoke Oysters, Kale Spanakopita, and Crab Cakes at Crossroads.

Artichoke Oysters, Kale Spanakopita, and Crab Cakes…OH MY!!!  The flavors were amazing, and the presentation was awesome!  And the placement of the Artichoke Oysters on a bed of sea salt, instead of ice, was really creative.  Made from hearts of palm, the Crab Cakes were well-seasoned and had great texture.

Grapefruit Salad and Scaloppini at Crossroads.

Grapefruit Salad and Scaloppini at Crossroads.

Then we ate Red Grapefruit Salad and “Chicken” Scaloppini with marsala-glazed morel mushrooms.  The Red Grapefruit Salad was a nice palate cleanser in between some of our courses.  The Scaloppini was tender, nicely spiced, the sauce was wonderful, and we devoured it.

Chocolate Bundt Cake and Cannoli at Crossroads.

Chocolate Bundt Cake and Cannoli at Crossroads.

For dessert, we had the Chocolate Bundt Cake and the Cannoli with candied kalamata olives and almond cream filling.  INCREDIBLE!  The cake was rich and delicious.  And the cannoli were mind-blowing, with the candied kalamata olives providing an unexpected twist.  Whaaat?!?!

Chef Tal graciously came over to our table, where we showered him with compliments about the great food and service, then listened as he explained his approach to gourmet vegan cuisine.  His goal is to inspire others (regardless of their dietary preferences) by offering them foods that are familiar to them, go together, pair well, are easy to eat, and enjoyable.  He has done just that, and we’ll be back!

See you at Crossroads

Location:  8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, California 90046

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