salad

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Chipotle Ketchup2Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, JFAT for short is one of those establishments turning out solid cuisine for a slightly higher price point. With the rapidly eastward growing city of Brea, JFAT is a nice addition to Village at La Floresta. Joining heavyweights like Mendocino Farms, Slapfish, Urban Plates, and Whole Foods, JFAT fits right in. We were lucky enough to get hosted by JFAT and had a chance to try some of their dishes. We also took home a bottle of their chipotle ketchup. No joke, this stuff is really delicious. I’d call it more of a BBQ sauce than a ketchup, and the sauce actually has a nice kick to it. It isn’t too sweet or smokey like a BBQ sauce, and it has some reminiscence of a ketchup. The kick from the chipotle peppers is really pronounced and is good with almost everything they have.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Santa Fe Caesar2The Santa Fe Caesar salad was interestingly delicious. I usually like traditional caesars (with sardines and all), but the addition of the grilled corn gave a nice texture. Contrastingly, the avocados gave a nice creaminess. The southwestern flavors really punched up this salad. One thing I would change is the salad presentation. The dressing was on the bottom of the whole stock of Romaine and there wasn’t a lot of it. Either a half cut of the Romaine or more drizzle of the dressing on top and bottom would have helped.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Burger2This burger was massive and the flavors worked amazingly. The patty was cooked to a perfect medium. The bacon and onion rings gave a nice smokiness and depth of flavor — Shout out to the Double Western! The best part of this burger was that Anaheim chili. The pepper gave a nice flavor throughout the burger and balanced it out nicely. Honestly, we took some time finishing up other dishes and of course, taking pictures. Even so, the fries were crispy and the burger was juicy after sitting there for some time.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Flatbread2The flatbread was quite a treat. The sweetness and saltiness really played well together. The pear and black fig jam made this “pizza” subtly sweet. The sharp blue cheese was needed as it made each bite creamy and funky. My favorite, the prosciutto was nice and salty to flavor the whole thing. The addition of arugula gave a nice rounded flavor to the whole dish.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Fried ChickenCould this have been my favorite dish of at JFAT? The buttermilk fried chicken was last of our meal, but not the least. I’d like to have had actual bone in chicken pieces as the filets were kind of boring. What saved this dish was the garlic mashed potatoes and the addition of thyme gravy. The thyme gravy flavored the whole dish perfectly. In hind sight, the dish was missing something — I guess at the time, I didn’t know what it was. I think a nice dab of Louisiana hot sauce would have been a perfect pairing to bring everything together.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - InsideMy experience at JFAT was an awesome one. The decor was a nice mix of old American tavern with modern accents. The staff was wonderful and the food was spectacular. JFAT is definitely the premiere eatery in the Village at La Floresta center. Their happy hour menu also seems to be something that everyone can enjoy. Their menu changes seasonally, so we definitely would be coming back to see what they have in store.

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Some days, you just have to treat your body good. As a food blogger, I eat some gut busting, heart unfriendly meals. Fried pork belly this, carbo-rich that, and anything fried, laden with butter, sugar, and Nutella is the name of the game for a food blogger. Sometimes, you have to treat your body right. The Veggie Grill offers some awesome vegetarian dishes as well as salads. The extra needed healthy foods really regenerated my digestion and rejuvenated my body. For a moment, I thought to myself that I can eat like this every day. Eating healthy is important indeed, and The Veggie Grill makes it a little easier to handle.

Kale has been a huge part of my healthy diet these days. Back in the day, it was only good for food decor, but now is considered a super healthy food. The All Hail Kale salad was wonderfully zesty and flavorful. It included marinated kale, quinoa, red cabbage slaw, corn salsa, and agave-roasted walnuts. I switched out the ginger papaya vinaigrette for the lemon vinaigrette. I am not a fan of sweet dressings at all. The lemon vinaigrette was fresh and the flavors popped. The bitter greens and the acidic flavors melded together to great a healthy dish.

For some, there is no substitution for beef. At The Veggie Grill, substitution is the only option. As a natural carnivore myself, eating the boca protein “beef” in the All-American Stack burger was a shocker. I know it wasn’t meat, but it really tasted like beef. If someone had to make a meat substitute to be the closest thing to meat, this would be it. It just had the consistency just right and flavor. Topped on this gorgeous burger, it really didn’t feel like it was missing anything. Topped with grilled veggie steak, pickles, lettuce, tomato, crispy onion rings, and thousand island dressing, the “burger” tasted quite like the real thing. With the addition of sweet potato fries, nothing was missing. I know having fried onion rings and fried sweet potato isn’t quite the healthy meal you were looking for, but come on. Compare that to a full on fatty beef patty, and this is quite healthy.

The Veggie Grill is probably my go to healthy joint. It has some great options for meat lovers like me. The salads are on point and always offers a fresh option for everyone. They even have protein style bowls and entree plates as well. This is indeed a perfect place for a vegetarian looking for some meat.

Veggie Grill on Urbanspoon

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Tender Greens (Culver City) – A Healthy Eye Opener

by Franklin on February 23, 2014

Eating healthy is a choice, and a good one at that. As someone who eats fairly unhealthy, I have a tendency to stay away from places such as Tender Greens. How wrong was I to think like this? Tender Greens really opened my eyes. Not only can healthy food taste good, but also makes me feel good. The farm to table concept is amazing to me. Eating something that was locally sourced, and picked or harvested less that 24 hours ago is exciting. This truly was an eye opening experience. I may never be able to eat another store bought vegetable again.

The harvest salad was so fresh and delicious. If I ate this everyday, I would be fit and healthy. This citrus salad had cara cara oranges, oro blanco kumquats, shaved fennel, candied pecans, goat Gouda cheese, tender greens, frisee, golden balsamic vinaigrette. The best part of this salad was the cara cara oranges and kumquats. They gave this salad such a brightness and clean taste. It literally opened my eyes after eating it. I guess I was a bit tired and just wanted to something to revive me, and this was it. The citrus really popped, and wasn’t overbearingly sour. It had a nice sweet note with hits of citrus, and went great with the salty, yet tangy goat Gouda cheese. Bites from the tender greens, fennel, and frisee were fresh and the candied pecans gave a nice crunch. I liked how this salad wasn’t drenched in dressing. It had a nice light coating of the golden balsamic. The true flavor came through not from the dressing, but the quality ingredients.

I’ll admit. Not all of the stuff I ordered was healthy. I ordered the mac and cheese because I am a sucker for it. I loved it as a child in the blue box, and I love it now as an adult. Tender Green’s mac and cheese was simple. They used seashell pasta — and it was cooked so perfectly al dente. Each bite had a nice chew and mouth feel. The cheese sauce wasn’t overpowering — quite subtle actually. The bits of herb breadcrumbs had just enough crunch and gave the dish some dimension.

Another not so healthy thing was the savory tart. I liked how this one was all vegetarian, yet it tasted meaty and delicious. The tart crust was better than most. It had a nice flakey texture, but not too messy. Inside were yams, mushrooms, carrot, and cauliflower. A total plus was that the cauliflower was totally masked from the other ingredients. As you may already know, I hate cauliflower. The whole package was nice as each bite was a savory mash of everything nice. Think quiche, without the eggs, instead with a whole lot of roasted veggies.

Tender Greens really opened my eyes. Eating healthy doesn’t mean disgusting quinoa salads with no flavor. The balance and flavors of all of the ingredients together really stand out. The farm to table concept is here to stay, and something I want to look into and explore more of. It looks like salads will make more appearances on my plate.

Tender Greens on Urbanspoon

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The Americana has a hefty amount of restaurants to choose from. Most are on the high end, a few are on the mid to low end. Granville aims to meet the upscale style and atmosphere with down to earth cuisine. I thought of it as a non commercialized Cheesecake Factory, though it sets itself up as chain. The design cues are similar to that of local gastropubs or high end restaurants, but the prices of the food are reasonable. I mainly come here for their blue cheese burger, a decent burger in the area. Other items though, I wasn’t not too fond of. Some might have to say that the food is a bit boring, and I would agree. Nothing really stands out. I mean, at least Cheesecake has some dang good cheesecakes. Bottom line is, the food is mediocre — there really isn’t a specialty here, and there isn’t a real cult following.

When I do come here, I get the Granville Bacon & Blue Burger. It is consistently tasty, and blue cheese is my weakness. Put blue cheese on almost anything, and I will like it. Made with 100% fresh, all-natural angus beef, the meat is the star. Applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, organic arugula, blue cheese, and sautéed mushrooms join the party to make a decently juicy burger. The brioche is a perfect bun to hold everything together. Beef, bacon and blue cheese make this a very heavy burger. Home made potato chips come as a side, and is crispy and indulging, especially dipped in ranch. This burger is rich and juicy (fatty) and satisfies my burger needs.

I had a few bits of the ginger salad with shrimp. It had fresh organic spring greens, Asian slaw, soft soba noodles, avocados, mango, carrots, green onions, grape tomatoes and peanuts. This was all mix in with their Thai sesame dressing. The salad was interestingly tasty, and the dressing was light and flavorful. The great number of ingredients melded nicely together. I wasn’t a fan of the shrimp. It was cold and seemed under-cooked. Heavy seasoning and nice sear marks with everything cooked throughout would have made this dish a little more complete.

I tried their mac and cheese because, well, I am on the search for the best mac and cheese in Los Angeles. Though this wasn’t the best, it was still creamy and rich. The cheese flavor was present and the dish was impressive. I liked the touch of the basil on top for decor, though I ate it.

Granville at the Americana is a nicely decorated restaurant with good food. Though not a specialty restaurant, and more close with food from Cheesecake Factory than anywhere else, the restaurant can still surprise you. Their ingredients taste fresher, more organic. Other places, the dish itself may be good, but each individual ingredient cannot stand on its own. Granville strives to use only the freshest ingredients, try to use only organically grown ingredients wherever possible. After a little shopping or window shopping for my case, Granville is a nice detour from everything.

Granville Casual Gourmet Cafe on Urbanspoon

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It was Good Friday yesterday.   It was also Earth Day.  That meant no beef, no chicken, no pork.  Shucks.  This also meant no driving to work, recycling all of your trash, and free coffee at Starbucks.  Though I didn’t walk to work, I did eat at Rutabegorz.  These guys are serious about going green.  As much as they are conscious about the environment, they have a hefty vegetarian friendly menu.  This poor carnivore was not happy.

We started off with the 41 cents Earth Day Delight Dip.  It was a blend of cream cheese, almonds, mango chutney, curry, and cranberries.  At first I got the cream cheese flavor, then the nutty texture, sweet fruit, and the kick from the curry.  At first it was a bit odd, but I loved it in the end — the curry needed a bit getting used to.  And why 41 cents?  They were celebrating their 41 years in business.

I tried the boca veggie chili burger and the Mexican Cesar salad.  This burger was humongous, but no size or soy patty is going to fool me!  Don’t get me wrong, the thing was delicious.  Melted cheese, red onions, bean chili, and the soy protein all mixed forming an open faced sandwich in front of me was a task.  It was messy, and it was filling.  The way I look at it, it made me appreciate meat a little more.

The best was the salad, hands down.  My favorite cheese was in there — feta!  That’s all you really need to keep me happy — all you need to get me to eat salad.  I loved the crunch of the tortilla chips and the bite of the pepitas were so mouthful.  You won’t see me eating a lot of salad, but if anyone can make me, it’s Rutabegorz.

Boy do I miss meat.  Eating like a vegetarian is like giving a T-Rex twigs for breakfast.  Eating a boca burger is like giving a great white shark a human shaped blob of seaweed.  Eating like a…well, you get the idea.  Despite my animalistic ways, I enjoyed my time at Rutabegorz — I get them.  They are all about the environment and vegetarian eating.  They aren’t like a bunch of hippies serving food and saving the world.  They are passionate about what they do and they surely found their niche in the Orange County.

Rutabegorz (Fullerton) on Urbanspoon

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zpizza

by Franklin on March 23, 2011

As you may or may not know, I don’t really enjoy writing about chains.  Whats the point when it’s not unique to Los Angeles and scattered through out the country?  Zpizza is special, tasty, and all organic — and though there are many locations around the United states, zpizza is definitely something unique to Southern California.

It started in 1986 in Laguna Beach, California.  The people wanted food that was fresh and organic, and zpizza definitely delivered.  And I say delivered, as in the freshness, not to your door step :).  Not only are their pizzas fresh, but they offer a great deal of different kinds of pizzas that are unique and refined.

I had the pear and Gorgonzola rustica pizza and the Greek salad.  It was my first time having pear on a pizza, and it worked.  Something about the marriage of fruit and cheese, Gorgonzola in this case, worked so well.  The crust was thin and crispy, as I like my pizza that way.  The fresh thyme wasn’t overbearing, but complimented the pizza subtly.  The salad had an array of veggies.  I love feta cheese as I do Gorgonzola — those strong cheeses with the saltiness of the Greek olives played nicely with the sweetness of the pear.  The flavors going on in my mouth was amazing.

It was a great lunch — everything was so flavorful and fresh.  Pizza is pizza, but organic pizza with organic ingredients is just even better.  I can see the niche that zpizza belongs in and foreshadow a lot more stores popping up around town.  I pride myself in being a Southern Californian, and knowing that this all started right here makes me proud.

Zpizza on Urbanspoon

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