organic

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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Newport Beach, CA is like something out of a movie.  It’s the place of the rich and fabulous.  Nice cars and homes, and of course the beach are what comes to mind.  Healthy living is what I think of next, as Orange County is a big fan of eating healthy.  True Food Kitchen couldn’t have chosen a more perfect location inside Fashion Island —  they serve up healthy organic food that is so fresh, you would swear they have a farm in the back.

I followed some of the recommendations and tried their kale salad. The kale salad was mixed with lemon juice and topped with Parmesan cheese.  For a vegetable so bitter, it was very refreshing.  I could taste the healthy.

The ahi sliders were tasty with the wasabi mayo.  The sweet potato hash was a bit cold and I did not really enjoy them. Other than that, the sliders were great!  Fish should always be eaten fresh, especially when cooked rare.  The fish was as fresh as can be and the taste really shined through.

The spaghetti squash casserole was bland — in other words, it was super healthy.  The melted fresh mozzarella was really the best part about it.  Adding some pepper really bring the flavors out a lot better.

I was in the mood for some raw fish and ordered the sashimi salad as well.  The Hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi was thinly sliced for the salad and topped with radishes, pea shoots, jicama and yuzu sauce.  This was by far the best thing here.  Yeah it was a salad, but it was sashimi, my favorite thing.

We even ordered a fruit drink from the juice bar.  It was a mix of coconut water, organic juice and pineapple.  It was very refreshing — I wanted to try all of their juices.

Everything was so fresh and clean.  I can honestly say this was the healthiest and freshest meal I ever had in my life.  True Food Kitchen really hones in on the health factor of eating.  The open kitchen and open juice bar area is really refreshing when you enter.  Expect a wait during peak hours, this place gets busy fast.  If I ever overindulge myself with fried everything, a trip to True Food Kitchen will be my detox.

True Food Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Who would have thought that Koreatown would be having a weekly farmers market?  I never knew, and I am happy there is one so close by.  I was going to the bank one day to get a check, and look what I stumbled upon.  A great little get together of local foods.  They have fresh produce, peanuts, cheeses, Hawaiian chicken, and a lot more.

I had their pita bread with goat cheese and hummus.  The cheese was very strong and buttery smooth, just how I like it.  The pita bread and hummus were really good together as well, though a meat would have been a perfect addition.  I want to try some of their other stuff as well.  Maybe the Hawaiian BBQ or other full on meals they have.

All in all, this is a great thing for Los Angeles.  It is in the middle of the city, and city people need to be exposed to fresh food more often.  The farmers market is at the Wilshire and Vermont Metro Station.  They gather there every Friday from 11AM – 3PM.  Go there for lunch, or get some fresh food to cook for dinner.  It’s always a fun time at farmers markets.

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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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Downtown Brea Farmer’s Market

by Franklin on March 22, 2011

As a lover of fresh food, I love farmers markets.  The diversity of fruits and vegetables, interesting snacks and unique flavors all come in play when you are at the farmer’s market.  Nothing is processed — it goes right from the grower to the consumer and is all organic.

I was walking in downtown Brea one evening and there was a farmer’s market gathering on Birch.  They had a variety of organic fruits, vegetables, popcorn, and other specialty foods.  Each vendor under the tents encouraged customers to try their crop.  One thing in particular stood out to me.  In fact, this whole post can be about this one thing.  It was the orange.

The lady gave me a slice of an orange.  It was a small piece, almost half a bite — but a very memorable bite indeed.  Most of the oranges I eat are dry, flavorless and aren’t even rich in orange color (kind of faded orange).  But this orange slice, this one morsel of an orange slice, was simply amazing.  It was juicy, sweet, and not too sour.  Each pulp burst with flavor and juice.  I felt I was eating an orange for the first time.

The downtown Brea farmers market is pretty small compared to other farmers markets especially in comparison Los Angeles Farmers Market.  They also don’t have an extensive variety of vendors.  Even so, they still manage to bring fresh produce and  specialty items for locals.  They are on Birch St. every Tuesday from 4:00PM – 8:00PM.

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