Tender Greens

“If you’re in Culver you NEED to go to Tender Greens” is what I’ve heard for the last 3 years. So I finally made it. When I got there, the line was out the door, I guess their friends all told them to check it out too. Although the line was long, it moved quickly. The dining area was full inside but thankfully there were a few tables ready outside.

My grilled prawn salad came out momentarily. The prawns looked like they were hiding in the giant shrub on my plate. While it was a very good salad, it left me wanting more. Yes it was a healthy dinner option, and I still laugh that Honey’s Kettle is just a few doors down. The service was great and the place was clean. I guess for $10.50 I was expecting this salad to knock my socks off. Maybe next time I’ll try one of their sandwiches or soups & see how it goes. As for right now, I’ll stick to healthy fare in the South Bay.
Tender Greens on Urbanspoon
Tender Greens in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Media Lunch: True Food Kitchen

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Santa Monica. So when I received an invite for a restaurant preview of the new True Food Kitchen at Santa Monica place, I was happy to attend.

I don’t know why, but the first thing that came to mind as I walked in was the Highline park in NYC. No we weren’t outside, no it’s not built over abandoned train tracks. Maybe because of the green meets city feel that it had to it.

I noticed not only did they have a bar, but a juice bar as well. Not very common unless of course you walked into a Jamba Juice. I knew I had to have a smoothie.

I started things off with the Morning Glory smoothie. Made with apple juice, coconut, strawberry and banana, it was a nice way to begin..

Our server told us “Everything is fresh, local and good for you” as we looked at the small menu that contained a good selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. There were a good combination of things to choose from. We could either have brunch or go with a pizza, sandwich, or regular entree.

 

I had the Halibut tacos as my main course. It was a good size portion, but definitely not big enough if you were absolutely starving but for the average appetite, it was just enough. Everything was fresh and flavorful. The beans were a nice accompaniment

I had a latte made with organic non fat milk while waiting on dessert. To me, it just needed two more sugar cubes & we would’ve been golden.

Last but not least was the strawberry rhubarb crisp with non dairy ice cream. This was big enough to share, which we did. The presentation, minus the ice cream looked like a nice breakfast, but it was sweeter. It tasted like a strawberry granola bar.

The prices are moderate, but it is a healthy restaurant in Santa Monica so that’s to be expected. I liked that the staff was very helpful, the restaurant was clean, and most importantly, the food proved that healthy doesn’t mean tasting like a cardboard box. I’d like to thank Farial Awan and BWR PR for inviting me to this event. I really hope True Food sticks around a long time. True Food Kitchen’s grand opening is today, May 9th, so stop on by if you’re in the area.

True Food Kitchen

395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172
Santa Monica, CA 90401
P: 310.593.8300
F: 310.593.8301
True Food Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Another weekend adventure with food

October has been quite the month! We made a trip to Norcal a few weeks ago but this time it was a girls trip! Our first stop was San Francisco. This time however the trip would be short which was fine with me because I’d done all the sight seeing on a few trips before. I’d definitely love to again but was thankful I experienced all that before this turn around trip that we thankfully flew for!

Our first stop for food on a rainy San Francisco afternoon was Bang San Thai. Located near an assortment of delis and pizza was where I found this place that turned out to be a diamond in the rough neighborhood… at least from my perspective in my limited time in the city.

I just wanted a quick bite to eat that was something a little different from the restaurants in the area & what I got was something I’ll remember for my next trip.

It was mid afternoon when I walked in for some lunch. The restaurant was rather large but only had one party in it. The woman working the register was very pleasant and offered me some tea on the house as I waited on my meal. I watched her wait on the other table & she was so polite, so gracious. Something I sadly haven’t witnessed too much in my 13 months of writing a food blog.

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Just as I took the last sip of my hot Jasmine Tea, the Pad Woon Sen which was glass noodles, meat, & veggies in oyster sauce had arrived. It was a rather large portion and thankfully so since the price was a bit on the expensive side as far as takeout goes.

They boast a halal menu and how healthy their food is & how low fat it is as well. All of the hype was right as the food didn’t just sit in my stomach for the night. In fact, although it tied me over from the mid afternoon, I was hungry again around midnight.

Although I wasn’t in one of the nicest neighborhoods in San Francisco, I would stop by just for some Thai food again. As you know if you’ve followed my blog for a while, I always value good service & I got that right here!

Bang San Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Chinese Food Challenge #1 Happy Veggie Redondo Beach,CA

Stop 1 in the Chinese Food Challenge was Happy Veggie located in Redondo Beach. Just a few yards away from Hermosa Beach, I would drive by this place for years but never made it in. So naturally this was my first choice for the challenge. I already knew that this was a vegetarian restaurant coming in but I didn’t know what else to expect.

The first thing I noticed upon walking in was how bright the restaurant was. Light brown furniture and a typical Asian decor of bamboo set the tone. A fairly small yet roomy dining area, it was a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner. I was immediately greeted and picked a seat of my choice.

The server gave me a water without question and handed me a menu. She didn’t introduce herself but was friendly. I saw many soy products on the menu. To be honest, I was expecting all veggie items and the thought of soy meat products didn’t even come to mind. I was actually trying to avoid eating soy meat due to a bad experience I had in college when I went vegetarian for Lent. At the same time, I know that I have a high metabolism & I would end up just as hungry as I was when I arrived if I ate nothing but veggies. So I ordered the Mongolian (soy) Beef off the lunch special menu which is served from 11am-3pm and comes with steamed rice and soup of the day.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup at Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach, CA

Vegan Pumpkin Soup at Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach, CA

Up first shortly after the order was entered was some vegan pumpkin soup which I found to be a good balance between creamy and light. I could really taste the pumpkin that was accompanied by a very light kick from the pepper. The soup was of a good portion. Enough to whet my appetite but not too much to make me full. It was a soup that isn’t found in your typical Chinese restaurant which is what made it unique.

The server was proactive throughout the meal, giving me condiments of pepper & soy sauce before the meal arrived as well as refilling my water before I asked. The Mongolian Beef arrived as I was wrapping up the last few sips of my soup. The first thing that I noticed was how generous of a portion it was. Another thing I noticed, and maybe you omnivores can relate, is how “meat like” the soy meat looked. I know that may seem frivolous but to me, if it’s a meat substitute, it should at least look the part which it did.

Mongolian Beef at Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach, CA utilizing soy meat

Mongolian Beef at Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach, CA utilizing soy meat

I found the black bean sauce in the dish to be a bit tangy for my taste. I noticed that the tanginess was stronger on the soy meat. I did find the soy meat very spongy in texture. I know it wasn’t real meat & maybe I just had to get used to a different texture. However, the texture was the only thing I wasn’t too fond of with the meat. Other than that, the taste wasn’t bad at all. The veggies were also cooked up to par as well. The steamed rice was reminiscent of rice at traditional Chinese restaurants in that it was a sticky rice. For some reason I found that comforting, maybe because that’s something I’ve always associated Chinese food with.

Finally it was time to settle the bill or so I thought. When I gave the server my debit card, she informed me that they couldn’t charge my card since I ordered $7.00 and change for food. This wasn’t noted anywhere on the menu or by the cash register & I was a little irked by that. So I ordered a vegan chocolate mousse to meet the balance since I didn’t have any cash on me.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse from Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach, CA

Vegan Chocolate Mousse from Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach, CA

If the taste of the mousse was as good as it looked, things would be great. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. I found the whipped cream to be very tart to the point where my gums felt like they were stinging a bit. The mousse was also very bland and had an aftertaste of beans. Sadly this wasn’t the way I wanted to end my meal. If I had known about the $10 minimum charge on debit cards, I would have brought cash with me & not have wasted my money on this.

All in all, despite the friendly service and clean restaurant, I don’t think I’ll be returning. Yes I didn’t feel too full or bloated after my meal which was a plus but I think I’ll be sticking to regular Chinese food. However if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you may like this place more than I did. Average menu price is $10. There’s plenty of parking at Happy Veggie since it’s located in a strip mall.

Happy Veggie on Urbanspoon
Happy Veggie in Los Angeles

Recipe: Quinoa and Vegetables

Quinoa

Quinoa and Vegetables

Quinoa, native to South America is a great alternative to rice as it high in protein and contains essential amino acids. It makes a perfect side dish, or main course. Uncooked quinoa has a natural bitterness to it. It is important to wash the quinoa twice before cooking. The best way is to put the quinoa in a medium sized bowl & fill with cool water. Rub the quinoa together several times. With a cheesecloth or fine strainer, so the quinoa does not pass through, drain the water. Repeat the process one more time.

Quinoa and Vegetables

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 bell pepper, diced

1 small cucumber, diced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and simmer for 14-18 minutes or until fluffy. Drain. In a medium bowl, mix quinoa and all ingredients together. Serve warm.


Quinoa and Vegetables

Hermosa Beach Vegetarian Restaurant Profile: The Spot

Hermosa Beach offers a plethora of healthy food options at their restaurants to complement the active nature of a majority of its residents. However, The Spot is one of the few truly vegetarian restaurants in Hermosa. The Spot’s menu consists of organic and whole grain ingredients. They make their breads from scratch and have many fat free and dairy free options which are available upon request.

Keep reading

The Veggie Grill El Segundo, CA

I had a friend coming over that wanted to eat at a vegetarian restaurant. Not knowing of too many I asked my husband.

My husband suggested “The Veggie Grill” in El Segundo. Now, my husband eats cookies, cakes, burgers & steaks. For him to say that this place is good, I’d say I’d give it a try.

My friend & I arrive there on a Saturday afternoon. The line is of a moderate length but it moves quickly. I liked the menu selection but I admit I was a bit weirded out by the soy “meat” products they had. Nonetheless I ordered the Grillin Chickin’ Yes thats Chickin’, not Chicken, like I said I was a bit weirded out but I went with it.

The food did take a bit longer than expected but not to the point where our stomachs were growling at us. It finally arrives, the presentation is great & the food? Yummy! It’s full of flavor & it actually fools me into thinking its really chicken!

Overall I’d come back here again, the cashiers were friendly & knowlegeable, the restaurant was clean & the food was great. I’d probably come off peak for the time being as well.

The average price per entree is $10. The Veggie Grill is located in a fairly new shopping plaza in El Segundo that tends to get full during lunch hours and after 5pm. Please allow extra time for parking.

I give them **** out of 5 stars

The Veggie Grill on Urbanspoon

The Veggie Grill in Los Angeles

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