Restaurant Rave Round UP {In My Travels}

Local Urban Kitchen Hello Fellow Foodies!

I've eaten some seriously tasty food this past month while traveling to 3 wedding weekends in a row! From L.A. to New Hampshire, to the Jersey Shore, there's some great quality, mindful eating practices going on out there so I thought I'd share the few I've stumbled upon!

There's a new(ish) talk of the town in Venice, CA called Gjusta. It's the sister restaurant to the other famed Venice hot spot, Gjelina. It's exactly what you'd expect to find in the oh-so-cool and trendy streets of the west side of L.A. I went there two days in a row for breakfast and found myself in my usual overload of excitement when it comes to wanting to eat everything on the menu, so it was hard to decide! I ended up going with the Multi-Grain Waffle with berries, butter and maple syrup divine one morning, and the next a.m. went with the granola bowl and a slice of the daily quiche special. I'm sorry to report that I did not take any pics because I was really present to the whole experience ~ taking a number before placing the order, finding a standing spot at the breakfast bar and people watching all the overall wearing, grungy, bo-ho inspired coastal dwellers.

In New Hampshire, I found the cutest, most down to earth little cafe in Manchester that was bustling with local love! We went there for breakfast and I was super inspired by their story and what they are giving to the community! Purple Finch Cafe believes in: offering a healthy alternative to dining out, in a well balanced diet, in providing genuine personal attention in customer service (which was very obvious), striving to be the best, in creating a family atmosphere (also obvious), and sourcing local, organic, fair trade ingredients! Their spinach, feta and fried egg wrap was completely satiating! Their love for what they are creating there filled me with so much love and light that it carried me through my day! That's what it's all about after all, isn't it?!

Out of all the breakfast spots I tried, this one just may take the cake when it comes to offering a real farm to table experience. As soon as we walked in, we were aware of the local produce, the organic healthy options, the farm style touches of mason jar glasses, handmade wooden tables and chairs, and vibrant employees! We indulged in super seed pancakes, crab cake benedict, pumpkin protein smoothies, and quinoa porridge. You could tell that everything was made with love, and everything that's made with love will heal you, as my spiritual master teaches us. If you're ever on the Jersey Shore, be sure to find the Local Urban Kitchen! You just may want to hang out there all day like I wanted to!!! :)

As always, when you have a healthy relationship with food, your inspiration and appreciation for the food that you find and the restaurants where you dine will reflect back all that love you have for yourself! Menu planning, shopping wisely and cultivating a healthy relationship with food are all part of self care and healing that I can help you create if you'd like to schedule a diet assessment with me.

Since seeking out yummy, health inspired food is a passion of mine, you can read the restaurant raves where I eat and trust the quality and integrity, by clicking here.


L.A. Vegan Love

Vegan French Toast @ Sage Bistro, Culver City, Los AngelesThis may very well take the 'cake' for my favorite vegan restaurant in L.A.--it's a tough call, but it's right up there with Cafe Gratitude, RFD and Native Foods! I first stumbled upon Sage Bistro when hearing about the Kind Kremery (a raw, vegan ice cream parlor). A vegan's dream is to walk into an ice cream shop, sample flavors and have the options to create yummy sundaes, sandwiches, and waffle cones...oh my heaven!

As much as I'm thankful for the Dairy Free alternative pints and quart sizes at health food stores, there's still nothing like the nostalgia of being in an ice cream shop--after all I used to be a Ben and Jerry's scooper back in my high school days!;)

Thus, I was lured into Sage to sample these delights! I never expected to get double the pleasure! The menu at Sage is innovative, fun, healthy and alternative--full of creative vegan creations!

Now that they've opened a second location in Culver City, they've really stepped it up a few notches with the beautiful design of the venue! Needless to say, I was swept off my feet!

I'm not only a sucker for 'ice cream', but who doesn't love a good brunch filled with waffles, pancakes or french toast?! Another not so accessible feat for dairy free peeps.

Well, this restaurant delivered big time. Just look at that beautiful brunch spread!

Treat yourself to this little gem of a spot if you're ever in the L.A. area, I promise you won't be disappointed! Stay tuned for a full L.A. vegan loving list soon:).


Satisfy your sweet tooth the right way.

i dream of belgian waffles. each individual square slathered in earth balance vegan butter swimming in a little pool of maple syrup! does it get much better than that?? well, yes if you get really indulgent and add whipped cream or berries on top! or for that matter, you can choose to have ice cream on top at some restaurants. orrrr the latest crazy combo craze of fried chicken and waffles.

clearly, these little fluffy, crispy, sweet, doughy treats are the perfect vehicle for shoveling whatever you'd like into your mouth!

the weekends are for relaxing and treating yourself, are they not?

all the dedication and discipline i exert into my healthy lifestyle still deserves a satisfying treat every now and then! which is why i LOVED my santa monica vegan restaurants...sadly i have not found a restaurant here on cape cod that can accommodate my out of the ordinary 'fun' meals.

i used to look forward to Real Food Daily's waffle option on their sunday brunch menu, so i've decided to re-create it in my own kitchen! luckily, my dear friend and macrobiotic cooking instructor, karen garvey daisa in L.A. put together a series of recipes that she knew i'd enjoy! she knows i love my 'fun' food but i can't get too crazy because as alicia silverstone points out in her book, "balance begets balance, and crazy begets crazy".

words of wisdom to life by, i'll say. i have witnessed myself, a time or two, in a deep binge of sugar and flour, thinking oh my gosh, she's out of control, and there's no stopping her! its as if i were having an out of body experience...dramatic i know, but humorous to observe!

sugar, flour and alcohol make you 'high' and lead to cravings of more and more stimulating food.

this is that delicate balance of yin and yang that we talk about in macrobiotics. to bring yourself back to a grounded state of clear, conscious choices, sit down to a cup of kukicha tea or a whole grain meal with will be back to reality in no time.

but whoa, watch out for those 'benders'.

my point is, that if you can't get some play into your diet, you will give up on your healthy intentions, because variety is the spice of life, am i right?

needless to say, this morning's task to satisfy some cravings was a success!

i whipped up some quinoa flour, corn meal, rolled oats, almond milk, brown rice syrup, flax seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and water in a blender.

i heated up a skillet with coconut oil and pan fried my little macro batter into pancakes (the next best thing to waffles). they were a little runny, so it took a few tries to get a perfect looking pancake.

i admit, i had one perfect one in a stack of 6...the last one ended up in little blobs as i tried to get fancy and flip the pan without using the spatula...

it landed all down my clothes and onto my bare feet, but ya know what, sometimes i'm a little gross and i saved those little suckers and put them on the plate, justifying the 3 second rule...

the mess in the kitchen and the not so pretty looking pancakes tasted scrumpdidliumptious!!!

i spread on my vegan butter and maple syrup and got my fix! of course it was accompanied by a side of steamed kale and kukicha tea.

what do you salivate for on sundays??

Gratitude Cafe L.A. offers food for thought...

IMG_1328 if anyone hasn't been to cafe gratitude in LA, you must try it ASAP! not only are they super conscious about healthy, plant based food, but the whole vibe in there is all about being present and mindful about how we nourish our bodies and soul.

EVERY single person on staff there is radiant and smiling - happy to be of service to nourish their customers. the theme in there is all about gratitude and reprogramming our minds to think in positive ways through affirmations.

the bathroom mirror is written on with the words, "I Am Beautiful. I am Healthy" and always changing...the menu is listed with titles that start with, 'I Am...".

I go there with one of my best friends on a weekly basis, ideally. we always get the same thing - I Am Whole. this dish is centered along the macrobiotic diet principles, which is the way i primarily choose to live my life. more on that later.

our plates are inscribed with the question, "what are you grateful for?" a little food for thought. pun intended.

we are also greeted with the question of the day via our server, and today was, "how do you bring joy to the world?"

again, allowing us to reflect, be grateful, and present. i think i bring joy to this world by helping others feel good about themselves. how do you?