Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book Picks - Michael Pollan

Organic Theme Park highly recommends Michael Pollan's books, Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire. These are must read books for all who embrace the organic food lifestyle. In Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael writes about "Big Organic" and the conventional imagery of "supermarket pastoral" dispelling the notion of "farm animals living as they did in the books we read as children." Organic companies such as Earthbound Farm, Cascadian Farm, Cal-Organics and even Rosie Organic Chicken are discussed. It will give you an insight on both conventional and organic business. In The Botany of Desire, the author takes us on a journey deep into four familiar plants - the apple, the tulip, cannabis, and the potato (with the "human desire that link their destinies to our own"). Definitely worthy of adding to your library or virtual bookshelf !

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Leaf Organics, Sherman Oaks, CA

Join me as Organic Theme Park takes you to Leaf Organics restaurant in Sherman Oaks, CA. Leaf Organics' philosophy is to "create healthful, tasty, and affordable foods, in their natural state, using only organic ingredients, imagination and conscious care." Let's check it out !

Just walking in to Leaf Organics, we are surrounded by bright life affirming colors in a modern casual environment. Let's read over their menu offering.

Katie smiles with anticipation and shows off her healthy meal. Let's take a closer look at the next photo below !

This is the cashew creamy cheese (not real cheese - as it is vegan, "cashew based") with onion & chive on crisp mango bread. Yum !

Here is the Bombay salad with lentil croquettes topped with a curry-coconut sauce with mixed greens (they added some kale per my request), sprouts, red cabbage, carrots and tomatoes. Delicious !

Here is one of their delicious wraps which are normally wrapped with a collard green leaf or you can pay for a sprouted grain tortilla instead.

Dessert time - all vegan and guilt-free! Also served was this young Thai coconut in the husk which are freshly cracked open before serving with its refreshing chilled clear natural sweet liquor.

The store front in Sherman Oaks, CA. There is also a location in Culver City, CA. as well. Be sure to stop in and treat yourself to some delicious casual style organic and raw food dishes. You can also find their products at Whole Foods, Erewhon and other natural organic and raw foods markets throughout California. Your body will thank you !

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Axe Sunday Brunch - Venice, CA

Organic Theme Park takes you to a Sunday Brunch at Axe Restaurant in Venice, California. Chef and owner, Joanna Moore has created a relaxing and minimalist designed vegan organic restaurant now in its 10th year on Abbot Kinney Blvd. The name Axe (pronounced ashay) is a salutation from Yoruba (where Nigeria is today) that means "go with the power of the Gods and Goddesses."

Sshhh! There's no name outside the building . . .don't let it intimidate you from entering.However, I do suggest reservations as guests line up outside!

Here is Axe's simple Sunday brunch menu. I love Axe's principles which embraces local organic farmers, seasonality of produce and earth friendly sustainability.

So what is Axe's Sunday brunch specialty? An absolute must is an order of their 9 grain pancakes with berries!

Of all my travels, this is the "holy grail" of vegan organic pancakes. Also served with genuine maple syrup!! These 9 grain pancakes have a wonderful nutty texture with the berries mostly hidden under. Perfection !!

Another great dish is their rice bowl with tofu, bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber, onion, cabbage, basil, mint with sesame dressing.

Here Kelli shows off her minimalist organic omelette of parmesan, goat cheese, scallion, spinach and basil.

Go early and don't forget to make your reservations for Sunday brunch at Axe!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Le Palais Gourmet's Matcha Tasting Event

Le Palais Gourmet in Beverly Hills, California, hosted an organic matcha tasting event to the delight of all the attendees. It was an epicurean event with matcha cuisine created by world renowned chef, Christy Choo (owner of Jin Patisserie).

The tea bar at Le Palais Gourmet was a spectacular with so many wonderfully prepared desserts all made with organic matcha, the Japanese green tea ground by stone into fine powder. Matcha is receiving world-wide acclaim for its super concentrated amount of antioxidants (more than 10 times that of pomegranate). Rather than simply, steeping the green tea, it's actually ingested which allows the concentrated antioxidants to stay in the body longer to deliver its powerful nutritional benefits. Let's take a look at all the tempting offerings!

These are creme brulee's made with organic matcha!

These are matcha pound cake slices over a bed of raspberry sauce with a touch of creme fraiche and a raspberry garnish.

Would you like a matcha soy smoothie? Perfect for the summer or anytime!

Take a look at all the canisters of tea along the walls . . . many of which are organic!

Beauty is everywhere at Le Palais Gourmet tea emporium !

The crowd gathers to watch Le Palais Gourmet's tea master, David Barenholtz demonstrate how to prepare hot matcha. This is a daily ritual of health, peace and tranquility.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Santa Julia Organic Wines

The selection of organic wines are growing everyday . . . thanks to more oenophiles demanding wines without pesticides. Santa Julia is an Argentinian Winery which has produced an organic Chardonnay that is wonderful and can be found at Whole Foods.

Another single varietal organic wine by Santa Julia is this Tempranillo which has an aroma of honey and dried fruits like pears, apricots and peaches. Its flavor is sweet with balanced acidity; complex and long finish. Cheers!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Flore Vegan Cuisine

For those of you Los Angelenos who venture to the East side of town, there's an organic-vegan sidewalk cafe style restaurant in Silver Lake called Flore that's worth a visit. While not chic in design or presentation like M Cafe, it's definitely more bohemian and a fun "people-watching" dining experience!

The late summer sun was setting at 8PM was we arrived for dinner.

A table outside is an absolute must especially on a summer evening (warning - too hot inside so wait for a table to open up outside). A delicious basmati brown rice bowl with kale, baked tofu, avocado, shredded carrot, daikon sprouts, raw sunflower seeds with a tahini dressing was yummy. Save room for vegan-organic desserts . . .

Lot's of cup cakes !!!

Even chocolate with agave or maple syrup sweeteners.

Or settle on this organic chocolate-strawberry gluten-free cake ! Flore Vegan Cuisine is definitely an organic-vegan restuarant to add to your list !

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Turmeric - The Spice For Longevity

One of my favorite spices is turmeric which is a component of curry. Did you know it is also used as an herbal beverage in Okinawa, Japan? Could turmeric be a diet secret for the Okinawans whose population is known for its longevity? Turmeric has been used for generations in Asian countries to control infection and reduce scar formation. The spice's active chemical, curcumin, has been shown to act as an antioxidant and an antimicrobial. Studies have also shown that extracts of turmeric root can reduce the secretion of acid by the stomach to protect against inflammation and reduce ulcers. Turmeric has been shown to have a protective effect on the liver by clearing harmful toxins as well as preventing damage. Turmeric may also relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Current research by Cornell University shows promise for curcumin's positive effect on breast cancer.

How to add turmeric to you daily diet? Sprinkle it on your salmon or tofu, add it to soups and as the Okinawans - make an herbal beverage. Turmeric is available at Whole Foods (organic) found in the spice section, or you can purchase it elsewhere in capsules, fluid extracts and tinctures.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cinnamon Power

Did you know that cinnamon was listed as an herb with medicinal properties dating back to Chinese literature as early as 2700 BC ? It is now known that cinnamon raises vitality, warms the system, stimulates all the vital functions of the body, counteracts congestion, improves digestion and can even aid as a treatment for nausea. There is also evidence that cinnamon can lower levels of cholesterol and blood sugars. The natural cinnamon plant (you can see the bark above in the photo) has essential oils which have been found to stimulate movement in the gastrointestinal tract and act as a natural gas-reliever.

So add cinnamon to your daily diet ritual by sprinkling it on your oatmeal, yogurt or evening adding it to your favorite herbal tea. When purchasing your cinnamon, buy "non-irradiated" as noted on the spice jar in the photo above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Brain Food - Walnuts

Something as simple as walnuts should be called the "superfood nut." Why? Walnuts contain brain loving omega -3 oils which also benefit the heart. Did you know consuming walnuts can also calm and moisten dry skin? Yes, nature's internal moisturizer! Another bonus, research on walnuts has found a unique vitamin E thought to suppress prostate and lung cancer cell division.
So, enjoy some walnuts everyday for these wonderful benefits.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kreation Organic Cafe - Santa Monica, CA

When in Santa Monica, California, be sure to stop for breakfast or lunch at Kreation. It's a great organic sidewalk cafe that is also a certified green business. While small, clients were waiting for this healthy dining alternative.

Their homemade Hummus is a must - garnished with organic California walnut oil and fresh parsley (bring on the omega 3's).

Their menu features an abundance of superfoods like turmeric, pomegranate, acai, quinoa, blueberries and flax. Definitely, a restaurant to support and enjoy when in Santa Monica.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Julie & Julia

Advanced screenings of "Julie & Julia" are now playing at Organic Theme Park ! This is the first film based on a blog by Julie Powell who began documenting her on-line daily experiences cooking each of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's iconic cookbook,
"Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Sure to be the must-see movie of the summer for foodies, "Julie & Julia" starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams . . . opens August 7th !

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Brentwood Farmers' Market

Beautiful day to check out the Brentwood, California, Farmers' Market.

Our kind of "checkerboard" - all superfruits!

Love this sign and selection!

Mmmm . . . some early dapple pluots !

Even all natural vegetarian soup from The Gourmet Soup Kitchen !

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Akasha Restaurant, Culver City - California

Join me on a V.I.P. visit to Akasha, an organic restaurant in Culver City, California. Chef & owner, Akasha Redmond, began to realize her dream restaurant while catering to the stars using healthful ingredients. Her culinary credentials include - author, "Hollywood Dish;" a twenty-year plus history producing events at the Sundance Film Festival, cooking at the Golden Temple vegan restaurant to being hand-picked as private chef to Barbra Streisand.

The main dining room has great scale with beautiful light and even an outside area for al fresco dining. While it looks empty - don't let it fool you as we just entered before lunch. The celebrity crowd devotees also include Brad Pitt and Ed Norton who recently held court.

The menu is varied . . . and even organic pizza's - I loved the "La Quercia Prosciutto" with oregonzola, figs, carmelized onions, arugula and olive oil. The grilled salmon nicoise salad was amazing too. Wonderful all organic comfort food like sweet potato fries with ginger sea salt.

There's even an artisan bakery with desserts & pastries made with organic flours, sweeteners, and superfoods like acai and goji berries. Definitely make Akasha a must organic dining experience when in Southern California!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Japanese Melon Green Tea

You know Summer is coming with the arrival of new fruity loose teas that can be enjoyed iced down or warm. Le Palais Gourmet with its flagship store in Beverly Hills, California, has debuted this wonderful, Japanese melon green tea called, "Midori Sencha." It is certified organic and given a special distinction with a gold and white, "Special Reserve" label.

Not only is the loose green tea beautiful with orange and yellow flower petals set against the tea leaves, but the aroma has a sweet yet subtle fragrance that comes through even when steeped.The liquor color is pale green with no bitterness! Le Palais Gourmet describes this tea as using the finest lightly steamed organic Japanese Sencha and blended with two kinds of Japanese melons. It is truly amazing!