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!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Joan's On Third

Join me on a V.I.P. tour of one of my favorite foodie destinations in Los Angeles, "Joan's On Third." I love their mascot out front by the olive trees to greet you as you stroll past the sidewalk cafe to enter inside . . .

For you cheese mongers, you'll feel at home with this beautiful display of fromage with "Joan's On Third" chalkboard welcome sign above!

On the right of the front entrance, cue up for their selections of pastry and other delectables! While not all organic - still a visual treat!

I love their patriotism!

Our kind of people - lot's of fellow foodies and an attractive staff sure to help you with your purchases. You can dine in or outside (inside is fun to enjoy the flowers, aromas and visual delights). If you're lucky, you may see "Joan" who's gourmet market & cafe is a labor of love and now an L.A. institution.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cranberry Orbs of Health

So you don't like cranberry sauce and want a way to sneak this superfood in your diet? Just float them in Spring water and enjoy. Cranberries are rich in polyphenols (a potent antioxidant) and research indicates they may inhibit the growth of breast cancer and reduce the risk of gum disease and stomach ulcers. They contain the highest levels of polyphenolics among all fruits and vegetables.

Whole cranberries are most beneficial to your health. I love this brand, Stahbush Island Farms which I purchase at Whole Foods in their frozen freezer section.

Just drink some and enjoy the tart crunch with your Spring water each day to protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. You'll enjoy their natural unsweetened tart flavor! Cheers!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Organic Theme Park Guest - Alice Waters

A special video snacking treat for you today as we visit Alice Water's iconic restaurant CHEZ PANISSE in Berkeley, California.

An interview with Alice Waters who we credit as one of the first chefs and entrepreneurs to embrace local sustainable agriculture and cooking with "in-season" fresh ingredients.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Organic Premium Matcha

Found - Organic Certified Premium Matcha ! It is so new and fresh, Le Palais Gourmet hasn't posted it yet on their website. You're the first to know! High quality matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves (gyokuro) and stone-ground into a fine, bright green powder. Matcha tea is a superfood as it has one of the highest amounts of antioxidants available on earth. Unlike other teas which are steeped and then removed, matcha tea (the powder) is actually ingested into the body.

As you can see in this caddy, the beautiful and vibrant color. In the foreground, is the bamboo matcha scoop (chashaku) which is used to place a tiny amount into the matcha tea bowl.

Here you can see the dry organic matcha powder placed into the bowl.

Here is a beautiful yet simple bamboo tea whisk (chasen) used for whisking the matcha.

Hot Spring water is added (never boiling so as to retain the nutrients and optimum flavor) and whisked for few seconds. The purpose of the bamboo whisk is to remove any lumps remaining in the liquid and any on the sides of the tea bowl. This is beautiful daily ritual.

Now, we are ready to drink this amazing organic certified premium matcha from Japan!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Farmers' Market In Beverly Hills?

Yes! Let's go! Now in its 15th year, the Beverly Hills certified Farmers' Market is open Sunday mornings at the 9300 block of Civic Center Drive (9A - 1P). There's even this fun mascot featured on the Beverly Hills Farmers' Market produce cloth bag by artist Gary Baseman. (If you are interested in this bag, post a comment and we will contact you with details.)

As you can see, it was a glorious day with the gilded dome of the Beverly Hills City Hall in the far distance.

I was so thrilled to see so much certified organic produce . . . this sign brought music to my ears! There's an exclusive section devoted to certified organics which makes shopping a breeze.

Just look at this honey display!

I stopped here and picked up some amazing organic white peaches . . . the fruit just fell of the stone nut and packed with flavor.

Check out the organic strawberries! There are themed events which change each Sunday such as a pie bake "piesta" (I wonder if there will be any organic certified pies? - could be a great excuse to indulge!).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

M Cafe - A Macrobiotic Destination

Let's stop for lunch at one of my favorite cafes in Los Angeles, M Cafe with locations in Beverly Hills, Culver City and the Melrose District (near Hollywood). M Cafe offers a unique menu of macrobiotic dishes with no refined sugars, eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry. Macrobiotics stresses the importance of whole, natural foods eaten in season and as minimally processed as possible.

I love their two salad fresh combo duo of scarlet quinoa and sesame soba noodles. They also serve an amazing kale-lemonade!

So, pull-up a chair in this relaxing euro cafe setting and join me at one of my favorite lunch stops in Los Angeles - M Cafe!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hawaiian Organic Honey

Honey . . . a gift from nature. Think of all the work, our planet's endangered bees do for a single drop of honey. Some wonderful artisan organic honey from Hawaii has been earning rave reviews. In the mystical Ohi'a forest, high on Mauna Loa's slopes, finicky bees gather nectar from the Ohi'a Lehua blossom at its peak ripeness. This single floral honey has a thick and creamy texture, light & delicate and can be perfectly paired with your teas, herbals, yogurt, etc.

Rather than reaching for bleached white cane sugar, use healthier organic honey instead. There are many subtle flavors which are influenced by the micro climates where the honey is produced. It's also a pleasure to use a honey dipper spoon which reduces spills of nature's precious liquid gold.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Say Cheese !

Our V.I.P. tour continues today at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills!

Check out the Spring picnic baskets in their window! Let's go inside!

When you walk in the door, you'll be over-powered by the melange of cheese aromas!

Beautiful cheese displays to tempt you at every glance . . .

Be sure to ask for samples and say hello to Norbert, the owner of this marvelous cheese store! So when you visit Le Palais Gourmet (see 6/4/09 post) for your tea, be sure to stop here at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, only a block away.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tea Mecca

For tea lovers an absolute must visit is Le Palais Gourmet in Beverly Hills, California. With over 250 loose teas and herbals (many of which are certified organic) and a beautiful expansive minimalist setting, it is truly "tea heaven."

Just take a look at all the cans of teas and herbals on the walls ! You can purchase your loose teas by 1/4 pound minimum. Typically, the prices start around $12 and go up to $160 per 1/4 pound for a tea called Gyokuro (a rare shade grown green tea). Le Palais Gourmet specializes in green teas with frequent shipments from Japan. They have just received the new Spring '09 harvest from Japan (Shincha) which are eagerly awaited by tea connoisseurs around the world.

Amazing displays and beautiful gifts always inspire and are hard to resist ! While not a tea room, there is a tea bar which seats six and you can take tea-tasting classes on Saturday mornings (be sure to call and register in advance as they are typically booked). With proximity to major restaurants up and down Canon Drive, you can make a day of it. Don't forget to stop at the Beverly Hills Cheese Store which is a block away!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Glorious Apples !

Resist the urge to peel an organic apple! Why? A study by Cornell University found that apples, especially their peels have high levels of polyphenols. Further, one serving of a red apple with its peel has the same antioxidant activity as 1500 mg of vitamin C. Cornell's studies on apples have also shown them to inhibit the growth of liver, colon and breast cancer cells. Apples may also decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes and asthma. One of my favorite daily rituals is eating a Gala or Fuji apple with some almond butter. Pure heaven !

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don't Judge A Strawberry By Its Color !

Yes, it's strawberry season! Like the picture taken above at my local farmer's market, these strawberries are hypnotic in color and perfection. Warning! Don't fall for it! Why? These strawberries are NOT organic. They are full of pesticides! Strawberries are low lying fruit and as they typically lay on the ground while growing, they are also soaking up pesticides. Only buy organic! If I can't find organic strawberries during the off-season, I'll buy frozen organic strawberries and place them in a glass container in the fridge (there is no loss of nutrients in frozen fruit). Also, if you enjoy strawberry jam or jelly, look for the organic label on the jar. Now, that you know how to shop for strawberries, include them in your diet everyday. According to the USDA's analysis of antioxidant capacity, strawberries came in second to blueberries. They are also rich in dietary fiber, manganese and contain more vitamin C than any other berry!