• My Personal Story + Interview

    Hey friends!

     

    Last week I had my portrait taken by my dear friend and awesome photographer, Bethany Nauert. She and I originally started this blog together, though due to other professional obligations (she is a full-time photographer and contributing blogger to other blogs as well), we have now branched off going our own ways. Nevertheless, Bethany continues to give me ideas for the blog and will still be a future contributor to Steamed Not Fried!  In fact, one of her suggestions to me was to share more about myself with you all -- more specifically, have her interview me, since I’m always the one interviewing everyone else! I thought it was a great idea and told her to come up with whatever questions she wanted to ask that might give you all a better sense of who I am! :)

     

    Before I get into the questions, I'd like to take a minute to reflect and express my love for this blog and why it’s so important to me. As I have mentioned in my “About Me,” I grew up around my mother who was a homemaker and my father who was an Executive Chef at an exclusive country club. Along with them both cooking a lot (which helped me realize a talent and love for cooking), my father was extremely into health. Anyone who knew my dad knew how he was fanatic about it!  He was always reading some article and/or at the health food store picking up some supplement, powder or vitamin. I remember taking frequent trips to the health food store with him and even then, at a young age, becoming interested in all things healthy.  

     

    I honestly never had any intention of working with food -- my father even discouraged me from it!  He told me that it’s a career you dedicate your life to with little free time, as he did.  I originally moved to Los Angeles to purse a career as a Fashion Stylist, but after some time, ended up feeling unfulfilled by it.  I do, however, still exercise my skills in styling and my “vision” or my “eye” for creating things, which is still something I’m extremely passionate about.

    Together my love for that and my history of growing up around a health nut, chef and homemaker has lead me to where it is I should be! Here. :)

     

    One of the most profound things that made me further become a health nut had to do with losing both my parents at a young age, These events influenced me to become more conscious of my decisions in how I treat my body.   Out of my own free-will, I have abstained from drinking alcohol for the last five years and I do not drink any caffeine (no coffee, no soda, no tea).  I’m not saying you shouldn’t but these are things I have chosen to do and I have seen the benefits to doing so.

     

    Just last month, I was given was a reminder as to why I’m doing this blog and reaffirmed my strong belief in living a healthy lifestyle (eating healthy food and exercising):

     

    I was feeling overwhelmed with life.  I had become feeling really weak in all my joints, and my doctor told me I may have RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis)... at 27!  Years ago I had a doctor tell me the same thing --  I was working out like a maniac, going to the gym 2-3 hours a day and it scared me into thinking I had either over worked my body and that I was going to no longer be able to exercise anymore without extreme pain.  The past doctor reversed his diagnosis, but my current doctor brought it back into focus.  To further complicate things in my search for pain relief, I received a localized skin cancer diagnosis.  Growing up at the beach, it wasn't necessarily surprising, but still very upsetting.  Fortunately, my passion for health has enabled me to take a proactive approach to these issues. While dealing with both of these situations and dealing with so many doctors the one thing they all asked was -- how my diet was, do I exercise, what's my stress level, and how many hours of good sleep do I get. It all clicked to me then that the answer is sometimes just simply eating healthy, moving our bodies, getting rest and being relaxed/stress free. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what my diagnosis is from my doctor but in the meantime I strongly stand behind everything this blog is about and living a balanced healthy lifestyle.

    On to lighter topics... Here is my interview with Bethany Nauert!

    What inspires you daily, besides health food/or the blog?

    I’m inspired everyday by music, nature (trees, the sky, the beach), travel, beautiful photos/ beautiful things, colors. I could be driving and listening to music coming up with ideas or being inspired while walking outside and looking at my surroundings. I am also very inspired by other people and their stories. I love reading about or watching videos on how other people got to where they are at and what they had to overcome or how they “started from the bottom” (as Drake says.) ;)

     

    What's your favorite movie and why?

    I can’t just name one but my three favorites that I watch all the time are Wedding Crashers, Gladiator and The Graduate. I love Wedding Crashers because I really love the location of the movie, it reminds me of New England and with their “All American Family.” It’s also really funny and has some great quotes. Gladiator has been one of my favorites since it came out. Talking about inspiration that story alone is inspiring even if it’s a movie! Russel Crowe’s character was so strong and such a leader and I really admire those qualities and think it was a really well done film. The Graduate became a favorite a while back too. I loved the soundtrack, the story and the way it was shot.

     

    If you could have one super power what would it be? What would you use it for?

    Oh that’s easy! Teleportation! I would use it to go wherever I want to go at that moment. If I want to go lay on a tropical beach I could go for an hour and then come back home.

     

     

    How would others describe you?

    That’s a tough one but… I think the people closest to me would describe me as funny, silly/goofy, serious at times, organized, determined, talented, thoughtful, caring and strong. [Physically and mentally ;)]

     

    Where is your favorite place to spend a Sunday?

     I’m never always at the same place every weekend but it’d probably be the beach.

     

     

    What about LA turns you on?

    The options and the weather! There is so much to do here and so much to see! I’ve lived here for seven years now and I still haven’t seen all of it! The weather here makes me happy everyday!

     

     

    What about LA turns you off?

    You can probably guess that before I even answer. It’s the thing that turns everyone off about this city. The traffic! I feel so much of the day is wasted in the car and planning around it taking an hour to go 3 miles. Other than that though I don’t have any complaints, I love this city!

     

    Favorite restaurant?

    Haha! Really?  That’s so hard to say! Here are two that I absolutely love though. Larchmont Bungalow (Best omelettes ever!) Thank you, Bethany for showing me this amazing spot! ;) My second is a shout out to a place back home in South Florida..Yu-Mi Sushi. Hands down the best sushi I’ve ever had anywhere! I always make sure I stop by there when I go back to the East Coast.

     

    You have a cat and a dog, what are their names?

    Remy and Mocha. Recently, I’ve been making up new names for them and find I hardly call them by their actual names anymore haha! Remy is a  six-year-old Boston Terrier who I now call Shwemy or McShwemington.  Don’t ask how I came up with that but that’s what I call him now. Mocha has been in the family for a long time! She is a thirteen-year-old Burmese and I call her Shmokey. Again, I don’t know how I came up with these names!

     

     

    What do you enjoy more? Sunrise...or Sunset?

    Both are great! I really like Sunsets though. I enjoy walking my dog in the evening right as the sun is about to go down and I reflect on my day and think about the world and all those kind of deep thoughts. I also love when the sky is changing color. There was a while where here in LA the sunset was looking purple it was absolutely beautiful!

     

     

    Favorite childhood memory?

    I loved spending the summers on Cape Cod and going to summer camp up there. I learned so much and met so many great people. I also loved exploring the Cape and New England with my parents on the weekends when I wasn’t at camp. It’s not an exact memory but those summers are all definitely my favorite childhood memories.

     

      

    If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

    Anyone who knows me knows it would be teal!

     

      

    What's your favorite word?

    Um…I really have no idea. Haha! Love…that’s so cheesy but it is a great word and makes me feel happy. 

     

    If you could relive one single day from start to finish, what would it be?

    This is the same answer as my favorite childhood memory. I really loved spending the summer and growing up on Cape Cod. There’s not much that can compare to a perfect day on the cape in the summer! Time at the beach, sunshine, two laned beautiful winding roads, some of the best and freshest seafood anywhere (lobstah rolls ;)), clean air, being a little kid, being with my parents....life was carefree! I would relive any of those days up there in a heart beat! 

     

    If you could fix one thing, solve one problem, in all of the world, what would you do?

    My answer is going to be so cliché BUT I honestly would want there to be world peace. I feel so silly saying that but I really wonder how the world would be if there were no fighting and everyone got along. What if we weren’t divided and everyone accepted each other and their opinions and views with no hard feelings. That would be something I’d fix…through this questionnaire haha!

     

    Last movie you watched?

    American Hustle. I really liked that movie a lot!

     

     

    What song is on repeat right now in your ipod?

    The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums (I LOVE this band, if you’re not familiar with them you should check them out!)

     

     

    What would you rather do? Eat a bowl of crickets or crawl into a bed of them?

    I’d definitely crawl into the bed, if I had to choose of course! ;)

      

    Credits:

    Written by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Interviewed and Photographed by: Bethany Nauert

  • Restaurant Review: Republique

    Happy Tuesday friends!

    Sharing a new restaurant in LA with you all today! I have been hearing so many great things about this restaurant since it opened and finally got over there to try it out! Check out my review on Republique! 

     

    Republique

    624 South La Brea Ave

    Los Angeles, CA 90036

    P. 310-362-6115

    www.RepubliqueLA.com

    First Impression: I could tell this restaurant had character before I even stepped foot inside. Once I did walk in I was very impressed with how beautiful the interior of this restaurant was. It’s really unlike anything I’ve been to in the area.

      

    Taste: Really great! I had their Seasonal Vegetable Salad and Green Juice. The one thing I do have to say about Republique that some may find very attractive is that their menu constantly changes, almost every week. I find when a restaurant changes their menu that it’s great for change and attraction to what they have now and for seasonal produce. I get very attached to an item on a menu though, especially when it’s really good so it’s hard for me to get into a menu constantly changing. I do think there are those people out there that will love that about Republique. I did thoroughly enjoy my meal though! For a salad it had tons of flavor and a great dressing! The salad consisted of some mixed lettuces and argula, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), asparagus, peas and mozzarella. The Green Juice was a mix of Kale, Spinach, Cucumber and a few other green veggies along with green apple.  Although, I am not a huge fan on changing menus I will definitely go back to try what they have from breakfast and dinner!

     

    Décor: Absolutely stunning! The interior reminded me of half industrial inspired and half gothic/medieval inspiried architecture. The brick, high ceiling, lots of wood furnishings and the arches in wall towards the back. Very beautiful inside and also very unique for LA!

    Price: Los Angeles is a pretty expensive city, so high prices are expected but I felt the price for a salad and a juice was a little much for lunch. 

     

    Service: Great! Everyone is very friendly, including the owner! This always makes for a pleasant dining experience!

      

    Ambiance: Enjoyable! It’s a large dinning space, with lots of different nooks and areas to dine. This makes it feel less claustrophobic and more enjoyable to eat. It’s a great place for a casual lunch or dinner with a date or friends.

     

     

    Overall Experience: I really enjoyed Republique! I would definitely dine here again!

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Local Business: Good Eggs LA

    Happy Thursday everyone!

    I'm sharing an interview with an amazing local business who is home to many local businesses products and farmers produce. They are also the home to a few of the local businesses I've been interviewing, too! (Almond Milk LA, Bakeology, GOODBITES, NoMoo Wise Cream and a few others that will be posted in the near future!) Good Eggs LA is your local food system that acts as your groery store! The food makers and farmers bring their products to the Good Eggs location and then are bagged and delivered to your front step (I posted about their system in this post right here!) or you have the option for picking up your groceries yourself at one of their pick up locations! (They are now offereing free delivery during certain time frames, check their website when ordering!) The process of ordering from this amazing local business is so easy! Don't have time to get to the grocery store or the farmer's market? You can simply go to the Good Eggs website and order all of your groceries all from local foodmakers and farmers! Such a great concept! Check out my interview with Max Kanter, who I'll call the "spokesman" of the Good Eggs LA location.

    What is Good Eggs mission?

    Good Eggs’ mission is to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide.

    (This is a shot of their freezers and refrigerator where the food is stored until it's bagged and delivered to you!)

     

    The website is very user friendly but could you walk me through how the

    website works?

    Thanks! Yes, it’s very simple. Customers head into the marketplace, select a day they want for delivery or free pick up, then they shop. Customers hand select items, like they would in a grocery store, and add them to their basket. Once the customer is ready to check out they can do so by clicking on their basket. Once they place their order, they’ll receive an immediate confirmation, then on delivery day they’ll be notified with an email or a text about their upcoming order.

     

    What are the benefits of shopping through Good Eggs?

    Quality, convenience, community and integrity. We provide an extremely easy option for people to get locally produced food made with integrity. We also provide a community for local food lovers and activists to enjoy. Customers, without realizing it, are happily drawn into our vibrant Good Eggs community, which we like to call the Good Eggs family!

    (Good Eggs Team bagging up groceries for the next delivery.)

     

    How does the delivery process work and where do you deliver?

    Farmers and producers prepare food to order and we deliver it within hours of it being made. It works like this: Farmers, bakers and producers receive order notifications 36 hours prior to when the order is to be delivered. In that time they bake, harvest or prepare their orders and deliver the food to our Foodhub in Frogtown. As soon as the food arrives, we sort by storage temperature type, where it remains until just before we pack orders. We pack and deliver orders four days a week and deliver them by bike, car and our Good Eggs mobile. We also offer a few free pickup locations throughout the city. Food is made to order, which means its incredibly fresh and made just for you. We deliver to all of LA from Santa Monica to Pasadena and South San Fernando Valley.

     

    How does Good Eggs stand above the other local delivery services?

    Since we’re simply a platform for local foodmakers and farmers to sell their product, we have an enormous assortment. We look function more like a local food grocery store rather than a CSA or a produce delivery service, so our variety is unbeatable. You can shop for anything you’d find in a grocery store, but all the food is locally produced. We also deliver several days a week, providing customers with flexible delivery times. Plus our Community Care team is unmatched, as they are always ready to go above and beyond to ensure the customer is satisfied with their Good Eggs experience.

    (Another shot of the Good Eggs LA home)

    Why is it important to buy local produce and goods?

    It’s important for many reasons. For one, buying locally produced food is great way to keep dollars directly in the community. It’s much easier for local farmers and foodmakers to be held accountable if they’re growing food for a local consumer. It’s easier to develop personal relationships between growers and customers, making for more accountability and transparency. Also, local food is much fresher and nutritious. The longer food has to travel the less nutrition it provides.

      

    What is the criteria for a local business (farmer or foodmaker) to become a

    vendor through Good Eggs?

    Farmers and foodmakers must fit into the parameters of our established criteria. Our criteria ensures that every item in the marketplace was made or produced with integrity. Depending on the type of foodmaker, each kind of food has certain criteria. Meat, fish, produce, prepared foods, etc. each have their own criteria. However, all food must be produced within each city’s foodshed. A foodshed is the geographic region that produces the food for a particular population. All food must also be made or produced with the least amount of harm to our land, animals, and environment.

     

    If someone would like to join Good Eggs as a foodmaker or farmer, how

    should they go about contacting you?

    There is a process to becoming a Good Eggs foodmaker. Foodmakers inquire on a weekly basis about selling food through us. What’s so exciting is to see a fast growing number of people trying to start local food businesses! All information on how to get started can be found on the Good Eggs site (www.goodeggs.com/welcome). If a producer meets all the criteria and their product fits well into our marketplace, then getting up and running is a relatively short and painless process.

    (Good Eggs is a carrier of my favorite almond milk company, Almond Milk LA. Check out their local business interview here!)

    (Each bin is a customers order, so when they bag your groceries they have an assigned number to your name and grab your bin number and bag it up!)

    What is the future of Good Eggs?

    There’s so much to look forward to, and something on all of our minds right now is our Foodhub Opening, on Saturday, April 12th. We’re welcoming Angelenos into our new home at the old Hostess Factory to celebrate the opening of our new space. We’ll introduce dozens of foodmakers, snack on delicious local food from our region, enjoy hands-on food-making demos and much more. It’s an event for the whole family! We’re also experimenting with bike delivery in a number of neighborhoods, including Venice, Santa Monica, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Downtown and Larchmont, which are all neighborhoods a high order density and where parking and traffic can be burdensome. Finally our Foodmaker team is working around the clock make sure we have LA’s best and tastiest food offered on our site every day. Plus you’ll see delivery options expand to five days a week in the very near future.

    www.goodeggs.com/la

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Local Business: Sophie Jaffe of Philosophie Superfood Blends

    Happy Tuesday friends!

    Today I’m sharing an interview with Sophie Jaffe of Philosophie Superfood Blends. Her energy is so high it’s contagious! Sophie is a nutritionist, chef, personal trainer and mother! Her company, Philosophie, offers three different flavors of superfood blends, Cacao Magic, Green Dream and Berry Bliss. Along with these products she also offers different cleanse packages and what I like is that her cleanses aren’t just all about cleansing with juice. Check out my interview with Sophie to learn more about her cleanses and how to make her “go-to” favorite superfood smoothie!

     

    As a Nutritionist could you explain the benefits of integrating superfoods into your diet?

    Superfoods are foods that have incredible nutrient profiles--above and beyond that of normal foods. They are generally high in vitamins and nutrients. 

     

    What was the most important thing to you when creating Philosophie?

    To remain true to myself and authentic with my customers and products. I refuse to cut corners in any way, even if it means higher prices and a lower profit. 

     

    Which flavor is your favorite from your line of superfood blends?

    That's so hard for me! I actually end up mixing all of them or at LEAST 2 of them into any recipe I'm creating. They each have unique ingredients in them and I don't want to miss them if I don't have to! 

    Some may not know how to use your product or products of the sort.  How can you incorporate your superfod blends into meals?

    Oohh so many versatile & creative ways! You can add the superfood powders to yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, raw food desserts, salad dressing, smoothies, guacamole, hummus, baked goods... The list is endless! I add it to my babies baby food- just mash 1 teaspoon green dream with banana and avocado! 

     

    What is your “go-to recipe” that you use your Philosophie in?

    My "go to" recipe for my superfood blends has to be a HUGE smoothie: 

    • 2 C homemade nut mylk or coconut water
    • 2 T cacao magic
    • 1 T green dream 
    • 1 T berry bliss 
    • 2 bananas 
    • 1/2 C frozen strawberries 
    • 1 C chard or collard greens 
    • 1 C kale or spinach 
    • 1 T almond butter 
    • 1 T coconut oil or coconut butter 
    • 1 capsule reishi 
    • Sprinkle of cinnamon 

    BLEND! 

    Perfect after a long, hard hike/workout or yoga class!  

    (Sophie gave me this smoothie and let me just say it was absolutely delicious!)  

    You offer a few different cleanse options. Tell us about them!

    The 5 day and 14 day DIY cleanse programs are perfect for a client with a lower budget wanting to learn new healthy habits for their lives. We provide recipes, a day by day menu, flexible options, handmade detox soaks for the bath, all Philosophie superfoods for the entirety of the cleanse, cleansing probiotic pills + detox herbal teas. Then the client purchases all the veggies/fruit/perishable items and prepares the dishes themselves using our recipes and guidance. 

    The 3 and 5 day Prepared Philosophie cleanse programs are full days of food for the client shipped to their home! We send everything they will need for the day except for the water they will drink. 

    Our cleanses are all unique because they are not just juice. The prepared cleanses have beautiful soups and protein rich smoothies. Our 14 day DIY includes recipes for gorgeous, filling stir frys & delicious, nutritious curry dinners. 

     

    If you’re starting a cleanse for the first time, which one do you recommend?

    I would start with the premade 3 day cleanse (budget permitting!) or the 5 day DIY. You want to be sure to start slowly and listen to your body. 

    I’m sure as a Nutrionist, Chef and Personal Trainer you work with and come across people that find it difficult to be healthy and/or they are overwhelmed with where to start their journey of being healthy. What is your biggest piece of advice to those people?

    Change one habit to start with, not everything. If you drink a lot of soda, try and drink half that amount, and slowly ween away to only having it 1 time a week or month. If you normally skip breakfast, start making a superfood smoothie each morning as a slow shift. 

     

    We want Philosophie! Where can we find your products?!

    On our website: thePhilosophie.com , amazon.com and 40 stores in Southern California and juice bars in Washington, D.C.! 

    (Just copy and past the link for stores from on website!)

     

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Local Business: Erin Gomez + Scott Walker of Juice Ranch

    Happy Friday everyone!

    If you’re ever in the Santa Barbara area and are looking for some tasty fresh bottled juice, head over to Juice Ranch! Their juices are 100% Organic and 90% of the produce is sourced locally! I had the opportunity to talk with Juice Ranch co-owner, Erin Gomez, about how she and her boyfriend, Scott Walker, got into the juice business. Erin definitely has a passion for cooking and obviously juicing. During her interview she mentioned how her idea of a fun night was having “detox night” at her home making juices and doing fun detoxing things with her friends. Scott suggested they move the detoxing to a different location and here they are about to have three Juice Ranch locations!

    Have you both always been involved in the food industry?

    Yes, I was working at restaurants, I then moved to Guatemala and worked a sous chef with some girlfriends. Every week I would try new recipes. When I moved back to the states I wanted to continue a similar lifestyle to what I was living over seas and worked on a charter boat as the chef. I cooked and planned all the meals. It was a great job! Scott’s background is originally in film and films for an environmental film company. He is on the business side of things and more behind the scenes. He films all of our videos and does the marketing.

     

    Was opening a juice shop always something you wanted to do?

    Yes and no. I always told myself I didn’t want to run a restaurant but always went towards the food industry direction but it was actually my boyfriend Scott’s idea. There wasn’t anything like it in the area and I loved making juice concoctions at home so we went for it!

    Do either of you follow a specific diet? (Vegan, Vegetarian, etc..)

    Not strictly, we try different diets all throughout the year. We try to see what works. I’m big into whole and organic foods always.

     

    What is your best selling juice? What is your favorite?

    The Greens N’ Ginger is the most popular. My personal favorite is the Johnny 5 Alive. It’s sweet, tangy and spicy. It wakes you right up! Scott’s favorite is our new flavor, Coco La Ti Dah.

    How did you come up with all of the flavors of juices at your shop?

    I’ve been juicing for a really long time. I find a lot of joy in mixing flavors. I’m always curious if I can make something into a juice.

    What’s the most rewarding part of owning your own juice shop?

    The community! The people it has brought into my life. People with cancer come in and get addicted to juice and it makes them feel better. Also, working with my partner and it feels really good to be your own boss!

    Do you have plans of expanding?

    Yes! We just opened up a location in Isla Vista and we will be opening a shop in Westlake Village in less than a month!

     

    Locations:

    Santa Barbara

    33 Parker Way

    Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    805-845-4657

     

    Isla Vista

    6533 Trigo Road

    at The Loop

    Isla Vista, CA 93117

     

    Westlake Village

    2847 Agoura Road

    Westlake Village, CA 91361

    805-230-2444

     

    www.JuiceRanch.com

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed and Photographed by:  Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Restaurant Review: The Farm of Beverly Hills

    Happy Wednesday friends!

    If you’re ever in the Beverly Hills area or are in Downtown Los Angeles at LA Live and are looking for some quality, healthy comfort food, I definitely recommend trying out The Farm of Beverly Hills! The restaurant has that homey feeling as if you were at your mom and dads or grandmothers and grandfathers home. The Farm of Beverly Hills has been in town since 1997 and offers a variety of home cooked, farm to table American style dishes. In a town like Beverly Hills there aren’t many restaurants or shops that make you feel entirely welcome or “at home” and usually have a very uppity vibe to them, this is the complete opposite here! Check out my full review on this cute restaurant situated in the heart of two very lively neighborhoods!

     

    The Farm of Beverly Hills

    439 North Beverly Drive

    Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    310-273-5578

     

    The Farm of Beverly Hills at LA Live

    800 West Olympic Blvd.

    Los Angeles, CA 90015

    213-747-4555

     

    First Impression:

    I am often in the Beverly Hills area and I have seen the restaurant so many times and each time I always think to myself, “I have to try that place! It looks so cute!” The name alone and the patio make it very inviting, especially for someone like me who loves a great healthy spot! Upon walking in I immediately could tell this restaurant was unlike many restaurants in the Beverly Hills area. It felt cozy and comfortable. It made me feel like I suddenly was in the south or somewhere else with that all American vibe!

     

    Taste:

    Great! I am a huge fan of great traditional but healthy food, especially breakfast! I had the California Omelet and their orange juice, which is freshly squeezed! The omelet consisted of egg whites, fresh tomato, sautéed white corn, pico de gallo, black beans and topped with ranchero sauce and jack cheese with avocado, toast and fruit or a choice of potatoes. Everything on the menu looked really great!

    Décor:

    It had a very Americana feel inside. Lots of wood, warm colors and hints of red.

     

    Price:

    Very reasonable for quality food and in Beverly Hills.

     

    Service:

    Great! Everyone was so friendly there! The manager took a lot of time to talk with me and was extremely nice.

     

    Ambiance:

    Relaxing and comfortable! I enjoyed eating my meal here and didn’t feel rushed or that I had to be dressed the nines (Which again I feel like some people think if you’re in Beverly Hills you have to be decked out and this is not the case at The Farm of BH.) It’s a great spot to dine by yourself, go to with co-workers for lunch and even cute for a date.

    Overall Experience:

    Really great! I loved the atmosphere here and their food! They have a great menu with a little bit of everything!

     

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed & Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

     

  • Local Business: Alona Dadiani + Vivi Rama of NoMoo Wise Cream

    Happy Friday friends!

    Here’s a product for all my vegans and friends that follow soy, dairy and/or gluten free diets! NoMoo wise cream is a delicious “ice cream” handmade here in Southern California! I had the chance to meet with the lovely owners, Alona and Vivi, in their shared kitchen space while they showed me how they make their wise cream from scratch! These ladies sure know how to make incredible tasting frozen wise cream! I highly suggest trying out their product, and for those of you who don’t follow any dietary restrictions I think you too would even love NoMoo! Check out my interview with Alona and Vivi! :) 

    Having both come from backgrounds that are not associated with food, what was the draw to start a food product and become involved in this industry? Was there always an underlying love for cooking?

    “Love of cooking-check! I (Alona) am originally from Israel. My birth mom was a Moroccan chef and vividly imparted to me a love of marrying different whole foods, spices and simple ingredients to make both unique and complex dishes. My father was also a merchant marine captain, so I spent significant stretches of the first 7 years of my life traveling the world, exposed to various cuisines.

    Vivi, originally born in Buenas Aires to Spanish parents (both originally from Galicia in Northern Spain) also had exposure to foreign indigenous staples and learned to appreciate great cuisine from early on in her life. Also, as a professional bass player who traveled internationally, world cuisine was an important influence. In short, even though our backgrounds and initial vocations (Alona is also a certified personal trainer in the private sector as well as a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School with a BFA in acting), food was always an integral bind in each of our lives.”

     

    Why did you decide to create a dairy, soy and gluten free as you cleverly call it, “wise cream”? What was the importance to you both in creating this specific product?

    “In truth, with the exception of wanting to make a dairy free “ice cream”, we never set out to create a “soy & gluten free” product. What started out for us as a love of the idea to create something that was sorely lacking in the market, in terms of purity (i.e., not using particular stabilizers and emulsifiers), morphed into a deeper understanding of making an even healthier, nourishing yet still delectable alternative. Now creativity in terms of flavors with our two distinct bases is the only limit!”

     

    Do you both follow dairy, soy and gluten free diets?

    “We are both practicing vegans. When we started making this “wise cream,” we were actually still both consuming dairy but shortly after learning more about the dairy industry, we opted to eliminate dairy from our diets. We also learned more about soy/its GMO prevalence and some potentially detrimental side effects, so we mostly consume fermented soy and, occasionally, other forms of it. This all propelled us to focus wholly on developing the best alternatives to suit our distinctive diet. And we wanted to extend the gamut to many who have either been long practicing vegans or are shifting their perceptions, dietary needs and lifestyles to reflect what we believe is a growing evolution in our relationships with food and its sources.  Lastly, no, we’re not gluten free. Just try and come between Vivi and her bread! But we still happily cater to our costumers who are.”

      

    Were there any adjustments to working with food that you had to make?

    “Our opting to make a “dairy, soy & gluten free” product got our creative juices going! We were first looking for the best way to achieve a creamy, delectable and stable base that we could use as a canvas to achieve what everybody loves about great ice cream…its reliable awesomeness! In terms of adjustments, the main one came in our Coconut base that we ended up sweetening with dates-this now offered an option to those who are avoiding any form of added cane sugar, are following the Paleo diet or have other such dietary needs.”

    I loved your ChocoLoco flavor! What are both of your favorite NoMoo flavors?

    “Thanks, Kristen! For Vivi, it’s hands down the Carajillo! This is how the Spaniards sometimes enjoy their shot of Espresso…with a kiss of cognac or brandy. It also reminds her of her afternoon “postre” (or dessert) following a family lunch. Distilling that into a NoMoo “wise cream” flavor was a proud moment! Alona is also very partial to the Carajillo-moslty because she’s a coffee fiend. But another top favorite is the classic Peanut Butter & Fudge. Although there are those allergic or critical of the legume, it’s a flavor that is so decadent and full, it’s hard to resist. The Fudge has become sought after member and even requested on its own-we’re now packaging it separately as a topping to any of our other unique flavors (like the Peppermint Candy Bliss and Coconut Vanilla Date-Full-made with whole Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla bean pods) …or as a spread!”

    What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own business and creating a product you love?

    Although, we’ve both run our own businesses up until now and still (Vivi as a bass player and Alona as an actor and personal trainer), without a doubt, the most gratifying aspect of our unbridled dedication to our company is the positive reaction we get from new and now established NoMoo fans. Also, when someone is truly seeking a product like ours that they can have because of legitimate, sometimes medically necessary dietary restrictions, and they actually love what they’re tasting…there’s nothing that matches the satisfaction we get when they feel like they’ve found that indulgence in NoMoo. Lastly, whenever someone says “I can’t believe this has no dairy!”

     

    Where can we purchase your delicious NoMoo Wise Cream?!

    “Sundays at The Hollywood Farmers’ Market, from 8AM-1PM (on Cosmo Street). On GoodEggsLA.com and at Viva La Vegan, in Santa Monica and Rancho Cucamonga.”

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Local Business: Melina Davies of Olive & Thyme

    Happy Tuesday friends!

    I had the opportunity to sit down with Olive & Thyme owner, Melina Davies, having never worked in the food/restaurant industry in her life she has managed to take her dream and make it a successful reality.  Originally, Melina worked as a producer for the studios. “I took a complete gamble with opening this restaurant. I had no prior experience with opening a restaurant. I had never even worked in one! All of my chef friends said don’t do it, which of course made me want to do it even more! I had put so much into this venture that I couldn’t fail. I can’t fail.” Melina’s drive, dedication and passion for following her dreams of having a restaurant are truly inspiring. Check out my interview with Melina as she talks about the inspiration behind the interior of her restaurant and her favorite dish!

    Have you always been involved in the food industry?

    No, I worked as a producer in the film industry. I never had worked in a restaurant before.  I loved my job a producer but I also loved throwing dinner parties and found joy and happiness in cooking.

     

    What inspired you when creating the interior of your restaurant, Olive & Thyme?

    The South of France, European culture. The kitchen in Nancy Meyers’ filim, It’s Complicated, was a perfect example that I could show to our architect of what I had been envisioning.

    Do you follow any specific diet? (Vegan, Vegetarian, etc.)

    No, I eat everything.

     

    What is the most popular dish at Olive & Thyme? Which is your favorite?

    For meat lovers it would be the Short Rib Sandwich, for vegetarians it would be the Fattoush Salad. My personal favorite is the Egg Salad Sandwich. I also really like the raw Brussel Sprout salad.

      

    At home, what is your favorite meal to cook?

    Bucatini pasta with lemon, peppers and prosciutto.

     

    Do you have plans of expanding?

    We are! We haven’t commited to the second location yet but we are very close to deciding!

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed & Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

     

  • Restaurant Review: FarmShop

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

    If you live on the Westside of LA or are in the area, I have a great restaurant/market for you to visit, FarmShop! This is a great place to grab premade salads, pastries, drinks/juices/coffee, meats and veggies and wine for a quick bite to eat or to bring home to cook with later. You can also dine-in in their restaurant area on the opposite side of the space! Today’s review is on FarmShop’s restaurant! Loved their food and the space! :)

     

    FarmShop

    225 26th Street Ste. 25

    Santa Monica, CA 90402

     

    310-566-2400

    www.FarmShopCA.com

     

    First Impression: The first thing I noticed (and I’m sure a lot of people notice) is how pretty the space was and the overall cool vibe, not in a pretentious way though! ;) There is so much to take in when you walk in, do I want to eat at their restaurant or do I want to grab something to go…or both?! Really great concept and loved the layout inside!

    Taste: So yummy! Everything is obviously really fresh here. I tired the Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, which were so good! I always base the quality of my meals on not only the taste but also how memorable it was. These were definitely some memorable brussel sprouts! I also had the Country Line Harvest Lettuces, which were also very tasty. There was a lot that sounded good on their menu, would love to try everything!

    Décor: Beautiful! I am someone who loves big open spaces with lots of white (and subway tiles!) FarmShop definitely has both! I love the mix of rustic vibe, with (exposed beams and wooden tables) a clean/modern vibe. I especially loved the pop of peacock color on their booths!

    Price: Their prices are reasonable but leaning more on the pricier side with some of their items. The cheapest plate for lunch is $8 and goes up to $30 with their Scallops.

    Service: Great! Their staff is all very friendly! Always makes for a great experience when dining out!

     

    Ambiance: FarmShop did a great job of separating their two different areas (Market and restaurant) and while you’re dining in the restaurant area you almost forget there is even a market. It would be a great place to go with friends and co-workers. It didn’t really have a romantic vibe to the restaurant but it would still be a cute place to meet up for a date.

    Overall Experience: Lovely! They have really great food and a beautiful restaurant/market! Definitely a great place to know about if you are in the area and want to grab a bite to eat!

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

     

     

  • Restaurant Review: Olive & Thyme // Gourmet Cafe & Marketplace

    Happy Thursday friends!

    Today I’m sharing a restaurant that is not only beautiful but they have amazing food! Not to mention all the other goodies they sell such as, chocolates, pastries, juices, books, olive oils, the list goes on! Olive & Thyme offers dishes for everyone! There are vegetarian friendly options as well as meat options! Check out my review on this super cute cafe!

     

    Olive & Thyme

    4013 Riverside Drive

    Burbank, CA 91505

     

    818-557-1560

    www.OliveandThyme.com

     

    First Impression: Immediately when I walked in I thought, “what a beautiful and cute restaurant!” Olive & Thyme really has a unique vibe and great menu!

     

    Taste: Amazing! I tried the Grilled Vegetable Panini with goat cheese, salad and their secret sauce! (Which tastes incredible!) Definitely one of the best panini’s I’ve had!

    Décor: So beautiful! I really love the interior of this café/market! I love the mix of rustic, the wooden chairs and table, with a touch of modern/clean look with lots of white and subway tiles.

     

    Price: Very reasonable for great tasting and quality food!

     

    Service: Great! All the staff at Olive & Thyme is extremely nice and helpful! Makes for a real pleasant dining experience!

    Ambiance: Cozy and relaxing! I can see this café getting extremely busy during the week for lunch and also on the weekends. It’s located right near all the studios in Burbank, so I assume they get a big lunch crowd. They have lots of seating indoor and outdoor as well so I feel even when it does get busy it doesn’t feel crowded or overwhelming. Definitely during a lower traffic time it can be a place where you could read a book and enjoy a glass of wine or sip on some coffee.  

     

    Overall Experience: Great! I highly recommend trying this restaurant! They have great food, great ambiance and a beautiful space! Would be great spot for a date, casual lunch or even just to go have a drink and yummy meal by yourself at their bar.

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed & Photographed by:  Kristen Tola Hettich