• Los Angeles Local Roundup

    There are so many great products that are locally made here in LA! I love discovering new companies and brands, espically ones that blow me away more than something that's mainstream! Here are a few favorite companies of mine found here in Los Angeles! (Note: A few are made outside of LA but still in California and the card in the center is made in Florida.) 

    1. Airplant by AirplantMan 2.Handmade Milk Vases by Robert Siegel Handmade 3. Hand Painted Ceramic Coasters by The Coastal 4. LA Juice by LA Juice Shop 5. Illustrated Los Angeles Art Print by Rifle Paper Co. 6. Los Angeles Market Bag by Apolis 7. Five Stripe Cutting Board by Would-Works

    Learn more about LA Juice Shop HERE! :)

  • Juice Shop: Kreation Juice

    Happy Friday everyone!

    I’m excited to share today’s juice shop with you all! I love a shop that is really aesthetically pleasing. This one is for sure pretty to look at but also has lots of juices, health shots and snacks to satisfy your hunger or thirst! And keep an eye out for their Juice truck and juice bike! They also offer home delivery with their "juice kars."

     

    Kreation Juice

    (This review and photos are from their North Beverly Hills location:)

    9609 S. Santa Monica Blvd

    Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    p. 310-777-3450

    www.KreationJuice.com

    Here is a list of all of their other locations:

     

    Abbot Kinney Kafe/Juicery

    1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

    Venice, CA 90291

    p. 310-314-7778

     

    Beverly Hills

    9465 Charleville Blvd.

    Beverly Hills, CA 90212

    p. 310-247-8110

     

    Brentwood

    151 S. Barrington Place

    Los Angeles, CA 90049

    El Segundo

    503 Main St.

    El Segundo, CA 90245

    p. 310-416-9766

     

    Manhattan Beach

    1300 Highland Ave. #110

    Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

     

    North Manhattan Beach

    3516 Highland Ave.

    Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

    p. 310-545-7040

     

    Santa Monica Kafe/Juicery

    1023 Montana Ave.

    Santa Monica, CA 90403

    p. 310-458-4880

     

    Toluca Lake

    10115 Riverside Drive.

    Los Angeles, CA 91602

    p. 818-761-1348

     

    First Impression: I’ve driven past this shop many times and some of their other locations. It’s always very recognizable because the outside is so strikingly beautiful and unique! It really drew me in! It just looks like a healthy place!

    Taste: Great! I love my green juices, so I always like to try those out wherever I go. I went with one that had a little more sweetness. The Green #1 which has Apple, Cucumber, Romaine, Kale and Pear. I thought it was a perfect balance of the leafy greens and the sweetness of the fruit. There are soo many juices to choose from though it was hard to decide and I would definitely come back to try more of them and some of their smoothies. They also have the option to “Kreate Your Own” juice by choosing your fruits and veggies from their servings station! I really liked that they offered this as well as the pre-bottled juice. What is also really cool that they have is a self serve juice machine out front. So you can order your juice like a walk up window and not even have to go inside! I had never seen that before -- neat idea! It's like redbox but for juices. ;)

    Décor: So pretty! I love the inside of this shop! It had a modern meets organic feel to it. Lots of light, colors and wood detail.

     

    Price: It’s about $8.00 for a juice. Some would consider that expensive but I feel like it’s reasonable.

     

    Service: Good, no complaints! The girl working while I was there was super sweet and helpful. Which I think is great when going to place like that especially if you’re someone who isn’t familiar with juices and what to order. Having someone who knows how to help you find something you’d like is essential!

     

    Ambiance: The shop has a really earthy inviting vibe to it. All the wood details make it feel cozy and homey. At the same time is also feels very modern and upscale. It’s a place you can definitely go to by yourself to just grab and go or enjoy your snack and juice outside or inside. It would be a great place to meet someone for a “drink” too.

    Overall Experience: Great! I really liked this juice shop! I’d definitely go back. I also loved that they sell other things such as snacks, t –shirts, books and DVDs. I want to point out that they sell the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead DVD. It’s an amazing documentary and I highly recommend it to everyone of you! Especially those of you are new to the juice world and/or are unsure of it’s benefits and why everyone is drinking juice! Haha! Anyway that’s more for another post! ;)

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Restaurant Review: Natural Selection

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

    I’m always on the hunt for new restaurants and obviously healthy ones. That’s one of the main reasons I started this blog. I wanted to have a place to put all the spots I love and have come to love and discover. I felt like it was something other people could appreciate as well. Enough back story though! Here is a restaurant I stumbled upon while out and about. They have two different locations one in LA and one in Arcadia. I went to the Arcadia one, so if you’ve been to the Los Angeles one don’t be thrown off by the pictures! ;)  Here is my review for Natural Selection, a restaurant committed to healthy eating by sourcing their produce locally and serving only organic and in season fruits and vegetables.

     

    Natural Selection

    305 N. Santa Anita Ave.

    Arcadia, CA 91006

    p. 626-294-0466

    Hours: Mon-Sat 7AM to 7PM Closed Sundays

     

    646 Main Street

    Los Angeles, CA 90014

    p. 213-265-7470

    www.eatnaturalselection.com

     

    First Impression: I thought it was very cute when I first got there. I really liked all the outdoor seating. I’m always sold on a place when they have that option!

    Taste: I liked my meal. Simple but tasty. I had the spinach quesadilla with black beans. The sauce they serve with it is so good! (They make all their own sauces!) I’d really like to try one of their bowls or wraps next time! I also had the Tropical Breeze smoothie, which had apple juice, strawberries and banana. It was definitely tropical tasting!

     

    Décor: The décor in here was very simple. Plenty of seating inside and outside and a few things hanging.

    Price: Very reasonable! Everything is pretty much under $10.00.

     

    Service: Good! No complaints here!

     

    Ambiance: It was very quiet in here. It probably had to do with the time I went. It wasn’t a place for a real romantic meal but perfect for lunch on the weekend with friends, by yourself or with coworkers for lunch.

     

    Overall Experience: Overall, I liked Natural Selection. I felt like they had a lot of options on the menu. I think it’s a great place if you want to grab something healthy but don’t have a lot of time to eat or maybe you do and just want to chat for a while with friends. A really laid back atmosphere with good food.

    Credits:

    Written, reviewed and photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Restaurant Review: Square One Dining

    Happy Monday everyone!

    Here is a great restaurant to check out when in the Hollywood area! Square One Dining is a restaurant I discovered last year. The meal I had was memorable and delicious! The most important thing to me when deciding if I will go to a restaurant again is if it was memorable. And by memorable I mean the food was great! Atmosphere is important too and of course price but ultimately for me if I remember it and it sticks out in my mind even months or years later, I know it’s a favorite of mine! Square One Dining is consistently good and serve organic and locally grown food. Here is my review on this great restaurant!

    Square One Dining

    4854 Fountain Ave.

    Los Angeles, CA 90029

    p. 323-661-1109

    www.SquareOneDining.com

    First Impression: I remember the first time I went to Square One it was for Sunday Brunch and the line was out the door and tons of people were hanging out outside. It was clearly a hot spot for brunch and also must have had amazing food for so many people to be waiting! The crowd didn’t throw me off though it gave me the impression that I was at a place with some good food!

     

    Taste: Delicious! I love their breakfast! I’m a huge fan of omelettes and they have a great one here! I usually get the grilled asparagus, squash, basil and goat cheese omelette. It is so, so good! Bethany had the pressed egg sandwich with, argula, tomato and aioli. She really enjoyed her sandwich as well! Both are definitely worth trying!

    Décor: There’s really not much décor inside and most of the seating is outside on the patio.

    Price: Very reasonable, especially for local and organic!  The most expensive item on the menu is around $15, everything else ranges from about $8 - $13.

     

    Service: Great! Everyone one is super friendly and polite!

     

    Ambiance: This is one of my favorite parts about this restaurant, is the outdoor seating. It’s very relaxing and nice sitting outside. If you’re sitting inside it really just depends what time of day you come and what day because it can get very busy! Sitting outside on the patio any day or time though is great!

    Overall Experience: Awesome! I love the food here, the atmosphere and did I say food? ;)

    Credits:

    Written, reviewed and photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Restaurant Review: Fred Segal Mauro Cafe

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

    Last week I had lunch at Fred Segal Mauro Café on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Fred Segal is one of the quintessential shopping destinations in LA to tourists and a hot spot for celebrity sightings. So when you’re done shopping for some designer threads, you can walk right over to Mauro Café and enjoy a delicious meal.

    Mauro Café is connected to the Fred Segal store and offers an array of options for breakfast, lunch and brunch. The Italian café caters not only to meat eaters but is also vegetarian friendly. While the food is filling and flavorful, it is not heavy. I was really impressed with Mauro Café and loved the food! I would definitely recommend adding this to your list of restaurants to try!

    Fred Segal Mauro Cafe

    8112 Melrose Ave.

    Los Angeles, CA 90046

    p. 323-653-7970

    www.mauroscafe.com

     

    First Impression: Open and welcoming! There is a lot of outdoor seating, the doors to the restaurant are both open and the restaurant is full with people. Being a destination for celebrities and the “beautiful people” of Los Angeles, it never felt stuffy or pretentious to me. It felt warm and inviting.

    Taste: Amazing! I loved the food there so much! Everything had lots of flavor and also had great presentation. Bethany and I came here for lunch. I had the Quinoa Salad, which consisted of spinach, cucumbers, peas, avocado and quinoa tossed in balsamic vinaigrette. Bethany had the Caprese Sandwich with added pesto. To drink I had the Pina Colada which had pineapple and coconut. I also tried a create your own juice. I picked kale, green apple and ginger. Bethany had the Minty Hawaiian, which had pineapple, coconut and mint. We both really loved our meals! My salad was full of flavor and very fresh. Bethany’s sandwich was also very fresh and tasty! Our drinks were amazing! Our meals were really great!

     

    Décor: Inside there is lots of artwork hanging. The floor is all brick and there are white string lights covering the ceilng. Inside towards the back of the restaurant there is a bar made of all dark wood. In the far far back of the restaurant there is more seating and also a quick service counter for pastries and juices/smoothies, etc. Back in this area of the café also has artwork lining the wall above the seating area.

    Price: Very reasonable! Especially for such a trendy spot! Juices will run you from $4.00 to $8.00. Smoothies are $8.00. Entrees range roughly from $12.00 - $23.00.

    Service: Great! Everyone that worked there is very nice! The owner, Evelyne, is also super sweet! Great service always makes for a pleasant experience!

     

    Ambiance: Outside the seating is very casual, with wooden tabletops and plastic bright colored chairs. Inside has a more up scale feel, with white tablecloths and flowers on the tables. The inside is also a lot darker and intimate feeling. But because of how the vibe is outside that transitions into the inside as well, so it’s not stuffy or uptight feeling. It feels really “homey” here.

     

    Overall Experience: Really great! I enjoyed the food and drinks, the atmosphere and service!

    Credits:

    Written and Reviewed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Photographed by: Bethany Nauert

    (Big thank you to Evelyne Joan and Rachel Johnson for having us!) 

  • Local Business: Kiel Pollitt of LA Juice

    Hey friends!

    I’m really excited to share this interview with you all today! LA Juice is a new juice shop on the happening and fashionable, Melrose Ave. Surrounded by high fashion shops, LA Juice fits in quite nicely in the neighborhood! I was in love with the décor and most importantly their juice! I tried a few different samples of juice but I really loved their Malibu Greens, Sunset Greens and the Berry Banana Protein Shake! Honestly, some of the best juices I’ve had and very high up on my list of favorite juices!

    I met with Kiel Pollitt, who is the founder of LA Juice, and we talked juice, astrology (He writes monthly horoscopes on his personal site, www.astro-health.com, and also for a wellness site in Sweden called www.thedailygood.se and metrosource.com) and how he used feng shui to create the perfect atmosphere for his new business! I found that part of my wonderful experience of going to LA Juice was not only how beautiful of a shop he had created (No joke! He did not miss a beat with creating LA Juice, every detail is on point!) as well as amazing tasting juice but was meeting Kiel and how down to Earth he was! I also really loved that the juice was made in house, behind the counter but pre bottled so you can still grab and go.

     

    Check out my interview with Kiel Pollitt and definitely check out LA Juice! ;)

    8360 Melrose Ave

    Suite 104

    West Hollywood, CA 90069

    p: 323-951-0765

    www.lajuiceshop.com

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

    "Not exactly, I first discovered the powerful healing benefits of juicing 8 years ago when I cured my cystic acne through juicing on a daily basis. Over the passing years I became more involved in the juicing world by working for different Juice Companies. Then the right moment lined up and the idea of L.A. Juice was born."

    How has your background in holistic health and nutrition helped you with starting LA Juice?

    "In so many ways, from creating the juice recipes and understanding different body types and their own unique needs to delivering a product that’s truly superior in quality."

     

    What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own juice shop?

    "I love creating things so much from designing the space to bottles, logos and the actual recipes. It has allowed me to enjoy merging my creative needs with my desire to spread a product that can heal the body."

    With juice shops/companies popping up everywhere nowadays and especially in LA, did you ever worry or have doubts that you were entering an over saturated market? If so, what led you to continue pursing opening one?

    "Never, in fact the Natural Health world is currently the fastest growing industry. Coffee is on every corner, why can’t juice be? L.A. Juice is unique in its’ design & standards that sets it apart."

    What was the most important thing for LA juice to have that you felt would set it apart from the rest of the juice stores?

    "I never wanted the shop to feel commercial in anyway. I wanted it to feel upscale and customers to have an experience that reflected the beauty and quality of the juice itself. Pressing the juice directly behind our sales area is a huge difference from other competitors that use a central kitchen or hpp their juices. Moreover, we only use Organic Produce and Glass bottles. All of our produce is thoroughly washed in alkaline water system. Every last detail has been taken to deliver a supreme product."

    What is the most popular juice ordered at your shop? Which is your favorite?

    "The Sunset Greens is our best seller. It’s great because people get their daily intake of Greens with it still tasting outstanding. My personal favorite is the Golden Glow because its’ ingredients + flavor are so unique."

    Do you have plans of expanding?

    "Yes, we hope to open a westside location eventually but nothing confirmed as of yet."

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Juice Shop Review: Beverly Hills Juice

    Good Morning friends!

    Looking for a great spot to pick up a juice? Running around doing errands and need a healthy snack option? Beverly Hills Juice is that perfect option! I love this little spot so much! It’s located right down the street from the Beverly Center. I enjoy going here because the juices are all pre bottled and they have perfected one of my favorite ways to enjoy a smoothie/shake! I play with these types of smoothies at home; I call them “Smoothie Hybrids.” Basically, it’s mixing fruits and veggies you’ve juiced with other ingredients into a blender to create a smoothie. Beverly Hills Juice has become popular for this style of smoothie/shake. I think it would even be safe for me to say that that’s what most people order when they go there. They call it “Banana Manna Shake.” You get to pick what juice you want and they mix it with their alternative vegan ice cream, which is made from bananas and your choice of almond, cacao or sunflower seeds. The shakes are really amazing! I highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the area to try one! I promise you will be very happy you did! ;)

     

    Beverly Hills Juice

    8382 Beverly Blvd.

    Los Angeles, CA 90048

    P: 323-655-8300

    www.BeverlyHillsJuice.com

    Monday – Friday: 7AM - 6PM

    Saturday + Sunday: 9AM – 6P

     

    First Impression: I remember the first time I saw Beverly Hills Juice, I was drawn in I think because for one it was a juice shop and for two it’s simplicity. It’s simple and understandable. It’s not like some juice shops where you go in and you feel entirely overwhelmed by what to order or your options. This is the complete opposite at Beverly Hills Juice. You will see your options in a clear window and you have a choice to make it a shake or not. Plain and simple. I like that!

     

    Taste: Amazing! I’ve tried many different varieties of  their Banana Manna Shake and I’ve always have been very impressed and satisfied with how great it tastes. My ultimate favorite thing to order is their Orange Coconut Juice and combine that juice to make it a Banana Manna Shake (and add almonds.) It’s probably one of the best shakes I’ve ever had! On this trip I tried their most popular ordered item, Apple Ginger and Coconut Juice as a Almond Banana Manna Shake, I also tired their Watermelon juice which was absolutely delicious and refreshing! Both tasted great!

    Décor: Again, I was drawn into the simplicity of this shop. I’m a sucker for all white interiors and especially white tiles! There isn’t much décor other than the tiles that add texture to the walls. I like that about this place though. It’s a very small space so I think if there were more décor it would feel very overwhelming and distracting for such a small shop. It also reminds you that the focus is on the taste and quality of their juices and not by the décor of the shop, I also like this about Beverly Hills Juice.

    Price: The juices themselves are very reasonably priced it’s once you start turning the juices into shakes is when it becomes pricey. You can expect your shake the cost about $9.50. They come to this price as they add the price of your juice to the price of ingredients to make the shake. I think it’s a little expensive for a shake but I can understand paying for quality ingredients and also you’re buying the juice anyway as they pour it entirely to your shake. This is also pretty typical pricing in LA so that’s also something to keep in mind. Beverly Hills Juice ONLY EXCEPTS CASH!! The nearest ATM is a couple stores up and across the street.

     

    Service: Great! Everyone that works here is super friendly! They get really busy in here but they are able to get everyone in and out pretty quickly! There aren’t too many options of things to order here and having their juices all pre bottled really helps speed up the process of ordering. This also makes coming here really appealing because I know it won’t take up a lot of time.

     

    Ambiance: There isn’t much of one.. Haha! Basically you go in order and leave. There is a bench out front you could sit on but I think the point of this shop is really just to be quick service and get people their juice or shake and they are on their way. 

     

    Overall Experience: Perfect! They have high quality juices and shakes and have really fast service. One of my favorite juice spots!

     

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Local Business: Gina Ragnone of Fala Bar

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

    I’m so excited to share today’s interview with Gina Ragnone of Fala Bar! Fala Bar is one of the newest restaurants to open in LA. It’s situated on the trendy street, Melrose Avenue near Fairfax. Founded by Mike Shab and Andres Izquieta, these two have perfected, with the help of Gina’s vision as a Holistic Health Coach, a health food restaurant for on the go. A common topic I have with friends and acquaintances about when will there be a fast food restaurant that’s all healthy, why has no one done that yet?! I always believed it was in the making and here is the first! I met Gina who helped fuse Andres and Mike’s original concept to what is now today, Fala Bar.

    I cannot say enough great things about this restaurant! I loved everything from the menu, décor and the entire concept! I’ll be the first to poke fun at the fact falafels are fried and, as you know the blog is called, “Steamed Not Fried,” but I admire the approach Fala Bar has towards how they fry their falafels, which definitely sets them apart from traditional frying. I was hooked immediately after trying their falafel sandwich and the Gigi’s snack cup, which was an accidental menu item Gina created one afternoon, Andres told her to definitely add that to the menu and I’m so glad they did! Having been open only a month, I’m already anxious for them to start expanding so I can have one in my hood! Check out my interview below with Gina and how the concept behind this great café was born, the challenges of opening a restaurant and sourcing local produce for the restaurant.

    What is Fala Bar? What can people expect when they go there?

    "Fala Bar is a vegan falafel and salad bar featuring traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with a healthy twist. Our menu is entirely vegan, organic, dairy free, nut free and gluten free with the exception of our pita bread. People can expect a "Fala Experience" as opposed to just ordering food and leaving. We like to educate our customers about what we are doing and why. For example, where we source all of our 100% organic and local produce along with our eco friendly and biodegradable cutlery and containers. Furthermore, why we use grape seed oil to fry our falafels versus other oils that cannot handle a high smoke point, etc." 

    What is the most popular item ordered? What is your favorite thing on the menu?

    "The most popular item is definitely our Fala Sandwich, which comes on our only gluten offered item of pita (not made in house, so safe for gluten intolerant people to eat with us) or for those avoiding bread, wrapped in a cabbage leaf. My favorite items are the Fala Me to Kaleifornia salad for lunch or dinner and the Gigi's Snack Cup for well, a snack." ;)  

    (Pictured Above: Gigi's Snack Cup)

    I absolutely love the concept of Fala Bar! How did the idea of Fala Bar come about? And why did you choose falafels to be the main focus of the restaurant and it’s dishes?

    "Mike Shab had the idea to create a traditional Middle Eastern type of falafel restaurant with shawarma (meat) because of his family's amazing recipes. When he approached Andres Izquieta about becoming his business partner on the project, Andres wanted to bring LA what they all seem to love: healthy, fresh, organic food. They then took it a few steps further and made it vegan, dairy free, nut free and gluten free---basically "allergen free" with the help of myself, since I am very in tune with a holistic approach to living. Although there are vegan, healthy restaurants popping up all over LA, the difference with Fala Bar is that it's basically "fast food" with our quick service approach giving even those on the go a healthy alternative to what is offered out there." 

    Fala Bar’s tagline is “Always vegan. Always fresh. Always organic.” Do you follow a vegan diet? 

    "I have followed every diet you can imagine in my past and I am here to say that I have learned there is not one diet that fits all. At the age of 6 years old, I started refusing meat and even dairy or anything else I discovered came from an animal... it grossed me out and drove my parents crazy! That lasted for a good 13 years before I ventured into some fish and then later some eggs and poultry. Nowadays, I keep a very plant based diet, but I listen to my body and incorporate fish and eggs occasionally and even red meat once in a blue moon. I will say that whenever someone walks into Fala and realizes we don't serve meat and are about to walk out the door, I encourage them to try having a meatless meal once a week, They never leave disappointed once they try the food." :)  

    What is your favorite dish to cook at home?

    "I love to make huge veggie salads, soups in my Vitamix, roasted veggies, cauliflower mash, grilled salmon--- just to name a few! Oh, and avocados are my best friend!"  ;)  

    Fala Bar is very new! What has been the most challenging part during the beginning stages of opening a restaurant/café/falafel bar? What has the feedback been like?

    "One of the most challenging parts is making sure everyone who works with us is all on the same page in order to keep consistency of the Fala Experience and of the dishes. The food seems to speak for itself and has received a lot of positive feedback as well as a lot of "thank you's" for opening. Our neighbors along Melrose are thrilled to have a healthier option during their lunch breaks."

     

    Do you source your produce/ingredients locally? If so, where do you go to pickup these items?

    "Yes we have suppliers who are all within 200 miles of our shop. We also have a list of every Farmer's Market taking place daily in the Los Angeles area in case we run out of anything or if our suppliers run out of something we need for the week. We love trips to the market!" 

    I really hope to see Fala Bar expand! I know having been open only a few weeks, I’m sure it’s hard to think that far ahead but would expanding be something you might do in the future?

    "It does seem like it would be difficult to think that far ahead already, but I know it's been on the minds of Mike and Andres since day one! We would most definitely like to see Fala Bar expand and have been brainstorming on future locations."   

    FalaBar

    7751 1/2 Melrose Ave.

    Los Angeles, CA 90046

    323-424-7131

    www.FalaBar.com

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

     

  • Local Business: Marlene + Michael Bernstein of Savour This Sauce

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

     

    Looking for yummy, gluten- free and vegan sauces to use in your recipes?! If so I have the perfect company for you! Savour This Sauce, is a brother sister duo who have created some of the best tasting locally made sauces in LA. Originally, Marlene and her brother Michael Bernstein were catering, which they still do, but Michael suggested Marlene take her sauce recipes and turn it into a full line of artisan sauces. All of their ingredients are locally sourced from farmers markets in Los Angeles. I chatted with Marlene and Michael in their kitchen as they showed me how they make their Pistachio Mint Chutney. Not only did I love their product but I also loved the strong relationship Marlene and Michael have not only as business partners but as family. They were both filled with enthusiasm for their product topped with a lot of goofiness. It was a real pleasure meeting and learning about them and the process of making their sauces. Tomorrow they will be launching their kickstarter! You can help support them here! In the meantime, get to know Marlene and Michael a little better through this interview I did with them! :)

     

    Growing up did you ever think that you and Michael would have started a catering business together?

    "It was not in the realm of thought that we would own a catering business together, specifically.  The idea of working together or owning something together had been a thought that had ben entertained, but not too seriously. The company was started so precipitously; there was really no planning stage at all for it."

     

    You are obviously siblings that really get a long to be able to work together! What’s the best part about working with family?

    "Working with family provides something that working with non-family simply cannot. You see, when having a partner in a business, your career goal (that being the success of the business) is aligned. So too is it with family in business together.  But coming from such a tight knit family, our life goals often align as well." 

    I think that’s really cool that you spent time on a farm! What was something that you learned while being there that has stuck with you through to your catering business?

    "Making things from scratch is always the way to go. Not only can one take more pride in the outcome of a meal when they have cooked and assembled it from scratch, but they feel more confident in promoting it as their own creation, with characteristics that reflect them, as it is an extension of them."

    Catering is a lot of work! What is the most important part of the process when catering an event? (Such as planning out what you’re going to cook, how much food to get, etc.)

    "Planning is critical.  We must get our numbers correctly.  We must not only budget as a whole, but each component must be budgeted as a cog in the overall wheel.  You do not want to produce too much food which will not be consumed, yet you do not want anyone leaving hungry.  So deconstructing the budget to consider how much each person will eat, and then building it back up to purchase this amount of ingredients is the way to go.  But there is also the organizing of equipment and tools needed to perform tasks at the event site, as well as gathering together a van for transportation purposes. When you add in scheduling the staff, and of course the most important task of all, preparing the food (2 or 3 days in advance), you have got a level of operation and logistics to contend with where failure is not an option, and meeting time deadlines is critical. But it all begins with planning, and lists are a tremendous benefit as well."

     

    You both also have your brand, Savour This Sauce, how did you come up with creating this line of products?

    "Marlene is the creator of the sauces. She has a vision when it comes to combining unusual ingredients that most would perceive as not going together well, and turning them in delicious creations.  Michael had the idea to market these sauces which had already been created, and were being used on caterings. Savour This Sauce began in January of 2013 (1 ½ years into the catering business) and has seen tremendous growth since."

    What is your most popular sauce? Is this your favorite?

    "Our Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Spread has really taken the lead this year.  We produce the most of it, of our three sauces, and it sells out most consistently. Though each of our sauces are original, and contain many unqiue attributes, our Romesco is differentiated from so many sauces out there, even other Romescos.  Our personal favorite is our Pistachio Mint Pesto because it has very strong notes of mint, which are very refreshing, and give a certain authenticity to sauce because of it.  But they are all beloved."

     

    You can buy Savour This Sauce at your local farmer’s markets in Los Angeles and also on the Good Eggs website.. (If you’re not familiar with Good Eggs check out my interview with them here and how their home delievery grocery service works here!)

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • 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

  • 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

     

  • 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

     

     

  • Local Business: Yael Green + Nicola Behrman for Almond Milk LA

    Pictured: Yael Green (left) & Nicola Behrman (right)


    Happy Tuesday everyone!

    I’m so excited to share with you today an interview with an amazing local duo! Yael Green and Nicola Behrman, who make up Almond Milk LA, have created a wonderful product that can be delivered right to your front door! (That is if you live in the Los Angeles area.) I was really inspired and impressed with Yael’s drive to pursue the Almond Milk LA company as she was in her third year of a doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. I’m a big believer in following your dreams and I think this a great example of someone doing just that! Turning a staple in her and Nicola’s kitchen, they have perfected not only the way almond milk should taste but also a throw back of delivering fresh milk to your home! Not to mention the super cute branding! Here is my interview with these two lovely women on their company, Almond Milk LA!

     

     What inspired you to start an Almond Milk company?

    “Almond Milk LA literally started when I was making almond milk at home one evening in 2012 and a small voice inside me said – “I want to deliver Almond Milk to people.” It came from nowhere, could not have been further from what i was pursuing in my life and yet in that moment I felt an excitement and a joy that I hadn’t felt before. The timing couldn't have been crazier - I was in the third year of a four-year doctoral degree in Physical Therapy and yet I knew that I had to act on this hunch. We started small and as momentum and success grew in our first year, I decided to take a leave of absence to pursue the dream of Almond Milk LA. It was the best decision I have ever made!”

    What is your history with almond milk prior to starting Almond Milk LA?

    “For us, Almond Milk had been a staple in our house. I had started making it about 6 months before and it was something so easy and simple. I don’t have a background in cooking and in fact it had actually been somewhat challenging for me to find my “voice” in the kitchen and around food. Almond Milk was something that I intuitively knew felt good in my body and later would find out from a nutrition perspective how good it really is. And honestly, I just really loved the meditative process of making it. It's such a visceral experience and even without drinking it, I think the process of creating it is really good for so many of us that spend days and days at computers and in our brains.” 

    Of all of the almond products out there why did you decide to make almond milk?

    “We were making it because of the wonderful health benefits - when made in the correct way, using high quality organic almonds and making sure they are soaked/ sprouted first, it is literally a medicinal food. Much illness today comes from the fact that our body’s pH levels are too acidic and everything we can do to alkalinize them is a really good idea. This is why everyone is drinking green juice and doing juice cleanses - to try and alkalinize their systems. Well, raw homemade almond milk is not only an alkalinizing food, it's also packed with protein and magnesium, which our bodies desperately need, so it's really a no-brainer. So for us, it wasn't about finding an almond product and wanting to sell it, it was about experiencing the amazing health benefits of almond milk and wanting to share them with the world!”

    I love the concept of the old school delivery of milk to your doorstep, what areas do you deliver your milk to?

    “Thank you! We do too! And people get so excited by the notion that we deliver in glass bottles and ask people to leave their empties out for collection. It's really a joy to see peoples' faces light up when they remember the old school milk delivery experiences of their childhood and get to relive them somewhat! Delivery-wise, our wonderful friends at Good Eggs LA are our delivery heros and heroines and handle all our delivery needs, so we "deliver" to all the areas on their site. As of now, it's: Westside, Eastside, Central LA, San Gabriel Valley & San Fernando Valley. We're hoping they will add Malibu and Topanga soon!”

    Where can Angelenos find Almond Milk LA? Do you sell your products outside of Los Angeles?

    “You can find us at the Palisades Farmers Market every Sunday, Red Bread, Lindy & Grundy, Produce Project at Handsome Coffee Roasters, Pressed Brother Juicery at Grand Central Market & South Pasadena Farmers Market and at Farmshop, Brentwood. Oh, and also in the panna cotta at Melisse restaurant. True Story!”

    In your opinion, why do you think almond milk is the best milk?

    “As far as nut milks are concerned, Almonds are the most alkalizing and protein filled nuts. Almonds are rich in magnesium, potassium, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, and healthy essential omega-3 fats, and contain antioxidants which can help fight off and repair any damage done by inflammation. No other nut is at alkalanizing so for us, beyond loving the smoothness of the taste, it's a no brainer. In terms of milks in general, we encourage people to do their own research. We are not fans of boxed milks, whether they are Soy, Almond or Rice, for a variety of reasons - boxed milks are filled with synthetic vitamins and carrageenan, which reek havoc on the system, and Soy is generally a GMO product in this country, which to us is equally horrifying. And when you look at how much protein is actually in a box of almond milk, you realize pretty quickly that there can't be many almonds in there! In terms of cows milk, we do believe in the benefits of raw milk but sadly most people can't get it in this country. We're not a fan of pasteurization and we think low-fat anything is actually counterproductive and makes you put on more weight, so that would be a no-no in our book. But we believe it's important for people to do their own research and find the milk or the milk replacement product that is right for them. Ultimately, our bodies know what makes them really happy and for us, it happened to be homemade raw almond milk!”

    What sets Almond Milk LA apart from other almond milks and almond milks you find in the grocery store?

    “Essentially our almond milk has no preservatives, no carageenan, and all the vitamins and minerals in Almond Milk LA come directly from the almonds themselves. We use almost ½ pound of almonds in each bottle, and we also sprout our almonds which is an essential step in consuming all nut products; the process of sprouting, which is simply soaking almonds in filtered water for 12 hours and then rinsing them completely acts to remove the enzyme inhibitors that surround all nuts and are indigestible to our systems. This in turn allows our bodies to absorb the minerals and beneficial enzymes, which aids in digestion and increases the absorption of the vitamins, minerals and proteins. If you are consuming Almond Milk for health reasons, you really want to make sure that the almonds have been soaked or sprouted first!”

    You offer three flavors of almond milk: pure, honey and cacao. Which one is your most popular? Which is your personal favorite?

    “We love all the flavors, including our new addition, our turmeric almond milk, but my personal favorites will always be the pure and the honey. I am an avid tea drinker and use them in my tea every morning and afternoon.” 

    You have great branding and packaging, what was the concept behind it?

    “Thank you! We love it so much too! We wanted it to be whimsical and inviting and also really clean. Our Almond Milk is such a clean and simple product that we wanted that to be reflected in our branding. Our designer and brand guru, Janean Lesyk literally had the original design come to her one night in a dream and everything since has been a building on and finessing of that original concept, that was quite literally heaven sent!”

    Are there any plans for possibly opening a freestanding milk store?

    “Sometimes we get excited at the prospect of having a little whole in the wall somewhere were people can come and pick up their milk or a community space where people can come together and connect over warm almond milk and almond pulp cookies, but we are still a new company and so far we have found that our niche centers around doorstep delivery and farmers markets. When people start clamoring for an actual spot, we will consider it. Till then we are mobile home delivery all the way!”

    You can order their Almond Milk here

    Almond Milk LA also offers DIY kits for you to make their almond milks in your own home! Here are the steps to making their DIY as demonstrated by Nicola! (She made the cacao almond milk!)

     

    Credits

    Written, Interviewed & Styled by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Photographed by: Bethany Nauert