• Copa Vida Coffee and Tea Cafe Review

    Happy Wednesday!

    If you are in the Los Angeles area or more specifically in the Pasadena area you should definitely stop by the lovely Copa Vida. Copa Vida is a newer coffee/tea shop in Old Town Pasadena. (They just celebrated their one-year anniversary!) Those of you who know me know that I do not drink coffee or tea so you might find this amusing I’m featuring such a shop but I do realize MANY of you live and function off of coffee and/or tea! So this one is for you all! Oh, and they also have a brunch menu and pastries that are made in house! They also have some exceptional coffee machinery in there. Which I have to be honest I don’t know much about. For you coffee connoisseurs out there though, you will most definitely appreciate it!

    Copa Vida

    70 South Raymond Avenue

    Pasadena, CA 91105

    Hours: Monday-Friday 7AM-10PM // Saturday 8AM-10PM // Sunday 8AM-9PM

    p. 626-213-3952

    www.Copa-Vida.com

    First Impression: Immediately when I walked in I loved this space! It was modern, clean and stylish! There were lots of seating and people doing work. It’s a really nice coffee and tea shop but without any pretentious vibes.

    Taste: I did not try the coffee, however Bethany had a Cortado, which she really enjoyed! I did try the Hibiscus Tea and really liked that! I also had their blueberry muffin which was delicious!

    Décor: First, I have to mention that the attention to detail in this shop is amazing! I'm a huge fan of anything black, white and/or teal and Copa Vidas colors are all three, so I obviously loved seeing all the white and black and pops of teal. The front room is a lovely mix of modern meets rustic. I really like this type of décor because it gives the perfect balance of new and clean but with the wood, metal and brick details to keep it organic and “raw” feeling. The back room is much darker and also has a brick wall, dark colors and dark wood accents. Copa Vida also sells coffee and tea accessories.

    Service: Great! Everyone is very friendly and helpful! They are also well educated on their coffee and tea!

    Ambiance: Mellow and relaxing. Copa Vida starts to fill up even early in the morning. Even though they get very busy, the spacious café keeps it from feeling stuffy. They have two different rooms to enjoy your coffee, tea and snacks in. The first room when you walk in is bright, open and has lots of white! The room connected in the back has a warmer darker vibe and brick walls. This was purposely done to create those two different vibes. You can notice the first room (the one with the white) has a lot more action and things happening, whereas the darker navy room has a much more quiet relaxing vibe with little to no noise. I found this to be the coolest part of their shop, the option to have different vibes in the same space!

    Overall Experience: It was great! Even though I do not drink coffee and tea (minus the tea I had here ;)) what I really liked about Copa Vida is that it was enjoyable for me even while the main focus is on those drinks I could still enjoy their pastries, food, juice (They sell Juice Served Here juices. You can learn more about those guys here!) and the atmosphere! I would definitely come back!

    Credits:

    Written and Reviewed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Photographed by: Bethany Nauert

    Thank you to Caroline Tanaka and to owner Steve Chang (pictured below with me) for meeting with 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

  • Local Business: Joyce Gass + Ellie Josephs of OH BAR

    Good Morning everyone!

    Today I’m sharing with you an interview with two lovely women, Joyce Gass and Ellie Josephs. Joyce and Ellie have created a raw energy bar friendly for those of you who vegan and/or are allergic to gluten and nuts. Their OH BAR, the OH being an acronym for Organic Health, is absolutely delicious and filling! I had the chance to meet Joyce and Ellie in their kitchen to watch how they make their OH BARs, but I promised I wouldn’t show all the steps! ;)

    Here is a peek into their process of making these yummy bars, along with their interview of what inspired them to branch off and pursue making energy bars and how it is rewarding to them!

     

    You both come from different backgrounds other than the food industry, could you tell us a little more about yourselves?

    “Yes, that is so true. I (Joyce) came from a background in special education and working with mentally and emotionally challenged folks of all ages as a mental health specialist. Then I went on to become a massage therapist, a teacher of massage, t’ai chi, and other supportive modalities until finally becoming the Director of the Institute for Psycho-Structural Balancing, a holistic therapeutic massage school in Culver City. All of these experiences have occupied the last 35 plus years of my life! I continue to have a massage practice though on a much smaller scale since we have embarked on our OH BAR journey.”    

    “I (Ellie) came from a background in music. I was a serious French horn player in New York, went to Music and Art High School, The Manhattan School of Music and performed in local orchestras in the New York area. When I moved out to

    Los Angeles, I got a job at the L.A. Philharmonic as their Production Coordinator.  For many years I had a deep curiosity about massage therapy. While still working at the L.A. Phil, I decided to go to school and become a massage therapist. That’s were Joyce was teaching and where we met.  I haven’t looked back since. 27 years ago!”

     

    What was it that inspired you both to create OH BAR?

    “A few years ago we decided to go on a raw food diet. We were busy soaking, sprouting, learning how to create nutritious raw food and having a great time! Being food enthusiasts already with a love for the kitchen and all things related, we wanted to come up with a raw, nutritious energy bar that would be a perfect grab and go complete food. We were craving an energy bar that was pure, had no sugar, was high in protein, fiber and balanced with good fats and carbs. We experimented around with recipes and came up with the two OH BAR flavors, our Original and Cacao/Goji Berry. We, of course, started out in our kitchen, sharing the OH BARs with friends and family. Then before we knew it the bar took off!”

    Why was it important for OH BAR to be raw vegan?

    “We wanted the OH BAR to be raw and vegan mostly because that was what we were practicing. But we also understand the value of raw food and how it increases our energy, vitality and overall sense of well-being. Given our healing background, we wanted to create a bar that was life giving and not depleting to the body. Something that was healing and full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and nutrients. We knew if we kept the temperature low in the dehydrator, didn’t zap the bar with high baking heat we would maintain the integrity of the nutrients. We really wanted to make a bar that was the perfect energy food filled with vitality and health! We feel we have accomplished that with the OH BAR!”

     

    Do either of you follow a raw vegan diet or have in the past? If you no longer do would you consider trying it again? If you do what are the positive changes you’ve noticed in following this diet?

    “When we followed a raw food diet we felt great! Our skin was glowing, our eyes were clear, we had amazing energy.   We were raw vegan strictly for about a year and a half. Time passes, our bodies change, the seasons change and we both felt like we needed to introduce some lightly cooked foods, fish and chicken. All organic of course! I (Ellie) in particular found myself needing more animal protein. We have to listen to our bodies and really tune into what is needed. Our current diet is probably 75% raw; 25% cooked. We always buy produce from local organic farmers and only eat organic poultry. We have actually given up eating fish for the most part given the sad situation in our polluted oceans.”

    You have two flavors of OH BAR’s, The Original and Goji Berry. Which is the most popular? Which is your personal favorite? Do you want to add to the list of flavors you offer?

    “Yes we have been focusing on our two flavors of OH BARs. We also make a raw granola OH GRANOLA and sell that in a few different venues. The granola is not a retail item. From our sales, it seems that the Original is a favorite but the Cacao/Goji is also a great seller too! It offers increased anti-oxidant benefits given the raw cacao and raw goji berries. Two amazing super foods! We are considering a third bar and have some ideas but want to continue focusing on our two OH BARs at this time.”

    What has been the most rewarding part of starting OH BAR?

    “The most rewarding aspect of starting our company Four Hands Healing Foods, home of the OH BAR, is the amazing position we are in to educate and help people make healthy food choices. We are passionate about awakening the body’s own healing potential via a healthy lifestyle and mindful eating. Getting a chance to share that passion with as many people as possible is a gift.   The OH BAR is a vehicle for us to do that. Education empowers people to make healthy choices with a sense of peace and joy.”

     

    What key component really sets OH BAR from the rest of the bars out there?

    “It’s hard to pick one key component that sets OH BAR apart from all other bars out there.   Not only do we touch each and every bar with love, as it is hand made, hand packaged, hand labeled, hand boxed in cases but we bring a sense of healing to everything we do. More specifically OH BAR is not filled with refined and processed ingredients, chemicals, or sugar! All the bars out there either have high sugar or agave causing a spike in our blood sugar. We use coconut nectar, which is a low glycemic sweetener and rich in amino acids. We feel this has been revolutionary for our genre of products. And the OH BAR contains no grains, which can be inflammatory for some folks. It’s NOT a granola bar! Every single ingredient in our bar is enzyme rich and life giving! That’s the truth!”

    Where can we find OH BAR?!

    “You can find the OH BAR in a variety of locations mostly in southern CA. If you go on our website: www.ohbarorganicenergybar.com there is a map showing all the locations where the OH BAR can be found. The location is marked with our logo. Eat with joy and vitality!"

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed, Styled & 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

  • 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

  • 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