• 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

  • Restaurant Review: The Farm of Beverly Hills

    Happy Wednesday friends!

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

     

    The Farm of Beverly Hills

    439 North Beverly Drive

    Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    310-273-5578

     

    The Farm of Beverly Hills at LA Live

    800 West Olympic Blvd.

    Los Angeles, CA 90015

    213-747-4555

     

    First Impression:

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

     

    Taste:

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

    Décor:

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

     

    Price:

    Very reasonable for quality food and in Beverly Hills.

     

    Service:

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

     

    Ambiance:

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

    Overall Experience:

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

     

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed & Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

     

  • Local Business: Melina Davies of Olive & Thyme

    Happy Tuesday friends!

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

    Have you always been involved in the food industry?

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

     

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

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

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

    No, I eat everything.

     

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

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

      

    At home, what is your favorite meal to cook?

    Bucatini pasta with lemon, peppers and prosciutto.

     

    Do you have plans of expanding?

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

    Credits:

    Written, Interviewed & Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

     

  • Restaurant Review: FarmShop

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

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

     

    FarmShop

    225 26th Street Ste. 25

    Santa Monica, CA 90402

     

    310-566-2400

    www.FarmShopCA.com

     

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

     

     

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

    Happy Thursday friends!

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

     

    Olive & Thyme

    4013 Riverside Drive

    Burbank, CA 91505

     

    818-557-1560

    www.OliveandThyme.com

     

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

     

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

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

     

    Price: Very reasonable for great tasting and quality food!

     

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

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

     

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

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed & Photographed by:  Kristen Tola Hettich

     

  • Restaurant Review: SweetSalt Food Shop

    Happy Thursday everyone!

    I recently stumbled across a hidden gem of a restaurant near my neighborhood that was really tasty! SweetSalt Food Shop is a café and bakery that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have a large variety on their menu, catering towards vegetarians and meat lovers! There really is something for everyone here! Don’t forget to try some of there homemade pastries!

     

    SweetSalt Food Shop

    10218 Riverside Drive

    Toluca Lake, CA 91602

     

    818-509-7790

    www.SweetSaltFood.com

     

    First Impression

    As soon as you walk up to SweetSalt you get this neighborhood friendly vibe. The location is so cute! It’s nestled in between other stores along Riverside Drive in a busy area or “main drag” of Toluca Lake. This area is popular for lunchtime with all the studios nearby. Once I went in I got another vibe that this was somewhere some come to have lunch everyday with friends and co-workers.

    Taste

    So good! I was really impressed with all the items on the menu and especially with my meal! I had the Kale and Brussel Sprouts Tacos. The flavors in these tacos were amazing! Also, being mostly vegetarian I appreciated their twist on the taco! They do offer the option to add Chicken or Salmon to these!

     

    Décor

    The décor was really simple inside SweetSalt but it had style. There are mainly hues of gray, black and brown in the restaurant. There is almost a vintage vibe, with lots of wooden chairs, wooden floors, and black crow decor found throughout the restaurant.

     

    Price

    I thought it was pretty reasonable and standard for lunch in LA.

    Service

    Great! Everyone working there was very friendly!

     

    Ambiance

    Relaxing. Although they were busy it did not feel uncomfortable or overwhelming. There were a couple of people who were just working on their computers. If you can work from a restaurant it must be relaxing in some way! ;)

     

    Overall Experience

    I really liked this restaurant! Great food (I would definitely go back for those tacos!) and pleasant atmosphere! I recommend giving this spot a try!

    Credits:

    Written, Reviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich