• Restaurant Review: Gracias Madre

    This is a restaurant that hasn’t been open that long here in Los Angeles,(maybe a couple of months) but I’m definitely late on getting this review and trying this spot out. This one is for the vegans! Gracias Madre is a plant based Mexican restaurant situated on the popular Melrose Ave in West Hollywood. I am torn on whether I love the food or the décor of this restaurant more. Great food and great atmosphere make for the perfect dining combination. Here’s my review of Gracias Madre!

     

    Gracias Madre

    8905 Melrose Ave.

    West Hollywood, CA 90069

    p. 323-978-2170

    Hours:

    M-Su 11am-11PM

    Weekend Brunch: 11am-3PM

    Weekday Lunch: 11am-4pm

    Weekday Happy Hour: 4pm-7pm

     

    www.GraciasMadreWeho.com

    (*They also have a location in San Francisco!)

    2211 Mission St

    San Francisco, CA 94110

    p. 415-683-1346

    www.GraciasMadre.com

    First Impression: The first time I dined at Gracias Madre was in the evening; I immediately loved the vibe of the restaurant. The atmospheres from daytime to nighttime are similar but also very different. I enjoyed both.

    Taste: For lunch I had “The Bowl” which has romaine lettuce, brown rice, black beans, guacamole, tempeh chorizo, pico de gallo and cashew cream, which is their vegan version of sour cream. I switched the tempeh for their coconut “bacon” (which is amazing and I recommend trying!) I also had their salsa trio (this comes with a mango salsa which is sweet, a pico de gallo that was spicy but not too hot and my favorite the pineapple salsa which has a kick to it!) To drink I had the green juice of the day which had kale, apple and cucumber. Everything had lots of flavor! It’s really great place to go with your friends that are vegan or vegetarian, whether you’re in a large group or a small group. I think everyone will enjoy the food!

    Décor: Beautiful, amazing, perfect! I think that’s my favorite part of the entire restaurant is the décor! I’m always drawn to a place where the interior is beautiful! Gracias Madre really nailed modern boho laid back vibes in the middle of the city. I love the tiles on the bar inside and all the different types of seating and colorful pillows. The restaurant is just so aesthetically pleasing. It’s really just a beautiful restaurant!

    Price: Very reasonable for locally grown organic food in a trendy restaurant and location in Los Angeles. The Bowl costs $13.00 their salsa trio is $10 and their juices and drinks (juices, coffee, teas) range from $4-$6. I don’t drink but I’ve heard great things about their cocktails too! Those run a little more! $ ;)

    Service: Great! They are really fast with getting the food out even when they are busy!

     

    Ambiance: Lovely! Again, it’s just such a beautiful restaurant. I love the indoor seating area as well as the outdoor seating. Lots of options! Great for a business lunch, dinner date or even a group of friends!

    Overall Experience: Great! I really love Gracias Madre. It’s a great option for vegans and friends of vegans! A lovely dining experience for sure!

    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!) 

  • 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