• Juice Shop + Market: CK (Christopher's Kitchen) To-Go

    Good morning, friends!

    I’m on the East Coast in South Florida visiting home (West Palm Beach to be exact.) I decided to start posting local businesses, restaurants, juice shops, etc that are not just in Los Angeles. So here is my first post on a shop in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Christopher’s Kitchen is probably the newest (or one of the newer) all organic and raw restaurants in the area. They opened the restaurant four years ago and year ago they opened CK To-Go. CK To-Go is an extension of the restaurant but they also offer cold pressed juices, wheatgrass shots, handmade chocolate/desserts, health products and health books. I always like to know where I can go to get a juice and something healthy to snack on and knowing about places like this are really helpful! While on vacation I’m still able to keep up the healthy choices because of knowing about spots like this! I hope others can find this to be helpful for them as well!

     

    CK To-Go

    4783 PGA Blvd.

    Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

    561-318-6191

    www.ChristophersKitchenFL.com

     

    First Impression:

    Very cute! The plaza it’s in is nice and the inside of the shop is very clean and simple.

     

    Taste:

    I tried a few of their juices. I always go for the green ones and out of their green ones my favorite was youthful. Youthful has been one of the juices they have had since the shop opened and is a very popular one. I really enjoyed this one! The tricky thing about green juices is it’s hard for them to taste smooth without having a ton of sugar to mask the leafy taste but this one was perfect.

    Décor:

    Again, very cute and simple. I liked how it was very open and it was clear what was going on when you walk in. The juices and premade food are on one side and the products, books, vitamins/supplements are on the other.  I always like white subway tiles so that also made it feel nice and upscale!

     

    Price:

    This was the only thing I was really thrown off by. Now coming from LA where everything is super expensive when I go other places I’m like oh this is cheap! And usually everything down here is very reasonable, until I was charged $12.00 for one bottled juice. Now there are places I’ve been to that charge that much but very few. I was really surprised that it was that much. That was my only issue with CK To-Go.

     

    Service:

    Great! All the people that worked there are very friendly and helpful!

     

    Ambiance:

    There’s not a whole lot of atmosphere going on in here, hence the name “to-go”. It’s basically you grab and go. It’s not a stressful environment but you’re not sitting in there and hanging out. Although, you can sit outside in the plaza seating and enjoy your food. It’s pretty quiet there and if there is no rain it would be a nice setting to eat your lunch but I think if you were wanting to sit down and eat then you would just go to the actual restaurant which is right around the corner.

     

    Overall Experience:

    Good! I thought it was a nice place. Even though I thought the juice was overpriced I would still go back because of the quality.

    Credits:

    Written, reviewed and photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich

  • Fruit Infused Water

    Happy Friday friends!

    Here is a fun and simple “recipe” you can try over the weekend! Technically, it’s not really a recipe because it’s so simple and easy. It’s definitely no new concept but I thought I’d share anyway! I’m someone who drinks a TON of water, I’m not kidding! I drink water and juice and that’s it! This “recipe” (we will call it that because I don’t know what else to call it, haha!) will help you to drink more water. To get the full benefit of the fruit though, you need to eat the fruit entirely, but infusing the water will definitely add flavor and make drinking water way more fun! So drink your infused water and then enjoy some yummy fruit!

    Infused Water

    Ingredients:

    *NOTE: The ingredients and amounts are entirely up to you, that’s what also makes this fun. The ingredients I’m listing are the best and most commonly used for infusing water. You can play around with how long you let the fruit soak in the water, you can let it sit over night or you can let it sit for a few hours, totally up to you. The more you try it out you’ll notice what you like best!

    • Mint
    • Lemon
    • Lime
    • Cucumber
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
    • Raspberries
    • Pomegranate
    • Watermelon
    • Grapefruit
    • Orange

    To help get you started here are some ideas for combinations to try!

    • Strawberry + Mint (pictured)
    • Grapefruit + Raspberry (pictured)
    • Cucumber + Mint (pictured)
    • Grapefruit + Orange
    • Pomegranate + Orange
    • Strawberry + Cucumber
    • Blueberry + Orange
    • Strawberry + Lime
    • Cucumber + Lemon + Lime
    • Cucumber + Lemon
    • Cucumber + Lime + Mint
    • Mint + Lime (pictured)
    • Orange + Lemon + Lime (pictured)
    • Blueberry + Pomegranate + Raspberry + Strawberry (pictured)
    • Strawberry + Mint
    • Pomegranate + Cucumber
    • Watermelon + Mint

    Again, there are so many combinations you can try but hopefully this list will give you some help or inspiration!

     

    Directions:

    • Get the fruits of your choice, wash thoroughly.
    • Get a pitcher, Mason jar or large glass and if you need to cut your fruit, do so.
    • Put all your ingredients into your jar or pitcher, etc. then fill with filtered water. (*NOTE: If you are using any of the citrus fruits, especially lemon or lime you can try squeezing some into the water as well to really get some great flavor!)
    • Put in refrigerator for however long you would like. I recommend at least an hour.
    • Enjoy!

    Credits:

    Written and Styled by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Photographed by: Bethany Nauert

  • 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

  • Recipe: Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

    Hey friends!

    Here’s a unique recipe to try! It’s a healthy spin on traditional spaghetti using Spaghetti Squash. My good friend, Bethany Nauert, contributed this recipe. It’s super healthy and also very simple to make!

    Ingredients 

    • 1 Spaghetti Squash (Most likely found easiest at Whole Foods)
    • 1-2 cups of Spinach
    • 1/2 or 1 whole Red Bell Pepper
    • Parmesan, shaved or grated
    • Olive oil

     

    Directions

    • Wash all your veggies

    • Punch many holes into the squash, using a screwdriver or scissors. You can use a knife, but it's more difficult to punch all the way through. 

    • Heat the squash in the microwave for 6-8 mins, if it doesn't feel somewhat soft and definitely hot…then stick it in the microwave and heat for an additional 1-3 mins depending.

     

    • When you cut the squash in half, the "meat" inside should be very squishy and soft. If it's still cool (it should be piping hot) then it's not done and you can heat more.

     

    • Meanwhile, sauté your spinach and bell pepper on medium heat in a skillet or wide sauce pan with a bit of olive oil for flavor.

     

    • When squash is ready, you need to scrape the middle out and remove all seeds.

    • Then with a fork you can literally start peeling the spaghetti strands from the walls of the squash… it will look like pasta as your shred it off.

    • Add squash, bell pepper and spinach to a bowl…top it off with Parmesan and DINNER IS SERVED! :)

    Credits:

    Written by: Bethany Nauert + Kristen Tola Hettich

    Styled by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Recipe + Photographed by: Bethany Nauert

  • 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

     

     

     

  • 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

  • Recipe: Mango + Orange Smoothie

    Happy Friday everyone!

    While trying to find ways to keep cool in this heat we’ve been having and preparing myself for what the summer might be like, I’m still very excited for summer to come and with that season comes a ton of inspiration for me. I think of the beach, dinner parties with friends and tropical drinks! ;) And if you’re out here in this Southern California heat as well, this is just the drink you want to be sipping on! I love this smoothie because it’s very fruity, quick to make and doesn’t have a lot of ingredients.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Orange Juice (You can use pulp or no pulp, up to you!)
    • Frozen Mango (About ½ of a cut up mango)
    • Nonfat Plain Yogurt (If you are vegan or want to make this recipe vegan you can use Greek Yogurt or you can skip this ingredient all together.)
    • 1 Banana

    Directions:

    • You will first have to cut up your mango and freeze it. If you aren’t able to do the prep for this smoothie and/or feel like waiting for your mango to freeze you can always just cut up the mango and throw it right into the blender but make sure you add 2-4 ice cubes if you do that. I do find that when you use frozen fruit for smoothies the texture comes out a lot better but it will still taste great if you don’t use frozen mango. ;)
    • Add all your ingredients to your blender.
    • Blend + Enjoy! :)

    Credits:

    Written, Styled & Recipe by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Photographed by: Bethany Nauert

  • 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

  • My Personal Story + Interview

    Hey friends!

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

    What's your favorite movie and why?

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

     

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

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

     

     

    How would others describe you?

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

     

    Where is your favorite place to spend a Sunday?

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

     

     

    What about LA turns you on?

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

     

     

    What about LA turns you off?

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

     

    Favorite restaurant?

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

     

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

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

     

     

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

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

     

     

    Favorite childhood memory?

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

     

      

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

    Anyone who knows me knows it would be teal!

     

      

    What's your favorite word?

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

    Last movie you watched?

    American Hustle. I really liked that movie a lot!

     

     

    What song is on repeat right now in your ipod?

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

     

     

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

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

      

    Credits:

    Written by: Kristen Tola Hettich

    Interviewed and Photographed by: Bethany Nauert