See salt … ... in the making at Terranea Resort's sea salt conservatory

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So you know that vast ocean sitting right next to us? Yeah, the Pacific. It won’t solve our drought problems, unfortunately, but thanks to chef Bernard Ibarra of Terranea Resort, it can satisfy our cravings for sea salt.

Ibarra has unveiled an onsite sea salt conservatory to harvest salt straight from Terranea Cove. The conservatory was inspired by his childhood memories in French Basque Country, where his mother brought buckets of seawater home from the shore and let natural evaporation produce salt for the family’s use.

Chef Bernard Ibarra shows off Terranea’s sea salt conservatory.

Terranea’s sea salt conservatory is a more-sophisticated version of those buckets. Three salt “ponds” are housed in a greenhouse-like structure that allows the sun and the wind to penetrate. After the seawater evaporates, Ibarra flavors the salt crystals by cold smoking them with apricot wood, saturating them in Meyer lemon zest or infusing them with herbs grown with organic practices on the property.

The salt is being used throughout the resort’s eight restaurants. At Mar’sel, you might find the smoked sea salt sprinkled over roasted Jidori chicken with apricot preserve, zucchini and wild saffron rice ($30) or the Meyer lemon sea salt dusted over grilled asparagus ($16).

It’s seriously delicious stuff—and packed with minerals, too. The salts contain less sodium chloride and more calcium, potassium and magnesium than standard table salt. Want to taste for yourself? Purchase some in the resort’s casual café and gift shop, Sea Beans ($6 each).

Terranea Resort
100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes
310-265-2800
www.terranea.com

Dinner, solved Get healthy, chef-prepared meals delivered by Munchery

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After a busy workday, figuring out how to get dinner on the table—one that’s healthy, tasty and suitable for everyone’s dietary preferences—can be like solving a word problem.

Do you:
A. Shop, cook and hope it’s ready by midnight?
B. Order takeout from four different restaurants?
C. Admit defeat and go to Chipotle?
D. Live the dream and hire four private chefs?

Thanks to Munchery, we’re choosing D. The new-to-L.A. meal delivery service puts wholesome, freshly prepared dishes from four talented local chefs (and one pastry chef) at your doorstep.

The chefs and their cooking styles reflect the cultural diversity of L.A. Options on the ever-shifting menu of entrees, salads and sides run the gamut from Caribbean chicken with rice ($9) to Asian-style peppered steak and soba salad ($10) to all-American herbed salmon ($12). Dishes arrive fully cooked and chilled, so there’s no prep aside from a quick warm-up or addition of dressing.

Chef Scott Garrett, one of four talented chefs creating your Munchery meals.

With no dish over $13, Munchery is an affordable luxury, and a healthy one, to boot: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and nut-free choices are clearly labeled (there are never any additives or preservatives). Produce is local, sustainable and organic when possible; the majority of meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free. Packaging is recyclable or compostable, and carbon offsets make your delivery “carbon neutral.” Major bonus: every time you order, Munchery provides a meal to someone in need.

Order up to seven days in advance ($2.50 delivery fee) or, for a $4.50 fee, get your goodies within 45 minutes. Delivery, which happens from 4pm to 9pm Monday through Friday, is currently available on the Westside, expanding across the city to Downtown by mid-July. So, consider your meal riddle solved … at least until breakfast. For that, we’re glad Munchery also delivers vegan berry muffins and Blue Bottle coffee!

Munchery
1-888-458-5376
munchery.com

Fijian voyage Journey from South Pacific to Southeast Asian flavors at E.P. & L.P.

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Ah, Fiji.

Unreal beaches, lush tropical forests, and ridiculously healthy cuisine. The archipelago’s traditional staples include local seafood, fresh coconut milk, nutrient-dense taro leaves  and root vegetables like cassava.

With the arrival of West Hollywood’s E.P. & L.P.—a stylish new pan-Asian restaurant (E.P.) and rooftop bar (L.P.)—you can sample Fijian cuisine and skip the 10- hour flight. Drawing from his own Fijian-Chinese background, chef Louis Tikaram blends the flavors of his heritage with Thai and Vietnamese influences.

Dishes like nama “sea pearls” ceviche ($11)—a vegetarian ceviche made with South Pacific seaweed, hand-squeezed coconut milk, lime and chile—and L.P. “nachos” ($10)—chicken simmered in coconut cream with cassava crackers and lemongrass—offer a taste of Fiji.

Chef Tikaram blends Fijian flavors with Thai and Vietnamese influences.

Other plates hop the map across Southeast Asia, like the tender steamed fish with black bean, ginger and green onion (market price) and grilled baby leeks with spiced eggplant yogurt ($16). Tikaram cooks primarily with coconut oil and seasons the dishes with fresh herbs like turmeric, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.

The chef grew up on his parents’ 110-acre farm in Australia; at E.P. & L.P., he won’t source from a farm until he’s visited it in person and can vouch for its sustainable practices. The restaurant’s poultry is organic, the beef and pork are antibiotic- and hormone-free (some dishes, like brisket with red curry sauce, peanuts and Thai basil ($32), employ grass-fed beef) and the seafood is wild-caught or sustainably farmed.

Just think of it as paradise—minus the coconut palm trees.

E.P. & L.P.
603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood
310-855-9955
eplosangeles.com

Home sweet home Chomp on locally sourced salads at Sweetgreen

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Sweetgreen—the hip-‘n’-healthy East Coast salad spot—has finally arrived in Los Angeles.

Inevitable corporate expansion? Nope. More like a homecoming.

Nathaniel Ru and Jonathan Neman, both Los Angeles natives, were students at Georgetown University when they hatched Sweetgreen with co-founder Nicolas Jammet. It was a case of California dreaming: the Cali lifestyle of local sourcing, healthy eating and balanced living inspired the restaurant’s build-your-own salad concept. The trio opened the first Sweetgreen in Washington, D.C., in 2007 and grew it into a robust East Coast chain with cool cachet (à la the Sweetlife music festival), prompting lines out the door wherever it landed (it’s a go-to lunch spot for the Clean Plates NYC team!). But an outpost in L.A. was always part of the master plan.

LIKE THE MENU, THE DESIGN OF EACH SWEETGREEN LOCATION IS DISTINCTIVE.

Ru and Neman aren’t the only locals at the new 3rd Street location—the restaurant’s fresh produce and artisan ingredients are equally so. The menu at each of Sweetgreen’s 30 locations (31 if you count the Santa Monica store opening later this summer) reflects what’s freshest in its vicinity. The founders, who prize building close relationships with sustainable farmers, source mostly organic produce and all antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and dairy (75 percent of which is grass-fed).

Aside from the build-your-own option, offerings unique to the LA location include salads like strawberries and Humboldt Fog goat cheese with baby spinach, snap peas and walnuts ($11.75) and grain bowls like the Hollywood Bowl, with wild rice, shredded kale, jicama, grapes, sprouted almonds and roasted chicken ($11.25).

And Sweetgreen’s most enduring East Coast menu item, the Guacamole Greens salad ($10.75), has leapt to the West Coast—but it’s also making a homecoming of sorts. It was inspired by the awesome avocados and Mexican flavors of California. Pretty sweet.

Sweetgreen
8055 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles
323-934-3404
sweetgreen.com

Clean habits: Moby How the multi-platinum musician stays healthy

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Singer-songwriter Moby has worn many hats throughout his career: DJ, photographer, book editor and now, Los Angeles restaurateur. Later this summer, the LA resident will be opening Little Pine—a vegan restaurant serving comforting dishes like mushroom leek pot pie and roasted cauliflower “steak”—in Silver Lake with chef Anne Thornton in the kitchen.

A vegan for 28 years, Moby—who initially stopped eating animal products because of empathy for his cat—strives to spread awareness of the diet’s health and environmental benefits. Read on for his thoughts on plant-based eating and planet-conscious living.

What inspires you to maintain a vegan diet?

When I was growing up, I had the same terrible American diet that everybody had. I ate Frosted Flakes for breakfast, bologna sandwiches for lunch, Burger King for snacks and meatloaf for dinner. The more I found out about the way my diet affected my health, the environment, and climate change, it reinforced my desire to eat vegan.

How do you stay fit? 

I live by Griffith Park so I go hiking six days a week. I do yoga five or six days a week and do tai chi and ride a bike every now and then.

Watch Moby talk about why he is vegan.

What’s a typical day of eating like for you? 

Every morning, I have the same breakfast, which is what I call the “mother of all smoothies.” It has bananas, berries, flax seeds, fresh turmeric, parsley, broccoli, mixed greens like chard and kale, DHA oil and ginger. For dinner, my favorite, easiest meal is what I call “kimchi pasta fagioli” (pasta with beans, olive oil, and kimchi made with ginger, cabbage, daikon and carrot).

How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the music industry?

When I first started touring in the late ’80s and early ’90s, being a vegan was really challenging, especially in Eastern Europe or South America. But now, the world has really changed. A lot of conventional chefs who cook with meat and dairy are happy to make vegan food. Some of the best vegan meals I’ve had have been in conventional restaurants.

How does sustainability play a role in your life and in the upcoming restaurant?

I just tore up all my grass, put down drip irrigation and planted a bunch of native drought-tolerant plants. The restaurant will very much be an extension of my own principles of sustainability. It will be 100 percent organic.

Little Pine
2870 Rowena Ave., Los Angeles

The veg table Feast on plant-based comfort food at this appropriately named restaurant

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A vegetarian for more than 20 years, chef Jerry Yu admits to a bit of meat-free blasphemy: “I do not crave salads,” he says.

At Vegetable, his new—and yes, vegetarian—restaurant in Studio City, Yu does offer several quite inventive salads. But his preference for more comforting veggie-based dishes guides the homey menu.

Yu crafts healthier twists on hearty favorites like mac ‘n’ cheese ($14)—his made with quinoa macaroni, heirloom tomatoes, cashew “cheese” sauce and walnut-garlic crumble—and pasta-free lasagna ($15), made from eggplant and baby spinach layered with fava bean “ricotta.” Warm soups like tomato-basil ($6) and a seasonal array of roasted vegetables (we swooned over the rainbow heritage carrots with maple syrup and cinnamon, $8) round out the selections.

Not your average mac ‘n’ cheese: quinoa macaroni, heirloom tomatoes, cashew “cheese” sauce and walnut-garlic crumble.

Vegetable’s vegetables are sourced locally and organically. “If I can’t get it organic, I’ll figure out a way not to use it,” Yu says. The menu is 80 percent vegan, but when dairy is used, it’s organic cheese or grass-fed butter. Yu eschews fake meat products (such as those made from soy) and favors wholesome, gluten-free grains, which he uses sparingly.

The warm setting is a perfect backdrop for the warm foods. Rustic woods, exposed brick and chalkboard black walls create a chic, intimate dining experience. But Yu does have a way with cold salads, especially the herb salad with watermelon, shaved radish and kumquat vinaigrette ($11) and the red leaf kale salad with avocado marinade ($10) that’s hand-massaged to order.

It’s everything you need to make your table into a veg table.

Vegetable
3711 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Studio City
818-754-1149
vegetablela.com

Lip-smacking snacking Dodge the snack-time doldrums with Goodbites

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When it comes to snacking, we’re pretty high maintenance. We want something sweet but naturally so. Quick but nutrient dense. Tasty but free of gluten, dairy and other dietary irritants.

Luckily, Goodbites—a raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO snack food company based in Venice—lets us have our cake and eat it, too. Well, maybe not cake, … but how about truffles, macaroons and cookies?

Angelica Xavier started Goodbites after she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and discovered that a raw vegan diet helped her feel better. While she found it easy to stick to the diet at mealtimes, snacking proved more difficult, so she set out to create treats that wouldn’t derail her clean-eating efforts.

Goodbites’ addictive snacks are made using a short list of wholesome, raw and nutritious ingredients.

Et voilà: Goodbites’ goodies pack in superfood nutrition and are lightly sweetened only with raw honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. The addictive truffles ($4 per two-pack) are made with raw cacao, spirulina, goji berries and Himalayan pink salt and rolled in hemp seeds.

Goodbites also makes luscious coconut macaroons, coconut brownie bites, date cookies and cacao nib cookies ($2.50 per three-pack) by dehydrating them at 117°. While they get crisp on the outside, coconut oil keeps these treats moist on the inside.

For more savory snackers, Goodbites additionally offers curry-cayenne cashews ($2.50) and crackers flavored with oregano, rosemary and thyme ($2.50). So, whether sweet or salty cravings roll around, you’ll be fully covered.

Just think of it as a snack hack.

Steam dream Shake up your lunch routine with steamed fare from Bombo

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In the fast-healthy-fresh lunch department, things have gotten a little repetitive lately. Sure, we love build-your-own salad and rice bowl joints, but sometimes we crave a little more culinary creativity in our midday munch-down.

Mark Peel has come to our rescue.

The former white-tablecloth chef (he was Spago’s opening chef and founder of Campanile) has cooked up a concept that allows him to bring his gourmet chops to the quick-service lunch model.

His new seafood-focused stall in Downtown’s Grand Central Market is called Bombo, and the six steel steam kettles that line the front of the space are the foot soldiers of the operation. The high-pressure steam that passes through the kettle pipes allows Peel to cook broth-based seafood dishes fresh to order in less than four minutes. The healthful steaming process and rich, complex broths render juicy, flavor-packed meals with no cooking fat.

Bombo’s Curried shrimp in Indonesian-style ginger-lemongrass broth.

Peel sources his seafood only from sustainable purveyors and chooses local species when possible. Seasonal choices range from steamed yellowtail in vegan mushroom broth ($12) to Seattle fish stew in lobster broth ($14) and curried shrimp in Indonesian-style ginger-lemongrass broth ($12). There are tasty non-seafood choices, too, including braised short rib on egg pappardelle ($13) and a fresh arugula salad with braised chicken, eggplant and kabocha squash ($9). Meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free.

All dishes are under $15. “I’ve wanted for decades to apply really good cooking techniques and quality to less expensive food,” he says. This week he’s also opening an onsite fish market selling fresh, sustainable fish to cook at home.

To Bombo, then, we say: Bingo!

Bombo
Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway St., Stall D3, Los Angeles
bombofoods.com

Liquid assets Get your daily dose of adaptogens with Kor Shots

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As L.A.’s juice trend (cold) presses ahead, we’ve been keeping our ear to the ground to discover new directions in liquid wellness. The latest development? Root juices.

That’s right: turmeric is trending and ginger is hot. These “adaptogen” herbs have such a wealth of benefits—from digestive health to anti-inflammatory properties—that we’re keen on making them a part of our daily wellness routine.

But juicing the gnarled roots at home can be messy and time consuming, and most fruit juice blends that incorporate them do so in such small amounts (and with such high sugar content) that the benefits are negligible.

Jordan Retmar, founder of Kor shots.

Kor Shots, produced locally in Malibu, offers an easy way to get straight to the roots. The Wellness shot is a zingy mix of cold-pressed ginger and lemon juices with coconut water and cayenne pepper, while the tart Vitality shot contains cold-pressed turmeric and lemon juice with coconut water. All of the ingredients are 100 percent organic and each shot contains only 1.5 grams of sugar.

High-pressure processing is used to preserve the raw juices, extending the shelf life while leaving the nutrient and enzymatic properties intact. You can find the shots in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods, Erewhon and other local natural markets. From May 7 to May 16, Clean Plates readers can receive a 20 percent discount when purchasing from the Kor Shots website (use coupon code “clean20″).

How to enjoy them? Pour a shot into a bottle of water and savor it throughout the day. Empty a shot into a mug of hot water and you’ve got a tasty ginger or turmeric tea.

Or just go bottoms up!

Locate Kor Shots near you!

Clean habits: Akasha Richmond A yoga-loving restaurateur's healthy go-tos

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Akasha Richmond has been a personal chef to the stars and a celebrated restaurateur with her eponymous Akasha in Culver City. But when she first came to L.A., it was to study yoga, not food preparation. She stumbled into cooking for a yogi-owned vegetarian restaurant and found her passion.

Richmond’s cooking is still intertwined with wellness. She crafts seasonal, veggie-driven New American dishes at Akasha, and her upcoming Sāmbār (opening May in Culver City) will offer a fresh California take on Indian cuisine, inspired by her travels to the region. Read on to find out how this multitasking globetrotter eats clean and goes green.

What are your healthy eating go-to’s?
I have a cold-pressed green juice daily (from Akasha) and eat a big salad at lunch.

How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry? 
I am really careful about what I eat at work. I don’t eat cookies or a lot of pastry. I prefer a piece of dark chocolate … but can’t resist a really good pie.

Akasha in Culver City offers veggie-driven New American dishes.  (Photo courtesy of Akasha)

How do you incorporate sustainability into your life at home and in the restaurants? 
At the restaurants, all ingredients are chosen based on their sustainability: organic grains, antibiotic- and hormone-free animal proteins, clean fish and no GMOs. We shop the local farmers markets for organic and unsprayed produce. We use green paper products. Personally, I use only green makeup, soaps and shampoos.

How has your healthy lifestyle rubbed off on the menu at Akasha or the upcoming Sāmbār?
At Akasha, we have lots of healthy options, like salads and quinoa. We also have burgers and macaroni and cheese, but we use good ingredients in these dishes. I have been cooking Indian food ever since I started studying yoga and fell in love with sambar, the soupy dal made from split pigeon peas. I also love Indian masalas.

How do you stay fit?
I do some kind of exercise 5 to 6 days a week. Right now it’s a lot of walking and not as much yoga as I used to do. Sāmbār is my main meditation right now!

Akasha
9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City
310-845-1700
www.akasharestaurant.com