Locals Only Sustainable sourcing drives the menu at newcomer Dudley Market


Eating clean on the Venice Beach Boardwalk can be a tall order—and we don’t mean because you’ve got sand between your toes.

If you’re craving something more organic than the greasy pizza stands and beer-soaked grills catering to the tourist throngs, then your task is to find Dudley Market, chef Jesse Barber’s new Boardwalk-adjacent restaurant and marketplace. Hidden at the intersection of a dead-end street and a one-way alley, the eclectic American restaurant is a chic respite for locals looking for sustainably sourced, artfully prepared food.

Still hungry? Grab some provisions to go.

Barber is just as interested in serving local ingredients as he is in attracting local patrons. Apricot Lane Farms, a biodynamic farm in Moorpark, supplies a good deal of Dudley Market’s produce, pastured lamb and more. Barber sources organic, grass-fed beef from local supplier Premier Meats, and the restaurant’s seafood is either organically farmed or wild-caught from the Pacific Ocean.

From morning through midday, there are comforting dishes like the French omelet with soft shell crab ($18) and eggplant pate on baguette ($12). At dinner, dishes skew more “fine dining” with starters like the carrot snack (carrot puree topped with roasted and fried carrots; $4) and mains like lamb rib chops with polenta ($41) and risotto-style black rice with wild mushrooms ($33). Save room for naturally sweetened desserts like crepes with ice cream, made in-house with omega 3-loaded duck eggs ($9).

Shop the marketplace shelves for healthy provisions such as Solstice Canyon nut butters and Little Branch granola, many of which are—what else?— locally made.

Dudley Market
9 Dudley Ave., Venice

Bliss Out The Sweetness Of Being elevates your chocolate experience


So you know that sense of euphoria you get from eating really good dark chocolate?

Sarah Engelhart, the chocolatier behind Venice-based The Sweetness of Being, is upping your chocolate buzz ante.

First off, you can feel great about the quality of ingredients you’re consuming. The base of her handmade chocolate disks is organic, fair-trade, stone-ground cacao that’s sweetened naturally with raw, organic honey from a local solar-powered honey farm.

Engelhart raises the feel-good bar even further with the addition of mucuna pruriens, a tropical legume that naturally contains L-dopa. This amino acid is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine—the same chemical that imparts soaring feelings of pleasure (like when you’re falling in love or listening to your favorite music).

wait for An experience of the heart.

The flavors in The Sweetness of Being's lineup will also make you feel pretty ecstatic. Engelhart has created unique, superfood-driven taste combinations like rose-goji, spicy pepita and maca-quinoa crisp. There's also a bar loaded with 11 tonic herbs from organic herbal emporium Sun Potion. The blend of anandamide ("bliss") herbs—including Ayurvedic powerhouses such as turmeric and ashwaghanda—is meant to help support whole-body wellbeing.

Each bar is imprinted with ornate graphics that reflect the ancient origins of cacao in history and folklore, such as the Aztec sunstone, a symbol of human transformation. This is in keeping with Engelhart's motivation to offer people "an experience of the heart" while consuming her chocolate, she says.

The Sweetness of Being chocolates ($4.50 each; $17 for box of five) can be ordered online or found at Café Gratitude, Erewhon and other select retailers.

Consume at your own risk: you may fall in love.

The Sweetness of Being

Cupcake Hack Swole Cakes cracks the healthy cupcake code


If there’s one thing that can sabotage our clean-eating routine, it’s cupcakes. Those cute, single-serving indulgences call up comfort and nostalgia even while they get our insulin dangerously a-flowin’.

That’s why we’re sweet on Swole Cakes, the healthier-for-you cupcake company that bakes up just-as-delicious vegan, gluten-free and naturally sweetened versions of the treat with mostly organic ingredients.

Your post-workout snack just got sweeter.

Coconut and oat flours, almond milk and coconut oil serve as the basis of the cupcake batter while the frosting incorporates vegan cream cheese sweetened with xylitol, a low-glycemic natural sweetener. The icing on the cake: Each Swole Cake contains 15 grams of brown rice protein, which helps keep blood sugar in check and build muscle (hence the reference to getting “swole”). These cupcakes make as much sense for breakfast or a post-workout snack as they do for dessert.

Co-founders (and fitness enthusiasts) Michael Kaufman and Patrick Gillham cleverly named each cupcake flavor with this muscle-building theme in mind. Basic flavors ($3 each) include strawberry, vanilla and chocolate; specialty flavors ($3.50 each) include red velvet, coconut and seasonal-for-fall pumpkin spice.

You can find Swole Cakes at the Calabasas Farmers Market on Saturdays, the Brentwood Farmers Market on Sundays and at select retailers including Naturewell, Full O’ Life and Got Muscle. Orders can also be placed through the Swole Cakes website (delivery fee varies based on location).

They’ve got your cupcake cravings fully covered.

Swole Cakes

Emerald City L.A.'s first matcha bar has arrived


If you’re anything like us, your daily eating routine involves a lot of green: a green juice at breakfast, a green salad at lunch and maybe some sautéed greens with dinner.

So why is your favorite pick-me-up drink still brown?

Matcha Box, L.A.’s new (and first) matcha bar, is now serving up hot and iced emerald-hued matcha drinks that make refreshing and nutritious alternatives to their coffee-based counterparts.

Zen out in Matcha Box’s soothing, minimalist space.

The cafe’s matcha is made from Japanese green tea leaves ground into a fine powder and whisked with water (as opposed to conventional green tea that’s steeped). It has less caffeine than coffee yet boosts mood and promotes a state of relaxed alertness (so long, coffee jitters) thanks to the amino acid L-theanine. Matcha is more concentrated than steeped green tea, so you’ll reap more benefits, ranging from UV skin protection to decreased risk of dementia and cancer.

Matcha Box’s minimalist, Zen-like space is an ideal setting to sip on this grassy-tasting (in a good way) wonder drink. Make like a Buddhist monk and order The Ceremony ($5), a hot ceremonial-grade matcha whisked up in front of you. Or chill out with a cold-brewed matcha with lemon and muddled mint ($4) or iced matcha latte ($6). No dairy or refined sugar is used in the drinks; almond milk and raw, organic honey are used instead.

The cafe also offers small bites like toasted Lodge Bread slathered with either cashew butter or grass-fed organic butter infused with matcha and sea salt ($3). You can also pick up matcha supplies including powders, spoons and whisks to make your own at home.

Sometimes the grass really is greener.

Matcha Box
8036 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

Plant-based Peruvian Vegan ceviche and other Latin favorites at Chavela


Does L.A. have a Little Peru? Not officially, but the handful of Peruvian restaurants on and near Vine Street in Hollywood is as close as we get. With meat and seafood figuring heavily on these menus, this not-quite-a-zone has been a no-go zone for the vegan set. At least until now.

Peruvian restaurant Los Balcones, an L.A. fixture for nearly two decades, has partnered with vegan chef Rachel Carr to open Chavela, a plant-based restaurant next door serving up Peruvian cuisine with pan-Latin influences—and no animal products.

That means you can enjoy traditional Peruvian dishes like ceviche centered around heirloom tomatoes rather than fish ($9; recipe below) and swap that beefy lomo saltado for a cauliflower steak rubbed with achiote ($16).

Chavela sits right next door to sister restaurant Los Balcones.

What’s Carr’s secret to translating Latin favorites into vegan creations? “The sauces are really the thing that make Latin food,” Carr says. We get what she means. The Mexican-style barbacoa sauce on her portobello tacos ($9) lends the mushrooms a zippy, smoky flavor that rivals spit-roasted meat. And the delicate mole verde sauce enlivens Carr’s version of an enchilada ($16), which is a cabbage leaf stuffed with mushrooms, corn and sweet potatoes.

But the sauces aren’t super spicy, so they let the flavors of the mostly organic and locally sourced vegetables shine through, especially in dishes like tender, pan-seared kabocha squash and chayote topped with cashew aioli and chili oil ($9).

Naturally sweetened desserts are available too. Let’s just say we’re thrilled that the ridiculously good raw chocolate chile ganache ($9), sweetened with dates and agave, isn’t a no-go zone.

Heirloom Tomato and
Avocado Ceviche

Makes 2 servings

For the broth:
Zest of 1/2 orange
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 large heirloom tomato
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 small garlic clove
1/2 small habanero chile
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

For the ceviche:
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 large avocado, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, julienned
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt

Make the broth: Blend everything (except the cilantro) until smooth and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the ceviche: In a bowl, toss the ceviche ingredients until well coated with the lime juice. To serve, place the dressed tomato and avocado in a bowl and pour some of the broth over the top. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

1358 Vine St., Los Angeles

Whip It Real Good Say hello to CocoWhip, the good-for-you coconut water fro-yo


The late-summer heat is making us jones for some cool, creamy frozen yogurt. But finding a tasty one that doesn’t involve sugar or dairy? Mission: Impossible.

Or so we thought: As it turns out, our mission was very possible thanks to a recent import from Down Under.

Australia’s CocoWhip—a vegan fro-yo alternative crafted from coconut water and bio-fermented coconut and sweetened with coconut sugar—has arrived in Los Angeles. It’s landed at Rawberri, West Hollywood’s new vegan snack shop, and we’re super keen on its airy creaminess, unique flavors and organic ingredients.

CocoWhip has made its way from Australia to Rawberri in west hollywood.


Rawberri offers CocoWhip in four rotating flavors: coconut, matcha, cacao and macqui (a Chilean berry). Just like at a fro-yo bar, you can customize your CocoWhip with a variety of toppings, but Rawberri’s are much healthier than the norm: organic fruit cut to order, a selection of nuts and seeds, gluten-free granola, cacao nibs and coconut flakes. If you want an “ice cream sundae” kind of experience, try the vegan sprinkles (made only from lemon, lime and raspberry) and the vegan chocolate syrup (made from cacao, dates and coconut oil).

Major bonus: each cup of CocoWhip contains 10 billion CFU of probiotic (“good”) bacteria, which promote healthy digestion and immunity. On that note, Rawberri also sells kombucha on tap, along with Stumptown organic coffee and a selection of organic acai bowls.

Mission: Complete!

8582 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood

Amazing Graze Belcampo Meat Co. opens its third outpost for organic, pastured meat


Is it wrong that Belcampo Meat Co. makes our inner carnivore want to go on a grass-fed bender and bathe in beef tallow?

We’d never do that, of course, as we know to enjoy meat in moderation. But if there’s any place that we can (and want to) eat every meat dish on the menu, it’s Belcampo, a butcher-slash-restaurant focused on meat from pastured animals humanely raised on Belcampo’s certified organic farm near Mt. Shasta. This grass-fed meat is richer in linoleic and omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced meats. And damn delicious, too.

The new West Third Street location is like a meaty mini market.

Over the past year and a half, Belcampo has created a presence spanning the city. First there was the stall at Downtown’s Grand Central Market. And then came the Santa Monica sit-down restaurant, whose urban hunting lodge setting is a perfect backdrop for rustically elegant plates like apricot-glazed pork ribs ($11) and steak frites (market price) alongside organic vegetable sides ($8 to $11).

Now, the West Third Street location has arrived in Beverly Grove, a kind of “all-you-can-meat” lunch counter and mini market. Like its Downtown counterpart, the quick-service restaurant serves burgers and hot dogs ($5 to $12.50) along with irresistible beef tallow fries ($4) and mugs of hot bone broth ($5).

There’s no onsite butcher, but you can pick up packaged Belcampo meats, grab-‘n-go salads and pre-cooked “Ready Meals” like spaghetti and meatballs, plus meat-centric accoutrements like beef jerky, spice rubs and even grass-fed ghee.

Seriously, don’t trust us in there!

Belcampo Meat Co.
8053 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles
(323) 937-0170

Falafel Mania Healthy new updates on the Middle Eastern treat


Goodness gracious, great balls of… chickpeas! Falafel is sizzling-hot right now in L.A., owing to a recent wave of falafel-centric restaurants that are putting a super healthy spin on the Middle Eastern treat. These three spots are elevating the typically greasy, bready indulgence with the use of health-conscious oils and abundant sustainable produce.

Why We Like It: The cube-shaped falafel at this new Grand Central Market stall seem to be almost an excuse for showcasing Santa Monica Farmers Market produce. The fritters, crafted from local Koda Farms chickpeas and delicately fried in non-GMO canola oil, have no greasy residue.
How It’s Served: Choose from “red” (tomato, cabbage, pickles), “green” (cauliflower, fennel, cilantro) or “orange” (carrots, treviso, dill) toppings for your grilled flatbread sandwich ($10) or salad ($12), which is a beautiful mix of lettuces, herbs and shaved beets.
Yummy Extras: Eggplant salad with plums, sunflower butter and Thai basil ($7).

Madcapra’s falafel dishes showcase farmers market produce

Why We Like It: This no-frills Atwater Village shop uses organic chickpeas and spices and sources pesticide-free greens from local Arreola Farm. The generously sized falafel balls are fried in non-GMO sunflower oil and bursting with green herbs.
How It’s Served: In folded, charred flatbread ($8) topped with malfouf (cabbage salad), hummus, tahini and house-made pickles, or alongside those goodies on a plate ($10).
Yummy Extras: Organic dates with olive oil, sea salt and rose water ($4).

Why We Like It: Everything at this tiny Melrose storefront is organic, vegan, gluten-free (aside from the pita) and approved by a holistic health coach. You can choose from original, sweet potato, kale, spicy and crunchy falafel varieties, either fried to order in organic grape seed oil or baked upon request.
How It’s Served: In addition to the pita sandwich filled with hummus, Israeli salad, cabbage and tahini ($8), you can also get your falafel stuffed into a cabbage leaf ($8.50) or served over a variety of colorful salads ($8.50 to $13.50).
Yummy Extras: Smoky baba ghanoush and quinoa tabouli ($6).

Haven’t had enough? Try the raw falafel wrap at Café Gratitude, quinoa-chickpea croquettes at Stir Market or falafel “macarons” filled with tzatziki at Artisan House.

Madcapra at Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles

3143 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles

Fala Bar
7751 1/2 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles

Olé For Organic Taste Mexican food's healthy essence at Toca Madera


Whether it’s quesadillas oozing cheese or refried beans packed with processed lard, Mexican food—at least the Americanized version—gets a bad rap on the health tip.

So it’s about time someone asked: Will the real Mexican food please stand up?

After living in Mexico for six years, hospitality entrepreneur Tosh Berman decided to open the new organic Mexican restaurant Toca Madera to coax Angelenos toward the more healthful pleasures of authentic south-of-the-border cuisine.

“True Mexican food is incredibly healthy, simple, fresh and based on great cuts of meat, seafood and organic produce,” Berman says.

He enlisted chef Raymond Alvarez to prepare what Alvarez dubs “barrio-style fine dining,” a modern update on the kinds of wholesome dishes he watched his grandparents prepare for neighborhood gatherings as a child.

Enter into a world of skull-themed art and sultry purple velveteen booths.


The meat sourcing is super clean, which means the mouth-watering carne asada with cilantro-jalapeño marinade ($22) is grass-fed, the enchiladas suizas ($18) are stuffed with free-range chicken and the cochinita pibil tacos ($12) are filled with heritage farm pork that’s free of antibiotics and hormones.

The kitchen also excels in the creative use of organic vegetables. There’s a dedicated vegan menu whose dishes are just as flavorful as the meaty versions. We swooned over the spicy mushroom and sweet corn tacos ($10), the arugula salad with vegan mozzarella ($13) and the pomegranate seed-studded guacamole served with house-made plantain chips ($12).

Toca offers a super-sexy scene to boot, with a hopping bar, skull-themed art and sultry purple velveteen booths.

Que rico!

Toca Madera
8450 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

Get Real Nourish from the inside out at Wanderlust Café


It’s finally arrived! The itinerant Wanderlust Festival—which celebrates mindful living through yoga, music and wellness events—has planted a permanent flag in Los Angeles with its new Wanderlust Hollywood center. The serene three-floor space boasts yoga and meditation rooms, plus an art gallery and members-only rooftop deck.

But of course we want to know: What’s there to eat?

The Wanderlust Cafe menu of salads, bowls, and snacks emphasizes real, whole foods.

Plenty. Chef Seamus Mullen, who’s been lauded for his New York restaurants and dedication to cooking healthfully, is helming the Wanderlust Cafe kitchen. Mullen’s experiences growing up on an organic farm in Vermont and healing his rheumatoid arthritis through diet have informed his approach to the cafe’s menu.

Though you’ll find plenty of “superfoods” on the menu—from avocado toast ($9) to a kale caesar salad ($11) and chia tonics ($5)—Mullen doesn’t over-hype them. “There are vegetables that have more phytonutrients than others. But in general, [eating] real, whole foods is the secret” to radiant health, he says.

The menu, like Mullen’s diet, is 80 percent vegetarian, and proteins including grilled organic salmon, pasture-raised chicken and grass-fed steak can be added to the selection of salads, sandwiches and bowls. Standout dishes include the heirloom tomato salad with watermelon, local burrata, pecans and basil ($11) and the forbidden black rice bowl with steamed bok choi and coconut-yuzu vinaigrette ($12).

There are also quick snacks like the spiced carrot hummus ($6) and Belcampo beef jerky ($6), but chances are you’ll want to (nama)stay on the shady patio and linger for hours.

Wanderlust Cafe
1357 N. Highland Ave.
(323) 967-8855