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

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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
belcampomeatco.com

Falafel Mania Healthy new updates on the Middle Eastern treat

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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.

MADCAPRA
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

DUNE
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).

FALA BAR
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
madcapra.com

Dune
3143 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles
323-486-7073
dune.kitchen

Fala Bar
7751 1/2 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
323-424-7131
falabar.com

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

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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
323-852-9400
tocamadera.com

Get Real Nourish from the inside out at Wanderlust Café

Wanderlust

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
wanderlusthollywood.com

Beam us up We want to eat everything on Beaming's superfood-loaded menu

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Not to get all hippie-dippie, but do you ever feel like every electron in your body is vibrating on a positive frequency when you walk into a new restaurant? That's how we felt at Beaming.

The "culinary superfood" café—which started in San Diego but recently arrived in Brentwood, Santa Monica and West Hollywood—offers juices, smoothies, grab-'n'-go meals and naturally sweetened baked goods that are 100 percent organic, vegan and gluten- and GMO-free.

L.A. is littered with smoothie joints, so why does Beaming in particular make our cells do the happy dance? Founder Lisa Odenweller is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and uses the mantra "let food be thy medicine" to guide her ever-changing menu.


the menu choices have us…well…beaming.

Smoothies ($8 to $13) are packed with exotic superfoods like maca, matcha, camu camu and lucuma; they get an extra boost of nutrition from Beaming's plant-based protein made from brown rice, yellow pea, chia and hemp proteins. The house-made sprouted almond milk serves as a delicious base for the smoothies, which you can have sweetened with yacon (instead of date or banana) if you want to keep things low-glycemic.

On the food tip, there are acai protein bowls ($11), Buddha bowls (soup of the day, such as carrot-ginger, poured over quinoa and lemon kale, $8) and a variety of salads and entrees ($7 to $12) from coconut "ceviche" to falafel wraps and pineapple gazpacho. And for dessert? Vegan ice cream sandwiches made with Millie's agave-sweetened gelato ($7).

We're beaming, of course.

Beaming
Santa Monica, Brentwood and West Hollywood livebeaming.com

Firmly planted Matthew Kenney opens two vegan restaurants and a raw academy

Make Out

If summer barbecues of sizzling burgers and steaks are giving you the “vegan blues,” cheer up! Plant-based dining in Los Angeles is having a moment, and the options for great animal-free fare are mushrooming.

Chef Matthew Kenney has opened two new additions to L.A.’s vegan landscape: Make Out, a casual, everyday café in Culver City, and Plant Food and Wine, a chic, upscale restaurant in Venice. (Kenney’s raw food Culinary Academy is now housed upstairs from Plant Food and Wine.) So whether you’re in the mood for grab-‘n-go, a special occasion meal or a home cooking lesson, Kenney’s got you covered.

Plant Food And Wine (Photo credit: Geoff Souder)

 

Make Out is a healthy, all-raw alternative to fast food, the kind of place you pop into for organic smoothies ($10), gluten-free flatbreads ($10) and kelp noodle bowls ($11).

Plant Food and Wine, on the other hand, offers both raw and cooked dishes and is a place to linger for hours—especially on the patio, where fairy lights are laced through the olive trees and a lush edible garden helps supply what’s on your plate. House-made vegan cheeses (3 for $17) are meant to be paired with the selection of organic, biodynamic wines. Move on to sharable plates like silken zucchini “tagliatelle” ($13), robust salads like a vegan take on a niçoise ($16) and hearty entrees like socca cakes made with chickpea flour and lentils ($17).

Tempting desserts like olive oil cake with balsamic gelato and fennel-seed chocolate ($12) are naturally sweetened with agave. So long, vegan blues!

Make Out
9426 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City
(310) 280-9355

Plant Food and Wine
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
(310) 450-1009

One-Stop Shop Supermarket newcomer Haggen makes healthy shopping easy

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If your healthy food shopping routine is anything like ours, then you might feel a bit like Goldilocks in trying to stock the fridge from just one grocery store. Whole Foods can be too pricey, Trader Joe’s can be too limited in selection and Ralph’s or Vons can lag on organics.

But thanks to Haggen—a Washington-based grocery chain that’s recently arrived in Los Angeles—you can hit one store that feels just right.

Founded in 1933, Haggen has a long history of commitment to organic offerings, natural brands and local farmers and producers. At the same time, it stocks mainstream national brands you find at standard supermarkets, putting it somewhere between Whole Foods and Vons in price and selection.

Get your shopping list ready.

Here are our tips on how to shop Haggen healthfully:

  • Produce: Right now, 15 percent of the produce is organic (with plans to add more); just follow the purple signage for organic fruits and veggies like Tuscan kale, heirloom tomatoes and black plums.
  • Meat/Seafood: Pick up some Bartels Farms grass-fed, antibiotic-/hormone-free beef, Sweetwater Creek organic chicken and seafood sourced sustainably from Santa Monica Seafood.
  • Dairy/Eggs: Finds include Angelo & Franco organic mozzarella, locally produced Stremick’s Heritage Foods organic milk and NestFresh non-GMO, pasture-raised eggs.
  • Pantry: The “natural” aisle is like the greatest hits of a health food store, with brands like Annie’s, Amy’s and Bob’s Red Mill and a dedicated gluten-free section.
  • Miscellaneous: Organic products, noted with purple display tags, are dispersed throughout the aisles. Keep your eyes peeled for Dr. Bronner’s fair trade organic coconut oil, Full Circle organic coffees and teas and Spicely organic spices.

Haggen
Multiple locations throughout Los Angeles County

www.haggen.com

Diner 2.0 Ingo's takes the "grease" out of "greasy spoon"

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There’s a reason that American diners have been nicknamed “greasy spoons” for nearly a century. Burgers and shakes, fried eggs and bacon … you know the drill.

But sometimes nothing beats sliding into a vinyl booth and loading up on comfort. That’s why we’re ecstatic that Ingo’s Tasty Diner—a Santa Monica newcomer—has traded “grease-to-spoon” for “farm-to-table.”

Ingo’s occupies the space where Callahan’s, a neighborhood diner, had endured since 1946. The counter seats and retro booths remain, but the menu completely re-imagines diner classics with healthy, high-quality ingredients.

Salad at a diner? Yes if it’s Ingo’s!

Take the spaghetti and meatballs ($16), for example. The typical meat-and-carb fest has been upgraded with pasta made in-house with Chino Valley Ranchers organic eggs and Strauss grass-fed beef. Ingo’s version of the chopped salad ($14) has rotisserie Jidori chicken, Nueske bacon, tomato and avocado on a bed of marinated kale instead of the usual limp, pale lettuce.

There are burgers (grass-fed) of course, but Ingo’s also goes well beyond diner fare with dishes like succulent pasture-raised rotisserie lamb with harissa yogurt ($19) and grilled Campbell River salmon with a raw market vegetable salad ($25). Vegetarian and vegan choices abound as well—don’t miss the crispy brussels sprouts ($10).

The restaurant’s close relationships with sustainable farmers are evident from the sprawling list of partner farms scrawled on the wall above the counter seats. If you can’t resist the pie, at least you know it’s made with farmer’s market fruit and organic whipped cream!

Ingo’s Tasty Diner
1213 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
310-395-4646
ingostastydiner.com

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