Fiona Bakery was a cute little cafe in West Hollywood serving up seasonal dishes and baked goods that truly allow California’s bounty to shine. I say was, because unfortunately I just got word that they closed their doors for good this past Sunday! Such sad news, to be honest. But with crazy high rent costs and never-ending competition, the restaurant industry is a super difficult place to find success. Ever since I first spotted their sesame butter toast on Instagram, I knew I had to check it out. So when I stopped by for lunch with a good friend recently, the aforementioned bread was obviously ordered. I’m pretty much obsessed with anything involving sesame or tahini, and this did not disappoint. I loved the sweet and savory vibes going on- the sea salt honey was the perfect complement to the creamy sesame butters and chewy, yet fluffy brioche! After ogling over the beautifully impressive pastry case (and vowing to return to try more items soon), we decided to balance things out with a couple of their fresh salads. I loved the Vietnamese-meets-Cali-influenced menu- both the shredded cabbage & chicken salad and little gem salad were bright and flavorful. The menu also featured rice noodle salads and savory sweet potato pancakes- not to mention classic banh mi sandwiches that my husband absolutely adores! Those cookies stacked high in the pastry case (and the carrot cake!) continue to call my name to this day as well. Although I’m super bummed Fiona has since closed its doors, I remain hopeful the team will open another spot soon!
I'm all about a seasonal menu with tons of healthy, fresh food- even better if it's got a slightly Mediterranean vibe! Lighthouse is all those things and more, with a focus on sustainability and local produce! I was excited to stop in for brunch with some girlfriends recently, and I love the laid back feeling of home you get from the moment you walk in. The whole place gets tons of light from the huge windows, and there's plenty of outdoor seating as well, which I'm sure makes the perfect spot for brunch or happy hour come summer. We started with their signature freshly baked challah bread with housemade tahini and pickles. There's not much better than fresh baked bread, except when it's slathered in rich and creamy tahini. We chose an assortment of entrees, and I loved all the bright colors involved! From vegetable salads to grilled chicken bowls to chilaquiles to ceviche, there's certainly something for everyone! I really want to try the charred eggplant bowl with green coconut rice and tahini as it sounds totally up my alley, and I think my husband would be all about the duck pita with calabrian chili! Guess we will just have to head back soon :) Make sure to click through the photos for more details on our delish meal!
When the former pastry chef of a fine dining Italian restaurant opens up a vegetarian burger joint, people take notice. Brooks Headley, who previously ran the pastry department at Del Posto, surprised us all with Superiority Burger, his fast-casual East Village spot. The food and atmosphere are no-frills and reminiscent of a retro fast-food restaurant, albeit one with no meat involved. The superiority burger itself is obviously the main draw here, however, you really cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. I loved that the small menu was still super creative and unique- it changes often so keep an eye out for enticing specials! All the food at Superiority Burger is vegetarian to begin with, and can be made vegan if necessary, so don't hesitate to ask!
Since Chef Headley is a famed pastry chef, I was super pumped to try his gelato and sorbet. Lucky for me, the housemade flavors available on my visit were fig sorbet and cinnamon tahini gelato! Oh my glory, they were both so delicious, but the cinnamon tahini truly stole the show. It was perfectly creamy and I loved the big swirls of tahini inside. Savory-wise things were not too shabby either, and I really enjoyed my burnt broccoli salad. The smoky eggplant, spicy red chile and crunchy cashews all played together nicely to create a wonderfully balanced dish. Just a heads up, this spot is tiny with only a few seats, so I suggest going at off-peak times as things can get pretty busy! Regardless, I look forward to planning a return trip soon!
I've been following Ella Mills (@DeliciouslyElla) for a while now, and was super excited when she opened The MaE Deli (now called Deliciously Ella) along with her husband, Matthew. Now with multiple locations around London, the delis offer natural, seasonal, and delicious food. While I (luckily) don't have any allergies or need to avoid any specific ingredients, all the food at The MaE Deli is free from wheat, dairy, additives, and refined sugar, making it the perfect, healthy spot for breakfast or lunch for just about anyone. On a recent trip to London, I visited twice, and loved all the fresh, colorful options to choose from. I created my own "MaE Bowl", with miso broccolini salad, sweet potato with coriander tahini, cauliflower & broad bean falafel, and grilled vegetables with sorrel pesto, all topped with avocado pesto dip! Talk about a mouthful, but this is my favorite kind of lunch. Veggie-based, full of flavor, and super healthy and satisfying!
You know me- I rarely pass on the sweets, and this occasion was no different. The fudgy brownie tastes sinful and indulgent, but is far from it. I love when a dessert still tastes rich and decadent, but isn't full of a bunch of processed crap! Win-win! And how pretty is the hot pink frosting on that red velvet cupcake?! You can now also buy Ella's energy balls in various stores around London (like Whole Foods!). These bite-sized treats, made from nuts and fruits, are great, quick sources of energy and protein, and delicious to boot! I like keeping a few in my bag for whenever I start to get hangry. Here's hoping a NYC location opens soon!
Forage is a great spot to pick up some healthy, yet tasty ready-made food in the Silver Lake neighborhood of LA. I pop in whenever I'm nearby, whether it's for a market plate with various seasonal salads and a protein, or a house-baked sweet treat! Everything is prepared simply and consistently, and it's hard to go wrong with any of the vibrant, freshly made offerings. My husband and I stopped in for lunch, and he chose the organic free range roasted chicken with the Moroccan couscous (with beets, pickled red cabbage, almonds, golden raisins & garlic ginger dressing) and kale & arugula salad (with feta, breadcrumbs, shallots & lemon garlic vinaigrette). I went for the plate of three sides: fennel citrus salad (with arugula, celery, orange, lemon & citrus vinaigrette), roasted winter squash (with dandelion, pepitas & brown butter vinaigrette), and kale & arugula salad, as well as a bowl of chickpea soup. Never one to pass on dessert, we decided to go all in with a slice of chocolate coconut cream cake and a Mexican hot chocolate cookie. Yum- such a satisfying meal!
PS- There's a great assortment of sweets offered every day! Just check out some of the delicious (and beautiful!) offerings from when I was there, below. Apple-cranberry crisp with Speculoos crumb, Meyer lemon-glazed olive oil cake, banana cake with chocolate chunks, Mexican hot chocolate cookie, banana cream pie tart, gluten-free brownie, chocolate peanut butter malt cake, Meyer lemon sugar cookie, chocolate coconut cream cake, chocolate chip cookie, and more!
I know the majority of recipes I post here are sweets, but I promise I do actually eat healthy things too! A lot of them, to be honest! While my husband is obviously the better chef in the family, I love to cook as well, just on a much simpler scale. My go-to savory dishes are easy and nutritious, and I typically prepare a lot of the components ahead of time, and make extra, so that I can just throw everything into a bowl and dig in! These bowls usually involve seasonal vegetables (roasted, shaved, etc.), whole grains of some sort (homemade bread or quinoa), a protein (likely chicken or legumes), and a good dressing (tahini or avocado-based). Various textural components, like nuts or sees, add a nice crunch as well. This one was being served as a side dish to meat and other dishes, so I kept this vegan and gluten free! There are a million ways to mix it up, so feel free to use whatever tastes good and is available to you!
Black Rice & Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad:
- 2 cups black rice, rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs thyme, separated
- 1/4 cup chives, chopped
- 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 3 cups Brussels Sprouts, rooted & halved
- 1 celery root, peeled & cubed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1 blood orange, segmented
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 1 tsp honey (or agave syrup)
- 1 tsp blood orange zest
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1 blood orange, segmented
- 2 tbsp chives, chopped
- 1/2 cup micro-greens
Preheat oven to 450 F. Cook rice according to package instructions, seasoning the cooking liquid with salt, pepper, bay leaves and 2 sprigs thyme, until just al dente. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems. Spread out on sheet tray to cool completely, topping with chives and seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.
Drizzle sweet potatoes, 2 cups of Brussels sprouts (reserving one cup), and celery root with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Shave remaining cup of Brussels sprouts on a mandolin, and add to the rice. Add bell pepper, pumpkin seeds, blood orange segments, and the cooled roasted veggies to the rice mixture.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Add to rice mixture, and stir to combine. Top with extra pumpkin seeds, blood orange segments, chives, and micro-greens. Enjoy!