Los Angeles: Top 5 Healthy Places

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Back in August, I spent an amazing week in Los Angeles. My sister lives in LA with her doggies and going to visit her is better than going to Disneyland!

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For LA newbies, the guide below will be a helpful orientation starter pack to familiarize yourself with the city.  For the experienced visitors or locals, the guide will serve as a cheat sheet for finding a fun, healthy place to eat! I will soon be reviewing my favourites in more detail 🙂

Let’s get going:

1. Juice Crafters

Breakfast comes first – Juice Crafters to the rescue! If in need of a green monster or an acai bowl, this is your place. They have around a dozen location scattered around LA; my local one was the Brentwood one. Pictured above is the Acai – Brazilian Super Blend, which is their “regular” acai bowl with bananas, strawberrries, almond granola, coconut flakes and guarana!

2. Malibu Farm Cafe

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Malibu is a must-see when visiting LA; I am always surprised that the locals seem to think it’s so far away when in fact it’s only a short 30 minute drive from Santa Monica. I guess for us Londoners 30 minutes of travel is nothing 🙂

Anyways, Malibu Farm Cafe offers great salads and breathtaking views. There’s a restaurant and a cafe; but it really doesn’t matter where you snatch a seat. Their menu is Cali-inspired with loads of salads (more detailed review to come)

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3. Pump 

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“Kales on a date” salad

If you follow any of the Real Housewives on TV, you have probably heard of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and you might know who Lisa Vanderpump is. If you don’t, then that’s okay too – all you need to know is she has a good taste in restaurant decor and salad choices.

Pump is more of a dinner/lunch spot -perfect for meeting up with friends or even for a date. My sister and I actually witnessed a semi-awkward Tinder date 🙂 It’s located in WeHo or West Hollywood, so very convenient for grabbing a drink somewhere before or after dinner. It has also been voted sexiest LA restaurant, so you might get lucky!

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4. Il Pastaio 

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Lobster Salad with Bell Peppers, Arugola, Corn, Tomato, Onion, Cucumber and Lemon Oil Dressing

Beverly Hills Classic – al fresco dining at Il Pastaio is great for people watching and good Italian food. My sister got one of their pastas, which looked delicious, and I went for the Lobster Salad.

I have to say  I was still hungry after my salad, so we shared a dreamy panna cota:

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Nothing that a little bit of sugar can’t solve! I’d recommend booking a table outside if possible and if you are flexible with timing, go for a late lunch or early dinner if you want to spot a celeb or two.

5.  The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel

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Ahi Tuna Tartare

It’s hard to pick the best places in LA because there are so many that offer not only great food, but also good al fresco dining options.  The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel is a classic though – its amazing patio with live jazz on Sundays in hard to beat. I’d recommend it for a lazy long brunch or even afternoon tea.

I went for a late lunch and one of the best things I had was the Ahi Tuna Tartare – Avocado, Sea Beans, Dukkah Spice, Pine Nuts. It’s pricey and starters are around $30-40 mark, but definitely one of those places in LA you need to check off your list when visting.

 

Holiday Healthy Eating: Ibiza, Part 2

BEACHHOUSE Ibiza

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Moving down south, there’s 2 other gems for roaming rabbits in Ibiza. First one up, BEACHHOUSE Ibiza. Situated on Playa D’en Bossa, BEACHHOUSE is a perfect pit stop for refuelling with some greens ahead of a big night, or perhaps recovering with some nutrients after a big night/day spent partying.

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The salad menu consists of 7 options, and I liked it so much that I came 2 days in a row to try more salads! Prices range from 18-24 EUR, so not your Pret salad, but more of a holiday splurge. Enough of the boring info, here are the beauties:

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Seafood Salad, with marinated mixed seafood, carrots, zucchini, parsley and celery – fresh, clean, simple! Portions are tiny, so I resorted to some olive oil & bread to line the stomach properly for the night ahead, as well as tried bits of my company’s tuna tartare and the antipasti. Oops…

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Next day, I learned my lesson and went for a more filling option:

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Three quinoa salad with fresh spinach, tomato cherry, cucumber, pea sprouts, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinaigrette. YUM! Great choice, enough carbs to keep me going until early morning hours….

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Happy bunnies! Post-salad bliss… 🙂

For info, bookings and address, see below. GO!

Address: Playa D’en Bossa S/N 0817 San Jordi , Ibiza , Spain
Area: Playa d en Bossa
Phone: + 34 971 39 68 58
Website: http://www.beachouseibiza.com/

 

EL CHIRINGUITO

El Chringuito is another beach gem with great views, chilled vibe and fresh food.

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El Chiringuito is part of the same family like Beachhouse Ibiza, so the standards are kept high. As for the beach though, please note that your views might surpass your typical al fresco dining as Es Cavellet is partially a nudist beach. I personally wasn’t aware of it, so after our meal, we went for a romantic stroll on the beach…where it became quite obvious! So just something to keep in mind…Anyway, onto the food:

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YESSSSS.

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We went for the Goat’s Cheese Salad – goat’s cheese served on a country toast crostini with toasted beetroot, green leaves, walnuts and a drizzle of honey (22 EUR). Next contender and my personal favourite was the King Crab and Prawn Salad (32 EUR) – flavour explosion! All washed down with chilled Rosé, as you should 🙂

It was my birthday, so I got to lounge around and drink Rosé all day long (take tipsy selfies in between holding the glass of wine and eating):

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…until it was time to head to the airport for our flight back to London.

Great weekend of fun, healthy eating and many, many memories! Until next time…

Address: Playa de Es Cavallet S/N , Ibiza , Spain
Area: Playa de Es
Phone: +34 971 39 53 55+34 971 39 53 55
Website: http://www.elchiringuitoibiza.com/

 

Holiday Healthy Eating: Ibiza, Part 1

 

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A long overdue post from my side, but I hope that you will understand after seeing the above photo – let’s just say my view was a tad bit better than staring at my screen…

Let’s be honest – it’s very difficult to eat healthy while on a holiday. It is especially hard to eat well while on a partying holiday. But, as hard as it can be, it is not impossible! For those of you who are more inclined to take a shot of wheatgrass over something else while in Ibiza, the below list of healthy places to eat out might prove useful as a rough guide on navigating the White Isle.

Without further ado, let’s start with the view above…

Hacienda Na Xamena

Carrer na Xamena, 07815 San Miguel, Ibiza, Islas Baleares, Balearic Islands, Spain

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imageFirst of all, please do yourself a favor and travel to the northern part of the island! Hacienda na Xamena is one of the prettiest hotels I’ve stayed at, and not only does it have a great view…

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…it also has amazing and fresh food. Not only does it nourish your soul, it does a great job of nourishing your entire body:

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One of my favourites – tuna tataki with avocado (and the view 😮 )

The northern part of the island feels like miles away from the likes of Pacha, Space, Blue Marlin – it is truly a secluded piece of paradise where you can relax, indulge in good food and enjoy some of the best spa experience in the infinity pools with a breath-taking view.

Destino Pacha Ibiza Resort

Avenida Cap Martinet, 07819, Santa Eulalia del Rio

Next one up (while actually moving down south) – Destino.

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Destino is part of the Pacha franchise on the southern part of the island and a great place to multitask! What do I mean by that? Well, let’s say here you can have your salad, wash it down with a margarita or a bottle of rose, do some yoga in the pool, all while listening to David Guetta. Sounds good to me! Now onto the food:

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Another day, another tuna tataki. I have to say that this one was slightly better than the one at Hacienda Na Xamena. Main was a Cobb Salad, which was just ok. Wouldn’t get it again!

Stay tuned for Ibiza eating, Part 2. More drool-worthy salads with a view coming soon 🙂

 

Grill Market, Holborn

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Holborn is not the first neighborhood that comes to mind when you think of delicious and nutritious salads, yet there are some hidden gems in London’s midtown wannabe. One of them is Grill Market.

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Mostly targeting the buzzing lunch crew, Grill Market came up with a simple concept of combining a few salads into a lunch box (or one if you don’t suffer from FOMO like me). Ranging from £4 to £6, these are really diverse and filling.

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But of course, London wouldn’t be London if there weren’t any protein options on the menu; those hungry beach-bodies-in-training need to feed the starving muscles!

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Now this is where it gets interesting! 7 options in total, with 2 to please the veggie crowd. I have to say I was tempted with the duck but decided to be boring and opted for the chicken pomegranate…which was, btw, anything BUT boring!

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Erm…yes. This is my kind of salad – a bit of greens, but the rest is REAL food – a combination of kale and quinoa salad, with pomegranate marinated chicken thigh.

Grill Market is a great place if you are around Holborn and in need of a quick lunch that’s not going to leave you starving an hour later. They also have another outlet in Chelsea, I’ll have to check it out soon 🙂

Grill Market

http://www.grillmarket.co.uk/

Holborn –
10 Theobalds Road
London WC1x 8PN

Overall Grill Market rating:

Yummy in my tummy: 4/5

Beach body friendly: 4/5

£ Once a day or week £: Once a day

 

Franze & Evans, Shoreditch

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Brick Lane on a Sunday is never going to be a breeze;  but once you’re past dozens of street food stalls tempting you to eat your body weight in curry, you’re actually faced with choices of healthy eateries. One of them is Franze & Evans, a cute corner cafe serving brunch, all day salad pick’n’mix salad options, as well as mouth watering cakes.

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#nogreensinsight

Once I managed to physically remove myself from the cakes, I walked over to the salad display:

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The options are (almost) endless: there’s 8 salads in total, split in top shelf  & bottom shelf, with the bottom shelf being the priceier one for a hefty fee of 1 GBP (hello #bigspender) 🙂 image

I went for a mix of 3 salads in total: quinoa, mix sprout and avocado salad; washed down with the Detox Green juice…doesn’t get more green that that!

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Really nice combo, although I would’ve liked to see a few more protein options. There was one salad with chicken, but it would be good to add some prawns, salmon to the menu – just a suggestion.

The vibe at Franze & Evans is perfect for a Sunday afternoon – for anyone who wants to move away from the hustle and bustle of Brick Lane, I would definitely recommend this cute little place. Staff was super friendly and even if you’re not into your greens on a Sunday, this place is definitely worth a visit just for its cakes. If there’s a London Cake Girl out there, I’m sure she’d approve 🙂

Overall Franze & Evans rating:

Yummy in my tummy: 4/5

Beach body friendly: 4/5

£ Once a day or week £: Once a day

 

 

 

Farmacy, Notting Hill

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There’s been a wave of ph(f)armacies opening around London – all the edible kind though! The new Westbourne Grove vegan restaurant, Farmacy, doesn’t sell any medicine, but its food sure has healing properties as most of the menu is either vegan, gluten free, dairy free or nut free.

Farmacy opened last month as part of Camila Al-Fayed’s (the daughter of ex Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed) intiative to bring “healthy comfort food” to London. Farmacy is a great example that vegan food is anything but boring; desserts and healthy cocktails definitely play a part in a vegan’s life. I am not vegan myself but I can say that I did not miss meat tonight in any shape or form.

There’s a few salad girl friendly options, including traditional salads such as vegan caesar salad, as well as earth bowls – let’s call them hearty salad versions 🙂 Most salads are within the £12 range and truly filling.

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I went for the Macro Bowl, which is vegan and nut/gluten free – a nutritional mix of everything from “activated” quinoa to sweet potato (which I honestly did not recognize on my plate and even asked the waitress if they forgot to add it):

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…turns out the purple mash is actually the missing sweet potato! Fair enough; “missing sweet potato” mission aborted 🙂

My friend had the Indian bowl:

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which was great, but lacking some greens as far as my personal taste is concerned.

Farmacy is on a good path to become Notting Hill’s new Granger & Co; it was super packed on an Thursday evening. With summer around the corner, it’s a good place to meet friends and have a meal out that you won’t regret the next day 🙂

Overall Farmacy rating:

Yummy in my tummy: 4/5

Beach body friendly: 5/5

£ Once a day or week £: Once a day

202, Notting Hill

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They say it’s never good to go shopping on a empty stomach…but sometimes that dress is just calling your name so you force yourself to calm down your roaring tummy and prioritize clothes over avocado on toast (the struggle is real, tough life indeed).  Insert 202, one of Notting Hill’s long-standing trendy brunch/lunch places located on the fashionable Westbourne Grove.

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202 is a modern concept store/restaurant creation, where one can update its wardrobe while waiting for a table for brunch. The restaurant part is on the ground floor, with a few tables outside (great for people watching, but beware of the long queue), while the store is located downstairs. To be honest, I’ve never bought anything in the store as I cherish food more than clothes (thus a food blog and not a fashion blog), but the store stocks designer goodies by Nicole Farhi, so definitely worth a look.

Enough about clothes, let’s talk about what really matters – FOOD!

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The menu is more extensive than the photo above, but what’s a salad girl going to have but a salad? There’s 5 options, ranging from £12.50 – £20.50. Notting Hill prices, even salad leaves are expensive around here 🙂 But you get what you pay for – basically happiness on a plate! I went for the Superfood salad with chicken, quinoa, red cabbage, almond & ginger dressing; washed down with a carrot & orange juice for good measure of color variety 🙂

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I was hoping that I’d get to taste another salad from the menu, but my W11 lunch partner in crime decided to be a copy cat and ordered exactly the same (with a side of chips, because not everyone is a rabbit).  There’s 4 more salads to try and I already have my eyes on the goat’s cheese and fig one.

I’ll definitely be back at 202. Great atmosphere, good service and lots of rabbit approved options.

202

202 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2RH

http://www.202london.uk/

Overall 202 rating:

Yummy in my tummy: 4/5

Beach body friendly: 4/5

£ Once a day or week £: Once a week

 

Pho, Clerkenwell

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To say I have a mild obession with Pho’s shredded chicken salad would be an understatement. I discovered Pho 2 years ago when they opened a branch near my old workplace in Covent Garden and it’s been my Vietnamese go-to ever since.

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Pho have more than 10 branches in London – you can find their locations here. They specialize is amazing Pho (duh); for those who have been living under a rock or never encountered this thing called Google, Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup made of broth, rice noodles, loads of fresh herbs and some type of protein; usually chicken or beef, but also prawns sometimes. Besides their signature dish, Pho also serves noodles, curry and of course – salads!

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5 in total with prices ranging from £6.25 to £8.75 – but I’m loyal to one (is being loyal to a salad sad? Probably): Goi ga. It’s a shredded chicken salad with Asian herbs, peppers & chili ginger dressing. It doesn’t sound like much, but the mix of flavors and the freshness of the ingredients makes it outttta this world. My Pho partner in crime had the standard shredded chicken salad:

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…but this time I added prawns to mine, per the suggestion of the kind waiter (Vietnamese surf’n’turf, totally a new thaaang):

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Nom nom! Not my usual combo, but it was beyond delicious. Hard to believe this salad  is less then 300 calories- low in fat, high in protein and really, really filing. Just one thing: make sure you have some gum or mints on hand; it’s a bit heavy on the garlic and onions, so while it’s diet friendly, it’s definitely not date friendly✖️

Overall Pho rating:

Yummy in my tummy: 5/5

Beach body friendly: 5/5

£ Once a day or week £: Once a day

 

London DIY Salad Bars Part 1: Vital Ingredient

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On a grey, rainy and miserable London day, it’s almost too easy to give in to comfort food (looking at you pizza)…which is why today I decided to brighten up my greys with some greens. Insert: Vital Ingredient – one of London’s most popular DIY salad bars.

Vital Ingredient was established in 2001 by a guy called Alex Heynes, who got inspired by NYC’s DIY salad bars and recognized a white space opportunity for such venture in London. For some reason, London has always been a bit late to the whole American health craze; drinking a green juice 5 years ago was “weird”, but now Britons like to not only drink their greens, but also eat them.

There are 17 branches of Vital Ingredient scattered around London town, although mostly in central London (more info on locations here). The principle is quite simple: work up an appetite, walk to your closest Vital, pick your base (egg pasta doesn’t count, sorry):

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…smile at the friendly staff 🙂

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…and start piling on your toppings:

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Et voila! A beautiful creation ready to be devoured under the (sun?) grey London skies:

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There s a ton of different options to suit every taste: 8 salad bases from spiralised veg to quinoa, 13 salad dressings, numerous protein options and yummy veggies. If you can’t make up your mind, they also have a selection of their Signature Salads -my personal favorite is Super Cob 🙂

Nutrition wise, you can make it as healthy or naughty as you wish (looking at you again egg pasta). My salad today had a mixed leaf base, prawns, egg, new potatoes, spicy avocado, petit pois, tossed in extra virgin olive oil. Nutrition info below:

nutri infooo vital

Not too bad. Plenty of wiggle space for some afternoon chocolate 🙂

Overall Vital Ingredient rating:

Yummy in my tummy: 5/5

Beach body friendly: 5/5

£ Once a day or week £:  Once a day (is twice too much?)

Granger & Co., Clerkenwell

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If you’ve been in London for more than a day and the thought of a Saturday brunch is what gets you going through your working week, then you are probably familiar with Granger & Co. 

Boasted as one of THE best brunch places in London, this Australian mini-chain now has 3 branches in London: Notting Hill, Clerkenwell and King’s Cross. Being a typical London hot spot, it doesn’t take bookings in its original location in Notting Hill, meaning that you’ll often see a queue on a Saturday morning, with crowds patiently waiting around for their avo on toast for hours.

However, Granger excels not only in doing an amazing brunch, but also in their yummy salad options available throughout the day. I am lucky enough to be working 5 min away from their Clerkenwell branch, which – wait for it – actually takes bookings!

There’s 4 salads options all together, ranging from £9.50 – 15.50:

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My friend and I both went for the Raw tuna & avocado poke, with brown rice, cherry tomatoes, pickled cucumbers and sesame (pictured above). So simple, but so delicious! I don’t know where they get their avocados from, but it’s definitely the best avocado I had in London, balanced amazingly with the nutty toasted sesame and chunks of raw tuna.

It looks like London is slowly catching on to the Poke trend and Granger & Co. is definitely a great way to ease yourself into becoming a Poke belie(b)ver. If you haven’t heard of Poke, it’s a traditional Hawaiian dish made of marinated raw fish; it’s huge across the ponds, especially in California and New York.

There’s rumors that Pret a Manger is about to launch a Poke salad, which means that the trend will probably take London by storm. Looks like their version will include marinated mushrooms; more info here.

Overall Granger & Co. rating:

Yummy in my tummy: 5/5

Beach body friendly: 4/5

£ Once a day or week £:  Once a week