Healthy is a fashion statement in the land of tinseltown.
Barre yoga, Whole Foods Market, cafe workspaces and paleo ice cream are all things I discovered on a recent trip to Los Angeles (LA). The coastline is scattered with health food stores, juice bars, gyms with the latest workout system, yoga studios and countless healthy eateries.
Healthy is a fashion statement in the land of tinseltown. The latest fashion flavour is organic “mylk” which is the trendy way to spell ‘dairy and lactose free milk’. The word ‘raw’ seems to pop up on every menu and is probably a label you’ll see more than ‘paleo’. However there are so many places with great paleo-friendly food and if you’re ever stuck, there’s a Whole Foods Market on virtually every block.
So, where to dine?
It would have been impossible to visit every corner of LA to suss out the paleo dining scene, so instead I stuck to the coastline and sought recommendations from a few new buddies – Mary, The Paleo Chef and Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apply.
Here are my top suggestions:
Tender Greens, Santa Monica
It’s a californian chain but don’t let that deter you. The food is consistently good, and despite the rather long lines out the front people are in and out quickly. I tried a hot plate of local fish, Albacore, which is sort of like tuna but very tender; delicious with a fresh side salad. Tender Greens cater for different dietary requirements, are very reasonably priced for what you get and are the perfect lunch choice.
A stroll down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
This is a cool little strip of shops, cafes and restaurants and is a must visit for the trendy foodie. There are heaps of great places to dine and a focus on healthy, real food.
I only had the chance to try one place which I would highly recommend, Gjelina Take Away (sister of Gjelina Restaurant right next door). It’s a canteen style take away joint with amazing food! Each day there are different cuts of meat and salads available, and I would say the beef brisket was one of the best I have ever tasted (disclaimer: it was ale-braised for anyone with gluten intolerances making it their mission to try it out)!
Also along Abbot Kinney is Tom’s flagship store, worth a peek and also a great place to work and hang out. It’s always full of writers, artists and entrepreneurs who come for the casual vibe and great conversations. They have a cafe that serves tea and coffee (and a few non-paleo but I’m sure delicious sweet treats).
Kippy’s Ice Cream Shop, Venice
Did someone say ice-cream? No, oh well, I am capable of coming up with any excuse to talk about ice-cream, particularly if it’s paleo friendly! Whilst in LA Mary introduced us to the most amazing ice creamery which served sugar-free and dairy free ice-cream, made with homemade coconut milk and raw honey (and for the vegans and honey-free, they also make some sweetened with just fruit). Every day they have different flavours and each time I visited (ok I went three times!!) I was served by the happiest man on earth who wasn’t at all concerned by the number of people in the queue, but rather offering me every flavour to try so I could find my favourite. For the paleo sweet tooth this is a must, and best of all there’s a Whole Foods Market just across the road so you can pick up some staples and get your sweet fix at the same time. Winner!
The Counter – Custom Built Burgers, Marina Del Ray
Anyone who has followed my adventures overseas knows that I seek out the best burgers in every city! At home I love CHUR Burger and any pulled pork burger without the bun. I get a bit excited when I find places that offer bun-less and lettuce-wrap burgers. One such place is The Counter which is located all over California. The menu is one of the most exciting and overwhelming things I have ever seen. It’s literally a sheet of paper with tick boxes – you go through and select what you want on your burger, starting with your meat then making your way through the toppings and sauces and finally your choice of bun (lettuce or bread). The novelty was almost as good as the food itself!
Whole Foods Market, everywhere!
I know I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but this is an affordable place to dine and offers a wide variety of delicious options. You really can’t go wrong here and everything is labelled so you know exactly what’s in every dish. You can serve yourself from the buffets or order something fresh, and they cater for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some stores also have a special paleo buffet!