Wednesday, August 27, 2008


The other day while perusing I learned about a Japanophile cafe/gallery/shop right in Culver City. So yesterday, after visiting my client in the same area, I checked out Royal/T. It's like a Harajuku lovers' dream come true! Beautiful art, super cute items in the shop, a minimalist but gorgeous cafe with waitresses in Japanese maid costumes. They also serve what looks like an awesome high tea which I will definatly be back to try. Check out the photos (all taken with my iPhone):

8910 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Monday, August 25, 2008

M Cafe de Chaya

M Cafe de Chaya is a macrobiotic restaurant in Culver City and is part of the Chaya family of restaurants in Los Angeles. I've been there a couple of times now and both times I have gotten the brown rice sushi and it is great. Everything else looks good there so I'd recommend you check it out even though I haven't tried too much of the food there. They are basically vegan plus fish there, so no meat, dairy, or eggs. I tasted the Seitan Katsu Bowl, my first foray into Seitan which is a meat substitute made with wheat gluten, and it tasted like meat! They've got some lovely bento boxes (my weakness) available to-go, as well as a nice assortment of baked goods along with healthy sandwiches and salads. Check it out!

M Cafe de Chaya
9343 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Johnny Cupcakes is Here!

I am so excited about the new Johnny Cupcakes store on Melrose. They sell sweet T-shirts (no real cupcakes). Check out the pictures of the store! There are antique oven doors that shoot out steam, a neon-looking stove top, oh, and of course, t-shirts.

"Green" Bags

Update (8/21): I checked on my bean sprouts last night. They were all slimy and I had to throw them out. They were in the fridge in the green bags for about a week. Pretty disappointing compared to the claims the product makes. I have an eggplant left too and it's a little wrinkled. So far, I really can't see any difference between these and regular bags : (

I picked up the new Debbie Meyer Green Bags. You put your fruits and veggies in them and they're supposed to extend the freshness of your produce. I put scallions, Chinese eggplant, broccoli, and bean sprouts each in their own green bag and placed them in the fridge a couple of days ago (8/14). I think I'll use the bean sprouts as a test and see how long they stay fresh. I'll let you know how it goes..

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grand Luxe Cafe: Like the Cheesecake factory but better

Grand Lux Cafe on UrbanspoonWe went to the Grand Luxe Cafe for dinner over at the Beverly Center. It's owned by the Cheesecake Factory, and you can see a lot of similarities in the layout of the restaurant, as well as the big, varied menu, and the huge portions. The decor is a little fancier ... looks like it's inspired by the Venetian casino in Vegas. Update: I was just checking out the locations and there IS one of these at the Venetian in Vegas. Can I call it or WHAT? At any rate, the food was great. It wasn't great in a fine-dining way, but kind of in a Rachael Ray way, if you know what I mean.

The menu has so much to choose from that it's hard to decide what to get. Lots of interesting flavor combinations and re-creations of things traditional. We went with the deep-friend Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls. OMG.. those are like the ultimate bar food.
For the entree, I went with the Indochine Shrimp and Chicken and I LOVED it. It was sweet with just the right amount of curry. My boyfriend got the Shaking Beef. He thought it had a few too many onions, but I love onions so I loved this dish too. The beef had a wonderful, freshly grilled flavor and tenderness. Oh, and the Key Lime pie was delicious too. : )

It looks like there aren't very many of these restaurants around the country yet, but I am guessing it will catch on.

Grand Luxe Cafe
Beverly Center
121 North La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

I finally signed up for sushi classes!!!

Some of you who know me are aware that one of the reasons I originally moved to Los Angeles was to attend sushi school. Alas, I sold out and took a job and abandoned my dream. But I have decided that even if I am not going to do the intensive 12-week course, I am going to do two Saturday classes. This Saturday will be the Basic class and next Saturday will be the Advanced class.
I'll be taking the classes at the California Sushi Academy.
Wish me luck!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

This turned out so delicious, and it looks so nice when served, that I think it would be a great dish to serve to guests. Luckily, I got to eat most of it myself : ) I do have to say though, that the recipe was really made complete with Trader Joe's Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette, photo of the bottle at the bottom of this posting.

The original recipe is actually for pork tenderloin salad, so I am providing that version below because it looks real tasty, but I only had chicken breast in the house so what I did was bake the chicken breast with soy sauce. Plain soy sauce flavors chicken breast wonderfully, but the run-off sauce does burn in the oven. I suggest using foil so you can toss the burnt sauce when you're done.

Of all places, this recipe comes from Women's Health Magazine.

Vietnamese Pork (or Chicken, see above) Salad
Four servings, 300 calories each (without the TJ dressing)
  • 1 (12 oz) pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 6 cups shredded cole slaw mix
  • 1 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup lightly salted chopped peanuts
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place pork on a foil-lined baking sheet; sprinkle with 1/8 t salt and cook until thermometer registers 160 F, 20 to 24 minutes. Leat meat rest for 10 minutes. Cut meat crosswise into four sections, then shred.
  3. Place lime juice, sugar, and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap and microwave on high until sugar melts, 20 to 30 seconds. Let cool. Stir in fish sauce and remaining 1/8 t salt.
  4. In a large bowl, gently toss coleslaw mix, scallions, and cilantro. Pour lime mixture over veggies, and toss gently. Divide evenly into four salad bowls and top with pork (or place on a serving platter as shown above). Top salad with chopped nuts.
  5. As I mentioned above, I highly recommend serving with Trader Joe's Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Light Meals at Fast Food Restaurants

Updated with El Pollo Loco! See below.

Like many of you busy folk, I tend to eat many of my meals while at the office or running around town, so it makes it difficult sometimes to find something light and healthy, quick, and hopefully cheap! I've managed to figure out what the best choices are for me at many of the fast-food chains around here। Seriously, I eat these all the time, so I didn't just scour the online menus and regurgitate them to you। These are tried and true. The only issue here is most of these choices contain chicken, so if you are a vegetarian, you probably wont get much out of this post, sorry!

El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco makes my favorite chicken in town. If you check out their Nutrition Guide by clicking on the link above, there are actually many good options, including those listed in the Lean for Life and Healthier Choices sections. This meal is my favorite:

1 Chicken Breast with Skin, 1 Garden Salad, and 1/2 pack of Creamy Cilantro dressing (not the light stuff.. it's gross)
370 Calories

Lately, I am ALL about the 5-dollar foot long. These babies tickle my cheap bone and my diet bone at the same time. One of these and you are pretty much set for food for the rest of the day (1/2 for lunch.. 1/2 for dinner : ).

While there are some great 6" subs with low calories such as the turkey, sweet-onion chicken teryiaki, and the subway club, I have been opting for the black-forest ham and the oven-roasted chicken breast because those are in the $5 foot-long category. Just skip the cheese and get one of the fat free sauces or mustard and you are good to go. I also get honey-wheat bread .. I hope there is whole-grain in there.

  • 1/2 black forest ham foot-long sub (no cheese)
    290 Calories
  • 1/2 oven roasted chicken foot-long sub (no cheese)
    310 Calories


  • Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich with NO mayo, with added Chipotle BBQ Sauce
    400 Calories
    This is my favorite meal here, and I get this every Tuesday and eat it while driving through mid-city LA. McDonald's grilled chicken is awesome, and it really puts BK's to shame. This sandwich is very big and filling.
  • Grilled Chicken Snack Wraps
    260-270 Calories
    They come in Ranch, Chipotle BBQ (my fave), and Honey Mustard
  • Hamburger/Cheeseburger
  • Ice Cream Cone
    150 Calories
  • Apple Dippers with Caramel Sauce
    105 Calories


  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Light Ranch dressing
    340 Calories
  • Side Caesar Salad with 1/2 packet of Caesar Dressing
    200 Calories
  • Small Chili
    227 Calories
  • Grilled Chicken Go Wrap
    260 Calories
  • Junior Hamburger/Cheeseburger
    230/270 Calories

Baja Fresh

  • Tacos!! There are many different varieties but most are about 250 calories or less each.
    I usually get 2 Mahi Mahi tacos.. they come with avocado inside : )
    The rest of the menu should pretty much be avoided.. even the Tostadas are crazy caloric.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell has a great new Fresco Menu, so I pretty much focus on that. I usually get two tacos or a taco and a burrito. Some of my favorites including beans from the regular menu:

  • Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco
    160 Calories
  • Fresco Chicken Burrito Supreme
    330 Calories
  • Pintos and Cheese
    150 Calories

La Salsa

Tacos La Salsa w no chips, beans or rice
About 250 calories each for chicken, steak, or carnitas
I always get two at a time and load up on tons of salsa from the salsa bar.. I still count it as 500 calories total. veggies are free, right?

Jack in the Box

  • Chicken Fajita Pita
    300 Calories
  • Grilled Chicken Strips (4)
    180 Calories
    Get 'em with a dipping sauce for a few more cals. I use half a BBQ sauce and count it as 200 cals total.