SYDNEY'S TOP FIVE: 1) I don't think I could write about it enough but Veggie Grill is always at the top of my list for favorite restaurants. Literally everything on the menu is nothing short of perfection. I could eat their magical all hail kale salad with grilled tempeh everyday and never get sick of it. If you want a sandwich they've got you covered! Veggie burger? Covered! Sweet potato fries? The best you've ever had!
2) Sun Cafe, Sun Cafe, oh how I love you. I haven't seen Brooke's list yet but my boyfriend, Ian and I introduced Brooke and her hubby Brad to this special spot and I can guarantee its on her list too. Let me tell you a little story about a sweet kale shake. When you think of shakes you think of vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate with ice cream and lots of delicious yet unhealthy ingredients. When you think of a sweet kale shake to most I can assume you may be a bit leery. I cannot deny kale is one of my favorite foods but it can be bitter. Well, in this incredible sweet kale shake from Sun Cafe it's sweet, healthy, and simply extraordinary. I've been frequenting the sweet kale shake for years now and there is nothing that compares. Oh and that's not the only thing on their menu, everything else is just as fabulous. If you live in the Los Angeles area or you are here for a visit GO! Especially if you love healthy memorable meals!
3) Pressed Juicery, is currently my favorite juice spot. They have everything from veggie juices to fruit juices (my favorite is the coconut blueberry)! They fill me up and they hit the spot! You feel rejuvenated after drinking a Pressed Juice! Gulp, gulp and it's gone!
4) Hugo's has been a staple in restaurants that I frequent since I moved to Los Angeles. Their menu is enormous and so are the portions! The menu has both vegan and vegetarian options as well as meat for you meat eaters. It is really a collaboration of foods throughout the world and I love that. So if you are going out to dinner with friends who have different palates this would be your spot. Italian, Indian, American, carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, salad lovers, and the list literally does go on and on and on...I'm dreaming of Hugo's now...
5) The Six is the best new restaurant find I've found recently. My friend Liza and I went out to celebrate her new job and we just about fell off of our chairs this place was soooo....darn.....good....the menu features six seasonal items in every section. I must admit we indulged a bit got and got a s'mores dessert. Liza literally screamed, "what is happening here?! Why is this so good?!" It might have been one of the best desserts I have ever had! Other than the treats they had an amazing salad and kale risotto that was absolutely amazing. They have a gorgeous back patio surrounded with twinkle lights. It's definitely a romantic and delicious date spot too!
BROOKE'S TOP FIVE
I should preface this by saying that this should probably be called Top Five brunching joints. Or Top Five Cafes. Or Top Five places I can go to write. What can I say? I love a good cup of coffee with the option to have breakfast at noon!
1. You can't go wrong with Urth Caffe. I wish people liked it less so I could hang out here all day. I love the style and atmosphere this hotspot exudes. They pride themselves in their organic coffees and teas but there is so much more to enjoy. The Urth Salad is amazing with a light vinegarette that will rock your world. The chicken curry sandwich is delicious and if you are a boba fan the chai boba tea is for you. I'm dying to get to enjoy their breakfast one of these days soon. There are four locations scattered through Los Angeles and one more popping up in Pasadena (one of my favorite LA towns) which makes me insanely excited.
2. Aroma Coffee & Tea Co.: There's a reason that this place is packed day in and day out. Mostly all of the seating is outdoors making you feel you have stepped into a magical garden of happiness and full bellies. Perfectly located in one of the most charming areas of Studio City, across the street from the infamous Vitellos Italian restaurant made famous by the Robert Blake case. And nearby another one of my favorite summer afternoon stops: Lick It - a homemade Popsicle store. (Seriously... That's another blog post.) Aroma is the perfect spot to catch up with old friends or take a meeting (there are lots of Hollywood types chatting about their latest projects). They have a great menu of healthy choices and an array of decadent desserts. I've tried so many things off of their menu and I've never been disappointed! Trying to pinpoint one option down to recommend is a difficult feat but perhaps give the tofu rice bowl a whirl. Yum.
3. Jumping Java: Brunch! It's the best meal by far as stated earlier. I love sleeping in on a weekend, waking up and heading out with good company to brunch. My favorite go-to spot is Jumping Java. It's a tiny little place nestled in on Ventura Blvd. and can get lost in the wonders of the street. But it should not be overlooked. My "usual" is the California Omelette with egg whites. Simple, but lovely. If you have a morning sweet tooth, and it's your cheat day - go for the cinnamon kiss french toast (french baguette dipped in brandy egg batter with a banana walnut glaze. I mean, come on!) Their sandwiches are scrumptious as well - try the Lavash Press for a healthier bite! (It's in the picture below!)
4. I fell in love with my husband over Indian food. No really, that's not a joke. We survived on samosas and chai for years. Our favorite spot (who got to know us oh too well) was the Great India Cafe. It's your standard Indian garb on the inside. Nothing fancy, nothing to write home about in regards to decor or setting. But I just adore their food. If you see me there you can guarantee I'm eating one of the following: Shahi Paneer, veggie samosas, chicken chat or chicken tikka masala. Possibly all of the above. It's SO tasty!!
5. Sweetsalt: I can't say this is a staple in my life. In fact I found it last night. It's a tiny little cafe that made me feel like I was in the middle of a Christmas classic, with a cute storefront window looking out on the streets of Toluca Lake (an insanely adorable neighborhood in the San Fernando valley. ) Their menu is limited to mostly soups, salads and sandwiches. I ordered the spicy quinoa salad with chicken that was incredibly light and refreshing. However, I was secretly full of envy over the husband's salad - full of pancetta crisps, arugula, heirloom tomatoes with a cherry reduction that was to die for. I'm not going to lie Benner Fitters - I went a bit bananas (and now that I say that, I suppose I mean it literally). I mean, the place is called Sweet Salt, so you have to try the sweet, right? The options were overwhelming - brightly colored macarons, cookies the size of my face. We landed on a few options to try: a salted caramel donut, a mini donut muffin and a piece of pie that I can't remember the name of - but boy can I remember the taste. Let me tell you about this pie, and then you can shame me for promoting this on a health blog: Peanut butter cookie crust, layer of chocolate ganache, layer of banana goodness, layer of meringue. WHAT?! Mind. Blown.