Browsing Tag

vegan

Food

Plant-Based Angelenos Have a Delicious New Meal Service Option That Won’t Break the Bank

April 27, 2021

Meal delivery services can be tricky. With unpredictable schedules, picky palettes and a lack of unlimited funds, it often feels easier to place that dependable Postmates order to get exactly what you want on demand. But as of last week, L.A.’s new Herb & Seed meal delivery changed my thoughts on such services.

A handful of my friends have used meal delivery services regularly, but I’m frequently out and about and can’t necessarily commit to a selection of pre-made meals in a number of days. I’ve also never been wowed by options. From what I’ve seen online, there’s always one part of the meal I’m averse to, or simply the portions look a little too small for my liking. Why order a tiny sun-dried tomato pasta dish that I don’t even like, when, for around the same price (including delivery cost), I can request a mega-order from Zankou Chicken that’s not only satisfying and delicious, but made with all of my preferences in mind?

When a rep for Herb & Seed meal delivery reached out about reviewing their plant-based dishes, of course I agreed. Even if I didn’t end up loving the selections, at least they’d be in my fridge for convenience while saving me Postmates money. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I was intrigued, so why not?

The Service

Herb & Seed meal delivery updates their menu options every Tuesday. Each item is entirely plant-based, and delivered on Monday mornings with each meal given a suggested shelf-life of four days. Each order requires a minimum of $54, and delivery is an additional $10 fee.

The menu consists of dinner options ($15.50 each), lunches ($13.50 each), breakfasts ($11.50 each), beverages (juices and latte types; $9.50 each) and extras (dips and cheeses; $7.50 each). The menu is also entirely organic and whole, so only the freshest, purest ingredients need apply! Meals are also cooked and served in sustainable kitchen and delivery products. There’s no use of plastic—only compostable materials.

The Meals

I was sent a VIP media menu of two breakfast items (apple pie overnight oats and berry banana pancakes), two lunch (pesto bowl and rainbow buddha bowl) and two dinner (creamy stuffed shells and chile relleno).

To begin, the ingredients in each meal tasted extremely fresh. Even the rainbow buddha bowl, which was probably the least flavorful of the five (because it was the most raw), was refreshing with each bite. In the case of that dish, the beet hummus was unlike any dip or dressing type I’d ever tried, and it totally completed the meal.

I was shocked over how each item was extremely filling, still tasted fresh after even 4-5 days and had me forgetting there wasn’t a traditional protein in the mix. I typically opt for chicken, steak or eggs in most of my hearty meals, and the richness in flavor and formulations of these ingredients truly made it easy to sidestep what I was used to eating.

What blew me away the most was the formulation of the cashew cheese. There was just no way this wasn’t actual ricotta. The creamy stuffed shells truly tasted like the slightly healthier (but no less flavorful) version of something I would have snagged at Jon & Vinny’s. That same said cheese accounts for much of the deliciousness of the chile relleno. And speaking of creamy goodness, the pesto sauce in the chickpea pasta bowl could not have tasted more like a dairy-rich delight.

The most common ingredients in the dishes altogether were hemp seeds, cashew, tomato and various greens. The dinner dishes both came with a small side salad.

Bottom Line

Plain and simple, if you’re big on home-cooking, this option may not be for you. But if you’re super busy or often too tired (or lazy) to cook, I promise these meals won’t disappoint. If you line them up next to some of their competitors (Model Meals, for example), these are significantly less expensive. Also, to reiterate above, you’re only obligated to spend $54 (+ delivery fee) to place an order (which can get you approx 3-4 meals). And I don’t know about you, but if I go out to eat or order Postmates, one meal (with tax, tip and whatever else) can end up costing $25 each.

If you enjoy eating whole and healthy but you’re not big on plant-based options, as someone who loves a good steak, I can assure you that you won’t even think about the difference. These meals are so fulfilling. There was an excellent variety, and I really enjoyed my culinary experience with each in different ways.

For more mouthwatering content, HERE‘s what you need to know about Whipped, the delicious DIY coffee frothing system!

Food

Get to Know Fairfax’s New Plant-Based Eatery, Extra Market, Inc.

October 23, 2020

Launching a business amid a pandemic is obviously hard enough. Doing so during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and its accompanying riots… in the thick of the chaos? Sounds impossible.

Skateboarder and $ clothing designer Jamie Story was on the verge of opening his plant-based eatery Extra Market, Inc. Then the unthinkable hit the Fairfax District of where his spot is based. Following a new plan, the multifaceted artist is well into fall with a successful new business under his belt.

Jamie spoke to skyelyfe about his challenging launch experience and how Extra Market, Inc. stands out from the slew of other vegan dining establishments in L.A.

Photo Credit: @sdj

skyelyfe: What was your experience initially launching a new business at the height of rioting on Fairfax?

Jamie Story: I’m not sure any experience could prepare anyone to open amid whatever was or is happening now. When the protests were happening here it was more fear of possible destruction of what we’d been building over the past year. My friend hit me at 1 p.m. Saturday and said I should check my spot and they were going to march up Fairfax. I was totally unaware they started at noon. I rushed down and had to seal up a ceiling door. When I came out, the protests were heading up the back alley. We were lucky, though many of our neighbors were not. It made an already difficult time much rougher. The whole neighborhood came together to rebuild, and some are still working to get open. Foot traffic is slowly picking up every day.

Photo credit: Benjamin Story

SL: What made you decide to open your restaurant in the area you chose?

JS: Fairfax is a familiar neighborhood. I’ve worked with many of the brands on the block over the years.

SL: How does Extra Market differ from other popular vegan eateries in L.A.? 

JS: Extra Market is more of a conceptual project that will be collaborating with other restaurants, brands, artists and more. Once things get back to whatever the new normal is, we’ll be able to utilize our back space for galleries, events and pop-ups. 

SL: What are the restaurant’s specialties?

JS: That would be up to the customer. We’re excited about the burgers and people are excited about our pickles. More and more people are ordering a burger with a salad as opposed to burger, fries and soda. We offer the balance of indulgence and health. You can have Chili-Cheese Fries and a Broccoli Salad so you can have a little less guilt. Also everything is plant-based, and offering items like pressed juice and ginger shots brings healthier options to the block. 

Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.
Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.

SL: How did this project come to be?

I’d been looking to open a restaurant, but only if it was kind of the right space and time. This just felt right, being able to balance my creative and culinary sides. I’ve been making many of the dishes you see on the menu for my family and friends for years, and I grew up working in kitchens in New York. I was initially nervous, but I’m really proud of what I’ve built, and the feedback has been amazing.

SL: Who are some of your influences in the foodie/restaurateur space?

JS: Anthony Bourdain.

If you’re looking to explore more spots unique to the City of Angels, then you’ll appreciate THIS list of L.A. shopping gems a tourist wouldn’t know!

Beauty Angelenos

4 Things Every Health-Conscious Consumer Will Wish They Experienced at Do Good. Be Green’s L.A. Convention

November 15, 2016

The vegan, health-conscious and eco-friendly community was in for a recent treat at the DO GOOD. BE GREEN convention inside Downtown L.A.’s The Collection.

From morning to late-afternoon, guests were treated to pampering, snacks, libations, product-testing and motivational panel discussions.

In case you missed the event (hosted by Katie Bogue Miller and Justine Lassoff, founders of Love Goodly‘s non-toxic, vegan subscription boxes), skyelyfe is here to round up its highlights!

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

1. Vendors Galore

This convention had rooms full of makeup, beauty and wellness vendors from all over the country. I had a blast chatting with Paige Padgett, celebrity makeup artist and author of The Green Beauty RulesI also learned a lot about Zen Yoga Straps, which are three-loop straps designed to help you stretch longer and more comfortably than traditional yoga straps. The Den Meditation was also on hand to talk about healing and easing the mind. You also had Hipsters for Sisters, an environmentally conscious hands-free handbag line with the sole purpose to “liberate women from their baggage.” Lippy Girl, Blissoma and Rawxies (which allowed guests to fill plastic bags with customized heapings of their healthy snacks) were also among the lengthy list of brands to come on board for the event and share their products.

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

2. Motivational Guest Speakers

It was truly inspiring listening to the journey these exceptional women speakers have taken to start their own company and build their own products or brand. From the two hosting ladies themselves, to model-activist Angela Lindvall, to My Beauty Bunny‘s Jen Mathews and Reformation clothing’s VP of design, the day was filled with more than a dozen successful, independent female panelists.

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

3. Pampering and Wellness

Not a finger was left without a dainty touch, having nail technicians from LVX polish and L.A.’s Can Can Parleur on hand to provide manicure services. I opted for an LVX mani, with the Crimson shade as my main, with a line of Oasis down the middle of each nail. In between manis, guests had the opportunity to take in a mini-yoga session, courtesy of YAS Fitness.

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

4. Gift Bags

Now let’s get to the obvious best part of the extravaganza: the hefty reusable gift bag chock full of approximately $150-worth of beauty and wellness goodies from each of the sponsors, along with the latest edition of the Love Goodly box. Needless to say, I left with my hands full!

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Beauty Food

If You’re Gluten-Free, Vegan or Just Really Love Cookies, This Post Is for You!

May 28, 2015

paleofulAlmond flour, organic coconut sugar and sea salt are the main ingredients in the most delicious (and guilt-free) cookies I’ve tasted in a while.

Founded at the end of last year, Paleoful – the product I used to impress my dinner guests last night with an exceptional dessert – is a vegan, paleo, gluten-free cookie mix formed by Lauren Montalette and her longtime boyfriend in Salt Lake City.

The pre-packaged mix only requires two teaspoons of any kind of milk (I used coconut), 1/4 cup of light tasting oil (I used melted coconut oil) and an optional one teaspoon of vanilla flavoring (I used it). After combining the mix with additional ingredients, I flattened two tablespoons of dough in my hand to make flat disks, coming out to 12 pieces, which – after baked for 13 minutes – were pure heaven.Paleofultreats

I’m not vegan, but I’m incredibly sensitive to sugars and sweets (even chewing gum is a bit much for me), so when I nibbled on these little treats, I could tell by the way I felt that I wasn’t putting anything harmful into my system.

I also put together a vegan ice cream concoction, which contained some ingredients similar to the cookies (except obviously frozen instead of baked). So, it became perfect for ice cream sandwiches!

Paleoful also provides a brownie mix and another chocolate chip cookie mix, but made with sunflower seeds instead of almonds. The products can best be purchased online.

Beauty Food

Sake Is the Sip of the Season at The Springs, DTLA’s Wellness Oasis & Raw Vegan Restaurant

April 21, 2015

Springs4Give your mind a break from the hustle, bustle and one-way street insanity you associate with Downtown L.A. and take in the calming, zen atmosphere of The Springs, a total detour from the DTLA stereotype.

The urban wellness oasis and raw vegan restaurant – located on 608 Mateo Street – just celebrated its six-month anniversary over the weekend, and I had the pleasure of being invited to come in for a first-nibble of chef Michael Falso‘s latest tasting menu, paired with an array of brand new sake-based cocktail recipes ranging from savory to sweet – all made with variations of The Springs’ popular pressed juices. I enjoyed my meal to the sounds of live music playing by a few-person band in a back corner just away from the dining area.

Springs2My personal pick of the appetizers and dishes were the rangoons, which were small, but flavorful and fulfilling beyond belief. Made with coconut wonton, “old bay” cream cheese, bell pepper, celery and sweet chili sauce, it was pretty clear off the bat that these bites would be worth savoring.

Springs3

Other noshes included a “Reuben” – which definitely got its point across with its Caraway “rye” bread, marinated mushrooms, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and dill pickles – along with a seaweed Caesar salad, a nacho salad, a cashew cheese plate and two desserts. That sweet pea cake and black chocolate cake with vanilla bean “ice cream” I absolutely could not put down.

The beverages (I still can’t believe sake was the only liquor ingredient in all of them!) were seemingly endless. And the variety was impressive! I tried everything from a pickled jalapeno-infused Desert Flower (my favorite) to a Smokey Mountain, which resembled a Manhattan.

Had I come in a little earlier, I would have taken advantage of one of the various forms of yoga the spot has to offer, or I would have relaxed with a massage or infrared sauna treatment. In fact, going back to a post I wrote a few weeks ago about wellness deals in L.A., The Springs offers free meditation once a day at 1:00 p.m. on weekdays, led by Gloria Baraquio.

Springs1For $59 a person, you can get your very own taste of The Springs. Chef’s tastings are subject to change daily, but the restaurant’s full menu offers a slew of breakfast options (served all day), desserts, snacks, salads, entrees, coffee beverages, you name it. Check out all of the options here.

[divider_flat]

Beauty Food Angelenos Featured

FITfluence: A Fitness Convention Fit for Royalty!

November 18, 2014

It doesn’t matter how active you are or how up you are on your fitness knowledge – FITfluence was a major must for anyone who lives a moderately healthy lifestyle. I had so much fun. It was located at the YouTube space in the Marina del Rey area, and although it was way outside of my typical L.A. travel parameters, it was neat to check it out since I’d never been before.

I picked up all kinds of cool products (more on those in a bit), I met so many great new people, I sat in on an intimate panel with top-tier fitness bloggers and learned all these nifty strategies to building my brand and, most importantly, I ate so many delicious healthy vegan bites from Beyond Meat and Locali. I steer clear from soy, but I will admit this “chicken salad” Beyond Meat served up on mini-crackers was the closest tasting thing to actual chicken that I’d ever tried of the impostors. Locali then had four different salads just packed with avocados, quinoa and other amazingly appetizing delights. They had all these scrumptious lite dressings, too!

And then there were of course the liquids. Clover juice and KeVita sparkling probiotic drink were both on hand to provide samples of their latest creations, so when guests wanted to switch from sipping cocktails from one of the two bars at the event, they could quench their thirst with something a bit healthier.

fitfluence1

Now onto the goodies!

If you know me in the slightest, you know I have no luck with phones. I used to lose them, now I just break them. The employees at uBreakiFix literlly know me by name and give me $20 off because they feel so bad. So it was a lovely surprise to encounter Exofab, a stick-on case that comes in all kinds of cool colors. It’s light and non-intrusive and its material somehow can set on mirrors and refrigerators, so for selfie satisfaction, they come in handy.

On top of that fun little gadget, I scored my first pair of Teeki yoga leggings. They’re so cute and funky. I also swooped a gold, heart-covered overnight bag from LeSportsac. They had a slew of cute designs up for grabs, so I kept going back and forth with my selection choice. Then I got these neon non-lace laces, called Hickies, for my workout shoes. They’re plastic, and once they’re in your shoes, you never have to tie them again! Tarte was also on hand for makeup touchups and to hand out bronzer for guests to keep. I had been at the event from the time it started, so when I finally made it over to Tarte, it was totally time for a little polishing.

fitfluence2

fitfluence4

fitfluence5

Fitfluence6

Photo Credit: Danielle Lew

On top of all that, we walked out of the event with a Fabletics gym bag stocked full of divine treats, ranging from Neutrogena products to Jenna Hipp‘s top and base coat nail collection.

I’m not just saying this because one of my dear friends Jamie Stone of HonestlyJamie.com happened to co-coordinate the experience, but it really was the best event I’ve been to in a long time. Well done, Stonesi!

fitfluence3[divider_flat]

Food

QVC’s Resident Foodie David Venable Dishes to Skyelyfe About Perfect Fall Party Appetizers & Why He Thinks Vegan Cooking Would Be an ‘Interesting Challenge’

October 15, 2014

DavidVenableIt’s never a good idea to start writing about decadent food dishes right before bed, but I am trying to keep delicious mental pictures out of my mind as I share my excitement about the recent release of David Venable‘s second cookbook, Back Around the Table.

Featuring 100 brand new recipes based on traditional comfort food favorites, one can only imagine how my mouth began to water as I listened to QVC‘s resident foodie go on and on about mac ‘n’ cheese bites and French onion soup dumplings.

David dished (pun intended) to skyelyfe all about appetizers perfectly fitting for a fall party, why he thinks vegan cooking would be an “interesting challenge,” and why “comfort food” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “unhealthy.” Read on to see what he had to say…

SL: How does your first book differ from the current?

DV: My first cookbook was a celebration of classic comfort foods. I’ve enjoyed not only growing up in the South, but traveling all over the country. I’m a firm believer that comfort food is not something that is any one region of the country. I began to think about what book two would be about. I realized there were still more comfort food stories to tell. This new collection of recipes is still in the comfort food category, but with a creative spin that I think people will find interesting.

SL: I love fall and I love hosting an annual fall party, but I am no gourmet chef. Any easy recommendations?

DV: Comfort food is so synonymous with fall. We think about the cooler weather moving in and having something bubbling on top of the stove. It makes it lots and lots of fun. I have wonderful mac ‘n’ cheese bites that are easy to make because they require no baking. You make up the mixture and it’s a wonderful blend of three cheeses and ham and you press it into a casserole dish and refrigerate it, and once it sets up, you form it into little balls and you fry it for a couple of minutes in a deep fryer or a skillet or a Dutch oven. Then you’ve got creamy, wonderful, punchy mac ‘n’ cheese bites.

There’s another appetizer I love to do that’s in the book. And these are French onion soup dumplings. We love that on a cold and crisp day outside. I take wontons that you buy in the grocery store and do a mixture of these wonderful kitchen soup spices and combine them with cream cheese, and make little pouches that are then flash-fried and finished in the oven, topped with gruyere cheese.

SL: I’m not vegan, but I do enjoy vegan bites. And going back to mac ‘n’ cheese, I know that’s one of your favorite items. So is there any kind of vegan version you recommend of the dish? Or do you believe it really needs to be eaten like true mac ‘n’ cheese?

DV: I think everyone has an experience with mac ‘n’ cheese and you really need to stay true to what really speaks to you in terms of that dish. I have never personally made a vegan mac ‘n’ cheese dish, but I have researched them and I think it will be an interesting challenge for me because obviously I’m not using any kind of animal products. I’ve looked at some recipes online and have found ingredients that really look and sound creamy and lovely, but it’s going to take some experimenting in the kitchen. I’m anxious to give it a go.

SL: Is that something you’d really be open to trying?

DV: That’s what’s so much fun about being a home cook. I really feel like I can experiment in the kitchen and I’m not afraid to fail. I think some of the best dishes are made when you are experimenting. I think something like [trying to cook vegan] would be a whole lot of fun. It would be interesting to see if I could make it and have the texture be good.

SL: Obviously “comfort food” isn’t synonymous with “healthy eating.” Is there anything in the book that would be for the semi-health conscious?

DV: Absolutely! There are 10 chapters in the book, and I love that one of them is a lighter fare chapter. It’s called “Light and Bright,” and there are lots of different recipes in that chapter that still maintain that wonderful comforting feeling, but at the same time, aren’t as high in fat and calories and salt. There’s a wonderful angel food cake recipe in that chapter. It’s got raspberries and blueberries and a little raspberry-blueberry sauce on the top. It really ends up tasting like a more decadent dessert, but it’s much, much lighter. And then when you infuse it with the natural sweetness of berries, then you’re not adding any additional sugar.

SL: When it comes to dealing with other famous chefs, do you guys share recipes and ideas or do you tend to keep things to yourself?

DV: Everyone kind of has a protective sense of recipes they’ve developed and they love, but when you share them, I think recipes are kind of open game for people to kind of take and interpret as their own. I have the great pleasure of working with a lot of celebrity chefs on QVC, and I find that more than just trading recipes, we tend to trade ideas when we have a chance to chat. We talk about things that we make that are similar or how we might make it an even more interesting dish. I think when you get together with other people who love to cook, you love to talk about these recipes and you encourage each other to really up your game, which is always lots of fun in the kitchen.

SL: What would you say is the biggest misconception about chefs?

DV: I think most of us assume that a chef only makes very fancy food and doesn’t really relate so much to a home cook. The chefs I’ve worked with are very, very home cook-friendly. They have a chance to share their formal training through a common and shared love of food. Chefs I’ve worked with haven’t come in with a very sophisticated or highbrow heir about them. They come in with a true passion for food. When you get together with a group who shares that passion, there’s just a great celebration at the dinner table.