Gluten-free Pasta by CAULIPOWER

CAULIPOWERthe makers of America’s #1-selling cauliflower crust pizza, now debuts a delicious Cauliflower Pasta, that is available in frozen food aisles near you. 

CAULIPOWER uses the power of fresh vegetables to make healthier, easier versions of the food you crave – pizza crust, pasta, tortillas, rice cauliflower, chicken tenders, and sweet potaTOASTS.

Their products taste like the food you crave, especially their new Cauliflower Pasta. My friends at the plant-forward company sent me a creative pasta box filled with everything I needed to make one of the best pasta dishes ever.

They make two varieties of pasta – Linguine and Pappardelle. Each one provides 1/3 cup of veggies per serving. 

It’s a gluten-free pasta that offers the LOWEST calorie pasta at retail (dry, refrigerated, & frozen) with just 230 calories per serving. Made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, each serving has 48% more fiber than traditional pasta, half the amount of sugar, and zero added sugar.

At $5.99, these delicious plant-based pastas feed your whole family in about three-minutes of cooking time.

Health conscious, food sensitive and vegetarians eaters can finally enjoy their favorite foods – cheesy, melty pizza, crispy chicken tenders, sweet and savory ‘toast’, soft tortillas, delicious riced cauliflower bowls, and frozen cauliflower pasta.

CAULIPOWER’s Cauliflower Pasta is available nationwide on Amazon, as well as in the freezer aisle of select retailers across the country including Shoprite, Fresh Thyme, Fresh Direct, and Jewel. The product will be also available at Walmart at the end of September, and in more than 14,000 stores including Gelson’s, Big Y, Dierbergs, and Kroger by the end of 2021.

So Cal’s Herb and Seed Meal Service

Millennial Natalie Jaconetty started a passion project during the pandemic, because there was a need for mindful plant-forward vegan meals delivered to homebound #saferathome people. “I’m thrilled to be able to launch Herb and Seed. It’s a privilege to be able to use a variety of plant-based and nutritionally optimal ingredients for our meals that create flavor forward chef-inspired meals that support health and wellness. Also, I’m very proud to say that’re we’re a zero-waste organization and we will remain so as we grow.” said Jaconetty on the launch.

Her chef-inspired zero-waste organization, Herb and Seed offers a menu off delicious and macronutrient dense meals delivered to your front door. She uses USDA organic ingredients, and sustainable kitchen and delivery products. Never plastic, only compostable materials.

I received an invitation to taste some of the menu items to give my opinion. A delivery duo text me their ETA, and a message that they would leave my Herb and Seed bag by my front door for contactless delivery. I received a text when they arrived and when they left to retrieve my order.

Banana Overnight Oats

The flavorful vegan and plant-based meals range in price. I started with two of the breakfast items which including a container of Banana Overnight Oats and Banana Oat Waffles. Breakfast items are priced at $11 per meal. The thoughtful super foods and fruit are good for energizing ones body and mind. There was the perfect balance of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats. 

Later during lunch, I enjoyed a Pesto Bowl with cooked perfectly fusilli pasta made from chickpeas, topped with creamy pesto sauce, steamed kale with garlic, and sliced cherry tomatoes. My daughter chose the Rainbow Buddha Bowl with steamed sweet potatoes, long strands of carrots, sautéed greens, and a delicious beet hummus dressing. Both are priced at $13.50 per meal are made with love and minimal to no oil, salt or sugar added.

Dinners are flavorful and satisfying with Greek Stuffed Peppers, Creamy Tomato Polenta Stacks, and Enoki Mushroom Cakes with Miso Glazed Broccolini. Priced at $15.50 per meal, each meal is designed to provide key nutrients such as fiber, fats, carbs and protein and can be heated up in the microwave.

Customers are within Los Angeles County and select parts of Ventura and Orange Country. Go online to order different curated meals each week. Deliveries are made each Monday based on the customer’s specific requests and needs. Follow their Instagram at @HerbandSeedLA.

Wellness beLeaf Retreat to kick off 2021

Photo by Jill Weinlein

I just received my VIP beLeaf Retreat box filled with participating partners products to enhance the upcoming 2-day virtual retreat on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10, 2021. Inside the box were snacks and products with a plant-based twist. There was Ground Up chips, Laird Superfood, dairy-free Ripple, protein by Four Sigmatic, a healthy snack bar by Purely Elizabeth, facial mist with sunscreen by Coola, Thrive Market, Purple CarrotSplendid Spoontoasted coconut chocolate chip banana brittle by Banana gluten-free puffs by Vegan Rob’s and Good Sam small farm chocolate. Also inside the box was a custom journal filled with all the session information for the beLeaf Retreat.

Ready for a reset? Looking for a healthier lifestyle in 2021? beLeaf retreat is a fun, immersive and informative virtual weekend to inspire you to attain a healthier future. It’s a safe way to connect and play with others and your family while learning how to eat healthier, lessen your carbon footprint and make an impact on the environment. 

Leading plant-based brands, celebrity athletes, influencers and expert speakers will attend beLeaf retreat offering tools and content topics that include Health and Food, Environmental Impact, Value Systems, and Animal Empathy. 

This virtual, at-home journey through beLeaf’s custom-built, animated environment offers hands-on interactive workshops, accountability circles, product marketplace, and VIP experiences delivered by engaging leaders and influencers. 

“At a time when connection has never been more important, beLeaf provides a unique opportunity for us to virtually join together in meaningful discussion about what matters most–our deepest values, beliefs and lifestyle choices,” said Amanda Cey DeMonaco, Founder & CEO, beLeaf Retreat. “We’re thrilled to be supported by world-renowned brands, athletes, authors, and influencers that share our passion.” 

Instagram @beleafretreat 

The retreat is also proud to collaborate with some of the biggest celebrity advocates in the plant-based space including professional athletes, Gabrielle Reece, Hannah Teter, and Leilani Munter. Influencers include Toni Okamoto (Plant-Based on a budget), Michelle Cehn (World of Vegan) Ed Winters (Earthling Ed), Martin Skadal (World Saving Hustle), Jason Wrobel (Best Selling Author of Eaternit), Ruby Roth(Best-Selling Author of We Don’t Eat Animals), Kathryn Kellogg (Founder of Going Zero Waste), Stephanie Williams (Veganwhat), Gemma Newman(Plant Power Doctor UK), and Mark Brown (Author of Zen Pig).

beLeaf Retreat offers individuals and families the opportunity to assess their current value system and identify opportunities for growth. Building upon their current state, families can then align their values and “beLeaf System” to enjoy a healthier, more sustainable and empathetic 2021.

Instagram @beleafretreat 

Gain VIP access to the beLeaf Retreat immersive experience. Participate in live 2-day virtual experiences with 20 interactive sessions. Topics include ‘How a Healthy Mind and Body Can Help Us Achieve Our Dreams’ lead by Hannah Teter and ‘How Can We Best Support and Build a Healthy Immune System?’ led by Gemma Newman. Reimagin classic family dishes with Stephanie Williams and attend a VIP interactive cooking demo’s with top influencers Toni Okamoto and Michelle Cehn guide you to make a budget friendly vegan chili and cornbread. Also enjoy an adult-only cocktail hour. A VIP ticket is $225 per person or family.

The General Admission ticket is $125 and includes live 2-day virtual experiences, 18 interactive sessions, adult-only cocktail hour, family and adult only content tracks. Go to beLeaf Retreat for your GA and VIP ticket.

Eating Healthy in 2021 from Real Coconut Kitchen Malibu

This Christmas Eve we are having a socially distanced outdoor lunch with family who are gluten-free, vegetarians and vegans. Even though I asked everyone to prepare their own food for our get together, a friend shared the name of Real Coconut Kitchen Malibu.

Located in Malibu, they offer curated organic, gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free staples and meals that will cover every type of eater in my family.

For Christmas they are offering two dietary options – Turkey for my family and vegan for the rest of the family.

The Turkey option includes organic, pasture raised turkey. They marinate a turkey breast with an ancho chili and orange zest rub, citrus, coriander, herbs, and spices. The meal includes their plantain bread stuffing and cranberry sauce with orange zest.

For the vegan option it comes with stuffed acorn squash with Bloomsdale Spinach, sweet potato, spiced apples, sage, celery, onion, cranberry, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Vegan side dishes include roasted carrot and parsnips with honey glaze and Brussels sprouts glazed with balsamic.

Both of these holiday menu options serve 4 people and can be ordered on the Real Coconut Kitchen’s website through December 21st and can be picked up on December 23rd or 24th. Prices range from $270-340. 

For a holiday gift, owner Daniella Hunter recently launched her cookbook, Nourish Yourself, Nurture Our World. This cookbook features personal transformative stories and more than 100 plant-focused, gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free, Mexican-inspired recipes. Now you can make Daniella’s renowned Real Coconut Kitchen in your own home. It’s available for same day delivery on ChowNow.

Real Coconut Kitchen offers staples that can be delivered across Malibu and Los Angeles.

The box I received had grain-free tortilla chips, coconut flour tortillas, hemp peptic veggie burgers, plantain flour bread, rosemary and thyme crackers, cassava and pepita bagels, plain coconut cheese, and apple & cinnamon cereal.

Stay healthy and start the new year with Real Coconut Kitchen meals and market boxes.

16 Healthy Food Products delivered to your door

Regardless of lifestyle, diet, or allergen concerns, when you read the federal government reports thousands of workers in meat processing plants have been infected with the coronavirus, and in the double digits have died, it makes you think twice about eating meat right now.

Small changes can have a big impact. By cutting out meat even just one day a week promotes better health, improves animal welfare, and supports a more sustainable world.

I was approached by 20 different food product companies making plant-forward, vegetarian, vegan and healthier food options for people to enjoy while #SaferAtHome. Here is a list of my favorites:


  1.  Mother Raw is line of delicious, consciously crafted, and plant-powered dressings, marinades, dips and condiments. All Mother Raw products are made with nutrient rich ingredients. Mother Raw has options to suit everyone. Some of my favorites include the Vegan Queso for breakfast burritos, Caesar Dressing for salads, French Onion Dip for crudités, and their newest Lemon Tahini Dressing. Click on this link for recipes to help you create new dishes with Mother Raw products. Order online to be delivered to your door.


 2. Beanfields Vegan Cracklins takes snacking to a crunchy new level. Beanfields mastered the  texture of a fried cracklin, but in a baked, vegan crackling recipe. Each serving is packed with 3g of fiber and 4g of protein, and every bite is gluten-free, grain free, allergen free, and Kosher. They are made of beans, cassava flour and chickpea protein. Available now at in flavors such as, Spicy Nacho,  White Cheddar, Ranch and Korean BBQ.


3. SMART SWEETS are made with soluble plant-based fibers and have only 3g of sugar per serving. The founder of Smart Sweets uses fruit and vegetable juices such as pumpkin, carrot, and spirulina from natural algae for the vibrant colors in the Fruity Gummy Bears (87% less sugar), Sweet Fish (similar to Swedish Fish, yet with 92% less sugar), Sweet Chews (flavors include strawberry, mango and watermelon), Peach Rings (88% less sugar), and Sour Blast Buddies (91% less sugar). These sweet treats are gluten-free, and available at Whole Foods, Target, GNC, Kroger, Gelson’s and The Vitamin Shop.


4. BOBO’S are delicious, especially the whole grain coconut oat bars! The 100% organic, gluten-free, vegan, and certified Non-GMO. The Boulder, CO company makes their treats soy and dairy free. Flavors include Bobo’s original oat, coconut, lemon poppyseed and chocolate chip oat bars. They come in bites too, including peanut butter chocolate chip bites and sell a strawberry toaster pastry (healthier Pop-Tarts). New to Bobo’s product line are their nut butter plant-protein bars offer 11-12g of protein. There are chocolate chip peanut butter, almond butter, cherry almond butter with hemp seeds and banana peanut butter bars. Get 20% off by including the CODE: BOBOSMOM.


5. Pulp Pantry makes healthier grain-freetortilla chips that are vegetable based and made from fresh, upcycled pressed greens. These chips provide a good source of fiber in every serving, and offer the same crunch as regular tortilla chips.  The Jalapeño Lime Pulp Chips packs the heat and is made with organic celery and kale fiber offering 4 to 5 grams of fiber per serving, or a full day’s serving of fiber in each bag. The gluten-free, plant-based and non-GMO flavors include Sea Salt, Barbecue and Salt ’n’ Vinegar. To order and have a box sent to your door, go to

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6. KARMA NUTS – Recognized as the “Best New Snack” at the world’s largest NaturalProducts show, Expo West, Karma Nuts Wrapped® cashews have comparable anti-oxidative activity to blueberries and twice the fiber of a traditional cashew. The nutritionally-dense Wrapped® cashew offers a delightful crunch and has the skin of the nut intact. The skin offers for nutritional value. Their “skin-less” cashews are air roasted, not roasted in oil. All are non-GMO project verified, vegan, and have kosher ingredients. Their flavors include Cocoa dusted, Golden Tumeric, Toasted Coconut, Cinnamon Wrapped, Lightly Salted, Sea Salted, Sweet Matcha, Lime Twist, and spicy Peri-Peri. Sign up for Karma Nuts newsletter and receive 15% off your first order. Just use code 15KRM94568. Click here to see where to buy or order Karma Nuts online. They are available in 8 oz. jars and 1.5 oz. snack pouch.


7. Alpha Foods is a Glendale, CA based company now selling their delicious plant-protein Crispy Chik’n Patties at COSTCO Wholesale and online.  Each patty is breaded and when heated in the oven is crispy on the outside and tender inside. It tastes similar to Chick-fil-A sandwich, but is vegan, non GMO, dairy free and offers 10g of protein and 6g of fat. Eat alone or on a soft bun with mustard, tomato, avocado and lettuce. Alpha Foods offers vegan recipes on their website. Other Alpha products include The Alpha Burrito and Breakfast Burrito, Pot Pie, Nugget, Strips, Pizza, Tamale, Burger, Patty and Crumble.


8. Outer Aisle Cauliflower has been the rage for grain-free, vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian dietary needs. PLANTPOWER pizza crusts and sandwich thins are made with over 60% fresh cauliflower (that equals one serving of vegetable per piece). The pizza crust and sandwich thins do have a little parmesan cheese to enhance the flavors. Just top with sauce, veggies and vegan cheese. It can also be used as a healthier wrap or tortilla for a quesadilla and breakfast burrito. The sandwich thins can be used as a bread substitute. Top with guacamole, hummus, olive oil or your favorite spread. They are gluten-free, low carb and calorie, and made with no flour, no soy and no artificial ingredients. Find them at Gelson’s, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, and Lassens Natural Foods.


9. Cleveland Kraut offers crunchy sauerkraut packed with flavor and gut-healthy probiotics. It’s a great topping for veggie burgers, salads, savory breakfast bowls. Fermented foods are regularly consumed within European and Asian cultures, so Cleveland Kraut has been making it for American consumers. Add to you healthier diet for gut-health benefits from millions of probiotics. Their Beet Red is made with red cabbage, fresh fermented beets and carrots. This earthy and tart Kraut is great with tofu dogs, and salads. Order online or find the Kruat, Hail Caesar Dressing and Marinades at Whole Foods. Click here for Culinary Crafted recipes include Sweet Beet Tofu Wrap, salads and tacos.


10. ZENB takes vegetable parts that are typically thrown away – the stem, seeds and skin, and turns them into healthy snack bites and sticks. They add some diced almond, agave or date syrup, almond powder, cinnamon, nutmeg or coriander, sea salt and black pepper for an extra kick of flavor. Go online to get two free ZENB products or try a sampler box with four products for $1.99 (Save $12), exclusive to first-time buyer: Click here for Box of 2 (normally $7.99) for FREE $0. Click here to receive a box of 4 products (normally $13.99) for $1.99.  Flavors include Corn, red bell pepper, pumpkin, carrot, beet, edamame and sweet potato.


11. RightRice offers nutritious ancient grains that are a blend of over 90% protein-rich, fibrous vegetables: lentils (loaded with plant-based protein and fiber, plus iron and other vitamins and minerals, chickpeas (packed with protein and fiber to increase satiety, boost digestion), and peas (pea fiber provides an ideal source of fiber with added protein) to elevate rice (provides essential amino acids for a complete protein, enhances taste and texture). This union offers twice the protein, 5 times the fiber, and 25% less net carbs than white rice. 170 Calories. 8g Protein. 5g Fiber. 28-29g Net Carbs per serving. Flavors include Spanish, lemon pepper, garlic herb, Thai curry, fried rice, cilantro lime and harvest pilaf. They now have a rice medley with ancient grains that includes harvest pilaf with garden sweet carrots, sea salt, pepper, and pumpkin seeds. My favorite cajun spice offers bold and savory New Orleans flavors, ideal with tofu and veggies. Ready in just 12 minutes this gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, low glycemic index, low sugar content, and free of egg, soy, peanut and tree nuts.


12. Life’s Grape grown on vines in California, Selma Pete vine-dried grapes are a cross between three delicious grape varieties. They are picked when they are dried hanging on the vine, resulting with a delicate, sweeter, meatier, juicier nutritious snack. Easy to digest, these vine-dried grapes offer fiber that allows the slow release of sugar to prevent a quick insulin spike. The USDA ranks vine-dried grapes among the top antioxidant foods. If you don’t like raisins, give Life’s Grape a try, especially the ones dipped in dark chocolate and peanut butter. Find them on Amazon, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Cost Plus World Market and


13. Sweet Nothings is like a smoothie in a 3.5 oz serving, that is a fruit-based frozen ready-to-eat treat made from organic fruits (strawberry, banana, blueberries and dates), vegetables (beets) nuts (cashews and peanuts), and seeds (chia and flax). These cold treats are vegan, and made with no added sugar, gums, and stabilizers. It’s an ideal mid-morning snack, mid-afternoon pick-me-up, and guilt-free dessert after dinner under 100 calories. Flavors include chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry, coffee, and blueberry beet.

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14. Good Good offers low sugar jams and syrups that are plant based, dairy and gluten free. Good Good started  in 2015 in the small Nordic country of Iceland, where three friends were concerned about the amount of sugar in popular food items. Since two of the friends  had close relatives with type 2 diabetes, they wanted to make eating easier for those who have to limit their sugar intake. They started making products using Stevia and acquired a small production facility in Iceland to produce Stevia drops and as a tabletop sweetener. With an excess of our erythritol and stevia blend Sweet Like Sugar, on stock, they came up with an idea make jam to prevent food waste, and their most popular line of Good Good products -the Keto-friendly spreads took off. Their spreads come in blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, and apricot, and they even offer a maple syrup.


15. Highkey are low carb, Keto approved, gluten-free snacks. HighKey’s Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies are the perfect anytime sweet snack for when the sweet craving hits. Their website has a Keto Calendar that calculates your BMR & TDEE. They offer a variety of mini cookies, baking mixes, hot cereal, protein cereal, and granola. They use premium ingredients like almond flour and monk fruit extract to make their snacks healthier than traditional snacks. What is Monk Fruit? Known as Luo Han Guo, grows natively in China and Thailand and is believed to have been used Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years. Monk Fruit is a plant-based sweetener that is nearly 200 times sweeter than sugar, and has zero calories and zero grams of sugar, so it won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Order online here.


16. After receiving 4th & Heart Ghee, I may never cook with butter again. This clarified butter from grass fed cows is soft and offers a more intense buttery flavor (ideal to melt and pour on top of freshly popped popcorn. People who have a casein allergy (facial swelling or skin reactions) or intolerance to the milk sugar (gas, bloating, diarrhea, indigestion, and skin troubles) can enjoy this, because both casein protein and lactose are removed. Ghee also has a high smoke point at 485 degrees, while butter is at 350 degrees. This makes Ghee ideal for pan-frying or cooking basically anything in place of butter, coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil. Ghee contains fat-soluble vitamin A – a  powerful antioxidant that supports immunity and skin health. Also vitamin E – repairs damaged skin, fights free radicals, and promotes heart health, and Vitamin K – important in bone health and normal blood clotting/wound healing. Go online to see all of 4th & Heart’s products and receive 15% off your first purchase by signing up for their newsletter. Their website offers some great recipes.


Healthy Pulp Chips – Snack with Impact

Did you know that pulp from vegetables is the healthiest part of the vegetable, because of its fiber. It’s a sustainable superfood. Pulp is made when fruits and vegetables are cold-pressed to produce juice and the high fiber “pomace,” also known as pulp.


According to Pulp Pantry, “pulp contains nearly 95% of the fiber, 2/3 less sugar and 1/2 the nutrients of whole fresh fruits and vegetables.”

It all began when Pulp Pantry’s founder Kaitlin Mogentale watched a friend juice a carrot, and noticed a large amount of fresh pulp left behind.



She asked her friend if she could take the pulp home to make juice pulp carrot cookies. Since they turned out great, Mogentale was inspired to create a new healthy snack. To get more vegetable pulp, she called a few local juice spots, and learned they were happy to get rid of the pulp they threw away.

Mogethale learned that 40% of the food we grow ends up in landfills. That’s about 133 billion pounds of annual food waste. For every pound of pulp saved from a landfill, about 38 gallons of water doesn’t go to waste.

Today, Mogentale’s Pulp Pantry works with large manufacturers to turn overlooked fresh-pressed vegetables into wholesome snacks, providing more servings of vegetables and fiber into diets. Pulp is prebiotic, offering digestive benefits of eating your fruits and vegetables without all of the sugar from juice.

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The Pulp Chips is a crunchy tortilla-style chips made from vegetable pulp that includes celery and kale. Other ingredients include sunflower and/or safflower oil, cassava flour, tapioca flour, okara flour, white vinegar, chia seed and seasoning.

These chips are 100% vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy free, egg free, nut free and paleo-friendly. 

Pulp Pantry takes fresh vegetable juice pulp and creates pressed vegetable chips in four different flavors dusted with Sea Salt, Salt ‘N’ Vinegar, Jalapeño Lime, and Barbecue.


Pulp Chips were featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on April 30, 2020.

A Culinary Jewel in Los Angeles

Out with the old and in with the new. When Executive Chef Jasmine Shimoda left downtown Los Angeles’ vegan oasis, The Springs, she and Gjelina alum Sharkey McGee dreamed of opening an affordable, plant-based casual dining spot in or near Sliver Lake. Their friend Coly Den Haan opened Hot Hot Food last year, and then Haan opened a new wine shop and social gathering place, Vinovore. Curating an inventory of dynamic wines made by female winemakers, Haan introduces her wines to the community through Wednesday wine tasting evenings. Since Haan was focusing on her wine shop, she asked her high school chum Chef Shimoda, if she wanted to partner with her in Hot Hot Food. Together with McGee, they revamped Hot Hot Food into a new concept, Jewel.IMG_8761

Jewel’s exterior features an appealing floral mural by Chef Shimoda’s brother, Danny Shimoda, and macramé hanging plants near the entrance.

Inside it’s vibrant, inviting, and hip, with a relaxed sophistication with blonde wood tables, cool blues and pastel colors offering a pop of creativity. The jukebox is still near the entry, and a pastry cabinet is filled with appealing vegan donuts and pastries. IMG_8723

Chef Shimoda isn’t hyper-focused in serving only vegan-forward dishes, she is happy to add an egg or two to any dish upon a customer’s request. While sitting down with a group of friends, Shimoda approached our table to talk about her philosophy for the restaurant. “Our goal is to separate Jewel from other health food restaurants, getting rid of the dogma and polarizing stances. We won’t ask you to make any affirmations or say ‘namaste,’ but we will serve you seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food without sacrificing flavor,” she said.

Shimoda has worked with legendary chefs such as Masaharu Morimoto, David Waltuck, April Bloomfield and George Mendes. Her partner McGee has also enjoyed a dynamic hospitality career, while managing for Jean-Georges Culinary Concepts in Atlanta and New York, and Pastis in New York City before joining Gjelina in Venice. IMG_8742

Both are deeply drawn to their food philosophy, restaurant ethics, and high standards. Shimoda enjoys cooking that is more aligned to her beliefs and eating habits. “I believe that people have a right to know where the ingredients come from and how they are cared for,” Shimoda said. She seeks out farms that go beyond “organic,” seeking those that also abstain from pesticides, practice sustainability, and have pride and integrity in their product. “Jewel is my dream project, marrying my love of cooking and design with my passion for wellness and the community.” She never uses refined sugars or processed ingredients in any of of her dishes.

I started with a two ounce shot of Wellness made with ginger, lemon, cayenne and pepper. It massaged the back of my throat with a little heat and offered a pleasant lingering aftertaste. To cool my palate down, I also ordered a Glow cold-press juice bottled by Made With Love Wellness Co. This smooth green juice is a combination of pineapple, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, moringa (resembles horseradish), and chlorophy11. Other beverages include UNITY Fair Trade organic and locally roasted drip coffee. They make hot chocolate, matcha latte, hot and cold teas. For the time being, Jewel is BYOB, and encourages guests to walk a few storefronts down to Vinovore to buy a bottle to enjoy with their meal. Jewel will not charge a corkage fee.IMG_8743

While looking over the menu, I noticed even though it is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Jewel offers something for everyone, starting with breakfast burritos and overnight oats made with almond “mylk” and chia seeds. They also make three different types of toast served on multigrain or sub gluten free seed bread. The L.G.B.T is visually spectacular toast offering a rainbow of colors made from lettuce, guacamole, tempeh bacon, and cut heirloom tomatoes. 

Another colorful toast has sliced avocado with cashew-herb spread topped with house pickles, and puffed quinoa togarashi. Togarashi is made from a spicy powdered mixture of dried red chili pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed. It’s delicious. 

Seeking a salad Shimoda makes Ah! Sunflower salad with a scoop of vegan “tuna” made from ground almond and sunflower seeds mixed with shallots, dill, dulse (sea lettuce flakes) and dijon mustard. 

Hearty sandwiches include the LAPhil that is a vegan take on a Philly cheese steak. It’s made with braised yuba sheets, shiitake, romaine, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeño, cashew fondú, all rolled into a whole wheat wrap. This was a table favorite. 

Burger fans may discover that they like The Impossible Burger better than a real beef burger. It’s topped with grilled red onion, heirloom tomato, romaine, and a slightly spicy, beet enhanced 1000 island-style dressing.IMG_8750

What makes the pizzas at Jewel visually attractive is the activated-charcoal crust. We ordered a gluten-free pizza named Black Diamond. It’s topped with heirloom tomato slices, and spinach-artichoke ‘cheese.’ Diners can also build their own pizza on the same black crust topped with marinara and a choice of three toppings that include cashew cheese, mushrooms, kale, spinach, red or caramelized onions, olives and jalapeños.

Another kaleidoscope of colors and flavors is the Jewel Box that starts with either brown rice or sweet potato. It’s then layered with avocado, black beans, garlicky greens, turmeric tofu, pickles, raw veggies, amaranth-pumpkin crunch, miso ginger sauce. 

They make a Pad Thai with chilled kelp noodles, zucchini noodles, carrots, cabbage, coconut-tamarind sauce, crispy shallots, cilantro and fresno chiles pickled with vinegar, coriander seeds, sugar, salt, and peppercorns.

As with many restaurants, there is a secret menu. If the ingredients are available, Chef Shimoda will make a ceviche with thin slices of lychee fruit, chopped red bell peppers, cucumbers, citrus, red onions. The lychee almost has the same mouthfeel as scallops. You can scoop up this goodness with yellow and blue corn tortilla chips sprinkled with paprika. 

Another secret dish is the heart of palm and chickpea ‘crab cake’ topped with a pleasing aioli. It’s so popular that they feature it as a wrap on the menu. 

Even though we were thoroughly satisfied, we enjoyed little bowls of Ebony + Ivory for a sweet treat. It’s a chia pudding made with cashew milk, date, cacao, vanilla, berries, and delightful buckwheat crisps for texture and crunch. This is also a great breakfast dish. IMG_8729

Both Shimoda and McGee wanted us to taste a few of their vegan donuts. They brought two plates to our table holding maple donuts topped with coconut “bacon”, red velvet donuts, strawberry donuts, matcha donuts and a clean tasting churro. Since they are made with plant based ingredients, enjoying these sweet treats didn’t leave an unpleasant film on the roof of my mouth. Once again, they were better than a traditional donut. IMG_8784

Looking for a new dining destination for healthy and sophisticated plates for breakfast and lunch? Jewel sparkles and shines in Los Angeles. Stop in at Vinovore for a bottle of wine to pair with this delicious cuisine. There is no corkage charge at Jewel.

The restaurant opens on Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to  4:30 p.m. On the weekends it opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 4:30 p.m. $ 654 N. Hoover St. (323)522-6927.

This article was also published in the Beverly Press – Click here to read

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