Vegin Out: Vegan Meal Delivery Service

A couple weeks ago I received my first shipment of Vegin Out, a vegan meal delivery service. I know that it will take me quite some time before I get to a place where I can call myself vegan (if I ever do), but I believe in taking baby steps and doing the best we can. Right now I'm in my experimental phase where I'm trying different tactics to eat a majority plant based diet. I decided to see what's out there to aid me in maintaining a plant based diet. Naturally, having cooked food delivered straight to your door is by far probably the easiest way to go about it. The question remains is could I see myself eating like this and will it be easy on the wallet...

For starters, the basic meal plan at Vegin out is 3 main courses, 4 sides, 1 soup, and cookies, all precooked and delivered to your door. In my shipment came the following:

4 sides: Vegetables with vinaigrette, Greek roasted veggies, Cilantro lime jasmine rice, Kale with citrus vinaigrette.

3 entrees: Tofu Tikka Masala, Ethiopian Lentil Stew, Chickpea Bolognese

1 minestrone soup

1 package of snickerdoodles

Everything was tasty and there wasn't anything that I didn't like or wouldn't want to eat again. My favorite though has to be the Tofu Tikka Masala. I loved the fact that it came with fresh veggies, especially the Kale salad with had slivers of almond and golden raisins.

I would say that the entire meal lasted me the whole week. I mixed and matched it with other foods. I have to admit though, I did sometimes eat the meals with a side of meat/chicken/fish. When I could resist the temptation to add meat, I did find that it was hearty and I didn't quite miss the meat. 

The total cost of this package was $128, which might seem a little steep but I do want to mention that you can get anywhere from 3 to 4 servings of each entree. So the entire meal lasted me all week. I even had some leftovers that I ended up freezing because I didn't want them to go bad. 

My overall take is that I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to be vegan, especially if you are low on time and want to eat a healthy meal but don't necessarily have the time to cook. Even if you are not vegan, I still believe this can be a great option to supplement your meals so that at least you can cut back on the animal products you consume. Have you ever tried a meal delivery service before, specifically a vegan one? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Market City Caffe - Summer Menu

Market City Caffe has recently been added to my repertoire of go to restaurants because the last few times that I have been there, it was such a great experience. This time is no different. I went in for their Summer Special and it blew me away. I have recently become obsessed with finding delicious salads and their two salads up to bat were absolutely perfect in every way.

Peach salad

Peach salad

The peach salad had fresh mixed greens, goat cheese, grilled peaches, and roasted hazelnut in a delicious vinaigrette. I usually save the best for last but this was by far my favorite.

Watermelon salad

Watermelon salad

Fried Cod with mango slaw

Fried Cod with mango slaw

Truffle and burrata pizza

Truffle and burrata pizza

You could smell the truffle on the pizza from far away as it made its way over to my table. And the burrata cheese, basically mozzarella on the outside, cream on the inside. This completes me. So fresh and light with a beautiful truffle finish.

Verdugo West Brewing Co. Beer

Verdugo West Brewing Co. Beer

Of course, the best part of lunch is the drinks. They paired their summer special with a flight of beer from Verdugo West Brewing Co., brewed locally in Burbank. Pizza and beer, need I say more? Summer special was amaze balls, here's to hoping they've got a winter special coming up! Check out my video below and to get a good look at Market City Caffe!

The Standing Room, Hermosa Beach

I had the pleasure of visiting an awesome spot in Hermosa Beach that is loved by all the locals. Reason being, its a no-nonsense kind of place. They are totally laid back and you can find people there that are coming straight from the beach or in professional attire straight from work. 

So here are the highlights, they've got an array of creative menu options to choose from, food that is thought driven, and most importantly tasty. It's not your average hamburger joint. I would consider these gourmet burgers. Overall, I found the food to be tasty, fresh, and anything but typical.

Currently, they've got a weekly live bands that play Thursday through Saturday, how cool is that?? AND, they've got 100+ bourbons, whiskey's and gin's to choose from...HELLO!  They're also very close to the beach, so to me, I believe this is the perfect place to go after visiting the beach one day and you wanna grab a drink and an extraordinary bite to eat. Totally worth it. 

Watch my video to get all the highlights of everything I ate and what i recommend. Please leave a comment and don't forget to subscribe! I appreciate all the support!!

 

Everytable, Santa Monica

I had the pleasure of visiting Everytable last weekend and fell in love with their mission, which is to bring healthy and nutritious food to low income areas and price it according to the location. I strongly support that cause and that's why I went out to see what they were all about. 

The style at Everytable is Grab-and-Go. You pick your pre-made bowl. If its a hot bowl you just throw it in one of their microwaves and you're out the door! It's perfect for a healthy bite on the go without any guilt of eating fast food.

I tried the chicken tinga, the bbq chicken, and the green goddess salad. I would totally go back and buy all three again. Can't go wrong with the BBQ chicken becuase it was very flavorful, had kale which I love, and best part, these little plantains. Deelish. Not your typical meal for that price and for the convenience. I would expect that to cost $13 at some hoity toity place, if not more. Definitely recommend and will maybe even stock up next time I go as lunch for the remainder of my busy week!

Hugo's Restaurant, Studio City

Today I celebrated my step-dad's birthday at Hugo's Restaurant in Studio City. What I ordered, The Cuban, was especially noteworthy because it was a rather unique combination of ingredients for a sandwich, and the result being something delicious and worth mentioning. It consisted of grilled chicken breast (or organic tofu) with slightly spicy honey-chipotle sauce, fried plantains, goat cheese, organic mixed lettuce, a splash of balsamic dressing, tomato & grilled red onions. Served on multi-grain wheat bread. Instead of the wheat bread, I substituted it for their gluten free flatbread, which I thought was going to be rather dull, but I ended up being totally surprised. It was made of cornmeal and flattened like a pancake. Not your everyday flatbread. It was a little on the sweet side, what with the honey chipotle and the plantains, but if you are into having sweet and savory, then you will LOVE this. Not to mention, their sandwiches come with sides, and they have so many sides to choose from. Of course, I went with the tomato basil bisque because I love anything soup-ey

My mom, being the absolute most pickiest eater in the world, chose this place. Trust me, that is saying something. Why did the world's most health conscientious person decide to eat here? Because Hugo's is known for being a healthy option, considering that they really cater to people who have certain food intolerances, like gluten free, vegetarian, vegans, nut allergies, etc. 

It doesn't happen very often that I eat somewhere that I would go again, but this is one of those places that I would go back to, AND I highly recommend going with The Cuban sandwich. 

The Cuban

The Cuban

Yalla Mediterranean, Burbank

Yalla Mediterranean is a fast casual restaurant restaurant that is doing what every restaurant should be doing, and that is making food from scratch, using local produce, and sourcing responsibly raised meat and wild-caught fish. A concept simple enough to understand but not easily achievable. Well, they're doing it.

So how it works is this...

Step 1: Choose Your Style

What that means is you can either choose between getting a wrap, a salad, or a plate.

step 2: Pick your favorite

Pick your favorite meat or topping to go with step one. Some options they had at the Burbank, CA location I went to was falafel, chicken shawarma, shalafel (half shawarma half falafel), grilled chicken, steak shawarma, salmon, and kefta (turkish spiced ground lamb & beef).

Its that simple!

I chose to go with the grilled chicken atop basmati rice with seasoned vegetables. This comes with 3 sides so I opted for the moroccan carrot salad, greek potato salad, beet and kale.

A little descriptions for the sides, from the left: Moroccan carrot salad: Carrots, cumin, dill, olive oil, golden raisins, honey, greek vinaigrette Greek potato salad: Yukon gold potatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, scallions Beet and Kale: Roasted beets, feta, mediterranean vinaigrette

A little descriptions for the sides, from the left:

Moroccan carrot salad: Carrots, cumin, dill, olive oil, golden raisins, honey, greek vinaigrette

Greek potato salad: Yukon gold potatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, scallions

Beet and Kale: Roasted beets, feta, mediterranean vinaigrette

Next up is the chicken shawarma on top of their awesome Power Greens salad base (they have two to choose from), Kale, balsamic apricots, feta cheese, lemon vinaigrette. Doesn't that just sound fancy? Not to mention the portion is pretty decent too, this salad could last me easily 2 meals.

Here are some of their other kick-ass appetizers that are really a vegetarian, even a vegans dream. They were all so good, I really couldn't decide which one to eat, BUT my favorite has to be the fire feta! First of all, love feta. Secondly, its spicy. Thirdly, they give you a big scoop of it. Fourthly, I've never even heard of this or hand anything even remotely similar. So it wins extra brownie points just for being unique.

From the top left:  Barley salad:: no description, might be discontinued Baba Ganoush: eggplant, parsley, lemon, garlic tahini, olive oil Tabouli: parsley, dill, tomato, cucumber, bulgar wheat, lemon juice, olive oil Hummus: GMO-free chickpea, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil Turkish slaw: red cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, honey, olive oil Fire feta: Spicy blend of pepper, feta, & seasoning

From the top left: 

Barley salad:: no description, might be discontinued

Baba Ganoush: eggplant, parsley, lemon, garlic tahini, olive oil

Tabouli: parsley, dill, tomato, cucumber, bulgar wheat, lemon juice, olive oil

Hummus: GMO-free chickpea, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil

Turkish slaw: red cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, honey, olive oil

Fire feta: Spicy blend of pepper, feta, & seasoning

Falafel is always another good choice for vegetarians or vegans alike, as the tahini sauce is made of sesame seeds, and not dairy. 

I would also like to point out that their "dishware" is compostable! Definitely more kudos to them.

I think I hit the motherload with this one. How appetizing does that look?? This is their 3 option, the wrap. And look, they filled it with fries!

They've also got some premium, hormone free tri-tip steak shawarma. I gave it to a tri-tip expert and we both agreed that it was tender and of great quality. It felt like the kinda meat you only get at a fine dining experience.

Need dessert? Well they've got it! This is their house-made greek frozen yogurt. You can get this with honey, chocolate, or sour cherry sauce. Or better yet, with cinnamony and walnutty baklava!! 

They've also got some yummy original and strawberry house-made lemonade that is worth trying. 

All in all, the reason I love Yalla and would go back is because I like to support other companies that take the extra effort to be socially responsible. I also like that they have a ton of vegetarian and even vegan options to choose from. Thanks for reading Yall' a! If you enjoyed this article till the end, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to my YouTube channel!  

xoxo,

Nellie Christine

Café De Olla, Burbank

“We love great food, and sharing the experience of it with others is what it’s all about!” That’s Café de Olla, a family-owned and operated restaurant established in 2015 in Burbank, California.

The idea of starting their own restaurant came about  one day when the family was sitting around the table, talking about how it’s hard to find food that will stand up to their standards (particularly the ladies of the family). Then the thought came, “why don’t we start our own restaurant.” In pure bootstrap fashion, after a year of saving, they built their very humble Café De Olla. But little ol Café De Olla aint so little anymore.

They have clearly outgrown their little spot, and when the wait time for a table came to be about an hour or more, they realized, its time to grow with the demand. Now, there are talks of opening a second location.

Known for their famous Chilaquiles Poblanos and the popular cinnamon laced coffee “Café de Olla”, they offer Traditional Mexican/American food. Their passion is to serve a traditional home-style dish that brings memories and creates a story in every dish that they prepare. The secret, as they say, is that they cook every dish individually for all their guests and take extra care to ensure the freshness, quality and taste for their guests to enjoy.

The place is pretty small but the food is exceptionally good. Such a cozy restaurant , it makes you feel like you're at home! It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have kids menu and a green menu for healthier options. This is the best go-to place if you want something new, delicious, and an array of options to choose from.  Not to mention, it always feels good to support a mom and pop.  The staff is friendly, and the food is worth the wait.

The café de olla is something I would totally go back for. It is quite unique,  a recipe brewed to perfection, already sweetened by the cinnamon and brown sugar. My coffee snob companion even loved it. Not to mention, you get free refills on the hot coffee, but the iced coffee is also worth trying as well.

I don't think you can go wrong with what's on the menu. They offer generous portions for a reasonable price. I like to try things I’ve never had before, so I went with the Mole enchiladas. As a cook, one of my favorite things to do is to try to guess what ingredients are used. I was completely stumped on this one, but a quick google search tells me the main component are different types of chiles.

Another dish I ordered, based on uniqueness was the machaca. If you are like me and don’t know what that is, get this….it’s a dried beef that has been rehydrated, usually served with eggs like an ommelette. This was a method of meat preparation back when refrigerators did not exist. I liked it enough to try it one time, and I do recommend it at least once in your lifetime. I’m not a huge fan of knowing that I’m eating dried meat, but if you can get past that, this is an adventurous type of dish.

As my third entrée, I went with the chilaquiles, again because I had never had that before.  I haven’t had any others to compare it to, but it was truly delicious.

Watch out for Café De Olla because their dedication to their craft and authenticity is resonating loud and clear. To new rising stars!

Annual Artichoke Festival at Market City Caffe, Burbank

Did you know that the artichoke was considered an aphrodisiac by the Ancient Greeks? Well, I decided to put it to the test with this next foodecall. And what better way to do that, than to visit the Annual Artichoke Festival at Market City Café right here in Burbank California.

MCC Hospitality Group has partnered with Ocean Mist Farms to showcase their premium California grown artichokes. Each restaurant of MCC Hospitality Group, including Market City Caffé, will feature the hearty vegetable in different dishes, determined by the chef's creative interpretation and driven by local seasonal ingredients.

Now, to me cooking and eating artichokes seems like a lot of work for very little reward,  so I have to say that I will gladly let someone else put in the work by taking out all the edible parts and putting it into a dish for me.

Artichoke dish #1: Artichoke Pizzata

I loved this dish. Instead of tomato sauce, they used a black olive tapenade, artichoke hearts, caramelized onion, fresh arugula, burrata chese, and drizzled it with truffle oil. I could smell the truffle even before eating it. Delicious and great for sharing.

Artichoke dish #2: Artichoke & Bacon Arancinis

Braised artichoke heart, apple-wood smoked bacon, mascarpone cheese, parmesean cheese, and parsley in a risotto ball, light panko breading served with a lemon artichoke aioli. This could easily feed 4 if you split them in half. Very different from anything I've eaten. I recommend this.

Artichoke Dish #3: Baby Artichoke Hearts Crispy Fried

This is basically what the title says it is. Lightly breaded artichoke hearts, flash fried and served with housemade lemon aioli. I've never had fried artichoke like this, so it was totally new for me. Another great dish for sharing.

Artichoke Dish #4: Free Range Chicken Zpesattino

Fresh artichoke, calamata olive, wild mushroom white wine cream sauce served with baby wile arugula. I devoured this dish because it had the protein and fresh vegetables I needed.

Artichoke Dish #5: Spinache Artichoke Ravioli

I call this one The Show Stopper. Served in a shrimp scampi sauce, baby heirloom tomatoes, and crispy fried artichokes. This was to die for!!

Pair it with one of their specialty drinks like a peach bellinitini, or a beer from their sister company Verdugo West Brewing Co.

I was extremely impressed with the food. Each dish had fresh ingredients, in the right amount, and were all so tasty and unique. That’s all for now! Arti-Choke you next time!