Topanga Earth Day 2012

Last Sunday was Earth Day.  While everyday should be Earth Day, it’s still fun to have festivals every year that bring out eco-minded businesses and food.  This year, I attended the Topanga Earth Day Festival in Topanga Canyon.  I had never heard of this event, but apparently it’s been going on for more than a decade.

Topanga Earth Day

Topanga Earth Day

This event was a lot of fun.  There were many vendors, music, speakers, and even a small film fest.  I’d like to go again next year.

Of course my favorite part of the event was the food.  They had a separate area for food.  Most of the vendors here had vegan options.

Topanga Earth Day Food Vendors

Food Vendors

Some of the food vendors there were La Dolce Vita Gourmet selling gourmet cashew butter sandwiches (vegan options), The Vegan Joint, Green Truck, and JAM Vegan Bakery.

I went with a Mother Trucker® Vegan Burger from the Green Truck and opted to add avocado.  This burger is made with a vegan veggie burger, made from scratch out of local vegetables, topped with Suzie’s sunflower sprouts, heirloom tomato, and beet sauce.  I had had this burger years ago and didn’t like it.  I remember it to be either too chewy or too dry.  Either way, it was not the case this time.  It was moist and delicious.

Green Truck Vegan Burger

Green Truck Vegan Burger

Whenever vegan treats are available, I always save room in my tummy.  JAM Vegan Bakery made an appearance and provided very tasty goodies.  I got a Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake, Strawberry Cream Cupcake, and an Orange Cake Pop.  Nothing beats peanut butter and chocolate – I thought this cupcake was delicious.  The Strawberry Cream Cupcake had the most wonderfully fresh strawberry frosting.  It had vanilla cake with a real strawberry baked in.  I like the idea, but would have rather had smaller pieces of strawberries baked in, instead of one large one mushing up the center of my cupcake.  The Orange Cake Pop was a super sweet orange cake ball coated in chocolate.  I love being able to take part in this trend (who else makes vegan cake pops?).

JAM Vegan Bakery Goods

JAM Vegan Bakery: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake, Strawberry Cream Cupcake, Orange Cake Pop

Come next Earth Day, I highly recommend this event.  And remember, make an effort everyday to do your part to Save the Earth!

Freesoulcaffe in Tustin

I really love Freesoulcaffe.  Their menu includes soups, salads, and sandwiches.  They have a delicious breakfast menu (more on that in another post) and they have a huge bakery display case full of delicious treats.  They’re located in the quaint area of historic downtown Tustin.  You can fill up at Freesoulcaffe and then walk around this really cute area.

I had heard so many good things about the Butternut Squash Soup.  Luckily it was the soup of the day on the day I went.  You get a giant bowl of this delicious soup with a side of bread and vegan margarine.  Everything about this dish I loved.   So creamy and so flavorful!  The bread was also very wonderful – crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.

Freesoulcaffe Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

For my entree, I got the BLT.  You can get a half sandwich or full sandwich.  I got the full sandwich – which comes with a side salad.  I love how they prepare their “bacon.”  It’s kind of greasy like real bacon gets, but not in the clog your arteries sort of way.

Freesoulcaffe BLT


I went with a group, so I got a bunch of desserts to share (but really I could have eaten them all myself).  First was their Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Between the two cheesecakes, this was the group’s favorite.  It was very pumpkin-y and creamy.

Freesoulcaffe Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

The Oreo Cheesecake was still very good – just as creamy as the pumpkin, but was the more plain of the two.

Freesoulcaffe Oreo Cheesecake

Oreo Cheesecake

The Mocha Cream Pie was absolutely delicious!  I thought the crust was on the bitter side, but the mocha cream filling and the whipped topping were so amazing!  The creaminess of both left that fatty feel on your tongue like how dairy cream always did.  Truly decadent.  I need to figure out how they did this.

Freesoulcaffe Mocha Cream Pie

Mocha Cream Pie

I also got a Brownie and Peanut Butter Blondie to-go.  Both were super good.  The brownie had a good amount of chocolate flavor without being bitter and the peanut butter blondie had a nice dense texture and wonderful peanut butter flavor.

Freesoulcaffe Brownie and Peanut Butter Blondie

Brownie and Peanut Butter Blondie

If Freesoulcaffe were closer to me, I’d be here all the time.  It’s at the top of my list of favorite Orange County Veg*n Restaurants.  You can check it out at:

191 East Main Street Suite 1B
Tustin, CA 92780

Their hours are: Monday – Saturday: 9am-9pm (closed on Sundays) and they serve breakfast until 11am.

Cleanse from Earthly Juices in Tustin

After I finished my three day Detox Food Box from Leaf Cuisine, I took on a two day cleanse from Earthly Juices in Tustin.  Of course I purchased this from Groupon (I’ve gone buying crazy on Groupon).  I paid $99 for this two day drink feast, which they value at $199.

In this deal, I was supposed to get:

  • 2 quarts of nut- and dairy-free sprouted green smoothies
  • 2 quarts of liver-detox tea
  • 2 quarts of alkalizing green drinks
  • One raw detox soup
  • Two signature colon-sweep salads
Day 1 started with a Green Smoothie (sprouts, mango, celery, pineapple, banana, apple, and avocado).  My green juice on the Leaf Cuisine detox plan was really gross, so I was not looking forward to more of the green stuff.  Surprisingly, this smoothie was delicious.  I like how they have more fruit in their drinks – making it a lot more palatable for me.
I was told to drink the Green Smoothie and the Green Drink by lunchtime, so almost immediately after I finished the Green Smoothie, I started the Green Drink (apple, lemon, ginger, parsley, and kale).  I’m not sure why they call it a green “drink,” but I’m thinking it’s part smoothie and part juice.  Either way, I liked it.  It was sweet with a hint of citrus and ginger.
Another recommendation was to drink the tea throughout the day (and then fill the empty jar with water and drink that too).  I am not a tea drinker, so having to drink a quart of the stuff each day was going to be tough.  The Rootbeer Tea I received for Day 1 wasn’t going to make it easy on me, either (very strong).  Of all the things I got from  Leaf Cuisine and now from Earthly Juices – the tea was the worst.
Earthly Juices Day 1 Cleanse

Day 1: (left to right) Rootbeer Tea, Green Smoothie, Green Drink

My mid-day snack was a small Cabbage Salad.  I liked this.  The cabbage had a sweet dressing on it – perfect for me and my sweet tooth.

Earthly Juices Cabbage Salad

Cabbage Salad

For dinner, I was told to have half of the jar of soup provided on Day 1 and half on Day 2.  The listing of food to be provided said I was going to receive a raw soup, but this one was to be heated.  I’m not a raw foodist, so I was excited to have something warm, but buyer beware: the soups are not raw at Earthly Juices.  The soup I got in my cleanse was a Red Lentil Dal.  I had gone to India a few years ago and all I seemed to eat there was yellow, mushy food.  I was so sick of it, that even mentioning Indian food now makes me slightly gag.  I was not looking forward to this soup. Oh. Wow.  It was one of the best lentil dishes I’ve ever eaten!  I shoved this meal into my mouth at lightning speed.  I’m definitely going back to Earthly Juices when this is offered as their daily soup.

Earthly Juices Red Lentil Dal

Red Lentil Dal

I didn’t go to bed hungry on Day 1 and was looking forward to the offerings on Day 2 (except the tea!).  In my cleanse I received a Protein Smoothie (no ingredients listed but I saw the guy make it – bananas, cinnamon, protein powder?, some kind of sweetener).  I don’t even know if I was to received this, as it was not listed in the items I was to get (see above).  Either way, I was told I could have some for breakfast.  It was like a dessert!  I loved this!  There was so much cinnamon – I’m going back often for this smoothie.

I also got another Green Smoothie (sprouts, mango, pineapple, celery, parsley, and avocado).  It wasn’t as sweet as Day 1 (I think it was more avocado-y), but I still really liked it.

And another Green Drink (cucumber, apple, lime, fennel, and celery).  This was my least favorite of the green drinks, but it still wasn’t bad.  I don’t like cucumbers, but it wasn’t an extremely prominent flavor.

And my last tea: Peppermint Mate Tea.  I’m still not liking tea and this one reminded me of drinking mouthwash (the peppermint was really strong).

Earthly Juices Day 2 Cleanse

Day 2: (left to right) Green Drink, Green Smoothie, Peppermint Mate Tea, Protein Smoothie

My late lunch was a Kale Salad.  It was nice.  It wasn’t too bitter, it had enough dressing, and the nuts were good at adding more texture.

Earthly Juices Kale Salad

Kale Salad

I finished off Day 2 with more of that amazing Red Lentil Dal and some Protein Smoothie for dessert.  Yum!  A great way to end a cleanse.

Earthly Juices has a retail location in Tustin and has an atmosphere of a coffee shop.  There aren’t many tables, but a lot of comfy couches to sit on and hang out.  They have a very small menu of juices, smoothies, a soup of the day, and some raw salads/entrees.  All of their menu is vegan (except for cow kefir) and raw (except for the heated soup of the day).  They serve their drinks in quart or pint mason jars.  If you bring in your own jar, it’ll save you money (I think $1 off the drink).

Earthly Juices has many cleanses available.  I loved what I got on my cleanse and would recommend it to anyone.  I do think that they over valued the cleanse I bought through Groupon.  They said it has a value of $199, but the 2-day cleanse I saw on their website that costs $199 has 10 quarts of Earthly Juices and 25 enzymes.  I was only to receive 6 quarts and I don’t think I got any enzymes (nothing was listed on the ingredients to the drinks).  I still don’t think I overspent on this deal, but I’m positive I didn’t get the value of $199.

They don’t have a menu on their website, but the menu they provided to Groupon is here: Earthly Juices Menu.   I compared the Groupon menu to the menu at the store and I’m pretty sure that whole second page is not offered (maybe special order?).  You’ll have to go to the store to really see what they offer, but at least it’ll give you an idea.

Detox Food Box from Leaf Cuisine

Like so many of you, I bought a Groupon for a three-day detox food box from Leaf Cuisine.  This detox food box included a lot of juices with some raw salads, a soup, and a raw entree.  I purchased this box for $59, but it had a value of $125.

Leaf Cuisine Detox Food Box

Detox Food Box

Day 1 included four drinks.  I was glad I ate breakfast before picking up my box, because I went to bed hungry this night (no telling how hungry I would have been without that breakfast!).

The first drink I had was their Got Greens Juice.  This juice includes celery, kale, parsley, and cucumber.  I don’t like cucumbers and this reeked of them!  I gagged this one down and proceeded to my next juice:  a Veggie Combo Juice.  This juice includes carrot, celery, beets, and kale.  The color just reminds me of cough syrup, so drinking this one had its own mental challenge to overcome.  It did have a sweet carrot flavor, but I still had to remind myself it wasn’t that nasty medicine.  Every time I took a drink, I had to say to myself that carrots are good!  Mmmm, carrots!  After gagging down that juice, I moved on to the Druids Detox Juice.  This one includes burdock root, lemon, apple, ginger, agave, and cayenne.  Oh dear, maybe I’m not cut out for juicing.  The taste was bad and left a spicy grossness in my throat.  Oh please, High Fiber Chocolate Mylkshake, be my saving grace!  Upon first sip, I thought it was too bitter, but definitely way better than the last three drinks I had consumed.  It was thick and satiating.  Two more days to go, but at least I knew the mylkshake was palatable.

Leaf Cuisine Day 1 Cleanse

Day 1: (left to right) Got Greens Juice, Veggie Combo Juice, Druids Detox Juice, High Fiber Chocolate Mylkshake

Day 2 started off with another High Fiber Chocolate Mylkshake.  The flavor was less bitter than the night before.  So far, so good.  I had an early lunch of their raw Gazpacho soup.  I was never really a fan of gazpacho – to me it’s like eating cold salsa.  The flavor of this soup was good, but I really wanted some freshly fried tortilla chips to scoop it up (it’s only day 2 and I’m already succumbing to evil food thoughts!).

Leaf Cuisine Gazpacho


My Day 2 mid-day meal was a Hale Kale Salad.  This was loaded with kale.  I felt like a cow chewing all those tough leafy greens.  The dressing had a spicy kick to it, but there was not nearly enough to cover the bitter kale flavor.

Leaf Cuisine Hale Kale Salad

Hale Kale Salad

My Day 2 dinner was a Caesar Salad.  This salad includes romaine, tomatoes, crawtons, and dressing.  This salad was huge!  It had a nice topping of these cheesy flavored nuts.  The crawtons gave the salad some added texture and the dressing was tasty.  After dinner I had another Druid Detox Juice to drink.  I was starting to notice the sweetness in this drink – are my taste buds adapting that quickly?  It went down a lot easier than the day before.

Leaf Cuisine Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

On Day 3, I started off with my last High Fiber Chocolate Mylkshake.  By day 3, I am really enjoying this shake.  It’s a lot less bitter than on day 1.  Mid-Day I have a Probiotic Salad.  This salad includes lettuce, sauerkraut, sprouts, carrots, sprouted mung beans, and probably some other vegetables I am forgetting to mention.  I liked this salad the best.  There were so many textures in this salad, that it made it easier to eat (who really wants to just chew on lettuce?).  To wash it down, I was provided with a Kombucha.  I’ve had Kombucha before, but never really got into it.  It’s a drink with an interesting flavor, that one must taste to really get a grasp of.  Let’s just say that I didn’t find it hard to drink, but won’t be getting it again anytime soon.

Leaf Cuisine Probiotic Salad and Kombucha

Probiotic Salad and Kombucha

My last dinner was a Bedouin Burrito.  The filling on this burrito was a sprouted chickpea hummus.  I love hummus, so this burrito suited me well.  While I still prefer conventional hummus, this burrito was still very tasty.  I loved that it was wrapped in lettuce and not some weird raw tortilla trying to taste like a delicious flour tortilla.  My final drink was another Druids Detox Juice.  It’s not bad by day 3.  I am very aware of the sweet taste now and not so much focused on the spicy ginger or cayenne.  I am still very surprised at the rapid change my taste buds went through.

Leaf Cuisine Bedouin Burrito

Bedouin Burrito

My final thought about this detox box was that I was glad I did it, but I won’t be continuing this type of diet for the long run.  If I were to ever get into juicing, I’d need to experiment and find a drink I actually like gulping down (one not based on cucumbers – yuck!).  I thought the deal I got was really good and that the value they say this detox box is was dead on.

Leaf Cuisine has food boxes available at full price.  If you are looking to detox or start a raw foods diet, I definitely recommend starting with Leaf Cuisine.  The time and effort they put into their food is time and effort you don’t have to do.  Check out their Luscious Living Boxes here.

Another Trip to Golden Mean Cafe

Thinking of all the veg*n restaurants in LA, I would say that Golden Mean Cafe in Santa Monica is one of my favorites.  I love the variety of menu items (and the daily selection of desserts!).

My vegan guy and I went during their weekend brunch.  I took advantage of their brunch menu and my vegan guy took advantage of one of their daily specials.

My breakfast burrito ($10.95) included tofu scramble, veggie sausage, soy-free cheese, pico de gallo and was served with a side of potatoes.  This burrito was huge and delicious.  The side of potatoes were well seasoned and also delicious.  I love breakfast burritos and will be getting this one again.

Golden Mean Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

My vegan guy got the Tempeh Reuben ($11.95) which included tempeh, sauerkraut, soy-free cheese, and their special dressing.  It came with your choice of side – kelp noodle salad in this case.  This reuben was so good!  It was one of the best reubens I think I’ve had.  It was so juicy and the sauce was wonderful.  I hope they turn this special into a regular menu item.

Golden Mean Tempeh Reuben

Tempeh Reuben

I really wanted to get one of their many desserts, but was pretty full from the breakfast burrito.  I ended up getting one of their new offerings: raw truffles.  Yep, they now offer a variety of raw truffles in exotic flavors. I had them pick a flavor for me (I’m still not sure which one it was).  This thing was super creamy, but (as you’ll see is common in my posts) the raw chocolate was a little too bitter for me.  For those who like that very dark chocolate flavor, these will be heavenly.

Golden Mean Truffle

New at Golden Mean: Raw Chocolate Truffles

Golden Mean is located at 1028 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401  310-393-6500

Sunday – Thursday 11 – 9pm
Friday – Saturday 11 – 9:30pm

Gobble Green Vegan Meal Delivery – week 2

In my last post, I detailed my experience with the Vegan Starter Kit from Gobble Green.  This company provides vegan meal plans and a la carte food items online to be delivered nationwide.  I ended up purchasing two discounted Vegan Starter Kits from two different group coupon websites.  Here is my second week.  Just like the first week, I received three meals and a dessert each day for 7 days for $99 (a value of $225).  Also, just like the first week, it came with a sheet indicating which meal should be eaten when.  Although this is optional, I followed the sheet.

Gobble Green Week 2

Gobble Green Week 2

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Gobble Green Vegan Meal Delivery – week 1

If you get emails from any sort of group coupon site that offers daily deals, you may have seen Gobble Green offering their vegan meal service.  This fairly new vegan company offers meal plans and a la carte foods shipped to you nationwide from their kitchen in Los Angeles.  The deal running on these group coupon sites is a hugely discounted Vegan Starter Kit.  When I bought mine, I got it for $99 (a value of $225) – shipping included.  It was shipped to me in an insulated container with dry ice to keep the foods as cold as possible.  All foods are to remain frozen until eaten.  This vegan starter kit included three meals plus dessert each day for 7 days.

Gobble Green Week 1

Gobble Green Week 1

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Cookie Dough from Eat Pastry

When I was growing up, Pillsbury and Toll House refrigerated cookie dough were common items found in our home.  I’m a hardcore from-scratch baker now, so refrigerated cookie dough wasn’t too missed.  Still, I love to try new vegan products.  This one is especially great, because I can recommend it to my non-vegan family members who still want that convenience from an already-made product.

Eat Pastry is a new line of vegan cookie dough.  It comes in multiple flavors and even has one gluten-free variety.  I grabbed one of each flavor offered at my local Whole Foods to try at home.

Eat Pastry

Eat Pastry Selected Flavors

I ended up trying Cinnamon Ginger Spice, Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Chocoholic Chunk.  The process of getting the dough to the final baked cookie is super easy:  just scoop out balls of dough and bake.

Eat Pastry Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven!

My family and I all really loved these cookies.  They are soft and flavorful.  The only one we weren’t too thrilled about was the Chocoholic Chunk – this chocolate cookie was a little too bitter for us.  I’m so glad my family loved the rest of the flavors.  Now there is a go-to cookie dough for them to scoop and bake that doesn’t involve cruelty.  Thank you, Eat Pastry!!

Eat Pastry Baked Cookies

Baked Cookies