Culturesplosion.

Eating healthy in Los Angeles!

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In case you couldn’t figure it out from most of my posts, I am based in NYC. It’s a lovely city and a foodie’s dream, but sometimes it can get a little intense. When it was time to take a break from all the cramped spaces and pavement, DH and I headed to LA and all its sunny west coast glory.

The traffic is as horrifying as the stories say, but it was worth braving the highways in order to get to some truly awesome food experiences. Our friends from California have been telling us forever about the terrific fresh produce offerings in their state, and you know what? It’s all true.

1) ZINC CAFE & MARKET (map!)

Lunch on a sunny day!

The interior. Ahh, lofty high ceilings and lots of elbow room.

It’s hard to describe the offerings here, but let me put it this way: imagine some iceberg lettuce. This place serves THE OPPOSITE of boring iceberg lettuce. The ingredients are all very veggie-centric, but the kind of vegetables used and the flavors they have are so robust and hearty that they stand on their own very well. Everything is also amazingly fresh since it’s grown in-state, and even when we venture into cheese and butter territory, I feel like it’s notches above standard fare.

You can order sandwiches and entree dishes on the menu...

...or get food by the pound.

We went with a selection of veggies, mac and cheese, and a grilled cheese sandwich (yeah, we like cheese):

An explosion of color and nutrients!

I like my mac 'n cheese by the brick.

Delicious non-mouth-scrapey bread, and that whole grain mustard was insane. Truly the king of mustards.

The whole atmosphere of this place was so airy and relaxing, a perfect place to get lunch before heading to the beach! I grabbed a latte for the road, which was also delicious.

2) LEMONADE (map!)

Fresh and cheery interior. (It's soooo California!!)

Treats and lemonade menu

Again, there are plenty of things on the menu such as sandwiches, but the main draw is the seasonal and rotating selections from the “marketplace” (check out the menu, page 2). It’s priced by portions, not weight, but you can get half-portions if you want more variety on your plate.

This photo only captures half of what was available that day. Decisions, decisions.

We totally went nuts:

NOM NOM NOM NOM

NOM SOME MOAR

Don't forget the lemonades! Sweet sweet sweet.

Cake! Yay yay for red velvet!

Is it possible to have a near-religious experience while eating beets and kale? For this place alone, I’d go back to LA in a heartbeat. We ate our food outside on the deck near some shady bushes and potted sunflowers, in perfect weather. I’ve never been so full and happy from eating vegetables before, and from that moment forward, I knew I could never go back to the deli-tossed salads of Manhattan. Until a branch opens over here, though, I’ll just have to gaze longingly at photos for some solace.

Don't worry, sunflowers! We'll be back to visit soon.

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