Avalon of Catalina Island, CA: Highlights of a Weekend Trip

View from Casino Ballroom Balcony

Before this year, I had been to Santa Catalina Island but once for a short day trip that hardly did the 22 x 8 mile island justice. It’s easy to dismiss, with just one incorporated city named Avalon – but the trick to a successful trip here is navigating the proper spots to hit up, and when.

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Greenleaf Chopshop Rolls Out Discounts on 3rd Anniversary

Zorra the Great Salad

As much as I am skeptical of some food trends – for instance, I don’t get the mindless love for cupcakes while I totally relate to the on-going bacon craze - there are some upshots that I can get behind. For instance, this fast-casual-and-healthy thing: I actually hope that it’s a pattern that turns out to be longer lasting than a fad. After all, we can only hope it’s an indication that we as an audience are becoming more aware of eating in a healthful way – nothing but good can become of it, right? And when it’s presented in ways that taste delicious, it’s proof that healthful doesn’t have to be boring.

Anti-Oxidant Orchard Salad

I was recently introduced to Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, which is currently in Beverly Hills and Century City and serving clientele from boutiques, law offices, accounting & consulting firms alike on the east-of-Westside. They also serve wine and beer, which come complete with pairing suggestions. Talk about a delicious lunch or take-home salad. The head chef is from the Patina family, so you know they’re not kidding around when they call this chopshop “gourmet.”

The good news is, they’ve stuck around for 3 years and to celebrate their anniversary, they’re rolling out some discounts starting now through this Saturday, June 4th. You get 10% off on your 1st visit, while working your way up in 5%-off increments to 30% off your in-store meal on their 5th visit (no more than 2 visits per day for discounts). And, on Saturday, you can also look forward to 30% off all meals at the Beverly Hills location. And about that beer and wine - imbibers can also enjoy 50% off beer and wine selections all-week-long, including an organic Alma Rosa Chardonnay (regularly $8/32), Talbot Kali Hart Pinot Noir ($9/34), and Lost Coast Great White Ale ($3.50).

Lemongrass Chicken

Got a couple buddies? Bring two “green” newcomers to dine in a “3Some” (kinky) and if you each purchase a salad or entrée, you’ll receive your choice of a complimentary bottle of housemade salad dressing or handcrafted dessert for the table. Options include Owner & “Commander in Leaf” Jonathan Rollo’s signature Citrus Basil Vinaigrette, Corporate Chef Kristi Ritchey’s “Grandma Nancy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies,” and “Carrots Are Good for You” Carrot Cake.

My personal favorite is the Greek-esque “Zorra the Great” salad, which has a good amount of kick thanks to the peppercorns in the dressing. If you’re looking for something naturally sweet, try “The Antioxidant Orchard.” Feeling like a refreshing salad topped with coconut and other tropical flavors? Try the “Lemongrass Chicken” – probably my second-most favorite. 

So if you’re near Beverly Hills or Century City, enjoy a salad, panini, sandwich and/or soup with a glass of beer or wine for lunch this week. Greenleaf’s menu is not only health-conscious but creatively and utterly delicious. Enjoy!

Center map
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Order online

Mon – Fri

11 AM – 6 PM

Sat

11 AM – 4 PM

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
9671 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310.246.0756

Mon – Fri

10:30 AM – 6 PM

1888 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
424.239.8700

Happy 6th Birthday, Valerie Confections

Almond Fleur de Sel Toffees

Six years ago, Valerie Gordon and Stan Wrightman, Jr. decided to found an artisanal confectionery. With the finest and natural ingredients comprising delicious chocolates, toffees, petit fours and even jams – the sophisticated palate is further complimented by Valerie Confections’ minimal and artful signature packaging. I’ve found that a great way to give a part of L.A. is to gift a box of Valerie’s toffees or petit fours (and keep one for yourself). It’s guaranteed to leave your giftees with a much better impression of the city than than they had, previously. Only if that diplomacy tip is your thing. Who needs them?

In celebration of their confectionery’s birthday, Valerie and Stan are doing a very special 50% off discount expressly on their very first product – 12-piece Debut Toffee Assortment. Just use code “HBVAL” upon checkout. This code offer is available only through Monday, May 31st. Shipping & handling are not included.

And if you happen to be local, stop by the boutique (on the border of Koreatown and Downtown). You’ll be treated to special birthday samples of those debut toffee flavors! Trust me – they all taste absolutely heavenly.

Mon – Fri: 10 AM – 6PM
Sat: 12 PM – 4 PM
Sun: Closed

Use code “HBVAL” for 50% off 12-pc Debut Assortment
Through May 31, 2010

Valerie Confections
3360 W. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
213.739.8149

@ValerieConfctns

Doing 30 Right

In a past life, events was that “other thing” I did. It was the wholly involved extracurricular that took up more time than my day job. So whenever there’s that special occasion coming up – such as a birthday – I always feel an innate pressure to make it what it is: An event. Or better than what it could be. The event. The event you wanna be at.

With this birthday being the 30th, I wanted to do it not only in a way hardly anyone else had, but I wanted to do it big. I don’t know how to apologize for that, so I won’t. I’ll just tell you that I did, and a little bit about how.

My girlfriend’s name is Charlie and she lives at the top of Beachwood Canyon – her house was the setting. There was a full moon out on a beautiful, clear night and my celebration had one of the best views of it – straight from the Hollywood Hills. Little did I know that that night was and will be the biggest moon of 2009. Serendipitous. I love it.

Because I like to think that everything about this was big.

In the daytime, the road leading up to the house is littered with tourists parking their cars along the side before straddling the paint for a good, up-front shot of the Hollywood(land) sign.

While making daytime deliveries to the house, I often became stuck – frustratingly – behind “Star Buses” traveling extra slowly as the tour guide pointed out celebrities’ residences to tourists inside the roof-torn van. Even after you drive the curved, narrow roads in the area – the living space in the house is atop two flights of stairs. But from the balcony of the house is where it pays off: A clear view of Griffith Observatory – and on that balcony rested two hookahs for my guests’ enjoyment.

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