Category Archives: Other

Product review coming soon

The kind souls at CSN Stores have offered me the chance to review a kitchen product available on their site!  CSN sells everything under the sun.  Where else can you buy a new funky coffee table and a Shoprider motorized scooter all in one place? Or perhaps you are in the market for an Omega Paw Deluxe Hands Free Groomer for your cat instead?

After spending the better part of my morning perusing the kitchen section of CSN, I think I’ve decided on ordering a food processor.  My mini processor recently conked out after making one too many banana soft serves; plus Mark Bittman just wrote this column espousing the many uses of the device.  A food processor could also help me kick my daily Odwalla bar habit by making it possible for me to make my own healthier version of the bars.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Corn and Basil Salad

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It’s well into fall weather in most parts of the country, but here in L.A. it’s still pretty darn toasty.  We had a few days of rainy, cool days that made made me reorganize my closet with my boots up front, but they were gone as soon as you could say “mint hot cocoa with vanilla rice milk.”  I can’t wait for when the real Halloween-y weather is here to stay, but until then, I will enjoy the last of the summer fruits and veggies.  Most farmer’s markets ’round here still have fresh corn.  I can, and often do, eat corn totally plain, but for times when you want a little more pizazz, I highly recommend this corn salad.  I came across this dish at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market when someone threw a sample of the salad along with a recipe card into my hand.  I made this at our Thanksgiving feast last year and it went over very well.  The recipe card says the original source is the Food Network, but I can’t seem to find it on their website.  So here it is:

Corn and Basil Salad

5 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off the cob
1/2 cup red onion, diced
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cups fresh basil, julienned

Toss together and serve!

Serves 4

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Purgatory Pizza is excellent comfort food

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I had a fairly miserable day today culminating in the love of my life, my dog Hayley, being put in the animal hospital.  My lovely little sidekick has been really sick for the past several days and today the vet said she needed to be admitted a.s.a.p. to get an IV and to be monitored.  Tomorrow they will hopefully be able to diagnose and treat her, but in the meantime, I’m just so sad to spend a night without my pup.

To help cheer me up, my boyfriend offered to pick up dinner after work.  Because he was working downtown (on a Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony video–they’re baaaaaack) I thought it would be the perfect chance to try Purgatory Pizza.

Even though I’m not a big Field Roast fan, I ordered a Daiya vegan cheese pie with pineapple and Field Roast Italian Sausage.  My thinking is always that, if businesses are willing to offer vegan alternatives, I should support that by ordering those ingredients.

My pizza was delicious times 10 although I will say that Cruzer Pizza does seem to have more cheese on their pies.  The mix of the pineapple with the Italian Sausage was a genius combo.  Salty and sweet, anyone?  Get your tookus to Purgatory (and do it quickly, these are hard times and they need your business!)

Purgatory Pizza

1326 E. First St.

Los Angeles, CA  90033

323.262.5310

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I still need to warm up to raw food!

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I don’t eat nearly as much raw food as I should and over the past couple of months I’ve been trying to change that.  I get most of my raw food intake from smoothies and salads.  But salads can get really monotonous even when I’m totally changing up the ingredients.  I’ve recently been following the blog Choosing Raw which always has a ton of yummy looking rawcipes and this week I finally tried one: Zucchini pasta with sweet pepper marinara.  I don’t have a spiralizer so I just used a peeler to make the noodles.

The sauce turned out to be amazing and it could not have been easier.  It literally took a grand total of 5 minutes to chop the ingredients and whip them up in my beloved Magic Bullet blender.  I stuck to the recipe except for omitting the stevia and I’m glad I did because the red pepper added just the right touch of sweetness.  When you’ve got such vibrant ingredients you know the end result is gonna be good:

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I have to admit, however, that as I was eating this dish, I became increasingly depressed.  Yes, I realize it sounds weird to say that a meal made me depressed, but there was something about this meal that just made me think that healthy food choices are not satisfying.  Now I know this isn’t true, but in this case, I simply did not enjoy eating this meal cold.  The zucchini noodles were the biggest problem.  I didn’t have delusional expectations about the noodles being anything like real pasta but they were just so bland.  Of course in the future I could season them first, but I also found the texture totally unappealing.  Maybe it would be better if I did have a spiralizer, because in this state, the cold thin slabs were just not very appetizing.  While I forced myself to finish the dish raw, it took everything I had not to pop the whole thing into the microwave to warm it up.  The flavors of the sauce were so wonderful but I couldn’t help but pine a warm version.

I guess for now I’ll be sticking to smoothies and salads for my raw food needs.  I definitely plan on making Gena’s sweet pepper marinara again but I will probably end up heating it or maybe even making a thicker version for a dip.

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Casa de Tree brings tastiness to town

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The fact that I last ate at Casa de Tree back in July goes to show you how behind I am on posting!  Oops!  Anywho…

At my work it’s up to my boss Canada and I to choose where we go to eat for lunch every day, but we have to keep everyone’s restaurant preferences in mind so the masses don’t revolt.  Once in a blue moon, however, there are days when there are very few people in the office for lunch–just me, Canada, and one or two other stragglers.  On these days, I go crazy with power and insist that we eat at either M Cafe or Casa de Tree, my newest favorite restaurant on the west side.

Casa de Tree has a cute sunny storefront on Motor Avenue where they have a pretty expansive buffet.  Our office always orders to-go, but the array of dishes in the buffet is very enticing.  Unfortunately, over half of Casa de Tree’s menu is not offered at lunch.  Many restaurants offer a limited menu at lunch of course, but it always strikes me as odd that you can’t order the vegan tuna salad at lunch, even though it’s out on the lunch buffett.  Why can’t they just scoop it up and put it in a box?  For lunch to-go you are basically limited to the sandwiches and burgers portion of the menu (even though the menu indicates that the pastas are served all day, when I’ve tried to order them at lunch I was told they were dinner only.)

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After hearing so many positive reviews of the restaurant’s curry donut, I always make sure to include some in our order.  The outer crust really reminds me of the greasy dough on fried mozzarella sticks–you know the kind you get at sports bars.  This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how unhealthy you plan on being on any given day.  The curry filling inside is very good, my only gripe is that the ratio of dough to curry is quite off–they could use a lot more of the filling inside.

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The gyoza dumplings are straight forward but delicious.  They are simply tasty little pockets of steamed veggies with the usual dipping sauce.

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I usually end up ordering the club sandwich.  Again, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.  Its just plain good!  All the sandwiches come with a nice side salad with a really tangy miso dressing.  The dressing may be my one favorite thing from the Casa kitchen.

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Canada liked her “Casa de Tree Tacos.”  The description straight from the menu: 2 pieces of corn taco shell, brown rice, kidney beans, cabbage, avocado, tomato salsa, potato croquette, seitan katsu, tartar sauce, vegan sour cream on the side.  Hey, that’s a lot of good tasting food!  I had a couple bites of these and will probably order them the next time I get to Casa as they were super scrumptious.

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I had been eyeing the cream cheese cinnamon roll bread on the menu for some time, so I eventually caved and added it on to one of our orders.  That turned out to be an excellent decision.  The bread is neither overwhelmingly cinnamon-y or greasy from the cheese. I highly recommend spreading a little Earth Balance on lightly toasted slices from this little loaf for a perfect breakfast.

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Casa de Tree is a great little spot in a pocket of town where the vegan options are not so plentiful.  I’m gonna have to get back there for dinner one of these days to try out the full range of the menu!

Casa de Tree

3741 Motor Ave.

Culver City, CA  90034

310.559.8183

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