Monday, January 20, 2014

LA's Six Most Delicious Kale Salads


Given that I eat kale nearly every single day of my life (my Twitter bio says "Fashion Writer and Kale Eater" for a reason!), I'm pretty well-versed on LA's many salads containing this delicious leafy vegetable. Not all kale salads are created equal, which is why I've put together a list of the six best salads I've had around town. The ones that keep me coming back for more. The ones that make a vegan and gluten-free girl feel truly satiated. The ones that even manage to impress my omnivore husband.


1. Glow Bio's Oil-Free Kale Salad (7473 Melrose Ave): I've sung the praises of this salad before, so it's no surprise that it's at the top of my list. In addition to being rich in protein, calcium and Vitamins B, C and K, it's bursting with flavor. Avocado is generously massaged into leafy greens, and crisp cucumbers are perfectly placed atop the goods. It's the ideal grab-and-go salad for lunch.


2. Margeaux & Linda's Hail to Kale Salad (Erewhon Market, 7660 Beverly Blvd): Brought to you by the mother and daughter team who founded the late and great Cru restaurant in Silver Lake (R.I.P.), Margeaux & Linda's Vegan Kitchen is a brilliant brand that  offers tons of mouthwatering packaged meals. This salad is particularly boss, featuring massaged kale with a tasty dressing, thinly sliced white figs and spicy dehydrated pumpkin seeds. If you can't make it to Erewhon, they also carry this salad at Naturewell 2 on Melrose and Earth Bar on Santa Monica Blvd. (Whole Foods needs to get on it!)


3. Cafe Gratitude's I Am Pure (639 N Larchmont Blvd): This is my go-to order at one of my absolute favorite restaurants. The marinated kale features a mix of sesame-wasabi and garlic-tahini dressing, along with sea palm, nori, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, basil and teriyaki almonds. You can get kimchi on top, too, which is a great touch. I always ask for extra sea palm on the side. 


4. SunCafe's Kale Salad (3711 Cahuenga Blvd): What this salad lacks in a creative name, it gains it incredible flavor. My husband even likes it! I love the creamy basil dressing, the pecan pieces and the fresh cut tomato bits. I like to top it with slices of portobello mushroom and a side of the secret sauce that normally comes with the Sun Burger. Too good.


5. Real Food Daily's Pro Kale (414 N La Cienega Blvd): This was one of the first restaurants I discovered in LA years ago when I first decided to become a vegan. This 100% raw salad features curly green kale massaged with tahini ginger dressing, as well as live sauerkraut, cucumber, dulse, sesame seeds and avocado. It's a heaping bowl of goodness that I can have at any time of day.


6. Veggie Grill's All Hail Kale (8000 Sunset Blvd): I couldn't end this list without mentioning this foolproof dish, which I often order when I'm in a pinch for time since it's super close to my house. Although it's probably perfectly delish if you order it as-is, I can't resist making a laundry list of substitutions to it. The awesome staff has memorized my custom order by now, but until it makes its way on the menu, here's my version: Substitute marinated kale with steamed kale, add portobello mushroom, no dressing, ginger miso dressing on the side, no agave walnuts, raw walnuts on the side. 

LMK if you try any of these spots!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DVF x LA


Diane von Furstenberg's Wrap Dress exhibit just hit LA, and I'm in love. It's located inside the historic May Company Building, which will be come the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in 2017. Explore the show on Racked LA here and be sure to plan a visit asap.


So special. DVF walking Anna Wintour through the exhibit. I'd like to put on record that Anna said hello to me, eye contact and all!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Tarts


Pumpkins are pretty magical. Practically synonymous with holiday season, the smell, taste and appearance of this festive squash brings joy to families across the globe. It's a beautiful thing.

Every year around this time, I voluntarily overdose on pumpkins and search for new ways to consume them. In search of a not-too-sweet vegan/GF dessert that calls for all this canned pumpkin I impulsively purchased at Whole Foods, I stumbled upon these adorable pumpkin pie tarts. I made a few adjustments to the original recipe since I'm not a fan of cashews, maple syrup or oil. The result? An incredibly delicious, guilt-free treat that I can enjoy in small doses instead of committing to a full slice of pie. My dessert connoisseur of a husband even loved them, so I'd say they're a win.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Tarts
(Adapted from The Fitchen)

Yields: 6 tarts

Crust ingredients:
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup almonds
4 pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp. dried apricots
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Filling ingredients:
1 cup canned organic pumpkin
1/4 of a medium avocado
1/4 cup almonds
1 tbsp. raw coconut nectar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Prep:
1. Add 1/4 cup pecans and 1/2 cup almonds to food processor. Pulse until nuts are broken down.
2. Add dates, apricots and cinnamon. Pulse until well-combined.
3. Prepare tart cups. Take a small scoop of crust mixture and evenly press down into the cups. Place crusts into the fridge while making the filling.
4. For the filling, add 1/4 cup almonds to food processor and pulse until smooth.
5. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the food processor and blend until well-combined.
6. Spoon filling into tart cups and top with pecans. Cover and place in freezer for 1-1.5 hours.
7. Enjoy! Store leftovers in the freezer and eat within one week.

Dig it? Check out more of my vegan and gluten-free recipes here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Daytripping at the Malibu Country Mart: Round Four


Last weekend, I embarked on the fourth chapter of this year's Malibu Country Mart adventures. (In case you missed it, catch up on rounds one, two and three.) This visit was particularly magical because, despite it being smack in the middle of winter, the sun was shining bright upon MCM, offering mounds of Instagrammable nature moments, like the above.


My first stop was at Oliver Peoples, which I've been a fan of for years. I love every single frame style they offer, as they're meant to flatter every face shape. I love the retro feel of the sunnies above.


Talk about retro! How rad is this set-up? Those clear frames are calling my name, for real. After drooling over the LA-based eyewear vet's latest styles, I hung with store manager Allen Voskanian to learn more about OP's music division. Given that Malibu is the epicenter of their audio initiatives, I couldn't resist tuning into their 25th year anniversary CD, which "captures the brand’s vision of a fun Malibu summer vibe with contemporary and exclusive songs."


After, I hopped over to RRL, where they're hosting a killer fall sale. I want every single one of these coffee table books. (And those blankets!)


RRL was right next to its sister store, Ralph Lauren Women's, where the iconic label's celebrated It bag, The Ricky, is a having a major moment. (I'm still dreaming of that white guy above.)


After a quick stop at the park, where Santa and Mrs. Santa held court to take photos with adorable kiddies, I swung by Diesel, A Bookstore. One of my favorite places for lit discoveries, I beelined to DAB's signature bestsellers display. Can't wait to curl up with some of these over the lazy holiday. 


Yes, these are record cover jigsaw puzzles. Yes, I'm obsessed.


One of my favorite moments from this trip was visiting the legendary Malibu Shaman, which I consider to be the landmark of MCM. Owned and operated by Scott Sutphen, the Malibu Shaman has been in the 'Bu since 1983 -- before I was born! In addition to exuding incredibly positive vibes, what I dig most about Scott is how genuinely pleased he is to see new customers walk into his store. His collection of unique crystals and new age necessities is unmatchable.  


After exploring the store, I was treated to a card reading by Malibu Shaman's resident psychic, Cathy Crystal. She absolutely blew my mind. I couldn't believe how much she knew about my life and energy. It was a great experience that provided me with a new kick in my step for the rest of the day.


Glorious crystals and raw stones.


Once my energy was aligned, I visited my girl RiRi at MAC Cosmetics, where I was totally bummed to learn that the singer's new Pleasure Bomb lipstick was sold out. (Don't fret, I hear they'll be stocking more soon.) This store is quaint, welcoming, and filled with regulars who come in to get their makeup done at least twice a week. 


Gone are the days of neutral eyeshadows, apparently. According to MAC, this season is all about bright pops of colors. Maybe worth some experimenting this NYE?


After getting my beauty fix, I hit up one of my fave new boutiques at the shopping center, Vintage Malibu. My jaw hit the floor when I saw this case of incredible Hermes and Chanel bags. I love that they offer a curated mix of jewelry, watches and handbags, and that clients have the opportunity to buy, sell, consign and even trade items. The shop's rotating collection of luxe features favorites like Cartier, Rolex, Fred Leighton, Bulgair, David Webb and Van Cleef & Arpels. 


I mean. I just couldn't resist this cuff. Can you believe it's from the '70s? Anybody have about $3,000 that I can borrow? 


The trip wasn't complete without a quick dance sesh with my homies. See you soon, MCM!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tiny Bag Life


(Do you hate me for being M.I.A.? I've been traveling like a maniac and running my site, so please forgive me. I love you.) 

Anyways, upward and onward! Hello, my name is Natalie and I'm addicted to tiny bags. Crossbody bags, specifically. The above bag is from superstar stylist Simone Harouche's line, Simone Camille, which I scored at her sample sale for 15 bucks. Given that it's a sample that was never produced, it's a total steal. I wanted it in every color of the rainbow. (But let's be honest, I most wear black.) 

I honor of my sick obsession, here's a roundup of some tiny bags I'm freaking out over this season. You can also see a ton more on my Keep.com page here