The founders of zpizza think of their pies as edible art and imbue each slice with things that are good for you, from organic flour and tomato sauce to rich Wisconsin cheese from grass-fed, hormone-free cows. Innovative topping combinations create a menu of distinctive pizzas such as the Tuscan with cremini and shitake mushrooms and the curry chicken and yam with mango chutney. Classic cheese and pepperoni pies also emerge from the oven with distinctive crispy crusts, which are hand-thrown each day using regular, whole wheat, or gluten-free dough.
Using predominantly organic and local ingredients, Coogie's Beach Cafe puts a distinctly Californian spin on traditional American comfort food—a natural combination to fill its traveler-friendly oceanside perch just off the Pacific Coast Highway. Chefs fete early birds with breakfast treats such as blueberry pancakes topped with maple-glazed granola and serve a spicy bayou scramble alongside zucchini muffins. Lunch and dinner find organic greens and wild arugula admiring the brawn of Angus beef, filet mignon, and herb-roasted free-range chicken. The menu is broad enough to harbor options for vegetarians (garden veggie tacos), the gluten-averse (quinoa pasta), and kids (sesame-crusted chicken fingers). House-made desserts include Granny Smith apple pie.
The bar sends forth a fountain of fruit smoothies, fresh-squeeze juices, homemade lemonade, and organic hot teas, depending on the season. When sea breezes are favorable, diners relax on a palm-shaded patio; otherwise, they munch beneath a big central skylight and weathered wooden surfboards, safely hiding out from vengeful waves.
RAWvolution founders Janabai and Matt Amsden serve up raw foods chock-full of healthy vitamins and enzymes, earning praise from celebrities such as Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Alicia Silverstone. Forged from locally sourced organic produce, the Amsden?s array of gourmet wheat-, soy-, and gluten-free vegan fare tickles health-conscious palates at two caf? locations in New York City and Los Angeles. Their prepared-meal service, The Box, also fills clients? fridges with four to five days? worth of premade organic meals for at-home noshing.
On opening day in 1993, a crowd of 100 clamored for a table at Real Food Daily. Founder Ann Gentry was shocked—she hadn’t spent a penny on advertising. But the overwhelming response shouldn’t have been all that surprising, since Ann had spent the past four years gaining a following through home delivery of her gourmet vegan cuisine––when she wasn’t busy working as Danny Devito's personal chef, that is. Ann's meat-free fare struck a chord with the opening-day crowd, which merely foreshadowed the hordes that would descend upon Real Food Daily across the next 20 years. Today, she and her staff still craft healthy meals by making almost all of the food in-house without refined sugars, white flours, preservatives, or microwaves—the kitchens don’t even have them. 90% of ingredients––including fresh veggies, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits––hail from local, organic-certified farms, adding homegrown flavor to dishes such as kung pao tempeh, seitan tacos, and black-bean burgers. Today, Ann's eats can be found at three Real Food Daily locations, and the chef regularly brings some of her innovative dishes to The Today Show, The Talk, Vegetarian Times, and VegNews.
Beyond creating taste-good, feel-good food, Ann’s practices also lend themselves to sustainability. The West Hollywood location sports recycled-teak wood on table- and countertops, and the staff at all three of her certified green eateries compost kitchen scraps and package food in to-go containers, which are designed to biodegrade like a witch in the rain.
The robin’s-egg blue walls of Stacey’s Cafe Delish provide a calming backdrop to the delicious chaos of cheese and crisp, flattened bread that compose the grilled paninis. Stuffed with the likes of eggplant, salmon, and scrambled eggs, the paninis represent the creative café fixings that are served up in the sunny, coffee-scented restaurant. Breakfasts of asparagus omelets or apple-juice smoothies are followed by a plethora of hot sandwiches and cool salads, which are kosher and can be prepared vegan or gluten free if desired.
Ravi and Sunitha Koneru don't much care for limitations. Not in their food, their decor, or their vision. When designing the menu for Chakra Cuisine they saw the entirety of India as a source of inspiration, from the tandoori of the North and the curries of the South to the street food of Bombay and the recipes of their native Hyderbad. And then they looked even further. What they found were ingredients such as banana leaves, scallops, and caramelized pineapples—ingredients rarely used in Indian cuisine that expertly matched the flavor profiles they dreamed up. The result is a blend of traditional and modern, where classic dishes such as chicken tikka masala segue into spicy reinventions, including a vegetable masala quiche.
The dining space is likewise a mix of old and new. Indian accents anchor the sleek, contemporary aesthetic of the dining room and private lounge, while colors drawn from the dishes themselves combine to create a cohesive backdrop. Red and gold dominate the interior, but brighter colors surround the bar, notably inside its seven specialty martinis. As for the outdoor patios, their tables center around a circular fire pit, whose flames tempt guests to sit amid the mandarin-orange trees and tell scary stories about hitchhikers with samosas for hands.