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Saturday, March 06, 2010

L.A.'s Best New Restaurant: Lifefood Organic

I don't write much about restaurants and hotels or any kind of attractions in Los Angeles, not because it's an unworthy of tourist attention, but because I live here. But it dawned on me the other day that with so many tourists flocking to L.A. I should point out my newest favorite restaurant. Sort of restaurant... most exclusive restaurant in town (only 6 seats)! I want to back track first.

A few weeks ago I was with some friends celebrating my birthday at an old L.A. favorite, A.O.C. Our regular wonderful waitress Suzanne (from Sweden) wasn't there and we got stuck with someone who would rather be an asshole than be helpful. So when I asked for the sublime Brussels sprouts in parsnip purée dish I had had earlier in the week to be brought with no bits of pork or ham or whatever pig flesh they use to screw it up with, she said it wasn't possible. But it was possible. Suzanne had gotten it for us a few days previous and I had been dreaming about it since. In fact, it's why I picked A.O.C. for the celebration. She said I was mistaken. I ordered the broccoli with garlic and chili instead and the meal was very good. Everyone loved everything they ate. Afterwards a cook came over to say happy birthday and discuss the Brussels sprouts problem. Turned out her name is Suzanne too-- Suzanne Goin.

I don't watch cooking shows on TV and I don't follow chef celebrity but my friend Heather was kvelling. Turns out Suzanne Goin is the chef-- and one of the most renowned in the chef celebrity circuit. She was very sweet too. Heather mentioned she's also the chef at Lucques, where I hadn't been since I turned in my company credit card. But Suzanne sure knows how to cook up some good food-- and Lucques is a lot closer than A.O.C. to my home so... a few nights later Roland and I tried to get into our favorite local raw vegan joint, Cru and, as happens more and more frequently these days, it was too crowded and we had to walk away. On the spur on the moment we decided to go "someplace different" and I called Lucques and they said, "Come on down." We did. Of course it was delicious. But I had a realization while I was eating. It was heavy-- really heavy. Everything was cooked in sticks of butter. And when I chatted with the waiter about... the Brussels sprouts, well... they were cooked in veal stock. The food tasted good but was clearly deadly healthwise and very, very expensive. Why bother? How had I drifted so far away from raw vegan to find myself, at least once or twice a week, in places like A.O.C. and Lucques?

The next day, I met up with Roland for dinner again and he basically had had the same thoughts. "Let's eat someplace simpler. Lucques was too heavy." I said "OK, I have just the place!"

Livefood Organic at 1507 Cahuenga in Hollywood, just a few feet from the corner of Sunset Blvd-- and very conveniently located to ArcLight and Amoeba, isn't really a restaurant. It's a raw, vegan take-out place. But there's a nice communal table in the window with 6 stools. It's only been open a few weeks and so far there's always been a little room at the table.

First of all, every single thing they prepare is absolutely delicious, healthy and incredibly inexpensive. And... you can order stuff to go with dignity. I mean that's what it's all about-- that and the healthy eating thing. My mouth is starting to water as I write because I'm thinking of the delicious lasagna I have in my fridge right now that I'll be eating when I'm done writing. Lasagna and blueberry cobbler. Eating at Lifefood Organic isn't about making any compromises with taste. Their food is unquestionably more delicious-- not to mention nutritious-- than the "same" dishes you'll find in conventional restaurants, including-- if not especially in the A.O.C.s and Lucques of the world. If you're a raw foodie, think about this-- their dishes are as good as anything you'll find at Pure Food and Wine in New York City! I've been all over Italy and-- more to the point-- I grew up in NYC and I've never tasted better tiramisu than at Lifefood!

Click on the menu so you can read it-- and a warning: they usually only have a few things on any one day-- but they're ALL yummy


Marcy said...

I absolutely agree. I wasn't vegan, or raw when I first tried LifeFood, but once I did, my transition became much easier. I'm not perfect in my eating yet, but much much cleaner with the help of the delicious and amazing meals here. My fave...the kale pasta w/ pesto and the raspberry cobbler. YUM!!!! When Annie Jubb is there take the opportunity to talk to her. Much of what she has told me has changed my life!

Nicole Garton said...

I can't wait to head over to LFO!

I was really excited about Forage, which was opened by former Lucques sous chef Jason Kim, and I'll admit I wasn't disappointed with the food & atmosphere, which are both fantastic. I did notice, however, that all the wonderful veggies appeared to be very buttery... which for me, sort of defeats the purpose of eating somewhere that specializes in fresh produce!

I'm glad there is an option like LifeFood Organic that features healthy AND delicious good.

DownWithTyranny said...

N.L.G., I have to agree with you about Forage not being health conscious in anything but the hype. It's a pretty low consciousness eatery, just what you would expect from someone from Lucques-- bits of gratuitous meat stuck into dishes, no thought about healthy preparations or even replacing sugar with agave or honey or something like that.

And Life Food Organic just changed their chef and menu this week-- making it more consistent and seasonal.

Unknown said...

Hi Howie,

I love your blogs .... the work you do with DWT is incredible ... you are an inspiration and gives me hope sanity and clarity will somehow win the day with the American public. Not only is this Canadian a fanatic with regards to American politics, I also happen to be a passionate raw foodie. So much so I have opened two totally raw restaurants in Toronto. If you ever have cause to visit, please come by and check us out ... it's Rawlicious ... in west end of the city in The Junction and we are right downtown in Yorkville at 20 Cumberland St. Sorry for restaurant whoring but I would be honoured if you ever had a chance to try our fare.

Thanks and best raw regards,