So I don't know about you guys, but I love discovering new restaurants. While I wouldn't consider myself a foodie (just the opposite in fact), finding hidden gems within my city is one of my favorite weekend activities.
If you live in Los Angeles, you know that a lot of times restaurants are less about the food and more about the ambiance. Are your tables and place settings Instagram-able? Do you have neon signs outside of the bathroom just begging to have their picture taken? Is your overall aesthetic minimalistic and generally pleasing to the young, trendy eye? Chances are if you answered yes to at least one of these then your business is booming! Did you answer yes to all of these items? Congrats! You probably have a line out the door as we speak.
When I was officially on the Whole30 program, eating out was a rarity. It was too complicated to go out to eat with friends as I had to ensure the menu had healthy options beforehand. The fact that some places didn't accommodate this lifestyle choice of mine was incredibly infuriating but that's a different (much more long-winded) story.
Anyway, one weekend I had plans to be in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday morning and thought what better excuse to try out a new restaurant than that. Since we live on the West side of town, making our way to downtown not only rarely happens but is usually a huge pain when it does, especially since it's most likely on a weekend.
I Googled "healthy restaurants downtown Los Angeles" and stumbled across Wild Living Foods. Not only was the decor to die for - my camera was salivating just looking at the Spanish inspired floors and colorful floral walls - but the menu featured foods that accommodated my diet. What!?!
While my boyfriend wasn't nearly as excited by the organic, non-GMO, no-sugar added menu as I was, I knew we had to go! I mean we were going to be in the neighborhood anyway, might as well.
That Saturday morning we found street parking across the way and approached the building, easily identified by its neon sign - things were already looking up. I was mesmerized by the vibrant motif, floors and wall mural upon entering and then was immediately distracted by the fresh juice and Kombucha collection in the refrigerator. What can I say, I've become that girl.
We grabbed menus and perused the offering. The food seemed to be a lot of American favorites made "healthy." Burgers, burritos, all things that I knew my boyfriend would love which left me feeling relieved. While I didn't see a ton in the salad department that sounded appetizing, I decided to go with the avocado toast. While I haven't consumed bread in months, I knew if I was going to, whatever healthy bread substitute they offered was the way to go.
Every table in the restaurant was occupied. Girlfriends gabbing over juice, a group of friends sharing laughs over lunch, or couples enjoying a weekend outing. My boyfriend and I settled in at the bar and awaited our food. I grabbed a "Better Booch" Kombucha which I sipped on while the anticipation of the arrival of our food built.
Within twenty minutes, our meals had arrived. While he described it as "different" my boyfriend said his healthy breakfast burrito was surprisingly really good (I'm still trying to bring him to the dark side). My avocado toast proved to be more avocado than anything which truly is my fault since I don't like tomatoes and subsequently removed them from the meal. It was fresh and tasty and immediately filled me up despite it being what I thought was a small portion.
I let my boyfriend finish my second piece of toast while I checked out the frozen case which was filled with an ice cream situation of some kind. It is my kryptonite after all.
I asked the waiter about the "gelato" in the freezer to which he said "you can call it whatever you want" and then explained how it was actually a coconut based product with no sugar WHATSOEVER added.
NO SUGAR ADDED!?!
I was sold.
He kindly offered a sample to which I immediately accepted. The first...second...and third.
Not only was I hooked but I was indebted to this kind man to purchase some now, wasn't I? Well that's what I told myself anyway and purchase I did!
I managed to find room around the avocado toast sitting in my stomach and squeeze some vanilla bean and chocolate coconut gelato alongside it. Words cannot do this ice cream product justice.
The vanilla bean was (as they described) shaved directly off the vanilla bean. Do you hear that, HAND CRAFTED! Each bite melted in my mouth. I could taste every single ingredient within the ice cream and despite my distaste for coconut I adored every bite.
Then came the chocolate. While most chocolate can be too decadent for more than a few bites, I managed to gobble the entire scoop. It wasn't too rich nor too heavy but just the right amount of chocolate deliciousness. Together they made the perfect duo and each satisfied me in their own unique way.
As I was standing in line purchasing my ice cream, ($10 for 2 scoops by the way - a little steep but worth every penny), I noticed a sign that indicated the right side of the restaurant was where the salad bar was.
If I had managed to look up and read the signs as I entered the building maybe I would have enjoying a delicious item from the salad bar versus going with the avocado toast out of confidence in the classic breakfast dish.
Oh well, all the more reason to visit again!
Wild Living Foods is the kind of restaurant we DESPERATELY need more of. While the location isn't ideal, the food (including the ice cream of course) is worth it.
Thanks to Wild Living Foods, I was able to enjoy a Whole30 appropriate meal out in a very Instagram-able environment might I add.
(Originally published April 16, 2017)