Wednesday, June 12, 2013

LYFE Restaurant Review

This past weekend I got to try an amazing healthy restaurant on Sunday with Panda in Palo Alto as he needed to go suit shopping for a wedding that we're attending next month. Since I've become picky about where we eat out, he did some research on the restaurants in the Stanford area and found one that fit the bill perfectly. You could say it's a "clean eating" dining experience. The restaurant is called LYFE (Love Your Food Everyday) and they are a sustainable restaurant that uses locally grown everything (vegetables, fruits, locally raised beef and chicken) and other resources to get the food on the table. The food was amazing and definitely did not lack in flavor and I'm pretty sure I didn't see a single thing over 600 calories on the menu. As a health nut, you have to love California's law to post the calories on every food item on a menu. It really makes you think twice about ordering that double cheeseburger and fries once you see that it's 2,000 calories.

The restaurant has a clean finish to it and has a modern feel to it. When we arrived, there was already a line out the door of people waiting to put their order in. Unlike a traditional sit down restaurant where you are seated by a hostess and then assigned a server, you order from a counter and then seat yourself on a first come first serve basis. I grabbed a menu and started browsing at the many healthy, yet appetizing options on the menu. My eyes started scanning all over the menu rapidly, trying to find something that sounded appealing, yet wouldn't break the calorie bank. I decided to go with the Beet and Farro salad as Panda suggested getting an appetizer and an entree to share in addition to our own meals. We have the same outlook on restaurants - order a variety of options to really experience what the place has to offer. In addition to the Beet and Farro salad, we also ordered the edamame hummus, the Margherita flatbread, and Panda got the fish tacos and a hibscus beet cooler.

We took a seat next to an indoor herb garden that was powered by tiny LED lights in order to sustain the vital amount of light needed to flourish indoors and proceeded to people watch. We sat facing the busy street and were able to watch as shoppers strolled casually by the open patio of the restaurant. Panda got his hibscus cooler first and the first thing out of his mouth was "This tastes too healthy!" All I could do was shake my head and laugh. I took a sip and decided it needed more sweetner. Sure enough a packet of stevia in the raw did the trick and he was a happy camper.

Next up, was the Edamame Hummus served with plate full of crunchy radishes, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, extra edamame, and flax seed crackers. We started noshing on the veggies and before we knew it, all that was left were the crackers. Surprisingly, they didn't taste like cardboard and had a nice crunch. The hummus was exceptionally creamy and garlicky and the veggies added a fresh kick to the appetizer. Before we knew it, the main dishes arrived and we were not disappointed by our choices.

I had ordered the Beet and Farro salad which consisted of organic field greens, candy cane beets, fennel, fresh dill, red onion, walnuts, and dried cranberries tossed in a maple sherry vinaigrette. This is probably one of the best salads I've had and recently I've had a ton to compete with. All of the flavors just belonged together in the salad and had perfect balance. The sweetness from the cranberries tamed the tartness from the vinaigrette while the walnuts added a nice crunch and earthy flavor.

In between bites of my delectable salad, I was nibbling on the Margherita flatbread which was equally delicious in its own way. The flatbread crust was made up of whole-wheat with flax seed and toasted spices and was extra crispy. It was similar in taste to the flax seed crackers that came with the Edamame hummus. The toppings looked fresh and you could tell that they came from someone's garden earlier that day in traditional Margherita fashion with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, pomodoro sauce, and five cheeses. This flatbread pizza was so good there was no way it was only 515 calories, but that's the beauty of LYFE. It was packed with flavor and sacrificed nothing and still remained a healthy option for pizza lovers like Panda and I.

Last but not least, we (err...Panda) had the fish tacos. As you all know, I absolutely despise fish so I had no part in tasting the dish. All I can say is that, according to Panda it was "Awesome!" and "Nom nom!" especially after the server brought him the house fire sauce. I dipped my flatbread pizza in it and it made even more amazing.

In addition to amazing food, the prices are exceptionally reasonable ranging from $7-$13 per dish with a myriad of options to choose from. They have burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, Asian noodle dishes, pasta dishes, and a variety of homemade juices and smoothies. I would definitely recommend this place to others and you can guarantee that I'll be back again in the near future.