Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, named one of Los Angeles’ best new restaurants by Los Angeles Magazine in 2009, has made its way to Orange County. Allen and I were thrilled to join a few other fellow food enthusiasts for a tasting event hosted by lovely Devon Klug of Wagstaff Worldside, Inc. I am so impressed by Devon’s professionalism each time I met her. She is always pleasant and extremely knowledgeable and thorough in giving us background information on the restaurant and the menu items presented. Thank you, Devon!
Greenleaf in Costa Mesa is the 3rd location for the restaurant chain. I love the architecture and the Eco-friendly design. It’s not only beautiful but spacious. The restaurant includes both indoor and outdoor dining areas.
(Photos by Allen Taylor Photography)
It also houses a wine bar, a marketplace, and an on-site chef’s garden. Owner Jonathan Rollo and Executive Chef Kristi Richey are committed to inspire Orange County customers to make smart lifestyle and eating decisions with freshest local and all natural ingredients and affordable options.
We started our evening with a couple of drinks. You know I am basically a non-alcoholic drinker, but I really enjoyed the Holiday Sangria (pictured left), made with chopped apples, oranges, cranberries, pomegranate,cinnamon sticks, agave, apple cider and organic Italian red wine Milo Rosso! The Apple Cider with Soju was just as good. They were both just a tad bit sweet was probably why I liked them.
Next we got to sample a few gourmet side dishes – Quinoa Salad (upper left), Green Lentils(upper right), and Yams, walnuts, and Goat Cheese (lower left). All of them would be a nice complimentary sides to any meal. The Suinoa Salad had a nice nutty taste. I am normally not a fan of Lentils but the way it was prepared with apple cider vinegar gave it a whole new dimensional taste. I love yam, so naturally I loved the yam, walnuts, and Goat Cheese dish.
OMG, the salad heaven! Greenleaf severs the most signature salads I’ve ever seen. We got to sample 3 of them. It was not possible to tell you which one was my favorite because I loved them all! What I was even more impressed was that each bowl was very lightly dressing-ed and yet did not lack in taste nor flavor. A lot of time I would ask to have the dressing on the side in other restaurants because I don’t like salad over-dressed. What’s the point of trying to eat healthy if you douse the salad in empty calories like dressing?
The Antioxidant Orchard (scarborough farms baby mixed greens, grapes, celery, walnuts, dried cranberries, apples, blue cheese, mint, red onion, cucumbers, strawberries, and blueberries with pomegranate whole grain vinaigrette) was not only beautiful to the eyes but also to the tummy!
I order cobb salad quite often so naturally I am a fan of The Kitchen Sink Cobb (iceberg and romaine, tomatoes, egg whites, avocado, carrots, garbanzos, bacon, turkey, basil, blue cheese with red wine vinaigrette).
The lemongrass Chicken (scarborough farms baby mixed greens, grilled citrus chicken, mango, grilled pineapple, jicama, toasted coconut, cashews, thail chili and thai basil with lemongrass lychee vinaigrette) was a nice fusion dish.
In addition to the signature salads, you can also build your own. How cool is that?
If salad is not your thing, the menu also offers lots of Sandwiches, Panini, Hot Entrees, Thin-Crust Pizza, and even BYO (Build Your Own) Hot Entrees (Choose 1 protein and any 2 sides).
Grilled Chicken Panini with Avocado Pesto was creamy with generous amount of chunks of chicken.
Turkey Melt on Pretzel Bread was everyone’s favorite. Soft and toasty with lots of turkey, melted cheese, and flavor.
Pizzas are made with thin wheat tortilla. This one was Wild Mushroom and Truffle. Who doesn’t like truffle?
The Spicy Turkey Sausage and Fennel definitely had a nice kick to it.
We finished the meal with a yummy Carrot Cake. The texture was finer than traditional carrot cake. I think it tasted more like carrot bread.
The restaurant is so gorgeous at night with the lights hanging on the trees!
The Marketplace serves fresh coffee, juices, and protein shakes. For those short on time, there are many signature Grab ‘N Go items you can buy to go. You can also find bottled dressings, fresh baked goods, and some locally made specialty items.
This year, I made a promise to lead a better lifestyle to exercise more and eat healthier. Greenleaf certain fits right into my plan. Healthy eating without sacrificing taste. Yes, that’s my kind of restaurant. Greenleaf serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Join me next time, will you?