Sometimes, I feel a little protective over my very favorite spots--those restaurants that I visit as often as once a week, places where I have to get my fix. Something inside of me gets greedy and wants to preserve their familiarity, my feelings of ownership about these gems. But today, I'm feeling generous. So I'm sharing the latest episode of LA on 20's web series, and this time I am visiting Tender Greens in Santa Monica with my little brother, Sam.
I find that one of the most difficult things about being on a budget is being able to eat healthfully. Fresh produce, especially organic and sustainably farmed/caught/raised fare just costs more to procure, and sometimes it can feel out of reach for those of us looking to get the most bang for the buck.
Which is why I really treasure Tender Greens. Seriously, it's a special place. Because not only have they created a model where they can offer all of those things--seasonal, ethically raised, fresh, organic food--at an affordable price point, on a large scale, but they go above and beyond by also offering a consistently excellent, inventive specials menu each and every day. I have had a beautifully cooked piece of cod with braised hen of the woods mushrooms for $12. I have had delicious and light pea tendril ravioli with a side of arugula salad for $12 for dinner. Free range beef and pork meatballs in a slowly simmered, rich marinara for $4.
It's cafeteria-style dining, because that's what allows them to offer these really elevated, well-executed, healthy, delicious dishes at that price. But it feels like a nice sit-down restaurant--they have beer and wine on tap, and seasonal and decadent desserts, including some really good vegan ones. There are multiple locations throughout LA and in the Bay Area, San Diego, and Orange County, so wherever you find yourself in California, this affordable and healthy option isn't far away. I really cannot say enough about how cool this place is. So I'll let the video do the rest of the talking. Please enjoy!