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November 25, 2013

Restaurant Review- Lean and Green Cafe in La Jolla, CA

Last week I was able to try a San Diego gluten free gem, Lean and Green Cafe. Situated between the streets of La Jolla's seaside village this eatery caters to vegans, vegetarians, Celiacs and anyone with an appetite for fresh, local, organic quality bites. Lean and Green specializes in gourmet meals and offers a wide selection of bars, smoothies and the perfect on the go power bites.

Lean and Green supports some of my favorite local gluten free companies including Perfect Foods Bar, Barnara, Karmic Krunch and last but definitely not least Decker Brothers Gourmet. Decker Brothers makes delicious, fresh, organic soups which are gluten free, vegan and packed with flavor. 

After glancing at the menu, "gluten free tortilla wrap" and the butternut squash soup caught my eye. Luckily they offer a 1/2 wrap and soup cup option, allowing diners to try a few of their delicious items at once. Lean and Green offers the Smart & Delicious Gluten & Wheat Free tortillas as the whole wheat tortilla substitute. Ironically, these have been my go to for years, offering a gluten free tortilla option that doesn't break apart upon the first bite. Carrying these over any other gluten free brand earns Lean and Green a gold start for just this choice, as all other gluten free tortillas crack once you try and roll them, even after my best efforts trying to keep it together. It is such a treat to enjoy a wrap again and its even better when it doesn't make a mess.

I indulged on the "Mediterranean Chicken wrap"- grilled chicken + house made hummus + feta + fresh basil + artichoke hearts + sundried tomatoes + spinach + herb & garlic. This amazing combo is one of their most popular wraps and the flavor, fresh ingredients and taste explains why. The butternut squash soup was creamy and not watered down. It was full of flavor and even had a spicy kick. Other popular soup choices are the minestrone and split pea. Lean and Green understands that not only are the ingredients inside each dish crucial to a Celiac's diet, but also how the foods is prepared. Gluten free wraps are prepped on a separate paper surface and transferred to a clean serving plate. I have since tried the Rainbow Turkey wrap- Roasted Turkey + Goat Cheese + Tomatoes +Alfalfa Sprouts + Pepperoncinis + Baby Spinach + Buttermilk Herb Dressing and the Holiday Wrap- Organic Mixed Baby Greens+ All Natural Oven Roasted Turkey Breast + Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Cranberry Sauce + Topped with Walnuts + Honey Dijon Dressing. Why aren't sweet potatoes offered year round? The cinnamon sugar, walnuts and sweet potato combo was amazing!

For their yogurt bowls, Lean and Green uses Udi's Gluten Free granola, a dedicated gluten free company. If you opt for one of their many fresh salads, you can pick from a variety of home made dressings which are made without wheat, gluten and sugar (excluding blue cheese). Although, if the preset wrap and salad menu does not satisfy your cravings you can build your own salad or wrap. Choose between a number fresh veggies, fruits, cheeses, proteins and toppings to create your own healthy delight. 

A few of their most popular smoothies and shakes are the Skinny Monkey - 2% milk (substituent soy or almond milk) + bananas + peanut nutter + chocolate whey protein + ice and the Amazing Acai- soymilk + acai + bananas + strawberries and Crazy Jungle (Almond milk + spinach + cucumber + avocado + bananas + ice. I have since tried the Skinny Money and Amazing Acai and will forever have a hard time deciding between these and/or do I say it, try a different one?

Thank you Lean and Green for providing San Diego a healthy, fresh option for a midweek meal or quick bite on the weekend. I have since dined here on several occasions and leave feeling nourished, and energized for the rest of my day. Having a reliable "go-to" option as a Celiac is a must and Lean and Green Cafe is mine!

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