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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

LYFE Kitchen Debuts New Spring-Summer Menu May 15th

After a roaring start LYFE Kitchen is not just resting on their laurels. They can add another adjective to their list of food superlatives like local, organic, sustainable, green only this time it is seasonal. They previewed their new spring and summer dishes at a Friday morning event that are all based on what is in season now from their local suppliers. Our appetites were instantly jump started when we were greeted at the front door by a bounty of fresh produce display. To read Stacie's recap of this special preview of LYFE's new menu click here.

When you think about it how many other restaurants disclose their source of ingredients? LYFE Kitchen takes it one step further by actually considering their suppliers to be partners. This event was all about the local produce and those farmers who deliver the goods to keep LYFE cranking out delicious, affordable and healthy meals.  LYFE's key suppliers are all in Northern California as expected. To see a partial list of these partners scroll down to the end of this post.

We were again treated to a presentation by celebrity Chef Tal Ronnen whose new recipes continue to keep the LYFE menus fresh and innovative. Here Tal shows off the new Roasted Beets and Black Rice Salad featuring beets from Coke Farm in San Juan Batista and Faurot Farms in Watsonville.

This salad is loaded with great colors, textures and the surprising delight of black rice. The grapes were so sweet that Stacie said she could just save them for her final bites like dessert.

Next up is the brand new Roasted Asparagus and Root Vegetable dish that replaces the brussels sprouts. At first Stacie was concerned that her beloved brussels were going away but one bite assured her that delicious will continue. This new flagship side dish also has capers and features asparagus from Zuckerman Farms in Stockton.

The biggest taste surprise of the event was the brand new Kale-Banana Smoothie. Chef Tal invited head LYFE Kitchen Chef Jeremy onto the stage to whip out a batch for us. The dark green color had us all thinking it had to be savory but what a sweet treat it turned out to be. We loved the first LYFE Kitchen smoothies but the next generation stands to be even better tasting and healthier too.

Don't let the color fool you. This drink is dessert!

The final new menu item is a new flat bread pizza. Although we loved their first version this redo is another winner. The toppings include fresh peas, asparagus and portabello mushrooms marinated in sherry that makes it fun and sophisticated. You can enjoy a whole pie by yourself and never feel overstuffed because the crust is so very light. We order this dish with every visit to LYFE Kitchen.

Among those enjoying this special preview of the new seasonal menu at LYFE was cookbook author, Cheryl Sternman Rule. She was there with copies of her new all vegetable cookbook called "Ripe."

Cheryl Sternman Rule and her new cookbook called "Ripe."
LYFE Kitchen proudly uses Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the California Olive Ranch in Oroville and artisan vinegars from Sparrow Lane in Napa.

 Sparrow Lane artisan vinegars in a huge variety of flavors.

On my way out I just could not help but grab a few more shots of what makes LYFE Kitchen's food so good. Great food always begins with great ingredients. Here are a few closer shots of the goods.

Ocean Mist Artichokes from Castroville
Faurot Farms Radishes from Watsonville
Chiles from Castenada Farms in Sonoma
Golden Beets from Coke Farms in San Juan Batista
Sugar Snap Peas from Mann's in Salinas
This event was all about the hard working farmers who supply LYFE Kitchen and help keep their products faithful to healthy eating. CEO Mike Roberts invited all of them to come up for a group photo. LYFE Kitchen obviously knows ingredients and truly values all of their sources for them.

Time for one of my sidebars. I do a lot of cycling in Southern Monterey County and we ride right past so many of LYFE Kitchen's suppliers. One of my favorite organized rides is Strawberry Fields Forever. The routes all weave through some of the most fertile agricultural land in California. One of the rest stops is always hosted by the great folks at Gizdich Ranch. I posted about my last ride there including this shot of my friend, Ed Holt, and I. We were as happy as can be to enjoy their fresh apple pie and cider. A stop a Gizdich Ranch is seriously refreshing as you peddle the 100 mile route.

 The double apple delight of breaking for pie and cider at Gizdich Ranch.

My parting shot is actually a bit retro by now. It is the Edamame Hummus and flatbread crisps presented for our snacking pleasure when we arrived. This classic hummus dip still dazzled amidst all of the excitement of the new menu items. A big thanks to CEO Mike Roberts, CCO Mike Donohue, Manager Chuck Iverson, the crew at LYFE Kitchen and all of the suppliers. The new seasonal tastes are spectacular and can be enjoyed by all starting on May 15.

LYFE Kitchen's Team of Northern California Suppliers

Riverdog (Guinda) Onions, Tomatoes, Squash, Shisito Peppers

Capay Organics (Capay) Green Garlic, Chard, Fingerling Potatoes

California Olive Ranch (Oroville) Arbequina Olive Oil

Devoto Gardens (Sebastopol) Heirloom Tomatoes

Sparrow Lane (Napa) Artisan Vinegars

Castenada Farms (Sonoma) Peppers, Chiles, Zucchini, Yellow Zucchini

County Line (Petaluma) Beets, Radishes

Zuckerman Farms (Stockton) Asparagus

Dwelley Farms (Brentwood) Yellow and White Corn, Blue Lake Beans, Yellow Wax Beans

Frog Hallow Farms (Brentwood) Asian Pears, Stonefruit, Preserves

Jayleaf Farms (Hollister) Arugula, Organic Spring Mix, Spinach, Tatsoi

Iacopi Farms (Half Moon Bay) Italian Butter Beans, English Peas, Fava Beans

Jacob Farms (Pescadero) Herbs and Purslane

Kajiko Nursery (Morgan Hill) Watercress

Global Mushroom (Gilroy) Crimini, Shitakes, Portabello

Faurot Ranch (Watsonville) Frisée, Radishes, Beets, Baby Carrots

Kingsburg Orchards (Reedley) Stonefruit

Gizdich Ranch  (Watsonville) Berries, Apples, Apple Cider

Coke Farm (San Juan Batista) Beets, Radishes, Baby Rainbow Carrots

Ocean Mist Farms (Castroville) Cauliflower, Artichokes, Celery, Leaf Lettuces, Brussel Sprouts

Earthbound Farms (San Juan Batista) Organic Kale, Lettuces, Spinach

Colorful Harvest (Salinas) Rainbow Carrots

Mann's (Salinas) Sugar Snap Peas, Broccolini

Alba Organics (Salinas) Strawberries, Broccoli, Diciccio Broccoli

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