When I’m able to break the hold that this computer has on me and meet a friend for lunch, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop is always at the top of our list of choices. We love the urban rustic decor and know we can have a healthy, organic, satisfying and delicious lunch that won’t require skipping dinner to make up for calorie overload.
We’ve all heard it before – “eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet”, and there is no better testament to Greenleaf’s gourmet healthy outlook than knowing who is behind the concept. When it comes to crafting the ideal menu to support a healthy lifestyle, Executive Chef Kristi Ritchey is the perfect chef for the job. Recently featured in both USA Today and the LA Times for her own personal weight-loss triumph, Chef Ritchey knows exactly what it takes to live healthier through good eating by adjusting the way you view food and the way you approach each day. Out of necessity, she changed her lifestyle, and in less than a year she lost over 110 pounds by focusing on a healthier diet and a consistent exercise regimen including Barry’s Bootcamp in West Hollywood.
In June of 2008, Chef Ritchey joined friend and former Patina co-worker Jonathan Rollo with the opening of his first restaurant, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Beverly Hills. Chef Ritchey has assisted in developing many of the key items on the menu and is thriving in a kitchen that combines her passion for creating unique gourmet dishes and her desire to combine those tastes with a healthy lifestyle. Their success at being known as the best “health food” in Los Angeles led to a second location in Century City.
Because Green is Good (and popular!) led to expansion in 2012 to Orange County where Chef/Owner Rollo and Ritchey enhanced the neighborhood salad shop with a a marketplace, wine bar, indoor and outdoor dining, and an on-site chef’s garden making Greenleaf on 17th Street in Costa Mesa the largest of their three locations. This summer Greenleaf opened a 4th smaller restaurant at the OC Mix in South Coast Collection (SoCo). With indoor and outdoor patio seating, the natural, casual cool (hipster without the negative connotations) ambiance of OC Mix, plenty of parking, and hip design, garden and boutique stores to browse before or after, this is where you’ll find me.
Now, about the food. My go-to salad, and the most popular in Orange County, is the Lemongrass Chicken ($10.95) – the flavors are fantastic and the cashews and lean chicken breast give it substance. Scarborough Farms baby mixed greens, grilled citrus chicken, mango, grilled pineapple, jicama, toasted coconut, cashews, thai chili and thai basil with lemongrass lychee vinaigrette; has vibrant fusion flavors and the acidity of lemongrass and tropical fruits plays well with the chicken, coconut, and crunchy cashews. Plus, it satisfies that cashew chicken craving I get in a super healthy way!
A close second is the Antioxidant Salad ($10.95) which is the most popular salad in L.A. Read what you like into that 😉 Scarborough Farms baby mixed greens, grapes, celery, walnuts, dried cranberries, apples, blue cheese, mint, red onion, cucumbers, strawberries, and blueberries with pomegranate whole grain mustard vinaigrette. Loaded with free-radical busting berries and crunchy walnuts and apples and lightly dressed – just the way I prefer my salads (although I always ask for light dressing, just to be safe).
Because I’m a pizza-holic, I don’t really consider Greenleaf’s ultra thin crust pizzas to be pizza per se, but they do satisfy my insatiable need for meaty, cheesy, veggie goodness on a crispy crust. Turkey Sausage and Fennel and the Grilled Tomato and Goat Cheese are both excellent. The textures and flavor combinations are what you would expect from a gourmet pizzeria and for those folks concerned about carbs, Greenleaf’s cracker thin crust pizzas fit the bill. ($8.95-$9.95)
I have to hold myself back from ordering the Turkey Melt on Pretzel Bread ($9.95) unless my dining partner is willing to share it with me. With loads of spinach, I can justify it as healthy, plus, we all know everything is better on pretzel bread and this sandwich is no exception!
Greenleaf now serves breakfast and offers Happy Hour at the Costa Mesa locations, every day from 3:00-5:00 p.m., with soju cocktails for $5, beer and wine for $4 and pizzas for $5.00. I went recently to try some new menu items (new to me anyway) like the popular Turkey Meatball Sub ($9.95). The fresh tomato sauce had a nice bite to it, but the turkey meatballs weren’t authentic enough to steer me from my favorites. We had a refreshing Sangria which I would definitely order again.
The big news that I wanted to share with you is Greenleaf’s catering menu for Thanksgiving. For those non-cooks out there who are looking for a healthy Thanksgiving, look no further than Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Los Angles and Orange County. Greenleaf gives you permission to step away from the kitchen this Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 28th, just two weeks away! – with signature holiday catering menus, available for pickup and delivery in Los Angeles and Orange County. Owner/Chef Jonathan Rollo and Executive Chef Kristi Ritchey have created a cornucopia of traditional Thanksgiving proteins, sides, and desserts without the traditional calories, providing a nutritious and delicious way for your family and friends to enjoy Turkey Day.
Greenleaf’s menu includes:
- · Roasted Turkey Breast with garlic and rosemary
- · Cedar Planked Salmon with lemon and agave
- · Whole Grain Stuffing with vegetables and fresh herbs
- · Agave Roasted Yams with cider glaze and grilled red onion
- · Tuscan Kale Salad with roasted cauliflower and pomegranate
- · Butternut Squash Soup with green apple
- · Rosemary Cornbread Muffins
- · Pumpkin Pie
- · Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes
Perfect for intimate gatherings or bigger parties, entrées and sides come in two sizes: small (serves 4-5 people) and large (serves 8-10 people). The “Family Meal” option ($100), which serves 4-6 people, takes the guesswork out of the ordering with a full Thanksgiving dinner including all the fixings. Bottles of red, white, or sparkling wine to be paired with your menu choices are also available for ordering. One stop, Quality and Healthful shopping! What could be easier?
For the full Thanksgiving catering menu, please visit www.greenleafchopshop.com.
Now taking orders for Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 28)
Orders must be made 48 hours in advance
Pick-up or delivery available on Wednesday, November 27 during regular business hours
and on Thursday, November 28 until 11 a.m.
234 E 17th St. (at Westminster)
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
SoCo Costa Mesa
South Coast Collection
3321 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Hours: M-F 11:00-9:00