Where Should We Eat

Where Should We Eat: Phoenix

Thanks so much to Kelli Shallal MPH, RD, owner of Hungry Hobby LLC for contributing to this week's Where Should We Eat post! Kelli lives in Phoenix, AZ and provides virtual and local one on one nutrition counseling. Kelli emphasizes a holistic view point and intuitive eating principles. You can find her at www.hungryhobbyrd.com. In addition she is also the author of her blog,  Hungry Hobby and where she shares healthy recipes, quick workouts as well as health tips.  Follow her on instagram, pinterest and facebook for more healthy living tips and continue reading to check out her Phoenix recs!

Serranos (Multiple Locations) | $$

Serranos is a family owned Mexican Food Arizona-only chain of restaurants in the valley.  It is actually where we had our wedding reception at and our go to spot for Mexican food. While they have all the traditional Mexican food dishes there you could want, they also have a few lighter options that are still packed full of flavor.  My favorite “lighter option” is their shrimp fajitas packed with flavor, grilled veggies and big juicy shrimp, delicious!

Hillside Spot Café (Phoenix, Arizona) | $$

This little gem has a wonderful indie feel, a super laid back atmosphere, and amazing food.  We’ve eaten there for breakfast and lunch and they never disappoint. In the morning there is a great full service coffee bar as well as fresh squeezed orange juice.  In the afternoon they have everything on tap from local brews to imports, plus wine and delicious eats.  

One awesome thing about their menu is they serve breakfast all day with lunch/dinner starting at 11am.  My favorite healthy option is the farmers omelet PACKED full of veggies like you’ve never seen and served with fruit or toast. However, they are known for their delicious Croque Madame which is huge piece of artisan bread topped with shaved ham and melty cheese.  Optional to top with a fried egg for the ultimate breakfast. 

Perfect Pear (Phoenix, Arizona) | $$

Two locations one in the Phoenix-Tempe border and the other found in Ahwatukee foothills.  We found the service to be a bit better in the Phoenix location than the Ahwatukee location but the food is delicious at either.  We love their sweet potato fries as an appetizer, they have the best seasoning and dipping sauce!

Top Pick: Fall Harvest Salad with Salmon.  This salad is piled high with so many good toppings you will forget it is even salad.  Complete with butternut squash, quinoa, bacon, and candied walnuts over a huge bed of lettuce be prepared for leftovers!

The Orginal Burrito Co.  (Phoenix, Arizona) | $

So many mornings we spent going on Burrito Co “runs” for epic breakfast burritos.  It’s a drive through but they have tons of healthy customizable options like whole wheat tortillas and egg whites.  Their breakfast burritos are delicious but so are their lunch/dinner options like their shrimp burritos.  If you are in the Phoenix/Tempe area and need a quick meal definitely give this place a shot!  

Four Peaks Brewery (Tempe, Arizona) | $$

 If you want a delicious hand crafted burger with a local brew then this is place to go.  Four Peaks, located in the heart of Tempe where the Arizona State University Sun Devils mark their territory, is known for it’s fun atmosphere and delicious food.  The brew is coveted by locals and sold at many establishments in the valley, however it’s always the best right from the source.   They have tons of epic burgers, sandwiches and salads to chose from, you really can’t go wrong with any of their cold brews and chews.  

Joe’s Farm Grill(Gilbert, Arizona) | $$

If you are venturing out into the East Valley then you absolutely cannot miss Arizona’s tribute to the popular show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.  If you think you wouldn’t eat at a place like that, think again.  Located on a huge farm, everything that is grown on the farm goes to the restaurant so this isn’t your typical diner.  While they have the traditional food like burgers and pizza they also have unique farm fresh menu items such as Seared Ahi Tuna Salads, date shakes and beet salads.  It’s definitely worth your time to check it out! 

Duck and Decanter (Phoenix, Arizona) | $

My family has been going to this local sandwich shop centrally own and operated for years.  In addition to wonderful salads and sandwiches they also have a fully stocked wine and beer bar.  They have tons of open seating both inside the eclectic old building which stands on it’s own among the just built stucco buildings and parking garage, or outside for picnic.  You could spend hours browsing their tea and coffee selections as well as other fun items in their store.  Or, grab a glass of pinot and listen to the live entertainment on the weekends.  Well known to the locals you’ll be sure to enjoy delicious food and great entertainment if you stop in.  I like to build my own salad or build my own sandwich but my family loves all their menu options as well.   

Postinos (Phoenix & Gilbert Locations) | $$

Postinos is one of the most popular wine bar locations in Arizona.  Happy hour is almost always packed with groups of people enjoying appetizers and drinks seated on couches and other trendy seating arrangements.  Unlike other trendy spots though, the food is just as good as the atmosphere.  Make sure to try one of their flatbreads and you won’t be disappointed!  

Roaring Fork (Phoenix/Scottsdale) $$$

Located on the border of Scottsdale and Phoenix right outside of Scottsdale Fashion Square this place is a hidden gem.  Thanks to yelp I celebrated my birthday there and it did not disappoint.  Pricing is a bit higher than other recommendations on this list but every penny worth it, especially for a special occasion. The atmosphere was upscale but laid back. The menu items were fresh with minimal ingredients and absolutely divine. Lamb skewers are at the top of my list to get again!

Did we miss a spot? If you're a Phoenix native or a frequent flyer, let us know your favorite spot to eat in the comments below!

Where Should We Eat: Nashville

Thank you to dietitian and blogger Lindsey, of HandmadeHealthy for contributing to Week #5 of the Where Should We Eat Series. This week, we're covering Nashville! Lindsey, take it away...

I’m so excited to be sharing with you my 9 must-eat meals from my home of Nashville, TN.  Music City is more than just biscuits and cowboy boots nowadays.  It’s becoming a thriving hot food spot that even the best chefs want in on.  This year, our very own Chef Tandy Wilson of City House was honored with a James Beard award for Best Chef: Southeast!  Check out what other Nashville noms we have to offer:

Two Ten Jack Izakaya + Ramen House | $

Who would have thought you could find exceptional Japanese cuisine in the South?  Two Ten Jack is the perfect place to split small bites and plates with others.  You’re sure to find something your tastebuds will absolutely savor.

RD Approved Menu Item: Shishito Peppers

Americano | $

If you’re in the mood to try a lot of things, head to Americano.  They have an extensive tapas menu and some serious libations that are sure to satisfy you.

RD Approved Menu Item: Crispy Brussel Sprouts

Little Octopus | $

You never know what meals might show up on Little Octopus’ seasonally fresh menu.  Gather here for unique eats in one of Nashville’s most vibrant neighborhoods, East Nashville.

RD Approved Menu Item: Avocado

Union Common | $

Hit up Union Common during their Happy Hour and you’ll will most certainly leave happy.  Get a variety of their handcrafted small plates with a cocktail and things will be fine as wine.

RD Approved Menu Item: Fried Oyster Caesar

City House | $$

Whenever I have a special occasion to celebrate, City House always tops the list of destinations to dine at.  The atmosphere is intimate, the cocktails are essential and so is their wonderful wood-fired pizza.

RD Approved Menu Item: Belly Ham, Mozzarella, Grana Padano, Oregano, Chilies Pizza

Marche Artisan Foods | $

Marche serves up a quaint and classy breakfast with the best coffee beans in town.  (I love you Drew’s Brews!)  This establishment has been around for years and you’re undoubtedly going to be able to tell why!

RD Approved Menu Item: Fruit Tartine (Breakfast)

Moto | $$

If you want a pasta experience your tastebuds will remember, then you must go to Moto.  They’ve got southern hospitality service with modern Italian cuisine that’ll make you lick your plate clean!

RD Approved Menu Item: Black Spaghetti  

Burger Up | $

Yes, even RDs eat burgers!  Burger Up has been one of my go-to burger restaurants for years now.  I love their consistency and of course their delicious burgers and fries.  You really can’t go wrong with any of their options!

RD Approved Menu Item: Troyathlon with Sweet Potato Fries

Honorable Mention: Chopped Kale Salad

Frothy Monkey | $

Good eats don’t have to be expensive or complicated!  There’s more to love at this beloved coffee hot spot than just their lattes.  Their food is good morning, noon and night.

RD Approved Menu Item: California (Breakfast)

And there she is!  A list of my top 9 eateries only found in Nashville, TN.  If you’re ever in my neck of the woods, I hope you’ll reach out!  You can find me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest.

Did we miss a spot? If you're a Nashville native or frequent flyer, let us know your top picks in the comments below!  

Where Should We Eat: Washington DC

Where Should We Eat: Washington DC

Week #3 in the Where Should We Eat Series covers one of my favorite cities: DC. Because I’ve only been there for a few long weekends, I’ve enlisted a little help from fellow Dietitian, Heather Caplan. Aside from being a dietitian, Heather is a certified running coach and yoga instructor and she’s lived in DC for over seven years.

Where Should We Eat: LA

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Week #2 in the Where Should We Eat Series is written by Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian and author of Plant-Powered for Life. Sharon lives in Los Angeles and as a fellow dietitian and foodie, I trust the LA restaurants on this list deserve their spot here. If you live in the LA area, or are planning a visit, leave a comment and let me know if you’ve been to any of these places, or have any places you wish made the cut! You can find out more about Sharon at www.sharonpalmer.com.

I’ve lived in LA now for more than 20 years, and I am so excited to see the explosion that has occurred in our dining scene. A renaissance in eclectic, historic, ethnic neighborhoods, and a restoration of the Downtown region have reenergized our dining scene, bringing a number of creative, hot chefs to open creative, approachable eateries. I follow the best of LA dining lists and have created perpetually evolving, long list of restaurant to visit, and I still haven’t made it to the end of my list! The region’s access to amazing, local foods combined with a diverse population also makes it a Mecca for local, sustainable foods with global flavors. And since I’m focused on plant-based food choices, it’s always a pleasure to find so many really delicious options in restaurants all over the city. Read on to discover my 9 favorite LA restaurants.

Crossroads | $

I love this completely plant-based restaurant in LA, which I have reviewed several times on my blog. The chef Tal Ronnen is a leader in the plant-based culinary movement, and he makes exceptionally elegant yet approachable vegan foods in this Hollywood restaurant, which is always a hotspot for celebrities. The menu changes frequently, but I’m very fond of sharing small plates so you can taste lots of the restaurant’s flavors at one meal.

Favorite Menu Items: My favorites are the lentil flatbread, kale Caesar salad, filled squash blossoms, pizza, and mushroom ravioli. And save room for the plant-based desserts, which are all about comfort!

Real Food Daily | $$

This restaurant is my go to plant-based comfort food spot. The organic, vegan food is very simple, humble, yet really good. Ann Gentry is a plant-based legend in LA, bringing vegan food to the masses before it was even a thing! I love her light Mediterranean approach to her dishes, as well as her comfort food classics. She also changes her menu seasonally, so you can enjoy light summer fare and then move on to fall harvest foods. Her big bold salads are memorable and instant favorites.

Favorite Menu Items: Mediterranean bowl, Southwest salad, Great Cardini, supreme burrito bowl, and lentil loaf with mashed potatoes. The desserts are incredible too (love the carrot cake!).

Gracias Madre | $$

This plant-based Mexican restaurant is right in the fashionable part of West Hollywood, and it serves amazingly, healthy tasty Mexican foods with a modern edge. All of the dishes are vegan, but you would never guess it! The dishes features lots of intriguing plant foods with bold flavors and spices.

Favorite Menu Items: Cauliflower Frito, Quesadilla de Calabaza, grilled corn cakes, and enchiladas verde.

Cafe Gratitude  | $$

With a few locations scattered around LA, I am just in love with this simple, humble plant-based restaurant that serves up more than just food! The servers give you a word of the day, to help you spend a few minutes meditating about something beyond your iPhone and your traffic commute. The mission of the restaurant is to honor beautiful, healthy, organic, plant-based foods. The menu items are clean and pure, listing them by names such as Brilliant (coconut ceviche), Fabulous (raw Mexican lasagna), and Kansha (grilled ramen with vegetables).

Favorite Menu Items: I love the salads and vegetable dishes which have a global influence of flavors and exotic dressings.

Providence | $$$

Providence, led by talented Chef Michael Cimmarusti, is one of LA’s most celebrated restaurants, winning numerous awards. The ambience is cool, serene and artistic and the service is exquisite. The restaurant only offers a pre-fixe tasting menu, so this is a special occasion restaurant, and the array of small dishes are meant to be enjoyed over many hours.

Favorite Menu Items: Vegan tasting menu! The food is elegant, focusing on local foods prepared and served in the most expressive of ways.

Union | $$

One of my favorite restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County is Union. Led by critical darling Bruce Kalman, the small restaurant focusing on freshly made Italian food celebrates local sustainable food in all its glory. This is a restaurant that boasts a blackboard drawing of the Pasadena farmers markets and quotes from Alice Waters.

Favorite Menu Items: fresh bread served with house-made pickled vegetables, roasted heirloom carrots with carrot pesto, and freshly made pasta with San Marzano tomato sauce.

The Gadarene Swine | $

This plant-based recipe in the San Fernando Valley has quickly become one of food critics’ favorites, due to its haute, ultra-creative expression of plant-based meals served in a fresh, Bohemian setting. You’ll find dishes redolent in flavor served on “nests” and wooden platters, making eating there a truly interesting experience.

Favorite Menu Items: sourdough bread with crushed tomato oil, lemon and pistachio kale chips, hand rolled pasta, and vegetables in a box. And save room for their amazing smoked olive oil grapefruit dessert!

Sun Cafe | $$

The San Fernando Valley is becoming home to a number of fine plant-based restaurants, including Sun Café. This organic, plant-based restaurant also serves raw food choices, and the food is just simply delicious—straightforward, uncomplicated, yet bold and creative.

Favorite Menu Items: Sun nachos, lettuce leaf tacos, BBQ cauliflower, kale colossus, and tempeh burger.

Tuning Fork | $$

Another San Fernando Valley trend is really cool gastropubs, often showcasing great craft beer alongside really good food. They are also dishing lots of plant-based options, offering “v” for vegan food choices right on menus. Tuning Fork is one of my favorite Valley gastropubs, with a cool, hip vibe, good bear, and great plant-based food, along with other options.

Favorite Menu Items: ratatouille, warm spinach salad with quinoa, cauliflower flatbread, and their lentil quinoa patty served with pita.

That's all! Where are your favorite places to eat in LA? Let us know in the comments below!

Where Should We Eat: Somerville

Where Should We Eat: Somerville

I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite spots in my neighborhood, Somerville, MA. I’ll be following up with another post with recommendations in downtown Boston and enlisting some help from fellow RDs around the country for their recommendations in cities like NY, LA, DC, Dallas, and more!