Rating (out of 4 stars): **
I had wanted to try Better Life Cuisine for a while. It’s touted on Yelp as being one of the more affordable raw food restaurants in LA. This is somewhat true. It’s certainly more affordable than Juliano’s Planet Raw, and the portions are more plentiful than other raw restaurants I’ve been to. That being said, it’s still not cheap. My meal came out to around $15 with tax. I ordered one entrée, the Raw Lasagna, which also came with a side salad of my choice (I choose the Thai Noodle Salad). It was plenty of food—I came in hungry and left quite full.
The restaurant is on a peaceful, quiet strip of Broadway in Santa Monica, right down the street from Planet Raw. The building is almost unmarked, which can be confusing. I passed it and came back. It was late afternoon/early evening, and the place was completely empty. I instantly got a very serene, pretention-free vibe. There was only one women both manning the register and preparing the food. I got the sense that this was not a usual thing—I came in at a slow time. The menu is somewhat confusing. It’s not totally clear what some of the dishes are made from; I had to ask. The server/cook was very friendly, and seemed pleased to indulge my curiosities regarding the ingredients.
The service was very quick (albeit, I was the only customer). The salad was refreshing with a spicy bite, and the dressing had some unexpected notes of citrus. I felt extremely mixed about the lasagna. The portion size was very plentiful, the presentation was pleasing, and it was very flavorful (plenty of garlic). Though, I had an issue with the quality of the tomatoes used. They were okay, but pretty unripe and flavorless on their own. Raw food relies heavily on the quality and freshness of the ingredients, especially the produce. Tomatoes aside, the consistency of the cashew mozzarella was very rich, and the flavor of the herbed ricotta was exceptional, recalling bruschetta from a traditional Italian restaurant.
The cinnamon roll was calling out to me, but unfortunately, I was too full. I decided to save it for next time.
Food: Pretty good—but not a stand-out. Limited entrée selection, and limited creativity.
Value: Too pricey in relation to the quality of the food. More reasonable than places like Planet Raw, but I would rather pay a little more for better overall quality.
Ambience: Quiet and calming. Informal.
Verdict: I would like to go back and try a couple of other items on the menu (namely the cinnamon roll), but this is not a place I would be a friend for dinner. It is definitely worth trying once, but this won’t be a standby for me—I would much rather dine at Café Gratitude or Euphoria Loves RAWvolution.
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
This was actually the second time I’d eaten at Real Food Daily; I just forgot to take pictures the first time around. So, this will be kind of a composite review.
The first time, I went with a good friend. It was a Saturday night, though the wait was surprisingly short—about 10 minutes. The atmosphere instantly hit me as cozy and welcoming, with warm colors and genuinely friendly staff. We were seated, and our server immediately greeted us with suggestions and his personal favorites (which is something I often like to ask servers about). We ordered the “sea cake” as an appetizer (Butternut squash, yam and sea vegetable croquette, pesto, sweet chili aioli), and I ordered the “club wrap” (Seitan, tempeh bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, vegenaise, spinach tortilla). The appetizer came promptly. It was absolutely delicious. It actually reminded me of something my mom might have made for me growing up—so, I was instantly won over. It was perfectly sweet and savory, and starchy in the best way possible, crusted with a combination of herbs.
The Club Wrap was even better than I had expected. I’m pretty young to the world of vegan food, and this was my first brush with both seitan and tempeh. I was far from disappointed. The seitan was incredibly flavorful, with a pleasant texture. The tempeh bacon actually tasted like real bacon! It was very filling, and I saved my second half for a high-protein post-workout snack.
The second time I went, it was for brunch, and I ordered the “Sea Cake Benedict.” Basically just two delicious sea cakes over tofu, tempeh bacon, and spinach, with a corn hollandaise. It was the best breakfast I have had in a while. I would definitely love to return for brunch, and spend some quality time with their almond-flour waffles or pancakes. Yum.
Food: Fantastic. Delicious, creative, fresh, and nutritious vegan dishes. Plentiful portions. Menu has a great selection of vegan adaptations of non-vegan meals. A vegan joint for foodies.
Value: Very reasonable, but not “cheap”… but totally worth the price.
Ambience: Cozy and colorful, homey. Not too loud.
Verdict: This a new go-to place for me—I can’t wait to go back.
Jessica Alba has started an online company for green childcare products. For $85- $100 you can have a month’s green diapers and wipes delivered to your door. Depending on where you live and what age your baby is, the average price of buying disposable diapers from the store for a month is about $80, cloth diapers washed by a service every month costs approximately $80, and cloth diapers washed at home for a month is around $20.
So Jessica’s company is economically comparable, the products are innovative and high-quality, and the philosophy logical. A free trial is offered to experience the products and service. The company is called www.honest.com and it also offers other convenient green baby products like baby shampoo, body balm, laundry detergent etc. A portion of proceeds from sales is donated to www.baby2baby.org which provides childcare basics to those in need in the LA area. Jessica’s product is in the higher price range, but wipes are included, the environmental and health impacts are positive, and the product is delivered directly to the customer’s door every month.