This past Friday evening, Erin over at Horsing Around in LA & I had the pleasure of attending an event put on by the California Strawberry Commission & held in Newport Beach at The Fashion Island at TrueFoods Kitchen, a restaurant I have long wanted to check out as it was founded by the well-known Dr. Andrew Wile (I have always referenced his book, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, for nutrition & health advice, highly recommend it! Perhaps you’ve seen him on Dr. Oz, too). I already cannot wait to return to one of their locations (In Santa Monica, Newport, San Diego & a few over in AZ) as it is a Gluten Free Girls dream;-) Something for everyone on the menu; whether you’re GF, Vegetarian, Vegan or carnivore.
Of all the times for my radiator hose to decide to pop off & cause my car to overheat & throw me into a huge scare, did it HAVE to be on our way to the strawberry fun?! Apparently, yep! But, that didn’t stop us from getting there & everyone being so welcoming & gracious to us despite our hour delay. Thanks, guys! we were greeted with food & drinks galore, opting to try the Strawberry Mojito. It was delicious although a little too much of a ‘fizz’ for my taste in an alcoholic drink…if you like a berry flavor with an ‘adult’ kick & pop, this would be the drink for you! The appetizers were all 5 stars for me, though; even one I never would have tried if I had known what was in it….a strawberry stuffed with a creamy goat cheese! I am not a goat cheese fan at all, til now! It was a peculiar taste, that I thought was some kind of cream cheese (from a cow!). I am so glad I didn’t know this til after I was on my 3rd one;-)
Besides strawberries galore, there were several items from TrueFoods starter menu we got to enjoy; Shiitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups (Very flavorful!), Thai Spicy Shrimp Dumplings (which I could seriously eat all day), a Kale Salad, marinated in lemon juice & I would gladly order next time (See how awesome the food is here?! Self-Proclaimed ‘Junk Food Vegetarian’ would order a salad here!). There was also pizza that looked great, too, but I chose to wait since it was not gluten free…so, watch out on my next visit as I can indeed request it to be!;-) And, for someone who has not had beef in nearly 12 years, the steak tacos looked amazing, also, but I doubt I would ever go back to meat; might even go back to full Vegetarian one day. As I still prefer not to eat animals.
In between our munching & mingling, we were treated to a great lecture on the health benefits of strawberries from Illinois-based Nutrition Expert & Author, Mr. David Grotto. He poked a lot of fun at needing to eat healthy….after explaining the many benefits of a healthy diet, he mentioned that there’s also the 2 most important staples: Alcohol & Dessert!;-) He explained “WTF?” to us, too: Wheres The Fiber? I am so excited we were all given copies of his book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, which covers many of the ailments we deal with day in & day out & what kinds of diets can help us treat each trouble. Talk show host, Montel Williams, gives the Forward & credits David as one of the best health experts he has featured on his show. I’ve already begun reading it, & plan to share more info & recipes with you as I dive deeper…& maybe….since my readers rule…I will let you in on knowing I might just have a copy for a lucky winner soon…stay tuned;-)
I also checked out the CAStrawberry Commission’s web-site to grab you some other great tid bits about this delicious fruit…..
*One serving of eight strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange and is packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, folate and fiber. With year-round availability, California strawberries are a healthy and versatile fruit to enjoy every day.
*Findings from clinical studies conducted at the University of California, Davis and the National Center for Safety and Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology indicate that there is heart health and metabolic benefits from eating strawberries. With just one serving of strawberries, LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) is protected from oxidation and inflammation is reduced. Both oxidized LDL and inflammation are associated with increased risk for heart disease (CVD). Eating strawberries may also help the insulin in our bodies work better by reducing the amount needed to manage glucose after a meal.
Then, next up, was dessert!;-) While I did not try a gluten free offering that the kitchen does have, it was great fun to see everyone with their cupcakes & strawberry rhubarb a la mode….
One of the best parts about blogger events is that you get to actually MEET more of your fellow bloggers that you love to read! It was so much fun to have ladies I have yet to meet stop by our table to say hi to Erin & me! It was great to chat with Melanie from LA Explorer (A blog that’s becoming a fave of mine & focuses on surviving in pricey SoCal yet still having fun….we must meet at that discount store near you, Melanie! Hehe), Tonya from www.tonyastaab.com (Great resource for crafts & party planning), Valerie Mitchell from Mama Likes to Cook and Sweeps 4 Bloggers (Another favorite go-to!), Caryn Bailey over at Rockin Mama , whom is one of the sweetest people ever! Shes got that gift of making you feel like you’ve known each other for years. Angela, who blogs over at her Nine More Months was there with her adorable lil guy, Morgan & Marcie at Marcie Taylor. It meant so much to me that these ladies came over to chat with us, & knew about my little baby here, Along Comes Mary!;-)
(The adorable Melanie from LA Explorer!)
So, all in all, the Strawberries know how to party it up! Along with David’s book, we were also treated to a yummy recipe book…strawberries in…salads…tacos…foods you would not expect! As I try out those dishes, I will keep you posted if they turn out as great as they look in the pictures;-) What are some of your favorite recipes to use strawberries? Let me know! xo
*Disclosure: I was invited to be a guest at this event hosted by The CAStrawberries. All food & drink I had the pleasure to try was complimentary, as well as the gift bag provided to me. But, all opinions are my own & I had a wonderful time!