Thursday, September 1, 2011

California Dreamin'

Wow! Our first real NourishRDs blog post!  It has been a whirlwind of a year, and we (Lisa & McKenzie) can’t wait to share our stories with all of you.  First of all, a little history…

One year ago (was it really just a year?!!), we met over breakfast in the Bastyr University cafeteria on the first day of our Dietetic Internship.  We quickly discovered we must have been sisters in another life.  Our similarities are uncanny.  I mean, a lot of people love When Harry Met Sally, but who else doesn’t eat syrup on their pancakes?  Soon, we realized we didn’t just make great friends; we have the same career ambitions and our talents complement each other.  Our sum is greater than our parts.  And so, NourishRDs was born.

We created NourishRDs to share our passion for life with others.  Our mission—to inspire others to eat real food, love their bodies and laugh a lot.  We really live our mission and believe in what we’re doing.  The word diet is not in our vocabulary, and we don’t advise anyone else to diet.  We plan our travels around farmer’s markets and restaurants and can spend an entire day taste-testing our way through a city.  Emergency snacks are stashed in our purse or snack bag (more on the snack bag later this week) at all times.  We love food, and we eat. Often.  Preferably surrounded by the people we love.

Kicking off the start of our business, NourishRDs, with a road trip from Berkeley to Los Angeles, California sounded like a good idea.  What better way to find out if you really like someone than to spend seven days in a car traveling—and eating?!  Here’s a hint: we’re still business partners.

Day One – Berkeley, CA

For people who love and support real food, Berkeley is Disneyland.  The home of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, Berkeley is a bastion of the local food movement.  We started our first day with breakfast with Lisa’s friend, Emily, who told us about Café Gratitude.

“You have to go to Café Gratitude while you’re in Berkeley,” she said.  “Their mission is really similar to yours, and they train their staff to infuse the food with good thoughts and gratitude when it is cooked and served.  I think you’ll like it there.”

We took her advice, and made a bee-line for Café Gratitude for lunch.  The menu, all vegan with many raw food choices, made McKenzie (a long-time patron of Real Food Daily and lover of vegan food) very happy, and made Lisa (a vegan and raw food skeptic) a convert.  The food was delicious—and spicy!  The tacos—titled “I am Transformed” were a definite favorite.

And then there was Chez Panisse.  From the moment the front door opens and you are greeted by a huge bowl of freshly-picked tomatoes glowing under soft lights, you feel transported to a place where time becomes unimportant.  For the next few hours, we tasted dish after farm-fresh dish of the day’s menu—starting with a rocket and fennel salad with eggplant spread; green bean, tomato and hazelnut salad with crème fraiche; and escarole with marinated beets, mustard and egg.  All tasted like we were eating right out of the garden. 

Next we shared a house-made campanelle pasta with pesto, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan; and a meltingly-tender chicken thigh with summer squash gratin and chanterelle mushrooms.  For dessert (yes, we always eat dessert!)—a Gravenstein apple and raspberry tart with vanilla ice cream accompanied with a half of a perfectly-fresh peach and mulberries.  Devine.

Our bellies happy and our spirits high from our first day on the road, we retired to dream of tomorrow—a day at the beach in Santa Cruz.

More on our trip tomorrow, but our day in Berkeley inspired us to share some of the nourishing benefits of buying foods in season. Two of our favorite foodies, including the aforementioned Alice Waters from Chez Panisse and Cynthia Lair fromCookus Interruptus are passionate about the importance of foods’ seasonality in their recipes and meal preparations.  
Cynthia Lair says it best in her cookbook, Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents:

Choosing food that is in season gives the year rhythm and ritual. It is exciting for local strawberries to appear – they are sweeter and fresher than eating Mexican-grown berries in January. Anticipation is a wonderful feeling. I can’t wait for corn to be in season locally because it is so sweet it hardly needs to be cooked.

Eating seasonally also puts your body in tune with the climate you are living in. The stereotypical Southern Californian preference for raw salads and avocados has sense to it. The lighter diet that includes lots of raw foods is perfect for living in a sunny, warm climate. Pacific Northwesterners need the density of frequent servings of salmon, for example, to survive the cold damp of rainy winters….

Where do you live? What did the ancestors who inhabited your community grow and eat?

Check out these delicious recipes, emphasizing foods in season during the fall (bye summer L ) by Cynthia Lair herself on the Cookus Interruptus website.

Live in Southern California, like McKenzie? Check out this guide for local farmers’ markets.

Live in the Pacific Northwest, like Lisa? Check out this guide for local farmers' markets.

One last thing, we promise....

Take a quick peek at The Eat Local First Campaign on Facebook developed by Sustainable Connections (We love this organization!).  “A year-round way to connect farmers with more local market support, and the eater with more local and seasonal food at the places you buy it: grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets”


  1. Love the concept of your blog! Keep the real-food stories coming!