I was in Los Angeles when a close family friend suggested going to Lemonade for lunch. He said, "you would like this place!" I could see out of the corner of my eye, how my teenage nephew winced at the idea of going to a "healthy", "girly" restaurant to eat.
Lemonade is a healthy version of fast food deli with multiple locations in LA (even at the airport). It is a self-service cafeteria where you order food by the scoops - $2.75 per scoop on a sliding scale, the more scoops you order, the less per scoop costs. When we arrived at the Lemonade Cafeteria in Pasedena, the line of customers was already all the way to the exit.
I started scooping around. Ummmm, interesting.....there were at least a dozen vegetable items in the first food station, from kale salad to curried cauliflower to roasted beets and sugar snap peas, not meat. Then there were other items like seared tuna summer rolls, halved avocados with tuna and grilled salmon. Then there was a whole range of meat and chicken stews, sandwiches and soups. Finally, desserts and lemonades! Surprisingly (because it's a chain), everything looked exceptionally fresh and well presented! After I greedily ordered my 4 scoops of veggies, I bought the cookbook at checkout without even tasting the food!
Stepping into Lemonade was love at first sight, like connecting to a culinary soulmate. The core of the Lemonade philosophy is making vegetables fun, yummy and accessible to the general public, that eating vegetables should not be a "punishment". They call their veggies "market place vegetables", not salads, because they want to showcase each vegetable as more than a few lettuce or a side dish - a dish complete in itself with flavors, colors, textures and style.
In fact, they don't even label their food healthy, or organic or sustainable, it is simply "Southern Californian comfort food". They call their cuisine "vegetable-centric", not vegetarian.
This is exactly the diet I am propagating to my clients : Meat is not necessarily bad, but veggies and more veggies please! At least 1/2 a plate of veggies for every meal with a little meat accent if you care for it. A combination of raw veggies, steamed veggies, baked veggies, sautéed veggies, veggies in soups, in stews, a happy medley all in one meal, so veggies take the lead and not play the supporting role.
Lemonade is making a bold statement to support this claim!
This is how I'd like my plate to look on any given day.....
What does yours look like?