LA’s Stunning Cafe’s & Restaurants

Hello everyone. I know that it has been awhile , but we are finally back on! So we are gonna start the year off on a delicious note, with a list of the yummiest places around LA to eat. I love to cook it and try both trending and hidden restaurants wherever I go. I have been to MANY restaurants in Los Angeles, but these ones definitely hold a special place in my heart.

Angelini’s Osteria – 7313 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

If you are looking for some down home, traditional Italian food this is THE place. The restaurant has a rustic and cozy atmosphere, with an exposed brick wall, large pit fire oven, and be sure to make reservations before hand because the restaurant has only one dining room and some patio seating and it is always packed. The menu is impeccable with food that could have been your Nonna’s food but with a modern twist.

 

Grilled Prime Rib Eye // Swiss Chard Ravioli ( I promise you this is the greatest ravioli that you will ever taste) Who knew Swiss Chard could taste this good?

 

El Floridita Cuban Restaurant – 1253 Vine Street , Los Angeles, CA 90038

This upbeat, authentic Cuban restaurant will take you to the Caribbean and back . With friendly service, nightly dance and music performances, and a menu in which almost everything comes with a side of rice, beans, and fried plantains you will never want to leave!

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Tilapia en Mojo, a Cuban scampi sauce. The sauce is packed with flavors of garlic, tomatoes, onions, and spices and the tilapia is an excellent, delicate choice of seafood to pair with the bold Mojo sauce.

Nobu, West Hollywood – 903 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

This is the shining gem of the LA fine dining food scene. Japanese food takes a whole new level with extraordinary entrees and sushi that have a Peruvian flair.
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These deceptively, un-spicy, Shishito Peppers are crunchy, sweet, and addicting. Hands down the BEST appetizer ever.

Tender Greens- 9523 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

If your a looking for a lunch place that is healthy, fast, and has many vegetarian friendly/plant based options, this should be number 1 on your list. Tender Greens has the BEST salads from varieties such as Vegan Salads ,Backyard Steak, and Tuna Nicoise topped with quail eggs are my particular favorite.  They also have refreshing homemade lemonades such as mint lemonade.

Aroma Bakery and Cafe- 7373 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Aroma has been one of my favorite breakfast spots for as long as I can remember. It’s chic and has no wait time because its a large amount of space both inside and out (because we all know that Brunch in LA always has a wait time, sadly) , Aroma doesn’t follow this norm and gets you seated right away which is one its best qualities asides from the spectacular Middle Eastern inspired breakfast.

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Knowing how to  make Shakshuka at home, I know what makes a Shakshuka (Eggs in Spiced Tomato Sauce) truly spectacular- Harissa and the right amount of Ras El Hanout (Moroccan spice blend) and this particular one hits all of the right notes. Having travelled to Israel, has set the bar very high as to what i classify as a good Shakshuka, and I can honestly say that this is the most well done Shakshuka that I have had in any restaurant in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

This Middle Eastern platter is a glimpse as to what a traditional Middle Eastern breakfast consists of which is IMG_3213an array of fresh cheese such as feta, hummus,  traditional creamy yoghurt called labneh which has a sweet and tangy taste and is definitely my favorite thing on the platter.

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Barney’s Beanery Redondo Beach – 100 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

For a casual , Mexican -Californian breakfast , Barney’s Beanery has a lot to choose from. You can order the Mexi-Cali favorites such as Huevos Rancheros, Ranchero Omlette, and Chilaquiles or opt for a simple American breakfast of pancakes. My favorite thing to order are the Chilaquiles with the classic Chocolate milkshake.

 

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The Chilaquiles are tortilla chips topped with scrambled eggs and a red chili sauce, served with refried beans and rice on the side, and guacamole and salsa.

 

 

 

Il Cielo – 9018 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

This beautiful house turned Italian restaurant with a charming courtyard has an excellent selection of traditional Italian cuisine. However, I personally adore the desserts more than the food itself. The gorgeous Panna Cotta was hands down , sublime. I would come here specifically for the desserts . The silky , subtle texture of the Vanilla bean Panna Cotta is perfectly complemented with the strawberry coulis and fresh berries complete the decadent dessert. The Tiramuisu was delicious but did not match the unparalleled beauty and taste of the Panna Cotta.

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Brunch @ Blu Jam Cafe- 7371 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

 

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Make sure you arrive at this Melrose / West Hollywood neighborhood brunch gem right when it opens because if it hits 10 AM, the cafe has a long line outside of it ( More than an hour …#hectic ) However, the Crunchy French Toast with a Hot Vanilla “Milk”(kinda like a sauce) is a breakfast that is truly worth the wait. This is by far, my favorite french toast in the whole world. Its the culinary balance of textures from the creamy custard like bread to the crunchy bite on the outside and the luscious hot vanilla bean milk all of which pair perfectly with tart seasonal berries and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Also , they have fresh juices, made with fruits that you want. A healthy juice can help you forget having just devour a french toast a few moments ago.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeade Strawberry Whipped Butter

Whats better than strawberries & cream? Strawberry Whipped Butter is ❤️Next time you need something quick to whip up with just a few ingredients to spruce up some simple french toast or pancakes , this whipped butter will elevate your dish into something truly spectacular. 

All you need is : 

  • A stick of butter at room temperature (salted or unsalted  it doesnt matter I used salted and it still tasted amazing)
  • A few strawberries (4-5), rinsed and chopped tiny
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • Tablespoon of Sugar

   
    
    

Place the whipped butter on the center of a sheet of aluminim foil.

  Wrap the butter in the foil in a log and place in the freezer for it to harden. 

Slice the whipped butter and serve on your french toast or pancakes. Bón Appetit

 Xoxo,

Shiza

New Year, Healthier Me

Although I believe that New Year’s Resolutions do not EVER work, I do believe that it is a good time for self- reflections and perhaps a new mindset. I am not saying that your resolutions won’t work, I am just saying you would rather use it to contemplate on where you are at your life and find ways to make achievable, positive changes. Nothing too crazy or dramatic, because just because the calendar year changes, that doesn’t mean you have too, too. With that being said, I am going to share with you guys some healthy breakfast and drink ideas which will have you feeling great both inside and out. I have been enjoying eating healthier since the start of this New Year because with my cousin’s Big Fat Indian Wedding this past December, I was tired of eating rich and spicy Indian food.

Breakfast- Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowls are all the rage right now and what’s great about them is that they are an easy to make breakfast for your busy mornings. You can even make the smoothie the night before and top it right before eating. It makes for a refreshing and satisfying breakfast that will give you the energy boost that you need to kickstart your day!

You can literally use any fruits that you want in the smoothie bowl, blend the fruits (ex: strawberries , blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango, kiwi) up with about a 1/4 cup of greek yogurt, a splash of orange juice, and a drizzle of agave nectar or honey for some sweetness and you have yourself a delicious smoothie. Make sure you put in more yogurt than juice so that the smoothie is thick and can be eaten with a spoon. I literally eyeball it. No need to be really specific , the possibilities are endless. Each smoothie that I make has its own unique flavor and taste.

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A very berry smoothie

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A mango, strawberry, & raspberry smoothie

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The mango, strawberry, raspberry one blended.

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Toppings:

  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Chia Seeds
  • Sliced Almonds
  • Granola
  • Dates
  • Drizzle of Honey or Agave Nectar
  • Coconut Shavings
  • Kiwi
  • Chocolate Chips

Hydrate- Coconut Water

I absolutely adore coconut water , especially from a fresh coconut. Although, I do enjoy vita coconut water or the Taste Nirvana Real Thai coconut water with pulp that come in green bottles from the store year-round when I can’t find Thai Coconuts. Coconut water has more potassium than a 4 bananas and is packed with electrolytes and tons of other health benefits.

 

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Hydrate-Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

I love to drink pressed orange juice throughout the day. Orange juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C and a great thing to drink as a snack that keeps you refreshed and satisfied. I go through several bottles of these a week. If you own a juicer you can juice your own oranges and make freshly squeezed orange juice at home. You can even make your own fresh oj blends using other citrus such as blood oranges, grapefruit, or tangerines. It will take a few extra minutes but it is definitely worth it and can easily spruce up breakfast on the weekends.

 

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  Eat – Salads

Salads are a great way to stay in shape especially when they are packed with wholesome ingredients and fruits and vegetables that you enjoy to it and are served with light, homeade dressings that are not packed with calories and fat because store bought dressings can LITERALLY KILL your salad. I shared a scrumptious salad recipe on another blog post titled “Summer Salad Recipe” so check it out if you are interested in making a healthy homemade salad packed with flavor .

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My homemade Summer Salad from the blog 

 

These are a few ideas on healthy eating, stay fit and well both on the inside and out. SO sorry this post is a month late (I drafted it but never go to actually completing and posting it) , but i hope the New Years Resolutions you made in January apply to your life today .

XOXO

Shiza

 

 

Summer Diaries Part 2 : Mumbai, India

While in India, I went on a four day trip to the charming city of Bollywood and the Arabian Sea. Here are pictures of my adventures!

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Aerial view of Mumbai from the flight.

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Versova Beach is a local , hidden beach that is beautiful! I rode a horse on the waterside here! It was so fun and relaxing.

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Gateway of India constructed to welcome the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay (now Mumbai) .

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The famous Taj Hotel of Mumbai.

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Mumbai’s Speacialty breakfast : Vada Pau, consists of spicy fried potato patties filled with green chillies and served with fresh buns and a pudina (mint) chilli chutney and a sweet imli (tamarind) chutney. This is my favorite breakfast in Mumbai, I had it for three days straight because I loved it that much.

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This is from Naturals , a Juhu Beach based natural fruit ice cream shop’s watermelon ice cream! The shop offers fruity flavors but this one was my all time fav. The texture of the ice cream is very light yet creamy and the ice cream had little bits of fresh watermelon to it.

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Gorgeous Sea Link Bridge

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)
is a historical train station built in 1887 to honor Queen Victoria’s 50th anniversery of being Queen.

Xoxo,
Shiza

Simple, Summery Fettuccine 

Fettuccine is a pasta that is usually served in an alfredo sauce. However, today I changed things up and made some with a simple sauce using fresh ingredients such as rosemary and basil from my garden, sweet cherry tomatoes, and fragrant garlic. These ever so accessible ingredients transformed the fettuccine into a heavenly dish that is perfect for a summer time lunch! 

Ingredients:

  1. Good quality Fettuccine 
  2. About a cup of Cherry Tomatoes 
  3. 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  4. Handful of Basil
  5. 1 sprig of Rosemary 
  6. Lemon Pepper
  7. Seasoned Salt
  8. Parmeasan cheese 
  9. Olive Oil + Butter
  10. Pinch of sugar ( to offset the acidity of the tomatoes) 

Directions: 

  1. In a large pot, boil water up to the brim with some salt.
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes lengthwise. Chop the basil and 1/2 of the rosemary. Mince the garlic. 
  3. Once the water in the pot boils, add the fettuccine noodles. I added about 1/2 of a box of fettuccine simply estimating it. No need to be precise, if you have extra pasta you can use it the next day! Cook the pasta in the salted boiling water for about 8-10 minutes of until its al dente.  
  4. While the pasta cooks, heat a tablespoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan on medium high heat. Once the oil + butter begin to sizzle, add the minced garlic. Let the garlic infuse its flavor into the oil, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning . After 2 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes into the saucepan. Raise the heat to high for a few minutes and sautée the tomatoes. They should release a sauce yet hold their shape. Add the sugar. Stir well.
  5. Next, lower the heat and add the lemon pepper, seasoned salt, basil, chopped rosemary, and the 1/2 sprig leftover into the saucepan. Stir well. A sauce should develop. 
  6. Drain the fettuccine and add it into the saucepan with the tomatoes. Combine the pasta with the sauce on low heat. Add a teaspoon of butter into the pasta. Turn off heat and add some grated parmesean cheese and mix well. Remove the sprig of rosemary. Voilà, the fettuccine is ready!

   
    
    
 
Buon Appetito❤️

Xoxo,

Shiza

Alfred’s Coffee☕️

Who said something couldn’t beat Starbucks or Coffee Bean. Well today I went to a coffee shop on Melrose called Alfred’s Coffee. Located on 8428 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069. The Carmel Latté stole my heart. It was rich iced coffee with Carmel drizzled on top of it, iced coffee is an art to me getting it to taste right is the beauty of a good coffee shop. The ambiance of the place was quite chic. There’s a chocolate store inside and a designer boutique neighboring the coffee shop. It’s so modern and exciting! I definitely think it’s a perfect spot for coffee lovers to go there with friends for a nice chat! The shop has more than just coffee. They serve pressed juices, pastries, salads, and artisanal sandwiches. My favorite thing at the shop was their “but first coffee” mugs. Alfred’s Coffee is featured as one of the top 10 coffee shops in LA according to Timeout. 

  

      Caramel Latté  
      Inside the chocolate store   
        
      Waiting in the line.   
      My favs   
     

    Summer Diaries : Kolkata , India

    This summer I visited the majestic city of Kolkata ( prev// Calcutta) . It wasnt my first time , I have visited this once british-raj capital city since I was young . However , I had more fun this summer than visits before because I got to experience the culture through the food. 

     I had an unforgettable experience sampling Calcutta’s multicultural cusine which melds Mughlai , Chinese , Bengali , and British-Raj cuisines forming a diverse food background.

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    Chai (indian tea with milk) is a must to start a Calcuttans day. This is a breakfast/afternoon staple for indians. This particular chai is served in an earthen clay pot , which adds depth to its flavor. It is also garnished with fresh kesar (saffron) which adds a floral aroma to a simply delicious chai!

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    Lunch// Rumali Roti ( thin indian flatbreads cooked on the stove ) served with the rich curry of Chicken Kassa, a Bengali speacialy. This is from the casual and famous restaurant , Shiraz.

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    Peter Cat Restaurant’s famous Chelo Kebab dish features two types of kebabs : one succulent chicken skewer with vegetables and two mutton seekh kebabs seasoned with Persian spices , the dish also comes with a side of rice and a poached egg on top. It is a classic Calcutta dish that survives the test of time! I love the blend of Persian and Indian cuisines in this dish. It is definitely a must try!

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    A classic british breakfast of beans on toast at the legendary Flurys in Park Street , Kolkata. This restaurant was founded in 1927 during the British Raj and it still retains its old world charm and offers one of the best European confections and breakfasts in the city.
    P.S: I have a blogpost on the recipe for Beans on Toast…..

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    Street side Sutha ( Thread) Kebabs are flavorful and moist kebabs with an extraordinary texture caused by it being wrapped in a thread while cooking. After cooking , the thread is opened and the kebab opens up into small pieces of meat packed with spice and garnished with lime wedges and chopped onions.

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    Thai Chicken Curry served with burnt garlic rice is a must try at the whimsical 111 year old Bengali Bungalow turned into a restaurant , The Corner Courtyard. This curry is rich in thai spices and the coconut milk in the curry adds a depth and body to it . The Corner Courtyard has become one of my favorite restaurants for global cuisine and the menu offers a wide range of Asian and Western offerings.

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    Image of The Corner Courtyard

    Xoxo,
    Shiza

    Caprese Eggs Benedict

    Hey everyone ❤️
    Today I am sharing with you my take on the classic eggs benedict. I revamp the flavors by using fresh ingredients and modern cooking techniques that enhance the flavors of simple ingredients. This version will make you feel a little less guilty after eating! Its made with fresh stove roasted tomatoes, creamy mozzerella, basil, and of course, the star of the dish, easy to make hollandaise sauce! This breakfast recipe will be using the flavors of italy to make breakfast a little more interesting.

    1) Make the Hollandaise Sauce
    I use Ree Drummond’s Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe from her website : http://www.pioneerwoman.com
    Ingredients:
    – 3 egg yolks
    – 2 sticks of melted butter
    – 1 lemon
    – dash of cayenne pepper
    Directions:
    1) Melt the butter on a saucepan.
    2) Separate the eggs, keep the egg whites for the benedict.
    3) Place the egg yolks into a blender and on low speed blend the yolks for a minute or so.
    4) Then, slowly pour the melted butter into the blender with the blender on. Be sure to pour it on slowly so that you dont scramble the eggs!
    5) Blend until the all the butter is combined with the yolks. Afterwards, squeeze the juice of a lemon and add the cayenne pepper, while blending. Voilà, you have just made homeade hollandaise in a matter of minutes!

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    Part 2:
    1) Cut the english muffins lengthwise using a serrated knife.
    2) Place both halves into a toaster on a medium high heat setting so that they have a crunch to them.
    3) Once the english muffins have been toasted, butter them generously, and set asideZ

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    4) Now once thats ready, begin slicing your mozzerella in thin slices.
    5) Next, slice the tomatoes as well.
    6) Heat a pan on medium-high heat and spray with some olive oil. Place tomatoes on the hot skillet in order for them to brown slightly. Once they are on the pan, season them with a dash of garlic powder, seasoned salt, and italian seasoning. These spices elevate the flavor of the tomatoes.

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    7) Fry the eggs. I prefer fried eggs rather than poached eggs, but poached eggs would work as well. I use the eggs whites left over from the yolks used in the hollandaise sauce. Be sure to season your eggs with salt and pepper!
    8) Assemble the benedict. First, place a slice of tomatoe onto both halves of the buttered english muffin.

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    Next, place a few leaves of basil on top of the tomatoes for an added layer of freshness.

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    Then, place the sliced mozzerella on top of the basil.

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    Lastly, top the benedict off with the fried egg and drizzle your hollandaise sauce.

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    Enjoy! Bon Appetit

    Xoxo,
    Shiza

    Cleo @ SLS Las Vegas

    Aloha❤️
    This past weekend I went to Las Vegas for a mini-vacation. Las Vegas is known for its flamboyant restaurants and culinary acclaimed cuisine. At my stay , I dined at several amazing restaurants but none compared to the Cleo . This restaurant truly captivated me from the minute I walked in. I felt as though I had walked into an ancient wonderland. The ambiance had a rustic look with a book shelf lining the walls which was filled with an array of vintage images in black and white and numerous books stacked almost messily. To make things feel even more picturesque, there was a massive wood fire oven and open kitchen in the center of the restaurant . It felt as though I was dining with Cleopatra herself.

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    Aside from the ambiance, the food was divine . Cleo is known for its Mediterranean inspired cuisine, and it lives up to that. All of the dishes have a sublime flavor from the use of traditional spices and cooking techniques . My favorite dish was the Branzino Tagine , which is cooked in a ceramic dish in the wood oven . A tagine is a Morrocan layered pilaf with a meat and rice or cous cous and cooked in spices. I requested the chef to make it with fish instead of meat or chicken ( fish tagine is not on the menu but they were kind to make it for me) but my parents ordered the chicken tagine and that too was spectacular.

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    This is the branzino tagine.

    We also ordered a grilled haloumi salad with heirloom kale, hazeulnuts, tarragon, and citrus. This salad had a refreshing flavor and the grilled haloumi was perfect. Halloumi cheese has bedouin roots from the middle east and is semi-hard and has a high melting point which allows it to hold its shape when grilled.

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    We also ordered a shrimp and salmon kabob . Both were well seasoned and had an earthy flavor from the dill. The kabobs were served with a spicy chilli sauce that complemented the kabobs well.

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    I recommend this restaurant to any one visiting Las Vegas.

    Xoxo,
    Shiza

    Summer Salad Recipe

    Aloha ❤️Today I am sharing with you guys a mouthwatering summer salad recipe. This recipe is super healthy and flavorful. It is like eating California in a bite. With local ingredients and lovely flavors, you will forget that you are eating a salad!!

    Ingredients:
    – 1 Box of Spring Mix Greens
    – 1 Tomato , thinly slices
    – 1 Persian Cucumber, sliced
    – 1 Lime
    – 1 Avacado, sliced
    – Handful of Blackberries
    – 1 Fuji Apple , thinly sliced with a squirt of lime juice to prevent it from browning
    – Handful of fresh mint and basil
    – Pinch of Red Chilli Flakes
    – 1 tsp. Red Chilli Powder (optional)
    – Handful of Walnuts, chopped
    – 1 clove of fresh Garlic, minced
    – dash of lemon pepper
    – dash of Italian Seasoning
    – dash of Mediterranean seasoning salt
    – Salt & Pepper, to taste
    – drizzle of Olive Oil, for sautée
    – leftover roasted/baked chicken

    Directions:
    Part 1: Cook Chicken
    Drizzle some olive oil into a pan on medium high heat. Add minced garlic. Allow the garlic to infuse into the oil for a minute. Then, add the chicken.
    Allow the chicken to warm through and get slightly browned. This adds flavor. After, add the spices ( lemon pepper, seasoned salt, chilli powder & flakes, italian seasoning) . Stir the chicken on low heat. In the end, add a handful of chopped basil ( about 1/4 cup or so). The basil adds an earthy and fragrant flavor to the chicken. Voilà , your chicken is ready! Set aside.

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    Part 2:
    Wash all of the fruits and vegetables needed for the salad. In two bowls add some of the spring mix. This is the base layer of the salad. Next, add the sliced avacado on both salads. Squeeze a bit of lime on the avacado so that it doesn’t go brown. Sprinkle some salt and pepper to flavor it. Next, neatly arrange the cucumbers, tomatoes, blackberries, apples, and mint on top of the salad. Afterwards, add the chopped walnuts. Lastly, place the chicken on to the salad.

    Tips:
    Add the same amounts of fruit/vegetables to both salads. Arrange in a pattern for a pretty presentation.

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    Variation: You can leave out the chicken for a vegan salad. It will taste just as good!

    Bon Appetit
    Xx,
    Shiza