Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2019

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/1151132

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Page 9 of 31

10 wholelifetimes.com A s an Angelino on the go, "quality of life" and "work/ life balance" are mantras that often echo through the ashram of my mind. I've conceded the epigenetic memories imprinted by my Italian ancestors have given me the out from ever aspiring to be a Breatharian. Respect to Paracelsus, Prahlad Jani, and Wiley Brooks, but I like to eat! Conceived from a craving for chopped salads and encouraged by his friends, founder Mark Kulkis and team launched their first Chop Stop in Burbank in December of 2010. Now with 14 locations around greater Los Angeles, Chop Stop is a healthy and tasty alternative to the machine of mega-corps pumping out unconscious filler food. Adding options to my "go to" list of quick and mindful eateries that are in alignment with my dietary and sustainability values is always appreciated so I eagerly decided to explore Chop Stop. The Northridge location at 9225 Reseda Boulevard had easy parking in the rear and nice sidewalk seating perfect for a mild summer evening. The team working that night was pleasant and eager to share a deep understanding of the dishes and ingredients. The chicken soup was warm and hearty and a great way to open dinner. Marrying those thick noodles with the goodness of a soft pretzel stick was the way to go. Dining with a friend? I suggest getting multiple pretzel delights as my vegetarian partner's enthusiasm for the first had me ordering more tasty bread seconds after it hit our table. Chop Stop is straight forward and built for flavor and speed. They offer a dozen "Menu Chops" predesigned with classic ingredient profiles like Greek, Caesar, and Cobb or you can go off the board and create your own by combining a great selection of organic and wherever possible locally sourced greens, grains, proteins, and toppings. I went with the Chef's Chop. Everything was fresh and crisp, but I think it's the fineness of the chopping that creates the opportunity for every flavor to be present in every bite that made it so good. Be sure to try the cilantro-lime dressing — the hint of mint made it unique and brought the whole salad together nicely. Warm "Chopurritos" are bowl options with cilantro rice and black or white beans as the base. We went with black beans and tasty tofu combined with tomatoes at the height of their summer season, avocados, and bell peppers. The vegan and gluten-free lemon vinaigrette dressing was zesty and played very nicely with the cilantro rice on what was our favorite dish of the visit. All the "Chops" and "Chopurritos" can be converted into wraps and that's exactly what we did with the Wasabi Veggie Chop. All the ingredients were in a nicely balanced ratio allowing all the flavors to speak; beets, edamame, tomato, avocado, cucumber, and almonds with the Wasabi Delight dressing. Swap out the dressing and this becomes a delicious vegan option. Bright and crunchy, this could become an easy habit between meetings and calls. If you're running off to the next thing, know that the take-away containers espouse to be "products made from plants and guaranteed to turn to soil." Should you need utensils, Eco- Products cutlery is available. Coconut water, Voss, kombucha, and a few juices top the list of a large variety of beverages. Non-GMO and gluten-free snacks are available, too. The Sweet Street Manifesto Brownie is an unstoppable force. If you need to thoughtfully refuel for the next big meeting or are just craving an amazing chop salad, pop by one of Chop Stop's ever-growing locations around town. You'll be happy you did! For more info and to find a location near you, visit www. chopstop.com. Fast, Friendly, Plant-Forward Food CHOP STOP eat here now Photos: Courtesy of Chop Stop By Chet Livingston

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