After what has seemed like one of the hotter summers here in Southern California we have finally gotten a little break from the heat with our first little set of rain showers and cooler temperatures. Our family kicked off the first fall days with an apple picking trip to our nearby mountains. We spent the morning bundled up in our rain gear and boots toting our toddler through low clouds and mist searching for the tastiest varieties of apples and pears at our favorite organic orchard. After tasting many varieties and filling our bags to the brim we considered ourselves successful and went in search of a warm, dry spot to fill our bellies with some lunch.

We found a cute little café with a small fire and some heartwarming chicken pot pie. After recharging and warming up we finished the adventure with a slice of tasty apple pie! It was the perfect fit for this quintessential fall day.

I am now officially ready for the fall season! Of course, I had to immediately start cooking with our bounty of apples and this has just kick started my jump into fall cooking. I love this time of the year because we start to get a new influx of produce and I break out my favorite pots in preparation for soups and stews.

Our fall menu is debuting October 9th this year and we will be highlighting the beginning of the season’s produce in each new item. I hope you can enjoy the beginning of fall and we think these new dishes are a great way to get started.

Lamb Osso Bucco

Our Lamb Osso Bucco debuted last year and was such a hit we felt like it would be perfect for the fall and winter weather that is quickly approaching. Osso bucco is a northern Italian dish traditionally prepared with veal shank. The inspiration for our osso bucco dish came from when I worked in a small family owned restaurant in northern Italy where they slow cooked lamb in a wood fired oven with stock and spring vegetables. We have carefully sourced a sustainably raised grass fed lamb shank as the center of this braise.

We start our lamb osso bucco with a classic red wine sauce reduction infused with thyme, oregano, rosemary, lemon and bay leaf. After the sauce has only a hint of acidity and the herbs have bloomed we combine the bone in lamb with our scratch made chicken stock, organic carrots, onion, celery and the wine reduction sauce. We then slow cook everything overnight until the lamb is fork tender, almost falling off the bone and the marrow has permeated the sauce. This slow and careful, yet simple preparation makes this a hearty and delicious braise with a light bodied sauce. We serve the braise with a mint gremolata, an Italian herb sauce, made from fresh raw mint, lemon zest, garlic and a hint of spices. This bright green sauce adds a refreshing aspect to the whole dish and pairs perfectly with the earthy lamb. We serve the osso bucco with our luscious mashed potatoes and a slice of grilled rustic bread. I love eating this on colder nights when I am in the mood for something comforting.

As we enter the fall season, soup is one of the first foods I start craving. The weather is turning and I am looking for that comforting feeling that comes with enjoying a bowl of made-from-scratch soup.

Sweet Potato, Carrot & Red Curry Soup

This fall’s seasonal soup is inspired by traditional Thai red curry dishes and the sweet potato season. We lightly sauté local sweet potatoes, organic carrots, jalapenos, onions and garlic until they are sweet and tender and then add a sachet of bright herbs including fresh ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and cilantro. Our chefs slowly simmer these beautiful vegetables with fresh red curry, chili sauce and our scratch made vegetable stock until the soup is perfectly cooked and the ingredients and flavors are beautifully bloomed. We finish the soup by pureeing it with a splash of rice wine vinegar. The final product is a beautiful velvety and smooth soup that is well balanced with a natural sweetness and creaminess from the sweet potatoes and carrots countered by a rich spiciness and brightness from the fresh herbs and rice vinegar. This soup is vegan and gluten free.

Seafood Chowder

Our seafood chowder is inspired by the traditional New England style chowders of our chef’s home town. Of course, he has added his own unique twist to our recipe. We start by slowly cooking bacon to render the fat and enhance the smoky pork flavor. We then lightly cook organic carrots, sweet onions, celery and organic yukon gold potatoes with spices traditional to shrimp and crab boils, fresh oregano, thyme and bay leaf until the vegetables are tender and the herbs have bloomed. We add milk, cream and clam juice and slowly simmer the soup with fresh fish and shrimp to gently cook everything. Our chef wanted to make this soup available to gluten sensitive guests, so we have omitted the use of flour as a thickener and replaced it with a tapioca starch! It doesn’t change the flavor at all and keeps the creamy smooth texture we love it a great chowder. The bacon adds a smoky background flavor that contrasts nicely with the mild seafood profile. The vegetables add a perfect amount of texture and create an umami flavor with the spices that are complemented by the light sweetness from the cream and milk. Enjoy a bowl of chowder on its own or add a cup to any salad, sandwich or plate.

White Bean & Collard Greens with Turkey Bacon Hot Side

This fall we are debuting a new hot side inspired by a classic southern side, beans and collard greens. I grew up with collard greens as a regular accompaniment at dinner time, especially during the fall season when collard greens are at their peak in the southeastern United States. The Urban Plates version starts by soaking dried white cannellini beans overnight and then creating a beautiful organic tomato-based broth with sautéed turkey bacon, sweet yellow onions, garlic, red bell pepper, smoked paprika and scratch made chicken stock. We then slow simmer the white beans in the tomato broth until the beans are tender and creamy. The collard greens are added at the very end of the cooking process to preserve their texture and nutrients, cooked just enough to make them tender. We then add a splash of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of nutritional yeast to finish the side. I may be partial to this side since I have fond memories of collard greens from childhood, but it is a truly addictive flavor profile. The tomato broth is a perfect base with a light sweet- acidic flavor and smokiness from the bacon. The creaminess of the beans adds a heartiness that showcases the earthy collard greens and makes for a perfect pairing. On top of being a hearty and delicious side it is also a healthy option. The collard greens have the benefit of being loaded with sulphur- containing compounds called glucosinolates, which support detoxification. They are a great source of vitamin K, vitamin A and they’re also rich in soluble fiber and antioxidants. The cannellini beans are loaded with plant-based protein and are an excellent source of fiber, folate, iron and magnesium. I can eat a bowl of this side on its own with a nice piece of our grilled rustic bread, but also enjoy pairing it with our grilled cage-free chicken and mashed potatoes to really feel like I am enjoying a meal from my childhood.

Red Lentils and Black Bean Cold Side

Also debuting this fall is our legume based cold side. This is a great option if you are looking for a healthy and hearty side that has a beautiful refreshing flavor profile with great textures. Lentils and black beans are both in the legume family and are low in calories, highly nutritious with protein, fiber, folate and magnesium. We start by gently simmering the lentils until they are tender, but not falling apart. These are then chilled and tossed with the black beans, crisp raw celery, bright cherry tomatoes, fresh green onions, hand chopped cilantro and our scratch made North Africa chili sauce, harissa. This beautiful sauce is made with whole chili pods pureed with cumin, coriander, lime juice, a hint of vinegar and finished with organic olive oil. The combination of the rich beans with the raw vegetables and cilantro make this side eat light with bursts of crisp and refreshing flavors and textures. The harissa sauce adds a little punch of spiciness and tanginess from the lime. This healthy side also has the added benefit of being vegan and gluten free.

Antioxidant Salad

With the changing season we are updating this salad with fall fruits. The strawberries and blueberries will be replaced by apples and oranges. This beautiful salad is a great way to load up on healthy whole fruits and vegetables.

Pomegranate Cranberry Replenisher

Our pomegranate cranberry replenisher is my favorite fall replenisher. It is a blend of raw whole fruits and organic juices that have no sugar added. Pomegranates and cranberries are both excellent antioxidants and full of vitamin C and K. The addition of freshly juiced raw ginger gives this slightly tangy juice a spicy note that is sweetened by organic apple and orange juices. We blend everything together and then pass it through a wider hole strainer to allow some of the fruit pulp to remain in the drink. The texture creates depth and makes you feel like you are drinking the whole unaltered fruit. This replenisher is a perfect showcase of fall fruits with the added benefit of providing you with a little immunity boost with the changing season.

Apple, Acai & Beet Replenisher

This new whole fruit and vegetable replenisher is a great blend of high- antioxidant and anti- inflammatory ingredients. Acai, the super berry, is a powerhouse of nutrients with high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A and dietary fiber. Beets and carrots are loaded with carotenoids and nitrates. We use whole raw fruits and vegetables and extract the juices to capture all the great health benefits. The combination of the slightly acidic acai is balanced by the natural sweetness of the apple and rounded out with the earthy beet and carrot profiles. There are no added sugars making this a healthy, guilt free replenisher.

Red Velvet Parfait

In designing this new pastry item, we wanted to offer an alternative to the traditional desserts associated with the fall season. Our pastry chef has taken the classic red velvet flavor profile and craftily developed a unique raw vegan version based on red beets which are just coming back into season after the warmer summer days. Our red velvet parfait starts with a “red velvet cake” layer made of pureed raw red beets, dates, almond flour, vanilla bean, coconut and cocoa powder. It is then topped with a layer of “frosting” made of pureed soaked raw cashews, maple syrup, agave, lemon juice, vanilla, coconut and a pinch of sea salt. Each individual parfait is topped with seasonal fruit and edible flowers. You may be skeptical of a dessert with beets, but I promise if I hadn’t mentioned the vegetable you wouldn’t have guessed it as an ingredient. The “red velvet” layer tastes like the traditional cake with a prominent cocoa note and a beautiful red color from the beets and a rich creamy texture from the almonds and coconut. The frosting layer could easily pass for a less sweet version of cream cheese frosting with a light velvety texture, beautiful vanilla flavor and little acidity from the fresh lemon juice. This lower sugar dessert is also nutrient dense with the almonds and cashews as a base and is completely raw so you can absorb all those nutrients. We feel this is a great balance to many of our traditional dessert offerings and gives you a healthier choice while dining with us.

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Buttercream

Apple season is the epitome of fall for me. Every year I look forward to the opening of our local u-pick apple orchards. I love loading up on all the different varieties and making apple everything… pies, cider, tarts, fresh apple sauce and my favorite fresh apple cake with caramel buttercream! I mean how can you resist the perfect combination of apples and caramel. This cake consists of four luscious cake layers made with fresh organic apples, walnuts, vanilla, cinnamon and turmeric. The cake layers are a beautiful golden color from the turmeric and have a lively spiced flavor profile. The cake layers are then filled with caramel buttercream made with our handmade caramel sauce, sweet cream butter and a hint of cream cheese whipped to a delicate fluffy consistency. The cake is topped with caramelized apples and a drizzle of caramel sauce. The fresh tangy apples are tempered by the rich caramel flavor and warmed with the fall spices, making this the perfect fall dessert. We will offer this cake by the slice and whole…. in case you want to share.