New Year, Good Intentions

In this New Year, resolutions abound, and I often find myself squirming at the thought of setting a list of rules to follow. Like many people, I’m continuously busy with work and family, and often forget or brush aside self-care. I’ve found that resolutions often add more to my already busy schedule and come from the wrong center of motivation. So, this year I’m setting intentions to support my natural inclinations.

I admit that starting this process took a little more time and effort on the front end, but I feel I have a solid set of resolutions that I can really act upon in 2018.

One of my intentions is: “I will nourish my body with healthy habits.”

I believe this intention is multifaceted and can be practiced by a variety of actions. What comes to mind most readily for me is food, perhaps because I’m a chef. I also associate the word “nourish” with food.

Many resolutions are centered around our eating habits. I think in our quest to better ourselves food is a major component. It can be difficult to maintain our healthy eating resolutions as time passes. It’s easier to keep healthy eating resolutions by having “good choices” with food that tastes good.

The Urban Plates menu was designed with the purpose of providing our guests with “good choices” year-round to nourish healthy habits. There are many dietary options available, from gluten-free to vegan.

We also have a selection of seasonal menu changes to highlight produce at its peak. Everything we make starts with pure ingredients. We take pride in our carefully sourced ingredients and especially our proteins.

All of our proteins are excellent choices and have been carefully chosen based on a strict set of standards. None of our proteins are administered antibiotics and all are raised sustainably or wild caught. We feature our proteins in our Plates, Hand-Tossed Salads and Hand-Carved Sandwiches. My personal favorites are the Grilled Wild-Caught Albacore, Oven Baked Sustainable Salmon, Grilled Free-Range Chicken and Grilled Grass-Fed Steak. All of our proteins are simply prepared with house made spice blends and straight forward cooking methods. You can watch everything being cooked as you order, bringing to life a transparent dining experience. Our Plates are a great way to customize your meal. You can pick a protein and two sides that you feel will best nourish your body. We have so many healthy options — both chilled and hot — that you can always find the perfect fit.

Personally, I prefer Urban Plates entree salads for well-rounded nourishment. Most of our salads have a hot protein carved to order as the highlight of the salad. All have been designed to satisfy hunger, provide bold flavors, and be a great source of nutrients. One of our most popular salads is the grilled steak salad. This salad features our grilled grass-fed steak, UP lettuce blend, a refreshing and bright pineapple-mango salsa, crunchy jicama, mint, addictive coconut roasted cashews and a clean and light jalapeno – lime vinaigrette. Our grass-fed (and grass-finished) steak is an excellent choice with the benefits of being a great source of heart- healthy omega-3 fatty acids, containing higher levels of cancer fighting conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) and more heart disease- fighting antioxidant vitamins than grain fed beef, and is leaner than grain fed beef. I love this salad as it has a bold flavor profile, yet eats very light with all the refreshing flavors. It is also one of our lowest calorie and higher protein salads. I can’t think of a better start to eat healthy!

My other go to salads are the herbed salmon and local mixed beet.

The herbed salmon salad is a great option if you want a boost of omega- 3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins and selenium. Salmon is high in all of these nutrients. We have prepared our sustainably raised salmon by first oven roasting it and then flash chilling it to preserve these great nutrients. This salad has additional protein from an organic egg and excellent antioxidants from the raw fennel, bell pepper and herbaceous green goddess dressing. It eats hearty, yet not heavy, and has a bright flavor profile.

Sometimes, meat-free is what I crave, and our local mixed beet salad is the perfect vegetarian choice. We gently roast locally sourced gold and red beets and proudly arrange them as the center of this salad. Our UP lettuce blend is tossed with nutty arugula, roasted tomatoes, jicama and organic carrots. We dress the salad in a unique preserved lemon vinaigrette and garnish everything with raw walnuts, hemp seeds and fresh California goat cheese. This salad has a great mix of light sweetness from the beets, briny tartness from the preserved lemon vinaigrette and earthy flavor profiles from the nuts, seeds and goat cheese. On top of being delicious this salad provides a great source of vitamins, minerals and omega- 3 and omega -6 fatty acids from the beets, walnuts and hemp seeds.

Another option for nourishing healthy habits are our Replenishers. We make all of them with fresh, organic ingredients and offer a variety of flavor profiles to satisfy any craving, from fruit to vegetable based and no sugar added options like our green juice. These refreshing beverages make an excellent complement to any of our menu options and can also stand alone as source of nourishment or a light finish to your meal.

Hopefully you’re off to a beautiful start to 2018. We would be happy to be a part of your new year and look forward to fulfilling your eating resolutions in 2018.

Well Wishes,

Chef Jen