Where do Pine Nuts come from? | Pine Nut Recipes

We all know pine nuts right? Those small, decadent, outrageously expensive nuts that melt like butter on the tongue and give traditional basil pesto it’s signature flavor. But where do they come from? Today, we’ll find out!

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What’s in a Name?

Turns out, the answer is closer than we may think. It’s in the name! Pine nuts, in North America, come from pinyon pine trees.

pinyon pine tree in utah desert
Pinyon Pine tree at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA.

The pinyon pine is well-equipped to live in treacherous desert environments — they are compact, slow-growing, and drought tolerant. Since they’re accustomed to hard desert life, the pinyon pine grows primarily in the southwest, with some as far north as Wyoming.

There are quite a few varieties of pinyon pine trees. Most commonly used for harvesting pine nuts are the Colorado pinyon, single-leaf pinyon and Mexican pinyon.

Now, while pine nuts harvested in North America may come from the pinyon pine, what about European pine nuts? Pesto, a staple of Italian cuisine, is made specifically with pine nuts. And these pine nuts come from a different tree.

Stone Pine Tree at Sunset in Tuscany, Italy

Meet the stone pine, which has been cultivated as a pine nut machine for over 5,000 years in Europe. The stone pine is native to the Mediterranean region and Southern Europe.

Getting to the Good Stuff

Now that we know the basics — that pine nuts do indeed come from pinecones — we can get into the good stuff.

Before harvesting, the pine nuts need time to mature. This can take anywhere from 18 months to three years. Yes three years! Apparently good things do come to those who wait.

baby pine cones
Young pine cones, growing in the summer sun.

Typically, pine cones bud in the spring, grow through the summer, remain dormant in the cold months (fall/winter) and mature again through the following spring/summer. Each varietal of tree may have different maturation times. The trees that take three years go through cycles of growth and dormancy until the finally reach peak harvesting stage.

Turns out, harvesting pine nuts is no small feat, which accounts for their significant price tag at the grocery store. Thankfully, the Huffington Post debunked the myth of pine nuts for us:

“Pine nuts are ready to harvest about 10 days before the green cone begins to open.

The cones are dried in a burlap bag in the sun for 20 days, to speed up the process of drying and opening.

The cones are then smashed (as a way to quickly release the seeds) and the seeds are separated by hand from the cone fragments.

The fact that it takes a lot of time and patience is an understatement — and justifies the high price of pine nuts.”

So with the pine nuts finally mature and released from their cone casing, their all ready to use now right? Not quite. The pine nuts themselves have an external shell, which then has to be removed to reveal the sweet golden raindrop-shaped nut inside.

For the ambitious home gardener, you can learn how to harvest pine nuts at home from your very own pinyon pine tree. Read more at Gardening Know How.

pine nuts and pine cones
Mature pine cones, harvested pine nuts, and the final product – deshelled pine nuts ready to enjoy.

Pine Nut Palooza

Now for the fun part! What to do with all these tasty pine nuts. Here’s three recipes to try.

Pine Nuts may be the most buttery of all the nuts. They are full of delicious oils that come out when they are lightly roasted in the oven, or toasted in a frying pan. Sprinkle them on pastas, salads, anywhere that could use a delicious, light buttery crunch.

1. Traditional Pesto Genovese

jarred pesto
Traditional Pesto

For an authentic use of pine nuts, try this Original Pesto Genovese recipe. This recipe uses a traditional mortar and pestle to create a luscious, smooth pesto bursting with fresh basil, parmigiano reggiano, and pine nuts.

2. Italian Pine Nut Cookies

pine nut cookies
They’re just the best.

For those with a sweet tooth, try out one of my personal favorite Italian cookies. While I can’t share my family’s secret recipe, this Food52 recipe is a good replacement. The sweetness of the almond paste (ground sugar and almonds) balances out the buttery pine nuts on top. It’s the perfect nutty cookie, not too sweet.

3. Pine Nuts on Pasta

pasta and pine nuts
Pine Nuts on a beautiful bowl of pasta

Try some toasted pine nuts sprinkled on this nutrient-packed, extra flavorful Pasta with Kale and Garbanzo Beans. Toasted pine nuts go well with pretty much any pasta dish, so I encourage you to make your favorite and add a sprinkle of pine nuts on top. Or, use the pesto recipe above with your favorite pasta and add an extra pinch of pine nuts just before serving!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pine nuts? Let us know in the comments below!

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Simple Sugar-Free Crepes | Recipe

Easy sugar-free crepes make a great base for a delicious breakfast, dinner or side dish! Make them sweet or savory depending on your toppings of choice.

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A Crepe for Everyone

This recipe was designed as a blank canvas. No vanilla, sugar or other flavoring is added to the crepes, making them to perfect vessel for any topping. Literally, anything. The sky is the limit!

crepes with whipped cream

A fun way to do crepes is with a crepe bar. Set out a plethora of topping items and everyone gets to make their own. Here are some ideas to set up your own crepe bar at home:

  • Jams, Jellies and Preserves
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cherries and Berries
  • Banana
  • Whipped Cream
  • Poached Pears
  • Baked Apples
  • Cheddar, Parmesan, or Mozzarella Cheese
  • Ham
  • Prosciutto
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Lemon Zest
  • Chocolate Syrup

Not your Average Crepe

Originally, I made these crepes as a featured weekend breakfast. I wanted them to be a bit heartier than your average crepe, with a secret sprinkling of protein. That’s where the almond flour comes in.

crepe on a plate

Because of the almond flour, these crepes have more of a bite than your average, tissue-paper-thin crepe. They’re more filling and naturally flavorful as well, without having an overbearing almond flavor.

Make it a Gluten-Free Crepe

To make these crepes gluten-free, swap the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free all-purpose flour.

I wouldn’t recommend making them only with almond flour, as they may come out too heavy to be enjoyable as a flexible crepe.

crepe on a bird plate

Layer it up

Crepes have a tendency to stick together when fresh out of the pan. Stack your finished crepes on a plate with a paper towel between each layer as you cook them. Or, use an empty sheet pan, lay the crepes out flat and use a sheet of wax paper between layers.

layered crepes on a plate

Swirl it Good

The secret to making crepes is all in the swirl. Hold your pan off the heat when you add the batter to the pan, and swirl as soon as you begin pouring in the batter.

Only add more batter to the pan if you absolutely cannot cover the entire surface. Otherwise, use the back of a spoon (preferably a plastic, not metal, spoon) to smooth the batter out and create one even thin layer.

Simple Sugar-Free Crepes

This basic crepe recipe is made with pantry ingredients, ready in 15 minutes and can be topped with anything your heart desires! The crepes are sugar-free, which means they can easily be made sweet or savory depending on your tastes. The almond flour makes these crepes more filling than the average crepe without weighing them down.
See the recipe notes for crepe topping suggestions!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Main Course
Cuisine American, French
Servings 12 crepes

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup milk almond or oat milk works great!
  • ¾ to 1 cup water start with ¾ cup and add more as needed to thin out the batter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

Instructions
 

  • In the microwave, or on the stovetop, melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk eggs, milk, water and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add almond and all-purpose flour, then the butter.
    Ensure the butter has come to room temperature before adding it to the batter.
    Whisk until smooth.
  • The batter should be smooth and runny, not thick. Thinner than pancake batter. Add more water if needed.
  • Heat a 6" frying pan over medium high heat. Add a spot of butter to the pan if it is not nonstick.
  • Holding the pan at a slight angle, pour approximately ¼ cup of batter into the pan. Swirl immediately, coating the entire bottom of the pan.
    Use the bottom of a spoon to gently spread the crepe out if needed. Try to keep the crepe thin by spreading the batter out evenly.
  • Let the crepe cook for about two minutes, until the bottom is a light, golden color. Using a flat spatula, flip the crepe over to cook the other side.
    Typically, the second side cooks in less time than the first side.
  • Stack crepes on a plate with a paper towel in between each.
  • Serve warm.
    To reheat the crepes, Microwave for 30 seconds or warm in a low-heat oven.

Notes

Sweet crepe ideas:
  • Jams and Jellies
  • Peanut Butter
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Berries
  • Banana
  • Whipped Cream
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Lemon
Savory crepe ideas:
  • Ham
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Cheese
  • Proscuitto
  • Cream Cheese
Keyword crepe recipe, crepes, easy crepe recipe, sugar free crepe recipe, sugar free recipe

What is Meal Prep and Why Should You Consider It? | Lifestyle

Meal prep is growing in popularity as a method of saving money on going out, maintaining a healthy diet, or just being able to enjoy a home-cooked meal without actually having to cook the entire meal every night.

The intention of this article to shed some light on two things:

Welcome to Meal Prep 101!

meal prep

What is Meal Prep?

At it’s most basic, meal prep is preparing your meals ahead of time. While meal prep was initially popular as a means of maintaining a healthy diet (think weight loss/muscle building) it’s come to be so much more. Having dinner prepared (or, mostly prepared) at the end of a day’s work makes things so much easier. I enjoy the ability to eat a home-cooked meal every night, without having to make it all from scratch.

There’s two general categories of meal prep we’ll cover:

  • Daily Meal Prep
  • Batch Meal Prep

Which one you choose depends on your personal needs, including how much time you have to get dinner “on the table” every night and how much cooking you’d like to do. Meal prep can be used to create a full slate of meals for the week, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, or can be used for that one meal of the day you never seem to have enough time to make.

If you are just starting off with meal prep, I suggest picking one meal a day to prep. It’s a nice way to ease into prepping and you’ll have the opportunity to try different meal prep methods to see what works best for you.

meal prep

Daily Meal Prep

Daily meal prep involves fully preparing full meals to eat throughout the week. With this, you can prepare a weekday’s worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners ahead of time. These can be the same dish for each meal, or a variety, depending on how much you’d like to prep.

Here is an example menu for all three daily meals utilizing the same dish for each. This is a typical workweek (M-F) meal prep menu.

These are all items I’ve made and prepped for the week. I chose them because they contain ingredients and flavors that I enjoy, and because they are relatively easy to make in large batches.

The biggest advantage I found with daily meal prep was not having to think about what I was going to make for dinner, or scrounge up for lunch every day. During the workweek, my meals were covered. I had filling and delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner all planned out.

Some daily meal plans also include snacks. I keep mine simple with fruit, nuts, or chips and salsa. I’m also a big fan of popcorn, which is easy to make on a whim.

There are a TON of resources for planning meal prep, some of which I’ve included at the end of the article. Recipes made for meal prep can be particularly useful, as not all dishes hold up well over the course of a few days. They may be safe to eat, but less enjoyable or lose their texture.

Batch Meal Prepping

batch meal prep example menu

Batch meal prep differs from daily meal prep primarily in that it involves cooking, or at the very least, assembling meals before you eat them. This may be more suitable for someone who has the desire to cook dinner every night, but may be short on time. Meal prepping this way saves cooking time and allows you to throw together delicious, homemade meals in minutes.

Here’s an example menu, where chicken breast and ground beef were batch cooked before the workweek.

Setting aside time to wash, dice and prep vegetables for the week is also a way of batch meal prepping. This type of meal prep allows for more flexibility, as well as fresh-made meals, but does require more time and planning. To do batch meal prep well, you’ll need a plan for the week on what you’d like to make. Now, that can always change, but it’s much easier to prep when you have an idea of what you’ll be cooking for the week.

Why Meal Prep?

Have complete control over what ingredients go into the food you are eating.

For some, meal prep is a way to control what goes into their food. I’m lactose intolerant, so having prepped meals that I knew contained not one trace of dairy was a relief, and much easier on my body. If you have specific dietary needs, such as gluten intolerance or practicing veganism, meal prep can be an easy stress-free way to eat with confidence.

Meal time convenience.

With your meals already prepared, no thought is required when meal time comes. Heat up your meal (or not, if its a no-reheat meal like salad or a fun bento box) and you are ready to eat. By having a homemade, prepared option, you’re less likely to eat out, grab fast food, or even substitute a granola bar for dinner (no shame intended, but you are worth more than a granola bar!).

Saves money.

Buying groceries in bulk and preparing your own food undoubtedly saves you money, particularly if you shop what’s on sale and in season in the grocery store. Saving money on weekday cooking means more funds for weekend fun! Personally, I’d rather save during the week and go somewhere special on the weekends.

Less dishes throughout the week/on days with prepped meals.

Need I say more? Typically, I deep clean my kitchen once a week, after we’ve completed prep. All it needs is simple maintenance throughout the week to stay clean and organized.

Improve your cooking skills.

Tackle basics you’ve been wanting to learn or branch out and try something new. Additionally, meal prep will improve your budgeting and planning skills, a completely unanticipated but warmly welcomed side effect of meal prep I discovered a few months into it.

100% customizable.

It’s YOUR meal prep… make what you want to eat! Whether it’s low carb, vegan, high protein, all greens, you name it, you can prep it. There are some incredible resources available to assist with your meal prepping journey. You can choose to have meal plans created for you to follow, use a meal-planning service like Blue Apron, or do it all on your own. It’s up to you.

meal prep

How does meal prep work in real life?

My husband and I both work full-time. Certainly having breakfast and lunch made work days easier, and saved us the time, effort, and money of going out to eat for lunch every day. Having dinner meal prepped allowed us the opportunity to heat and eat, and have more time to relax and enjoy each other’s company at the end of the day.

Honestly, when we first started meal prepping, I hated it. It takes a few hours on the weekend, and at first I felt I was wasting time. Despite my discontent, I increasingly appreciated being able to come home from work and have dinner ready. I didn’t have a mound of dishes in the sink, only our meal prep containers and plates to rinse and throw in the dishwasher. Eventually, I learned to love meal prep and couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

Whichever way you choose to prep, the most important part is finding what works for you. Otherwise, you won’t be consistent about it. Whether that means carving out a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, or prepping for only three days at a time, find what works for you and run with it.

Everyone has different reasons for meal prep. For us, it was a time-saving, convenient way to enjoy homecooked meals. Additionally, it helped us save money, which we’d prefer to splurge on a nice evening out or stash away for a vacation full of fun new foods.

crop cooks preparing pasta in kitchen

A note about time management

Depending on what and how much you meal prep, you may find yourself with all four burners occupied on the stove and both racks in the oven full. This can be overwhelming at first, cooking three full meals for multiple days at once.

My best advice, start slow. You’ll learn what you can do at the same time as you go, and you’ll get better at kitchen multitasking in the process. Here’s a basic method to tackle meal prep:

  1. Dice your veggies and measure ingredients — In the world of foodservice, this is called mise en place meaning everything in its place. Have everything ready to go, so that once you start cooking, its a seamless process of adding ingredients. This way you won’t be rushed to chop an onion when you’re pot of water is boiling and the chicken is ready to be taken out of the oven. It can get hectic, fast.
  2. Start with the oven — Once your ingredients are ready, start with the recipes to be made in the oven. Whether it’s roasted veggies, or a sheet pan pork chop, get the oven heated and get those things in there first. Oven recipes are great for meal prep, because once their in there, the oven does all the work.
  3. Move to the stove — While your food bakes away in the oven, turn your attention to the stovetop. Start anything you’ll be cooking and keep a close eye on it. In the meantime, clear counter space to place those hot pans once they’re ready to come out of the oven.
  4. Let everything cool — Don’t store your food as soon as its done cooking. In accordance with food safety measures, it’s best practice to allow hot food to come to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, it may cool down unevenly and even leave food susceptible to spoilage. No one wants that. While everything cools, set out your containers.
  5. Fill and store — Once everything is cool, fill up your containers and stick them in the fridge. For no heat meals like salads, keep dressing separate and items that may cause the lettuce to get soggy, like tomatoes or cucumbers.
meal prep

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Don’t you get tired of having the same thing every day?

A: The honest answer is… sometimes! When we make something I don’t like that much, or that didn’t turn out as I had expected, it gets tiresome to eat it day after day.

But when we make dishes I truly enjoy eating, that are filling and tasty and cooked to my preference, I do not tire of eating it throughout the week. Make no mistake — I greatly look forward to the weekends, but I’d much prefer eating the same dinner five days a week without the stress of whipping up a healthy meal after a full work day. Chicken Enchiladas and the Lemon Miso Pork with Coconut Curry Vegetables were two meal preps I 100% looked forward to eating every single day. As I said before, it’s imperative to find what works for you and to start with flavors and dishes you already know you love!

Q: Can you ever eat out? Aren’t you committed to eating what you prep?

A: Yes, you can eat out and no, you aren’t obligated to eat what you prep for every meal. The flexibility of your meal prep depends on your own personal preference. I’d rather make meals for the week and have that option. When plans change, or the opportunity arises to eat out, or with friends/family, it is simple enough to put the planned, prepped meal into the freezer to eat at a later date. By doing this, you’ll eventually build up enough meals to eat for a week without prepping! Believe me, it happens faster than you’d think.

Q: Does all of your prep really keep for five days?

A: It depends. Some ingredients hold up much better than others. An easy way to think about it: any food that would hold up to a trip to the beach, or a picnic is a great candidate for meal prep. There are also ways to preserve your food, like dressing salads only right before you eat them.

Foods that, once cooked, get mushy or undesirable in a day are not recommended for meal prep — my number one example: zucchini! Additionally, if you are concerned about the freshness of your food, you can prep for three days a time only, instead of the full five.

Ultimately, start small to learn what you are comfortable with. We’ve prepped this way for over a year and have never had issues with food going bad. There were some things that just weren’t tasty after a day, but those were experimental and things we won’t do again. Okay, so it was the one time I tried making roasted radishes. The internet made it look tasty but I do not recommend. Ever.

meal prep

Meal Prep Resources

Workweek Lunch

meal prep

My all-time favorite meal prep resource. Talia, founder of Workweek Lunch, provides kitchen-tested meal prep recipes, sized and ready for you to cook. The website is full of free recipes, but to unlock all of the meal prep potential, including weekly meal plans complete with recipes and a shopping list, a subscription is required. I’d recommend starting with the free recipes if you’re new to prepping and consider a subscription if you’re having difficulty planning what to make each week.

Budget Bytes

Budget Bytes has an entire section on their website dedicated to meal prep recipes. Beth, founder of Budget Bytes, creates tasty recipes on a budget that don’t compromise nutrition or flavor.

The Kitchn

The Kitchn has a great list of meal prep plans to get you started prepping. All the meals are planned out for you, and they give you full recipes and cooking instructions.

Edible Ink

meal prep

Yep, that’s me! I have a growing collection of meal prep recipes available on the website, as well as an ongoing series of posts about meal prep (including this one). I also have two different meal planning templates available as free downloads on the Free Resources page.

Do you meal prep? If not, is it something you’re interested in? Let me know in the comments below.

Until then, happy prepping!

Intuitive Eating: A Brief Introduction

Welcome to the world of intuitive eating — aka the anti-diet.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult your health professional if you have specific health concerns.)

What is intuitive eating?

Essentially, intuitive eating is the concept of eating according to what your body needs. It involves tuning in to hunger cues, understanding cravings (for sugars, protein, etc.) and not imposing limitations what is “good” and “bad” to consume.

“Intuitive eating is a philosophy of eating that makes you the expert of your body and its hunger signals.”

–Healthline

According to Healthline, “Intuitive eating is a philosophy of eating that makes you the expert of your body and its hunger signals.” This is what makes it the anti-diet; instead of restricting consumption, forcing over-consumption of certain foods, or abruptly cutting nutrients like carbs out of your diet completely, intuitive eating focuses on feeding your body what it really needs.

Of course, that concept is inherent in its name. Intuitive eating is all about listening to your intuition, trusting that your body will send you the correct signals for what it lacks, learning to understand those signals and eat accordingly.

For those regimented in the diet mindset of strict control and calorie counting, intuitive eating may seem like a radical, and at times dangerous, concept. There are many initial fears, mostly surrounding binge eating, like “If I want a cookie and I let myself have one, what if I eat the whole bag of cookies?” Those fears are valid, and often perpetuated by past participation in harsh restrictive dieting.

a table full of food and people eating

However, with intuitive eating, sometimes binging on a specific food is part of the initial journey. Once you (and your body) start to get used to the ability to eat what you want, when you want it, the desire to binge large amounts of a certain foods decrease. Instead of being in a constant state of “need more while I can have it,” you ease into a feeling of security and confidence. That when you want a cookie, indeed you can have it, and you’ll know when enough is enough without feeling the urge to consume as many cookies as possible while it’s “allowed”.

The flip side of intuitive eating, not only eating when you want to, is also stopping when you are full. The pressure to “finish your plate” is set aside, and listening to your body becomes paramount. What you don’t eat now, you can always save and eat later. Contrary to popular belief, nothing detrimental will happen if you don’t finish your food in one sitting.

What is intuitive eating like?

In order to tell you best what intuitive eating is really like, we’ll need to get personal. I became an intuitive eater after years of being caught in the restrictive dieting cycle.

At my worst restrictive eating, I consumed about half the daily recommended calorie count for my age and height. I was skinny, but in no way healthy. (Therein lies a crucial difference that often gets lost in a culture where being thin is held as an ideal of beauty. Thin does not always signify health, and having fat on your body does not make you bad, ugly, or unworthy.)

Eventually, I realized that my health was more important, and that choice enabled me to put my physical, mental, and emotional health first. I gave up the dieting and stopped denying my body. I read about intuitive eating and finally resigned to the fact that maybe what my body needed was to be a bit bigger, to have more fat and more muscle.

girl eating mousse

Realizing this was freeing. I started listening to my body. Sometimes that meant I wanted rice and a fried egg for breakfast. Sometimes I wanted a giant plate of roasted vegetables. And yes, many times I indulged in the french fries I craved, or ate half a papaya in one sitting. I also went through a bout with ice cream, until I realized sugar was a migraine trigger for me (more on that another time). And when its time for pasta, I eat as much as I want.

When my car tells me the gas tank is low, I fill it. It’s the same for my body. Food is fuel. It doesn’t matter if I’ve “earned” the food. I’m fortunate enough to be food secure, and so when I’m hungry, I eat.

Maybe intuitive eating is strange, and maybe it seems strange because its different than what we’re lead to believe is “normal”. Either way, it was (and still is) working for me. I weigh more now than I used to, but I’m also the healthiest I’ve been in my adult life. Most importantly, I’m comfortable in my own skin.


As unbelievable as it may be, I started craving “healthy” foods. Vegetables, fruits. My desire for greasy, salty, overtly sugary foods decreased. The more natural foods I eat, the better I feel, and the more I want them. Not because they are “good,” but because my energy is improved, my mind is clear, and I’m actually motivated to get moving (a big feat for me).

This may be the greatest irony of intuitive eating. When given absolute freedom to choose what to consume, it’s natural foods my body wants the most. Of course, I still eat fried foods, and still love my tater tots, but eating “clean” all the time isn’t the goal. It’s the fact that I’m free to choose, and this time I choose natural foods because I know how they effect my body, the positive effects they have on my overall health. It’s not a chore to eat healthy. It’s a privilege.

Now, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know what will work best for you. I can’t say that intuitive eating is the best path or not. All I can share is my experience. For me, this philosophy of listening to my body has enabled a healing process in my relationship with food, increased my enjoyment of it, and ultimately, freed my mind from thinking that handful of chips I just ate ruined my daily calorie count.

bowl of healthy oatmeal cereal

How do I start my intuitive eating journey?

First, let’s make an important distinction, best articulated by Healthline’s “A Quick Guide to Intuitive Eating.”

“To eat intuitively, you may need to relearn how to trust your body. To do that, you need to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger:

  • Physical hunger. This biological urge tells you to replenish nutrients. It builds gradually and has different signals, such as a growling stomach, fatigue, or irritability. It’s satisfied when you eat any food.
  • Emotional hunger. This is driven by emotional need. Sadness, loneliness, and boredom are some of the feelings that can create cravings for food, often comfort foods. Eating then causes guilt and self-hatred.”

Let’s break this down. First, learning how to trust your body. Dieting essentially consists of us telling ourselves “No.” We train ourselves to ignore our bodies signals, instead force feeding it whatever the diet tells us we’re supposed to eat.

Intuitive eating requires listening to our bodies signals. After years of suppressing them, practice is needed to listen successfully. It will take trial and error. The more you practice, the easier it will become. However, intuitive eating is not something that happens overnight. It’s a journey, but one that is incredibly rewarding.

Second, the distinction between physical and emotional hunger. Emotional eating is what drives us to consume a pint of ice cream when we’re sad, or an entire family size bag of potato chips when we’re stressed. Intuitive eating does not condone emotional eating. Instead, it supports listening to your emotions as intently as you listen to your physical hunger. Acknowledging and honoring emotions, participating in self-affirming activities and prioritizing emotional self-care are all ways to retrain the body from satiating emotions with food to using intentional action to recognize and move through “big feelings.”

Now, we’ve just moved from the realm of physical hunger, dieting, and physical appearance to the much deeper under-layers of emotional well-being and how our emotions affect or reflect our relationship with food. This is a big leap. It’s not one that everyone is comfortable taking. For support in this journey, I’ve included a short list of resources at the end of the post.

Though it may seem like extra work, and it is, the effort is worth it. This may be seen as radical self-care, but in an era of social turmoil and global health crises, I’d argue that being radical in our self-care is exactly what we need. For it is only through taking care of ourselves that we can best take care of others. Extending kindness and understanding inward may be radical, but radical kindness, that is, compassion, is the heart of humanity, and we could all use more of that in our lives.

Intuitive eating resources

Tricia Parido of Turning Leaves Wellness Coaching provides great one-on-one support for your food journey. She’s an expert (literally a Master Coach) whose personal experience with disordered eating makes her an incredible resource on your journey to health and healing with food.

The Healthline article “A Quick Guide to Intuitive Eating,” which includes a list of the ten main principles of intuitive eating, and a short reading list to learn more. While diving more into the philosophy behind intuitive eating is important, remember that your journey should be personal. If you encounter a principle that doesn’t sit right with you, adapt it, make it your own and move forward. This is the anti-diet, after all.

Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S literally wrote the book on intuitive eating. Visit her website to read her blog, schedule counseling or learn more about professional training. She also has a helpful list of resources available for free.https://www.evelyntribole.com/

What are your thoughts on intuitive eating? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Juice without a Juicer | Lifestyle

No fancy juicer? No problem! This simple method uses your household blender to turn your fruits and veggies into fresh “squeezed” juice.

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Why Juice?

An array of fresh juice

What’s the difference between drinking fresh fruit/vegetable juice and making a smoothie? Juicing extracts the nutrient-rich juices from your fruits and veggies. Smoothies consist of pureed fruits (and sometimes veggies). Meaning the main difference is that in a smoothie, you retain the natural fiber in the fruit/vegetable pulp.

Juices are less filling than a smoothie, but provide more concentrated nutrients and benefits, since you are eliminating all of the fruit/vegetable mass and just consuming its rich nutrient juice.

Both are great options, and it truly depends on your preference. Smoothies can be a quick way to get your fruits and veggies and add other nutrients like a protein powder, super greens powder, or nut butters for natural protein and fats.

Disclaimer: Edible Ink does not endorse any kind of “juice diet” or “juice cleanse”. Juicing should be a part of a balanced diet, an addition to your lifestyle, not a meal replacement. Always consult a nutritionist or your doctor before doing any kind of “cleanse” or “diet”.

Juicing with a Blender

This method of juicing requires a few kitchen gadgets you probably already have in your kitchen:

  • Standard blender, NutriBullet or similar blending vessel
  • Fruit(s) and/or vegetable(s) of choice
  • Square of cheesecloth
  • Nice glass bowl
  • Handy funnel
  • A jar or container in which to store your juice.

The process is simple. Add your washed and coarsely chopped fruits/veggies to your blender. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of water to help everything blend smoothly. Once blended, strain out the pulp using a cheesecloth over a glass bowl. Squeeze out all the excess juice from the cheesecloth, then use the funnel to safely transfer your fresh juice to your desired storage container. Mason jars work great for this!

To enjoy your fresh juice all week, make a large batch on the weekend. Store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week.

No Waste Juicing

The process of juicing is aimed to extract the juice from your fruits or vegetables, leaving a lot of pulp (mass) behind. In order to make your juicing zero waste, save the pulp and reuse it!

To store your fruit/vegetable pulp, grab a reusable ice tray. Pack the pulp into the ice cube wells and freeze. Once frozen, add to a storage container of your choosing and keep in the freezer until ready to use. This ensures that the pulp is in small individual sizes, instead of one block of frozen pulp.

When you’re ready to make a soup or some vegetable stock, pop in a few of your vegetable pulp cubes. Or, for your next smoothie, add a few cubes of fruit pulp. No waste!

Veggie broth
Add your vegetable pulp to your next pot of veggie broth!

How to Juice without a Juicer (Blender Method)

use your blender to makes fresh "pressed" juice. No special equipment needed!
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Beverage, Breakfast, lunch, Snack

Equipment

  • Standard blender, NutriBullet or similar blending vessel
  • Fruit(s) and/or vegetable(s) of choice
  • Square of cheesecloth
  • Nice glass bowl
  • Handy funnel
  • A jar or container in which to store your juice

Ingredients
  

  • Fruits or veggies of your choosing
  • Water to blend

Instructions
 

  • Select your fruits and/or veggies.
    Wash and dry them.
    Cut out the core/seeds any parts you do not want in your juice. Then dice.
    For harder vegetables such as beets, you’ll want to help your blender out by cutting them smaller. Fruits tend to blend easier, and may not need to be cut as much as vegetables.
    If you'd like to create a juice blend, for example, orange carrot, you can add them to the blender at the same time.
  • Add a splash of water.
    Depending on the tenacity of your blender, it may be able to handle the fruits or vegetables without any additional liquid. For example, a Ninja blender may be able to handle this.
    Having a Nutri Bullet, I know that I do have to add water or it won’t blend. A few tablespoons should work just fine.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Place the cheesecloth over the glass bowl. This will serve to catch any pulp or mass in your juice. I recommend cutting the cheesecloth with overhang on the bowl, so it is easier to pick up and ring out.
    Carefully pour the entire contents of the blender through the cheesecloth.
  • Gently lift the cheesecloth from the bowl by bringing all the sides together to form a seal.
    Squeeze the pulp in the cheesecloth to remove any remaining juice.
    Your bowl should now be full of delicious fresh juice!

Notes

Save the pulp! Pulp can be frozen and used in smoothies, soups or stocks. For easy handling, pack pulp into an empty ice cube tray.
When frozen solid, remove from tray and store in freezer-safe packaging until ready to use. No waste!
Keyword How to juice at home, How to juice without a juicer, Juicing, Juicing at home, Smoothie

ENJOY!

The Unknown Mexican Chef

Sometimes in life, you meet a taco that changes you forever. One Sunday, in the parking lot of a country market, I met that taco. This is our story.

me and my taco
Just a girl and her taco.

On the Central Coast, there is a chef who simply goes by the name “The Unknown Mexican Chef.” Though primarily a private chef and caterer, once a week on Sunday mornings, he runs a popup taco stand outside the Los Berros Country Market. This is where I found the taco of my dreams.

At 10:45 am, 15 minutes before the stand opened, a line was forming. Grill’s burning hot, giant pots of beans and taco consume bubbling on the outdoor stove top. The scent, euphoric. For these are the tacos of legend. The Queso Taco.

queso taco combo plate with rice and beans
The tacos in question.

The Queso Taco is exactly as it sounds. Copious amounts of cheese are applied directly to the surface of the tortilla, which is then slowly melted before ~the flip~. Now, the cheese meets the surface of the hot flat top, searing to a crisp crunchy coating around the exterior of the taco.

Incidentally, I can’t eat cheese. My body just doesn’t tolerate it. So I ordered my Queso Tacos “sin queso” (without cheese). The result? Still totally, utterly delicious.

This, I’m sure, is because of the filling. Choose from carne asada, chile colorado (chicken), birria (pork), or al pastor (pork). My default is always al pastor, and this one one of the most delicious al pastor tacos I’ve ever had.

Thick chunks of pineapple provide a light sweetness to offset the rich pork, bites of onion and cilantro, the heat of the smoky chipotle salsa and a dash of acid from the squeeze of fresh lime. A perfect bite.

queso taco number 2 with beans and rice
Glorious Queso Tacos

I’ve tried countless tacos in my life, many off a taco truck on the streets of LA. This taco reminded me of those –authentic, delicious, made with love — but it gave me something more.

A container of consume (like a thin, saucey dip) in which to dunk my perfect taco. These tacos require a level of detail, the passion in which you can taste in each bite.

Too on the menu is a giant quesadilla. No, it’s not a cheeky name. It’s quite literally a GIANT quesadilla. Filled with your choice of meat, rice, beans, cilantro, and onion, it’s reminiscent of a burrito, flattened into a rotunda of tastiness.

giant quesadilla
The giant quesadilla

Finally, the pozole. Oh, pozole. Pork, hominy, that luscious broth. Top it off with some onions, cilantro and a spot of fresh cabbage. Like the tacos, and giant quesadillas, this pozole is worth writing home about.

pozole
Pozole topped with onions, cilantro, cabbage and a dollop of sour cream (not Daisy).

In this life full of turbulence, of tragedy and uncertainty, we must gather joy wherever we find it. I found joy in these tacos. This perfectly messy, dynamic, thoughtfully constructed food.

With food this good, The Unknown Mexican Chef is destined to become well-known before too long. Perhaps, someday, we’ll call him the Master Mexican Chef instead. These magical tacos, each made to order, are deserving of such recognition and appreciation.

If you’re on Instagram, give the Unknown Mexican Chef a follow. There I learned he is a man who cares passionately about his work, family, faith, and those glorious, glorious tacos.


You can find the Unknown Mexican Chef at Los Berros Country Market in Arroyo Grande on Sundays at 11 am. Check his Instagram page for more information about private parties and catering.

brown potato

Eat Seasonally: Winter

Winter may be the season of staying indoors, but it’s still rife with delicious fruits and vegetables. Check out this quick guide to winter produce, complete with recipes to get you started.

Why eat seasonally?

Eating seasonally provides quite a few benefits. For one, since the season is optimal for these fruits and vegetables, they’ll likely have better flavor than when out of season. Better quality produce means better flavor, making them even easier to enjoy.

If you have a local farmers market, look for the winter produce listed here. Purchasing locally grown seasonal produce is more eco-friendly. Why? Out of season produce found in supermarkets is often shipped in from other countries, meaning more emissions. Locally grown means it travelled much less, and you’re likely to get more ripe, fresher produce as well.

Winter season runs from December 21 – March 20.

What’s fruits are in season for Winter?

Citrus may be the most popular winter fruit. They’re able to endure the chilling frost of winter better than other fruits. Pineapple may be the most surprising winter fruit. It’s season begins at the tail end of winter (in March) and continues throughout the spring and summer months. Pears are a winter favorite, though their peak season is short. Get them while you can!

sliced avocado fruit on a banana leaf

Avocado – January to March

yellow banana fruits

Banana – Year-round

slice grapefruit

Grapefruit – January to August

sliced kiwi fruits

Kiwifruit – November to January

food healthy nature water

Meyer Lemons – November to March

composition of sliced bright tropical fruits

Orange – Fall to Spring

pexels-photo-175767.jpeg

Pears – August to December

pineapple underwater fruit water

Pineapple – March to July

What vegetables are in season for Winter?

Root vegetables and hearty leafy greens are the most popular winter vegetables. Parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas may not be everyone’s first choice, but with the right recipe they transform to delectable side dishes, luscious soups, or even tasty seasoned fries. Winter squash are heartier than summer squash, with thicker skins and firmer flesh, able to endure the winter frost. Look for Kabocha, Acorn, Buttercup, Butternut or Delicata squash at your local farmer’s market.

food water summer texture

Cabbage – Fall to Spring

Celery – April to December

red flower bud on green leaves

Swiss Chard – December to March

Collard Greens – December to March

food healthy wood leaf

Kale – November to March

Onion – September to March

Parsnip – September to June

potatoes

New Potatoes – Late Winter; Russet Potatoes – Year-Round

Rutabaga – October to March

Turnip – October to March

Winter Squash – Butternut, Acorn, Kabocha, Delicata

Winter Produce Recipes

Here’s five recipes using winter produce to get started.

Kale Chickpea Pasta by Edible Ink

Harness the power of kale and chickpeas in this 30 minute pasta recipe. Great for a nutrient-packed, quick weeknight dinner. This is kale done right; sautéed in a cast iron skillet with garlic and spices.

Cinnamon Maple Roasted Kabocha Squash by Eating Bird Food

Kabocha squash (also called Japanese pumpkin) may be my personal favorite squash. It’s easily roasted, with a great firm texture and only mild sweetness. It can be easily transformed into a soup, curry, or roasted with cinnamon and maple, like in this recipe!

Parsnip Chips

The right combination of spices can turn any vegetable into a tasty masterpiece. Which is exactly what happens in this Parsnip Chips recipe by Chef Aarti Sequeira.

Ultimate Banana Bread by Edible Ink

Banana bread is a tried and true classic. This twist on classic banana bread results in a light cake-like loaf, perfect for a comforting dessert or sweet breakfast.

Orange Espresso Cupcakes

Marbled cupcakes are always sure to impress! This recipe uses winter oranges and a dash of espresso for a fun and refreshing cupcake.


What’s your favorite winter produce recipe? Tried any of the recipes listed in this post? Let us know in the comments below!

Biscotti : A Christmas Tradition

The story of a beloved Christmas tradition, the love of family, and one very special cookie.


The scent always lingers. It permeates the fabric of the pillows on the couch, fills every crevice in the cabinets, clings to the air, sitting heavy on each atom. It’s unmistakable, unforgettable. Sweet, a bit like licorice. And for me, completely and wholly synonymous with Christmastime. It’s not gingerbread, or eggnog. It’s biscotti.

Every year at Christmas my grandfather, Papa, and my grandmother, Nana, dedicated a weekend to baking batches on batches of biscotti for the family. But perhaps, the story doesn’t start there. It starts decades earlier when Papa bought an Italian bakery in Southern California.

There, he learned how to make everything. Cookies, pastries, even wedding cakes. He’d spend hours sitting at the kitchen table practicing his piping techniques to get it just right. And it was there, at Masielo’s Bakery, that Papa learned how to make biscotti.

Eventually, the bakery was sold and new businesses bought — a lodge in Tahoe, a used furniture store. But the biscotti remained. The cookies, traditional, the recipe top secret, became like another member of our family. Paying homage to Nana and Papa’s Sicilian heritage, the product of Papa’s hard work and dedication, to be passed down from generation to generation.

Biscotti could be described as the exact opposite of an American cookie. They are hard, crunchy, packed with whole almonds and the bittersweetness of anise. Traditionally, biscotti are dipped in wine. I learned to dip them in a glass of milk, and eventually, at breakfast with a cup of coffee.

There’s an art to eating biscotti, and the key is the dipping. Biscotti are not a cookie of many ingredients. The biscotti Papa made, the biscotti Nana taught me how to make after he passed, consist mainly of whipped eggs, sugar and flour. Baked twice, they can become as hard and crunchy as a piece of overdone toast. And that’s exactly the way they should be.

See, the dunking is the secret. Once the biscotti hits that glass of milk, that cup of coffee, all those lovely air pockets fill with liquid and the cookie softens on impact. That’s how you must eat them, when they are at their peak.

Perhaps what was always so magical about Papa’s biscotti was that they came around only once a year. The process is involved, it’s time-consuming and made ever the more special as an annual Christmas treat. I’ve never known Christmas without biscotti. So when Papa passed, I knew the tradition must carry on. The prospect of a Christmas without Papa, without his joy and his light, was dim.

And, I suppose, that’s how I came to be the biscotti baker. For as you may have guessed, the biscotti are not just a cookie to us. They’re a symbol of our family, our tradition, and the love that Papa shared with us. Making biscotti is not something you do for fun. It’s something you do out of love.

So with Nana as my director, I learned how to make them. I tried and failed and tried again. I learned how 10 degrees difference in the oven affected the cookies, the temperature of the eggs, the amount of anise. With the chicken-scratch short hand of Papa’s recipes and Nana as my official taste-tester, I learned. I felt under-qualified for the responsibility. But somehow, I felt Papa cheering me on, guiding my hands and I knew I must persist.

Making biscotti is messy business.

Yes, I may have cried over a batch of cookies. Whether it was the fact that the cookies came out wrong, or more that I missed Papa, I can’t say. Grief will do that. I pushed on.

Until I presented a batch of biscotti one day to Nana, who sat down to test it with her omnipresent cup of coffee and she said, with a smile, “This is just like Papa’s.” In that moment, it was all worth it. The tradition of the biscotti would not fade, Papa’s legacy would continue, and I vowed to myself, every year to make these not only for my family, but for him.

We all have our own holiday traditions. And while we enjoy the fruits of our labor (with a glass of wine, milk or cup of coffee) who we really do it for is the people we love. From my family to yours, I wish you Buon Natale, a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

Nana and Papa on their 50th wedding anniversary, celebrating with a cake Papa made and decorated.

What is a Jerusalem Artichoke? | Recipe

Today we explore an elusive root vegetable: the Jerusalem Artichoke! Learn what it is, how it tastes, and how to cook it with this quick and easy recipe.

Jump to Recipe

What is a Jerusalem Artichoke?

A Jerusalem Artichoke, also called a sunchoke, is the root of a species of Sunflower. It’s an ingredient I’ve seen used in resturants and on cooking shows, all the while thinking, “Where do I even buy that?” Turns out, at a local farm stand. When I saw them for sale at Rutiz Farms, I knew I had to seize the opportunity.

What does a Jerusalem Artichoke taste like?

Though a root vegetable related to the sunflower, the Jerusalem Artichoke tastes like its name – an artichoke! With a mild flavor, the sunchoke tastes how I imagine a cross between a potato and an artichoke would taste. Hearty and starchy with a hint of artichoke heart.

the inside of a sunchoke.
The inside of a sunchoke.

How do I cook Jerusalem Artichoke?

Bake it, boil it, stick it in a stew! But really, I’d suggest roasting Jerusalem Artichokes in the oven, like you would any other vegetable. It’d be great as chips, but true to form I chose to make them into fries, complete with a nice garlic aioli.

Another option is making these Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Brown Butter and Balsamic Vinegar from Bon Apetit. The splash of balsamic acts to balance out the heavy fat of the brown butter, and throwing whole sprigs of Rosemary in the butter as it browns makes for a delicious fried edible garnish.

We found that, in cooking the sunchoke or eating it, our brains kept trying to tell us it was a potato. If you’re tempted to cook it as long as you would a potato, watch out. Taste test along the way to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

Baked Jerusalem Artichoke Fries (Sunchoke Fries)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Jerusalem Artichokes (sunchokes)
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt (more to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Scrub the Jerusalem Artichokes clean. You can peel if you prefer, but scrubbing the dirt off will work just fine.
  • Slice the Jerusalem Artichokes into matchsticks.
  • In a clean bowl, toss the Jerusalem Artichokes with olive oil and seasonings. Adjust the seasonings to your preference or taste. Remember you can always add more after baking.
  • Spread parchment on a baking sheet. Lay out the Jerusalem Artichokes in a single layer, making them overlap as little as possible.
  • Bake in a 350° oven for 40-45 minutes until tender.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
  • Serve warm with a side of garlic aioli or your favorite fry dipping sauce!

The Garden – Santa Maria, CA | Restaurant Review

Off Broadway in Santa Maria stands a Mediterranean paradise with the fluffiest falafel you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

The Vegetarian Plate at The Garden - tabbouleh, falafel, baba ganoush, hummus, pita, and a tahini sauce.
The Vegetarian Plate at The Garden, Santa Maria

Tucked away off the main streets of Santa Maria lies this hidden gem – The Garden Mediterranean Restaurant & Cafe. Serving up Mediterranean classics like falafel, kofta, and tabbouleh, The Garden is definitely worth a visit!

The outdoor dining is spacious and comfortable. The staff incredibly warm and friendly, and seemingly as enthusiastic about The Garden’s tasty offerings as we were.

Spicy fries
Spicy Fries appetizer.

We started off with the Spicy Fries. Smothered in a mixture of spicy house sauce, garlic, and cilantro, these fries pack a punch! Served hot and fresh, a great appetizer for any spicy-lover.

Next on the menu, an item listed under The Garden Homemade Bakery section simply titled “Cheese”. Using housemade bread, topped with a Mediterannead cheese, this appetizer was reminiscent of a pizza. Instead of cheese sprinkled on top before baking, it seemed the cheese was added to the dough, and the crust folded over and formed around it.

The Garden Homemade Bakery Cheese appetizer.

The result: a beautiful cheese boat! Though this may look like a kind of pizza, the dough was soft and incredibly fluffy, without any crunch of a crust like you’d find on a pizza.

Judging by these two appetizers, I’d say select something that sounds intriguing to you, that caters to your specific tastes (like say, you like spicy or cheese) and order your appetizers based on that alone. You may have never tried anything like what you’ll get, but based on this experience, I’m going to bet you’ll love it.

Entree highlights include the kebabs: chicken; beef; and kofta – a traditional kebab made of seasoned ground beef. The kebab plates are plentiful, and of the four of us that had dinner, no one was able to clear their plate (not for lack of trying).

The rice rich with saffron, peppers perfectly charred — the details in the meals were immaculate. The tahini sauce provided a nice compliment, but the real star of the sauces was that incredible garlic sauce tied so deeply into Mediterranean cuisine. Have it with the kebab, the rice, some pita, on the fries, really anything. I’d by it by the pound if I could.

Vegetarians rejoice! There’s options for you at The Garden too. I had the Vegetarian platter (first photo in post) so I could sample all my favorites of Mediterranean cooking — tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, hummus, warak enab, falafel, and pita. I also requested a side of that delectable garlic sauce for my meal which they accommodated graciously. If you aren’t familiar with Mediterranean cuisine, here’s a quick description of everything that came on the Vegetarian Combo Plate:

Tabbouleh

Salad of finely chopped parsley, crushed bulgur wheat, tomatoes, onions, and spices, mixed in fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

TASTING NOTES: If you like greek salad, try tabbouleh. It’s got a great zesty kick and powerful freshness to each bite.

Baba ghanoush

Smoky roasted eggplant pureed and blended with tahini, garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

TASTING NOTES: A very basic description of baba ghanoush is like a hummus with roasted eggplant. It’s got a stronger flavor and smoother texture than typical hummus. Eat it with pita!

Hummus

Puree of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) with tahini, garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil.

TASTING NOTES: Most of us have eaten hummus by now, but this one deserves a bit of extra credit because The Garden hummus was just so creamy. If you aren’t a hummus fan, I’d recommend you try this one. It may change your mind!

Warak Enab

Grape leaves stuffed with rice, tomatoes, onions, parsley and spices. Served cold.

TASTING NOTES: Warak Enab is a Lebanese-style stuffed grape leaf — different than the Greek-style that’s served hot and filled with ground beef. Instead, Warak Enab is vegetarian-friendly and taste great with that tahini sauce.

Falafel

Fresh garbanzo beans mixed with spices, ground, formed into balls and fried.

TASTING NOTES: Falafel is a cornerstone of Mediterranean cuisine. Typically crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, it’s delicious and filling!

A special note about The Garden’s falafel: They are, without a doubt, the fluffiest falafel I’ve ever had. Sometimes falafel can be more dense on the inside, but still maintain that crunchy exterior. These falafel were different. With the perfect golden brown crust and as light and fluffy as can be on the inside. Perfection.

All in all, I can see why The Garden maintains its 5-star rating. It’s friendly staff and consistently tasty food make it a great place to eat, enjoy, and try new things.