Stay Healthy this Holiday with Salata

healthyholidayIt’s almost time to write your New Year Resolutions, which, for many people, will include something about getting back into shape or eating healthier. I’m still working on mine, and want to reevaluate my progress on my 2015 resolutions (shared here).Salata Holiday

One of the easiest ways to make wise meal choices is to pick a healthy restaurant that won’t tempt you with high calorie menu items. I love eating at Salata, because every ingredient has the calorie count on the identifying label as you walk through the salad bar line. On multiple occasions this holiday season, we’ve had guests over to the house – sometimes just a handful and other times, a lot of people. We chose to let Salata take care of the food. Yesterday, my sister-in-law called to say she was coming over, so I went on my way home to get food for her, Isla and myself. I chose to make the Keen Wah (quinoa, get it?) Kale salad, which included kale, radish, red onion, jicama, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, cranberry, and quinoa, with balsamic vinaigrette as the dressing. Isla got a similar salad, and Ivana got the Green Goodness as a wrap. You can see the whole catering menu here.

I love having people over to the house and making fun cocktails, appetizers, and healthy desserts, but I’m definitely more comfortable with having Salata for the salad course. Everyone loves it.

What do you normally do for having people over at your house? Have you tried Salata’s catering yet? 

Hope you have a wonderful NYE celebration tomorrow!  Ailee_Petrovic_151229_L86A8692

salatalogoI am part of the Salata Blogger Program. I was not paid for this post, but received goods (food!) for free. You have my word that all opinions are my own (and are honest!).

Durango City Guide


In 2012, my parents bought a home in Durango, much to our dismay, as we were rooting for a lake house in Austin. We are now so glad they ignored our pleas, as this old-timey city has definitely won over our hearts (and the lack of Texas humidity is a huge bonus). Durango has everything you could possibly need in a getaway city – great food and drinks, amazing views, fun activities, good shopping (well, not high fashion), and perfect weather (ahem, except perhaps the freezing cold winters). We’re fortunate enough to live just two streets over from Main Avenue, which is where most of the restaurants and shops are found. Given that most things in Texas are driving distance, it’s nice to be able to walk to dinner. We also take advantage of the proximity to the mountains and Animas river, and spend the days outside hiking, biking, rafting, running, etc.

If you’re looking for a fun Colorado vacation spot, I highly recommend making a trip to Durango. And if you come, I suggest trying some of the following restaurants, juice bars, ice cream shops, parks and adventure centers. If you have already been to Durango, am I missing anything?

 Food and Drinks

Carver’s Brewing Co.: This brewery is a favorite in our family, as it’s just two streets over from my parent’s house and the food is delicious. I typically order the Sesame Seared Ahi Stir Fry (substitute tofu for Ahi) or the veggie burger without the bun and a salad versus fries. Both options are delicious. Sasha normally gets the Tatanka (buffalo) burger and also loves it. They have big to-go beers called “Growlers” (discounted refills), so naturally Sasha and Dad have to drink one or two of those to prove their Colorado manliness.

Summer Salad Combinations at Salata

SalataAt the first signs of summer, I immediately start adding berries and watermelon to our dinner salads. Sasha and I even have an inside joke about it, as he will ask every single day what we’re going to be eating that evening, knowing that the answer will be “summer salad.”

Our meal times tend to involve a big bowl of vegetarian salad, and then Sasha will add meat to his and Isla’s dishes. In order to keep things interesting, I try to vary up my “summer salads,” so that we’re not eating the same thing day in and day out (although, as a creature of habit, I wouldn’t mind it!).

Three delicious summery salad combinations include:

  • Berry-Balsamic Salad: combine fresh spinach with blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, almonds and feta and top with my favorite dressing: balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Spicy-Sweet Tropical Salad: a lettuce blend topped with mango, pineapple, red onion, green pepper, jalapeno and pumpkin seeds, finished off with mango dressing.
  • Mediterranean-Inspired Summer Salad: combine watermelon, cucumber, radish, feta, chickpeas and falafel with a bed of kale and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette dressing.

Making a Pass at Provisions

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After hungrily lusting at Provisions for far too long, Sasha and I finally had a double date  there on Saturday. Housed in the old Gravitas building (and the even older original Antone’s PoBoy Deli location), this dual-intentioned restaurant (both The Pass and Provisions) tickles all audiences’ fancies, with an elaborate sit-down 7-course meal dinner at the former, and a more relaxed dish-sharing atmosphere for the latter.

The walls are covered with repurposed floorboards from a nearby gymnasium, which gives Provisions a very retro, cool vibe. On one wall, the original lightbulb-ringed Antone’s sign is on display, which is a nice commemorative touch to the building’s original tenant. The entire middle row of tables is adjustable, so you can make one long, communal table or have a dozen two-seaters. In addition to the restaurant’s decor, the unisex bathrooms have a looped soundtrack of Julia Child, whom I adore (partially due to my love of Meryl Streep, who played her in Julie & Julia).

The Pass and Provisions was recently named the #6 best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit magazine, and I now see why. While not the most vegetarian friendly menu in Houston, our waitress was more than happy to remove the duck eggs from the Brussels sprout appetizer, which was one of the most delicious Brussels sprouts dishes I’ve ever tried. I ordered the Arugula Cress Salad, which was very tasty, but definitely an appetizer sized dish (cue another bowl of Brussels sprouts being ordered for the group).


Owners Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner


Authentic gymnasium wood floors act as wall panels


The communal table in the middle of the restaurant

Provisions-910x606The Antone’s sign on the far wall


Click on all images to link to the source

Houston’s Healthy Vegetarian Guide

Houston's Healthy Vegetarian Restaurant Guide | Snapshots & My Thoughts

Houston used to have a rap as being a steakhouse city – a place that vegetarians would avoid while en route to hippie, vegan-friendly Austin. Recently, with the food movement in our city, vegetarian options are becoming more and more prevalent. I’ve made a list of my favorite healthy vegetarian options at some of the best restaurants in Houston. You’ll notice there’s no pizza or pasta options, as I don’t eat either!

Adair Kitchen (Galleria) – Black Bean Quinoa Burger (Lunch), Kale Salad (Dinner)

Baba Yega (Montrose) – Portabella Burger

Backstreet Cafe (River Oaks) – Portabella Burger, Spectacular Veggie Platter

Barnaby’s (Various) – Garden Salad (Without Bacon) and Falafel Patty

Benjy’s (Rice Military and Rice Village) – Curried Quinoa

Cafe Brasil (Montrose) – Hummus and Falafel Plate, Goat Cheese Salad

California Pizza Kitchen (River Oaks) – Roasted Veggie Salad, Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Canopy (Montrose) – Baby Spinach Salad (Substitute Quinoa for Chicken)

Carrabas (The Original on Upper Kirby) – Ensalata Fiorucci

Coppa (Rice Military) – Burrata appetizer, Insalata Tricolore

Corner Table (River Oaks) – Earth Burger (without the bun), sub fries for side salad

The Counter Burger (Rice Military) – Build-Your-Own Vegan Veggie Burger

Harvest Organic Grille (Memorial) – Harvest Eggplant, Veggie Mixed Grill, Chard o Yay

Indika (Montrose) – Paneer and Eggplant Chaat, Vegetarian Tasting Dish

Kiran’s (Highland Village) – Organic Kale Salad, Baby Eggplant, Pindi Channa

Latin Bites (Memorial) – Quinoa Salad

Maryz (Richmond) – Hummus (Best in Houston), Falafel

Pondicheri (Upper Kirby) – Curried Popcorn, Barley Salad, Vishnu Thali

Radical Eats (Montrose) – Knocked Up Avocado Salad

Relish (River Oaks) – Beet Salad

Roost (Montrose) – Fried Cauliflower, Ma Po Tofu

Ruggles Green (CityCentre, Upper Kirby) – Texas Goat Cheese Salad

Uchi (Montrose) – Uchi Salad, Brussels Sprouts

Zoe’s Kitchen (Various) – Vegetarian Kabobs (Hummus Side)


images via Sprouted Kitchen