Disclosure: This meal was hosted, the opinions are my own, the reading enjoyment is all yours!
I have three words for you: BLOOD. ORANGE. LEMONADE. Keep that in the back of your mind - we'll get to that. Don't you worry.
Lemonade, with 13 locations across Southern California, plus one more coming soon to San Diego and another coming soon in Dubai, can be described away as an upscale cafeteria but that would hardly do it justice. They feature a daily rotating spread of fresh-made comfort food, dishes both hot and cold, from roasted Brussels sprouts to grain salads from around the world to stewed short ribs falling off the bone.
I've long been a fan of the chain and was ecstatic they opened one in my neighborhood. I went on a recent weeknight, tray at the ready. You essentially move down the line and point to what you want and it goes on the plate but here's my advice -- do not ask for the first thing that wets your appetite. Look ahead and see what else is out for service. Because before you know it, you have eight portions on your plate and there's no way you're going to also get that truffle mac & cheese...
Not that this happened to me -- it happened to this girl I know, though. And it was totally tragic to miss out on that truffle mac because DAMN. It's one of the most delicious items on the menu.
Not that I'd know...
So at this point, I'd like to advise you to eat something. I wouldn't read about these other menu items on an empty stomach. But perhaps you're a far braver person than I am...
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Dates, Parmesan, Sage White Balsamic
- Oxnard Strawberries, Wild Arugula, Blue Cheese, Sherry
- Red Quinoa, Arugula, Fuji Apple, Sunflower, Pistachio
- Green Apple Chicken Curry
- Seared Ahi Tuna, Crushed Orange-Ginger Ponzu
- BBQ Brisket
As if that weren't enough, there are also sandwiches, soups, pot roast and braises.
If you're like me, each word of those descriptions trip off the tongue like your last meal in life could be at hand. I can hardly look at the photos without licking my monitor.
The best part is -- well, other than the choices, the quality and the taste.... Okay, ONE OF the best parts is, it's so reasonably priced that it's almost appauling. Six generous portions for $12.50! And you can make do just fine with fewer. Which leaves you ample pocket change for the lemonade itself...
Which brings me back to my favorite beverage in all the land, their BLOOD. ORANGE. LEMONADE. Omigod, you guys. It's just ridiculously good. If you don't like lemonade, it's still good. If you don't like oranges (and actually, I don't), it's still good. And if you're still not satisfied, then I guess you can always try one of the other lemonades like Cucumber Mint, Blueberry Mint, Pomegranate, Guava Limeade... I hear they're good, too. I just wouldn't know personally. I'm kind of addicted.
And we didn't even talk about dessert but really, we shouldn't even have to. Because.
I hope you'll check out one of their locations and let me know how you like it. If you're in my neighborhood, give me a buzz - I will totally meet you there. (If we're really lucky, we'll spot a celeb or two -- X-Men star Shawn Ashmore was there when I went, making my geeky little heart quite happy.)