When I lived in Seattle, I tried to go out and discover as many hidden gems of restaurants as I could. Toward the end of my college years, I even wrote reviews on a few of the restaurants I visited, including Baguette Box, Monsoon, Mamnoon, and Plum Bistro. Now that I no longer live in Seattle, and am almost constantly at work, at the gym, or commuting to and fro, it’s difficult to find the time to find new and exciting restaurants. But I’m going to do my damnedest to bring some to you! Because who doesn’t love food?
Located right off the main drag in downtown Palo Alto is a fairly new restaurant called LYFE Kitchen. Opened in this location in 2011, this restaurant differs from the others I’ve previously reviewed mainly in terms of it being a chain rather than a singular entity. That may skew some people’s perceptions of the food’s caliber, but, trust me, it should not.
LYFE’s motto is “Feed. Your. Self.” Their main focus is that food enhances the quality of one’s life (hence the name), and taking care of one’s body, as it’s “the only place you have to live,” is imperative. All of their menu options—with different menus for different diets, like gluten-free, vegan, organic, and vegetarian—are made with locally sourced and sustainably sourced ingredients. The chain now has six locations in California, one in Colorado, four in Illinois, one in Nevada, two in Tennessee, and one in Texas, so its apparent that this new mindful eating mindset is not limited to the “hipsters” of the western subcultures. Its popularity in Palo Alto alone proves that anyone from an Ivy Leaguer or a tech savant to a broke college student can find something at LYFE that makes them feel nourished, both in terms of appetite and soul. Since the company’s inception, it has consistently been a hit with foodies and regular folk alike; read the reviews of the chain here.
As someone who has a fairly differing diet based on the day—largely pescetarian, sometimes vegan, sometimes no carb—I greatly appreciate the amount of options offered by LYFE to accommodate myself and my regular meat-and-potatoes family members. I can find more than a dozen things to try on each of the speciality menus, and so can they, which keeps us all coming back time and again.
TRY: The Spinach and Avocado Frittata
If you have a set protein goal for your daily intake, you are nearly constantly looking for ways to fulfill that number. When you go out to eat, it can be even more challenging to find some good sources of protein that aren’t beer-battered or fried or cooked in butter, and thus not as appetizing as some french fries or a measly salad. With this dish, you get a great, balanced meal, all for a mere 405 calories and 840 mg of sodium (yes, a little high on the sodium side, but we can’t have it all if we aren’t cooking it ourselves). The Spinach and Avocado frittata gives you just that—lots of spinach and a healthy dose of avo—with the 27 grams of protein coming from the eggs and cheese mixed in. On the side, you get a chipotle potato hash (which you could always switch for some fruit if you’d like) and salsa fresca (which isn’t necessary for enjoying the frittata). With only three grams of saturated fat attached to this dish, it is definitely one of the better options for your buck, especially if you’re looking to be satisfied and full.
TRY: Roasted Mushroom & Goat Cheese Flatbread
Truthfully, I didn’t order this dish the last time it appeared on the table. My mom did—and I happily shared (thanks Ma, love ya!). This dish, plus the other flatbreads that LYFE offers—Grilled Pepper Flatbread, Margherita Flatbread, and BBQ Chicken Flatbread—are the healthy answer to your pizza cravings (although having pizza once in a while isn’t going to kill you). The ratio of mushrooms and cheese and balsamic to the actual flatbread was the perfect ratio, and this dish even made someone who isn’t keen on mushrooms not entirely hate them—so great job LYFE! I do believe that LYFE could benefit from having even more types of flatbreads available on their menu, but that would also not allow you to try all of the other great options on the menu.
TRY: Quinoa Crunch Bowl
The Quinoa Crunch Bowl salad is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from its name: quinoa and lots of cruciferous veggies, with the additions of edamame hummus, avocado, arugula, chipotle vinaigrette, and fireman’s hot sauce. If you’re looking for a dish with more veggies, but still looking to get your protein, this one holds both. Quinoa has many health benefits associated with it, and also boasts approximately 8 grams of protein per 1 cup. That may not sound like a lot compared to the frittata dish above, but if you add on one of the four protein add-ons that LYFE offers—grilled chicken breast, garlic-lime tofu, grilled mahi, or grilled salmon—you’re looking at upwards of 25 grams of protein in this little bowl—in addition to your two servings of veggies.
TRY: Kale Banana Smoothie
I know, I know…kale? In a smoothie? EW! Personally, I prefer to have spinach in my smoothies, mostly due to the fact that I think kale is garbage—HOWEVER, LYFE proves that kale and banana (along with apple juice, lemon juice, cucumber and ginger) can be very satisfying. With this smoothie, you are (1) staying hydrated, (2) getting both a fruit and a vegetable serving, woo-hoo!, and (3) most likely having a new experience. As shown on LYFE’s website, the Kale Banana Smoothie is their most popular…so why wouldn’t you try it?
Although I don’t get out to eat much nowadays, I want to go somewhere where I know I know I’ll have options and won’t be over-burdened by the price. LYFE offers just that, and continues to be one of the restaurants I come back to when I have the chance.
LYFE in Palo Alto is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 8:00 am to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 8:00 am to 9 p.m. Sunday. Check out this location’s website page for more information. And, if you live in the Bay Area, get ready for the opening of LYFE in Cupertino, coming soon.