Tucked in to one of the entertainment epicenters of the city, local favorite, Clementine Cafe, serves up fresh, from-scratch seasonal food to some of the city’s busiest diners. Scrambling assistants and hungry celebs pass in and out of Clementine’s fresh and sunny space picking up healthy lunches and their signature green smoothies. While Hollywood agents have some of the most famously harried lunch schedules in town, we love that, in true LA form, Clementine makes it possible for even this fast-paced crowd to get their hands on healthy, local, seasonal meals on-the-go.
Chef and owner Annie Miler has a passion for home-made, traditional food – just the stuff we crave this time of year. With their great success feeding LA at lunch, Clementine is hoping to extend their diners healthy habits on into their cooking at home. Partnering with The Produce Project, Clementine has begun throwing weekly produce pop-ups offering pre-ordered boxes of fresh, local produce to take home or packaged little meals from Clementine’s scratch kitchen.
To us, every farmer’s market is a playground and we love to see them popping up, even in the least likely of places like a Hollywood agency. We asked Annie to tell us a little bit about the new veggie venture and the Clementine way of life…
The Chalkboard Magazine: Annie, how would you describe Clementine’s food values?
Chef Annie Miler: Everything is made by hand and from scratch, with ingredients that are in season and locally sourced whenever possible. We’ve been cooking this way at our original Century City cafe for thirteen years and apply the same values to our second location here in the UTA Plaza in Beverly Hills. If you start with good, seasonal ingredients, you don’t have to fuss with them to make them delicious and beautiful – that part is already done. So I think the result is food that is approachable and healthy – food that you can eat every day. Although, I have to admit, after eating Clementine every day for thirteen years, I do frequently crave a good taco.
TCM: What are Clementine regular’s favorite dishes?
am: Our green smoothie with mint and avocado is one of the most popular things we make in Beverly Hills, also Pressed Juicery’s greens 3 – which we happen to offer too. Other than that, it depends on the season. Right now we have our signature chicken salad on the menu with apples, grapes and celery root. We make it into a sandwich on pecan raisin bread and it is very popular. Our three-salad combo, where you get to choose any three salads from our case, is a favorite at both locations. I think it’s popular because you can make so many different combinations and choose whatever you are in the mood for that day. And we find that more and more customers are choosing vegan options – so that is reflected in our menu.
TCM: Your second location caters to some of the most powerful entertainment figures in the city. Why do you think your food resonates so well with these busy individuals?
AM: Who wouldn’t want real food made with good ingredients? If you’re busy, it can be easy to eat a lot of junk food. We aim to make it easy to eat things that are good for you. But we will never deprive you of a chocolate chip cookie when you need it!
TCM: Tell us about the produce pop-ups you’re beginning this fall:
AM: On Thursday afternoons, The Produce Project comes to our Beverly Hills location. They shop the farmer’s market and assemble the best in-season produce into these amazing baskets. People can order them ahead, and they come in two sizes: one for an individual or small household, and a larger one for families. The produce pop-up will essentially be a pick-up location for people who order their baskets, and The Produce Project will also have a small farm stand where you can buy many of the items a la carte. Clementine will offer a selection of our heat-at-home entrees and soups too, so you can really get everything you need to have a week’s worth of easy, healthful dinners.
TCM: What inspired this idea and what do you hope people take away?
AM: The Produce Project does such a good job of bringing the best of the market together into one basket. Each week they include some simple recipes using the ingredients from that week’s basket so people can get ideas for how to put things together. What I really like is that I think people will really see, in action, that idea that if you start with great, seasonal ingredients, you don’t have to do anything to them to make them delicious. When I got my basket home the other day, the whole family started eating from it right when it landed on the counter. Seeing my kids tear off a leaf of lettuce and eat it straight up, or chow on cherry tomatoes like they’re candy – and knowing that it came from people who really care about what they do, the farmers and the folks at The Produce Project – that is just so satisfying… it’s nourishment in every way.
TCM: Can you share a recipe from the first pop-up’s basket?
AM: Of course, we invited local kombucha-maker Better Booch to join with us on our pop-up. They created a salad dressing for this farm-fresh persimmon salad.
Persimmon and Petite Onion Salad with Kombucha Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup unflavored kombucha – we used Better Booch “Original Gangster”
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper
For the salad:
2 small persimmons, sliced in thin cross sections
2-4 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced or shaved
3 petite onions, trimmed and left whole, or slice thinly
2 handfuls of mixed greens (leaf lettuce, baby chard, arugula)
Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Marinate the onions, sliced Brussels sprouts and persimmons in the vinaigrette for at least 10 minutes. Add the rest of the mixed greens and toss.