By Eileen Shields, The Beach Reporter
Beach Cities Health District's 'Taste of the Blue Zones' went off without a hitch Sunday, despite the inclement weather. The tenting of Manhattan Beach Civic Plaza added a fun, carnival atmosphere for nearly 500 locals who participated; they tasted bites from twenty-three different South Bay restaurants, each of which met the healthy criteria to be labeled Blue Zones.
Offerings included fresh, light pizzas from Locale90 and Old Venice, earthy sautéed beets from Darren's, quinoa oatmeal (better than it sounds) from Four Daughter's Kitchen, and plenty of Poke from Jus' Poke and Captain Kidd's.
There was even a brownie bite with berries from Good Stuff, because eating healthy can still be sweet.
To be fair, I did not have the capacity to try all 25 tidbits, but here are a few of my favorites:
Bettolino served a beautiful pesto-infused farro. Think of a cold pasta salad taken to a higher level with garlicky shrimp, cucumbers, tomato and bell pepper.
Rockefeller offered a tiny ahi tostada—a paper-thin crunchy wafer topped with a smear of guacamole, a slice of seared ahi and a dot of crème fraiche and sriracha. It was a perfect bite that required no utensils.
Bollywood Zaika had a yummy spin on aloo vindaloo—a potato wedge roasted in garlic and spices with a punch of chutney.
Second Story: I'm not vouching for the health benefits of a potato chip, even if it is homemade—but these were sure fun to eat out of their cardboard box, with the added zip of a chili dipping sauce.
To be considered Blue Zones, a restaurant must highlight nutritional menu choices, eliminate deep fryers, use smaller plates and glassware, eliminate salt from tables, all to encourage patrons to make healthier eating decisions. There are currently more than 130 Blue Zones designated restaurants in the beach cities, according to BCHD.
Proceeds from the Taste of Blue Zones benefited beach city educational foundations.
Manhattan Beach resident Eileen Shields is a regular restaurant profiler for The Beach Reporter. Aside from discovering fabulous beach city eats, she spends time traveling and writing fiction. Links to her work can be found at eileenshieldswriter.com.
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