I am on co-op in Charlotte, NC and one of the best decisions I’ve made while
on this co-op was to eat at Luna’s Living Kitchen. Luna’s is the Holy Grail for anyone
interested in Slow Food principles; it is the perfect place for vegetarians, vegans, and
those interested in live and raw foods to eat. It is a “living” kitchen since their food is
prepared fresh daily and the menu is constantly evolving based on what is in season,
the food is prepared without refined sugars, preservatives, eggs, dairy, or animal
products, AND the food is bought from local organic farmers. Can you get any more
awesome than this??
As you might expect, Luna’s prices reflect the love and healthiness of the food
they serve. If you go for lunch, expect to spend $20 – $25 without a tip. But don’t let the
fear of spending lots of money prevent you from going to this restaurant – it is too tasty
to miss out on!
I ordered a kale lemonade, which was made with kale juice, lemonade, ginger
juice, apple juice, and celery juice. It was SO COOL. For someone who normally just
sticks with water when at a restaurant, it was such a nice treat. I loved the drink right off
the bat because of its awesome color, but it tasted even better than it looked. Luna’s
has a lot of organic juice and smoothie options on the menu, and you can even buy
some juices to go (if you’re interested in more about juice cleanses, there are some blog
For my entrée, I went with their “Lunasagna” mostly because I loved the play on
words. Since it is vegan, it is made with zucchini noodles and a cashew-basil cheese
(made in house!) that was so, so tasty. The noodles and cheese were covered in sundried tomato sauce and mushrooms, and a local green salad on the side. This was such
an innovative dish and I am really glad I got it. The zucchini noodles were crunchy and
To round off the great meal, I went with some house-made cookies. I got Monkey
Bites and my lunch partner got Lemon Bites. All the ingredients are still organic and still
delicious, and in case that didn’t appeal to you enough, then maybe knowing that no
wheat flour, chemicals, soy, GMO’s, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors are used in
the cookies will pique your interest. I prefer the Lemon Bites to the Monkey Bites (since
I’m always a sucker for anything lemon flavored), and my lunch partner thought the
opposite – so it all worked out! It took all my willpower not to go back and buy six more
The service was really great as well. I ate there on a Tuesday during lunchtime
and it was busy. We were fortunate not to have to wait for a table, but there were some
folks who did need to wait a little bit. It is possible to get takeout, so quite a few people
were stopping by and picking up their orders. The waitress was very attentive and
knowledgeable about everything on the menu – where it was from, how it was prepared.
I will definitely be coming back, and recommend that if you’re in the Charlotte
area, you check it out! Be sure to check out their website, and visit them in-person at
2102 South Boulevard, Suite 150, Charlotte, NC 28203. They’re open Monday through
Saturday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Rating: 5 of 5.
This past Friday I found myself and Slow Food NU founder, Nicole Zub, trekking further and further into suburban Cambridge. The two of us were armed only with our oversized water bottles and iPhone maps on the second hottest day ever in Boston, but we were determined not to miss our reservations because of the heat wave (brought forth by climate change– but that’s for another blog post entirely).
Finally, we saw the sign. Oleana. What you will find there is an incredible menu full of rich, bold Eastern Mediterranean food dreamed up by Chef and Owner, Ana Sortun. You may have heard of this badass female chef from Top Chef Masters or from her being honored with the James Beard Award.
Just when you thought Sortun could not have anymore street cred, you’d be interested to know that the chef also sources all the local, fresh food that she can from non other but Siena Farms, owned and operated by Sortun’s husband.
The two of us wandered in a bit disheveled to find ourselves transported to contemporary Turkey with tapestries adorning the walls and low-lit Arabic chandeliers glittering above us. How far had we walked??
Nevermind that- we were ready to dine. Our first dish was the Fried Mussels, Hot Peppers & Turkish Tarator Sauce. I’m not sure why, but I seem to have a constant craving for fried hot peppers– so this dish really hit the spot for me. The batter was so light and crunchy, without being oily or heavy. This dish proved that you can fry without having to die.
Our next mezze was one that I heard a bit of buzz about on Yelp- the Warm Buttered Hummus with Basturma & Tomato. This. Was. Divine. Basturma is a wind-dried, cured beef sliced really thin. It was wrapped around the hummus and topped with these incredible, minced tomatoes. I don’t even like tomatoes, but they certainly brought the whole thing together.
Next up were our entrees. Nicole opted for one the specials of the day- so please forgive me for not remembering EXACTLY what it was, but I can tell you that it was locally caught fish, accompanied by corn chowder, spinach, more yummy things and a corn pancake…or two.
I opted for the Misty Knoll Flattened Lemon Chicken with Za’atar & Turkish Cheese Pancake. The crust you see on top is the za’atar which is made up of a herb similar to thyme, blended sesame seeds and sumac. And the cheese! I never hate on a cheese pancake.
We weren’t done quite yet though. The last course, dessert! We decided to go for something different and ordered the Sour Cherry Tea-ser with Mahlab Panna Cotta, Almond Kadayif and Cherry Spoon Sweets. This dish arrived and we were a bit confused, but delighted to discover how to devour it. The drink was some sort of cherry juice and tea concoction with a sugared rim (isn’t that just the most fun?) that we shared, but only after nibbling on the panna cotta for a bit until tossing it into the tea. Still have no clue if that was the idea- oh well. On the opposite end of the plate was what I had dubbed the best shredded wheat I’ve ever had until Googling Almond Kadayif and discovering that was the name of the mystery treat.
Alas, it was then time to leave this Turkish oasis to trek back to Northeastern in the blistering heat, but we were well-fed and had leftovers to look forward to.
If you ever have the chance to eat at Oleana or Sofra (Ana Sortun’s bakery with literally our favorite cookies- Earthquakes) please do! Also, check out Siena Farms at the Copley Square Farmers Market, Tuesdays and Fridays from 11am-6pm.