On April 7, LYFE Kitchen invited seven staff members from The Prospector to sit down and dine with President and CEO Chance Carlisle. Standing for “Love Your Food Everyday,” LYFE Kitchen introduced its first restaurant in 2011 in Palo Alto, California. Due to its mass success, the company decided to open 15 other locations across the country, specifically in Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and Tennessee.
LYFE Kitchen aims to encourage mindful eating in the community through meals that incorporate wholesome ingredients, thoughtful preparation, and invigorating flavors. Dedicated to providing a wide range of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, LYFE Kitchen also works to treat all their customers equally regardless of any dietary restrictions. All items on the menu are under 600 calories and contain less than 1,000 mg. of sodium, with most significantly under both counts. Food is crafted using quality ingredients from local sources whenever possible.
LYFE Kitchen substitutes sodas with a wide variety of LYFE waters that consist of in-house blended juices made from fresh fruits and other ingredients. Every juice, from orange to ginger, is prepared daily, guaranteeing a satisfying drink to quench your thirst.
Now enough background information. Let's get to the review!
The Entrance to a Culinary Adventure
Ginger Pomegranate Lemonade (149 calories)
MICHELLE: I normally do not order a drink besides water while at a restaurant, but when in Rome... I thought that it had a sweet flavor that is characteristic of lemonade and was similar to raspberry lemonade. The drink itself was 149 calories, but the glass was honestly as large as a large Jamba Juice cup.
Classic Lemonade (125 calories)
CAROLINE: The lemonade tasted very fresh, and it wasn’t too sweet. It came with mint which gave it a very nice twist. The drink didn’t have a lot of calories considering it came in an ENORMOUS glass.
NOTE: Images included for each course are just samples of the entrees!
First Course: Edamame Hummus
- Fresh Vegetables, Toasted Flatbread (448 calories) -
SUDARSHAN: Since edamame beans were used instead of garbanzo beans, the hummus had an interesting flavor. The plates were very aesthetically pleasing.
MICHELLE: The hummus was delicious because it had an appealing texture and a cheesy undertone. The flatbread was chewy and went well with the hummus.
CAROLINE: The plating was very artistic. I personally prefer garbanzo beans instead of edamame beans to make the hummus, but the hummus was still very flavorful and fresh tasting. I thought the hummus could have been more creamy and smooth, though.
ISABEL: The use of edamame beans to make the hummus was a creative and healthy spin on traditional hummus. I especially enjoyed the unexpected kick that the paprika provided.
Second Course: Quinoa Crunch Wrap & Corn Chowder
- Hummus, Fresh Vegetables, Avocado, Hot Sauce (591 calories) -
MELISSA: The wrap itself was very thin and the inside was jam-packed with a huge variety of healthy foods (avocado, quinoa, cucumber from what I could discern). It was a little messy to eat because stuff kept falling out (but nothing a fork couldn’t fix). It tasted really good and fresh (personally, I wouldn’t have eaten a lot of those inside ingredients on their own, so stuffing those in a wrap was awesome).
MICHELLE: The wrap was really flavorful and was filled with ingredients that had nutritional value (which made me feel less guilty for eating it). I normally would shy away from the vegetables inside the wrap, but I was pleased to discover that I genuinely liked what I was putting in my mouth. The chowder had cashew cream, and this went really well with the corn.
CAROLINE: I’m normally not a fan of quinoa, but this wrap was fresh and flavorful. The avocado added a lot of flavor, and even though the entire wrap was filled with vegetables, it was still very satisfying and filling. Chowder was sweet and very thick.
ISABEL: The quinoa wrap was very chewy, and stuffed to the brim with a variety of healthy ingredients. The hummus provided much-welcomed flavor to the wrap, which would have been rather bland otherwise.
Third Course: Flatbreads - Margherita (511 calories), BBQ Chicken (474 calories), Roasted Mushroom (567 calories)
MELISSA: All of the flatbreads had very thin crusts. The flatbreads were arranged on the platter nicely.
MELISSA: This was my personal favorite. It was simple, very cheesy, and the basil added a nice taste.
MICHELLE: The Margherita flatbread had a light tomato taste, and I knew just from tasting the sauce that it wasn’t some canned substance.
BBQ Chicken Flatbread
MELISSA: The BBQ chicken flatbread was a little spicy for me (note: I’m VERY sensitive to spicy though).
MICHELLE: The barbecue flavor was fairly strong, so it was not one of my personal favorites (note: I don’t generally like nontraditional pizza).
CAROLINE: Despite being gluten-free, the crust was crunchy and tasted like a light pizza crust. The BBQ sauce had a strong, smoky flavor, and the corn added some sweetness to the chicken.
Roasted Mushroom Flatbread
MICHELLE: I was surprised at how much flavor was in this type of flatbread. The sauce, along with corn and chicken on top, had a mildly sour taste.
CAROLINE: The sauce was slightly sour which made this pizza my least favorite, but the crust still had a nice, crunchy texture. The goat cheese was extremely prominent, and the mushrooms tasted fresh and flavorful.
Fourth Course: Unfried Chicken (566 calories)
MICHELLE: This was my absolute favorite dish. The chicken had a very pleasing, crunchy texture. The sauce was to die for (sweet and creamy along with the chicken), and it made eating brussel sprouts not as bad as you would expect (trust me, I am not a fan of brussel sprouts). The squash went well with the sauce too.
CAROLINE: This dish was definitely my favorite. The unfried chicken was crispy on the outside and extremely tender on the inside. I liked how the chicken was not too oily or buttery. The bitterness of the roasted brussel sprouts was balanced by the sweetness of the dried cranberries and the cashew cream sauce. The butternut squash was soft and added color to the dish.
ISABEL: While the chicken was meant to be the star of the show, I personally found the brussel sprouts and butternut squash to be even more enjoyable, for the dijon dressing was a great accompaniment to the vegetables.
Fifth Course: Chocolate Budino
- Pomegranate, Chia Seeds, Toasted Almond (206 calories) -
Chocolate Chip Cookie
SUDARSHAN: The vegan cookie did not lack substance or flavor despite its label. This really reinforced Lyfe kitchen’s idea that good food can be delicious and healthy. It was warm and kind of gooey (in a good way) but had a certain crunchiness to balance it out.
MICHELLE: It tasted like a freshly baked cookie (not like the cafeteria cookies in any shape or form). It complemented the chocolate budino perfectly!
CAROLINE: The chocolate-chip cookie that accompanied the budino, despite being vegan, had a crisp outside and a warm, chewy middle. The chocolate chips were gooey and, according to LYFE Kitchen, made from high-quality chocolate that was lactose-intolerant.
Chocolate Budino (Pudding)
SUDARSHAN: Personally I’m not a big fan of chocolate and fruit (pomegranate in this case) in the same vicinity, but they actually pulled it off. It was a bit sweet for me, but was also really light and creamy.
MELISSA: The pomegranate flavor was very subtle.
MICHELLE: It had a STRONG chocolate taste (which I appreciate very much) and had a nice sour touch with the pomegranate seeds.
CAROLINE: As a chocolate addict, I loved how this dish had a strong dark chocolate flavor. The bitterness of it was balanced by the sweet pomegranate, which came as a little surprise. The toasted almonds added a nice crunch. Overall, the dessert was light and not overly sweet.
Exclusive Interview with Chef Kim
How do you think you will affect other restaurants?
"They’re going to have to think twice about what they’re serving and how they’re going to be perceived by the customer. Customers are more educated about food than ever...and it puts a lot of pressure on us, but that pressure keeps us on our toes. We’ve always got to be thinking and be innovating because if we don’t, our customers are going to get bored with us.
I know that not everybody is going to like our food, and that’s okay. But if at least I can change somebody’s perspective and open up their mind about something, I see that as a win. If I can get somebody through the door and get them to taste the food once, I bet you I can get them hooked. I bet you I can get them to come back and try something else, and that’s all that I want. That’s really all that I want to build, and that’s how we’re going to grow."
Behind the Kitchen
A look behind the counter of Lyfe Kitchen with Chef Kim.
The staff of The Prospector would like to thank Lyfe Kitchen for hosting the event and wish it the best of luck as an innovative business and culinary entrepreneur.