Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew and Tangy Swiss Chard from Cafe Flora

Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew and Tangy Swiss Chard from Cafe Flora

Owner Nat Stratton-Clarke. Photo credit: Chustine Minoda

Meet owner of Cafe Flora and Floret by Cafe Flora, Nat Stratton-Clarke.

Q: What is it about Café Flora that makes it unique to alternative healthy dining experiences?

Nat Stratton-Clarke: Cafe Flora has been a local favorite since we opened in Seattle in 1992. At that time vegetarian dining was seen as just brown rice and vegetables, we flipped that and showed our guests how textural, interesting and delicious vegetarian cuisine is. Our chef team has always worked creatively to bring in flavors from all types of cuisines, this keeps things interesting and so flavorful.

With Floret by Cafe Flora now open at Sea-Tac International Airport we have the exciting opportunity to do the same thing with travelers and share with them our delicious variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items for both sit down and grab-and-go. They can enjoy real, healthy foods that taste amazing and just happen to be vegetarian. Also just because we are located at the airport doesn’t mean we changed our ways, we worked hard to get our farm partners “badged” to deliver to the airport so we can offer the same fresh, local produce our guests have come to know and love.

Q: How often does the menu change at Café Flora?

NSC: Our menus change seasonally so about four times per year. This allows us to plan with the seasons and for our local farmers to showcase what is fresh from their farms right now.

Q: What would you like our readers to know about adopting a more plant-based diet?

NSC: It is easier to do than you think. Dining at Floret and Cafe Flora gives our guests inspiration for when they are cooking at home. Our chef team is incredibly creative and people leave realizing there are easy ways to make delicious food that doesn’t involve animal products but is filling and packed with flavor.

Q: Why is it important for people to buy local and use sustainable ingredients versus buying from bigger grocery chains?

NSC: We have worked with local farmers and purveyors since the beginning of Cafe Flora. You not only support these hard-working folks but you support a whole community of jobs in your backyard when you buy local. And of course, it’s good for the planet. I grew up in Berkeley, CA during the Alice Waters farm-to-table movement and my family made weekly trips to the farmers market to purchase food for the week. It was what you did and it felt so natural to support what was being grown, baked and prepared right in our community. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about and it excites me to do this on a larger scale with Floret and Cafe Flora and really help other small farms and businesses thrive.

Q: What is your current favorite dish at Café Flora?

NSC: I love our Oaxaca Tacos available at both Cafe Flora and Floret. They are the most brilliant combination of flavors and textures from the cheesy mashed potatoes in crisp corn tortillas to the black bean stew, fire roasted salsa, and lime sour cream. Also, our vegan cinnamon rolls are a crowd favorite and we’ve brought our same recipe to Floret for travelers to enjoy on the go!

Photo credit: Belathee Photography


Cafe Flora is located at the following location:

Cafe Flora

Floret

LA Fitness Ballard

Distance to closest LA Fitness: 6.2 miles to Ballard LA Fitness

Cafe Flora is located in Seattle’s Madison Valley neighborhood at 2901 East Madison Street. Open Monday-Friday at 9 a.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner with weekend brunch from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and dinner at 5 p.m. Menus and additional details at cafeflora.com.

Floret by Cafe Flora is located at Sea-Tac International Airport between A and B Terminals and is open daily for grab-and-go from 5 a.m. – 9 p.m. and dine-in from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. both offering breakfast, lunch and dinner items. Full menus available at floretseattle.com.

 

 


Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew and Tangy Swiss Chard

Ingredients

For the Tacos

  • 1 ½ pounds (about 3 medium) russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (about 2 ounces) smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup (about 2 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded
  • A big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Vegetable oil for preparing the tortillas
  • 8 thin corn tortillas
  • 1 small red or green pepper, seeds removed, finely diced
  • Toothpicks

For the Black Bean Stew

  • 1 cup dried black beans, soaked for 8 hours, or 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

For the Chard

  • 1 big bunch red or green Swiss chard, most of the stems removed, leaves left whole
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish, to taste: crumbled feta, crème fraiche, Pico de gallo salsa

Method

Step 1: Cook the beans. If using dried, soaked beans, drain them and put them in 5 cups of boiling water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered until the beans are tender, but still hold their shape, about 1 ½ hours. If using canned beans, drain and replace with 1 cup cold water. Combine the cooked beans with the corn, garlic, cilantro, red pepper flakes, cumin seeds, chili powder, oregano, brown sugar and salt and simmer until the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes.

Step 2: Cook the potatoes in just enough boiling water to cover until they are tender, about 20 minutes. Then mash the potatoes with butter and salt and keep warm. In a small bowl, combine the cheeses and red pepper flakes and keep them nearby.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and have ready a baking sheet or roasting pan to hold the tacos. Heat 1/8 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and soft-fry the tortillas, without allowing them to become crisp, one at a time. (The tortillas should be oily and soft so they will crisp in the oven after they are filled.)

Step 4: Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of the mashed potatoes, 1/8 cup of the grated cheese mixture and a generous tablespoon of the chopped pepper. Roll the tortillas around the filling and secure them with toothpicks. Arrange the tacos in a single layer on the baking sheet or roasting pan and bake until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp, about 18 minutes.

Step 5: While the tacos are baking, steam the chard in a covered pan over a small amount of boiling water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Puree the garlic with lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, then toss it with the steamed Swiss chard.


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Weight Loss for Diabetics

Weight Loss for Diabetics

Question:

I’m 67 years old and weigh 208 pounds. I would like to lose a lot of weight. I’m a diabetic and take insulin 4 times a day. I can’t afford the trainers at LA Fitness. Any advice would be appreciated.

– Candace B.

 

Answer:

Ask your endocrinologist for a referral to a certified diabetes educator (CDE®) which may be covered under a health insurance plan. These specialists help you understand how medication, exercise and diet all play a role in weight and blood sugar control and can provide advice tailored to you.

In general, I will say that regular exercise helps lower blood sugar so that less insulin may be needed. It’s like training your cells and tissues to be more metabolically active and efficient. In combination with a mild to moderate reduction of intake and shift to lower glycemic load (blood sugar response) meals, an increase in exercise should induce weight loss. Raw, unprocessed fruit, legumes, popcorn, non-starchy vegetables and whole grain products tend to be lower glycemic carbohydrate foods. By switching to these in managed portions and incorporating nuts, lean meats and healthy fats, you can lower the glycemic load of a meal.

The American Diabetes Association is a host of information on meals, recipes and fitness tips. Check out their resources at www.diabetes.org. In addition, www.diabetes.ca and www.diabetesaustralia.com.au are credible sources offering nutrition and healthy living resources in English.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Cycling: Is it Right for You? – Podcast Ep. 2

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Welcome to episode two of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness!

On this episode of Living Healthy, Andrew completes his first ever Cycle class. We also speak with LA Fitness Cycle instructor, Valerie W., and we fight through the sweat to help you better understand what you can expect when taking a seat in the saddle.

Cycling isn’t just for the experienced, all fitness levels are welcome, and we plan on bringing you the tips and tricks you’ll need before taking your next ride.

Listen to our latest episode now and let us know what you think!

Tweet us your fitness questions @LAFitness or let us know what you’d like to hear on the next show by leaving us a comment below!

We’d love to hear from you!

Timecard Markers – Cycle – Podcast Ep. 2

Introduction:

Podcast Begins at 0:48

Check out what it’s like to be in a Cycle class

Halfway through Cycle class – Interlude

Begins at 2:40

Last 30 minutes of class.

Begins at 3:14

Cycle class ends.

Begins at 3:58

LA Fitness Cycle Instructor, Valerie joins the program.

Begins at 4:20

Cycle Overview – What can people expect?

Begins at 4:45

What’s ‘in the saddle’?

Begins at 5:13

How can people get comfortable going into their first Cycle class?

Begins at 5:39

Cycle Basics

Begins at 6:05

Group Cycle Energy

Begins at 7:57

Benefits of Indoor Cycling

Begins at 8:24

Cycle Variety

Begins at 8:44

What experienced cyclists should know

Begins at 9:35

Reserve a bike

Begins at 11:54

How to read your bike monitor

Begins at 12:36

Cycle Necessities

Begins at 15:28

Ending of episode

Begins at 17:59

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

AAT: Ep. 22 – Is Cardio or Strength Training Better for Weight Loss?

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LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Stone T., gives his expert advice on whether or not cardio or strength training is best for weight loss.


Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

10 + 7 =

**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.


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Healthy Suggestions for Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks!

Healthy Suggestions for Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks!

Question:

I am 54 and I am 6’3″ and weigh 365 pounds. I have been strength training for 4 months with the help of a trainer. I need some guidance as to what to eat to lose weight. My training has been building muscle and strength but not much weight loss. I don’t always have much flexibility for dinner in what my wife cooks but I do control breakfast and lunch. I wonder if I am eating too many carbs and not enough protein. I could use suggestions for healthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

– Tom O.

Answer:

Given your anthropometrics, age and an assumed exercise routine of 2-3x per week, your anticipated energy needs for weight loss are in the range of 3,500-4,000 calories per day. That may seem like a lot, but it’s just as possible you are maintaining with more as it is you’re maintaining with fewer calories. Your calculated resting metabolic rate (RMR) is close to 2,600 calories and you should consume that amount at minimum daily. To start, I’d take the mid-point of about 3,000 calories (half way between RMR and lower range of total energy needs) to work with.

Saving 1/3 of that figure for your evening eating gives us 2,000 calories to work with. I’d suggest dividing that between 2 meals of 750 calories each and 2 snacks of 250 calories each. Your goal isn’t to count calories exactly, but to eat a volume of healthy foods that represent those amounts.

Here are some meals and snack suggestions for you:

750 Calories 

Option #1

  • 3 whole wheat waffles
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 2 egg Denver omelet (peeper, onion, ham)
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese
  • 8 fl oz nonfat milk

Option #2

  • 1.5 cups oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 dates, diced
  • 3 oz Canadian bacon
  • 1/2 medium grapefruit

Option #3

  • 8″ sub/hoagie roll
  • 5 oz turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • sliced tomato, cucumber, and peppers
  • 1 cup broccoli cheese soup

Option #4

  • 5 oz grilled salmon
  • medium sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1/2 cup coleslaw
  • medium banana

250 Calories 

Option #1

  • 4″ oatmeal raisin cookie
  • 8 fl oz soymilk

Option #2

  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 medium apple

Option #3

  • 1/2 cup tuna salad
  • 6 Triscuits

Option #4

  • 4 oz bean and cheese burrito
  • 1/4 cup salsa

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

4 + 12 =


Recommended Reading - Q+A

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