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LivingLA: True Food Kitchen

Living in LA, you can't go far without running into a great place to eat. From Hollywood's trendy (and ever so yummy) Lemonade to the delicious Beachwood BBQ down in Long Beach, you can find whatever you may be craving in the great county of Los Angeles.

Today I want to talk about a restaurant that I fell in love with a few years ago. It's one spot I was sad to leave behind when I left for the Bay Area and one I was ecstatic to discover near me once more when I finally moved back down to LA. And while it is a chain owned by a large restaurant conglomerate, it's anything but a lifeless, corporate kitchen.

Located in Santa Monica and Newport Beach, True Food Kitchen serves food for thought to hungry diners. With an emphasis (dare I say a dedication) toward healthy and mindful eating, True Food Kitchen strives to marry nutritious with delicious to give you an extremely memorable meal that will leave you feeling beyond satisfied.

When you arrive at either location, the first thing you'll notice is the movable herb gardens situated right outside the main entrance. Each True Food Kitchen grows its own herbs on-site, using the fruits of their labor in every dish they make. Since they are dedicated to fresh and healthy, the menu changes depending on the season to incorporate whatever ingredients they may obtain from their organic gardens during that time of the year. This offers great variety and an inherent feeling of growth and development from the kitchen that you won't find in many other restaurants. Luckily, for those who might be particularly fond of a specific dish, there are many mainstays that stick around all year long. Naturally, it's for good reason (hint: ridiculously delicious).

Getting to the food itself, you'll be hard pressed to find something you don't enjoy. We usually start off with one or two starters. While we try not to fill up, it usually ends up being two purely because we have a hard picking just one. The Edamame Dumplings are simply delectable, offering just the right paring of savory dumpling dough with the distinctive, earthy taste of truffle oil. If you're in the mood for something a little meatier, there are usually always a few fish items available, like the Albacore Tataki or sometimes even fresh sashimi.

Photo from Shockingly Delicious

The main entrees are just as mouthwatering as their starters, presenting an array of dishes and flavors from hearty Mediterranean salads to a organic thin-crust pizzas and authentic street tacos. To be honest though, the grass-fed Bison Burger is a personal favorite of mine. Served on a flax seed bun with sauteed mushrooms and onions, and topped with a solid slice of parmesan, the Bison Burger is paired with a tasty kale salad or sweet potato hash (or both if you ask!) that are so good, they have both inspired my own imitation recipes for my kitchen at home.

Photo from Shockingly Delicious
If you're feeling something more Asian inspired, I'd also recommend the Red Chili Shrimp, made of sesame noodle, spinach, shitake mushrooms, and kai-lan. You can even get it in a gluten-free option, for those wishing not to partake in wheat-based protein.

Beyond the incredible food though is True Food Kitchen's selection of healthy and refreshing cocktails and drinks. True Food Kitchen really stands out above the crowd with their refreshments and I strongly recommend everyone to try one. Made from real fruits and herbs (no sugary juices here), their cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages blends an invigorating feeling of freshness with a complex mixture of sweet, sour, and even savory flavors all in a single sip. These things are truly inspirational. There's a reason they have a cocktail on the menu named Spontaneous Happiness.

If you can get to dessert without filling up, True Food Kitchen offers a varied collection of options to chose from. The flour-less chocolate cake is always an excellent choice, but if you are a fan of pumpkin pie and can swing by during the fall season, ask if they might have the squash pie available. Coupled with a single scoop of their all natural vanilla ice cream, the spicy squash pie hits the spot perfectly after a great meal.

All in all, True Food Kitchen is an excellent place to explore new tastes while giving your body a healthy dose of nutrition. With a menu focused almost exclusively toward an anti-inflammatory diet, you will walk away feeling satisfied, both in your stomach and mind. Check it out today.

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