A Fall Brunch at True Food Kitchen
When in Pasadena, there’s no denying the vast selection of restaurants at your fingertips. Their main hub of activity on Colorado Boulevard alone has enough to keep you busy for days. Whenever Mike and I find ourselves there, it’s always a bit overwhelming to pick where to check out. So, when True Food Kitchen invited me to stop by to check out their Fall menu during Sunday brunch. I was excited to dine with them once again and not have to decide which cafe to eat at this time.
True Food Kitchen is a pretty unique spot. I first dined with them back when Along Comes Mary was only a few months old. It was a bit of an adventure getting to their Newport Beach location as my radiator over heated and we were stuck in a gas station waiting for a mechanic. Nevertheless, we made it in time!
I remember being so impressed and overwhelmed with their menu. Whether you were gluten-free, vegan, carnivore, dairy free, True Food Kitchen had you covered. With a menu designed by Dr. Andrew Weil, True Food thrives on serving dishes that align with the anti-inflammatory diet. While most think losing weight when they hear ‘diet’, Dr. Weil uses this term as a way of life. The anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to reduce the risk of cancers, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, etc.
If this is a world-renowned Dr’s idea of a ‘diet’, count me in!
Arriving a few minutes past our reservation (ah, Pasadena parking), it was no trouble at all and our hostess got us seated right away at an ideal table for two that bordered on the inside of the restaurant, while still catching the action happening on the patio. We got the sunshine and glimpses of locals chilling with their friends and dogs, and the cool A/C coming from the interior. Best of both worlds!
While at first glance, the Brunch menu seemed simple enough to select from (Just one page? Cool) we quickly realized just how massive their choice of dishes were. Breakfast favorites like Huevos Rancheros and their Egg Sandwich, their popular Ancient Grains bowl and their pizzas were just some of the many options we could enjoy. Our waiter, Mike, was an absolute sweetheart and extremely helpful with Mr. and Mrs. Indecisive. He recommended we begin with one of their Starters. Michael chose their Edamame Dumplings (which sadly could not be gluten-free as their sauce that makes it the dish that it is has wheat) and while I thought I would need to pass on their Winter Squash Toast, I was in luck as they can serve that (as well as their Avocado Toast) on a gluten-free pita bread. Score!
Mike also suggested we try their Soup of the Day, a bowl of chili with a dollop of Greek yogurt. I have been hearing of this ‘fad’ of Greek yogurt on chili. It did not sound appetizing, but, hey, why not find out for myself? So, Michael and I agreed to split a bowl of that, too.
While we waited for the appetizers, we sipped on some of True Food’s refreshing drinks. Their fan favorite Sparkling Antioxidant Drink was Michael’s pick and me? I felt like an old reliable iced coffee, which was great.
When Mike went on his break, we were introduced to the awesome Natalie, who would be taking care of us as our Starters came out. Are you sure this isn’t our entrée? Was my first thought.
The Winter Squash Toast was loaded to the brim with brussel sprouts, caramelized onion, lemon, saba and hazelnut. The hazelnut was most intriguing to me yet the star of this plate is definitely the squash. Paired on the gluten-free pita bread, it was hearty and full of flavor with each bite. While Michael enjoyed his Edamame Dumplings, he admits he was a bit underwhelmed. They reckoned more of a ravioli than dumplings. Our favorite appetizer? Gotta be their chili.
While I was hesitant at first, given that its main ingredient is beef, it was savory and just a hint of spice. Natalie said the secret is that all of their meat is the absolute top grade they can possibly get, and that it’s ethically raised, grass-fed and, of course, no antibiotics or “junk” used. While I still am having some psychological issues going back to meat after 17 years, True Food Kitchen is the place to be if you’re looking to know your meats are top-notch. Their chili definitely rivaled the tri-tip chili I enjoyed back in the Spring at Moxie Cafe in Santa Maria.
As for the Greek yogurt dollop? Where has that been all of my life?! I was proven very wrong about my reluctance to this combination.
As we decided on entrees, it would prove us well that True Food dishes are expertly crafted to not be more on your plate than you can handle. While Michael went with their steak tacos, I decided to amp up my protein and get their Two Organic Eggs with fennel chicken sausage and sweet potato hash. I always say this, but, you can really tell the difference with organic and conventional eggs. They were fluffy, bright and perfection. As was the sausage and their potatoes.
Michael’s tacos were a plate of two. When I took a bite, the beef, once again, was great but the real stand out? The corn tortilla. It easily was one of the most freshest tortillas I’ve had.
By the end of all this brunch greatness, Mike was back from his break and just had to recommend dessert. How can a gluten-free person say no to a gluten-free graham crust Squash Pie?! This should be on everyone’s list for Thanksgiving. Ideal if you’re serving gluten-free and/or Vegan/Dairy Free guests, this pie was hard not to devour. The coconut whipped cream played a major role, too.
Michael decided on their Chia Seed Pudding with banana and toasted coconut. Creamy, rich, decadent. True Food Kitchen definitely has the corner on great foods for those of us with dietary restrictions.
And to think, this was just brunch! True Food’s menu changes with each season, and they also boast a full bar and espresso drinks, too.Their Fall menu will be available through end of the year and the Pasadena location is a great atmosphere should you have kids in tow or are looking for a date spot, hang out with friends or even on your own. Treat yo’self! xo
(Disclosure: I was a guest of True Food Kitchen. All opinions are my own.
Photography: Michael Farah.)