Enjoying Spring at True Food Kitchen

Living in Los Angeles, restaurants that are health conscious are the norm. Since that does not always guarantee greatness, it can be a journey to find the best of the best. Luckily for me, one of my go-to’s for awhile now is True Food Kitchen. True Food Kitchen is popping up throughout the country yet one thing is for sure: This is not your average chain restaurant.

World renowned physician, Dr. Andrew Weil, helped design the True Food Kitchen menu. Going off of Dr. Weils’ anti-inflammatory diet, you would never assume that all of the dishes under True Food Kitchen’s roof are that of a “healthy” diet. Yet, they are! I was thrilled when I was invited back to experience True Food Kitchen’s Spring menu. Read on to learn which are my favorites from this season’s offerings.

Table for Two at True Food Kitchen

Arriving for a Sunday lunch at True Food Kitchen’s Pasadena location, Mike and I were happy to be back and seated in a booth next to where we enjoyed our Valentine’s Day drinks. Sundays find Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard at their busiest but that did not stop True Food’s staff from seating and greeting us immediately. It was awesome to see General Manger, Nico, once again and get the low-down on their Spring goodies.

We began with a round of their Spring drinks. Day drinking, anyone?! True Food Kitchen and Dr. Weil may be all about healthy and delicious food, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also boast a full bar. We were in for a treat as we tried their new Basil Collins (lemon-infused vodka, cucumber, basil), Lemongrass Margarita  (añejo tequila, mango, lime, lemongrass) and Strawberry Smash (bourbon, muddled strawberry, lemon).

The Spring cocktails. Photo: Michael Farah.
Spring Asparagus Toast. Photo: Michael Farah.

While most bars usually have me only trusting tequila or rum, True Food Kitchen has all gluten-free spirits. This means, my friends-I could enjoy the Strawberry Smash and bourbon! Because I am not usually a bourbon drinker, I admit it was a bit strong for me. It was expertly crafted and the strawberry helped off-set the strength of the bourbon, but I was all about that Lemongrass Margarita and my beloved tequila. Pairing tequila with mango is always a match made in heaven for me. And, keeping in mind that lemon grass is an extremely alkaline option made me feel no guilt as I sipped this concoction.

Many of you know that I am also a vodka lover. The Basil Collins did not disappoint. While Mike found himself partial to it, I kept stealing sips. Since cucumber is not usually my thing, I did not think I would love it as much as I did. Much like with the margarita, the lemon-infusion really sealed the deal on it for me. While the basil made it not only irresistible, but added to its healthy benefits.

The Appetizers

While some may wonder why True Food Kitchen’s menu changes often, it’s all about the seasons. Nothing is canned nor frozen. All ingredients on their delicious plates are fresh and as much as possible, locally sourced. For their Spring menu, they are serving up two items that are as in season as it gets.

We started off with their Miso Glazed Eggplant. A yearly favorite, what luck I was in as it’s now prepared nationwide with tamari sauce instead of soy. AKA, naturally gluten-free! Featuring lentil, roasted pepper, marcona almond, truffle, mint, tahini yogurt and black walnut pesto, I knew this would be a slam dunk favorite for me. I love eggplant and let’s just say I may drench tamari sauce on everything. The miso glaze is subtle, and the dish is smoky and savory. A fantastic choice for someone looking for both a vegan and gluten-free starter.

Next up, we tried their new Spring Asparagus Toast with roasted cipollini onion, watercress, green garbanzo, tahini, mint, lemon and hemp seed. While it’s listed on their menu as a vegan option, you can also request to have this on their gluten-free pita bread. At first, I thought the green garbanzo beans were edamame. Our waitress, Adriana, explained to us that these are more of a ‘specialty’ vegetable and one you do not often see on a menu. They were delicious and a green I could sign up for everyday.

Discoveries like that are one of the biggest reasons I adore visits to True Food Kitchen. There are so many incredible, delicious vegetables and healthy food options out there that are just not available to us everyday. And, they should be. True Food is changing what our go-to foods are.

Miso Glazed Eggplant. Photo: Michael Farah.
Artichoke and Pest Pizza. Photo: Michael Farah.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp. Photo: Michael Farah.

Pizzas and Salads

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not one to order a salad. Same goes when I have the option of one, or soup. What can I say, I am picky and don’t like just any kind of leafy green. Thus, True Food Kitchen gets it. They know their diners want both taste and nutrition when they are given a bowl of greens and veggies. Their Seasonal Ingredient Salad almost looked too pretty to dive into. Filled with veggies ripe and in season, their Spring salad has watercress, grilled broccolini, asparagus, more green garbanzo, goat cheese, raisin, sprouted almond and drizzled with turmeric chia vinaigrette.

While each ingredient complimented the other, I must say, the vinaigrette truly brought it all together. As turmeric is one of the top supplements for anti-inflammatory, it made complete sense that this would be in the salad. It paired perfectly with what was next up for us: their Artichoke and Pesto pizza. Vegan by default, this is another dish that you may request gluten-free. We had it prepared on their gluten-free pita bread. It boasts grilled artichoke, spinach, summer squash, black walnut pesto, lemon, aleppo chili, vegan almond ricotta.

I admit-I was skeptical. Vegan almond ricotta? Lemon?! Oddly, somehow-True Food makes it work. I should have known. While extremely thin on the pita bread, the artichokes were amazing. As was the pesto

Room for Dessert?

Oh, those sinful three little words. There was absolutely no way we could say no to their Spring dessert, a Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp. Another dish that is automatically vegan and gluten-free, you would never tell. The crispy crumble is made with Bob’s Red Mill almond flour and the al a mode vanilla ice ream is coconut based. Served warm, this could be a main dish for me all. day. long.

It also shows what a fantastic choice True Food Kitchen is no matter what you are in search for. Whether you want to pop in for their happy hour and some libations, enjoy a three course meal or simply stop in for dessert and coffee (yes, they have a full espresso bar, too), True Food Kitchen should be on your radar for all things comfort and healthy. This crisp was an excellent way to wrap up yet another wonderful afternoon with them.

Plan your visit HERE and let them know Along Comes Mary sent you! xo

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