Friday, May 20, 2011

True Food Kitchen: A Stomach's Best Friend

Who would have thought that one of my new favorite restaurants would be in a mall?  Santa Monica Place, the completely new, gutted and remolded replacement for the old mall at the start of the 3rd Street promenade is a far more upscale experience than it previously was.  High fashion stores, lots of bling, and much better restaurants.

I was fortunate enough to dine at one of these restaurants before it opened and let me just tell you- get there, get there fast!  Also, so you know, my meal was complimentary, but that in no way colors my judgement of the restaurant.  If I didn't enjoy my meal, you would not be hearing about it folks.

True Food Kitchen's concept was born from Dr. Andrew Weil, my new favorite culinary hero.  Why is he such a cool guy?  He's based his menu on the principle that food should be a nutritious, healthy, and an anti-inflammatory experience.  "According to Dr. Weil: 'Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help counteract the chronic inflammation that is a root cause of many serious diseases, including those that become more frequent as people age. It is a way of selecting and preparing foods based on science that can help people achieve and maintain optimum health over their lifetime.'" (from the TFK website)

Personally, these are principles I take very seriously being an allergic & gluten-free eater living a healthy lifestyle.  Eating out at True Food Kitchen makes dining an enjoyable experience, even for the most sensitive of us.  I suspect that this has something to do with the extremely extensive training program that the staff was required to go through in order to work there.  My unendingly helpful server, Gary, explained that all staff went through a couple of weeks (not hours, not days) but weeks of training.  They learned all about food allergies, intolerances and food related diseases like Celiac, veganism, vegetarianism, food preparation, safety practices and so much more.  Gary knew the answer to all of my questions instantly, and that's never happened in a regular restaurant before.

I started my meal with a Cucumber Refresher drink.  It's a mixture of fresh cucumber & honey lemonade, all fresh from their fresh juice bar.  Though I chose a pre-suggested drink from the menu, diners can make up their own juice combinations that delight them.  The drink was very refreshing, a little sweet and very cucumbery!  It was a nice way to wake my palate up before the meal.

As a starter, I ordered the soup of the day, Immunity Soup.  This soup featured an ingredient I'd never heard of- astragules root- which when eaten regularly can help protect the body from stress, diabetes, and even cancers.  All I was thinking about was how delicious it was!  The root was complemented by an earthy, umami happy broth, mushrooms, broccoli, and carrot coins.  The soup was very warming; the perfect remedy for any sick day. 

I debated what I should choose as my main course.  You see, the menu offers many, many Gluten Free choices, including pizzas.  There were so many choices (which never happens when you go out) that I had to ask for the staff's advice.  The several people who checked on me during my seating were all asked what their favorite meal was.  Although each agreed they liked almost all the dishes, most raved particularly about the Panang Curry.  Now, I have never been a huge curry fan, but how can that many people be wrong?

When the curry arrived, piping hot, the scent I breathed in was simply intoxicating.  My first bite was foodgasmic.  Did the chef sprinkle angel tears on this bad boy?  I didn't want to speak.  I didn't want to drink.  I just wanted to eat this curry, possibly forever. 

 tell me that isn't gorgeous

The curry which sat in a creamy coconut broth could have very easily been too rich.  But everything about it was perfectly balanced:  spicy yet smooth, rich yet not too thick, perfectly sized vegetables to meat ratio.  The brown rice buried below the broth was not soggy, instead absolutely perfect consistency.  How'd they do that?!  The rich coating of the curry would slide off my tongue and a touch of sizzle would linger politely on it to remind me that I wanted more.  This is a curry you dream about.  True Food Kitchen, I am now a curry convert.

When I had to choose a dessert, I was still mourning my empty bowl of curry.  Could I do that course again?  No, no.  I had to be practical and move on.  I looked at the dessert menu; again, several choices for the GF and Vegan eater.

I chose a very simple, light finish, a Low-Fat Lemon Ginger Frozen Yogurt, made fresh on premises.  I'm such a whore for ginger, and the delicious and subtle fresh flavors of the yogurt adorned with blueberries was really the perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Now what was the best part.   Was it the food?  The friendly staff?  The modern and clean atmosphere?  Well all of that was great, but my favorite part is that I can go back to True Food Kitchen and try several other combinations of dishes over and over again because the menu is riddled with GF friendly fare!  I don't feel trapped in a box at True Food Kitchen, and although I ate quite a substantial meal, I didn't feel gross when I left.  I felt very full, but not heavy.  I felt satisfied and clean, and my stomach did not hurt.  I ate curry and had no stomach ache?  Points again for you, True Food Kitchen.

When you visit the now open True Food Kitchen (and if you live in LA or near other locations, you really should,) you are likely to find me sitting at a table there, devouring whatever delicious delicacy I can. 

True Food Kitchen (395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172, Santa Monica, CA 90401, 310-593-8300)

1 comment:

  1. I loved this place, too! Now you have me wanting to return and get the curry. And the immunity soup. And the lemon ginger frozen yogurt. I could eat my way through this menu, with ease.

    If you want to make the Tuscan Kale Salad, it's here. So easy, so healthy. GF, I believe.