True Food Kitchen Proves Green Food Tastes Good
By Linda Milks
Can healthy food taste good? Our regional International Food, Wine & Travel Writers group was on a conquest to see just how good healthy eating can taste. We were invited to the True Food Kitchen in El Segundo, CA. There are currently 24 locations of True Food Kitchen with 9 new locations being added from the West Coast to the East Coast. Kansas City is the newest location to open.
My first impression when I walked into the restaurant was how green, bright, and natural the spacious open interior appeared. The kitchen where everything is prepared is part of the larger room so that diners can watch as food is prepared which added to the transparency of ingredients used. Of course I noticed the sign at the rear of the restaurant proclaiming, “Honest food that tastes really good.” This honesty and openness in ingredients and preparation is the foundation of True Food Kitchen. A passion for the mission of True Food exudes from everyone working there, and I was very impressed with their knowledge of what they serve. Training classes for all servers give them a chance to sample and learn what has been prepared.
If you are on dietary restrictions or just wish to eat cleaner, diners will find real and natural food with food tailored to their needs whether it is vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free. True Food uses organic produce and sustainably raised beef and fish whenever possible. The menu is changed four times a year for the four seasons to guarantee the freshest local ingredients.
Our lunch started with two small mystery containers to help us learn more about what ingredients might appear in our lunch and why these two ingredients add lots of nutrition to a meal. The first was black walnuts that are indigenous to the Himalayas. They have been used for 4000 years in medicine for health benefits to the heart. In addition, they are known for reducing inflammation, preventing certain types of cancer and helping both skin and hair. The other container held green garbanzo beans which are firmer and more of a raw product than traditional garbanzo beans.
Our first course was a creamy and flavorful Asparagus Leek Soup made with roasted cipollini onion, tahini, and green garbanzo beans, with a drizzle of lemon oil floating on top. We were also offered a Seasonal Ingredient Salad consisting of crisp watercress, grilled broccolini, asparagus, green garbanzo and goat cheese. Along with the soup and salad, a Spring Asparagus Toast was served which boasted of whole wheat La Brea toast smothered with a smooth green garbanzo hummus combined with tahini and topped with lightly sautéed asparagus. Some fresh sliced radishes added a crunch to this dish.
Each course was paired with a corresponding cocktail prepared at the scratch bar where cocktails are made using fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. For the first course we were offered a choice of a Basil Cucumber Collins–lemon-infused vodka, cucumber, and basil–or a Cucumber Cooler. Both of these drinks were refreshing and full of natural flavors.
The main course arrived at our table. A Grilled Artichoke and Pesto Pizza enticed us made of black walnut pesto with artichoke hearts, summer squash, and vegan almond ricotta topping the crisply baked thin homemade crust. We also were blessed with Miso Glazed Eggplant with roasted pepper, truffle, tahini yogurt, and black walnut pesto that made our mouths water from the burst of different flavors and textures. These dishes were accompanied by Striped Black Seabass topped with broccolini, sugar snap peas, roasted mushrooms, ancient grains, and umami sauce. The seabass was the most wonderful melt-in-your mouth seabass I have ever had. The suggested accompanying cocktails were a Strawberry Smash of bourbon, muddled strawberries and lemon or a refreshing Sparkling Honeydew.
Of course no meal is complete without dessert, and we were treated to a Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp of almond crumble and chia seeds topped with a rich ice cream made of rice milk and coconut cream. This luscious vegan ice cream made me realize how good the right recipe can make vegan food taste. I loved it! A beverage offering of a Farmers Market Sangria or Organic Coffee finished the meal perfectly.
Even if you haven’t experienced vegetarian or vegan food, I encourage you to try True Food Kitchen if you have the opportunity. It will awaken you to just how wonderful real and natural food tastes. We all left with an appreciation of how food should be prepared. And yes, healthy food can be delicious.
True Food Kitchen in El Segundo is located in The Point Mall at 860 South Sepulveda, Ste. 100, El Segundo, CA. The phone number for reservations is: 310-469-7725 and is open every day of the week.
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