Birthday Adventure + First Restaurant Review: True Food Kitchen

If you were to look on my Instagram page you’ll see tons of pictures of me but mostly my food at restaurants. I eat out a lot, but oddly enough it’s hard! Sometimes if not often I argue with my parents about trying plant-based restaurants such as The Rabbit Hole Cafe,  Native Foods or Sage Vegan Bistro. They love meat and cheese too much to give vegan a try! I have no choice but to wait until college, which won’t happen because I’ll be too broke to eat out! XD

But True Food Kitchen is different. There’s a wide variety of seasonal dishes that incorporate veganism and carnivorous foods! I remember one time we were hungry in Santa Monica Promenade and True Food was the only place that would allow dogs. The atmosphere was clear, not too noisy but not dead. We were accompanied by friendly service and our dinner was incredible. My sea bass was delicious–not too salty nor too overwhelmed by the sauce–and I tried freekeh for the first time! It tasted like fried brown rice with the spinach!

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My incredible roasted sea bass with portobellos, freekeh and spinach!

I was thrilled to visit this place again! Whenever I arrive somewhere very healthy and hippie my nerves immediately calm down and I feel at peace. You walk there and there’s even herbs and vegetables growing outside! How cute is that?!

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It was a bit cold outside and I was curious about the structure inside. The setting is lovely with somewhat dim lighting and wooden tables. There’s even a sign that lists all of the delicious produce that’s in season! Fuji apples, caulifower, walnuts, beets, mmm!

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The atmosphere was not too bustling nor deserted. There were plenty of people but not too much since our wait was only half an hour. So our family went to Nordstrom to kill some shopping time! And I picked up a Lorna Jane catalog on the way there because I love Lorna like that…

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The Lancome collection this year is so beautiful! I’m often not very experimental with cosmetics but this plum lipstick really stood out. Now that I’ll turn seventeen in about a day I can wear it! I used only one swipe and the color was extremely vivid already for my liking, since I’m a neutral gal. I even had to rub it in but it looked perfect.

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Time went by way super-duper quickly and our table was ready before I even got to the second floor. It literally felt like less than fifteen minutes! But how could I delay my time to enjoy a healthy and decadent meal for my birthday? Plus half of my family skipped lunch and were starved to death! We sat in the patio so it was a bit cold, but luckily my sister and I sat right below a heater. If you go here at night make sure you’re one of the lucky ones. Otherwise, bring a sweater.

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I peered at the menu and was literally at a loss for words. Panang Curry in a coconut shellfish broth? Roasted sea bass with purple potatoes? A spaghetti squash casserole?? A couple minutes later our lovely waitress arrived and before I could dive in to my main course, my family ordered three appetizers: the Albacore Tataki, Shiitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups and their favorite last time: the oh-so popular Edamame dumplings!

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I loved the lettuce cups a lot. The crunch from the cashews, sesame and carrot complemented the chicken and mushrooms so well! I thought it had a little too salty of an aftertaste, but that’s only because I don’t like soy sauce. The tataki was very good also, especially with the cucumbers and creamy avocado! I didn’t try the Edamame dumplings because, well, they were gone before I even knew it! THat’s saying something 🙂

My younger sister ordered the butternut squash pizza, which I personally didn’t try because it wasn’t gluten free. My mother and sisters adored it, but not my dad since he hates butternut squash. How is that possible?? I didn’t take a picture of it, unfortunately, since my sister’s eyes hurt easily with flash. If you try to find it on the Internet there are some incredibly beautiful pictures of it. Vibrant and orange with a perfect crust.

My other younger sister (who actually turned fifteen last Monday!) got the Red Chili Shrimp with shirataki noodles so that we could share dishes (Hooray!!). Shirataki noodles are gluten-free, extremely low carb, extremely low calorie and extremely high fiber noodles that are made of konjac root with a natural fiber called glucomannan. They’re super nutritious and help the digestive system regulate itself. Because they absorb the sauce very well, it wasn’t bland at all. They literally tasted like rice noodles.

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For my entree I settled for the Thai Green Papaya salad with kelp noodles, since I love them and it came with an abundance of nutritious herbs and veggies! It’s originally a vegan dish but our waitress recommended I order shrimp with it. I did not regret it at all. It looks very similar to my sister’s dish above except I have a giant slab of avocado on top. The mint leaves were incredibly fresh, the avocado creamy and decadent, the shrimp flavorful, the sesame seeds crunchy and the kelp noodles seemingly sinful.

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My father’s dish was the Roasted Chicken Tandoori with lentils and turmeric. I thought it was amazing but he thought the chicken was a teensy bit too dry for his preference, such as this recipe here. Everything was cooked in turmeric and was so flavorful without the weird MSGs and processed condiments! Plus there were dates and almonds in the dish. Need I say more?

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Lastly, my mother ordered the miso glazed black cod. It literally tasted like butter, but better, IMO. The fish was so moist, soft and tender that it melts in your mouth. There was also bok choy and chewy mushrooms to compliment it and give more Asian flare.

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If you’re looking for a healthy restaurant that has quick and amicable service, social yet not rowdy ambience, and tasty, satiating food, then True Food Kitchen is definitely in your favor. Anyways, for dessert we decided to find a place on our favorite show called Unique Sweets. We settled for Beachy Cream, which I was sold for once I found out they had vegan flavors. I’m not vegan but cannot eat dairy ice cream.

Beachy Cream is a small ice cream shop that has this vintage, cute, calendar-girl vibe with a mix of “I Love Lucy” and pinup culture. They make tons of appetizing flavors like Coffee Toffee, Pistachio, Bitchin’ Hot Chocolate and Roasted Banana. My sister and I split an ice cream sandwich with one oatmeal raisin cookie and a coconut oatmeal cookie holding three giant scoops of (I chose the flavor) vegan toasted coconut ice cream! My sister hated the ice cream and just ate the cookies, while I enjoyed the ice cream all to myself.

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While my trip did crush my plans of going to Whole Foods with Mickey Mouse ears, this was ultimately one of the best birthday celebrations I’ve ever had in my life and it totally makes up for the fact that I can’t do much on my real birthday tomorrow. True Food Kitchen and Beachy Cream are now two favorites on my list!

P.S. Any of y’all in L.A. but don’t live near Santa Monica? Well at the end of 2015 True Food will be in Westlake Village! How incredible is that?!

“Happy Birthday to me…happy birthday to me…”

Cassie


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