Dining Out Paleo: True Food Kitchen

Welcome to my Thursday series: Dining Out Paleo 
Thursdays I post a recent dining out experience and how I chose the best possible options to stay true to a whole foods diet, opting for the freshest and most nutrient dense foods while avoiding grains, sugars, dairy, and soy to the best of my ability.  Unless informed otherwise, I always assume that the restaurant uses vegetable/canola oils for cooking.

The time I spent studying massage therapy in Santa Monica was when my interest in holistic health and wellness really kicked into high gear.  My classes of course focused on technique and routine, but there were a few teachers that really put an emphasis on whole-body health and alternative methods to healing.  My fire was lit and that began my on-going quest to learn more about the impact of the foods we eat, the chemicals we ingest, and even pharmaceutical necessity on our bodies and well-being.  I had no idea the depth and expanse of the meaning behind whole-body health, even Paleo, and just how endless getting back to the basics could really be.

One day after hours and hours of grueling anatomy study, we were treated to a video featuring Dr. Andrew Weil.  Dr. Weil is an educator, writer, and the founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.  He is an advocate for holistic health and integrative medicine, combining alternative methods with conventional medicine for the best possible outcome.  I loved his philosophy, his demeanor, and the information he had to share.  

Almost a year and a half later, I was perusing through the "foodie" feeds on my Pulse App and read a review for True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica.  The restaurant focuses on seasonal, fresh ingredients featured in globally-inspired cuisine.  The menu includes offerings for a range of dietary preferences and has a hearty selection for even the most particular eater.  The best part is that True Food Kitchen is a collaborative effort between Fox Restaurant Concepts from Arizona... and Dr. Weil!  I immediately added True Food Kitchen to my 'to-do' list and phoned my favorite massage therapist (and fellow classmate) for a date down on the Westside.  How exciting to eat at a restaurant where the menu concept is prepared by an M.D. that truly understands the impact of food on our health!

True Food Kitchen sits on the edge of Santa Monica Place, bustling with high-end shoppers and beach bleached tourists.  The store front is large and bright and on this particular day there were tubs of fresh herbs arranged around the front waiting area. 

I started with an intriguing class of Kale Aid made with fresh juiced kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, and ginger.  Everything on the refreshment menu sounded incredible and I want to come back just to hang out at the juice bar and make my way through the different selections.

It honestly tastes exactly as it looks and sounds.  Which I happened to love!  I am totally down with green leafy juice drinks and can't help but feel ten pounds lighter when I drink them.  Now if only my pants would get on the same page and help a sister out.  My dining partner enjoyed the Hangover Rx, sober as could be, and was also thoroughly pleased with her selection.

When it came down to menu options and meal preference, it is really easy to pick something that is comprised of whole foods, is gluten-free, or completely vegan.  The menu identifies each item by dietary preference and is well described if you are looking to avoid dairy, soy, or grains. 

I am a lazy vegetable eater at home more often than I care to admit, so I really like eating salads when I go out to eat.  I chose the Mediterranean Chopped Salad with free-range grilled chicken added on top.  The salad arrived beautifully arranged with cucumbers, olives (which I nixed), cherry tomatoes, quinoa (which I did not nix but easily could have), feta, Marcona almonds, and lemon oregano vinaigrette.

Bright, clean flavors.  Tender meat.  A balance of crunchy and smooth textures between the almonds, chicken, and the feta.  Overall, a very well put together salad and I felt amazing during and after I devoured the entire dish.  The portion size was perfect and I left completely satisfied for the remainder of the afternoon.  

When my friend and I were finished catching up, nibbling the last bites, and taking in the scenery inside of True Food Kitchen, I dragged her down to the beach so I could get my obligatory moment in the sand and water that I hardly see since I left the South Bay.  One quick splash of chilly Pacific water all over the front of my pants and it was time to head home.  I was well-fed, grounded with the earth, and feeling quite complete for the remainder of the day.  Can't wait to go back and do it all over again!

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