Another jewel in the Fox Restaurant Group crown, Pasadena’s True Food Kitchen location serves abundantly healthy food with a focus on flavor and responsibility.
BY: Cuyler Gibbons
Image: Courtesy of True Food Kitchen
We are several decades deep at least into a rich understanding of the connection between the foods we eat and our health. Though the hot theory of the day seems to change all the time—fat and dietary cholesterol being but two former arch-villains that have seen their reputation repaired recently—most of us have firmly bought into the idea of at least trying to “eat healthy” more often, whatever that might mean at the time. And now, with the somewhat more recent concerns regarding planetary health, and the conditions in which we raise sentient protein sources becoming increasingly prominent, eating “healthy” can take on even broader implications.
Couple those concerns with the more fundamental fact that healthy priorities often have a way of crowding out considerations of taste, convenience and comfort and a truly healthful, fine dining experience begins to seem like an oxymoron. Until you eat at Pasadena’s new True Food Kitchen.
Comfortably ensconced in the historic but previously troubled location on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Pasadena Avenue, formerly occupied by the short lived Picnik, True Food Kitchen maximizes the location’s unique appeal with an open air feel, an indoor-outdoor bar, and an abundant central alfresco dining area, as well as ample covered seating.
Like “healthy” the word “concept” often fails to inspire confidence that the way the food tastes is a primary focus. In the hands of restaurateur and concept savant Sam Fox, however, great tasting food is the concept. It just happens that it’s great food that is also good for you.
Fox, whose restaurant empire now extends across 15 brands, and 50 locations, met and began spending time with Dr. Andrew Weil in the late 1990s. Fox spent time cooking with Weil and absorbing the theories around his anti-inflammatory diet. In 2008, Fox opened the first True Food Kitchen in Phoenix with the intention of creating a dining experience in an inviting atmosphere, that offered delicious flavors and healthy nutrients, in an environmentally aware context that all together created a truly memorable dining experience.
Fox exceeded expectations. The TFK experience is memorable enough in fact that you’ll want to make a reservation as already lines are common, as they have been at the earlier opened El Segundo and Santa Monica locations. Fox wanted a menu that was interesting enough to encourage people to take chances, but familiar enough to make repeat customers comfortable. He’s succeeded on both counts.
With a seasonal menu based on local and organically grown product the dishes are ample, and varied. While vegetarian and vegan tastes are catered to, committed carnivores will find creative, and enticing offers to suit as well. True Food Kitchen is that rare place where no one should ever have to make an off menu foray with the waiter and kitchen staff, nor a tedious speech about the unique dietary requirements or consumption philosophy that made it necessary. There is something to assuage every conscience and satisfy every appetite at True Food Kitchen. Dishes display a variety of influences including Asian, Californian and Mediterranean. Starters like herb hummus or edamame dumplings share billing with kale guacamole. Salads range from a vegan seasonal ingredient medley to grilled chicken with medjool dates. A number of sandwiches and bowls including numerous vegan and vegetarian options are also available, along with entrees like sustainable sea bass, spaghetti squash casserole and a gluten-free lasagna bolognese.