It’s summertime, which means that the chefs at True Food Kitchen are going all-out with the super-fresh, farm-ripened fruits and veggies that are a mainstay of the restaurant’s plant-centric cuisine. Watermelon? Check! (And it comes in red and yellow!). Heirloom tomatoes? Check! (And they’re super-sweet!). Fresh corn? Check! (And of course it’s non-GMO.)
We had a chance to sample some food and drinks from True Food Kitchen’s summer menu, and by the time all was said and done, our table was a riot of color, from reds to greens, to oranges and yellows, and everything in between.
We started with what is our new favorite summer drink, the Sparkling Antioxidant Tea, which is a bubbly concoction of organic iced green tea, pomegranate, lemon, and sparkling water. This is seriously just about the most refreshing drink you could ask for, whether you’re coming in from a day at the beach, or whether you’re just starting out the morning on a hot day.
Next we enjoyed a slightly updated version of an earlier menu item – the Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad, with marcona almonds, white balsamic vinegar, and chevre. As El Segundo Executive Chef Jordan Herigstad, explained to us, the recipe is slightly different from last year’s version, which had a sweetened vinegar dressing. This year’s version goes along with the restaurant’s effort to decrease the amount of sugar in their menu items, so it just has the balsamic vinegar with no added sugar. (And to be honest, it doesn’t feel like anything’s missing.)
For the next course we tasted the new summer pizza (because… pizza), which is an heirloom tomato pizza with grilled artichoke, roasted garlic, vegan almond ricotta, and black truffle. Have you had True Food Kitchen’s vegan ricotta before? It is so rich and creamy you would never guess for a moment that it didn’t have any dairy products. The pizza itself is also an ideal plant-centric summer pizza because it’s not too heavy, and it has just the right amount of summer sweetness from the heirloom tomatoes.
Our next new summer item was the pan roasted chicken with corn, green chickpeas, Fresno chilies, feta, and cilantro pumpkin seed pesto. (Green chickpeas are the “baby” garbanzo beans that are picked fresh from the vine.) General Manager Beth Centlivre mentioned to us that the corn was non-GMO, which is she said is representative of the kind of responsibly sourced food that True Food Kitchen is proud to serve. She also noted that she is always glad to talk about the ingredients in any given dish. “When people ask me, it makes me happy,” she added.
Last but not least, we enjoyed two new summer cocktails that are guaranteed to brighten up your meal. First is the Watermelon Mojito, which features rum, mint, pineapple, and lime. This drink is light and watermelon-y and you can just as easily enjoy it for brunch as for a summer dinner. Then there’s the Cherry Bourbon Sour, which features bourbon, lemon, and cherry bitters…topped with a pinot noir float. Not only is this drink drop-dead gorgeous, it also has enough personality to it that it can stand on its own for cocktail hour or after-dinner drinks.
Planning a visit? As always, True Food Kitchen takes great pride in a plant-centric menu that caters to nearly every food preference with a variety of gluten-free, naturally organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings; as well as a scratch bar that features seasonal cocktails using fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices and organic spirits. The menu changes seasonally, with a variety of special options throughout the year. You can find True Food Kitchen in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee Texas, and Virginia, with additional locations coming soon.
Blogger disclosure: I received a complimentary meal for review purposes. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.