Just relaxing on an islet in the Caribbean

Monday, January 3, 2011


Those who know me are aware of my many passions in life: food, wine, fitness-exercise and alternative healing (to name a handful). Therefore, I was pretty dang excited when I learned a new restaurant was to open in nearby Newport Beach that would focus on serving fresh, some organic, sustainable, low-fat and healthy dishes implementing Dr. Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid diet with all meals created and approved for optimum health by Dr. Weil himself. Bring on the healthy vittles baby, bring ‘em on!

As a foodie and fitness expert I have often fantasized (yes, periodically I have food related fantasies!) about dining at a trendy spot where delectable, well prepared food is served, with a lovely ambiance pleasing to the eyes, great cocktails and various wines flowed. In addition to all of my standards, an extra benefit is that the food served is equally as healthy for my body. That being said, welcome to Orange County Mr. Fox and Dr. Andrew Weil…both of you have satisfied my healthy culinary desires at True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach, a wonderful alternative to folks looking to eat healthier in 2011!
Sam Fox, a San Diego entrepreneur, knows restaurants learning the business while a student at the University of Arizona with a total of 29 restaurants under his belt and more rolling out on the horizon. In case you did not know, Dr. Andrew Weil is a well regarded author and Harvard Medical School trained physician. As a highly “respected alternative medicine guru” (with healing retreats around the country), he is an expert on several alternative modalities some of which include eating anti-inflammatory diets and implementing cooking methods to help maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. Dr. Weil and Mr. Fox have teamed up to design a healthy menu at True Food Kitchen that will satisfy just about every taste bud out there.

I have yet to enjoy a feast in the outdoor patio next to the “living wall” of green succulents, nor dine in the 800 bottle wine cellar, but I have sat at the juice bar (which offers freshly squeezed fruit and veggie juices and handmade libations) enjoying a light lunch and in the large dining room on more than one occasion. The various times I have been to True Food Kitchen there has always been a wait to get in – standing room only, so I suggest you arrive early or plan on waiting a bit since the restaurant is very popular and you will wait! For those who enjoy healthy sweet-dried fruits, light and lean protein with some crunchy greens, the “Chicken Chopped Salad” is right up your alley (it was up mine…hum, that just doesn’t sound right)! Diced fresh dates, cranberries, Marcona Spanish almonds, white meat chicken chunks, crisp salad greens, Manchego cheese and the ancient grain farro mixed with a refreshing champagne vinaigrette graced my plate. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to order half a portion of the salad since they are so large (and a great value) and I needed to save room for an appetizer or two! My idea of a successful dish is when the chef designs and creates the food item to taste great as if the item was to stand alone…well, each ingredient blended in my chopped salad tasted wonderful by itself, from the tender chicken to the quality of the dried fruits. That, my friends, is a successful tasty salad.

Another salad which rocked my gustatory cells was the “Tuscan Kale Salad”. I am a huge fan of collard so I gladly ordered the mound of deep-green freshly chopped kale that was gently blended with fresh lemon, parmesan and bread crumbs accompanied with a side of the Italian high-protein farro grain. The farro had a slightly chewy texture and a nice nutty flavor but lacked an interesting presentation (my senses are easily stimulated visually). Although the grain was just plopped onto my side dish, it had a nice essence and each tiny grain was gladly gobbled up.

I have had the fortunate experience of tasting many items from True Food Kitchen:

· Edamame Dumplings
· Caramelized Onion Tart
· Today’s Raw Fish
· Tuscan Kale Salad
· Roasted Eggplant
· Panang Curry
· Miso Glazed Black Cod
· Organic Ricotta Ravioli
· Flourless Chocolate Cake
· Apple Cranberry Crumble; and
· Banana Chocolate Tart

With all of these dishes being very appetizing, it is pretty tough to choose my favorite. But alas, I suppose I must…therefore the “Miso Glazed Black Cod”, bok choy and Asian mushroom was very yummy with a lovely sweet/sour miso glaze on a thick cod fillet that was cooked to perfection, tender and moist.
I have yet to try the “Wild Ahi Sliders” with wasabi aioli, radish, avocado and cucumber. They look fabulous with a generous slice of seared ahi tuna and chunky avocado spread sandwiched between a golden wholesome mini bun…two per order. They are a must order on my next visit.

In all fairness I must mention the desserts, they are luscious! How can one expect worthy sweet treats from a “health food” restaurant? Guys, trust me when I tell ya that True Food Kitchen delivers the unexpected with their desserts. Out of the three I tasted, my favorite was the “Banana Chocolate Tart” with its mesquite flour crust and Brazil nuts giving the tart a sweet and smoky flavor. Never before had I ever heard of ‘mesquite flour’ much less taste it in a confection and it was worth every calorie(s) that accumulated on my chunky thighs!

Of course, I did not include all the libations that have crossed my sweet lips! How can one go wrong ordering the “Cucumber-Kumquat Skinny Margarita” (for goodness sakes, it’s a ‘skinny margarita’)? Hand mixed with Casa Noble Silver Organic Tequila, fresh lime, fresh mint and soda this cocktail had me craving for more! For those in need of a little therapy the “Retail Therapy” with Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier, fresh strawberry, basil and lemon will settle the most anxious of nerves. And for all of you whiskey drinkers out there, “Peace Maker” will chill you out for sure with the perfect blend of smooth whiskey, black tea, honey lemon syrup and Averna (Italian liqueur). In addition to the many fabulous hand mixed cocktails, TFK has a good beer and sake selection along with many wines by the glass from various regions around the world.

Folks, my point is…True Food Kitchen has very tasty, well prepared, fresh, low-fat dishes that would satisfy just about everyone from the strictest vegan to the hungriest carnivore (beef tacos are on the menu also) and my heart flutters with delight knowing that I can dine out guilt free without feeling overly stuffed having eaten too many unhealthy calories, processed foods and bad fats.


True Food Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Open Daily
Great value and price point!


  1. Holy crap!!!! How am I missing out on this place?? This is what we always talked about mom!

  2. I no!!! "I wish there was a place I could go with a good atmosphere, great cocktails & wine and healthy, low-fat food"! Thanks Messrs. Fox & Weil (Dr.)!! When you return to Laguna I will treat you to TFK. XO