True Food Kitchen

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My short trip in LA was at a close, but I got do dine out at one more spot before I left. I went to True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica. 

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With ten locations nationwide, they’re focusing on the anti-inflammatory diet with a wide, healthy selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. And, at least at this location, they have one of my favorite features, an open kitchen. 

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To start, I shared their Vegetable Crudités (Tzatziki and Black Olive dips). Holy big bowl of vegetables. So, to be fair, the bowl is about half way full of ice to chill the vegetables, but there’s still a very hefty amount of delicious, fresh vegetables. Everything from broccoli rabe, to heirloom carrots, to watermelon radish slices, are all here ready to be dipped in the zesty and tangy sauces on the side. 

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For my entree, I ordered the Street Tacos with Sustainable Sea Bass (Avocado, Cotija Cheese, Tomatillo Salsa, Sour Cream and Anasazi Bean). The bean and cheese combo is served on the side, hot. I wasn’t sure if the intention was to put it on top of the tacos, but I ended up doing it anyway. I tried the tacos on their own to start, and while they were good, the bass was too under-seasoned to me. I was looking for a more savory flavor, but unfortunately wasn’t really getting that. However, once I added the bean and cheese combination, it helped to bring out the flavor and make it a bit more dynamic. 

The Shorts:
Name: True Food Kitchen
Location: 395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172, Santa Monica, CA
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, in fact, I might even just order the crudite as a meal for myself. I’d skip the tacos, but give some of the other items a try.
Would I recommend it? Yes, the openness of the space is relaxing, and the focus is on healthy eating, so there are loads of options to keep your body in check.

Casa Jaya

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When I got to São Paulo, it was recommended to me that I go to Casa Jaya in Jardim Paulista. This place is pretty progressive for Brazil, featuring an all vegetarian kitchen. 

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They call themselves an eco-cultural center, housing a small retail shop, workshops and even yoga classes. They’re open for lunch, and I recommend sitting out in the backyard garden, it’s just adorable and peaceful. 

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So, the menu changes daily, only offering one entree option. So, find the item of the day of the week you like, if not all of them, and you’re good to go. First, you’re off to their salad bar, included with your entree. This was one of the most incredible salad bars I’ve seen. All fresh, unique and loads of options. This ain’t no Golden Corral funky iceburg lettuce bar. And, you can go back as many times as you’d like.

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This was my pretty veggie plate, and yes, I ate all of it. I would have gone back for seconds, but, I wanted to save room for my entree, of course. 

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Well, I truly lucked out, when I was there, it was Feijoada day (feijoda da vegana com farofa, couve e arroz integtal, tofu assado ao molho madeira, batata assada e arroz integral). This was so awesome! Feijoada is typically a meat like stew, so, to have a vegetarian option that I could try, was really great. You can eat each element separately, or, combine to build a hearty stew. The beans, potato and tofu combination was really flavorful and delicious. I really enjoyed the braised greens as well, and the rice might have been some of the best rice I’ve ever had. It was tender, yet fluffy, soft and flavorful. The farofa was excellent too. 

The Shorts:
Name: Casa Jaya 
Location: R. Capote Valente, 305 – Jardim Paulista, Sao Paulo, Brazil
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Hell yes! I was raving about this place the rest of my trip. It really is a vegetarian’s paradise (and, even if you’re not veggie too).
Would I recommend it? Yes, doesn’t matter what day you go, I’m sure it’ll be amazing. But, you should try to make it over on a Wednesday, which is Feijoada day. Holla!