Birthday Lunch

Yesterday was Bhava’s birthday. He chose True Food Kitchen for lunch. It’s a place we’d wanted to explore since it opened earlier this summer, but its location at Fashion Valley, San Diego’s largest Shopping Mall, put it just a bit outside our comfort zone. So we put on our Yoga and stretched….

And were so glad we did!

A gorgeous urn of lemon water greets you at the entrance

A decorative nod to grass-fed, ethical farming principles promised by the kitchen

The Bar

Fruits and vegetables are clearly the priority

Our adorable server was the picture of health and grounded contentment, and it turns out, has her own healthy food blog, Food At Peace, suggesting she walks the talk. After being outsiders for so long, it was affirming, connecting, refreshing to be amongst the like-minded, the TRUE/TH seekers, especially in the midst of such a “maya-polis” (Dr. Svoboda‘s term) as Fashion Valley!

The perfect server, Lauren Mahlberg

Bhava ordered “Andy’s Favorite ‘TLT,'” a sandwich combination of Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado and Vegenaise that is so good, it must silence objecting meat lovers.

Andy’s Favorite TLT

We always share our dishes, usually ordering one appetizer or salad and only one entree, because in American restaurants two entrees are just too big, and because “the starters” can really show a Kitchen’s artistry and commitment, or not.

Tuscan Kale Salad

So I ordered the Tuscan Kale Salad which is such a burst of flavor, it really is like eating metabolized, packaged-for-human-consumption, sunlight. It is so special it seems to have created enough of a buzz that Dr. Weil, the “Andy” whose favorite ‘TLT’ Bhava enjoyed, also the founding partner in this restaurant based on his Optimum Health principles, has posted a video of himself making it. I thought you’d love it so included the recipe here below.

Sautéed sweet potato from Bhava’s plate gave it the perfect Six Taste balance.

Because it was his birthday and a gift from the kitchen, we tried the flourless chocolate cake for dessert. It  is a delightful demonstration of how much better a dish can be when sourced from the True.

72% Cacao flourless chocolate cake

Tuscan Kale Salad
Serves 4-6
4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero) midribs removed
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese, or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread (I toasted sesame seeds instead to make it gluten-free)
  1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
  2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
  3. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
  4. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

Food as Medicine
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.

My note
Kale is excellent for Pitta. Greens in general are cooling, detoxifying and disease-defying. Because summer is Pitta, Kale in all its glorious forms is a great food for the season. However, if you are Pitta yourself, reduce or even eliminate the garlic and hot pepper in this recipe. If you are Kapha, this is ideal as is. If you are Vata, serve it atop a bowl of hot brown rice, allowing the warmth to lightly steam and wilt the kale. 

This recipe is courtesy of Dr. Weil’s True Food Kitchen restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona and is posted here on his website.

The patio set off by the welcoming garden

Also want to let you know about my Autumn Ayurveda: Nutrition & Cooking Class coming up in September. Details here.

To your True Health. Namaste! 

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