True Food Kitchen | A First For Pasadena

My first thought when I walked into this place was GORGEOUS. There are so many seating options, inside, outside, patio facing Colorado, patio facing the kitchen, the beautiful lit up courtyard and the bar area which offers inside and outside seating too. What ties everything together is the humongous glass enclosed workspace where the magic happens, THE KITCHEN. You can see everything! The prep, the chef, the wait staff, the cooking and the plating. I love places that are visually open to the public because it’s so fascinating and exciting to watch the madness that goes on behind the scenes.

Let’s get to the food. This restaurant uses no high fructose corn syrup and is peanut free. They closely follow the teachings, recipes, and methods of Dr. Weil, who is well known for writing about and publishing cookbooks on anti-inflammatory diets. This is the first True Food Kitchen for Pasadena. No matter what style of eater you are (gluten free, carnivore, vegan, vegetarian), they have something delicious on the menu. It’s a mix of American, Mediterranean and Asian.

For instance, their grass fed burger is actually grass fed and grass finished. What that means is most grass fed animals have a grain-finish and can be fed grain the last two months since the majority of their life they were fed grass. But at True Food they continue with grass fed from beginning to end. The burger was absolutely delicious. Umami delicious! My recommendation is to have it cooked medium. It has mushrooms, caramelized onions, parmesan (is your mouth watering yet?) all that goodness inside a flax seed bun.

Their Steelhead Salmon is actually trout. They use trout because it’s a more sustainable fish then Salmon and usually reproduces before it’s caught. It’s just a more stable fish, which again goes right along with the teachings of Dr. Weil.


Steelhead “Salmon”

Want to know what else I loved about our media tasting. Every single person that worked there has tried the entire menu. It was nice to have an actual conversation with our server about the menu, ingredients, recommendations etc., Kudos to corporate for putting money into the staff.


Edamame Dumplings

So what did we eat? We started with shiitake lettuce cups. They were extremely tasty and the lettuce was super crisp. It’s a good go to to start off the night. Our neighbors at the next table gave us some of their Kale Guacamole. I’ve never had pink grapefruit in my guac and have to say I’m sold. Probably the tastiest guac I’ve ever had. Then we tried the Wild Caught Albacore in a yuzo ponzu sauce. Tuna came out perfect and melts in your mouth. Our last app was the Edamame Dumplings. I highly recommend following each bite with a spoonful of the sauce so you get a full flavor.


Albacore Tuna Tataki in Yozu Ponzu

We had to try to butternut squash pizza with their homemade almond ricotta cheese. I’m going back for this. It was that good. Maybe I can just ask for a cup of butternut squash topped with almond ricotta cheese….YUM!

Then we had the grass fed burger, which was so juicy, and if you love meat like I do, you’ll order one to eat at the table and one to go. Then came the salmon. It was plated on top of arugula and a cilantro pumpkin seed pesto with a side of smoked onion faro and roasted beets. The fish was flaky and if you take a bite with the faro and pesto, it’s like the perfect bite. Not fishy at all for all you folks that don’t like the fishy flavor.

And finally…..dessert. We tried the flourless cake, the squash pie, the chia seed pudding and a maple bacon ice cream. My favorite was the chia seed pudding. It has a tapioca consistency and was so rich and creamy and mixed with bananas and toasted coconut…HELLO? Heaven in my mouth. Chocolate lovers will go cookoo for the flourless cake. The squash pie was actually pretty good even though the name squash pie doesn’t sound appealing. It’s like a dress that looks bad on the hanger but looks good on. You just have to go for it.


Chia Seed Pudding, Squash Pie and Flourless Chocolate Cake

OMG you didn’t think I’d forget cocktails did you? To me, cocktails are just as important as the meal. Rounding out the night (in no particular order… ha ha ha) was the Thai Grapefruit Martini, Ginger Margarita , the Skinny Margarita, Chamomile Cooler and the Autumn Orchard Sour. They use basil, they use fig, they use organic vodka, chamomile infused gin, muddled pear, honey, and fresh fruits. My favorites were the Chamomile Cooler and the Citrus Skinny Margarita. They also have wine, cider and beer.


Chamomile Cooler & the Ginger Margarita


My partner in crime…Randall Salter. CHEERS!

I was impressed learning about how True Food kitchen gives back. They use IXA organic Tequila for some of their cocktails. Every bottle they sell, IXA plants a tree. True Food has already helped plant 11,400 trees. SAVE THE EARTH and drink tequila.

Thank you so much to our server, Deanna Lopes for teaching us so much about the restaurant, the menu and for being an awesome server.



Kimlai Yingling is a culinary producer, freelance writer & host who has been seen on, & She's been featured in HuffPost, LA Wonders, Dirty and Thirty etc. She has a bachelor's degree in Communications from Washington State University. Find Kimlai on Instagram @kimlaiyingling

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