Karen’s Pick: True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen
Bohemian wellness with a dash of seaholm chic
by Karen O. Spezia
Photographs by Knoxy Knox
TRUE FOOD KITCHEN IS AUSTIN at its schizophrenic best. Start with a health food menu based on the woo-woo principles of a bohemian wellness guru, then serve it up in the stylish surroundings of downtown’s chicest new entertainment district. It’s beatnik meets bourgeois. Weird meets well-heeled. Today’s Austin personified.
True Food Kitchen is the love child of holistic evangelist Dr. Andrew Weil and Arizona restaurateur Sam Fox, who partnered to create a restaurant inspired by Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, touted for helping prevent various ailments and diseases. Obviously, the concept clicked. Started in Phoenix in 2008, True Food Kitchen now has a dozen locations around the country, with a dozen more coming soon.
Austin’s outpost opened in March in downtown’s Seaholm District, a sprawling mixed-use complex recently borne from an abandoned power plant on the shores of Lady Bird Lake. The 1950s structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a glorious example of Art Moderne architecture and now houses residences, offices, retail stores and restaurants like True Food Kitchen. The spacious restaurant incorporates eco-friendly materials like reclaimed wood floors and dining chairs made of recycled soda bottles. Its neutral décor is brightened by unexpected pops of color, like a graffiti mural by local artist Samson Barboza and lime green upholstery, reminiscent of fresh alfalfa sprouts. An airy patio spills out onto a lush green courtyard.
For starters at True Food Kitchen, try the tender dumplings stuffed with silky pureed edamame, the grilled avocado on a cloud of truffled goat cheese or the glorious basket of farm fresh crudités served with tzatziki and black olive dip. Entrée salads are unconventional and outstanding, like the Summer Ingredient salad, loaded with roasted vegetables and tossed with manchego cheese, pistachios and mint in Sicilian vinaigrette. The Ancient Grains Bowl is one of True Food’s most popular items, as is its signature Inside Out Quinoa Burger: tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado, hummus, tzatziki and feta stacked between two quinoa ”buns.” Grilled fish tacos – also available with grass-fed steak – are a delicious mix of texture and flavors. There’s also pizza, wraps and burgers. And for dessert, check out the homemade ice cream, like the unbelievably creamy pistachio sorbet.
To whet your whistle, there’s a selection of healthy fruit and veg drinks, like Pomegranate Limeade, Watermelon Coconut Soda and local Kombuchas. There’s also a nice offering of Austin craft brews and a wine list focused on organic, biodynamic and sustainable farming. Cocktails – like the Blueberry Royale – are dangerously good: organic vodka shaken with fresh blueberries, lemon and mint, then topped with prosecco. It struck the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Naughty and nice. Just like True Food Kitchen.
True Food Kitchen
222 West Ave Unit HR100
Austin, TX 78701
Read more from the Style Issue | September 2016