True Food Kitchen: This RD approves!

This summer I spent a week in Phoenix, Arizona with my family. Not only was I able to read, swim, and spend some much-needed quality time with my family, but I was also able to finally eat at True Food Kitchen!

True Food Kitchen

^^The airy, trendy atmosphere was definitely a seller. Image via Fox Restaurant Concepts.

True Food Kitchen serves up “globally inspired cuisine” at its 6 different locations (all in the Southwestern United States). The basis of the menu is Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, but don’t let that scare you off. From Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Fresh Mozzerella, Organic Tomatoes, and Zucchini to Grass Fed Steak Street Tacos with Avocado, Cojita Cheese, Tomotillo Salsa, Sour Cream and Anasazi Beans, these menu items are nothing short of spectacular.

True Food Kitchen

^^ Watermelon & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil, Cashews, and Olive Oil. Quite possibly my very favorite item on the menu!

Restaurants are usually a minefield of hidden fat and calories, devoid of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. While True Food Kitchen does not post nutrition information (and some dishes do seem to be calorically dense), there is no doubt that the menu items available are extremely nutrient rich. I also love that vegetables are considered to be the main event, rather than an afterthought.

True Food Kitchen

^^ Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, Breadcrumbs, and Grilled Steelhead Salmon

Over the course of my trip, I went to True Food Kitchen 3 different times, and let me just say that 3 times was not nearly enough! Between my family and I, I got to sample:

  • Quinoa Johnny Cakes with Blueberries, Greek Yogurt, and Maple Syrup
  • Street Tacos with Grass Fed Steak
  • Tuscan Kale Salad with Grilled Steelhead Salmon
  • Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Fresh Mozzerella, Organic Tomatoes, and Zucchini
  • Red Chili Shrimp with Sesame Noodles
  • Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Nectarine and Blueberry Tart with Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

YUM!

cookbook

Don’t live in the Southwestern United States? No problem! Lately I have been getting my True Food fix at home, courtesy of the True Food Cookbook (pictured above). This cookbook is filled with seasonal recipes from the restaurant, as well as the most gorgeous photography I have ever seen.

photo-17

^^ My rendition of the Chicken and Farro salad, via Instagram

Have you ever been to True Food Kitchen? Do you know of similar restaurants on the east coast? Do tell!

– Kelly

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Food Adventures in Toronto

One of the best things about living in the Northeast is that there are so many unique cities within reach. This weekend I took advantage of the close proximity and met my dad in Toronto (less than a 90 minute flight) while he was there for a business conference.

St. Lawrence Market

The first thing on my Toronto must do list was to check out St. Lawrence Market. I originally read about St. Lawrence Market on the Design Sponge Toronto city guide (my go-to website for city guides when traveling). The vintage warehouse vibe and abundance of artisanal food purveyors somewhat reminded me of Chelsea Market in NYC. I was tempted to buy Canadian maple syrup, but I still have syrup leftover from my maple sugaring field trip in February. Maybe next time!

St. Lawrence Market

One of the optional activities for my dad’s conference was a Foodies on Foot walking tour around the upscale district of Yorkville. Much to the delight of his gastronomy student daughter, he signed us both up. I have been on walking food tours before, but never could I have envisioned the amount of food that we would accumulate in a quick 2 hour period. These were not tastings. These were full-on American sized servings. Six stops, four full portioned desserts, and one seated luncheon. And all of this came only 2 hours after (a thankfully light) lunch. Gulp. I’m sure you can see that predicament that I faced as a Dietitian. I wanted to enjoy the food, but I also wanted to be comfortable and healthy. My plan of attack went as follows: When I had the option to get the food to-go, I jumped on it. Otherwise, I would stick to tasting. Food tastes the same whether you have one bite or ten, and devouring four large desserts in 2 hours would not be enjoyable for anyone.

foodies on foot

  • The chocolate brownie cheesecake from Carole’s Cheesecake was rich and decadent without being overly sweet, a fine line for desserts to straddle. The selection rivaled that of The Cheesecake Factory, but in a quaint and homemade atmosphere. And thanks to the hotel mini fridge, I was able to give the dessert my full attention once my stomach was ready 🙂
  • The gelato at the end of the tour was creamy and authentic with an impressive selection of flavors, at least from what I remember of my study abroad experience two years ago. Can’t go wrong with Pistachio!
  • The Cookbook Store was a charming little shop selling books and magazines related to food and cooking, and was a welcome relief from the food fest.
  • And of course, no modern food tour would be complete without an obligatory nod to the cupcake trend (in this case, at Dlish).

Crepes a go go

Although the cheesecake was heavenly, my favorite stop on the tour was Crepes a GoGo. The energetic owner generously led us around the counter and while she demonstrated her craft. Although some creperies smother their product in an abundance of toppings, we were treated to simple crepes flavored only with cinnamon and sugar. They were thin, fluffy, and delicious, all at the same time, proving that simplicity is a true testament to a good recipe.

 

Healthy Panda Express

Lastly, because this post was extremely dessert heavy, here is another dose of healthy airport food (at Logan terminal A). Peppercorn shrimp + 2 servings of steamed veggies from Panda Express. Stuffed at the sight of it all? Some non-food highlights included the Royal Ontario Museum, the CN tower, a winning Blue Jays game, and a trip to Niagra Falls.

What are some of your Toronto favorites? How do you manage portion control when facing an overwhelming amount of food?

– Kelly

Tea Time

Nothing says cozy like a cup of tea. Since making the snowy streets of Boston my new stomping grounds, I now enjoy more tea than ever before. Sure, I love tea… but you should love it too! Not only is unsweetened tea a fun alternative to water or coffee, but drinking tea is also associated with several health benefits, most notably, a decreased risk of cancer.

The Steeping Room, Austin, TX

Black, green, white, and oolong teas all derive from the leaves of the Camellia plant, and contain the same beneficial polyphenols (health promoting, antioxidant compounds). They differ only in the various levels of processing undertaken.  On the other hand, herbal teas and Red Rooibos teas are not derived from the Camilla plant, and so scientific studies touting the benefits of tea cannot be applied to these beverages. Also note that decaffeinated teas contain lower levels of flavonols, and therefore don’t offer the same antioxidant punch as their full strength counterparts. Because most teas contain less that half of the amount of caffeine than coffee, full strength tea is recommended. Nonetheless, decaffeinated, herbal and Rooibos teas are still healthy, plant-based beverages that contain varying levels of antioxidants and are a healthy alternative to sweetened beverages. To learn more about tea, I highly recommend this article.

Although I almost always have a large supply of no-frills green tea on hand, I also really enjoy flavored teas. Flavored teas are also a great way for non tea drinkers to ease their way into the wonderful world of tea, and are a tasty, calorie free alternative to other beverages. Here are my top picks:

Ginger Peach Black Tea (The Republic of Tea)

White Ayurvedic Chai Tea (Teavana)

Vanilla Rooibos (Tazo)

And for any tea lovers that find themselves in the Austin, Texas area, I highly recommend the following places:

Tea Embassy

The Tea Embassy

Enjoy a leisurely cup of tea in the charming Campbell-Miller house in downtown Austin. You can buy a variety of unique teas, as well as teapots and other tea accessories. Enjoy your tea at the bar, or on period furniture near the fireplace in this adorable, historic home. (P.S. Juliana- thanks for taking me here!)

Steeping Room

The Steeping Room

This restaurant and tea lounge has a brunch that can’t be missed, as well as an excellent variety of teas. The menu is pleasing to both omnivores and vegans alike, and also boasts a large selection of attractive gluten free options.

– Kelly