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DINING REVIEW
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True Food Kitchen

by tina borgattaPublished: December 01, 2010

The more I learned about True Food Kitchen, the more I was convinced this restaurant – one of the newest additions to Fashion Island – would wind up among my all-time favorites.
   
You see, I love food. I spend most of my day thinking about what I’m going to eat next. I enjoy the taste, the way it feels on my tongue and the dining experience as a whole.
   
But in recent months, food has become an even-more important aspect of my life – not just for enjoyment, but for health reasons. Under our doctor’s strong urging, my husband and I have adopted a fresh-and-healthful-foods diet that’s predominately vegetarian (we still eat fish and, occasionally, poultry). I had many misconceptions about “health-food” diets, so I was extremely reluctant – and even went into a sort of mourning. (What? [sniff] No more filet mignon with blue cheese sauce from Baci di Roma?)
   
And then True Food Kitchen moved into Orange County. The menu is the creation of Chef Michael Stebner, who proves that healthful dining can taste every bit as indulgent as the heavy cream-sauced, butter-drenched, unhealthful gourmet recipes of yesterday. Stebner has constructed each offering incorporating the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil, who espouses the virtues of integrative medicine and what he calls his anti-inflammatory food pyramid.
   
Stebner uses fresh, locally farmed products and ingredients – a lot of which are organic. The pizza dough (yes, True Food serves pizza) is made with organic flour and flax seed. The pasta is made from brown and white rice. Recipes are made using mainly olive oil and canola oil – butter is used minimally, and it’s always organic. Each dish is packed with flavor and leaves you wanting for nothing.
   
Some examples: Edamame Dumplings with Daikon Radish & White Truffle Oil; Organic Ricotta Ravioli with Maitake Mushroom, Red Pepper & Kale Pesto; Natural Beef & Black Rice Stir Fry with Broccoli, Scallion & Shiitake Mushroom; and Miso Glazed Black Cod with Bok Choy & Asian Mushroom.
   
For dessert, there’s a Flourless Chocolate Cake, a Banana Chocolate Tart and an Apple-Cranberry Crumble served with dairy-free maple ice cream. Feeling adventuresome? Try the Orange Olivello Sorbet with Fresh Berries (the Olivello comes from sea buckthorn berries, which are believed to be über-rich in antioxidants).
   
And yes, alcohol is served. In fact, True Food mixes up a fantastic selection of specialty cocktails – Pomegranate Martini, Ginger Margarita, Acai Mojito and the Berry-Cup are just a few.

Where: 451 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach (in Fashion Island)
Phone: 949.644.2400
Web: truefoodkitchen.com