Whole Life Magazine

January/February 2015

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Page 17 of 43

taste of health N estled in a strip mall a few blocks from Venice Beach, the diminutive Seed Kitchen—a vegan macrobiotic café with just five tables inside and two out—belies the ro- bust vision of chef/owner Eric Lechausser, formerly of M Café. With a meat-, dairy- and refined sugar-free organic vegan menu, Lechausser, is committed to serving Asian and Mexican-inspired cuisine with hearty flavors. Lechausser's commitment to macrobiotic cooking be- gan to support the health of his wife and business partner, Sanae Suzuki, and broadened with the desire to treat his own allergies. When their health is- sues responded dramatically well to macrobiotic cooking, they changed their diet per- manently and he embarked on a career dedicated to pro- viding the same high quality vegan and macrobiotic dishes to others. Seed Kitchen's sister restaurant, Seed Bistro, for- merly operated on Wilshire in West Los Angeles and catered to such celebs as Madonna and Tobey Maguire. The beachy setting here is casual with chalkboards an- nouncing weekly specials, but the "grab-and-go envi- ronment," as Lechausser de- scribes it, is no fast food em- porium. "We make everything from scratch—burger patties, seitan, dressings, sauces and sweets." The quality and care shows in tasty meals that range from a variety of vegan burgers to vegetable tacos, and combination "bowls" lad- en with a plethora of ingredi- ents. The outstanding dish we tasted was the Rosemary Seit- an Bowl with squash, sweet potato, kale, fluffy brown rice and beautifully flavor- ful homemade seitan, topped with delicately spiced fresh rosemary gravy. The sweet, fragrant flavor of the gravy offset the fresh ingredients to perfection. Another standout was fresh carrot and dill soup, perfect to take the chill off a very wet Venice night. We also enjoyed raw, gluten-free kelp noodles and beautifully prepared crispy tempeh-avocado tacos. Served on biodegradable corn-based serve ware, all of the dishes were artistically plated and sub- stantial. We didn't test any of the des- serts, on display in a cold case, but an airy chocolate mousse looked especially fresh and appealing. Kombucha, fresh squeezed organic juices and macha green tea are among the beverage offerings, or choose filtered water infused with cu- cumber, mint and lemon. The chef notes, "All ingredi- ents for the menu are hand se- lected by myself, Sanae and our team. A few items we use spe- cifically for their health benefits are kombu sea vegetables for the broth in our weekly soups and beans, and umeboshi plum in our salad dressings, which creates a healthy, alkaline envi- ronment for the body. We also use rice bran oil for frying, or- ganic sea salt in cooking, and we always cook our grains for 40–45 minutes." Seed Kitchen is perfect for a delightful vegan picnic or a café lunch on the go. 1604 Pacific Avenue, Venice, CA 90291, 310.396.1604, www. seedkitchen.com By Genie Davis Delicious, healthy, vegan SEED KITCHEN 18 wholelifetimes.com

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