From the Desk of Jordan Rubin
My Favorite Restaurant in the World Just Closed
Since I travel frequently and dine out often, I have discovered a lot of great restaurants that serve healthy, organic food in this country. In fact, in our recipes section of this edition, you can see some “restaurant recipes” as well as learn about the benefits of grass-fed organic beef via my video blog. One of the recipes is for filet of grass-fed beef and the other two are for chicken. Be sure to check them out.
One recent restaurant stop stands out to me: Turner New Zealand, an all-organic and natural fine dining restaurant in Orange County. It was located just steps from one of the top shopping malls in the world: South Coast Plaza.
I use the past tense because Turner New Zealand closed a week after I savored an awesome meal while I was in Southern California recently for Expo West, a trade show for the natural foods industry that drew 50,000 to the Anaheim Convention Center.
While I enjoyed the bustle and seeing old friends on the busy show floor, in the back of my mind was a special treat awaiting me before taking a red-eye flight to Florida. I’m talking about my “last supper” at Turner New Zealand. Joining me were two friends and colleagues. We had a great time!
It was a dinner to remember, and I don’t say that lightly just because we learned that Turner New Zealand was closing its doors in a week. Our waiter said something about the restaurant losing its lease, which is a shame.
In the last five years, I’ve eaten at Turner New Zealand several times, and I made it a point to reserve at least one night at the eatery whenever I was in Southern California. The restaurant served antibiotic-free fish, venison, beef, and lamb flown in from New Zealand. All of the restaurant’s dairy products were organic. Ditto for the salads and vegetables.
So for my last meal at Turner New Zealand, I indulged, but I made sure I was good and hungry when I arrived. I started with their classic seafood chowder, sans the “sea filth.” Since I don’t eat shellfish (or pork), I asked the waiter if they could make me a seafood chowder without the mussels, calamari, and oysters. What was set before me was a delicious seafood soup brimming with wild-caught salmon and orange roughy from New Zealand, and cooked in an organic cream sauce brimming with organic potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions. Yummy!
Next came the organic Caesar salad, sans the croutons. Then we had another appetizer for the table: the Turner Meat Sampler, which was a sampling of beef filet mignon, lamb chops, and venison medallions. My main course was a miso-glazed orange roughy, pan-seared with stir-fried organic mushrooms, peppers, red onions, carrots, cabbage, sugar peas with cilantro-infused jasmine rice, and crispy wontons. Believe me, I took my time savoring every bite.
I don’t normally eat dessert, but with a long, cross-country plane flight coming up . . . I ordered organic toffee ice cream with fresh berries. We had such an enjoyable meal. I suppose on future trips to Orange County that I can find another restaurant for a good meal. They are out there—and you can find them too. Next time you dine out, look for a restaurant that serves good, healthy food.
And in the meantime, you can get healthy, fine “restaurant-style” dining from this week’s recipes.