LA’s Beaches and Raw Restaurants

Summer is in full swing, and I just returned from a trip to LA where I visited my mom and dad who have lived in the same house in Torrance since I was 2 years old. They live a couple miles from the beach. I feel really blessed to have this opportunity to see my parents and to visit the beaches which are so beautiful. For years, whenever I arrive in Torrance, the first thing I do is make a bee line to the beach to breathe in the negative ions,  run along the strand and just stand and stare at the ocean. It is something I will never tire of.

This visit, I brought my partner Chris Whitcoe and his 3 kids. I would wake up, go on a 3-mile run, and then we headed straight down to the beach by 10am. The kids spent the day swimming in the ocean. One day, we rented roller skates and went skating for a couple hours. Skating is a great way to see all the action such as beach volley ball, great beach houses, people of all walks of life on the strand and to get great exercise while having fun. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it (wear knee pads and wrist guards if you are new).


While we were there in Torrance, Chris and I ventured out to Au Lac, raw, vegan restaurant in Fountain Valley (Orange County) and up to the newest Cafe Gratitude in Venice Beach for dinner. I love going to places to eat where I know I can get organic, healthy foods (raw or not) but it is icing on the low glycemic cake when I get to eat somewhere that the food tastes amazing and the environment is uplifting and energetic. Both of these places fit the bill! On Sunday night, we visited Au Lac. My good friend and former student Ito runs this fabulous “Humanese” restaurant. Ito was there on Sunday as he is most nights and we had a nice little “chat” (he has taken a vow of silence since more than 10 years so he makes hand gestures and writes things down) about the new place he will be opening next March in West LA. Ito’s food can only be described as some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. His style unique, and  is like no other chef’s I have tasted. And of course, the food is always fabulous!  Chris and I had the Raw, Sprouted Curried Wild Rice dish with heaps of avocado and great tasting sauce. When it arrived at the table it was piled high with whole cilantro pieces and looked rich and enticing. The flavors were faboulous. Then we got the raw BBQ Pizza. For the crust he uses a psyllim-flax combination with I’m sure more ingredients. It’s quite bread-like, and the toppings were delicious! We filled up easily and took half home (I hope my mom enjoys it as we forgot it there in her ‘fridge). 

The next night we went to Cafe Gratitude in Venice. The first things we noticed was that instead of there usual black uniforms, every one was wearing white, and the entire restaurant was painted white. It was light and beach-y and I couldn’t stop commenting on how much i liked the lightness and the feel of the place. Of course I ran into lots of people I knew, including chef Koya Webb who was looking beautiful and goddess-like in all white with her love earrings dangling. I saw one of the owners, Ryland, who is featured in the May I Be Frank Movie about one man’s incredible, raw, healing journey, and another friend was there Teresa Yung who I first met at Dave the Raw Truckers international day of juice fasting. Needless to say, going to a raw restaurant in LA is always a social event! We met some friends there and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their food. I had the I AM Festive dish which is a raw, vegan taco salad. I asked them to put arugula in place of the romaine, and it was fabulous! Mmmm! I’m still smiling thinking about it! For dessert we all shared a chocolate-coconut vegan creme pie and a chocolate-banana cheezecake. I highly recommend both restaurants! For more info on the locations and menus, go to: cafegratitudevenice and

So after 3 days of sun and fun and great food, I’m feeling quite content and healthy!

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