In the Spotlight: Kent, Constance, & Luna Marie

by Holladay Allen

Native Foods Cafe

Kent Katich and Constance Marie have been coming to Native Foods for a realllllly long time… maybe since the beginning!  Now they bring Luna Marie with them, which we love because she is one of the coolest kids ever.  When asked how Luna Marie has changed his life, Kent replied, “I have to talk to people now because she asks everyone, and their dogs, their names.”  A true animal lover!  No wonder we like her so much.  And Kent is hands down one of my favoritest customers ever… mainly because he wears a F*** Meat shirt, which his fabulous wife Constance gifted him.


Where are you from?

Kent: Centerville, Iowa    Constance: Los Angeles


What is your sign?

Kent: Taurus

Constance: Virgo… and I mean Virgo, if you know what I mean


What inspired you to become vegan?

Kent: My basketball idol Pete Maravich. He was vegan so I gave up meat & fast food.  I was 19.

Constance: When I shot the movie Selena I had to hold a chicken for about 4 hours and gave it up


What exactly do you do for a living?

Kent: I own a yoga studio in Westwood and am a yoga coach for college & professional athletes… and just about anyone committed to practicing yoga.

Constance: Proud to saying I'm a working actress. Check out 'Switched at Birth on ABC Family on Monday night or George Lopez in reruns.


And how exactly did you get such an awesome job?

Kent: I took my two favorite things, yoga & basketball, and became the yoga coach for the LA Clippers

Constance: I was discovered while being a dancer on tour with David Bowie


What animal would you like to come back as?

Kent: Black Panther

Constance: Butterfly


What is your favorite current menu item at Native Foods Café?  

Kent: lately… Sesame Kale Macro Bowl

Constance: Baja Surf tacos or Twister wrap….hmmm


What is your favorite Native Foods dessert?  

Unanimously… the Chocolate Cupcake


Do you have any pets?

2 cats named Cinco and Little Guy and 2 goldendoodle dogs named Stella and Betty. Cinco is available if anyone is looking. Just kidding…sorta.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Kent: A kid again

Constance: A movie star


If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Kent: Galts Gulch in Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged or the house I live now in Santa Monica 

Constance: Tuscany, Italy. Pace is slower, food is yummy


What was your first concert ever?

Kent: The Spinners 1979

Constance: Doobie Brothers


What is your family’s favorite meal to prepare at home?

Veggie tacos. Or Taco Tuesday…only because our child loves saying "its Taco Tuesday”


What do you do in your free time?

Kent: Pick up on dog crap, scoop litter and walk my dogs. Is that considered free?

Constance: Hope for more free time



My Summer in India…

I missed a trip to India two years ago due to saving some sacred cows here in the U.S….rats! I was really happy to help save the cows don’t get me wrong, but I also wanted to see the rats at the Karni Mata temple at Deshnoke. It is here that people honor and feed the rats, and believe it or not, the rats spread no disease and never populate the city where the temple is situated, just the temple. Such a thing has never been heard of in human history.

Karni-mataIn a perfect world, cows will be hanging out side of Native Foods Cafe, on a lush greenscape that is!

I somehow have a connection with these rats, maybe because I am a rat in Chinese astrology. I somehow always cheer for the underdog and the underrat and the underpigeon. Pigeons also get a bad rap for being dirty, as do rats, but they are forced to live where the humans are (who the real cause of the unclean areas, such as big cities with concrete and no natural drainage and inefficient sewer systems).


You may ask how I can go from thinking of rats and sewer systems to create a menu item that is predicted to be the best selling salad of summer. Well thereby hangs a very long tail.

Karni_mata_templeRats at the Karni Mata temple… I think that is almond milk they are drinking!

As I was thinking of India and all its history, the Ganges and Himalayas, the oldest texts and texts on medicine, yoga, astronomy, I then do what I always do and start thinking about food.  In this case Indian food, my favorite part of Indian history and culture !  On my driving routes from the desert to OC and LA I have a little Indian street food place I like to stop at and get a nice cooling snacky salad item called Papri Chaat. Over the course of many quick stopovers and intimate oral dissections I would have mental conversations on how to rebuild this chaat with some more greens and veggies to give it “full meal” status.

Papri-chaatThe beginning of the food evolution to the Indian Summer Samosa Salad at Native Foods Cafe… Papri Chaat.

So one day after doing yoga and standing on my head gazing downwardly at the stars, the Indian Summer Samosa Salad idea rushed in along with the O2 to the brain.

A whispered voice in my head got louder as it said in almost a mantra-like crescendo fashion “Crunchy samosa croutons, boiled potato, soft garbanzo beans, fresh cucumber and mango with a creamy coconut jalapeno chutney style dressing on a bed of crisp romaine. “ I thought maybe I’d call it the Samadi salad but didn’t get that far.

The moral of the story is do more yoga and eat Indian Summer Samosa Salads at Native Foods Cafe (in Chicago or Southern California) while planning your trip to the temple of Karni Mata. 

IndianSummerSamosaSaladThe Indian Summer Samosa Salad at Native Foods Cafe… Namaste.


The Great Month of Grapefruit… Let Your Liver Rejoice!

by Holladay Allen

Native Foods Cafe Tribe Member

It’s no secret that am deeply enamored with any fruit or vegetable that aids and abets in detoxifying my liver.  Cause my liver is soooo rad.  It cleans me out and produces a ton of very important compounds that my body needs.  So when I found out that February is National Grapefruit Month, my heart leapt with joy.  I can exploit this fabulous fruit in the name of health, love, taste, and the fact that it has its very own month!


Chef Tanya from Native Foods Cafe loves fresh grapefruit right off the tree in her backyard.

The grapefruit is a hybrid fruit first grown in the Barbados (what a magical birthplace) and was initially nicknamed the “forbidden fruit,” and later became known as one of the seven wonders of the Barbados.  It is thought to be a hybrid of the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo, with a few other variations in existence as well.

Count Odet Phillipe… The great importer of grapefruit!

The grapefruit was first brought to America by Count Odet Philippe in 1823, where it landed in Florida and has not left since!  The primary varieties in Florida are Ruby Red, Pink, Thompson, Marsh, and Duncan…. And grapefruit season usually lasts from October to June.  The grapefruit also took up residency in Texas where the Ruby Red grapefruit is often looked upon as the symbolic fruit of Texas.  Yee-haw grapefruit!  You’ll find really BIG grapefruit in Texas… hint, hint, wink, wink…. Cuz everything is bigger in Texas. Ha!  Something to beware of though…radiation was often used to trigger mutations to amp up and retain the bright red tones in Ruby Reds.


Texas Reds… Say no to radiation!  And yes to detoxification!  Native Foods Cafe would ratify this amendment.

Grapefruit is loaded with Vitamin C, pectin (which has been shown in studies to reduce cholesterol… which is produced in the liver!), liminoids (a phytonutrient that has been shown to inhibit tumor growth), lycopene, and it boosts liver detoxification enzymes exponentially!  There is a two-phase process in liver detoxification, which clears out toxins and carcinogens.  Some foods amp up the activity in Phase I but do not follow through in Phase II, which can actually be quite dangerous… “enzymes belonging to the cytochrome P450 family, work on the toxin to make it more attractive to enzymes involved in the second part of the process, Phase II. Unfortunately, the action of Phase I enzymes often renders the toxin not only more attractive to Phase II enzymes, but even more dangerous, and some foods contain compounds that only increase the activity of Phase I without also turning up Phase II.” ( Grapefruit enhances the liver’s detoxification ability in both phases, which makes it awesome!

Liver Detox Pathway
Due to its hepatic detoxification amazingness and the fact it contains a polyphenolic compound that inhibits a certain enzyme used to process certain drugs, the medical community often prohibits grapefruit consumption with certain prescription drugs.  It ups the effect so much of certain drugs that it has led to some deaths.  So read your labels!  (and look into yoga, Chef Tanya recommends Iyengar for its restorative benefits, as an alternative to certain drugs and medical treatments… with a doctor’s supervision of course). 

My grandfather always served fresh grapefruit halves with fresh sugar sprinkled on top and he always had those funny grapefruit spoons with the spike part. 

SpoonNo it's not some sort of a subtle medieval torture device… it's a grapefruit spoon!  Don't worry we don't use them at Native Foods Cafe.


Grapefruit is great as is, in juices, or the juice blended with some ice like a slushy, with vodka, in salads, as sorbet, and even in cakes!   We got this recipe from the Chef Tanya's good friend, the lovely Evelyn Gray, cat rescuer extraordinaire… We love you Evelyn.  Check it out… you will not regret it.




1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 cup soymilk

1 cup vegan margarine

2 cups sugar

3 egg replacer for 3 eggs

3 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons grapefruit zest

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil a 10-inch bundt pan.

 Add apple cider vinegar to soymilk. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg replacer.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture, alternating with the soymilk mixture. Stir until smooth. Fold in the grapefruit zest, grapefruit juice, and poppy seeds. Do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan 10 minutes then (carefully!) remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Combine confectioner's sugar and grapefruit juice and mix until smooth. When cake has completely cooled, drizzle with glaze.

You can also try a layer cake making an icing out of Tofutti cream cheese, Earth Balance, powdered sugar and grapefruit juice and zest, with pieces of grapefruit between the layers.  Yum!!!

Grapefruit Cake… Get in my mouth!  That's a hint all you peeps in the kitchen at Native Foods Cafe…



Buddha’s Hand in a vegan vodka?

What hand gesture would Buddha give? Hand gestures are many around the world and in different cultures. Actually, when traveling to a foreign land, it is important to know what hand gestures you may be encountering. For example the "a ok" sign in the U.S. where the thumb and forefinger come together to form a circle, means not such a nice thing in France and Latin America.

 The Corona gesture, where the two middle fingers and thumb are curved toward the palm symbolizes "hang loose" in Hawaiian, at the University of Texas it symbolizes their school mascot, the longhorn. In the Meditteranean, it means your wife is cheating on you and in many cultures it is the symbol of the devil. Rock stars use it to mean positively cool and in Buddhism and Hinduism is is called the Karana Mudra, and is a symbol to ward off evil.

 In yoga hand symbols are called mudras and you can direct flow of energy within the body by where and how you position your hands and fingers. This is especially beneficial to nourish internal organs. Just trying to position your fingers in some of them is a workout in itself, but great for finger mobility as we get older.


(photo credit:  Chef Tanya of Native Foods Cafe with her trusty old camera…yes, Chef Tanya did grow this in her backyard…she plans to plant Buddha's Hands at Native Foods Cafe Palm Spirings!)

So what is this fruit that looks like a nuclear radiated lemon? It is actually called a Buddha's Hand. It is a citrus cultivar that originated a long time ago in Northwest India or China. It is used mostly in Asian countries for it's fragrance to light up a room or clothing. It is juiceless and seedless as you can see from the piece I cut.

Photo-2(Two friends stopped by Native Foods Cafe Palm Springs the other night and couldn't believe the fragrance from a Buddha's Hand….now we're tinkering with vegan recipes for this beauty….coming soon to a Native Foods menu!!!)

It has the best zest qualities so when needing zest this is the piece de resistance! The peel is candied by a lenthy procedure of removing the pith and then soaking in salt brine for 40 days, removing the salt by soaking more, and then boiling in sugar to candy but the result is supposedly unbelieveable. I haven't tried it yet. I was just so impressed with the fruit I planted a tree and this is my just picked specimen! I took some of the tips and a finger and placed it with spliced vanilla bean in Russian vodka and I'll let you know how it turns out in four months!  (ooops, maybe we'll be looking into a full blown liquor license for Native Foods Cafe if it's as good as I hope it will be!).


Oh and the symbol/mudra that formed on my fruit this year means Happy New Year!



My Favorite Place In L.A. In December

It's pretty much my favorite place any month of the year, but December is a great month to refresh and recharge your essence. So much of the spiritual essence of the month competes with shopping which competes with giving and then the topic of religion can arise in discussion, and then that discussion can turn political and you just want to say "Whoa, just pass the punch or ponche please!" Before I let it get that far, I head to the hill… The Lake Shrine.

One of the first Yogis to come West from India to teach yoga and meditation was Paramahansa Yogananda. He took this land that was a movie studio lot on a lake and converted it to a sanctuary of peace in 1950, and called it The Lake Shrine.

It is open to the public and welcomes all, no matter what religion or age. It is very interfaith-based and you see this when you enter and view the Court of All Religions.  As you encounter your first view of the gorgeous lake, you will immediately be surrounded by the aroma of the lush rose garden. The lake is centered on this property and it will help get you centered as well!  Take a walk around its perimeter, stop to pause on one of the many benches and take a moment to breathe. The gardens are magnificent and never cease to amaze me.

You can find a piece of the original spineless cactus that Luther Burbank "developed" and gifted to Yogananda.  You can also greet a monument sarcophagus that holds some of Gandhi's ashes, the only place in the world outside of India. There are waterfalls, swans, ducks, turtles, and carp. I just went and stood under a tree that had 5 white pigeons sitting quiet in the silence. The butterflies always fly by in pairs it seems.  I guarantee you will feel the vibe, everyone does.

Burbank's Spineless Cactus

The Lake Shrine sits 300 yards above the corner on the rising hill where  Sunset and the PCH meet… and overlooks the dolphins in the Pacific. If that isn't a great start already, there is a cool museum and gift shop with items from India. There is also a bookstore where they sell an annual desk top calendar that has the most magical photos and sayings to go along with them… so if you need a gift or a lift for yourself, there's an idea!

Visiting Hours:

Sunday 12:00pm-4:30pm

Tuesday-Saturday  9:00am-4:30pm