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Macrobiotic restaurants sprout across Los Angeles

Restaurant and Catering IndustryDining and DrinkingRestaurantsMadonna

Now sprouting up across the city New on the macrobiotic scene are the following cafes and restaurants that have opened in the last year, including recently opened outposts of M Café de Chaya. They practically double the number of macrobiotic restaurants in L.A. Standbys include Japanese macrobiotic restaurant Inaka Natural Foods in the Fairfax district and Real Food Daily, the organic-vegan spot founded by macrobiotic chef Ann Gentry with locations in Santa Monica and West Hollywood. And though it isn't overtly macrobiotic, the new Japanese-vegan bakery-cafe Casa de Tree is worth mentioning; they bake their own whole-grain, naturally leavened vegan breads daily.1. Seed Kitchen: A macrobiotic-vegan spot near the beach in Venice, where chef Eric Lechasseur (former pastry chef of M Café) turns out tasty macrobiotic-vegan offerings such as a Southwest bean-and-grain burger, a Mango Tango bowl featuring a crisp-fried cabbage and seitan egg roll (with mango salsa), and a vegetable-loaded Chop-Chop Salad. The walnut cookies and Madonna's Coconut Mousse are top choices from the pastry case.1604 Pacific Ave., Venice, (310) 396-1604. www.seedkitchen2. J's Kitchen: A macrobiotic-vegan takeout spot imported from Japan (where there are two locations) in the space that formerly housed Stroh's Gourmet. Its deli case features several salads, such as hijiki or pumpkin-adzuki bean, but a better bet might be the rotating bento box specials, like a crispy seitan burger with tempeh bacon and broccolini.1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 450-5119. www.js3-5. M Café de Chaya: A growing chain of stylish macrobiotic cafes helmed by Chaya chef Shigefumi Tachibe and consulting chef Lee Gross. On offer are vibrant deli salads -- for spring, there's sprouted quinoa tabbouleh and chickpea-dandelion -- and daily specials such as oven-roasted salmon with brown rice and sautéed kale or seared tofu corn curry. There is also a wide selection of desserts, free of dairy or refined sugar (for your less sweet tooth).9433 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, (310) 858-8459;9343 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-4300;7119 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323) 525-0588.www.mcafedechaya.com6. Shojin: Shojin restaurant in Little Tokyo (in the Little Tokyo Galleria) has a more formal dining room than the cafes mentioned above, complete with white tablecloths and low lighting, and the kitchen strives to create dishes that match the ambience. Organicsoba dishes such as vegetable tempura soba are a highlight. Appetizers include a bright orange-kale salad and sautéed mushrooms, and desserts are artfully plated.333 S. Alameda St., Suite 310, Los Angeles, (213) 617-0305.www.theshojin.com-- Betty Hallock

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