True Food Kitchen at the Stanford Shopping Center was the best restaurant ever. The ultimate peak of Northern Californian cuisine. The definition of farm-to-table. Healthy and delicious. There was truly nothing like those locally grown, ethically sourced, nutritious dishes.
I would order the cauliflower appetizer and the locally grown, sustainable Bay Area sweet potatoes. And, of course, I had to end each meal with an innovative and healthy flourless chocolate cake. The natural wooden tables and modern-yet-earthy pendant lights represented my favorite Bay Area vibes.
And then I saw a TikTok of someone going out to eat at True Food. In Maryland.
My phone dropped to the floor. My world started to spin. Was this a different brand that happened to have the same name? And the same food? And the same tables? And the same lighting? This couldn’t be real. Was I being pranked?
Nope. It was true: True Food Kitchen is a chain.
Everything I ever knew was a lie. The restaurant’s Napa Valley vibe was a facade. Now that I know it’s a chain, I know for a fact that the food is not sustainable or locally sourced or ethical or healthy. There is literally a location in Georgia. Georgia! I might as well just not get the kale salad at True Food and instead get a Big Mac at McDonald’s, since it turns out that there’s barely even a difference.
It’s been a few months since I found out that True Food is a chain. It has been a traumatic few months, but my loved ones (and therapist) are helping me slowly recover. Maybe one day I’ll be able to go back to True Food and enjoy it even though it is a chain. But I’m not there yet.