Dr. J, a tiny Taiwanese woman hardly taller than the tables in her restaurant, beams out at her guests, at a party for the press—reporters, journalists, writers.
She doesn’t stop smiling, nor does she let go of her son Charles’ arm, a giant of a man compared to his mother. Together they tell the story of the café’s conception: how Charles’ health deteriorated after he left home and stopped eating his mother’s food; how numerous doctors failed to diagnose his illness; how he was prepared to embark on a lifetime of complicated prescriptions and medications. But Dr. J had an idea. She asked him to try her health food program for thirty days before giving the medication a shot. And, miraculously, Charles healed.
After Charles adhered to his mother’s principles of health and recovered from his poor health, he decided to open up a chain of restaurants in order to bring his mother’s philosophy to the public’s attention. He wanted to help other people suffering from who-knows-what by helping them eat more healthily.
At the press opening of Dr. J’s Vibrant Café, Christine Burk, General Mmanager of the café and longtime friend of Dr. J’s explained the event saying, “We’re treating each other like family.” After a brief conversation, and trying the food, Christine was eager to get feedback. She wanted to know if anything lacked flavor, considering that most people are used to eating food filled with various additives and artificial flavorings. Surprisingly, there were very few criticisms.
While some may believe vegan food to be a little too close to snacking on cardboard.; thankfully, Dr. J’s dishes bare absolutely no resemblance to anything vaguely cardboard–y. Sitting quietly at the table meditating over the quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth and full of flavor; one can marvel at the perfect saltiness of the saffron yellow curried potatoes (but they don’t cook with salt so how’d that happen)?
Sip from mason jars of calming tea; while enjoying the spring rolls. There’s always too much or too little of something, but Dr. J’s spring rolls are a heavenly combination of flavor and texture filled with organic tofu, and accompanied by a ginger dipping sauce, an added bonus. Very tasty.
The food is prepared with strict guidelines amd restrictions, Dr. J’s principles of health are easy enough to understand: no caffeine, no salt, no sugar, no yeast, no nicotine, no alcohol, and practically no gluten. Everything must be clean, locally grown, and organic. At the restaurant, the cooks rinse every single fruit and vegetable with purified water prior to any food preparation.
It’s all very healthy. But the healthiness in no way detracts from the flavor. Dr. J was right; healthy food can taste like crap, but she knows how to make healthy food tasty. “That’s the beauty,.” she says.
Dr. J’s Vibrant Café is located on 4th and Main, at 334 S. Main Street Unit 1101, Los Angeles, CA 90013.