Most LA locals know about the tiny creek-side restaurant hidden high up in the hippie-festooned hills of Topanga Canyon. The Inn of the 7th Ray, with it’s cozy and wooded dining terrace, has long been celebrated as one of LA’s most romantic restaurants. The Inn’s health-conscious menu found a perfect home with Topanga’s famously bohemian residents when it opened over 30 years ago and in that time, the Inn has no doubt witnessed just about every health trend come and go. Withstanding the test of time, The Inn at the 7th Ray is still serving up some of the cleanest and freshest local food that diner’s with a penchant for sustainable foods are embracing in a new way.

Not long ago, the Inn welcomed four-starred Patina alum, Chef Bradley Miller. This nook in the Canyon couldn’t be further from the famously modern, steel shards of the Disney Concert Hall that Patina calls home, but dive in to one of Chef Bradley’s dishes and you’ll find you’re not as far as you may think. From the clean flavors of yellowtail sashimi with yuzu gel and miso to the smoky green pea risotto with locally foraged shimeji mushrooms, Chef Bradley is helping to make one of our favorite points: that health food is real food.

Whether he is gathering fresh goat milk from the canyon’s nearest organic farm, foraging mushrooms in the nearby woods, or introducing yet another diner to California’s best local produce like Wiser Farm melons and McGrath Farm beets, Chef Bradley has a bead on exactly what great health food looks like today. Today’s health food is seasonal, sustainable, local and, most of all, clean – whether gmo-free, organic or grass-fed. The best part about this clean style of food is that it translates into a better culinary experience too. On any given night at the Inn, the menu might change to include something special and seasonal from the farmer’s market – for example, shots of compressed apple and heirloom honeydew in house-made cider with smoked cinnamon.

At the Chalkboard, we can’t get enough of the foodie-friendly trend that seems to be sweeping the nation: health food is going whole. There is still room aplenty for the vegetable mono-meals and soy-based vegan dishes that we love at many a healthy cafe. But the rest of the food pyramid is being included now too, with so many consumers, local farms and other food producers banding together to clean up the foods it seems we’d almost lost to nitrates, pesticides, additives and the whole nine yards.

Here is a recipe for Chef Bradley’s simple and delicious Crispy Tempura Kabocha Squash. The perfect tempura is something only the best home chefs can achieve and we’d love to know if you try it. For the rest of us, there are reservations. The Inn serves this light-as-air squash preparation alongside sustainable scallops with foam. Visit the Inn of the 7th Ray and prepare to wholly enjoy yourself.

  • Crispy Tempura Kabocha Squash

  • Ingredients:

    1 cup organic unbleached flour

    1 cup Bob's Red Mill corn starch

    32 oz sparkling water

    1 tbsp sea salt

    2 tsp organic lemon

    4 ½ inch slices of kabocha squash, cut in into half moons

    grapeseed oil

  • Instructions:

    Combine sparkling water, corn starch, flour, salt and lemon juice.Whisk together until the batter is a little thinner then pancake batter.

    Dip the squash in the batter and fry in grapeseed oil set at 350 Farenheight.

    When batter is golden brown, take out and place on a paper towel.

    Sprinkle with a little salt and enjoy. The tempura squash is great with a little ponzu dipping sauce.

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