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The Beach Gourmet: Rainbow Acres: Somewhere, Over the Rainbow…

For many years now, people have had a yearning for alternatives to large, anonymous, corporate food chains, and in 1980 Howard Pollack situated himself at the forefront of natural food options when he started the very popular natural food store and kitchen, Rainbow Acres, in Marina del Rey.

As a small, natural foods market, Rainbow Acres is a treasure trove of goodies and more, including essential oils, massage supplies and some curious oddities such as Chinese chime balls (used for relaxation).

But for me, it is the café/salad bar that strikes a chime on a regular basis for its super-fresh and natural foods

Located at the back of the market, the café and kitchen has seating for only a handful of diners. However, there are a number of tables outside for al fresco dining that, because of the popularity with local office workers, are oftentimes occupied, so be prepared for a short wait, unless “to go” is your “to want.”

The self-serve salad bar is island-style with tuna, roast turkey and a host of vegetarian choices including their vegan-friendly un-tuna that is like tuna, but created from a vegetarian mixture. There are also the usual suspects, such as spinach, tomato, sweet corn, red beans, peas, avocado, mushrooms et al. The food is fresh and healthy, and apart from a couple of the dressings, is a dieters dream.

Some of my favorite healthy treats at Rainbow Acres are the blended veggie juices, and the best of these is a wonderful concoction called the Zesty Veggie Drink (16 oz., $4.50).

Order one of these and you will witness one of the happy campers behind the counter fill the oversized commercial blender with carrot, tomato, red bell pepper and a splash of lemon juice and cayenne pepper for the zest, press a button and “ablending they will go.”

After the buzzing and whirring of the machine has subsided, one is handed a 16 oz. plastic cup of a drink that is tasty, as spicy as you want and oh so healthy. There has been occasion when one of these was not enough, and a return visit was required – they are that good!

With other tempters like organic apple, carrot, cucumber and an option to create your own blends adding parsley, spinach, garlic, celery, ginger, beet and lemon, there really is a juice for all seasons.

As well as the salad bar and pre-packaged items such as sushi and sandwiches, Rainbow Acres also has a hot counter with some great soups, including vegan options, and one of the most popular turkey chilis around, as well as roast chicken and sometimes a delightfully prepared tilapia.

So, my regular visits to this cute little slice of nature often reminds me that yes, it is possible to find a little piece of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Rainbow Acres, 13208 Washington Boulevard, MDR, 310.306.8330 

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