The Inn of the Seventh Ray in LA’s Topanga Canyon is literally nestled amidst centuries old trees, flora and fauna of every kind, waterfalls and a babbling brook. It seems to exist in the land that time forgot. When one enters the canyon, either from the 101 freeway in the San Fernando Valley, or from Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, you enter a “zen” zone. It’s a community that seems to be stuck in the late sixties, and I say that in a good way. A very good way.
We entered the restaurant on this warm March day through wrought iron gates and made our way down a brick spiral stair; sun shining, birds chirping and New Age music playing quietly in the background. The restaurant exudes a positive vibe as it combines both nature and it’s natural approach to dining. *Note- they even had “fair trade” sugar packets on the table.
We chose a table right next to the creek that runs alongside the restaurant. I’ve dined outside many times before, but usually on a busy street all the while inhaling car fumes. I kinda didn’t care how the food tasted because I was just enjoying the peace and tranquility of this environment and breathing the fresh air. As we sat, our server brought us a basket of bread and told us that all their baked goods are made in-house using only organic grains and without refined sugar or bleached flour. Within seconds, Gail and I had finished the bread and were looking for more.
We started with their homemade tomato soup ($9) which I would describe as subtle in flavor, not overly-tomato like, but very natural. It was a large portion and could have been a meal in itself.
On their lunch menu they offer four salads. We chose the trio of roasted beets, with watercress, Forme de amber Bleu Cheese (not overly pungent), candied walnuts and walnut oil. ($15) If you like beets, I would highly recommend this dish as it was a great combination of flavors, perfectly roasted beets and plenty for two people to share.
Feeling like I needed a little carbohydrate, we decided to order one of their flatbreads. We ordered the wild mushroom with organic spinach, creme fraiche and gruyere cheese ($14). The homemade flatbread had a nice crunch to it, as well as being gooey and cheesey, with large, plump mushrooms bursting out under the spinach.
Being as dessert obsessed as I am, I couldn’t wait to see what they had to offer. There were five “healthy” sounding choices, but we opted for the blueberry financier cake with ginger ice cream and blueberry creme fraiche ($9). This was the one times I wished I wasn’t sharing with Gail. This was some serious comfort food without being overly sweet and cloying. We thought the overall meal was amazing, proving that food tastes better without food colorings, preservatives and refined sugar. The food at the Inn of the Seventh Ray peacefully co-exists with the environment. When you dine here, you can leave your Xanax at home.
But the day doesn’t end there. A visit to Topanga Canyon is a great little day trip. Wear your bell-bottoms and fringed jackets and you’ll fit in perfectly. Men with pony-tails, welcomed! The canyon is filled with a great array of antique stores, gourmet food shops, and funky clothing stores, not to mention the canyon’s ethereal beauty. And by the way, everywhere I went I saw Buddha heads, and I found myself calling everyone “man” and “dude”.
As we headed back to the San Fernando Valley and 2012, there was still one more treat. You can pull off the side of the road at the top of Topanga Canyon and below is a spectacular view of the valley. Just stand there and take it all in. OHM!
The Inn of the Seventh Ray 128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga CA 90290