Finding the perfect salad dressing is not an easy task. It has to be flavorful without being overpowering, delicate yet zesty , natural without preservatives, and of course, popping with that real homemade taste.
After getting a few tips from West Valley friends about a place that makes and bottles their own dressings, I decided to grab one of those tipsters and head out to the Woodland Hills and Calabasas line— where the dressings are made in an unassuming nutrition store/eatery called Health Nut, located in the El Camino Shopping Center between a Vons and a CVS off Valley Circle.
Part nutrition store, gift shop and counter service cafe, Health Nut is a family owned business with a definite multiple personality all for the same cause — products, gifts and food for mind and body. There is a clear line between the store and the eatery which sits in the back of the store with modern country cozy furnishings.
Shirley and Mike Choi purchased Health Nut 22 years ago from the owners who originated it in 1971. Over the years they’ve renovated the store with an emphasis on the restaurant. Shirley is the head chef responsible for the five dressings. They are all sold in 16 oz. dressing bottles ($5.95), but if you eat at Health Nut, they’re in squeeze bottles for your use.
The dressings are Health Nut (the house signature dressing with an Italian bent, made with apple cider vinegar, soy oil, garlic, onion and other spices); Sesame (a sweet asian inspired dressing with toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy oil and apple cider vinegar); Spicy Asian (this is a thicker dressing combining sesame seeds, chili pepper, cayenne pepper cider); Ranch (not as sharp as some other Ranch dressings, this is made with natural mayonnaise, low calorie buttermilk, and a mix of seasonings). There’s also a No-Oil dressing with virtually no calories which is made of a blend of water, apple cider vinegar and spices. It’s tangy, but has a full flavor unlike other lo-cal dressings.
The counter service café offers a selection of salads, sandwiches, rolls, wraps and soups — all made with fresh (but limited organic) ingredients. I chose a salad because I wanted to make sure I tried all the dressings, producing a taste test on the side of my plate. My tipster friend swears by the tuna and had hers as a melt. There’s also an eclectic selection of smoothies, including the much touted “Super Green.”
Health Nut doesn’t ship their dressings, but according Shirley, many people come in and ship them to friends.
Mission accomplished. Salad dressing found. We all need our tipsters, don’t we?
Health Nut 23373 Mulholland Drive. Woodland Hills, (818) 222-7391 www.healthnutrestaurant.com
Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of My Daily Find. Have ideas? Want to write? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org