The Gourmet Detective
“Organic On The Go”
Renowned self-made celebrity chef, Michèle La Porta, has opened Pure Beverly Hills, a healthy gourmet on-the-go daily located in Beverly Hills and it is on fire! Specifically tailored for people who have little or no time for lunch, or those who work too late but still want to control what they eat. Parisian born, Michèle has always been interested in food. It was first a hobby that she cultivated during her many travels. She had a gift and she used it. She can whip up a meal with just a few veggies, a handful of rice, a bit of salmon, lemon and lots of herbs. In fact, herbs replace flowers on her tables at Pure.
Her story started in 1985, when Michèle decided to open “Un Salon de Thé” (or what we call a tea house) in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. Close to “la Maison de la Radio,” it rapidly became the hangout for the media, where stars and famous people would come for a quick bite. It was an instant success and is still going strong. The menu was simple, it combined the traditional quiche and desserts with specialty dishes and guilt-free salads, signature tea blends and freshly squeezed juices. Though I never had the pleasure of frequenting her place in Paris, I imagine that it is similar to what Pure is all about.
So naturally, as Gourmet Detectives, Pamela and I had to go try it out. Michèle, a charming and elegant French woman, greeted us at the door with a great big smile. We immediately felt welcomed. Being the “foodies” that we are, we usually do not specifically look for organic places, however we were determined to keep an open mind. The place is quite small and has the look of a lab; it feels a bit cold, but the decor fit perfectly with its fresh and organic image.
Our experience started with the most incredible freshly squeezed juices while she spoke about her journey to the West and living her dream.
“This is called ‘Juice Bar Minute.’ We make your juice in front of you in less than three minutes with fresh fruit,” Michèle said.
I first tried the Pure Chris made with pineapple, lemon, mint, ginger and coconut water, which was followed by Very Sweet, made with orange, green apple, carrot, pineapple, fresh turmeric and cinnamon. Both were incredibly delicious. Pamela went for Basil Instinct with green apple, strawberry, kale, spinach and basil. It’s just perfect for breakfast or in the middle of the afternoon for a snack. The menu offers others that we did not taste, but this gives us the perfect reason to return. However, if you prefer tailoring your own juice she will do that for you, as well.
As we were sipping on the delicious juices, Michèle told us that after working in show business for Julio Iglesias, she decided to open her own tea house, “Thé Cool” in Paris.
“Though it was doing well, we became famous by accident. I had made a cake for myself which I placed in the window, the famous Starlette Cake, a 0%-fat and sugar-free cake made of Light Greek yogurt mousse, sweet or savory, no flour, no butter and no egg. When former French First Lady Carla Bruni (who was not married to the president of France at the time) and her friend, Karen Mulder, came in “Thé Cool” for the first time, she asked about the cake that I had prepared for myself. I told her that it was not on the menu, but she insisted to taste it. They both loved it and the “Starlette Cake” was born, finding its way into the pages of many magazines, including ELLE,” Michèle told us.
With a growing popularity which brought Le tout (all of) Paris to “Thé Cool” Michèle was approached by “TéléMatin,” a morning TV show on France 2, and was asked to host her own show, teaching audiences how to cook healthy meals. “I did this for many years and it was fantastic.”
“So why did you decide to come to L.A.,” I asked.
“My life took a turn in 2008. I was going through a divorce and I needed a change. I had friends who were vacationing in Los Angeles and they invited me to join them, which I did and I fell in love with the city! I decided right then and there that this would be the place where I would make my home. I enrolled myself in the Green Card lottery contest and in June of 2009 I miraculously won my green card! It was as if I was destined to live in the US. I left Paris and came to L.A. with my daughter and two suitcases! With my partner Isabelle Azoulai, we opened Pure.”
She continued telling us her story while grabbing the small containers from the refrigerated area where the food is on display.
Don’t expect regular dishware if you eat there. Michele uses the clear container lids as plates and bowls, and bamboo utensils. As customers began to fill the café, she continued explaining that she does not believe in dieting, but in eating healthy and in moderation, but never sacrifice the presentation. “Food must look appetizing.”
We let Michele guide us through her recommendations:
Chicky Chicken: Oats Wheat bread, mix of chicken deviled eggs salad and tarragon with light mayo, lettuce and tomatoes. Very fresh and very tasty. This was definitely a winner with us. $12
Sole Verde: Petit pot with fat free Greek yogurt and arugula pesto, green peas, fresh arugula on the bottom and, on the top, white Dover sole just cooked in the oven with coconut oil, spray salt and curry powder. Fresh and light. $11
Greek: With cucumber, dill, red peppercorn and olive oil. $7
Orso Gravlax: Non-fat Greek yogurt with dill cucumbers, orso pasta, pesto, salmon gravlax. (The fish is cooked overnight in sugar and salt.) $12
We also had one of our very favorites: Crispy Tuna: mix of brown, red and black rice, seared tuna, cilantro, pink ginger and topped with truffle soy sauce. $14
Teriyaki Salmon Bento: Mix rice, cucumber, mint, dill and topped with marinated white salmon in house sesame Teriyaki dressing.
Pure Gluten Free Veggie Cake: With carrots, zucchini, mozzarella, sour cream, eggs. Scrumptious and filling. $12
And we finished our tasting with “Simply Starlette,” made with light Greek yogurt mousse, sweet or savory. It has no fat, no sugar added, no flour, no butter and no egg, yet, it’s out of this world. It’s the American version of her famous “Starlette Cake.” $6
Michèle La Porta and her partner Isabelle Azoulai plan to open several locations in the near future. Meanwhile, if you are close to Pure, be sure to stop by and pick up a few dishes, you will not regret it, eat on site or bring it back home, or to the office. Pure also delivers.

M - F 8 am to 7 pm
Sat - S 10 am to 6 pm

252 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tel: 310-248-4966