Thanks to the Chefs around town, I actually enjoy eating my vegetables. As a kid, most of us can probably relate to wanting to push those soggy veggies to the side of the plate and get them into the trash. After eating at quite a few restaurants around town, I’ve been given a new outlook on vegetables. When I’m handed a menu, you’ll find me looking at the vegetable dishes and sometimes I even order them as my entree. I know, I know, it’s shocking but let’s get real and remember that I’m probably eating dessert after that huge helping of broccoli. In an effort to fill your last day of January with healthyish dishes, may I introduce you to some of my favorite places to grab vegetables and please feel free to share your favorite spots with me too.
Ocotillo is one of my go to spots for so many reasons. I absolutely love spending time there with friends, going there for work meetings and spending time there eating and drinking coffee with my family. So thank goodness the food is pretty darn good too. If I’m not ordering their Ocotillo chicken or a brunch item, I’m probably ordering from their veggie section and one of my top dishes to eat is the roasted sweet potato with apples, goat cheese, thyme and hazelnut brown butter.
Flower Child is life and if I had the money, I would go on a Flower Child/Juby True diet. The food is always consistent, it’s family friendly and I’m obsessed with the veggies. Usually I put steak on my bowl but there are times when I just simply want to feel healthy AF and I only eat the veggies. This one consists of their red chili glazed sweet potatoes with bok choy and sesame seeds, Indian spiced cauliflower with turmeric, dates and almonds and spicy Japanese eggplant with Thai basil and cashew. I have dreams of someday sharing a Flower Child meal with Sam Fox but you know…he’s a busy man.
Ummm, you guys, as I was writing this, I realized that this dish and the one from Ocotillo are basically the same thing. Clearly I have a love for these flavors in any form and from all restaurants. Chef Aaron Chamberlin of St Francis is someone I applaud for being all about fresh dishes like the one shown below or any dishes from his market menu to the seasonal regular menus. I’ll admit that I thought I hated spaghetti squash until I ate this dish and realized I just suck at cooking my own spaghetti squash. This dish consists of fall squash with brown butter sauce, hazelnuts, rosemary sage and goat cheese. They also have a cauliflower and sweet potato on the veggie menu but if your heart desires something more, may I suggest the burrata and fig salad followed by the chocolate salted caramel trifle. (I’m doing a terrible job of keeping this as a healthy post.)
If you’re not ordering pizza and pasta at The Parlor, you should be eating the garden board which has a daily selection of fresh garden vegetables and also order the pan roasted brussels sprouts with soppressata, caramelized onion, parmesan, garlic, chile flake. Perfect for sharing on the patio during happy hour with some cocktails after work, as seen pictured here.
The next two restaurants turn vegetables not only into delicious dishes but into pieces of art. When I was thinking about who to include in this piece, I immediately thought of Atlas Bistro because of an encounter I had with Executive Chef Cory Oppold and an avocado dish from my dreams. When I came in to take a picture of the dish below, he treated me to an amazing multi course meal. If you haven’t been to Atlas yet and you happen to be vegetarian, they have a prix fixe menu just for you, which I think is pretty cool. I’m not sure if the dish below is available anymore but currently on the menu is Roasted Gold & Chioggia Striped Beets with horseradish crème, pickled pearl onions, dill fronds, red merlin borscht puree and russet potato chips. Chef’s flavor combinations always make me want to inhale the food but try to slowly enjoy it at the same time.Last but definitely not least is Kai, an experience for all of your senses. May I present to you the Preserved Garden with pickled roots, confit of rose gold potatoes, fermented earth, dried cactus pads, chanterelle buttons and a saguaro mist. I’m at a loss for words with how to describe this to you because it’s something that you have to be able to experience for yourself, visually, with the smells and of course, with taste. I’m still in awe of how much thought is put into the structure of each dish. There you have it! Enjoy your last day of January (#newyearnewme) and let’s all welcome the month of chocolate and indulgence. xoxox