Veg Out!

Finding great flavor in meatless dishes around town

Written by Gail Collins

Striving for healthful, responsible eating means including more veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Vegetarian dishes often invoke creativity and color urging cuisine in flavorful directions with earthy lentils, creamy cheeses, garden produce, aromatic spices and satiating sauces. Flagstaff has an abundance of such choices on the menus of our ratcheted-up restaurant scene. Here is overview of vegetarian dishes from some innovative kitchens.

Sosoba

This nonstop noodle shop is not just ramen, but a full-service restaurant incorporating authentic dishes with farmers market finds. The starters boast unique concepts:  balls of fire mac ‘n cheese; flash-fried cauliflower with madras curry aioli and scallions; steamed edamame dusted with zippy togarashi and more. The salads add inventive goods, like rice noodles, shaved veggies, nuts and seeds plus citrus-soy dressing. But who are we kidding? We’re here for the noodles. The SUV—So, You’re Vegan—piles noodles with roasted veggies, sautéed greens, squash and rayu’s chili-sesame spice for a Japanese curry. The Mothra bowl layers broccoli, peas, cabbage, herbs, sriracha, fried garlic and marinated tofu over the noodles. And Yakisoba is stir-fried carrots, onion, celery, garlic, scallions and herbs in a Thai peanut sriracha sauce. This noodle house is hot on a winter’s day. 12 E. Route 66, Suite 104

Root Public House

This rooftop bar and grill offer peaks views and comfort cooking. Chef and owner David Smith draws on a southern background for inspiration. Root changes up the menu weekly according to fresh accessible ingredients, but vegetarian dishes are always available. One option is the cold, roasted vegetable salad contains seasonal garden goodies tossed in cream cheese vinaigrette with a scattering of fermented black garlic. Of course, there are salads, like the baby greens topped with tempting bee pollen, feta, candied walnuts and carrot vinaigrette. For a savory main, try the ricotta gnocchi with seasonal vegetables, olive, lemon, Black Mesa Ranch goat cheese, plus pecans. 101 S. San Francisco St.

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Triple Crown: Campus Restaurant Takes Three Firsts

1899 Bar & Grill | 307 W. Dupont Ave.

Written by Gail Collins

Going home is often touted as a better ideal than idea, but when 1899 Bar & Grill harkened back to its roots, alumni and students, as well as the casual traveler or local, garnered more than they imagined. So named for the school’s founding year, 1899 acknowledges both its past and its march forward. Situated on Northern Arizona University’s North Campus, the building started out as a dining hall. Old grads, who stop in for a drink now, hardly recognize it, although the copper fireplace commanding the room is a clue and proper touchstone.

The modern sleekness of wood flooring and paneling blend with historic elements, plus texture and color, while the soaring ceiling and glass offer an airy space with an indoor-outdoor experience. Enjoy the roomy patio, seating 70 guests, and commune with the sweeping expanse of green and backdrop of mature pines. The red stone buildings and trademark conical towers are both fresh and timeless in turns. A pergola, allowing sun or shade, plus heaters for cool nights, create al fresco at its best.

1899 is the kind of place where friends can meet for a drink and stay for an upscale meal. Happy Hours are an everyday occurrence with typical libations and nosh, such as BBQ beef tips and mash, pork belly tacos or a mini Caesar salad. Every Sunday, 1899 showcases live entertainment.

Executive Chef Dennis Reuter pulls in regional foods as possible, but the menu aims for a global arc. Standout entrees include the Southwest brined pork loin, house-smoked with papaya barbecue sauce and served with warm potato salad and veg. The coffee and chili-rubbed hanger steak boasts sweet potato friends and creamed spinach.

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