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.


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.

Continue reading “Veg Out!”

Spirit of Sonora

Casa Duarte honors tradition with authentic flavors

Written by Gail Collins

Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s celebration of the dead, sounds a lot like Halloween, but there are no pumpkins or witches—skeletons rule the day. The departed souls of young and old return to eat, drink and be merry, as they had done in life. Falling on the first two days of November –All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days— the annual holiday blends the traditional beliefs of the indigenous peoples with Catholic feasts. Parades and parties shut down cities and feature macabre skulls in arts and treats, like pan de muerto, a rich coffee cake with meringue decorations resembling bones.

Despite the skeletons, Dia de los Muertos focuses more on life than death and its natural continuum. Wealthier people build an altar to their loved ones in their home, but most people decorate gravestones with marigolds and personal items. Families gather in the graveyard in the evening to wait for and pay respect to the deceased. Candles are lit, incense is burned and prayers are intoned. During the vigil, the family hosts a festive picnic, telling stories about the departed and enjoying their favorite foods and drink.

MartAnne’s  Burrito Palace has long showcased Day of the Dead themed paintings by Flagstaff resident and artist Emma Gardener.  MartAnne’s, previously owned by Anna Martinez, as well as Casa Duarte are now both owned and managed by Anna’s daughter, Tina, and her husband, Gonzalo Duarte. The Mexican café above downtown serves MartAnne’s famous breakfast menu, including chilaquiles—a piled plate of leftover corn tortillas, sauce, eggs and more.

“We’d already created the perfect menu there, so we kept it and added on,” Tina said.

Continue reading “Spirit of Sonora”