Matter of Taste: Forêt FLG brings easy French to Flagstaff

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, November 2021

Written by Gail G. Collins

Consider French cuisine — rich butter and cream seduces us. 

Yet, one can’t help but admire the trim figures of the fashionable French, who dine on it. It might seem contradictory until we examine their habits.

First, there is the lack of snacks. Grazing like un lapin (a rabbit) is discouraged, even for children, and eating while moving — grabbing a burger at a drive-through and the theatrics to pull off the consumption — is strictly non non. Also, though flaky croissants beckon, they are not a daily indulgence.

The larger meal is lunch, enjoyed at a leisurely pace, balanced with a light, late supper. Occasional fine dining is savored in courses with companionable lingering, and portions are half of America’s platters. Desserts contain has less sugar — perhaps even yogurt or cheese — but fats fulfill the satiation factor and flavor. So, while the French invented culinary techniques, such as poaching, flambéing, and braising, their appreciative habits are as understated and tailored as the Dior label.

Such are the aims of Forêt FLG’s owner-chef, Sam Greenhalgh. Free-range eggs, European butter and 18-month-cured jambon are the French framework of his recipes.

“There is room in this town to offer a healthy, fresh, bright breakfast,” he said, adding, “Diners can finish their portion and feel satisfied, not need a nap.”

His business partner and mother, Natasha Greenhalgh, always knew they would open something together. Located in the former Stronghold Coffee Café just off Beaver Street, the space caters to breakfast and lunch. Greenhalgh was welcomed by the neighborly competition, who appreciate another choice for eggs and coffee.

Refreshing the café in the historic Anderson Feed Building was a family affair. Greenhalgh’s uncle and father contributed long days, muscle and woodshop skills for a soft opening in early August. Preserving the character with painted concrete flooring, butcher block counters, art and greenery provide a pared back, light-filled locale. Smooth, upbeat vocals welcome guests.

“We don’t compromise on quality, but we won’t outprice locals,” Greenhalgh said. “A college student can come in a get a burrito and coffee without breaking the bank.”

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