Desert Roots Kitchen—Tempe, AZ
The month of January 2013 was filled with two of my favorite activities: eating out and traveling to new places. Steve and I visited family in California and then went to five national parks in California and Arizona. As we traveled between the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park we spent one night and morning in Phoenix. In search of a place to enjoy lunch after a morning visit to the Desert Botanical Garden, I found Desert Roots Kitchen through an online search for organic foods.
Review: (Real Local Cooking’s criteria)
Yes, they do source many of their ingredients locally. There is a page on their website that lists farms and farmer’s markets that they use to purchase their ingredients. They change their menu daily which is a necessity when one is cooking based on what is available.
I loved my food! Red lentil tomato veggie soup with crunchy celery and an olive hummus plate served with fresh pitas, tomato, cucumber, and carrots: Yummers! The dominant spice for the soup was black pepper and perhaps some cayenne. Steve made me some soup today because I was going on and on about the memory of my meal. The chef didn’t overuse soy as many vegetarian and vegan cooks do as an easy trick for adding protein. The protein came from beans, chickpeas, lentils…..yes all good sources of protein and add desirable fiber content to our diets. Steve had the wrap of the day which was a mixed bean burrito with enchilada and sweet corn sauce. I’ve probably said it before, he is very hard to impress, but he really enjoyed the flavor combinations. His two sides were lemon tahini kale rice with chickpeas and red cargo rice with mushrooms, green beans and water chestnuts.
Pleasant Surprise: Yes
After eating at some pretty mediocre places, one starts to think, “There just aren’t any good places to eat.” Then you find something that is fun and flavorful and that is a big surprise. We ate at about 40 different restaurants in California, Arizona, and Nevada. This one stands above the rest, even some from places that have highly celebrated chefs.
Comfort+Coziness = The C factor: 5
When we walked in the door we were greeted by one of the three women in the small but inviting space. Our greeter explained the menu and chatted with us while another person prepared the food. Soon our plates were presented to us and we wandered outside to find a a spot in the sun to enjoy one of the best meals of our trip. The owner found a way to take a somewhat awkward space because of the size and location, (they are in a less than obvious and hard to find space in a mixed-use complex with no indoor seating) and make it comfortable with service and outside patio seating.