Food & Drink: Eating your veggies can be decadent fun

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Rachel Pinsky

Veggie spots

 Rally Pizza, 8070 E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver. 360-524-9000 or www.rallypizza.com

 Smokehouse Provisions, 8052 E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver. 360-768-5140 or www.smokehouseprovisions.com

 Lapellah, 2520 Columbia House Blvd., Vancouver. 360-828-7911 or www.lapellah.com

 Mt. Tabor Brewing Company Pub, 2600 N.W. 119th St., Vancouver. 360-696-5521 or www.mttaborbrewing.com

 Pacific House, 819 Main St., Vancouver. 360-448-7694 or pacifichousenw.com

 Burgerville, various locations. www.burgerville.com/locations

Southwest Washington has a bounty of great local veggies. This spring, asparagus, snap peas, carrots and green onions have found their way to the table in a variety of places — upscale restaurants, bars and even drive-thrus.

A pizzeria might seem like an unlikely place to eat your veggies, but Rally Pizza’s seasonal vegetable plate is an ideal starter before savoring their imaginative, wood-fired oven pizzas. On a recent visit, I tried a vegetable platter, featuring snap peas, broccolini, carrots, green onions and radishes served on sheep’s cheese and drizzled with a basil pesto (with pistachio nuts in place of pine nuts) and a Calabrian chile sauce. In Italy, a vegetable dish is served before the pasta, so having a bit of roasted seasonal vegetables before enjoying your carbs isn’t that unusual.

And next door, Smokehouse Provisions also serves a satisfying seasonal vegetable side dish — a great way to counter all that smoked meat. Currently, they are serving asparagus sauteed in butter with red onion, sprinkled with red chile pepper flakes.

When I think of roasted vegetables, I think of Lapellah’s array of roasted veggies with complementary sauces. Coal-roasted carrots with nettle-goat cheese and pickled onion with rye crumbs; marinated roasted beets with honey yogurt, microgreens, pistachios and citrus oil; and roasted asparagus with spring herb dressing, fava beans, bacon and aged gouda are all currently on the menu. Mt. Tabor Brewing Company’s head chef, Zach Burkett, hails from Lapellah and has brought a mastery of the roasted vegetable plate with him. The roasted carrots with brown sugar, hazelnuts, chevre, and sea salt, served at Mt. Tabor, offer a nice sugar-and-salt adventure for your taste buds.

If you enjoy indulging in decadence when you go out, fried vegetables may be your thing. The broccoli dipped in chickpea flour, flash-fried, and served with black garlic at Pacific House is a perfect crisp and salty snack to wash down with one of the many local beers they have on tap or paired with one of their freshly made craft cocktails — like a tangy, minty Northwest Fizz. These crunchy, lightly battered brassicas are so unique that they make most French fries seem irrelevant. For quick veg on the run, try Burgerville’s seasonal lightly breaded fried asparagus with a side of creamy garlic aioli. According to Heather Dodd, the manager at the Heights Burgerville, the asparagus arrives fresh from a farm in the Yakima Valley and is never frozen. When the farmer runs out of asparagus, the asparagus at Burgerville is gone. This year, the asparagus is estimated to last until June 22. But don’t despair, when the asparagus runs out there will be onion rings. I consider onion rings to be a vegetable, which is why I am a food writer and not a nutritionist.


Rachel Pinsky can be emailed at couveeats@gmail.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @couveeats.