Chow Bella

Desert Roots Kitchen Makes Desktop Gluten-Free Lunch Survivable

I have a vague memory of going out for lunch.

It's there, in the back of my mind, with eight-hour workdays, the top of my desk, and having time to think.

These days, I'm sizing a photo, sending an e-mail and posting an event on the website while I wolf down my microwaved frozen rice bowl.

But just because I can't go out doesn't mean I can't eat well, even if gluten-free takeout's not easy to find.

Case in point, Desert Roots Kitchen.

See also: 5 Phoenix Dishes I Miss Most Now That I'm Eating Gluten-Free

This little slice of nirvana, tucked in a tiny courtyard on Mill Avenue, offers up a different delicious menu daily, listed on its Facebook page.

This week, I -- shhhh -- left my desk and headed to Desert Roots, knowing I could only grab something and rush back.

Running in, I passed several diners, sitting in the courtyard, smiling at each other over their plates of food, cool breezes ruffling their hair, and the sound of rain dripping from the leaves of the surrounding greenery.

It was like something out of a movie, a fantasy thrown in my workaday face.

Inside, I ordered a "full plate," which gets you three choices from their display case filled with fabulous dishes, nearly all of them gluten free.

I picked Tandoori Chickpeas with Brown Rice, Tahini Lemon Ginger Kale Salad, and Spicy Peanut Quinoa.

As I waited for the women in the kitchen to pack my to-go plastic shell, I turned and watched those on the patio, lingering, laughing, digesting away from the sound of a Xerox machine.

Back at my desk, I dug in.


I know a lot of people think gluten-free food is tasteless. They should try this stuff.

Bite after bite of chewy, spicy, crunchy, tasty, goodness. The tandoori spices, with raisins, the perfect quinoa with slices of celery and slivers of carrot, the crunchy kale with just the right citrus tang. And more than you could eat. One serving would make a decent-size lunch.

I turned away from my computer screen, closed my eyes, and imagined a smiling face across the table, a cool breeze in my hair, and the sound of raindrops off the greenery.

Lunch. Out. Gone.

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Judith Nichols