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Handline’s Roots and Shoots:  An Exploration of Seasonality

At Handline we celebrate the seasons of Sonoma County in a section on our menu titled “The Weather Report.” It is home to “The Mendo,” a medley of wild and cultivated mushrooms, served with creamy fonduta and an arugula salad. It boasts the Smothered Pumpkin, a warming bowl, filled to the brim with roasted and spiced squash, mole and pepitas. And it is here that you will find the “Roots and Shoots,” a staple season after season, changing as quickly as the weather outside.

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The Roots and Shoots was not a staple when we first opened our doors. However, the demand for vegetable-focused dishes from our community was strong. We often heard requests from some of our favorite guests to make an addition to our menu. “We wish you had something like the Macro Bowl over at Lowell’s,” they would say. And despite the craziness of a newly opened and very popular restaurant, we whole-heartedly agreed.

The first conception of the dish began in the fall of 2016, just after our opening. Just like the nutritious grain and vegetable based bowl at our sister restaurant, we knew that sprouted legumes and macrobiotic root vegetables had to be a part of the big picture. Inspired by Two Belly Acres, we featured a kale and walnut pesto made from freshly harvested kale and local Meyer lemon zest, oven-roasted beets with oranges and spices, and fresh farmer’s cheese from Marin Cheese Company. These farm direct and seasonal ingredients quickly contributed to the rise of one of our most popular dishes.

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In the Winter, this carefully composed plate of vegetables, nuts and local cheese displays roasted kabocha squash with pomegranate seeds, grilled celery root with spiced apple cider vinaigrette and chicories tossed in a lemon poppy seed dressing, all coming from New Family Farm right down the street. In addition, we make a creamy pumpkin seed tahini. Our sprouted green lentils join the chicory salad, and the entire plate is topped with creamy Estero Gold, an aged cheese made in Valley Ford, CA.

Roots and Shoots is more than just Handline’s version of the Macro Bowl. It’s a representation of time and place. We believe it showcases the bounty of beautiful ingredients grown in our very own back yard. Our hope is that with each plate, we not only nourish your bellies, but also provide a fresh perspective on how satisfying vegetarian eating can be. Come visit us in the coming weeks to check out our spring version and celebrate the changing of the season!

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