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Grain of Truth

By Wendy Lemlin  l  Photography By Bryan Oster AND Noushin Nourizadeh

What’s great about grains? Grains are an important source of fiber and nutrients that can help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. We love them because they add a satisfying texture and nutty goodness to so many preparations. Local menus are granting grains their due, taking the wide variety readily available in today’s markets and making them mainstream. Wheat gives us farro, bulgur and couscous, while corn stars include grits, masa de maíz, cornmeal and polenta. And then there’s oatmeal, quinoa, and more types of rice than you can shake a chopstick at. Enjoying these dishes will never go against the grain, so go out and enjoy!

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1. Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen

Thailand is the world’s second largest rice exporter, and the Spice & Rice Salmon elevates the not-so-humble grain to star-of-the-plate status at this authentic Thai eatery. The fragrant white jasmine rice sautéed with a spicy combination of egg, bell pepper, chili, garlic and basil will leave taste buds pleasantly zinging. Crown this with a fillet of  wild salmon, grilled medium-rare, and garnished with palate-cooling cucumber slices for an East-meets-West fusion of Thai and American culinary cultures.

2. Broken Yolk Café

For an anytime brunch that will have you bordering on obsession, run for the Border Benedict. Instead of the usual English muffin, think two golden corn cakes, each topped with seasoned carne asada and a poached egg, smothered with piquant house-made poblano sauce. ¡Qué bueno!

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3. Harry’s Coffee Shop

Pancakes are a real treat for breakfast, and the Swedish Oatmeal Pancakes with Fresh Blueberries and Pecans take that “stack” up several delicious, whole-grain notches.  Made with such wholesome ingredients as organic, non-GMO flour, old-fashioned rolled oats, natural cane juice, and organic oat bran, they are a hearty and healthy Harry’s way to start your day!

4. Pomodoro

There’s a delicate art to creating the best risottos. This short-grained Italian Arborio rice cooks up to a creamy perfection when constantly stirred on a slow and low simmer. The Smoked Chicken Risotto will chase away winter’s chill, with the rice enfolding morsels of smoky meat, mushrooms and spinach in a luxurious white wine and cream sauce.

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5. Americana Restaurant

Farro is an ancient grain that was prized by Egyptian pharaohs and the Roman Legions. Made from wheat with flavorful nut-like undertones, its chewy texture has given it new popularity among today’s whole-grain enthusiasts. The Black Kale and Farro Salad is a tasty, textural bonanza, starring greens and grains with the addition of crisped and herbed chickpeas, radishes, shaved cucumbers, feta cheese and a light citrus dressing.