New Roots

Put down the hummus. It’s time to rethink how you enjoy carrots.

Growing up, many of us were told to eat our carrots because they were good for our eyesight—and it’s not a myth. Carrots are loaded with carotenoids, such as beta carotene, which turns into healthy-eye-promoting vitamin A. Here are some fun and creative ways to get your daily dose and maybe create a memorable holiday side dish in the process.


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Located in the lobby floor of the Ace Hotel Downtown, LOAM is named after the fertile soil found throughout the Los Angeles basin. This all-day dining/drinking eatery from chef Joshua Guarneri (Bar Avalon, Hearth & Hound) features community garden–based, vegetable-rich fare with a focus on local produce. One such dish showcasing seasonal veggies is the Indian-inspired carrot halwa with orange carrots from the farmers market, simmered with coconut milk, cardamom, bay leaf, and almond. This pudding-like dessert could also make an out-of-the-box side dish.

A signature dish from Executive Chef Sarah Stearns of plant-based newbie Avant Garden Bistro on Melrose is the roasted organic carrots, which span a few continents. Served warm with pistachio chermoula (a traditional Moroccan marinade), spring onion soubise (French white sauce), and beautiful lotus flower chips (typically used in Indian dishes), it offers an interesting, crunchy textural twist in every bite.

Another way to get a heap of carrots into your diet is with a traditional Vietnamese French banh mi sandwich. Pho Banh Mi Che Cali on East Colorado Blvd.—with locations in Alhambra, Rosemead, and San Gabriel—uses thinly sliced white and red carrots marinated in vinegar in every single sandwich as a cornerstone ingredient. Versions range from BBQ pork or chicken or the house special with ham and meatloaf, all encased in a crusty baguette. You can also order party trays of all three for your next event. At Little Sister in Downtown L.A., chef Tin Vuong serves his popular lemongrass chicken, brisket, or cold-cut banh mi (lunch only) topped with pickled daikon and carrot, along with sliced cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeño.


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For something straightforward and simple, next time you head to The Green Room in Burbank for a cocktail and that stunning valley view, order the Terrarium with hummus, wild mushroom soil, and crudité, which includes baby tri-color carrots—typically red, yellow, purple, and orange variations—sourced from Nature’s Produce.

Of course, you can also get your veggies in a carrot cake. Lark Cake Shop in Pasadena (and Silver Lake) makes one of the best, super moist versions in town with fresh carrots, nutmeg, and cream cheese frosting. “It’s like magic,” says owner John Hensley. If you want to test out the magic before buying or ordering a whole cake for your holiday event, try the cupcake version.

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