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Five bowl dishes to try this winter 

Featuring ingredients conveniently nestled in the confines of a bowl, “bowl foods” are a hot dining trend. Bowl dishes offer both convenience and comfort, and they even made an appearance on the menu at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. On this side of the pond, Fox Cities restaurants have gotten on the bowl train. Simply put, they are dishes that, for one reason or another, seem to taste better when eaten out of a bowl – think burrito, Buddha and smoothie bowls. Read on for five bowl dishes worth venturing out for in winter weather. 

Customize-A-Bowl

GingeRootz Asian Grille

If you’re a traditionalist who sticks to your usual choices at restaurants, GingeRootz’s customize-a-bowl option is for you. It gives you the freedom to choose your favorite ingredients and create a bowl that’s specified to your taste. Start by selecting from five types of noodles, which includes a gluten free option, or rice as your base. Next pick any one of the made-from-scratch sauces ranging from sweet Japanese teriyaki to spicy Thai yellow curry. These sauces can pick you up on a chilly winter day. “It’s a good time to eat spice when it’s cold outside,” says GingeRootz co-owner Dale Chu. “Eating spices raises the metabolism, so it’s like exercise.” Lastly, choose your favorite vegetables and protein, tofu included. The variety of options available allows you to create a new bowl with your favorite foods each time you visit. 

El Fresca Bowl

Sangria’s Mexican Grill 

Sarah Gregory, general manager at Sangria’s in Appleton, says “The co-owner at Sangria’s, [originally from Veracruz, Mexico], is extremely talented with Mexican foods by bringing different ingredients together.” This is exemplified in the el fresca bowl at Sangria’s. Featuring Mexican flavors and ingredients, this bowl begins with a bed of poblano rice and chipotle-marinated seasoned meat of your choice. A taste of freshness can be found with the black bean and corn salsa, pico de gallo, fresh sliced avocado and spring greens, with bacon and cheese filling in the layers. Chipotle ranch tops off the bowl. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available as well. The blend of flavors and abundance of ingredients resembles an ample burrito, but without the tortilla. 

Teriyaki Beef Bowl

Fox River Brewing Co.

Fox River Brewing Co. added two bowl dishes to their menu specifically because the items were trending. Scott Roekle, director of operations for Supple Group, says, “No question that they weren’t [trending]. We saw a need to sell them after researching markets outside of Wisconsin.” The teriyaki beef bowl is packed with full flavor, containing steak cuts seared with sesame oil and garlic. It is then mixed in with udon noodles, broccoli, peppers, red onion, carrots and sesame seeds. The key ingredient is the teriyaki glaze, which when heated up, adds a caramelization to the udon noodles. This bowl can make for a quick meal without skimping on the size or flavor. 

Baja Chicken Bowl

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Looking for a healthier alternative during the holiday season? Find it in Appleton’s City Center at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Supporting the franchise’s slogan “eat better, feel better,” the Baja chicken bowl provides exciting flavors in fewer calories than you’d think. This bowl is based on the Baja chicken salad that Tropical Smoothie replaced with its bowl. While it has the usual salad ingredients such as romaine lettuce, avocado, black beans, cheddar cheese and chicken, it provides a more plentiful and surprising taste than a salad with the addition of white rice, pickled red onion and roasted tomato salsa. 

Ramen Bowl

Bowl Ninety-One 

One bowl dish that can be found on Appleton’s College Avenue is Bowl Ninety-One’s popular variety of ramen. These aren’t like the packaged ramen seen in stores. Each ramen bowl has its own different twist with herbs and spices reflecting the restaurant’s Asian cuisine influence incorporated in the broth, along with proteins and vegetables. Stepping into Bowl Ninety-One for a hot ramen bowl is sure to warm you up while it’s cold outside. They are a comfort food in many Asian communities, which Bowl Ninety-One owner Yee Lee Vue wanted to bring to the Fox Cities culinary scene. 

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