BBQ Tofu Bento Box

Marilyn HawkesApril 2018
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The barbecue tofu spa bento box is best eaten poolside at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa.

Shortly after the birth of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in 2001, chef Beau MacMillan and staff brainstormed creative ways to offer poolside dining to match the quality of the resort’s fine-dining restaurant, elements. (Without the benefit of a poolside kitchen, mind you.) They tapped into the menu’s Asian influences and came up with bento boxes, the Japanese equivalent of the American brown bag lunch. “I knew they’d be a perfect fit, not only with the resort’s identity, but as a great vehicle to transport food,” MacMillan says.

The tofu spa bento box ($18) is presented on a shiny black lacquer tray with red inserts, each holding a different nibble. Marinated and grilled tofu steals the show, deftly dressed in sticky soy, rice vinegar and mirin sauce with ginger, garlic and sesame highlights. The sweet sauce contrasts nicely with the tangy pickled cucumber salad flecked with red peppers and carrot strings. Also on the manifest: a mound of brown rice and a selection of seasonal sautéed or steamed vegetables from local Duncan Farms Trading Co., from snap peas and asparagus to broccolini and shiitake mushrooms. For non-veg heads, the bento boxes are also available with miso salmon, roasted chicken or grilled shrimp.

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