Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Another Source of Healthy Food

June 19, 2011

The Candle Cafe in New York City announced that Whole Foods would begin marketing some of its frozen entrees in the month of June. These include their famous Seitan Piccata with lemon caper sauce, a ginger- miso stir fry, a spinach ravioli, and a delicious vegan mac and cheese. The Candle Cafe is recognized as one of the finest Vegan restaurants in the Country. Another vegan restaurant recommended by vegan chef Tal Ronan is Horizons in Philadelphia which we  have tried and also recommend.

TALBOT RESTAURANT WEEK

April 3, 2011

We decided to participate in Talbot Restaurant Week to judge not only the taste quality of the food but also whether the raw materials used by the restaurants met minimal health and environmental standards. We are concerned not just because of our health but because we along with these restaurants live in the Choptank watershed. The Choptank is the most nutrient and sediment polluted River in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and it has deteriorated 60% in the last 8 years. Most of the Chesapeake Bay pollution comes from corn based confinement meat and dairy production. We visited 7 restaurants in 7 days. We force rated these seven on the basis of (1) Tasty Food (2) health & environmental sensitive food. And (3) ambiance. The seven restaurants in alphabetical order are Bartlett Pear, Crab Claw, Martinis, Out of the Fire, Oxford Inn, Perry Cabin, and Scossa. We are concerned about pesticide sprays since greens and most vegetables are very vulnerable to these chemicals. Very few of the seven offered organic greens and vegetables. We particularly avoid confinement produced pork, beef, and lamb because of the considerable evidence linking red meat and processed meat to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Most epidemiologic studies point to the total fat, saturated fat and lack of CLA, and omega 3 fatty acids found in corn fed confinement products as the cause, We were very disappointed that none of the restaurants offered pasture raised animal products which most scientists agree minimize these major health and environmental issues. We also cannot discount the mass animal abuse inherent in the production of confinement products. We will not reveal our force rankings unless requested. However one restaurant not the highest ranked in terms of tasty food stood out as clearly more aware of healthy and environmentally sensitive food. Out of the Fire had at least 9 dishes made with organic produce, and antibiotic and hormone free meat ingredients. All seven of these  chefs are obviously very talented. It is a shame that for the most part they are using less than healthy and environmentally sensitive raw materials. Despite the Talbot week special our bills with gratuity averaged more than $75 for lunch and $95 for dinner. Shouldn’t we expect top-notch ingredients in addition to creatively prepared and presented food for these prices?

Healthy Fast Food-A new chain is trying

March 16, 2011

An article about LYFE KITCHEN by Emily Bryson York of the Chicago Tribune cites evidence such as the success of Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Subway as examples of a healthy eating trend. Panera’s focus is only on whole grains versus refined grains an important but of limited scope while Subway has a lot more bad red meat and processed meat than good bread and greens. They also cite the interest in healthy food books, T.V. programs, and hi-end restaurants. This chain has heavy management including MacDonald’s ex-CEO Mike Roberts as its CEO. They have included pasture-raised beef from Niman’s Ranch. They have also brought in a world famous Vegan Chef Tal Ronan to design meatless food. They have the support of Oprah Winfrey who is an important advocate. Their plan is to start in Palo Alto California in August 2011 and quickly become a National chain. We wish them luck. This article does not mention the environmental issues which healthy food begins to address and which along with reduced animal abuse would enhance their message.

 

The Conscious Cook-by Tal Ronnen

February 11, 2011

Tal Ronnen author of “the conscious cook” and most other vegan chefs who are perfecting meatless recipes get involved because of their abhorrence of cutting up animals for food. Most of them I am sure do not realize that modern industrial agriculture does much more than just abuse and ultimately kill animals, (See our animal abuse archive).Huge areas of the Countries land where slopes are not too steep or the land is not too wet have been turned into an ecological desert. The land has been ploughed hedgerow to hedgerow for decades if not centuries to grow corn mostly to feed food animals. It takes 14 times more land to plant corn to feed animals, and then eat the animals, as it does to consume plant food directly. The result is that wildlife cannot exist in vast areas of the Country. Also shortcuts in soil management have squandered our topsoil. Farmer and Soil Scientist Francis Thicke who operates a pastured dairy farm in Iowa estimates that Iowa has lost half its topsoil since industrial agriculture began. Excess fertilizer and tons of animal manure have been washed downstream destroying not only the Nations Rivers but also estuaries like the Gulf and Chesapeake Bay. Now we know that industrial methods used to fatten the animals in half the normal growing time creates a tender but extremely fat animal product. Testing at the U. of Colorado indicates that factory-produced hamburger has 7 times more saturated fat than pasture raised hamburger. In 2010 three cancer groups released studies that pointed to red meat (beef,pork,lamb,goat) and dairy as the primary cause of many cancers. Harvard University released studies that tied heart disease, diabetes and stroke to red meat consumption Tal Ronnen’s book “the conscious chef” in addition to its fine recipes also lists 8 upscale and 5 casual vegan restaurants. We are about to make our 3rd visit to Horizons in Philadelphia. We have had an evaluation “best in the west” of Millennium in SanFrancisco. We now know that Vegan food can be a superior eating experience much superior to conventional food. In addition the obvious health and environmental benefits make it our food of choice. We are now completely vegetarians but still eat eggs, and fish which makes us not quite vegan.

A LOOK BACK-Conclusions After 12 Years

February 8, 2011

I recently prepared a presentation for 2 scientists involved with land preservation. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on our overall effort since we started Trappe Landing Farm & Native Sanctuary (TLF&NS) in the late 1990’s. In 2000 we did a presentation of our then new Master Plan to a group of scientists and environmentalist at TLF&NS.  Our landscape Architect did a presentation in which he characterized the existing site as an ecological desert. His new plan proposed surrounding the farm fields with warm season grasses and trees, installing retention ponds, and creating sunny and shady walkways. This resulted in a site that had reduced farming area of about 70%. He also made the point that the site would be esthetically pleasing and would encourage neighbors to follow this example resulting in cleaner water for our Creek. A leading agronomist in attendance was upset by the Architect’s characterization of the existing land which obviously applies to most of the farming areas in the Country including the great mid-west. Later when we founded our website, the same agronomist also commented on our paper America’s Failed Food Production System and asked “How are we to feed a growing population if we returned to the agriculture practiced when I was a kid”? I must admit that I thought he had a point, which was reinforced by other agronomist including the head of agronomy at the University of Nebraska. The two sides of the argument seemed to be: ” do we feed a growing population or preserve our soil water and wildlife assets?” Certainly this presents a difficult choice.

Events and science have overtaken this argument and now the choice is completely different and very clear. We now know that it takes *14 times more land to plant grain to feed animals and then eat the animals than it does to eat the plant food directly. We have enough land to feed a growing population for centuries if the people ate mostly plant food plus a modest amount of pasture raised animals. Further we now know that most of the corn based factory produced meat particularly the beef, pork and lamb and also the dairy products are dangerous to our health and indeed are the primary cause of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. We also know that vegan chefs have been at work for years producing very exciting food without using animals and that the vast majority of Americans have not tasted this food. (see our posts on Horizons and Chopotle)

I must admit that I originally thought that our Architect went too far in the direction of support for environmental and esthetic concerns. His plan is now consistent with specific recommendations for a diet primarily of plant food recommended by the World Cancer Fund and reinforced by the Harvard studies on heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately he died of cancer before these studies were published.

*Get Healthy Now by Gary Null

Horizons- an exciting eating experience & more

January 12, 2011

Chef Rich Landau started Horizons restaurant in the suburbs of Philadelphia because of his love of cooking and his conscious objection to cutting up animals for food.

We went to his restaurant now in downtown Philadelphia a few months ago because of our growing concern about the environmental destruction caused by corn feed used in CAFOs and the damage to the environment caused by raising animals in their own feces in these perfect pathogen incubators described by scientists at Johns Hopkins University in their magazine (see our reference # 21). We also have an increasing concern about the connection between most of the meat produced by these facilities and the US cancer and heart disease epidemics as described in long term studies by Harvard University and by world studies described in our recent posts.

Horizons is one of eight upscale meat free restaurants Nationwide recommended by Chef Tal Ronnen in his excellent book “the conscious cook”.

We went to the restaurant with low expectations expecting a dull eating experience and found just the opposite. We are now well along a pathway to meat-free eating. It is turning into  a very positive and exciting experience.

CHOPOTLE-A Leader in Sustainable Food

August 9, 2010

Chipotle is a fast food chain with 1000 restaurants nationwide growing at a rate of 120    restaurants per year. Their philosophy is to source all their food from local family farmers who are committed to sustainability, raising antibiotic hormone free meats, and organic vegetables. It means going beyond normal distributors and purchasing products from farmers with sensitivity to the animals they raise, sensitivity to the land they farm and sensitivity to the health of their customers. Currently 35% of their dairy and 85% of their beef cattle are pasture raised. All their pigs are raised outside or in deeply bedded winter pens. They do not state the source of their chicken but it is antibiotic and hormone free which means it is probably like the lower density range chickens popular in California.

We went to the restaurant at 19th and M street in Washington DC during business hours on an extremely hot day last week. The service line was out in the street. The cliental ranged from lawyer types with ties to dress down office workers. Most were under 50 years of age. We went to the Store in Annapolis Mall next to Borders at the 11am opening on Sunday. Again the restaurant was overfull. Most people were under 30.

Chipotle is a leader in the way people think about fast food but it is also far ahead of most high end restaurants and chefs who currently point to a few high quality items while the bulk of their food comes through the distribution chain and is for the most part chemically raised and unsustainably produced. Did any viewer anticipate that people would be flocking to a fast food chain because the food is of much higher quality? How positive for the future of our water, our soil, and our health?