Of course, one of the first things I did upon moving was change my Daily Candy and UrbanDaddy location settings from DC to NY to stay current with new restaurants, bars, concerts, sample sales, and everything else I might need to know about. After all, its been a while since I’ve lived in NY and I have to admit I’m a little behind on the times up here.
One of the first email blasts I read from Daily CandyNew York is actually relevant to anyone living in limited space in any city, and so I thought I would share. A couple Daily Candy contributors tried out the Window Farms project in their Brooklyn apartment and shared their success here. Check out the video below to find out what the project is all about.
Some of you loyal readers (hi mom!) may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. In a whirlwind past few weeks I’ve gotten a new job and moved back to NY, and so I haven’t had the chance to blog as much as I’d like.
I’m still not sure how I’ll change MAF, if at all. Since the summer, I’ve been writing about food from a more general nutritional and health-conscious perspective. I think that I will continue to focus my blogging in this way, which isn’t so dependant on restaurants and other goings on about town tied to a specific geographical location.
So, please keep reading! New posts will be coming shortly.
And New York, it’s good to be home.
One of Founding Farmers's large dining rooms
Last week, the Washington Post published an article in which the author describes the difficulty of serving “green” or “sustainable” food in restaurants, using DC’s popular Founding Farmers as an example. This quasi-exposé begins by pointing out misleading and not-so-environmentally-friendly aspects of the restaurant’s menu, such as the farm raised (not wild) salmon and the vegetable salad, which is not composed of local produce despite the list of small farms provided on the menu.
The article goes on to essentially list direct quotes from Dan Simons, the chief executive of Founding Farmers’s management company, offering excuses for these missteps. WaPo reports: “’We’re not Equinox,’ he said, referring to the Washington restaurant that has built its reputation on a decade of promoting local farmers. ‘Is green [only] about what people put in their mouth? Or is it about the whole experience?’” I suppose by “whole experience” he is referring to the building’s US Green Building Council’s LEED certification and the use of organic cleaning products.
I’m pretty sure that “not being” Equinox is not a very good explanation for misleading diners into believing their food is “farm fresh” when it is not. And yes, it is nice that Founding Farmers was built with sophisticated environment-friendly architecture, but when I think about the “dining experience,” the quality of the food is the first thing that comes to my mind.
The list of excuses goes on, and can basically be summarized as such: it is more difficult and more expensive to order food products from many small sources than fewer large sources, it is a pain to change the menu constantly, and Founding Farmers is so busy and puts out far too many meals to deal with these tasks. But I thought these are precisely the measures restaurants who market themselves as “green” should be taking.
I think there are two main lessons to be learned from Founding Farmers. The first is that perhaps “green” restaurants need to be smaller, with fewer tables and shorter menus. This might make it easier to offer dishes catered to the season and local produce availability. Second, the certification standards for food that qualifies as “sustainable” should be more detailed. The Green Restaurant Association’s standards seem a little broad. If these are are tightened up, diners will surely understand what they are ordering.
Michelle in her signature sleeveless look
Last night, Barbara Walters named Michelle Obama #1 on her list of the Most Fascinating People of 2009. The list also included pop culture stars such as reality TV sensation Kate Gosselin and performance genius Lady GaGa. While the other interviews were certainly entertaining, it was nice that Walters asked the First Lady some legitimate questions on one of our country’s most pressing issues: health.
In the past year, the First Lady has worked to raise public awareness on the issue of nutritional health and fitness, most notably through her garden, the White House Farmers’ Market, and killer arm strength. I was pleased to hear that Michelle Obama plans to continue to promote healthy living. Indeed, Obama named this as the issue on which she would like to focus during her husband’s term in the White House. She stated:
I think I’ve begun to lay the foundation to a conversation about the health of our kids — particularly when we’re looking at statistics that say that one in three kids in this country are obese, and those numbers increase if you’re African-American or Hispanic… So we’re going to spend a lot more time on that issue in the years to come.
View the interview here.
I enjoy quality peanut butter slathered on bread, an apple or a banana as much as any non-allergic American, but its nice to add variation to my mid-afternoon snack once in a while. I’ve recently gotten into almond butter; it’s just like peanut butter except– that’s right– made from almonds. My sister introduced me to the various options offered by Justin’s Nut Butter based in Boulder, CO. They offer classics including peanut butter, almond butter, and hazelnut butter and also varieties mixed with honey, maple, cinnamon, and chocolate. They also come in convenient sizes like 100 cal snack packs for travel (small enough to not be considered a hazardous liquid or gel!). Chocolate hazelnut on toast makes an excellent quick and easy dessert before bed.
I don’t really have anything against Asian fusion restaurants. In fact, I usually like the food because the dishes are often inventive and flavorful. I just find the concept sort of… tired. That’s why I was surprised to hear that Masa 14, which opened in late September in my mid-city neighborhood, was to serve Latin-Asian inspired cuisine. I had flashbacks to the 1990’s when I went to Jean George’s NYC restaurant Vong (now closed). But I’m even more surprised that every time I walk by Masa 14, I find it completely packed with people. So maybe I’m wrong.
I think it is safe to say that Fall weather has come and is here to stay in DC. As such, summer favorites like corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers are disappearing from local farmers markets. Sad, I know, but there plenty of fruits and vegetables that are just coming into season as the weather becomes colder. Here is my Top Ten List of Favorite Fresh Fall Foods:
10) Watercress: With its crisp stems and dark , spicy leaves, watercress is a welcome addition to any salad. It is also packed with Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and folic acid.
I like watercress in beet salads (beets, although popular in the summer months, remain in season through the winter) with some goat cheese, and some pine nuts or sliced almonds tossed in a vinaigrette. Continue reading