The Low Down On Green Living
October 24th, 2007
From fast food chains to the most upscale metropolitan eateries, organic has become quite the buzzword…and for good reason. Organic produce has been scientifically proven to have a greater nutritional value than its conventional counterparts, as well as being free from petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers. Organic meats lack the frightening addition of antibiotics and chemical dyes (yuck!) The soil and water quality surrounding organic farms is exponentially more pure than soil and water surrounding non-organic farms and agribusiness monoculture plots. And, truth be told, it just tastes better.
So where can you sample some of the most fantastic organic meals of your life? Low Impact Living will take you on a journey across America in search of the best organic food around. Part One in our series begins in the heart of the US organic movement: the gorgeous San Francisco Bay Area.
The absolute epitome of organic fine dining in the US is the 36-year-old legend Chez Panisse, created by a 63-year-old legend by the name of Alice Waters. Not only are her menus organic and locally grown, they are inventive and utterly divine to the palette. The focus here is on sourcing the most high quality raw ingredients possible and then amplifying them with subtle and genius technique. Whether it’s the Hand-cut Saffron Pasta with Spot Prawns and Roasted Peppers or the Grilled Sonoma Liberty Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Figs and Curly Endive, a meal at Chez Panisse is literally one to remember for a lifetime. Tip: Make your reservations weeks in advance and bring a bankroll at least as big as your appetite.
Chez Panisse is located at 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley and the phone number is (510) 548-5525.
For a less expensive, yet equally rich dining experience, head over to Café Gratitude for a big slice of organic deliciousness served with a generous side of self adoration. Huh? Each of the dishes here is titled with a self affirmation. You order the “I Am Prosperous” (a tropical salad of greens, macadamia nuts, avocado, mango, jalapeño pepper and goji-chipotle dressing) and when your waiter serves you, she confirms your earlier affirmation by stating “you are prosperous.” Now that’s what I call affordable…therapy like this would cost hundreds more! Order a soup like “I Am Divine” or “I Am Thriving” and really test the boundaries of just how good life can be.
As if that’s not enough to soothe your overwrought soul, the tables at Café Gratitude also double as a board game which diners can play to experience what the owners refer to as “Being Abundance.” All of this may sound pretty hippy-dippy, but the food is sensational, and even the greatest cynic in the crowd can’t possibly order the “I Am Dazzling” without getting a little sparkle in their eye.
Cafe Gratitude is located at 2400 Harrison Street, San Francisco and the phone number is (415) 824-4652. They also have 3 more locations.
Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant
Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but I left my stomach there at Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant. Waits can be long at this tiny mother-daughter operation, but the sushi is organic and as big around as my fist! This is not sushi for the prim or dainty, but the staff is friendly, the fish is fresh, and the nightly specials are to die for. The Himachi in 3 Mint Sauce is delicious as well as the Barbecued Abalone. Andif you’re one of the rare breed known as the Vegan Sushi Lover, then Minako’s extensive menu of no-fish options might just blow you out of the water!
Minako is located at 2154 Mission Street, San Francisco and the phone number is (415) 864-1888.
Tune back in for Part Two of “Organic Dining Across America,” when Low Impact Living takes us deep into America’s Breadbasket for a peek into the organic culinary delights of windswept Chicago.
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