The Low Down On Green Living
November 27th, 2007
It has been said by many that the single thing one misses most when they move away from New York City is the food. Variety and quality of cuisine abound in equal amounts in a city named after one of nature’s greatest culinary staples. In the Big Apple, organic dining is a pleasure and Low Impact Living is about to hand you the keys to the city…
Mas (farmhouse), known to most simply as Mas, is an exquisite little gem nestled on Downing Street deep in the West Village. Chef Galen Zamarra’s daily menus are replete with stunning examples of how the bounty of New York’s local farm country can awaken the jaded palettes of longtime city dwellers. Zamarra knows his farmers, fishermen and cheesemakers personally…and it shows through in food that’s organic, seasonal, well-loved and downright gorgeous. Owner and Mixologist, Thomas Wilson, sources local eau de vie and serves them side-by-side with their better known European counterparts, offering both food critics and neighborhood regulars alike the chance to try something handmade, high-quality and hard to find. He brings a personal touch to the bar that is very rare and extremely charming, like his acclimation that his Lebanese rosewater and house-infused vanilla vodka martini “smells like the air before a snowstorm,” which this Massachusetts native probably knows a thing or two about.
The wine list at Mas is a delight to any connoisseur of French and American wine, though you’d never guess by looking at it that most of the wines are biodynamically or organically grown. Whether you’re savoring the Roasted Monkfish with Sweet Corn and Scallion Fondue or the Black River Blue “cheese cake” with figs, honey granite, and pecan tuile, there is an absolutely exquisite wine by the glass that the knowledgable staff here can pair for you perfectly. The warmth and choreographed grace of the service here is unmatched. Mas (farmhouse) certainly wins my heart as New York City’s Best of the Best…and where else can you get a pristine set of Kumamoto oysters topped with American caviar and a glass of Pierre Gimmonet champagne at 3am? Je ne sais pas!
Mas is located at 39 Downing Street, New York (212) 255-1790
If you’re looking for a meal that will not test the boundaries of your bank account, it’s time to head deep into the heart of Brooklyn. Now this borough has character, and it doesn’t stop at Habana Outpost… it’s just getting started. This younger sibling to Manhattan’s Cafe Habana is, in the words of Brooklyn native MC Lyte, “funky, fresh, dressed to impress, ready to party.” Inside, graffiti artist Lee Quinones, most famous for his lead role in Wild Style, has recreated his 1978 Donald Duck piece on the far wall. If you want to admire this ode to the old school for a moment, grab a seat at one of the picnic tables built with Trex, a composite lumber made of recycled plastic grocery bags, reclaimed pallet wrap and waste wood. A bright red food truck parked in the outdoor courtyard is the Outpost’s only kitchen. There you can find head cook Oscar Teco serving up Habana Outpost classics like grilled corn, cactus salad, and catfish burritos. If you want something tasty to wash down this Latin-flavored grub, you can grab a Jarritos soda, a frozen Mojito, or bravely mount the in-house “Bike Blender” and ride your way to a delicious fruit smoothie. If you’re there on the weekend, pour that smoothie into a biodegradable cornstarch cup and wander through the incredible outdoor bizarre full of jewelry, clothing, and art by local designers. Nights bring all kinds of fun to this eco-eatery, from movies under the stars to burlesque performances hosted by the infamous “Run Around Sue.” Whether you check out the sustainable energy and composting workshops, the kid’s corner, or just park yourself in a swing under the solar panel awning sipping a margarita, at Habana Outpost you are definitely in for a good (green) time.
Habana Outpost is located at 757 Fulton Street, Brooklyn (718) 858-9500
Back in Manhattan’s East Village, Angelica Kitchen has been turning out delicious macrobiotic comfort food for decades. Their commitment to stewarding the environment coincides perfectly with their commitment to turning out an incredibly tasty meal. The Dragon Bowl and Wee Dragon are Angelica Kitchen staples, a build-your-own meal comprised of a grain, bean, vegetable, and dressing of your choice along with Southern-style or Angelica cornbread. (Go Angelica cornbread with the ginger carrot spread and you won’t be sorry!) If you’re in the mood for something raw, there are the highest quality organic salads and juices of every seasonal flavor. For the record, you absolutely can not beat the Hot Open Face Tempeh Sandwich on a cold New York day — slices of sourdough baguette topped with baked tempeh, smothered in savory mushroom gravy, and served on a bed of spinach with a scoop of mashed potatoes. Yum-my. If you’re eating solo and do decide on the tempeh sandwich, make sure to eat it at Angelica Kitchen’s 12-seat community table…at least there you’ll have someone to share your moans of delight with.
Angelica Kitchen is located at 300 East 12th Street, New York (212) 228-2909
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