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Appreciation for America’s Culinary Diversity Before Factory Farms, Fast Food & Homogenization

One way to make sense of new/old foods at the farmers market is to find vintage cookbooks with recipes that predate industrial agriculture. Not quite vintage, Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky (Riverhead Books, member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, 2009) is a rollicking tour of American regional cuisine before World War […]

Mysteries Buried in the Kitchen: Sasha Martin’s Life from Scratch

Sasha Martin tells us on page one that this is not the book she meant to write. Life from Scratch, a memoir of food, family, and forgiveness (National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. 2015) is a beautifully written exploration of love, loss and redemption, but it started as a stunt memoir based on her popular blog Globaltableadventure.com. Between 2010 and 2013, Sasha […]

From 12 Pizzas Each Night, Now 20 Pies Available For Lucky Saratogians

Nine miles east of Upstate New York’s Saratoga Springs and down an unpaved, dusty road in historic farm country (that once was crossed by Burgoyne’s troops on their way to defeat in 1777 at the Saratoga Battlefield) is 9 Miles East Farm. The 29 acre farm has become well-known for its farm pizza. The farm […]

Fiddlehead Bistro in Saranac Lake: First Rate Dining in Upstate NY’s Adirondacks

With inlayed tiles of fiddlehead ferns above the windows the only identifying features (and the colorful façade more suggestive of Tuscany than the rustic Adirondacks), you might easily drive by without registering that this was your farm-to-table dining destination in New York’s Adirondack Region, but it would be your loss. The Fiddlehead Bistro is the […]

A Taste of Wild Quebec at Two Montreal Restaurants: Au Pied De Cochon & Manitoba

There’s a conviction shared by some top Montreal-based chefs to keep food local, explore heritage Canadian dishes and celebrate the fruits of the region’s lands and seas, harkening back to the days of Quebec’s fur trappers and tree tappers. Au Pied de Cochon (in English, pig’s foot or pig’s trotters) and Manitoba are two standout restaurants […]

Dan Barber, Blue Hill Chef & Author of The Third Plate, Profiled on the Documentary Series Chef’s Table

The Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table, created by David Gelb (director of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the 2011 documentary film about 85 year old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef), is now in its third season. Each episode of the globetrotting show has focused on a single world-renowned chef, including chefs […]

Resilient Agriculture In the Face of Change: 25 Small Farms Inspiring Hope

New demands from a dynamic global economy, continued decline in the quality and availability of natural resources, and the unprecedented challenges of climate change are just beginning to take their toll on the U.S. food system. That’s the starting point of Laura Lengnick’s book Resilient Agriculture, Cultivating Food Systems For A Changing Climate (New Society Publishers, […]

Flavorful Middle Eastern Cuisine in Portland, OR: Locally Sourced and Seasonal

Tusk, a new dining option in Portland, Oregon, opened last fall to the delight of diners looking for flavorful Middle Eastern food at a restaurant with a commitment to sourcing its food aggressively and seasonally from local sources (as emphasized on its website’s homepage). With more than 30 food sources, including small farmers and artisans, […]

The Perennial Plate Documentary Series Strikes Gold For St. Patrick’s Day

The Perennial Plate has created more than 150 short documentaries that share the theme of Adventures in Sustainable Eating. A recent documentary produced by the two-time James Beard Award winning online weekly documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating, is perfectly timed for St. Patrick’s Day. Episode 168: Howth, Dublin, with a soundtrack of […]

Inspiring Cuisine: Damon Baehrel’s Native Harvest

Chef Damon Baehrel names as his favorite food – an apple. I find a crisp, slightly tart, juicy apple absolutely irresistible, he writes in his new book Native Harvest: The Inspirational Cuisine of Damon Baehrel (Lightbulb Press, New York, NY, 2016). It’s a cookbook without many recipes and a picture book without many finished dishes, but it’s […]

Fine Dining at Thistle In Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Heavy rain pelted the window pane behind us, but inside Thistle it was warm and cozy. Outside, a blustery late winter downpour drenched downtown McMinnville. Tucked just off the small city’s famous 3rd Street, this farm-to-table dining destination attracts locals and tourists alike who appreciate its impressive dedication to local farms. With a menu that changes […]

Raw Roots of The McDonald’s Corp Exposed in The Founder Starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc

We have sung the praises of the Slow Food movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1989 as an outgrowth of his campaign against the McDonald’s fast food chain opening near the Spanish Steps in Rome. This global, grassroots organization’s mission is to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of […]

Hearty Late-Season Italian Dinner at Praiseworthy Coppi’s Organic in DC

It’s often said that being committed to a fully organic and local ingredient-based menu takes dedication. To do it for 23 consecutive years is another thing entirely. One of the first fully organic restaurants in Washington, D.C., Coppi’s Organic has remained steadfast in its commitment to organic local sourcing, despite a number of ups and […]

Finding Comfort in Peasant Dishes of Tuscany at Hyde Park’s Culinary Institute of America

It’s a place that winter-welcomes you with a sign reading Seasoned Greetings but it’s a literal welcome because the Culinary Institute of America wants you to share the fare that its students are learning to cook – which, last Tuesday, meant a Tuscan extravaganza of hearty peasant dishes served in its Ristorante Catarina de Medici. […]

Lunch at Hilltop Café on The Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire

On a grey, mid-November day, with post-Election Day malaise prompting anxiety about the future, lunch at New Hampshire’s Hilltop Café in a cozy restored 1765 farmhouse on Abbot Hill (at 923 feet, the highest elevation in the rural town of Wilton in Hillsborough County) raises the spirits and rewards the taste buds. Committed to “using […]

Sweet & Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup

One of North America’s gifts to the world is maple syrup. The earliest history of the process of boiling down maple sap to extract sugar is unknown but early European explorers and settlers observed native Americans do so and soon emulated them. By the early 18th century the conversion of sap to rock maple sugar […]

Delicious Breakfast Wraps In The American Heartland: Lincoln, Nebraska

On a cross-country trip from Vermont to Oregon, friends invited us to break up the trip midway with a stopover at their home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Our friends, who belong to a local CSA farm and love good food (and even have a clay oven to prepare delicious meals), knew that breakfast or lunch at […]

Seasonal Recipes from the Beekman Boys: The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook

It’s not surprising that a cookbook from the Beekman Boys would be a classy, useful tome: everything they present they present with commendable style. The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook (Sterling Epicure, New York, NY 2011) collects over a hundred recipes, nicely described and beautifully photographed by Paulette Taormina arranged by season and encouraging you to make the […]

Who Eviscerates The Turkeys Processed For The American Plate?

Dozens of men from Texas, with intellectual disabilities (guys with IQs of 60 and 70 in the words of their employer), wound up living for 30 plus years in virtual servitude in the small Iowa town of Atalissa (Muscatine County). They were there, a thousand miles from Texas, in order to provide grossly underpaid labor […]

Late Summer Pig Roast at the Barn at Mary’s Restaurant in Bristol, Vermont

Mary’s Restaurant, located at the Inn at Baldwin Creek in Bristol, Vermont (Addison County) features an eye-catching blurb of approval on its website from Vermont Magazine: “A visit to Vermont and missing Mary’s is like visiting Paris and missing the Eiffel Tower. . .” A proud farm-to-table restaurant since 1983, Mary’s Restaurant sources its food […]

Sold-Out Forever Farmland Supper Prepared By Chefs’ Consortium Celebrates Local Farmland Conservation

The sweeping vistas of the Hand Melon Farm, a 425-acre estate in upstate New York’s Washington County, are broad enough to showcase row after row of growing crops, some of them in open fields, the more vulnerable under protective netting. On Thursday, August 4, the view was complemented by rows of split chickens sizzling on […]

Mouth-watering Pizza From a Wood-Fired Oven the Size of a VW

Before serving piping hot pies from their 800 degree oven, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Portland, Oregon was Lovely’s Hula Hands for seven years.  Owners Sarah and Jane Minnick decided to shutter Hula Hands and redirect the space into a pizza and ice cream parlor, but not for lack of success. It was their desire to […]

Lunch at Brooklyn’s Runner & Stone Bakery and Café

There’s no better example of how a baking resurgence is being woven into the culinary fabric of New York City than at the small but widely acclaimed Runner & Stone bakery cafe, a Michelin-recommended Bib Gourmand (i.e., an affordable and excellent restaurant), located a mere three blocks from the site of one of America’s very first […]

Pizza Night At Ken’s Artisan Bakery In Portland, Oregon

Ken Forkish opened Ken’s Artisan Bakery fifteen years ago in Northwest Portland, an urbane residential and retail area of the city, with Old Portland-style houses, grand old apartment buildings and sleek new condominiums, plus adjoining parkland made for hiking. A perfect neighborhood for Ken’s Artisan Bakery, which has earned national attention and praise for its bread, croissants, and fruit […]

Michael Pollan & Alex Gibney Discuss the Making of the Netflix Series Cooked

While the newspaper business in the 21st century may still be struggling to find a solid financial footing, the New York Times, at least, seems to have found one revenue stream that entertains, enlightens, and also brings home the bacon: TimesTalks, live and webcasted conversations (now in its 18th year) between its journalists and “21st century […]

Breakfast: How to cook southern in the Big City

You’d be hard pressed to find a more inviting and well-considered breakfast cookbook than Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For (Rizzoli, New York, NY, 2015), by George Weld and Evan Hanczor, the founder and chef, respectively, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s renowned farm-to-table restaurant, Egg. With a focus on classic southern staples (think grits, greens, bacon, eggs, and […]

Hearty Breakfast at OEB and Dinner at Rouge in Calgary, Alberta

A delicious breakfast presents fewer difficulties, than other meals, when it comes to sourcing local ingredients. The fundamental building blocks of diner-style breakfast food — eggs, meats, and dairy products— are agricultural products more readily procured in a sustainable and ethical manner from local purveyors even in a northern climate. Moreover, in the midst of […]

Longer Lives for Dogs: Know Where Rover’s Food Comes From

Twenty-five years ago in 1991, a houndy looking lab, with some golden retriever thrown in, wandered into Ted Kerasote’s campground along the San Juan River in Utah, about 100 miles down the road from Moab. This 10 month old, half-wild mixed breed, named Merle by Kerasote, became his loving companion in a person-dog relationship that […]

Perfectly Written Recipes: The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook

Vermont may be a small state size-wise, both in area and population (sixth smallest in area with less than 10,000 square miles, and 49th in population with 626,042), but it looms large in the local, farm-to-table, good food movement.  This year, Vermont topped the Locavore Index (a measure of the strength of a state local food […]

Delicious Farm to Table Dining in Orlando, Florida

With 62,000,000 visitors annually, Orlando, Florida is the most visited tourist destination in the United States. But while its theme parks beckon millions, our listings of farm to table dining options in Florida are not many in number. But there is one particular dining destination in the Orlando metro area that deserves kudos for its […]

Savoring the Wild & Wonderful at London’s Rabbit

In London these days, you can’t help but run into one of celebrity-chef Jamie Oliver’s many shiny new restaurants. These outposts of casual upscale dining are both billboard and beachhead for Oliver’s so-called food revolution–a movement that’s built on the work of many before him but that’s brought the issues of healthier eating and local organic […]

A Garden’s Simple Food Inspires Alice Waters’ Flavorful New Recipes

Alice Waters hardly needs any introduction. For decades she has championed the cause of the organic food movement, strongly believing it is better for the environment and people’s health. A proponent of a food economy that is “good, clean and fair,” she has been in the forefront of the Slow Food Movement and since 2002 has […]

Breakfast in Brooklyn: Brunching on Food From egg’s Own Upstate NY Farm

  In an airy, sun-filled dining room in the heart of Brooklyn, there’s a place in the popular Williamsburg neighborhood where you can revel in the simplicity of a homey, country meal. And if breakfast is your thing, you’re in luck, because egg serves it all day. But don’t let the name fool you: eggs […]

Blue Corn Buttermilk Pancakes & American Pharoah in Saratoga Springs

With all 50,000 tickets for Saturday’s 146th running of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga sold out, and American Pharoah, the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years, set to gallop 1 and 1/2 miles this morning in a workout at the track, open to the public and free of charge, to take […]

Urban Farmer Novella Carpenter’s Transformation of a Weedy Vacant Lot: A Story Told Well

Every city must have them: vacant lots where nothing grows but weeds, where the detritus from a busy metropolis blows in and collects in corners. Some people drive by those lots and see eyesores, just one more sign of a forsaken neighborhood. Novella Carpenter looked at the weedy 4,500-square-foot vacant lot in her Oakland, California, neighborhood (a postcard of […]

Dinner at Copenhagen’s Relae, Winner of the 2015 Sustainable Restaurant Award

  Copenhagen’s Nørrebro, a neighborhood that is humorously labelled by Gawker as the Danish capital’s Williamsburg equivalent, is the home of Relæ, this year’s winner of the prestigious Sustainable Restaurant Award given by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. This academy is comprised of almost 1000 members, each selected for their “expert opinion” of the international […]

Apples Appreciated: Rowan Jacobsen’s Paean to Crisp, Sweet, Juicy & Complex

Thirty pages into Rowan Jacobsen’s Apples of Uncommon Character, 123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, & Little-Known Wonders, Plus 20 Sweet and Savory Recipes (Bloomsbury USA, New York, New York, 2014) and I was considering how I had misspent my apple-eating life. I purchased whatever was inexpensive at the grocery store, without thinking about the whole apple universe […]

The Mitsitam Café Cookbook Inspires a Dinner Celebrating Virginia Peanuts, Salmon & Celery Root, With Maple Popcorn Balls For Dessert

Museums are rarely known for outstanding food. The often underwhelming and overpriced fare is usually best avoided, but the Mitsitam Native Foods Café  at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is the delicious exception to that rule. Since the museum’s opening in 2004, the Mitsitam Café has received great praise; according to The New York […]

Breakfast at Sub Rosa Wood Fired Bakery in Historic Church Hill Neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia

A directory of what we have termed “Craft Bakeries” was recently added to this website.   The decision to include information on bakeries making hand-crafted baked goods, with a focus on using freshly stone-ground flours (made from carefully sourced and often organic, heirloom grains) and baking delicious bread,  which relies on “natural leavening,” was prompted […]

The Tasting Table at Glen’s Garden Market: One of the Finest in Washington, DC

Lofty statement?  The seasonal and locally-sourced dinner cooked by Chef Travis Olson twice a month at Glen’s Garden Market made me appreciate the true meaning of “table” and why this chef’s table (at the popular grocery store in Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, which focuses on local foods) is one of the finest. The table itself is […]

Fast Food Worth Eating in Pricey Manhattan

Ten dollars for a hearty dinner of tasty and fast “real food” in pricey Manhattan is a tribute to Dig Inn Seasonal Market, with its ten locations spread around one of the most densely populated areas on our planet (estimated at 170,000 people per square mile on a typical business day).  Farm to counter Dig Inn appears […]

Organic Farming’s Transformative Power: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball (Scribner, New York, New York, 2011). The Dirty Life is Kristin Kimball’s story of discovering the two loves of her life – the love for her future husband, Mark, who she meets while on a journalism assignment, and the love for organic farming, […]

Mitsitam Cafe at Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Since the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian ten years ago in 2004, the museum’s unique cafe, the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe, has become a popular destination for lunch on the historic National Mall in Washington, DC.   “Mitsitam,” in the Piscataway and Delaware (tribes local to the Washington, DC area) languages, […]

Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes at Philadelphia’s White Dog Café

The website of the White Dog Café (with two locations, one in the University City section of Philadelphia and the other in Wayne on the Philadelphia Main Line), has a unique home page with a colorful map showing a dozen red barns and images of farm animals, cheese, fruits and vegetables.   The visitor is invited, by […]

Julene Bair’s Memoir of Love and the Fizzling Out of Life on a Kansas Farm

The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning, by Julene Bair (Viking, New York, New York, 2014). The Ogallala Road is Julene Bair’s story of her family’s western Kansas farm, the impact of modern farming practices on the health and future of the Ogallala Aquifer and her search to define her connection with the land […]

Best Breakfast Sandwich in Toronto

A strong case can be made that Lazy Daisy’s Café makes the finest breakfast sandwich in the Toronto metropolitan area.  The Café’s Rise and Shine breakfast sandwich ($7.25) consists of Mennonite smoked bacon (from Tim & Jacqui Schmucker’s Fresh from the Farm, which sources its meats, vegetables and eggs from Mennonite farmers in the Kitchener/Waterloo region […]

“Historic” Marker Outside Farm-to-Table Restaurant Uses Humor to Make Its Point

Sharon Springs (a small village with a population of 547 at the 2000 census) in upstate New York’s rural Schoharie County is the home of a terrific farm-to-table restaurant, 204 Main Bar & Bistro.  As starters, my dining companions shared pot stickers ($8.00), local pork and shrimp, house made noodles, Asian slaw, spicy soy dipping sauce, […]

More Than A Superb Cookbook: Darina Allen’s 30 Years at Ballymaloe

30 Years at Ballymaloe, by Darina Allen (Kyle Books, London, UK, 2014, Distributed by National Book Network, Lanham, MD).  This beautiful book is not so much a cookbook (although it contains over 100 recipes) but more the story of a journey.  From a culinary wilderness to the heights of excellence, a family’s journey fueled by […]

Fed Up With America’s Sugar Addiction

Fed-Up, a documentary film directed by Stephanie Soechtig, narrated by Katie Couric, and written by Mark Monroe and Ms. Soechtig (92 minutes)  [Distributed by Radius-TWC, a boutique label from the Weinstein Company, 2014] “Move more, eat less” has always seemed to provide an easily understood remedy for losing excess bodyweight.  Burn more calories than you […]

A Sheepfarmer’s Lonesome Life Comes Undone in Perceptive Film

The Auction (Le Dématelement), a Canadian film with screenplay and direction by Sébastian Pilote, in French with English subtitles (111 minutes) [Film Movement, a North American distributor of independent and foreign films, 2013] This beautiful to behold, wonderfully acted, and deeply felt film has one uncharacteristic lighter moment.  Gaby Gagnon (played by the superb actor, […]

Forks Over Knives, Preventing Disease with a Plant-Based, Whole-Food Diet

Forks over Knives, a documentary film written and directed by Lee Fulkerson (96 minutes) [Virgil Films, 2011] Michael Pollan in his Food Rules, answers one of the basic questions of life, “What should I eat?” with seven words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  Pollan’s advice to “eat food” is rooted in his rejection […]

Delectable Salads at Sweetgreen’s Manhattan Location

New York City in December is a magnet with its museums, theaters and urban attractions decked out for the season. In less than 3 hours, the Amtrak train was a pain free way to travel south the 140 miles along the Hudson River from my hometown of Albany in upstate New York to meet up […]

Nothing Like CHOCOLATE, a Journey to the Heart of Chocolate

  Nothing Like CHOCOLATE, a documentary film directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani (68 minutes) [Mirror and Hammer Films, 2013] This past June, the untimely death of Mott Green, the founder of The Grenada Chocolate Company, saddened chocolate aficionados who were aware of his mission to create a chocolate company that went beyond simply carrying a Fair […]

Origins, a greenhouse café in Cooperstown, NY

In the countryside a couple of miles outside Cooperstown (Otsego County), NY, is an extraordinary café, Origins.  It is housed in the greenhouse of a family-run garden center, Carefree Gardens.  From the nursery’s small parking lot, the café is approached by a short footpath that winds through thickets of perennials, edged by trees and potted […]

Michelle Obama’s American Grown, The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden established by Michelle Obama on the South Lawn of the White House is the first full scale vegetable garden on the grounds of the White House since Teddy Roosevelt served as president in 1902 (when the United States was still a nation of farmers).  Mrs. Obama’s tells the story of how, with […]

Dublin’s Farm Restaurant in City Center South

Nestled at the southern end of central Dublin’s busy Dawson Street, just a stone’s throw from the verdant oasis of Trinity College, is Farm Restaurant.   In Ireland up to about thirty years ago, locally produced food was something taken totally for granted.  It was a country blessed with an abundance of native food.  Ireland’s produce, […]

Eating With The Ecosystem at Boston’s Ten Tables

Ten Tables, the wonderful farm to table restaurant in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood (reviewed this past fall), hosted in April a unique seafood dinner sponsored by  Eating with the Ecosystem.  Fisherwoman and environmental activist Sarah Schumann, who in addition to her fishing license has a degree in Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, […]

Farm to Table Dining in County Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland

Known as the “Garden of Ireland,” County Wicklow lies to the south of Ireland’s capital,  Dublin.  Between the mountains and the sea, Wicklow has earned the sobriquet due to its wealth of farms and gardens that have supplied Dublin with meat and produce over centuries.  The village of Rathnew (population 2,964) is buried deep in […]

All Local Dinner at Boston’s Granary Tavern

The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) is dedicated to “building economies that are green, local, and fair.”  The organization hosts farm to table dinners and other great events (like the Boston Local Food Festival) to bring the Boston-area community together, and last month they held an all-local dinner at Granary Tavern in downtown Boston.  […]

Red Truck Bakery in Picturesque Warrenton, VA

From a certain perspective, Warrenton, Virginia (population 9,735 in 2011) is the ideal of a Piedmont Virginia town. Its revitalized historic storefronts teem with cafés and antique stores. It’s perched up on a hilltop with the picturesque Blue Ridge mountains off in the distance. But more importantly, Warrenton sits right smack dab in the middle […]

Dining on Duck at The Fireplace in Brookline (MA)

On a wintry day, a roaring fire from within the kitchen’s brick oven greeted us at The Fireplace in Brookline’s Washington Square.  The Fireplace’s sophisticated fare perfectly matched with impeccable service and an upscale atmosphere, reminiscent of an old New England lodge, satisfies the desire for fine farm-to-table dining in the Boston area. Instead of […]

Farmhaus, A Star on the St. Louis Restaurant Scene

Tucked away in an unassuming storefront in a quiet St. Louis neighborhood is one of the city’s best restaurants.  Like its close neighbor, the famous Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Farmhaus is set to become a St. Louis institution thanks to the creativity and skill of an excellent staff and focus on locally sourced ingredients of […]

Praiseworthy Pizza in the Green State of Vermont

The Green Mountain state of Vermont has an inspirational number of CSA (community supported agriculture) farms, weekly farmers markets and the most remarkable cheese trail.   The Vermont Cheese Council, dedicated to the “production and advancement of Vermont cheeses,” offers a cheese trail with 41 Vermont cheese making members (www.vtcheese.com/cheesetrail.htm).   No surprise then that Vermont […]

Bistro Farm to Table Dining in Massachusett’s Pioneer Valley

Northampton in Massachusett’s Pioneer Valley is a lively destination offering a stimulating urban scene including art galleries, crafts stores, an excellent Smith College Art Museum and botanical garden as well as superb farm to table dining at Bistro Les Gras.  After enjoying a visit to the wonderful William Baczek Art Gallery on Northampton’s Main Street,  […]

Ten Tables in Boston’s Jamaica Plain Neighborhood

Jamaica Plain is a remarkably green Boston neighborhood, with a palpable closeness to nature.  Frederick Law Olmstead in the late 19th century designed and built Boston’s Emerald Necklace of parks with much of the southern section of the connecting parkland in or bordering on Jamaica Plain.  Residents and visitors to Jamaica Plain can easily enjoy […]

Savor, a Zen Master’s Recipe for Mindful Eating and Living

Michael Pollan’s insightful and simply-stated Food Rules have become well-known, especially his easy-to-comprehend mantra: “Eat Food, Real Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.”  One of his rules that comes to my mind, on nearly a daily basis, is a rule which helps me to avoid overeating: “If You’re Not Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple, […]

Fresh and Local Summertime Dining on Cape Ann, North of Boston

Nestled back among clusters of riverfront homes in Gloucester on Massachusett’s scenic Cape Ann (30 miles north of Boston), sits a seasonal restaurant to be treasured.  With a dock along the water and the freshest seafood around,  Lobster Cove Market & Restaurant is a hidden gem on the Annisquam River surrounded by picturesque views and […]

Brunswick, A Portrait of a Farmer and the End of Rural Life

Brunswick, a documentary film directed by Nate Simms (56 minutes) [Country Boy Productions, 2011, www.brunswickfilm.com] The town of Brunswick in upstate New York’s Rensselaer County is on the eastern edge of the rapidly suburbanizing Capital Region.  The Capital Region’s three urban centers of Albany, Schenectady and Troy have all lost significant population in the past […]

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, the New Illustrated Edition

The original edition of Michael Pollan’s  Food Rules, An Eater’s Manual came out a little more than three years ago, in January 2009.  Its publication immediately inspired readers to send Mr. Pollan suggestions for additional “rules.”   Pollan notes in his introduction to the new illustrated edition of Food Rules (The Penguin Press, New York, 2011) […]

Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow, A Life on the River

David Montgomery in his history of world agriculture, Dirt, the Erosion of Civilizations (University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, 2007) details the disappearance of various societies as the consequence of the abuse of the fertility of a civilization’s soil and the resulting inability to provide an adequate food supply.   Wendell Berry’s Jayber […]

The Green Table in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market

It’s late winter in New York and we still haven’t been frozen in deep, but my craving for the comfort of a candle lit table and an intimate gathering around soul warming food is deep rooted and pays no heed to this year’s unseasonable weather.   A “Winter Dinner” at The Green Table promises to […]

Edible, An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants

Sitting in a coffee shop in an upstate New York town currently benefiting from a “buy local” main street revitalization, my senses are awakened by the intersection of two food plants from distant lands.  The barista, on day 23 of a Paleolithic diet, is peeling a grapefruit and the aromatic vapors are drifting across the […]

Red Newt Bistro in New York State’s Finger Lakes Wine Country

At this time of year when a non-booted foot is hard to find and water sports are put on hold, the thriving wine tasting scene of the Finger Lakes continues to warmly welcome out-of-town visitors and locals alike.  Perfect for Sunday outings and evening forays, vineyards and wineries, dotting the lake shores, highlight the terroir […]

Carlo Petrini’s Terra Madre, Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities

Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food movement in 1989 as an outgrowth of  his campaign against the McDonald’s fast food chain opening near the Spanish Steps in Rome.  An international member-supported nonprofit association and a worldwide network of people, Slow Food is “committed to improving the way food is produced and distributed” [www.slowfood.com].  The organization […]

Superb Farm to Table Dining in Ontario’s Niagara Region

The 2011 season of the Shaw Festival (www.shawfest.com/) in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake on the shores of Lake Ontario in Canada’s Niagara Region was winding down, and a forecast of Indian-summer 70 degree temperatures and sunny skies prompted a last minute drive across upstate New York from my home in Albany to enjoy a flawless and joyful […]

Brooklyn’s Roberta’s Pizza

A cinder block one-story building barely sets Roberta’s Pizza apart from the surrounding industrial landscape in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.  However, inside a fire roars in the wood-fired oven and five white-coated chefs slide pizzas in and out of the oven creating a warming and inviting environment.  Wood paneling and casual decor encloses a […]

Kansas City’s Blue Bird Bistro

Kansas City, Missouri, the “Heart of America,”  is one of the great centers of American barbecue.  In the early 20th century, the Kansas City Stockyards were second only to those of Chicago in size, and this city of distinctive jazz and blues earned its food reputation for barbecue, while serving as a hub for the […]

Chives Canadian Bistro in Historic Halifax, Nova Scotia

With temperatures moderated by the ocean, Nova Scotia “is the warmest of the provinces in Canada,” and it comes as some surprise that with its population of nearly 1,000,000, “it is Canada’s second-most densely populated province” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova_Scotia].  Historic Halifax, the site of the first permanent European settlement in 1604 in Canada and the capital of […]

Circa in postcard-pretty Cazenovia, near Syracuse, NY

Cazenovia, a picturesque village in upstate New York with a well-preserved downtown district, has a long-standing tradition of being a hotbed of reform movements going back to the mid-nineteenth century when it played a key role in the abolition movement, including hosting the famous 1850 abolitionist meeting known as the Fugitive Slave Law Convention.  Today, […]

Dirt, The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery

The sky may not be falling, but the earth’s soil is eroding faster than it is being replaced and modern civilization’s future is endangered.  Our earth in David R. Montgomery’s words “is an oasis in space rendered hospitable by a thin skin of soil that, once lost, rebuilds only over geologic time.”  Mr. Montgomery makes […]

Lively Lunchtime Dining at Café Mae Mae in Lower Manhattan’s SoHo

Café Mae Mae in “olde New York” on Vandam Street off Hudson Street, occupies the street level space of an old warehouse building on the western edge of New York City’s popular SoHo district.  Named in memory of the owner’s daughter, Café Mae Mae with its commitment to local and seasonal foods, honors her memory […]

Farm to Table Dining at the Culinary Institute of America’s St. Andrew’s Café

Situated on 80 acres overlooking the Hudson River in Hyde Park (Dutchess County, NY), The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has become arguably the world’s premier culinary college enrolling more than 2,800 students from virtually every U.S. state and 30 countries in its degree programs.  At its main campus in Hyde Park (the former Jesuit […]

Sophisticated farm to table dining in Southern Illinois

Edwardsville (Madison County), Illinois, home to Fond, an elegant farm to table restaurant, is just a short drive across the Mississippi from St. Louis, but it retains the small town charm of its historic origins.  One of the three oldest municipalities in Illinois, it remains the county seat and hosts Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), […]

Lunch at a Family Farm’s Café with Views of the Catskills

Once a week on Saturdays from Memorial Day weekend until Columbus Day weekend, and every other Saturday in the off-season, the Bees Knees Café on Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow (Albany County, NY) serves lunch to the public. This farmhouse dining in an old 1840’s working farmhouse, which has changed little in the past 170 […]

Café Osage, An Urban Oasis in the Central West End of St. Louis

Recycling in St. Louis takes on special meaning with the continuing renewal of city neighborhoods.  Streets are slowly improving, building by building, in the Central West End, the central corridor of St. Louis, just north of Forest Park [www.slfp.com/CentralWestEnd.html].  At one edge of the expanding urbane boundaries of the Central West End is Bowood Farms, […]

A Destination Microbrewery in the Gateway to the West: Schlafly Bottleworks

When people talk about St. Louis, beer usually comes up early in the discussion.  Before Anheuser-Busch’s rise to market dominance after the 1970s, St. Louis offered a home to dozens of breweries with its combination of ethnic immigration, access to resources, and a proliferation of caves perfect for storage.  With such a long and storied […]

Hudson Valley's Local 111 in Philmont (Columbia County, NY)

The weekend weather in January was frigid, with light snow, in my hometown of Albany, NY, but not so severe to alter our decision to enjoy another meal at Local 111, a superb farm to table restaurant in Philmont (Columbia County, NY).  A special winter dinner to benefit local farms and agriculture through the work […]

American Terroir, Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields

This past fall’s food festival of the Slow Food movement in Turin, Italy showcased 910 small-scale food producers from around the world.  The only products from the U.S.A. on exhibit were beers at the American Craft Brewers Association exhibit.  Disappointment over the lack of participation by small-scale food producers from the U.S.A. at the festival […]

What's On Your Plate?

What’s On Your Plate? A documentary film directed by Catherine Gund (70 minutes) [Aubin Pictures, 2010, www.aubinpictures.com/] A full house greeted the showing of the documentary, What’s On Your Plate?, at the Saratoga Film Forum’s fall fundraiser [www.saratogafilmforum.org/].  The sold-out crowd of all ages at the Dee Sarno Theater in The Arts Center in downtown […]

San Francisco's Greens Restaurant and Calafia Cafe in Palo Alto

Five days in Pacific Grove on California’s Monterey Bay peninsula, with sunny skies, daytime temperatures in the 70s, and the roar of the Pacific through the guest bedroom window of a friend’s beautiful retirement home, is a perfect vacation in mid-November for a snow-country resident of upstate New York.  Still, with San Francisco just 125 […]

Earthbound Farm's Organic Cafe in California's Carmel Valley

I had the privilege of studying Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace as a college student 40 years ago, with a legendary Professor Jonathan Kistler at upstate New York’s Colgate University.  The experience was life altering and turned me into a careful reader.  If you asked me to name another book that rose to the level […]

Restaurant Nora in Washington, DC

Three weeks before a recent visit to Washington, D.C., I decided some planning was in order for a special, celebratory meal.  As the proud father of a son, soon due to complete his studies at the University of Maryland for a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences with the presentation of his thesis on the interaction of […]

New York City's Angelica Kitchen

This past spring, Jonathan Horowitz’s “Go Vegan!” exhibit, first mounted in 2002, was restaged by Gavin Brown’s art gallery in lower Manhattan at the former LaFrieda butchery adjacent to the art gallery at 601 Washington Street. The exhibit which occupied the former white tiled butchery, included photographs of more than 200 celebrity vegetarians (including Albert […]

Harvard Square's Henrietta's Table

I was early to meet some friends for lunch, and noticed a display of Chef Davis’s cookbook, Honest and Fresh, near the entry to the main dining room of the wonderful Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The cookbook, with its beautiful cover photograph of a hearty breakfast in an iron skillet, was irresistible and on […]

Maria Rodale’s Organic Manifesto

Maria Rodale’s grandfather, J.I. Rodale, founded the magazine, Organic Farming and Gardening in 1942, and her parents, Robert and Ardath Rodale, likewise championed organic agriculture.  In their footsteps, Maria Rodale, an organic food activist, now challenges her readers in Organic Manifesto (Rodale, Inc. [distributed to the trade by Macmillan], New York, New York, 2010) to […]

Mouzon House in Saratoga Springs, NY

The longest Saratoga meet of 40 days (instead of the 36 days of the past few years) has come to an end, with only a modest dip in the overall on-track handle to $104,610,307 from last year’s $112,005,878, and overall attendance this summer reaching a respectable 878,284 in the small city of Saratoga Springs, NY, […]

Litchfield County, Connecticut's The White Hart

The idea that an historic New England Inn has it own farm (Twin Lakes Farm), four miles down a country road from its perch on a beautiful village green, caught my attention.  With a creative chef, David Miller, trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, NY, The White Hart in Salisbury, Connecticut became […]

St. Louis’s Local Harvest Cafe

Local Harvest Café in the Tower Grove neighborhood of St. Louis offers diners fresh and globally sustainable meals at reasonable prices. The café is situated at the edge of Tower Grove Park and the Missouri Botanical Gardens, two of the premier green spaces in the city.  It originated in the Local Harvest Grocery store, but […]

The Farmers Diner

The Farmers Diner in Quechee (Windsor County, Vt)- Even in a state promoting a cheese trail of 41 artisinal cheesemakers (www.vtcheese.com/cheesetrail.htm), it still comes as a bit of a surprise and delight to find The Farmers Diner.  Tucked into a corner of touristy Quechee Gorge Village, is a wonderfully preserved 1947 railroad dining car, moved […]

Industrial Vegetable Production in California’s Salinas Valley

One small valley in California has become the center of vegetable production in the United States, with some remarkable production statistics. 99% of artichokes, 92% of broccoli, 94% of processing tomatoes, 94% of celery, 86% of garlic, 83% of cauliflower, 76% of head lettuce, 67% of carrots, and 58% of asparagus are grown in the […]

Moosewood Restaurant

Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca (Tompkins County, NY)- The Moosewood Restaurant, the legendary vegetarian restaurant that has been serving delicious meals in downtown Ithaca (the home of Cornell University) for 30 plus years, naturally came to mind when we were developing the farm to table directory of restaurants. A well-used cookbook from the 1970’s called “The […]

Wild Hive Café

Wild Hive Café in Clinton Corners (Dutchess County, NY)- A few minutes east of the Salt Point Turnpike exit of the Taconic State Parkway brings the traveler to what may be the planet’s best Grilled Cheese sandwich, and a remarkable alternative to Fast Food America.  The day’s lunch specials at this friendly café included an […]

Route7 Grill

Route7 Grill in Great Barrington, MA- The Berkshire’s Route 7 Grill is not part of the urbane restaurant scene of downtown Great Barrington, with its shops, galleries and pedestrian traffic.  Instead, you have to hop in the car and drive 2 miles south on busy Route 7 to reach this restaurant Nirvana for BBQ meats.  […]

Red Devon

Red Devon in Bangall (Dutchess County, NY)- Who knew there is a bit of California’s Napa Valley in New York’s Northern Dutchess County?  It takes some skillful map reading to find the Red Devon in Bangall, between Millbrook and Pine Plains, but the drive on pleasant country roads ends with a solar paneled, sprawling restaurant/cafe/market […]

Dish

Dish in Greenwich (Washington County, NY) has been open only a short while.  The walls are undecorated, except for a photograph of Marilyn Monroe left behind by the prior operators of a former restaurant known as Some Like It Hot, at the homey spot on the main street of this country town.  Big plans are […]

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