Tag Archives: March Against Monsanto

Upcoming March Against Monsanto; Theater District Dining; Green Restaurant Nominations

Marching to Label GMO Foods

March Against Monsanto logo

This Saturday, October 12, thousands of people around the world are expected to march against ag-biotech giant Monsanto – including in Princeton where the focus will be on getting foods containing GMOs labeled. Organizers of the Princeton march, which kicks off at 2 pm at the Whole Earth Center, include that natural foods store, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ), Food & Water Watch of New Jersey, and GMO-Free NJ. Read about what the march will entail, as well as background info on the GMO debate, in my revealing interview with march organizer and NJ food activist Theresa Lam in the October 9 issue of US 1.

Mercato in NYC’s Theater District (& a Bonus Find)

When I am dining before or after a play or concert, I try to pick a place within walking distance. This past Sunday I needed a lunch spot near Playwrights Horizon, where I was going to see Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. (Yes, the Mr. Burns in the title refers to the Simpsons character. I had snatched tickets after reading this glowing review by Ben Brantley in The NY Times.)

Mercato roomMy choice was Mercato, an unpretentious, surprisingly authentic Italian spot on 39th Street between 8th & 9th Avenues. We enjoyed good-size pours of a Montepulciano ($9) and a Falanghina ($11), as well as excellent espresso. Here are highlights of what we ate in between.

The special app of tuna tartare, below, doesn’t come cheap ($16) but it’s uncharacteristically generous and beautifully accented with pomegranate seeds, capers, and slivers of yellow pepper:

??????????

The best dish of the meal, hands down, was this pasta dish from the regular menu. The cavatelli-like pasta is actually Sardinian malloreddus, here enveloped by braised wild boar ragu ($18):

??????????

To be honest, my choice – fettuccine with mushrooms – couldn’t compare. Since we still had time to kill before the performance, we strolled around the outdoor flea market I had spotted at the end of the block. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market is a real find! Among the treasures I snagged were a pair of vintage Trifari earrings, which I haggled down to $12. God, how I love New York!
Mercato on Urbanspoon

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

New Jersey Finalists Announced for Nature’s Plate Award:
Vote Now for Your Favorite Green Restaurant

Nature Conservancy logoIn a previous post I urged you to nominate your favorite ‘green’ restaurant for the Nature Conservancy’s national award. The eateries with the most nominations have entered the finalist voting round, which is open from now until October 15 at 5 pm EST. The finalists in New Jersey are:

Ninety Acres, Peapack
Eno Terra, Kingston
Local Urban Kitchen, Brielle
BluePlate, Mullica Hill

All of them embrace green practices like using sustainable seafood, free-range and grass-fed meat, organic produce, locally sourced food, and tap water (rather than bottled water). Vote for your favorite at www.nature.org/naturesplatenj.

To sweeten the deal, one voter will be chosen at random to receive a $100 gift certificate to the winning restaurant. The winning restaurant and lucky voter will be announced October 17.

New Eateries: Wildflour & Mallery’s; Marc Vetri on Stuttering; Notable Events

Lots to report. Dine gluten-free (plus vegetarian) in Lawrenceville and on Simply Grazin’ organic meats in Hillsborough. My radio encounter with Vetri and his lifelong stutter. Participate, please: March against Monsanto, cheffy benefit for one of my favorite NJ nonprofits, first ever Montclair food & wine fest.

Wildflour Bakery/Cafe

The space that had been the Lawrenceville Inn has morphed into an artisan bakery and daytime cafe featuring made-to-order savory and sweet crepes, breads and pastries – all gluten-free. The cafe menu  (you’ll need to click to enlarge) also offers housemade soups, salads, and smoothies (also gluten-free and vegetarian).

??????????

The gal behind Wildflour is Marilyn Besner, shown here holding one of her exceptional coffee cakes.  Princeton-area foodies known her from Moonlight Bakers, her previous strudel-making venture. Besner used her training at The Natural Gourmet Institute and French Culinary Institute to develop her own blends of flours, using everything from amaranth to quinoa, which result in exceptionally light textures, even for cream puffs and pastry for fruit tarts.

On my first visit to Wildflour I couldn’t resist ordering two crepes. I started with a buckwheat crepe filled with sautéed spring greens (kale was one) and caramelized onions with goat cheese crumbled on top and red pepper muhammara on the side ($7.95). Big, hearty, and flavorful. If buckwheat is not to your taste, the alternative is a rice-lentil batter. For my dessert crepe I chose the “plain” batter, made from Marilyn’s own blend of rice, millet, and other flours, the result of which is a light, tasty, tender wrapper. Housemade lemon curd and ricotta was my chosen filler and even though 2 full-size crepes are really too much for one sitting, I gobbled it down. Below is my companion’s equally spectacular choice: Nutella with bent spoon ice cream on the side.

??????????

Wildflour Bakery/Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. Birthday cakes and full-size pies and tarts are available by special order.
Wildflour Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mallery’s Eatery
UPDATE, AUGUST 2013: MALLERY’S EATERY IS CLOSED INDEFINITELY

Fans of Mark & Lynne Faille’s organically raised meats from their Simply Grazin’ Farm and Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats butcher shop – both in Skillman – have added a butcher shop/cafe in Hillsborough called Mallery’s Eatery. Executive chef is none other than Eric Martin, the opening and long-time chef at Rat’s Restaurant at Grounds for Sculpture.

??????????

The lunch and take-out menu includes soups like his organic chicken orzo ($7); salads such as one of beets, granny smith apples, goat cheese, and arugula ($8); cold and hot sandwiches; panini; and “plates” of spaghetti and meatballs ($10) and meatloaf ($13). On a recent visit I was particularly impressed with this organic turkey chili (beef is also available) served with fresh corn tortillas and all the trimmings ($9.99):

??????????

Mallery’s Eatery is open for breakfast and lunch, tucked away deep in the recesses of the Kingsbridge Shopping Center on South Branch Road.

Marc Vetri, Stuttering, and Me

Did you catch this touching HuffPost piece by Marc Vetri about life as a stutterer? It resonated with me partially because back in 2005, after being wowed by a fabulous meal at his namesake Philly restaurant, I emailed him asking if he would be a phone-in guest on my live, Saturday morning radio talk show. It was only after he accepted that I learned he was a stutterer. I was impressed once again with the man – he wasn’t going to let that stop him. The interview went well and got a good response. I have to admit it was stressful on my end – it was hard not to jump in when he was struggling to get a word out – but it was a lesson in restraint well worth learning.

Chef’s Night @ Palace at Somerset Park

New Brunswick-based nonprofit Elijah’s Promise (motto: “Food Changes Lives”) does so many important things so well it takes my breath away: soup kitchen, pay-what-you-can eatery, CSA, community garden, more social services than I can name. But one that’s particularly close to my heart is Promise Culinary School, an intensive, state-accredited program that prepares low-income adults to work in the dining industry.

Chefs Night PhotoChef’s Night, the school’s biggest fundraiser, with 35-plus restaurants participating, will take place on Monday, June 3rd from 6 to 9 pm at the rather grand Palace at Somerset Park. For menu, details, and tickets, click here.

I’m not often political in this space but…

March Against Monsanto logo

I am so distressed by the so-called Monsanto Protection Act that I’m breaking my unspoken rule. A worldwide March Against Monsanto has been called for Saturday, May 25th. Check out the list of participating continents, countries, states, and cities here. The official March against Monsanto Facebook page has so amassed more than 81,000 likes.

In NJ, 2 Marches are planned by NOFA-NJ and other organizations. Marches lead off at 2 pm, from downtown New Brunswick and Atlantic City.Here’s their rationale:

– Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.

– In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products.

– Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.

– For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.

Montclair Food & Wine Festival: A 2-day Feast for a Good Cause
Participating Chef Ariane Duarte of CulinAriane

Participating Chef Ariane Duarte of CulinAriane

This is the inaugural event showcasing leading chefs from Montclair’s long list of terrific restaurants (and a couple of high-profile outliers from neighboring towns). It takes place on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd. A portion of the proceeds will go to the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Center for Feeding and Swallowing and to Partners for Health Foundation. For the complete line-up, details on the Grand Tasting and Gala Dinner, and tickets, click here.