Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant’

Posted on July 23, 2010 - by

Market Salamander: Local Fare with Lots of Flare in Virginia

Market Salamander Local Fare with Lots of Flare
Breakfast Never Tasted So Good!

Guest Post by: Bill Couzens, Founder Less Cancer
Middleburg, Virginia

Market Salamander is designed as an open marketplace that caters to contemporary demands and lifestyles by offering a selection of local, organic, chef-prepared foods.

With a focus on healthy cuisine and an endless assortment of high-quality fresh ingredients, Market Salamander is attracting patrons near and far. The market offers an unrivaled selection of seasonal produce, prime aged meats, fresh caught seafood, artisanal cheeses, homemade breads, fresh baked pastries, boutique wines, and imported packaged goods. And while quality often comes with a high price, Market Salamander is a best deal for a local breakfast. In fact, breakfast never tasted so good!

Market Salamander’s team in Middleburg is led by Vaughn Skaggs, the Chef de Cuisine, who began his culinary career at a young age in Virginia. Originally inspired by his mother, an inventive cook and restaurateur, Skaggs’ tireless conviction and support of gastronomic, local, organic, and sustainable foods makes him the “backbone of Market Salamander.”

Skaggs’ philosophy about the origins of the ingredients Salamander uses reveals his passion for the art of healthy cooking and living. “Whether it is produce or fresh meats, buying local helps many aspects of our business. It gives our guests a sense of trust and loyalty, knowing that they could trace which farm their food is coming from. The food is always more fresh and tastes better when it comes from the local farms. We also feel better about the food we are serving. We are leaving a smaller environmental footprint, instead of using transportation. In addition, we are supporting local businesses and helping keep our community economy strong.”

Skaggs’s culinary evolution has taken place in some of the best kitchens in the area – like Vidalia’s in Washington, DC; Potomac Grill in Leesburg, Virginia; and some of the most exclusive private homes of Virginia. His skilled culinary repertoire, coupled with his positive attitude and devotion to freshness and seasonality, has won him many acquaintances in the local farm movement. His combination of talent and commitment drives his passion for delicious and conscientious food.

Jason Reaves, Pastry Chef

Recently awarded the 2008 Front-Line Tourism Employee of the Year by the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association, Jason Reaves is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY with a degree specializing in baking and pastry.

Before joining the staff at Market Salamander, Reaves worked at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia; Postrio in San Francisco, California; and as Pastry Chef on board Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of Aloha, and Pride of America. Reaves specializes in custom wedding and special occasion cakes as well as delicious pastries.

Though young, Jason Reaves is already famous for his mouth watering Salamander’s Signature Butterscotch Scone. At just 2.00 per Scone, it is the most delicious thing you could ever eat at breakfast – especially delicious with Salamander’s bottomless cup of coffee!

Salamander often uses local and organic foods. One such supplier is Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia which has been growing healthy, beautiful foods since 1821. The present farm was purchased in 1912 by Brig. Gen. James A. Buchanan of Washington, DC. The historic property of approximately 800 acres was purchased from his descendants in 1996 by Sandy Lerner. The farm’s mission appropriately states, “To farm sustainably and profitably, promoting the benefits of locally produced, humanely raised meats and organic produce to the consumer, our community, and our children through education, outreach and example.”

Dr. Maryann Donovan, Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said, “Beyond the obvious benefits in freshness, quality, and flavor, eating seasonally and sourcing food locally can make important contributions to reducing carbon emissions. The local farms that are additionally certified organic, and the markets that sell organic foods, also have great potential for reducing exposures to pesticides and other chemicals, benefiting both the environment and human health.”

Salamander’s owner Sheila Johnson (musician, movie producer, sports team owner ) understands the importance of local and organic fare, often feeding the Washington Mystics a farm to table regime.

The good news is that you too can enjoy a breakfast of champions and not have to break the bank to eat healthy.


Posted on April 16, 2010 - by

Food-Fronted Development at Full Mast

Guest Post by: James Boo
Originally Posted on The Eaten Path

When a conversation with my neighbor, Lulu, hits the twenty-minute mark, it won’t be long before she raises her right pinky, dons a frenzied grimace and puts on her best impersonation of Herman, a clinically insane man pacing back and forth, hooking thin air and repeatedly chirping: “Neer! Neer! Neer! Neer!

A lifelong tenant of my building in the Puerto Rican enclave of today’s Williamsburg, Lulu has reminded me more than once that the apartment building across the street stands on the former grounds of a psychiatric ward, where mental patients would mill around the gates and chat with kids on the street through a wire-mesh fence.

Williamsburg, like much of New York, has quite a bit of history behind it, and Herman’s antics comprise one small tale of many that are still waiting to be passed down. You might not know this, however, from the average New Yorker’s loyalty to the universal hipster narrative, that knee-jerk understanding in which the crazies and kids are now one, making Williamsburg little more than a weekend zoo for Manhattanites and a convenient target for the collective rolled eyes of the city. Given how little people seem to think on how this neighborhood’s various parts have come into being, going back in the day through Lulu’s stories is a nice way of sparking the imagination and offering glimpses at our lionized landscape that cut through the newspeak of pop-cultural geography.

Being just as transient as the next twenty-something, I don’t say this to stake out a claim on authenticity. As I move out of Williamsburg, I simply hope that twenty years from now this patch of Brooklyn won’t be remembered in the form of skinny jeans, facial hair and poorly conceived irony – the so-called “hipsters” of Williamsburg deserve better. Real communities, new and old, continue to write their own stories between Broadway and Nassau, and if the growth of Brooklyn’s locally sourced food scene is any indication, the resulting merge will be something more interesting than the displacement of roots with cash registers.

Mast Bros. Chocolate - Fresh! the Movie Tasting - Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
The Mast Bros. Chocolate tasting I attended last week as part of the publicity blitz for Fresh! is one example of how the dining scene in Williamsburg is equal parts consumer-based gentrification and organic community building. At a glance, the event seemed a stereotypical meeting of the prissy and the pricey; gourmet chocolates set out alongside flowers as the conversation of an affluent, educated crowd of mostly white faces.

Mast Bros. Chocolate - Fresh! the Movie Tasting - Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY Mast Bros. Chocolate - Fresh! the Movie Tasting - Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
A closer look at the Fresh! campaign and a deeper taste of the gathering on North 3rd St would reveal an element of ownership that instills affluence with anima, particularly in how the Mast brothers uncompromisingly handcraft their chocolate to the enviable passion that Shane Welch and his staff at Sixpoint Craft Ales put into their Brooklyn-based brews. While the $7 price tag of a Mast Bros. Chocolate bar (higher if you purchase it outside the factory) screams high end consumerism, the intimacy of this hole-in-the-wall factory and beard-charmed accessibility of its owners makes a more complex statement of migration and growth, one which shines in significant contrast to the new Duane Reade pharmacy in construction just a few blocks away.

Mast Bros. Chocolate - Single Origin Madagascar With Cocoa Nibs
The chocolates on offer during the tasting certainly offered a real taste of personality. I’ve dismissed the Masts’ chocolate as too floral in the past, but was happy to be proven immensely wrong as I sampled piece after piece of the brothers’ standard rotation of bars. Like my colleague over at Food in Mouth, I quickly got over the intensity of the chocolate and become much more concerned with when I could procure the next bite-sized chunk.

Mast Bros. Chocolate - Single Origin Madagascar With Cocoa Nibs
The most satisfying aspect of Mast Bros. chocolate is that the foo foo liner notes that accompany its product are stunningly accurate. Single origin, 81% cocoa Dominican Republic is a hefty expression of earthy flavors – “rustic earth, black tea, rum, black berry, maybe even tobacco and sometimes licorice,” to be precise. Likewise, The Masts’ Fleur de Sal de Guerande (hand-harvested sea salt from France) is “a perfect finishing salt, amplifying the sweetness and citrus of the Madagascar cacao,” and the “nuttiness, fruit and beautiful texture” of the Mast’s meaty cacao nibs introduce a hearty element to their chocolate that is as much to savor as it is to feel. The distinctive profiles of each bar bore much of this flavor text to my taste buds in way that rarely happens when I drink a glass of red wine.

At the top of my list, single origin, 72% cocoa Madagascar “tickles your palate with blood orange, dried sour cherry and raspberry notes. Soft tannins and bright fruit linger on your brain like a night in Napa Valley.” As I popped piece after piece of this chocolate into my mouth and grappled with the flavors as they unwound on my tongue, these ridiculous, J. Peterman-worshipping words only become more true, with one all-important difference: Whereas Peterman dealt in plastering status onto schlock, Rick and Michael Mast engage in creating food that encapsulates labor and art.

Mast Bros. Chocolate - Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Is an artisan chocolate bar the form of hipsterism, matured? Is it simply another unwitting offensive in socioeconomic restructuring? The Mast brothers, flanked by like-minded, locally-focused entrepreneurs at the Brooklyn Kitchen, the Meat Hook, Marlow & Daugters, Pies and Thighs, the Greenpoint Greenmarket, and the many other members of North Brooklyn’s blossoming food community, have nurtured an answer that goes beyond dive bars without eschewing them and stands up to five-stars without pursuing them. Most importantly, these voices are not alone in their statement of delicious development: With the help of social media and the spark of generational change, a similar process has taken root in urban environments all over the United States.

I’m not one to know exactly how this spirit will guide the evolution of Williamsburg, let alone the rest of the country. Despite the fact that culture clashes of gentrification are very much alive and well, this town’s food-crazed denizens, the Mast brothers certainly included, have done a lot in my eyes to make a tasteful case for their ongoing invasion.

Mast Bros. Chocolate - Fresh! the Movie Tasting - Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Mast Bros. Chocolate
105 North 3rd St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Open Sat. and Sun. 2pm-8pm


Posted on April 16, 2010 - by

PastaBAR: Farm to Table Freshness

By Guest Blogger: Molly Cerreta Smith
Originally posted on Foodies Like Us

I am such a pasta junkie that I jumped at the chance to check out PastaBAR, even if it was under the “guise” of attending a promo for the Fresh documentary – and a farm to table dinner prepared by the extraordinary Chef Wade Moises himself (please stay tuned for more on him in a very-near-future article).

Now, I have to admit that since becoming a full-time mom and only a part-time writer, I rarely leave the comfort zone of my immediate neighborhood. It’s been years since I’ve frequented a restaurant in downtown Phoenix, but I was impressed to see the whole area coming alive with hidden gems. And I mean that in the truest sense of the phrase. PastaBAR is housed within a building – you might never know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. Good thing we were.

Chef Wade prepared a special three-course meal the night we dined in collaboration with promotion for Fresh, which is showing this Friday and Saturday only at the Madcap Theaters in Tempe. The dinner came complete with a ticket to see the movie, which emphasizes the importance of re-inventing our food system to forge a healthier, more sustainable alternative by using local produce and meats – something Chef Wade does on the daily.

His menu even states: “PastaBAR uses as many products from as many local farmers, ranchers and producers as possible.” A quick breeze through the website and you’ll find a list of some familiar names — McClendon’s Select, Maya’s Farm, The Meat Shop, Sunizona, and the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, which Wade is now running (more on that in the coming part-two article – you just can’t fit Chef Wade into one little blog!).

The menu that he created to promote the Fresh concept was steeped in simplicity. The first course was braised leeks in water, olive oil and butter topped with hard-boiled egg shavings and breadcrumbs. The mild leeks were intensified by the unique textural sensations of the egg and crunchy breadcrumbs. We were off to a good start.

A delightful medly of tastes and textures

The main course was a pasta primavera packed with homegrown vegetables – sugar snap peas, Maya’s sweet 100s tomatoes, green beans and fava beans – and topped with basil and Parmesan. The homemade, hand-rolled garganelli pasta was perfectly cooked. Elegant yet simple, this pasta dish did not leave me with that heavy feeling that I usually get after eating a plateful of pasta. And believe me, I finished every last bite.

Light, yet scrumptious!

Chef Wade rounded out the three-course meal with each diner’s choice of one of three fresh granitas. I couldn’t resist the cherry-lime, which was mouth-puckeringly tart. It tickles my taste buds just thinking about it. I couldn’t finish it, but I did demolish the decadent cream atop my icy dessert. I’d gladly down a martini glass filled with that stuff any day.


If you are a fresh food foodie, check out Fresh this weekend. You will be inspired to, like Chef Wade, find a fresh, simple and local way to cook, eat and enjoy the fruits of our regional farms. But if you don’t feel like doing it yourself, head to PastaBAR for a heaping helping of farm to table freshness.


Posted on April 2, 2010 - by

You Can Eat Green Without Spending A Lot Of Green – Part 1

By: Rosemarie Gambetta
Cross-posted from Cheapeats

Cheapeats is honored to have been asked to review and share their experience during the Farm To Table dinners celebrating the screening of Fresh the Movie. Fresh is a powerful film discussing the current farming and food system and the simple changes we can make to better Americans and the planet.

The most common argument people have is that eating “Green” and “Organic” is expensive. Cheapeats is going to show you that you can find great healthy options without breaking the break. Part 1 – Candle Cafe.

Candle Cafe is a casual eatery on the Upper Eastside whose mission is to serve a organic plant based menu. Many of the dishes use seasonal ingredients free of pesticides and chemicals. They were gracious enough to prepare a menu for Fresh fans featuring farm fresh specials. My hungry belly was excited and up to the challenge. From the many yummy options, I chose “Cashew Crusted Tempeh over Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf.” If your scratching your head saying; “What language is she speaking?” To simplify it, Tempeh is a soybean cake. If Yuck is the first word to come to mind, you are sssooooo wrong. When my dish came out, my eyes were smiling. It was beautifully presented. Almost too pretty to eat…almost.

First bite – A perfect crunchy coating surrounding a filling of herbs and flavor. It’s so difficult to describe the taste of Tempeh. It’s like a blank canvas that takes on whatever flavors you paint it with. It was like a polenta cake but with so much flavor, you’d think you’re eating chicken. Honest. The Quinoa (similar to cous cous) was light, fluffy and combined with an assortment of fresh vegetables (string beans, fennel, greens). The sauce underneath was like a rich broth; both savory and sweet. The perfect amount of each. When I combined it all into one perfect bite, it was like a party in my mouth. To complete the combination of textures, the dish was topped with crispy fennel and radishes. While enjoying my dinner, I’m watching the place fill up. Who knew so many people ate vegetarian.

Do you have room dessert my waitress asked? Oh I think I can make room. My choice – Vanilla Cheesecake with an Almond Cookie Crust. Sounds good right?

First Bite – Creamy, silky, sweet and light with a little crunch from the cookie crust. Ladies and Gentleman, we have winner!!!!! I tasted vanilla and almonds but what was cheese? Silken Tofu? Who knew. Combined with the creamy vanilla sauce, it was like a cloud on a plate.

I know you’re squirming in your seat saying, ”There is no way that eating vegetarian will taste good.” Guess what…it will. The chef adds so many flavors to trick your palette, you honestly won’t miss the meat. Based on the crowd eating and those waiting to be seated is proof that it doesn’t have to be boring nor expensive to eat green.

Tix for the screening of Fresh are being sold at Candle Cafe and their sister restaurant Candle 79 and don’t forget to check out the Fresh Week Events.


Posted on January 26, 2010 - by

Café Boulud – Palm Beach

Guest Blogger: Bill Couzens, Founder of

lobsterCafé Boulud – Palm Beach opened its doors in 2003.  Its location in the historic Brazilian Court, a 1920’s Spanish styled Palm Beach landmark turned luxury boutique hotel, is in the heart of Palm Beach and moments away from the famed Worth Avenue. Café Boulud’s cuisine is not unlike its New York City sister restaurant Café Boulud NEW YORK where classic French dishes are prepared with ingredients sourced from the seasonal specialties available at local markets.

Chef-Owner Daniel Boulud is a seasoned restaurateur with five restaurants; one in New York City, one in Palm Beach, FL and three abroad with plans to open additional locations in Miami, London and Singapore in the coming year. Chef Boulud is also an accomplished author having published several books, including Cooking with Daniel Boulud (1993), Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud Cookbook (1999), Daniel Boulud Cooking in New York City (2002),Daniel’s Dish, Entertaining at Home with a Four Star Chef (2003), Letters to a Young Chef (2003), Braise: a Journey Through International Cuisine (2006).

Boulud credits much of his restaurants’ success to his world–class team. One such invaluable team member is Chef Zach Bell, Executive Chef of Cafe Boulud-Palm Beach, recognized by StarChefs in 2008 as a Rising Star Chef and twice nominated for “Best Chef: South” by the James Beard Foundation.

Chef Bell makes it a practice to visit local farms and markets to personally inspect the local foods the restaurant will be serving. Local vendors Chef Bell shops with include:

Deep Creek Ranch for beef and lamb as they do not use hormones or other growth stimulants or routine antibiotic treatment.

Wild Ocean Seafood Market providing some of freshest local seafood.

Green Cay Produce CSA in Palm Beach County and as well as Swank Produce for hydro-natural lettuces, greens, micro greens tomatoes, beans, baby beats and carrots. According to their website, Swank Produce does not use fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides. This is important re the unintended consequences of pesticides that can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment.

Erickson Farm
The Erickson family manages the tropical fruit, spice and vegetable farm. Mangoes are their specialty and they are grown with the philosophy that includes alternative practices instead of the use of pesticides and herbicides by using the effective organic solutions available and implementing cultivation techniques that aid in pest and weed control when possible.

longplateIn addition to making every effort to shop local, organic ingredients, Chef Zach has a house rule of no corn syrup in any ingredient – including the ketchup – and so the restaurant no longer uses purchased ketchup but rather cooks its own from scratch.

Most notably Chef Bell and Café Boulud have joined in the supporting The Glades to Coast Convivium, a chapter of the slow food movement that includes Broward and Southern Palm Beach Counties. Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Palm Beach and the surrounding counties are mostly noted for the production of tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, cucumbers and squash–though it is often difficult for consumers to find local produce for sale in neighborhood supermarkets which rely on larger farms that ship produce nationwide. However, large increases in the population during the winter months coincide with the growing season, opening possibilities for local marketing of produce. Every Saturday the Palm Beach farmer’s market promotes locally-grown fresh fruits, just-picked vegetables, fresh seafood, meats and poultry, dairy products, specialty teas and coffees, fresh-cut local and imported flowers, specialty foods, foods to go, pies, and breads.

“Beyond the obvious benefits in freshness, quality, and flavor, eating seasonally and sourcing food locally can be make  important contributions to reducing carbon emissions. The local farms that are additionally certified organic and the markets that sell organic foods also have great potential for reducing exposures to pesticides and other chemicals, benefiting both  the environment and  human health” according to Dr. Maryann Donovan, Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Devotees of Daniel Boulud will not only find comfort in Cafe Boulud’s exquisite fare and quality but they will discover that standards for buying local, organic and eliminating corn syrup from the restaurant is one best practice in working towards healthy people and healthy communities.


Posted on January 13, 2010 - by

Mie N Yu: Georgetown Eatery Focuses on Local and Sustainable Food

Bill Couzens HeadshotBy Bill Couzens, Founder of Less Cancer

Mie N Yu
3125 M Street, NW
Historic Georgetown, in Washington DC

This Georgetown restaurant’s culinary and service team pride themselves on the fact that they are serving “the highest quality products to their guests.”

Mie N Yu’s Chef Tim Miller and General Manager Oren Molovinsky have personally visited all of the farms that the restaurant’s wonderful products are sourced from. “I’m always surprised by the incredible advantage in flavor and texture that local products have, for example, it’s very important that our meat products have never been injected with hormones or antibiotics from birth…” explains General Manager, Oren Molovinsky.

In addition to his role as General Manager for Mie N Yu, Oren and his business partner Jack Boyle have set up a Farm to Table Partnership involving twenty local Virginia Farmers and participating restaurants to supply chefs with whole animals. He also makes it a practice to visit the farmers that supply the restaurant.

Mie N Yu has sourced close to a dozen local farms, sourcing everything from lettuce to lamb. Examples of the Virginia Farms that supply Mie N Yu include: Whitewood Farm; The Plains Virginia for Black Angus Beef; Oak Spring Dairy; Upperville Virginia-Raw Milk Artisan Cheeses; and Cannon Hill Farm, Mount Jackson, Virgina for Certified Organic Belted Galloway Hereford and Angus Beef.

There are many benefits to buying locally. Oren can frequently visit the farms to ensure that the restaurant will receive the best quality meats, produce, cheeses and eggs. Because of the relationship that he builds with each farmer, Oren is able to develop a partnership to reinforce with the farmer the importance of continuous improvement of best practices for natural or organic farming and attention to animal husbandry and environmental stewardship.

All of the farms are at most located within a 5-6 hour drive of the restaurant. Several are Certified Organic and/or Certified Humane. In addition, the Farm to Table DC program has added the additional requirement that farms be family owned, excluding mass production farms. Importantly as a healthy choice- the criteria stipulates that the foods by hormone, antibiotics, and medication free and the preference is that animals be fed non- GMO food.

The establishment of rigorous criteria for food sourcing can be especially important for reducing unnecessary and preventable exposures to chemicals and pesticides, some of which have been shown to have biological effects in laboratory studies and have been identified as contaminants in humans by researchers as well as in studies of body burden levels of contaminants that are being conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention according to Dr. Maryann Donovan, Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Mie N Yu is aware that as consumers become more conscious about the environmental and human health impact of their purchases, restaurants are also becoming more aware of what it takes to bring food from the farm to the table. Working with local farmers means fewer miles to the table, which reduces carbon-emissions and fuel usage by restaurants.


Posted on November 17, 2009 - by

Restaurant Composts Food Waste (VIDEO)

By: Rebecca Gerendasy
Co-founder of Cooking Up a Story and video journalist
Originally posted on Cooking Up A Story
I started composting at home almost 2 years ago. My plan was to build a few vegetable garden beds, start growing some of my own food, and go from there. For my small gardening endeavors in the past I’ve used fish emulsion, coffee grinds, and egg shells as my typical sources of ‘food’ for my food. But it was time to step it up a notch. I wanted organic matter to build my soil, so what better way than to create my own.

It was easy to do. Next to my sink I have a handy container to hold the grinds, eggshells, carrot tops, uneaten bread crusts, and more. At the end of the day I add those organic ingredients to the compost bin, throw in some grass clippings or fallen leafs (depending on season), give it a mix, and let nature take over. What really surprised me, after doing this a few weeks, was how the amount of garbage going into my city collection bin was drastically reduced – by nearly half!

That got me thinking… What about restaurants? What do they do with all their leftover, uneaten food? What if they composted it? What’s involved – is it that big of a deal? Why isn’t every food establishment doing this?

I visited restaurateur Kathleen Hagberg, owner of the bijou, café in Portland, Oregon, to get her perspective of why she composts and why others do not. She says doing by example is always important, and ultimately, for the folks at the bijou, “It’s as easy as throwing out the garbage.”

What makes it possible is the cooperation between city officials and local businesses to provide the local infrastructure. In 2005, Portland’s Office of Sustainability partnered with Oregon Metro to tackle the issue of the large amounts of food waste going to landfills. The result was Portland Composts!, a program designed to help restaurants and other food institutions learn how to easily incorporate a composting system into their business. In addition they connect interested parties with commercial waste haulers who collect and take the organic matter to a commercial composting facility in Washington.

Turning organic waste into a useful product, and at the same time helping to reduce carbon emissions provides an excellent example for other municipalities to follow. San Francisco recently made recycling and composting mandatory within the city limits.

Who’ll follow, I wonder?