Saturday, April 17, 2010

Planet's First Low-Carbon Restaurant?

A trip to the grocery store or the farmers market can be daunting because you've just got so many choices. organic. local. biodynamic. is it better to eat local cared for meat or far away tofu?

Turns out the carbon footprint of even heavily packaged tofu from the other side of the world has a smaller carbon footprint than local beef (not that we are endorsing one or the other).

That's what new chain restaurant Otarian is trying to make easy for us. At their opening (attended by Vanessa Williams and one of those Olsen Twins), the founder of Otarian talked about how they spent a couple of years researching every ingredient (and worked with 18 chefs around the globe to choose the menu) to determine the carbon footprint - from growing practices to travel miles. The interior of the Bleecker Street Restaurant was decked out in recycled materials and they promise that a "whopping 98% of our restaurant waste, including packaging and food waste, is recovered as compost, recycled or re-used." Must say the food - ranging from spinach tarts to apple cobbler - was excellent.

Of course we have mixed feelings, is a fast food restaurant actually saving the planet or saving carbon? However, we at Brooklyn Green Team are also grounded in reality. People aren't going to stop going out for lunch. And so, they may as well eat vegetarian from a place that's thinking about these things and more importantly, educating the customer.

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