[by naveen]

My insatiable culinary drive took me to the Hynes Convention Center on Friday evening for the Local Bites preview event for the down:2:earth expo into sustainable living. Some of the highlights included:
  • A beer flight from Watch City Brewing Company. I chatted with the brewmaster, who talked about the physical demands of running a small brewery, as opposed to just pushing buttons in an automated factory. On top of that, he bikes 15 miles each way to work. I was also reminded by the Squishy Physics talk by the brewmaster at Cambridge Brewing Company last year and now feel inspired to go on some brewery tours.
  • Wines from Kunde Winery in the Sonoma Valley (not especially local, but certainly eco-friendly). Harpoon was giving out samples of cider. I always enjoy free beverages, but I didn't really learn anything new here.
  • Burritos from Boloco Burrito company. The executive chef explained how he learned to cook at World Wrap in San Francisco, which explained why the company makes me nostalgic for California. They are working towards composting the food waste, using recyclable dishware, etc. in their efforts to be environmentally-friendly.
  • A mini chocolate cupcake and blondie bar, both vegan, from Upstairs on the Square. I have yet to dine there, but their desserts have convinced me to eventually try one of their Vegan Dinners. On a related note, I wonder if anyone has studied the science of vegan baking (an egg/dairy-free equivalent to Bakewise).
  • Farmer's custard from Henrietta's Table (definitely not vegan). Peter Davis himself was there to advertise his new cookbook. According to the website, Davis has been driving the bandwagon of sustainable, organic, "slow" food for decades. On the subject of bandwagons, I wonder how much longer this "trend" will continue before it becomes the norm and chefs need to do something really different to distinguish themselves.
  • the fireplace and tavolo were also there, both serving samples of their cuisine. Both were quite tasty, but the Euro-centric influence made me wonder whether it is possible to have, for instance, Asian or South American-style food using New England ingredients or whether the local farms dictate the possible culinary approaches.
While I certainly support the goal of sustainable cuisine, this article in Mother Jones has reminded me to approach this ideal with healthy skepticism rather than zealous sloganism.

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