Greek and Green

Photo credit: Kim Maxwell Vu

The new Dupont Circle  restaurant Agora (1527 17th Street, NW), which opened in May 2010, is working on being green from the ground up.

Most of the restaurant’s materials are recycled or reclaimed and the cement flooring and exposed brick walls are natural conductors of heat and cold.

Agora’s Mediterranean organic and biodynamic wines are kept in a naturally controlled temperature wine room with recycled wood racks and are even served in glassware made from recycled cork and glass.

Other eco-friendly elements:

- An in-house water filtration provides still or sparkling water.
- All bottles, paper, and plastic are recycled.
- Recycled paper is used for the printed menus
- The kitchen’s cooking oil is donated to be repurposed as biodiesel fuel
- Environmentally friendly hand dyers in the bathroom
- Natural light is used as much and for as long as possible

Agora, which means “gathering place” in Greek brings authentic Turkish cuisine to the heart of Dupont with a variety of Mediterranean mezes. The bar also offers six different types of anise-flavored raki, as well as cocktails that highlight Turkish ingredients, such as one that uses Turkish figs.

DC Restaurants Celebrate Earth Day

Tallula courtesy of Powers & Crewe

Dine deliciously and celebrate Earth Day with special events, menus, and offers from local area restaurants:

Sustainable Dinner at Tallula
Tallula will celebrate Earth Day with a special four-course dinner showcasing locally grown produce, humanely raised meats, and sustainable seafood.

Bev Eggleston, founder of EcoFriendly Foods and leading proponent of ethical farming, as well as Drew Koslow, biologist, clean water advocate, and brother of Executive Chef Barry Koslow, will also attend the dinner. The dinner will start at 7PM on Thursday, April 22nd in the restaurant’s intimate wine shop.

Priced at $85 per person including wine pairings (excluding tax and gratuity) the Earth Day dinner will feature dishes such as Bison Carpaccio, sourced from New Frontier Bison in Madison, VA, and a Pork Trio from EcoFriendly Farms. The dinner will also include dishes using local, sustainable seafood, such as Virginia Clams and Striped Bass and local Virginia wines.

Eco-Friendly Cocktails at JW Marriott
As an extension of Earth Day’s celebration, the JW Marriott Washington is creating a special menu of refreshing eco-cocktails and organic summer white wines by the glass to help raise awareness for preserving the rainforests.

The special beverage menu will be available at Bar 1331 beginning on Monday, April 19 and served throughout the summer.  Cocktails, including “Strawberry Fields” (muddled fresh strawberries, basil leaves, simple syrup), are $12.00 and organic wines by the glass start at $9.00.  Thirty percent of the proceeds from the new beverages will be donated toward the protection and preservation of 1.4 million acres of endangered rainforest in the Amazon, called the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve.

Sweetlife Festival
Sweetgreen‘s free outdoor music festival, Saturday, April 24 from 3–9 PM (behind its Dupont Circle location), will raise money for Farm To School, an organization committed to connecting schools with local farms. Live performances will feature Hot Chip performing a DJ set, U.S. Royalty, The Love Language, Phil Ade, Will Eastman, DJ Grant Shapiro and more. Limited complementary tickets are available via the Sweetgreen beginning on April 9, with donations requested.

Mixt Greens Offers Tote with Green Goodies
The first 150 customers who visit one of Mixt Greens three DC locations on Thursday, April 22nd, will receive a complimentary tote bag filled with goodies including recipes from Chef/Co-Founder Andrew Swallow’s upcoming cookbook, Mixt Salads, and packets of herb seeds to plant at home.

Green Hours
The official Earth Day 2010 Sustainable Feast DC initiative encourages restaurants across the DC area to highlight the responsible decisions they make when buying and serving local or organic, sustainable foods. Participating restaurants include Bread & Brew, Pitango Gelato, Busboys & Poets, and more.

Earth Day Menu at Restaurant Nora
Restaurant Nora will be featuring an Earth Day tasting menu that includes seasonal spring vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, and spinach as well as seasonal cocktails. On April 20th and 21st, the restaurant will be donate $1 from each seasonal cocktail to Earth Day Network.

Local Restaurants for Local Kids

Guest post by Andrea Northup

Support locally-owned restaurants, the sustainable local food economy, and DC-area kids by participating in the DC Farm to School Network’s Local Restaurants for Local Kids Fundraiser on Friday January 22.

Select area restaurants will be donating a portion of their proceeds to the DC Farm to School Network, which works to bring healthy, local produce into DC public school cafeterias.  By simply enjoying a delicious snack, cocktail, or dinner at one of the great participating restaurants, you will help to improve access to healthy, tasty, and local foods in area schools.

DC Farm to School Network volunteers will be available at the restaurants to answer questions or chat with you about our work. For volunteer opportunities, contact Lauren@dcgreens.org.

Participating restaurants include:

Busboys & Poets, 5th and K Street NW (Mt. Vernon Sq. Metro); 14th and V Street NW (U St. Metro); 4251 S. Campbell Ave,  Arlington, VA.

Coppi’s Organic (from 6pm-11pm), 1414 U Street NW (U St. Metro)

Eatonville, 2121 14th Street NW (U St. Metro)

Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street NW (U St. Metro)

Farmers & Fishers (All day!), 3000 K Street NW (Georgetown Waterfront—Foggy Bottom Metro)

Clyde’s, 3236 M Street NW (Foggy Bottom Metro); 707 7th Street NW (Gallery Place Metro); 5441 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD (Friendship Heights Metro)

PS-7 (Lounge from 4pm-2am), 777 I Street NW (Gallery Place Metro)

Bread and Brew (5-8pm in bar), 1247 20th Street NW (Dupont Circle Metro)

Cafe Saint-Ex, 1847 14th Street NW (U St. Metro)

ris (Proceeds from seasonal cocktail and appetizers after 4:30pm), 2275 L Street NW (Foggy Bottom Metro)

7 Local Organic Cocktails

organic martini

The always inventive mixologists at several chic DC-area hotel bars are shaking things up with cocktails that feature organic spirits, homemade fruit purees, and locally grown veggies and herbs. Here are our top picks:

1. Juniper at The Fairmont Hotel serves five “Going Green” organic cocktails featuring herbs from the hotel’s courtyard garden and regionally grown fruits. “Feeling Blue,” for example, is made with Blue Coat Organic Gin, courtyard grown cilantro, Virginia blueberries, housemade simple syrup, and club soda. There are also several cocktails made with honey harvested from the Italian honey bees that make the hotel’s rooftop their home such as the Bee-tini made with Belvedere Pomrancza vodka and honey mixed with fresh grapefruit juice, mint, and grenadine.

2. The mixologists at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons make many of their own bitters, tinctures, and syrups and grow their own herbs. The cleverly named “Not Tonight” features additive-free Hangar One mandarin blossom vodka, velvet falernum (a sugar cane-based liqueur), orgeat, fresh lime, whiskey barrel-aged bitters, and a chipotle tincture

3. Stop by Zentan at the Donovan House for an organic version of a Margarita.”The Scarborough Affair” is made with organic sage-infused Herradura Reposado tequila, house-made thyme agave nectar, house-made sweet and sour mix, fresh lime juice, St. Germain elderflower liquor, and garnished with a fresh spring of rosemary.

4. Start brunch off right with an organic Bloody Mary from Entyse at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner. This tasty version is made with Square One Organic Vodka, organic Bloody Mary mix (made from organic, locally grown tomatoes), Tabasco, Worcestershire, a pinch of organic black pepper, and garnished with organic celery, lime, and green bean. All of the cocktails at Entsye are made with ingredients from local and organic farms.

5. The Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt offers martinis that can be made with Square One Organic Vodka and your choice of a pearl onion, olive, caper berry or lemon twist garnish.

6. Keep the wolves at bay with the “Little Red Riding Hood” cocktail at the Quill bar in the historic Jefferson hotel. This glorious concoction features house-made hibiscus-pomegranate-infused vodka, Cointreau, Galliano, cranberry juice, and molecular yogurt-vanilla foam.

7. With arguably one of the best views in town, POV at the recently opened W Hotel has an artfully crafted cocktail menu courtesy of Sasha Petraske of NYC’s Milk & Honey.  The all-natural libations change with the seasons and are made with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Energy Saving Challenge and a Delicious Reward

If the frigid weather has you dreading your next heating bill, take heart. Washington, DC-based energy start-up Earth Aid has teamed up with Farmers & Fishers to launch an energy-savings challenge that could lead to lower bills and give you the chance to win a free mixology class for eight at Farmers & Fishers.

To participate, visit Earth Aid and create a free account that will link your gas, electric, and water utility accounts to Earth Aid’s platform.  Then use the “Invite Your Friends” feature to invite friends, family, and colleagues to sign up and join your team.

Earth Aid will then retrieve the household usage and savings information for each individual as well as each team, and will provide easy online energy monitoring along with tips and ‘how-to’s’ to reduce usage and increase savings. This type of effort results in greater energy savings and lets individuals see how their savings – when combined with the savings of others – can really add up.

Earth Aid will compare the utility (electric, gas, and/or water) usage of the group from now through Earth Day (April 22) to the past usage of the group during that window of time to determine which area team achieves the largest total reduction and wins the mixology prize.

The winning team will enjoy a private class of mixology basics and recipes with F&F’s Chief Mixologist Jon Arroyo, along with menu samples and of course, cocktails.

Sustainable Happy Hours

We love the idea of  supporting local restaurants that offer tasty sustainable cuisine and cheap happy hour deals. Here are our top picks:

CommonWealth Gastropub
It’s bloody cold out. Shake off the icicles and get yourself over to the happy hour (4-7) at CommonWealth which includes a selection of local beer, 1/2 price selections of wine, and 1/2 off grassfed burgers (Wednesdays) that are out of this world. For a complete rundown of what’s available, check out the review written by our friends over at Sustainable in the City.

Dino
A menu planned around weekly finds at the Dupont Farmer’s Market and meats and seafood from all natural and sustainable sources. Those are just a few reasons to love Dino in Cleveland Park. Want more? How about an amazing happy hour from 5:30-7 (Sunday-Fridays) featuring free antipasti and 25% off drinks. Oh, and bartender Scott is a master mixologist and will help you find the perfect glass to accompany your meal.

Poste Brasserie
We’ve written about Poste’s sustainable practices before. This time, we’re all about the deal. Next time you find yourself killing time before an event at the Verizon Center, stop by from 4 to 7 (Monday-Friday) and enjoy $5 glasses of red and white wine, $5 beer, and truffled frites for just $5.

Radius Pizza
This Mount Pleasant eatery was recently bought by former Poste Brasserie employees Todd and Nicole Wiss. Although they still serve pizza, the menu now focuses on local and organic ingredients and more upscale fare. Happy hour is 5-7 and on Wednesdays you get a free bottle of vino with the purchase of a large pizza and appetizer or two entrees and an appetizer.

Redwood
Tucked away in Bethesda Row, Redwood serves a seasonal menu that showcases the best mid-Atlantic ingredients. Meats, cheeses, produce, and seafood are naturally-raised, organic, or sustainable whenever possible and are sourced from local growers. A thoughtful wine list features some organic wines and small production vintners who practice sustainable viticulture. Belly up to the 75-seat white-marble bar and treat yourself to $4-$5 food and drink specials Monday – Friday from 4 to 7:00pm.

What did we miss? Feel free to post your favorite sustainable happy hour spots in the comments section.

Organic Salads and an Edible Wall

Here’s an easy new year’s resolution: Swap out your fast food lunch for something healthy and fresh, like an organic salad or sandwich from Mixt Greens. The company, founded in San Francisco in 2005, will be opening four new DC locations; the first will open on January 26th at 1200 19th Street, NW.

Mixt Greens join hometown faves Sweetgreen in offering tossed-to-order salads and sandwiches made with local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. “Our salads taste different because of the ingredients we source and the way we prepare everything from scratch,” says Andrew Swallow, Mixt Greens’ Chief Culinary Officer.

One seasonal salad that’s only available during the winter months is the aptly named “The Porky,” made with mixed greens, spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, roasted butternut squash, Applewood smoked bacon, sliced seasonal apple, and house-made Champagne vinaigrette topped with a port wine reduction drizzle and chopped pistachios.

You’ll also eat in earth-friendly surroundings thanks to Charlottesville-based William McDonough + Partners, which designed the modern, urban restaurants incorporating eco-conscious materials.  Each location also features an edible living wall of seasonally rotating herbs and vegetables. The wall highlights indoor urban agriculture, a low-energy, high-yield farming technique, showcasing that sustainable, fertilizer/pesticide-free, healthy food can be grown indoors in urban environments.

What else besides the food and building design makes Mixt Greens green? All of packaging used by the restaurants is 100% compostable and biodegradable, they purchase renewable energy credits through Renewable Choice, and they use only non-toxic and biodegradable cleaners from Method.

In addition to the restaurant at 1200 19th Street, three venues will open between February and April: 2010 at 1311 F Street, NW, 1700 K Street, NW and 927 15th Street, NW. Each location will be open Monday through Friday from 10:30 AM to 3 PM, and prices will range from $7.95 to $11.95 for salads and $8.95 for sandwiches, which are served with a side salad of greens.

Localize It

Back in the day, you had your “local”–the restaurant or bar right around the corner where you were a regular and everyone knew your name. The Daily Dish in Silver Spring is just such a place.

Housed in the same space as the former Red Dog Cafe, the Daily Dish combines comfort food (think addictive mac & cheese, fresh home-made bread, wood-oven fired pizza) with a commitment to using local ingredients.

“The Daily Dish reflects our passion for food,” says co-owner Zena Polin. “As a neighborhood restaurant, we really believe in serving delicious food made with quality ingredients. We like to serve comfort food with a twist — food that is seasonally inspired and locally sourced, whenever possible.”

Starters include baked local goat cheese with roasted tomato sauce and focaccia, homemade soups, and salads. For dinner, you can tuck into a tender brined organic roast chicken served with green beans and mashed sweet potatoes or salmon made to order and served with creamy polenta and vegetables.

Owners Polin and Jerry Hollinger bring many years of restaurant and catering experience to the venture and have tapped Chef Michael Chretien, formerly of Rock Creek Mazza restaurant, to head up the kitchen. The Daily Dish sources produce from local farmers and the Takoma Park Farmer’s Market, grains from the Silver Spring Co-Op, fair trade coffee from Silver Spring-based Clear Mountain Coffee, ice-cream from Moorenko’s, and sausages from Let’s Meat on the Avenue in Del Ray. They are also looking into getting meat and poultry from Polyface Farms.

The wine list, carefully selected by Polin for both affordability and quality, includes three organic wines (Torrontes, Malbec, and Tempranillo) from the Santa Julia vineyard in Argentina as well as several offerings from Charlottesville’s Kluge Estate.

On Sundays, don’t miss the “Make Your Own” Bloody Mary Bar, house-cured gravalax, or challah French toast. To kick the recession blues, try three-course $30 Thursdays or half-price wine Tuesdays. Who knows–with great food and deals like these, you, too, may become a regular.

The Daily Dish is located at 8301 A Grubb Road, 301.588.6300, and is open seven days a week.

Low-Impact Gift Ideas

This guest blog post was written by contributor Alison Drucker.

The greenest holiday gift of all is the one that doesn’t come in a box. Reduce the environmental impact of your holiday shopping this year with gifts that don’t require wasteful packaging, have not been shipped from China, and won’t add more clutter to your loved ones’ lives.

Try some of these non-material gift ideas – which can be experienced, consumed, and enjoyed with a lower environmental footprint.

For your significant other

Take your better half on a weekend getaway to a D.C. bed and breakfast. Also within a short drive or train ride into neighboring states are farms, wineries, ski areas, lakes, and other locations where romantic B&Bs abound. Look for environmentally-conscious lodging through the U.S. Green Building Council, ENERGY STAR, Virginia Green Lodging, or iStayGreen.

For a friend

Give your pal some tickets to a concert or sporting event – if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll be invited along. Check the schedules for local venues like the 9:30 Club and Black Cat, or get an open-ended gift certificate redeemable for any show at Wolf Trap. There are also still plenty of Caps and Wizards games left this season. If you don’t want to commit your friend to a specific date, an IOU always works. 

For your parents

Get Mom a gift certificate for a spa treatment, or treat the folks to a good meal out with a gift certificate to a local restaurant. For ideas, check out our list of local eco-friendly spas and restaurants, or search the LocalHarvest and Green Restaurant Association databases for establishments in other areas.

For the kids

Savings bonds have always been a common gift for kids, but Planting Empowerment puts a new twist on them with the Forest Savings Bond. $100 buys 5 ½ hardwood trees, which are planted on deforested tropical land to help restore it; when Planting Empowerment begins to sustainably harvest and sell the timber, your gift recipient will receive the returns from the investment. Or, adopt a species at the National Zoo – the donation supports animal care, medication, and equipment.

For your office Secret Santa

For a caffeine junkie, get a gift certificate to a local coffee shop like Java Green or a selection of organic teas from D.C.’s Teaism. An iTunes gift certificate can go a long way even if you only spend ten bucks; if you’re looking to spend a bit more, get an eMusic gift subscription of 60 song downloads for $30.

Totally stumped?

What do you get for the person who has everything? How about the absence of something – the greenhouse gas emissions from her holiday travels or a year of her life? You can buy carbon offsets from companies such as Native Energy, Terrapass, or Silver Spring-based Carbonfund. Your purchase supports renewable energy projects or methane capture and storage, helping to balance the environmental impacts of your gift recipient’s lifestyle.

DC Dirt with Chef Rob Weland

Photograph courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell

Photograph courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell

Poste Brasserie, part of the Kimpton Hotel family, is well-known for its environmentally sound practices and for its equally eco-minded star chef Rob Weland who has been at the helm since 2004.

Chef Weland is committed to using fresh, sustainable, and organic ingredients, some of which come from Poste’s own organic vegetable and herb garden.

In addition to overseeing the kitchen, he hosts the hugely popular market-to-market dinners and helped create the new farm-to-table ‘Poste Roasts.’

These farm-to-table dinners take place outside at the Chef’s table and feature spit-roasted meat sourced from local farmers and summer-inspired sides, all served family-style.

In this inaugural issue of DC Dirt, a new Q&A column with DC’s green movers and shakers, we sat down with Chef Weland who dishes on his favorite local green business, must-have organic staples, and more.

Favorite vegetable that you grow in the Poste Brasserie garden:

Heirloom tomatoes……But that’s considered a fruit….so garlic then!

Your cooking philosophy, in three words:

Simple, local, sustainable

Three ingredients you can’t live without:

Eggs, sea salt, good olive oil

Guilty pleasure:

Eggplant parmesan

Favorite local green business:

FRESHFARM Markets

Biggest eco sin:

Using too many paper towels at home,……according to my wife!

Organic “musts” for the home cook:

Shopping at their local market for eggs, dairy, and produce.

Your foodie heros:

Alice Waters, Larry Forgione, Marco Pierre White and Gray Kunz

The Buzz About Bread & Brew

Tired of the same old BonBellyCosi routine? Take heart. Bread & Brew, which opened at 1247 20th Street in mid January, elevates lunchtime options to a new level by being one of only four DC-area restaurants certified by the Green Restaurant Association.

Owner Teri VanGoethem has incorporated earth friendly practices throughout her new casual dining spot including biodegradable to-go containers and catering packaging. There’s also a chandelier made from recycled beer bottles and reusable water bottles that can be purchased and refilled every time you come in.

The menu features artisan pizzas, organic espresso and coffee, sandwiches, quiche, and soups made with fresh, natural ingredients from local purveyors like Hawthorne Bakery (Severna Park) and Counter Culture.

Buzz heard on DonRockwell and other foodie blogs suggests the food is tasty, if a bit more expensive than some other nearby lunch spots that don’t source locally or emphasize green practices.

Local Fresh Food Delivered

Tired of takeout? Too busy to cook? Now, there’s a local food delivery service that will help you be more sustainable and eat well, too. Your Urban Kitchen does all the prep work and cooking and delivers on an as-needed basis with a three-meal minimum.

The brainchild of Nashwa Beach, a Brightwood resident, Your Urban Kitchen just launched last week and is currently available throughout northwest DC. Beach’s inspiration? Helping others to get their busy lives in order without having to compromise on flavor and nutrition.

Sample menu items for January include Indonesian Ginger Chicken, Creamy Chicken Basil Pesto or Pan Seared Tilapia with Chile Lime Butter. The food comes prepared and vacuumed sealed so you determine if you put in the freezer or fridge. All you do is heat it up.

Each meal is enough for six servings (4-6 adults) and split portions are available to serve 2-3 adults. Meals are delivered Saturday afternoon and Monday afternoon/evening to customers throughout northwest; the company is planning to expand its delivery area later this year

Now that’s the kind of fast-food dining we can get behind!

Cathal Armstrong’s Green Cuisine

Check out this article by Jane Black in the Washington Post’s Food section, which profiles the green efforts of Chef Cathal Armstrong, who, along with his wife Meshelle, run the acclaimed Restaurant Eve, the Majestic, Eamonn’s fish and chips shop, and PX.

Here’s are the highlights of the Armstrong’s eco-practices:

  • a wormery produces enough organic fertilizer for Restaurant Eve’s garden.
  • bottled water has been banned from the restaurants; instead, a water filtration system supplies fresh, filtered water for free to patrons.
  • tinted skylights cut the restaurant’s energy costs by 88%.
  • the seasonal menu showcases vegetables from the restaurant’s own garden.
  • a composter processes food refuse and other organic waste.
  • a company called Smarter Fuel picks up the kitchen grease and turns it into biofuel.
  • all cleansers used at the restaurant are non-toxic and biodegradable.

Looking for other dining destinations that make green a priority?  Check out this list of eco-friendly restaurants around DC.

Founding Farmers Opens Soon

DC’s first LEED-certified restaurant, Founding Farmers, which is slated to open in September, will arrive just in time to piggyback on America’s love affair with all things farm-related.

Touting “fresh farm to table American inspired food,” the 8,500 square foot restaurant designed by DC architecture firm CORE (Brasserie Beck, artiZEN Cafe, Greenwood) features farm silo-shaped booth seating made of recycled steel, ‘PaperStone’ countertops in the restrooms, reclaimed barn woods underfoot and for the communal farmhouse tables, green-sourced power, and low-VOC emitting paints.

But what good is a green restaurant without tasty food? No problem–Founding Farmers has that covered. Chef Graham Duncan has created a menu that feature “homemade traditional American classics inspired by the heartland” made with sustainably farmed products and in-season vegetables and fruits. Hearty fare includes fresh-baked breads, rustic farm sandwiches, pot roast, roasted chicken, and pies and desserts made in-house.

The Week in Green: August 08, 2008

This blog was created as an online destination for DC locals or those traveling to our fabulous city to find out about local green businesses, projects, tips, services, products, and events. The cool thing is that since I started writing in January, I’ve noticed a substantial increase in items worth covering. So much so, that I’ve decided to launch “The Week in Green,” a round-up of all the juicy green tidbits that I don’t want you to miss each week.

Enjoy!

-SC

P.S Have a green tip, local event, product, or news? Drop me an email.

The Week in Green: 8-08-08 to 8-16-08

  • Green Drinks

When: Tuesday August 12

Where: Ulah Bistro, 1214 U Street, NW, DC

When: 6:30-9/10

Featured in a recent issue of Daily Candy, this locally owned cleaning company uses natural products such as concentrated sage, lavender essential oils, and vinegar to keep the dust bunnies at bay. They even offer custom aromatherapy made from select essential oils designed to enhance your mood naturally. Green and Clean, take me away….

The team behind Mendocino and Sonoma have opened Redwood restaurant in the new Bethesda Row pedestrian mall. The 7,500-square-foot restaurant features modern American cuisine that emphasizes local and organic produce, wild and sustainable seafood, and ingredients from local artisanal cheesemakers, growers, ranchers, and fishermen. Reservations are difficult to come by; even Post food critic Tom Siestsema couldn’t score a table in the main dining room on his first visit. Check out an “early look” and a sample menu to whet your appetite until the hordes die down.