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April 22, 2010

No trees were harmed by the making of this menu

MenuThis Earth Day, let's take a moment to reflect on the changing nature of the restaurant news release.

There was a time when such releases hyped what was on the menu. Now they brag about the menu itself. 

"All of B&O American Brasserie’s menus, kitchen towels, to-go napkins and flatware are made from recycled materials and B&O American Brasserie has an in-house filtration system ... in order to eliminate selling bottled water," reads the news release for the sneaker-dinner deal I wrote about earlier today.

"The restaurant also offers an assortment of organic beverages including organic coffee and wines, is an advocate for environmentally friendly seafood and participates in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, pledging to buy seafood only from sustainable sources."

Elsewhere in the release, chef E. Michael Reidt is quoted saying: “On any given day, I estimate that nearly half of the food we work with and serve at B&O American Brasserie is organic. I fully support the farm-to-table movement and I think it’s an important part of Earth Day."

It's great to see growing environmental awareness, especially when it leads to serving organic, local, sustainable foods.

But I wonder where the trend will take us. Maybe soon those recycled menus will have blurbs about the restaurant's compost pile. 

Sun file photo


Posted by Laura Vozzella at 2:59 PM | | Comments (14)


From their website:

B&O American Brasserie's Sustainable Practices

Providing our guests an exceptional dining experience and being truly committed to our environmental and social responsibilities are not mutually exclusive aspirations. In fact, our Earthcare practices ensure that both our guests and the world we live in benefit. Our eco-friendly actions include the most fundamental, such as recycling, to steadfastly using only those ingredients that will not harm the earth when they reach the landfill. Our dedication translates directly to the table in flavorful dishes of the highest quality and integrity.

A proud proponent of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants EarthCare program, B&O American Brasserie's practices include:

* All kitchen grease and excess cooking oils are recycled into bio-diesel fuel.

* Chef Reidt's dishes feature seasonal organic and local ingredients.

* B&O American Brasserie has an in-house filtration system and sells liters of the in-house filtered Natura® Water in order to eliminate selling bottled water.

* All beef is source-verified 100% Angus and tested to be BSE-free.

* When selecting seafood, we adhere to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program standards.

* B&O American Brasserie serves organic coffee, tea and juices.

* Our wine list includes superb organic and biodynamic selections.

* We use low-flow dishwashing spray valves and faucet aerators in bathrooms and hand-wash stations.

* B&O American Brasserie uses only biodegradable detergents and cleaning supplies.

* Energy efficient lighting is used in kitchen areas, and low-energy LED lighting is used for all exit lights.

* B&O American Brasserie recycles all paper, cardboard, glass, wood, plastic and aluminum products, and does not use Styrofoam for any purpose.

* All take-out containers and utensils are biodegradable and made from unbleached, recycled content.

* All menus are printed on recycled paper with soy ink wherever possible.

Some of us are very interested in compost!

Dahlink, I agree. I'd love to hear more about restaurants composting.

I have to say this puts them at an advantage over other restaurants with similar reviews and price points because I know their practices are as selective (or more selective) than my own. I will make it a point to go there the next time I can afford it.

sean, do you compost at home? I adore what compost does for my garden. If you do a lot of reading about compost it sounds like a lot of work, but in my experience, compost happens--sooner or later!

I've been composting for years. Maybe it's time to get off the couch.

At the very least, Owlie, you should roll over a few times to allow for proper aeration.

Lazy is the new green

Yup, we compost pretty much all of our non-meat & dairy kitchen waste, even before we had a garden. It cuts down on the amount of stuff we throw out in the trash. We're pretty hands-off with the stuff, only turning it on occasion.

Couch Meat, remember to occasionally water yourself as well.

Good for you, sean! I also throw in some shredded paper from time to time. It's just about time to empty the compost bin and work it into the soil. Anything that is not yet compost I just toss back in, along with the special compost worms.

We are ardent composters as well. It's amazing how it has become such a routine process at our house and how much less trash we accumulate.

The Ardent Composters? Weren't they a jazz fusion band from the 70s? I think they toured with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Hey, OMG! The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band played at one of my college proms! (Don't remember my date, but I do remember the band ...)

It almost pains me to see people throw out food waste now...

We also do the paper on occasion.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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