Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brooklyn Restaurant News

Sad news for Fort Greene, y'all. Urban Spring, the ultra-green, ultra-local and ultra-friendly coffeehouse / sandwich / juice / cookie / vegan baked goods shoppe, is closing. 

I can't even tell you how sad this makes me - I go there every morning for a cup of locally-roasted and really amazingly good coffee. On Saturdays, I get their fantastic (and voted Best Sandwich in New York City by the Vegan Guide to New York City) tempeh avocado sandwich. All of the yogis and hippies in my neighborhood congregate there. But the times - they're a-changin', and the owner said he just couldn't keep going. So sad... he was one of the few truly environmentally responsible business owners I've met.

Now, Fort Greene has lots of vegan options. Red Bamboo Brooklyn is right up the street from Urban Spring, and their menu is almost completely vegan. Their food is so fucking good that I've known people (you know who you are) to make special treks to the neighborhood just to pick up a vegan "chicken" parmesan hoagie. 

And then there's Dao Palate - it's not IN Fort Greene, but it delivers to Fort Greene. It's in the same family as Wild Ginger, and we all know how good THAT place is.

I decided to give Dao Palate a whirl recently. I ordered their Crispy Soy Protein with plum sauce, spinach wonton soup and malaysian curry stew (yes, I was a total hog - but give me a fucking break. I was sick, and you're supposed to feed a cold - everyone knows that.) Absolutely delicious. I highly recommend it.

My trouble with Red Bamboo and Dao Palate comes in their takeout packaging. Plastic GALORE, y'all. Huge plastic containers for their entrees, sandwiches, desserts, soups. And Red Bamboo pokes holes in the lids of their soup containers, rendering them unable to be re-used (Dao Palate does not do this).  I had so much plastic left over from my Dao Palate order that it made my mind reel. 

People always groan, "But all of those containers - they're recyclable! It says so right on the plastic!" 

Yes - in theory, deli containers are recyclable. But, if you check your list of what the New York Department of Sanitation WILL recycle - you'll see that all takeout containers are recycling no-nos. Why, I don't know. But I do know that it's a huge waste of plastic and, given the rate at which New Yorkers take out food from restaurants, an enormous addition to our already grotesquely overflowing landfills. 

Now that the one place I've ever encountered that actually went out of its way to use biodegradable takeout packaging is closing in a matter of days, I'm going to have to seriously limit my takeout practices. 

What to do? Ask Red Bamboo and other restaurants to switch to paper takeout containers. They're not recyclable either, but at least they biodegrade. And that's something.


troy said...

people also seem to miss the fact that recycling is still a resource hog - water, gas, transport, energy, trucks, factories, chemicals - it ain't a free ride.

reduce and reuse come before recycle!

Marky Mae Brown said...

It's a no-win situation.

ediretnati said...

I visit you..... nice to meet you....... I'm enjoy to read your articles in your blog........CU