I love going out to restaurants, especially new ones.

The family and I went to a new steak and seafood restaurant on Saturday. I couldn’t get over the architecture of the restaurant. It wasn’t avant-garde or modernist — it was simply styled and reminded me of a contemporary home filled with extra-large comfortable booths and strategically-placed candles. I wouldn’t mind living there. The food was good, but I only ate half of my steak sandwich because I had too many french fries.

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After asking for a container to bring my sandwich home in, I was presented with a super-sized plastic bag. Inside I found a large foil container with a cover made from plastic-coated paper.

I was hit with an overwhelming sense of guilt. I’ve touted my family’s efforts of living green to everyone and here I was a poster child for waste. I felt sick and was depressed for the rest of the day.

I promised myself that I would bring my own reusable containers whenever we went to restaurants so I could bring home leftovers in them.
I also vowed to write a letter to the owners of the restaurant to suggest using biodegradable food containers.

My family frequents restaurants all the time and I’ve noticed how wasteful 99.9% of them are. Plastic utensils, styrofoam cups, paper products culled from virgin forests. What’s a foodie to do?

Happily, I’ve discovered a new trend in the restaurant industry — business owners who adhere to environmental guidelines while providing fabulous drinks and foods.

Boloco Restaurants

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Boloco, with locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, offers naturally-raised meats fed on vegetarian diets. These meats are also antibiotic- and hormone-free. The menu boasts colorful burritos inspired by world cuisine, smoothies, salads and breakfast. As a certified member of the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), Boloco recycles paper, glass and plastic. The restaurant also does not use polystyrene foam for food containers and uses biodegradable cups. However, its location in Vermont has not yet been certified through GRA.

In New York, City Chow Cafe provides hungry customers with breakfast, burritos, smoothies, salads and soups. All locations serve USDA-certified organic coffee and milk.
Also a member of the GRA, City Chow Cafe has installed low-faucet aerators, uses biodegradable take-out containers and supplies chlorine-free napkins and cup carriers.

Have a hankering for pizza? Look no further than Pizza Fusion (located in 13 states, with plans for more expansions) which relies on earth-friendly foods and business practices. On a mission to make the world a little greener, Pizza Fusion uses Toyota Prius hybrid cars to deliver their delicious fare, employees wear 100% organic cotton uniforms, food is fresh and organic and the restaurant even offers multigrain and gluten-free crusts.

LEED certified, Pizza Fusion uses compact fluorescent light bulbs, furniture made from reclaimed materials and drywall made from 95% post-consumer content. Eating utensils and food containers are made from biodegradable products such as corn starch and potatoes that only take 50 days to biodegrade. Cool.

Elixir Restaurants

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In the diverse city of San Francisco, people flock to Elixir, the city’s first “green” bar. Long touted as the city’s best bar, Elixir offers organic beer, from Wolaver’s, Eel River, Butte Creek, St. Peter’s and Young’s.

Organic wines hale from Organic Vintners, Santa Julia and 5 Rivers. The popular bar also offers green cocktails made with fresh and organic fruits and organic spirits like 4 Copas Organic Tequila and Papagayo Rum.

With an ever-growing list of green restaurants around the country, this is one trend that is not going away.

Pic of the Day: Dafuq you lookin at

Dafuq you lookin at