Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visit Lori's New Web Site Sister Eden

After producing special events for 16 years, Lori has moved on to a new venture.  Visit her new company web site, Sister Eden.  It's a resource for living the green life!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: Souper Girl

Washington, DC (Takoma)
Submitted by:  Geoff Chesman, Geoff Chesman Visuals
Souper Girl is Sara Polon, a former government contractor and stand-up comedienne who decided to get involved with the local food movement after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’sDilemma.  A friend prompted her to do this by making soup since she had a reputation for great soup (which was actually made by Sara's mother).  At first, Sara started with just deliveries, but eventually opened her storefront last September.  

When you walk into Souper Girl, located directly across from the Takoma Metro station at the Maryland/Washington, DC line, you are greeted by friendly staff in a bright, cheery space with large windows and striking green chairs that hint at the store’s green mission.  On Sundays, the Takoma Park Farmer’s Market is a quick walk up the street, which enables Sara to source her ingredients from many of those farms. What does that mean?  All of the soups are homemade with fresh and seasonal ingredients, many of which are organic and of course local.  Sara wouldn’t dare use frozen ingredients (why do restaurants even consider this?) or have anything shipped in from across the country (Hello!  Carbon emissions!  Buying local = less carbon). Furthermore, the soups only contain ingredients that your grandmother would recognize -- fresh veggies, grains and beans.  Each day, you can choose from several soups and taste them before you purchase them!

Geoff Chesman, writes, “What’s not to love?!?!  Not only is the soup nutritious and delicious but I love that Soupergirl sources local ingredients and supports area producers. I don't mind stopping in to the shop to see what's new but I also love the convenient pickup spots around town.”

Before you visit, you might want to check out Souper Girl’s web site to see what is “in the kettles”, usually 3 very varied selections of soup.  The site also lists what is pre-packaged in the fridge, so you can plan your menu and eat soup all week long!  

When I went to visit, the features that stuck out for me were the additional offerings of fruit, salad, fresh bread and filtered water.  In addition, I love the fact that if you eat in, your soup is served in a real bowl (not an evil polystyrene container that never biodegrades when it goes to the landfill), but if you take your soup to go, Souper Girl provides an ecotainer® which is made from renewable resources, sustainable wood fiber and plants and is therefore compostable (which means it’s not going to stay in the landfill until the end of time).  Sigh.  If only more food purveyors followed Souper Girl’s lead. 

Souper Girl is open Monday through Thursday from 8:15 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Fridays from 8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Sunday’s from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  They are closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays and will be closed this Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 in honor of Shavuot. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: Waterfront Kitchen

Baltimore, Maryland (Fells Point)
Submitted by:  Erin Mitchell, bluegreen accupuncture 
and bodywork, Baltimore, Maryland
It's about time there is a waterfront restaurant in Fells Point that is NOT a big old chain or a place that doesn't understand all things local and sustainable.  I cannot wait to visit Waterfront Kitchen!  Thank you, Erin, for suggesting this gorgeous, green, cool, cool, cool place!  I think I will celebrate my upcoming birthday (May 27th for anyone who cares) here!  I always want to be on the water for my birthday festivities.  
Erin writes, "...ridiculous food, amazing staff, even more amazing ambiance at the Frederick Douglas Maritime museum ... seed to table."
Yes, seed to table.  What does that mean?  They source ingredients as locally and seasonally as possible.  That's what this blog series is about. So they have amazing, fresh, locally sourced food. But can we talk about the view?  Did you see the photo?  Check out more.  This place is GOR-GEE-US!  I love great food, ambiance is incredibly important, too, and a spectacular view is icing on the cake.  And they've got sweeping views of Baltimore Harbor.  
But there's more!  Whenever possible, they use produce grown in gardens from Living Classroom's BUGS (Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students) program for inner city grade-school kids. The program teaches kids about gardening, good nutrition and more. A portion of the restaurant's profits support the program (yahoo!). Waterfront Kitchen also support Living Classrooms’ Project SERVE job training program and hires disadvantaged area residents and ex-offenders for jobs in their kitchen and dining room.  
Located at the western most tip of Thames Street in Historic Fells Point, Waterfront Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, happy hour Tuesday through Friday, and of course, they have Sunday brunch. 
I am SO hungry right now... Why oh WHY do I write these blogs at dinner time?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: mundaka

Carmel, California
Submitted by: Merryl Brown, Merryl Brown Events, Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara event producer -- and fellow greenie -- Merryl Brown says that mundaka supports local farmers by sourcing local and regional foods. She adds "...the restaurant was designed using many recycled and repurposed elements.  Amazing food.  Best restaurant in Carmel."  In fact, it is the only place where Merryl will eat while in Carmel.

Ingredients are always fresh, so the menu changes daily.  Named after the Spanish seaport town on the bay of Biscay in the Basque country, Mundaka is a Spanish style tapas restaurant that serves dinner daily beginning at 5:30.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: Virtue Feed & Grain

Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
Submitted by:  Denise Raybon, Alexandria, Virginia

Denise says, "We first heard about Virtue from our neighbor, one of the local artisans who worked on the renovation. Jimmy always takes pride in his work, but was particularly excited about this project. When we were finally able to visit Virtue, not only did the architecture wow us, but we also found yummy food, a festive atmosphere, and a great eco-friendly vibe."
This 21st century American tavern is located near the water in a converted historic structure that once served as a feed house in the late 1800s.  Floors, walls, hand-crafted tabletops, and bar shelves are all constructed with period wood and other recycled materials from abandoned structures. That's what you do, folks!  Reuse, reuse, reuse!  The bi-level open space which includes soaring open windows and exposed brick, seats up to 350 and includes an outdoor lounge.
But lets talk about the food!  Virtue's tag line is “Taste No Evil” and with their mission to provide quality food with local and seasonal ingredients, you are guaranteed that you WON'T taste any evil.  Key words are “fresh, farm, real food and freezerless”.  What a concept!  Why haven’t more restaurants caught on?!  

Virtue is about "meat, fat and flavor" but there are still offerings for my kind of people -- vegetarians.  The menu and eco structure are enough to lure me down to Old Town (let's schedule a date, Denise!), but if that isn't enough for you, you might be interested in their walk up window for purchasing fried chicken (even MY vegetarian mouth is watering at the thought of that!).  There are also pull down screen for wii games, plenty of televisions and a private game room.  A room entitled The Parlour is lined with leather couches, pool table, video games and dart lanes.  

Looks like there is something for everyone.   

Friday, April 27, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: The Dogwood

Baltimore, Maryland
Submitted by:  Erin Mitchell, bluegreen accupuncture and bodywork, Baltimore, Maryland

Located in Baltimore's kitchy Hampden neighborhood which is home to other green businesses, The Dogwood is a restaurant I've known about for 6 years because whenever you ask somebody about a green restaurant in Baltimore, The Dogwood is always at, or near, the top of the list.  It was at the top of Erin's list of favorite green restaurants.  She says, "amazing food, amazing vibe, locally sourced, locally owned, staff are previously incarcerated or recovering addicts - amazing mission , amazing place".  Indeed.  

The amazing food is cooked with the seasons and features "...the finest local and natural ingredients, sourcing from sustainable, artisanal, and organic producers whenever possible."  In fact, their web site lists their local, artisanal and farmer partners, so you know where their food is coming from.  Let's just say it ain't mass produced, folks!  I LOVE restaurants that have relationships -- REAL RELATIONSHIPS -- with local farmers and The Dogwood is clearly one of those places.  

Now, about that social mission.  The Dogwood trains a small group of individuals who are working to transition to a better way of life and these folks serve as apprentices with real-word training in the culinary arts.  I love it.  Help out your fellow man (or woman).  How many places do this?  We are all one, we are all connected, so help out your fellow man.  The Dogwood gets it. 

When you dine here, you'll notice that the entrances and walls are adorned with colorful community art murals.  The images reflect themes of nurturing the spirit that drives the training program, the vibrant beauty of nature, and the beautiful seasonality of the dogwood tree.  Nice.  

They are open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  They have daily features and specials including Progressive Oyster Happy Hour Tuesdays through Fridays from 5 to 7.  Let the slurping begin... 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien
Worldwide locations
U.S. locations include New York, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. 
Submitted by:  Reena Kazmann, Eco-Artware, Washington, DC

Even though this bakery/restaurant has world-wide locations, including my home of Washington, DC, I had never heard of it.  Reena says, "They use local veggies, bake nice bread (pricey but delicious, whole grain and it has a firm crust), and always have a vegan option." Their bread is made with organic stone-ground flour, salt, and water and is kneaded and shaped by hand and baked in a hearth.  Any leftover bread, which is of course baked daily, is shared with local schools, charities and nonprofit organizations. In addition to the fresh bread, the menu includes lots of pastries, organic yogurt and granola,soups and sides, quiche, tartines (open face Belgian sandwiches), and sharing platters with cheeses and Mediterranean dips.  Some locations also serve beer and wine.  Ahhhhh.  There is nothing better than some fresh bread, great cheese and a glass of wine...  I'm there already... 

When you visit them, you’ll notice the communal table where friends and strangers alike come together to break bread and linger for a while.  What better way to build community?!  Better yet, like all of their furniture, the communal table is made from reclaimed wood, which means no trees were sacrificed.  I LOVE places like this!  Their green-ness touches all apsects of their business!  

By the way, if you are perplexed about how to pronounce the name of this eco eatery, it is luh paN koh-ti-dyaN, which means "the daily bread."  It's a Belgian name and you'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: Full of Life Flatbread Pizza

Full of Life Flatbread Pizza
Los Alamos, California
Submitted by:  Merryl Brown, Merryl Brown Events, Santa Barbara, California

According to Merryl, Full of Life Flatbread sources local and regional foods, supports local farmers, and is very philanthropic in the local community. They were voted best restaurant on the Central Coast of California for several years in a row. They are open Friday through Sunday but don't take reservations, so arrive early to get a seat!  

Why only Friday through Sunday?  Every weekend they convert their production bakery space in a restaurant.  Each week they shop at area farmers' markets so that they can offer guests the freshest ingredients possible.  The menu is based almost entirely on what is grown locally and in season.  Specifically, most of their ingredients originate within 300 miles of the restaurant and when possible, they purchase ingredients directly from family farms, growers, and producers to ensure integrity.  Folks, it's important to know where your food comes from, and Full of Life understands this!  Even more important, they strive to provide a living wage for their employees.  

In addition to their flatbread pizza, they also serve delicious salads made with organic greens and vegetables.  Their desserts, many of which feature chocolate (perfect for a post-pizza indulgence!) are baked in their stone hearth.  

Full of Life also caters special events.  Not going to be in Los Alamos any time soon?  You can purchase frozen versions of their flatbread pizzas at grocery stores nationwide

I think I need to plan a trip to the Central Coast...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Readers' Favorite Green Restaurants: Great Sage

This is the first in my series about favorite green restaurants anywhere in the world!  If you have one to share, please email me at lori@lorihillevents.com with the name of the restaurant, its website, what makes it green and why you like it so much!

Great Sage
Clarksville, Maryland
Submitted by:  Melissa Jones, Silver Spring, Maryland

Great Sage provides delicious organic, vegan, and vegetarian food Tuesday through Sunday.  Lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday with a brunch on Sunday.  Lite fare and dinner are served every day.  Food is sourced from local, organic farms and low impact practices are emphasized not just with the customers, but in the kitchen as well. 

Melissa says, "The food is AMAZING and they have weekly meal specials, jazz bands and more!" Indeed!  This restaurant is also a favorite of mine, so when Melissa submitted it as a favorite, I had to give her a virtual high five.  I've taken carnivores there who have learned about eating healthier and have enjoyed the food (there are faux versions traditional meat dishes).  Once I took my sister there for Sunday brunch and was a bit embarrassed when she asked for Sweet'N Low to sweeten her tea.  The non-judgemental server happily provided Stevia and I am delighted to say that my sister has now replaced her evil fake sweeteners with the natural stuff!  I am also a fan of beer, wine and hot tea, and Great Sage has an abundant supply of organic offerings for all of these beverages.  The decor is also pleasing and relaxing and when the weather is warm, you can sit outside.  Thursdays feature live music and half price wine bottles.

If you have to wait for a table, visit nest, the gift store next door, which sells organic, recycled, fair trade, eco-friendly and handmade items such as "...the cutest eco-wear, accessories, paper products and more!" according to Melissa.  On a personal note, I rarely leave nest empty handed.
Strawberry Shortcake Tower

Roots Market, a natural and organic food market, is within the same complex -- Conscious Corner -- along with Bark, a pet store offering pet food that is preservative free with no by-products.  Visitors from far and wide make an afternoon out of visiting Conscious Corner, and I completely understand why!  And this just in!  Boulder, a new, men's eco fashion store is coming this spring! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

An Eco Friendly Easter

eco-eggs egg coloring kit from eco-kids
Easter is a month away, so now is the time to start thinking about making this year's celebration a bit more better for Mama Earth.  

Step 1.  Eggs
Call me an old-fashioned country girl, but my sisters and I always used real eggs for our Easter celebration. So how do you make your Easter eggs eco?  First off, choose organic and/or free-range eggs.  If they have the USDA organic symbol, that means that the poultry was fed organic feed (free of pesticides and insecticides).  It also means that the laying hens must have access to the outdoors and cannot be raised in cages.  But I have to point out that there are organic farmers out there that don't bother to get the USDA organic seal (it's an expensive process).  

When I think of free range, I think of my maternal grandparents' farm where the chickens roamed in the open air in an open field.  Unfortunately, a chicken farm can get away with calling their eggs free range even if the chickens only had access to the outside or daylight for 5 minutes.  So how to be sure your eggs are truly free range and/or organic?  Purchase them from a reputable source -- the farmer!  More and more farmers' markets are cropping up around cities these days.  If you don't have one near you, find one at Local Harvest.  Just input that you are looking for a farmers' market and enter your zip code.  The site will provide a list of markets near you.  It's also a great resource for finding farms, restaurants, grocery stores/co-ops as well as CSAs (community supported agriculture where you purchase a membership in a farm and it delivers produce to you weekly).  

As a side note, as I was writing this, I went to our fridge to find out more about our free range eggs.  They are "pastured organically fed" from Windy Knolls Farm in Doylesburg, PA.  Since we purchase them from the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Food Co-op, I've never questioned their legitimacy; however, I thought I'd investigate more.  While I was unable to find a web site for the actual farm, I did find the farm referenced on the site Washington's Green Grocer, which delivers fresh fruit and vegetables to your door.  Washington's Green Grocer wrote the following about Windy Knolls Farm, "We've been buying eggs from Windy Knolls Farm for the past 15 years and wish we had a penny for every time someone has told us, 'These are the best eggs I have ever had.' They are truly fresh off the farm eggs.  Eggs by the dozen from free ranging hens." 

If real eggs aren't an option for you and you must use the plastic kind, be sure to re-use the plastic eggs year after year and fill them with fair-trade chocolate (read more below).  Our neighborhood has an annual spring egg hunt every year and to keep things from getting messy (and stinky if a real egg is never found), each family brings one dozen plastic eggs filled with candy.  Each kid can then find up to one dozen eggs and takes them home.  Once the candy has been eaten, we store the plastic eggs so we can reuse them the following year. 

Step 2.  Egg Coloring
eco-kids offers an eco-eggs egg coloring kit for $15.99.  It is made with natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, curcumin, purple sweet potato and red cabbage. The package includes a color chart and instructions.  The kit is also available at one of my favorite eco gift stores which is aptly named nest!  If you are in the Baltimore/DC area, you should visit nest! 

Step 3.  Candy
If you read this blog for Valentine's gift ideas, you learned about fair trade chocolate from Equal Exchange.  For Easter, they are offering 2 great items.  

The Easter Chocolate Minis Gift Box is just $6.99 and includes 20 organic and fairly traded Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Minis (55% cacao content). The minis are made with cacao from small-scale farmers in the Dominican Republic and Peru, sugar from a co-op in Paraguay, and vanilla from a farmer association in Madagascar.  The chocolate is vegan, soy- and gluten-free.

For those with a slightly bigger budget, try the Mini Chocolate Basket for $33 wihch includes a round basket filled with 12 ounces of Organic Dark Chocolate Minis. Imported from Vietnam by Ten Thousand Villages, the fairly traded smoked bamboo baskets are sourced from Craft Link, a non-profit that works with artisans in an effort to generate income, with a focus on ethnic minorities, street children, and artisans with disabilities. The chocolate is vegan and gluten-free.

Monday, February 13, 2012

14 Days of Green Valentines

Gift Idea #14
Don't Have a Valentine? Find Your Future Mate Today! 
If you are dreading Valentine's Day because you don't have a valentine, then meet your future mate today!  If you care about the earth, the environment, animal rights and healthy living, GreenSingles is a great way to meet someone who shares your similar beliefs and values.  

Full disclosure: I met my Love through GreenSingles.  What we both enjoyed about the site is that you can communicate with prospective dates with the same technology and options you would on the mega dating sites.  The difference is that while your selection of singles is more narrow, the people who are listed hold the same beliefs and lead the same type of lifestyle you lead which really saves you time and energy when searching for a mate!  

Free to register, free to search, free to contact. 

There are a variety of memberships.  Free memberships allow you to place your profile and post 7 photos, view ads and enable other members to contact you.  You can also let other members know you are interested in them by sending them smiles.  You cannot send personal messages unless you have a Full or Credit membership.  Those vary in price from a low of $24 for 3 months or a high of $72 for 24 months for a Full membership or $30 to $75 for a Credit membership.  

So don't mope on Valentine's Day.  Meet your new mate!  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

14 Days of Green Valentines

Gift Idea #13
Treats for the Bedroom
Treat your mate to a variety of love products including body candy, lubricant and oil from Good Clean Love.

$30 (normally $55) includes:
  • Spicy Orange Body Candy
  • Love That Works book by Wendy Strgar, the founder of Good Clean Love
  • Lubricant (available in lavender rose or cinnamon vanilla)
  • Indian Spice Love Oil
Good Clean Love is a certified Green America Green Company (just like lori hill event productions!) and sells only the finest all natural and organic green products for your health and sexual enhancement.  ALL of their love products are free of petrochemicals and parabens, both of which have been identified as potentially carcinogenic and identified in breast cancer tissues.  The company works to educate women, physicians and retails stores about the importance of clean and healthy ingredients in love products.