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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Small Green Business Tuesday: Contest Edition

Last week, when I was contacted about doing a contest for the two local restaurants, Sonoma Grille and Seviche, I scoffed. What could these downtown restaurants have to do with a "green" blog? Then I looked at their menus and talked to their chefs.

Seviche

When I asked about local foods, Mark, the chef at Seviche, pulled out his iPhone and brought up the extensive order form for Penn's Corner Farm Alliance. Though he complained that in order to get their great selection, you need to order early in the week. His backup choice is Green Grocer. He says that whenever he can he uses local foods in the restaurant. (As a side note, Mark told me a little known fact, most mushrooms in the United States are actually grown in Pennsylvania. So anyone who eats mushrooms is basically eating locally. Did you know that Penn State has a mushroom research program?) But back to the food, clearly a fish and mojito restaurant like Seviche can't survive only buying local meats and vegetables. However, if you order their salmon, you can rest assured that it is farmed sustainably. I can't assuage your doubts about the limes in the mojitos though. Even if you don't win the gift certificate, I recommend stopping by Seviche in downtown Pittsburgh for happy hour to try their drinks and tapas at a great price.

Sonoma Grille

Drew, the chef at Sonoma Grille, has a passion for local meats. In addition to using sustainably farmed salmon, he has also incorporated local beef and lamb on the menu. When he brought my partner and me a burger, he asked us to savor it. "Can't you just taste the grass? Cows are intended to eat grass." He's especially proud of his kitchen-made corned beef and swears by the grass-fed beef from Ron Gargasz. Drew says that when the restaurant changes their menu every season, he attempts to introduce another local item, but he has to do it slowly in order to insure that they stay in business. Green meats are not cheap. Randy, the wine guy who talks to everybody to insure they're having a good time, told us that 1/4 of their wine list is organic or sustainable and they even have a vegan wine offering. He gave us a few samples of these "green" wines. In particular, I recommend the Parducci "Sustainable Red" as a reasonable, tasty, feel-green wine on their menu. This Pittsburgh restaurant also has a great happy hour and one of the best wine selections in the area.

The Contest

Now, I'm pleased to announce the first ever "Green is Good" online contest. Leave a comment on this blog entry with your favorite local food (or place to eat it). Next Tuesday March 16, I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner of a $50 gift card good for each restaurant. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

*Disclaimer* I received a free, delicious tasting at these restaurants as part of this contest. I get free food. You get free food. We all win.

15 comments:

smooter2 said...

Burgh's Pizza and Wings In Bridgeville... It may not be the greenest around, but dang, those are some good wings...

Abby said...

I like everything from Soergel's.

gwenix said...

It has been such a long time since I've eaten at Sonoma Grille, and I really love it there!

rasager said...

I love a good burger. I'd have to say the Hop House (Greentree or North Hills) makes a really great burger.

Jami Broom said...

I'm a big fan of the salad bar at the East End Co-Op. And the Goddess Dressing. YUM.

Also, Franctuary does a nice job of finding local meat for their hot dogs.

shadow said...

I've visited Moonlight Mushrooms (I guess they're Creekside Mushrooms now) in Worthington, Armstrong County. Of all things, they give away excess manure in the late winter, and my parents have a garden.

Always happy to be getting local 'shrooms!

SandyU said...

My favorite local food is what I get in my CSA box from Kretschmann Farms every week during the growing season, and sometimes in the winter.
But I do love Sonoma Grille, too! Even moreso now that I know they source locally.

kris said...

One of my favorite locally owned/operated is
Del's 80's Cafe
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dels-80s-cafe-pittsburgh-pittsburgh

Also enjoy
The Ferris Wheel
http://www.yelp.com/biz/ferris-wheel-the-pittsburgh

PS: Love the blog!

Gina said...

I have lots of favorites, but Eleven is the one I pick more than any others.

rpetty09media said...

Sonoma is good, but I don't go out much anymore. I like to shop local and Right By Nature has lots of good things.

Ron said...

Nice review! I recommend BonaTerra in Sharpsburg. Very high standards for local and organic foods, and garners many accolades for best food in the 'burgh.

Sheel said...

Can't forget mad mex (and other big burrito restaurants)

someone says said...

I love the local goat cheeses from River View Dairy. You can buy them from Sam Byler at the East Liberty farmers market.

old man neill said...

I'm a big fan of Vivo in Bellevue. Especially their apps.

Scott said...

You can't go wrong with Las Velas. Salsa and guacamole are fantastic

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