Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dining Out and Being Green

Having had the chance to travel a bit this year, I have eaten in a number of restaurants -- actually more than I care to. By now, you probably know that I like fairly simple and very fresh meals that I prepare at home. But when I was in San Diego recently someone suggested that I eat a restaurant named Region.

They are a certified green restaurant. I like that idea but I found the menu far too meaty for me. The chef, Michael Stegner, focused on the meat and didn't have a vegetarian entree on the menu, and other than salad fthere were few vegetarian choices. I called ahead and asked what they could make me and it was going to be pasta with any of the available veggies. I figured that would be fine. (And it was delicious with mushrooms and snow peas albeit far too oily.)

What I didn't ask about were the prices. When i saw that most of the entrees were in the $25+ price range it made me feel like I come from some hick town but the truth is that I live in Sonoma County which is Wine Country. Region did not appear to be an incredibly upscale place but maybe it is. Or maybe being green boosts the prices.

In any case, the food was fresh but not especially plentiful. I expect more greens in a $7 salad since at wholesale a pound of great lettuce probably doesn't cost more than $4. By now, you know that I am a salad fiend.

The meal did end on a very sweet note, as I ordered the strawberry rhubarb crisp. It was as good or better than what I would make at home. I would have preferred it without the vanilla ice cream but that was my only gripe there.

I guess that eating at Lark in Seattle gave me a great meal by which to gauge others. Region didn't live up to that for me. If you eat there, please let me know what you think.

Also while in San Diego, I ate at Kung Food -- a vegetarian, organic restaurant and salad bar that has a drive-through window for burgers and fries. It's pretty close to the airport so I stopped there for some sustenance for my trip home to Santa Rosa. Their food really hit the spot. For less than $10, I ate a very filling burger, topped with mushrooms and grilled onions, and a salad. They also offered entrees by the pound (I think around $7) to eat there or to go. I would highly recommend that you stop there for tasty, fresh and filling food that will fit almost any budget.

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