From the SF Green Festival: Local Sustainable Catering

Sustainable and Green... FOOD

I think I mentioned that the SF Green Festival, was sort of like a County Fair.  Well, it definitely was in the sense that it had a wide selection of yummy foods to try and buy.  Most of the food was sustainably sourced and organic and I believe all of it was vegetarian. I found some yummy stuff like corn cakes filled with cheese, fruit smoothies, and vegetarian corn dogs!  Now that was like going to the fair. Most importantly though, I bumped into some great local restaurants, caterers and chefs who prepare food using organic and local foods:

Cafe Gratitude was there, and their fair was wonderful and raw as usual.  Thankfully there's one close by so I can get my fix of their raw mint/chip shake.

Lydia's used to have a full service restaurant in Fairfax, when I lived there.  Their pesto pizza was amazing.  I miss it.  Luckly, they are selling their yummy crackers and items in local grocery stores.  Tey also cater, so there is a chance you can enjoy their pesto in person.

 

Here are some plates Lydia's was offering to the attendees.  I have had their wraps and they are pretty tasty, as is the green soup. Apparently the owner, Lydia, won the Woman Owned Business of the Year Award from The Woman's Initiative.  Very cool

Table Nectar is a local catering company that had some delightful foods available to festival goers.  A pic of their menu items it below:

 

That Coconut Polenta is calling my name, as is the Chai Mousse.  Yum.  I definitely  have a sweet tooth.

I didn't get to try all of the food there, but I have had prior experience with Lydia's and Cafe Gratitude, and can say that I really enjoy their food.  From the looks of Table Nectar's menu, I can imagine their food is pretty delightful as well.  All three are definite possibilities if you are looking for some sustainable raw foods for your wedding or event.  It might be suggested to mix the raw foods with some cooked foods however, as not all guests are familiar with raw edibles.

And this brings me to the last mention of the day: Leif Hedendal

Leif was at the Festival as well.  He was giving a short talk while stirring some leak soup, and chatting about his secret eating society dinners.  The Festival had a "Soul Kitchen" where local sustainable chefs prepared food and shared stories with folks in the audience.  Leif was cooking while I was taking a break, and happened to catch the tail end of his talk.  His food is awesome, and for the most part cooked, although incredibly sustainable and locally grown.  He puts on small dinner parties at secret locations around the Bay, and I bet if asked he might be willing to do a bigger event too.  Anyway, I thought I would tease you with a visual something he posted recently on his blog: http://cookinglessons.wordpress.com/

Now, doesn't that look delightful.

In Green and Healthy Food,

G&G

Eco-Conscious Wedding in Mexico Part 1

The Breathtaking Wedding in Baja 

I was a generally conscious person, aware of the benefits of organic produce, recycling and carpooling.  I even favor vintage designs, art and clothes and had become accustomed to recycling and selling my clothes for needed cash or shopping sprees (thanks Berkeley).  But my when I became engaged to a vegan who had studied sustainable development, the eco-consciousness raising was significant. After we became engaged, we set forth to plan the most sustainable event we could.  And when we picked our venue, we decided on a quaint place in Mexico.  Generally, it's more sustainable to stick closer to home.  The less you and your guests travel, the less gas and jet fuel is burned.  But we chose Mexico for a few different reasons.  One: we had free lodging and transportation available to us there since my parents and their neighbors offered their lodging and vehicles for our use.  Two: we both resided in the Bay Area, but a good amount of our family and friends lived in San Diego and LA, and the location of our event was only about an hour or so below the San Diego/Mexico border.  Three:  it was a little easier on our pocket book.  With the money we saved on location, we could spend on getting organic and local flowers and other items that would have been more expensive in the US.   We also chose to offset the costs of our jet travel.  For more information about traveling carbon neutral or even carbon offsetting gift certificates check out:

www.carbonfund.org  

[caption id="attachment_105" align="aligncenter" width="130" caption="carbon fund carbon offsets"]carbon fund carbon offsets[/caption]  

www.terrapass.com

[caption id="attachment_106" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Terrapass gift certificate"]Terrapass gift certificate[/caption]   After we booked the location, the next item was the dress.  My dress.  Partly because as a bride-to-be there is a lot of pressure out there from magazines and commercials to pick the perfect dress, and partly because I myself was fascinated with the process of finding one.  I chose to search far and wide (mostly on the internet) for a used or recycled dress to my liking.  But this was no easy task in 2007.  There were but a couple of websites, and the pickings were dismally slim.  Since then, new sites have popped up and the pickings are vast.  Here are a few of the websites I ventured to and many new sites now selling used and recycled dresses:

www.preownedweddingdresses.com

www.woreitonce.com

www.budgetbridalgowns.com

www.oncewed.com

www.encorebridal.com

www.weddingdressmarket.com

www.sellyourweddingdress.com

www.buyselldress.com

www.savethedress.com

www.craigslist.org

www.ebay.com 

I myself found an older pronovias dress on ebay, for darn cheap.  Now, it wasn't totally what I imagined, there was a lot of lace involved that didn't suit my taste, but the price was right and the fit and style was exactly what I wanted.  I also know how to sew, so for a few weeks before the wedding I managed to take most of the lace off and recreate the top in a way I preferred.  

twist and turnWedding photography by Erin Beach at www.erinbeach.com

If you are interested in doing the same and you don't sew, find a local seamstress/tailor and have them make the alterations.  Not only can you get the perfect fit for your shape, you'll also be paying the worker fair wages and supporting a local business! After the dress, we did some event and dinner planning.  We wanted to go vegan, but realizing that many people eat meat, we felt it was important to offer a few options.  So, we offered plenty of vegan sides like beans and rice, fresh grilled vegetables and potatoes, organic spring salad, tortillas, guacamole and salsa.  For the main dishes we offered locally caught fish and mango chicken.   We also had an appetizer buffet of freshly made tacos of either fish or beans during cocktail hour.  Those fish tacos were a huge hit and a Baja delicacy.  Local food was definitely getting the spotlight, so tasty and fresh! appetizer buffet I asked some friends to make some natural aguas frescas for guests who didn't want soda or wine.  My mother contributed a few cases of great Mexican wine and sparking wine from a local Baja vineyard, Santo Tomas.  

Find info here about Santo Tomas:  

santo-tomas1 We decided to go with a vegan and organic cake from a local bakery in San Diego: Stephanie's Bakery in Ocean Beach.  What a remarkable flavor explosion!  We chose three different cakes, mostly because we couldn't make up our minds.  My favorite was the chocolate with chocolate and more chocolate.  Can you tell I like chocolate?

www.stephaniesbakery.com

cake and kisses Along with the dress, food, cake and location, there were many other details that needed planning and greening.  Please tune in next blog for more!

In Green and Health,

G&G