Tag Archives: sustainable

Gather restaurant, Berkeley, CA

My husband and I dined at the new local restaurant Gather for the first time, last Saturday night on the second day of 2010. It was packed!  The DJ was playing serious beats and the food had some creative, fresh presentation. It felt like a less pricey, more chill Chez Panisse — updated for a younger generation. The design has clean modern lines with a warm, comfortable wooden furniture, an open kitchen, and warm lighting that was intimate, yet allowed one to see and appreciate the food and dining partner.  It’s about time a new resto like this opened in Berkeley. We’ve been looking for an alternative to Herbivore and Gratitude.

The Gather website says “offerings are 50% omnivore, 50% vegetarian, and a strong vegan component.” Gather focuses on sustainability from its building materials to its food ingredients.  At this restaurant, vegan food is not an afterthought. In fact, the vegetarian food was of high quality and presentation. The SF Chronicle reports that the offerings are from chefs Sean Baker and Amy Pearce from the stellar Millennium restaurant in SF, specializing in vegetable-based cuisine. We are Millennium fans and cook from its Artful Vegan gourmet cookbook for special occasions.

We ordered the house made bubbly water (complimentary), chai cola, special  tuna appetizer, vegan “charcuterie,” tomato pizza, mixed lettuce salad, chocolate layer cake with cashew ice cream, and chocolate Pu-erh tea with soy milk. The vegan charcuterie was made up of intensely flavored, small piles of artfully presented vegetables. Everything was yummy, super fresh, and had a nice presentation.  An extra bonus for us (since we avoid dairy) was that the pizza and chocolate dessert both had a rare combination of being vegan, but also light and flavorful! It was the first time we tasted Numi chocolate tea. It had a delicious deep flavor that had us hooked. (I plan to head over to the Numi tea garden, Oakland to buy some for home.) The vegetarian parts of the meal were the best. There were so many delicious-looking items on the menu. I definitely want to try their house made sodas, house made frites, and heirloom bean ragout on my next visit.

The service was relaxed, cordial and easygoing, but also professional. We were pleasantly surprised to find such a delicious new place close to home with a lively crowd of all ages and good DJ music. We will be back in mid January to try lunch when Gather opens their more affordable, more casual, cafe area.

It was a great first meal out for 2010. Happy New Year!

*****
Gather restaurant
2200 Oxford St., Berkeley, CA

Tips: Reservations are recommended.
Parking:  street, four lots (validation available), outdoor bike parking

Photo: Gather restaurant via Yelp.com

 

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“The time for small changes is over”

Small and big changes are necessary to meet the challenges facing our earth. As I begin this blog, I ask myself how: we can meet the challenges of climate change and the depletion of our earth’s resources? How can humans live sustainably?

I recently read two articles that addressed these questions.  In “Begging for Small Change,” Dr. Tom Crompton in an article for the BBC says,

“Of course, it’s helpful for people to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, or turn their central heating down; cumulatively, such changes will have a beneficial impact.

…In fact, some research shows that, for a significant number of people, the opposite is true. Having embraced one simple change, some people then tend to rest on their laurels and be less likely to engage in other more significant changes.”

He explains how a green consumer can paradoxically create more waste. Dr. Crompton also proposes positive solutions for change, among them:

“We need a different approach to motivating people to change; one which stems from a re-examination of the values upon which this change is built.

Studies find that people who engage in behaviour in pursuit of “intrinsic” goals – such as personal growth, community involvement, or a sense of connection with nature – tend to be more highly motivated and more likely to engage in environmentally friendly behaviour than individuals who are motivated by “extrinsic” goals – that is, financial success, image and the acquisition of material goods.”

Read the complete article: Begging for more than small change

The subject of overconsumption is discussed in Crompton’s article and also in Too Many People, Too Much Consumption by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich of Stanford University. They discuss how humans have been depleting the earth’s resources “as if there were no tomorrow.”

“Four decades after his controversial book, The Population Bomb, scientist Paul Ehrlich still believes that overpopulation — now along with overconsumption — is the central environmental crisis facing the world. And, he insists, technological fixes will not save the day.”

Their pointed remarks about consumption resonate with me as an American and hit home:

“Consumption is still viewed as an unalloyed good by many economists, along with business leaders and politicians, who tend to see jacking up consumption as a cure-all for economic ills. Too much unemployment? Encourage people to buy an SUV or a new refrigerator. Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell, but third-rate economists can’t think of anything else. Some leading economists are starting to tackle the issue of overconsumption, but the problem and its cures are tough to analyze. Scientists have yet to develop consumption condoms or morning-after-shopping-spree pills.”

The Ehlrichs provide inspiring remarks for positive change:

“We’ll continue to hope and work for a cultural transformation in how we treat each other and the natural systems we depend upon. We can create a peaceful and sustainable global civilization, but it will require realistic thinking about the problems we face and a new mobilization of political will.”

Read the complete compelling article Too Many People, Too Much Consumption.

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