Restaurants

Moby + Little Pine: Sustainable Activism

Moby Little Pine

If ever there was a restaurant with a clear vision and sense of purpose, fueled by a passion for something greater than the restaurant itself, it’s Little Pine — an organic, vegan restaurant in the Silver Lake neighborhood of L.A. Little Pine was created and is overseen by Moby, well-known musician, environmentalist, and animal rights activist. What makes Little Pine a first of its kind is that 100% of its profits go to animal welfare organizations.

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet Moby at his restaurant. I used to live in Silver Lake and I remember the art deco building on Rowena Avenue that had then stood empty, so it was intriguing to see it transformed into a beautiful, inviting restaurant space and to be greeted by Moby himself, a personal hero of mine. When I arrived, Moby was writing the evening’s details on the chalkboard to be displayed outside the restaurant. Moments later, we were having a conversation about how Little Pine came about, the experience he hopes to provide for his guests, and how he made the decision to commit all proceeds to the animal rights movement to which he is so deeply committed.

Moby is in the unique position to essentially treat Little Pine as a nonprofit. Yet, his approach to creating a restaurant that embodies the cultural progress he hopes to see in the world can provide knowledge and inspiration for restaurants and the larger dining community, vegan and non-vegan.

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Sightseers: The Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

Traveling to San Francisco? The Bay Area features a wide range of restaurant dining options, some with spectacular bay views — all depending upon your vantage point. You can dine with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, just underneath the glittering lights of the Bay Bridge, see the famous skyline from the East Bay, or take in the nitty gritty working waterfront. You can sip on drinks from high atop Nob Hill, slurp oysters at a high-end seafood restaurant, or nibble on Chinese spareribs at a tropical getaway. Here are some top picks for the best bay view restaurants in San Francisco.

Waterbar, San Francisco
This glamorous seafood restaurant right under the Bay Bridge is an ideal place, day or night, to enjoy the vistas. Known for stunning floor-to-ceiling tropical aquariums and a firm commitment to sustainability and transparency, the restaurant offers a menu that even calls out the captains and fishing boats. It’s a prime spot for oysters with as many as 16 different types on any given day, and a daily pick is available for just $1.05 each from 11:30-5:30PM, with a nickel going to charity. It’s also a terrific place to indulge in a whole Dungeness crab or crab cocktail. Make a reservation at Waterbar.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, San Francisco
This Peruvian restaurant from acclaimed chef Gaston Acurio has a sunny deck and enticing specialties including empanadas, cebiches, and causas. It’s also a great place to try a Pisco cocktail. Or two. Arriving via the bay? La Mar is San Francisco’s only waterfront restaurant that offers complimentary boat parking for three hours. Make a reservation at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

EPIC Steak, San Francisco
With a newly added outside bar, the patio at Epic is more appealing than ever. This restaurant is as adept with steak as it is with delicate pasta and luscious fresh vegetables, such as a recent special of jumbo asparagus with a poached egg, Banyuls vinaigrette, and Cotija cheese. The best deal just might be the BBB, a bacon cheddar wagyu burger served with fries, a Budweiser, and a brownie for just $20. Add a 4th B — a shot of Michter’s bourbon — for another $5. Watch stormy days from inside or sit under the sunshine yellow umbrellas for lunch or drinks after work. Make a reservation at EPIC Steak.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

ATwater Tavern, San Francisco
The latest addition to the San Francisco waterfront dining scene is ATwater Tavern. Located just past the baseball stadium, it’s the perfect place to celebrate a win, drown your sorrows should the Giants lose, or just wait until the traffic dies town before heading home after a game. The solid grill-focused menu offers plenty of seafood and a wide range of beer and wine on tap. Drink or dine from inside or out, upstairs or down, and see the workings of the port of San Francisco. Make a reservation at ATwater Tavern.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

Top of the Mark, San Francisco
From Nob Hill at the top of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, you’ll enjoy great views of the City, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands, as well as Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf. During World War II, servicemen would meet and toast the Golden Gate Bridge before shipping out in hopes that this good luck ritual would bring them safely home. Their wives and sweethearts would head to the northwest corner of the lounge to watch them depart, earning this famous spot the nickname “Weepers’ Corner.” The lounge is known for a creative martini menu and offers small bites in the evenings and an extensive brunch buffet on Sundays. Make a reservation at Top of the Mark.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

Greens, San Francisco
Originally opened as part of the San Francisco Zen Center, for 35 years this restaurant located at Fort Mason has offered stunning marina and bay spectacles all the way out to the Golden Gate Bridge. The food here is vegetarian and draws from various cuisines around the world. Much of the produce is sourced from nearby Green Gulch Farm, a residential Zen community and organic farm located just an hour away. The carefully curated wine list focuses on small producers. Make a reservation at Greens.

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The ‘Burbs: The Best New Restaurants in the Boston Suburbs

For New England foodies, spring is about farmers markets, food trucks, and flowers, but this season there’s something else growing: new restaurants in the Boston suburbs. A cadre of notable city chefs are tossing their toques into the Interstate 95 ring, attracted by more space, lower rents, and excited diners waiting, fork and knife in hand. Take a look at the best new restaurants in the Boston suburbs.

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Chef Rachel Klein, formerly of some of the city’s top hotel restaurants, gave up her gig as executive chef at Liquid Art House to pursue something closer to home in Needham – leading RFK Kitchen, slated to open in late summer. “I’ve been living here for 10 years, and I wanted to do something a little bit more upscale but with price points that the town already has,” she said, also noting that it’s easier to overcome hurdles like liquor licenses that can go for half a million dollars in Boston. “We’re trying to bring a bit more of that Boston aesthetic and feel with a serious bar program, people who are on the cutting edge of their craft. But nothing pretentious or anything that makes you feel stupid. Nothing hoity-toity!”

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The mother of two is looking forward to offering other parents a cloth-napkin option that welcomes kids; the open-kitchen concept is ideal for upcoming classes for families and singles looking to mingle during bar seminars. Having fine dining within an Uber’s ride away also means that no one needs to skip out on the fun to be the designated driver or add on the cost of valet and a babysitter to the meal check since RFK is in the heart of town. “It’s really about being part of the community,” Klein said. “And yes, sometimes it’s good to be a big fish in a small pond.”

Restaurateur and chef Joe Cassinelli just expanded to Metrowest as well, with the opening of Osteria Posto in Waltham. While most of his locations are in Somerville, a hip, smaller Boston-area city accessible by public transportation (Posto, Painted Burro, and Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar also call it home), a trip to Osteria requires a car. So why take the chance with a new audience and locale? “I live in the suburbs, and most of the options out here are chains,” he explained. “Waltham is really centrally located, and it’s not overdeveloped, although there are a lot of families and tech people coming in now — the time is right.” Some of his guests even include fans of his chef-driven Mexican food hot spot and thin-crust upscale pizzeria.

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What they’re finding is a more refined menu of prime steaks and homemade pastas with an airy 8,000-square-foot space that seats 240 (in addition to a 100-person function space) that wouldn’t be available in a city as built up as Boston. “With more space we’re able to offer a great wine program with extensive vintages so it’s really a cool experience,” Cassinelli said. “The palate is a little more foodie-driven and the service is more refined, but it’s still casual fine-dining.”

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Dram It! 8 Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

The first Saturday in May may be all about big hats and horses, but the third Saturday in May gives us yet another reason to celebrate Kentucky: World Whiskey Day. It’s said that the spirit made its way to Louisiana from the heartland and got it rich color and flavors as it aged in barrels along the journey. Today, the tipple’s ripple is felt all over the world — most recently in exclusive Japanese blends — and there are flavors and flights of fancy for everyone from the novice drinker to the expert. Here’s where to get your 1- or 2-ounce pours, specialty cocktail, or an eye-popping $50 pop to toast this dram fine day.

GreenRiver, Chicago, Illinois
GreenRiver’s name and extensive Irish whiskey list may celebrate Chicago’s connection to the Emerald Isle, but head bartender Julia Momose is putting a unique spin on it by mixing flavors that are an homage to her Japanese heritage. Growing up in Kobe, she was inspired by both her mother’s passion for hospitality and an adventure through the city’s winding streets that led to a small bar, where the magician behind the counter was hand-chipping spheres of ice for cocktails. Today, the Ivy League design grad makes cocktails her own art, especially using Japanese whiskey. Two of her favorites are the Gray Wolf, her take on the Old-Fashioned, in which 12-year single malt Yamazaki replaces the traditional bourbon and is paired with Benedictine, Demerara, Plum Vinegar, and Angostura Bitters, and the Cullerton Street, with Nikka Coffey Grain Japanese Whisky, Pineau des Charentes, Curry, Barley, Verjus Blanc, and Fukujinzuke. Make a reservation at GreenRiver.

Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

Tremont 647, Boston, Massachusetts
Bostonians cooking for a little comfort food in the tony South End have looked no further than chef-owner Andy Husbands’s approachable cooking at Tremont 647 for years, but neighboring Cambridge is about to share in the wealth with his brand-new BBQ joint, Smoke Shop. Whiskey is just one of the ways he’s seen what used to be considered “jug-swilling stuff turned into this object of desire, with maple, caramel, oak, cherry, and vanilla flavors,” Husbands said of Tremont 647’s extensive bar menu. “When we think about refinement, we think about wine, but we’re seeing it so much with craft now — beer, craft (whiskey) bourbon, and now barbecue. People are really fascinated by how things are made local or small-batch.” That includes Bully Boy, a subtly sweet Boston brand that many diners have been asking for. Husbands turns the tables with his new venture and the James Beard semifinalist is putting an upscale spin on an American staple with seasonal specials like beer-poached shrimp and award-winning recipes for ribs and brisket. Make a reservation at Tremont 647.

Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

Capo’s Chicago Pizza & Fine Italian Dinners, San Francisco, California
The whiskey menu may be global at Capo’s, but it’s strictly the California mindset that puts it on the map. “We have a large community of adventurous drinkers here, and they’re craving something more than your average Jack and Coke,” says bar manager Elmer Mejicanos. With more than 100 varieties, there’s plenty to choose from: local Anchor Distilling Company’s 25-year-old Old Hirsch Rye, Chicago-based Koval White, and Nikka Single-Malt Yoichi from Japan. New offerings are helping draw new imbibers, Mejicanos says, but there will always be a core legion of fans. “Whiskey is part of U.S. history. It’s one of the spirits that, regardless of the new trends, it has always been around. In the last five years, craft cocktails bars have started focusing on getting cocktails back to what they used to be in the thirties and forties, so it’s a no-brainer that whiskey is be one of the main spirits people focus on.” Got an Old-Fashioned state of mind? Capo’s lets you select your own spirits, bitters, garnishes, and sweeteners. Or, try a whiskey flight or interpretations of classic cocktails like Fools Gold, made with Templeton Rye whiskey, green chartreuse, fresh lemon, artisan root beer, and absinthe, or the Friendly Fire with bourbon, pineapple gum syrup, celery seeds, agave nectar, fresh lemon, and dry curacao. Make a reservation at Capo’s Chicago Pizza & Fine Italian Dinners.

Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar, Aspen, Colorado
There’s nothing like a little whiskey to warm up ski bunnies or take a nip out of the mountain air on a summer’s night, and Jimmy’s (and Jimmy’s Bodega) have spirits for all seasons. Among the most popular is Woody Creek Distillers’ Rye Whiskey, which is made from local Colorado rye and aged in American white oak barrels and is popular in the Goldenrye, mixed from La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, and lemon. Or, order the Jimmy Mac, a high-end mix of Scotch and Irish whiskeys, like 18-year-old Glenfiddich and 15-year-old Tullamore, with Averna Amaro, Benedictine liqueur, and orange bitters. Owner and spirit aficionado Jimmy Yeager is so passionate about whiskey (his “first love”) that he recently took his entire bar staff on one of several field trips to get first-hand tastes and tours in Ireland and Scotland at Hendricks, Kininvie, Balvenie, and other distillers. Yeager also enjoys making his own ice cubes with two-inch-square crystalline cubes or spheres. “Personally, I like serving whiskey over a Macallan ice ball — it creates a nice ‘wow’ factor, and it’s also elegant,” Yeager says. Looking for an excuse to book an Aspen getaway? Whiskey may be your answer since Jimmy’s has a few bottles of one-of-a-kind Four Roses Bourbon, courtesy of Kentucky distiller Jim Rutledge, who helped to create the recipes and hand-pick the barrels. Make a reservation at Jimmy’s.

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