Do you have a restaurant near you that is “plant based, non-GMO, sustainable, artisanal, and organic whenever possible”? Apparently, that is the “ABCs of vegetarian cuisine”, according to the restaurant “ABC V” in NY, NY, where I just had a lovely dinner while visiting family.

Cooking vegetarian food at home? Check out Emeraldology’s selection of sustainable Kitchen goods!

Beyond Animal Husbandry…

If you have to eat meat, you might try to eat exotic species that are not native to an area they have colonized, or animals like deer that are more plentiful than in pre-Columbian times due to the destruction of their predators. No surprise, people writing for the Wall Street Journal, a part of Rupert Murdoch’s news empire, want you to solve the deer problem in many parts of the US by shooting and eating them. But even the more left-wing Washington Post is worried about animals, like wild pigs, living where they are overrunning natural habitats and non-native, and that paper has written about the logic of an open season to protect parks and forests in newly invaded natural settings such as DC and Virginia.

Generally, though, most people eat meat almost exclusively from commercial farms most of the time. But even carnivores could consider mixing it up with vegetarian food, including vegan food (no meat, eggs, dairy, or even honey). This has advantages for the planet over commercial husbandry. It can be creative, just as diverse as what you find in your average comfort-food restaurant, and better for you – although you may have to supplement pure vegan diets with vitamins like B12. If you’re not vegetarian, celebrate that “variety is the spice of life” anyway and give good vegetarian restaurants a try sometimes. Michael Pollan has written about this as someone agnostic toward vegetarianism, but sympathetic in very readable books like Food Rules and the Omnivores Dilemma. There are ways to get creative, and gourmet, with veggie meals.

Beyond Boring Vegetarianism…

Getting back to “where to eat great food and not harm the planet at the same time”: Should you happen to be in NY arriving from either Grand Central or Penn Station, or staying anywhere near the epicenter of public transportation in the US, you can find this restaurant just about in between NY’s two behemoth train stations in Midtown. At least a good portion of what you eat will be from “small family farms” according to the website. Perhaps it’s even easier to find those where you live than in Manhattan?

Do you eat “Beyond Meat” because you have to, but you’re really a closet meat lover? Without a shred of guilt, my waiter at ABC V told my party to consider the dish that contained “chicken of the woods,” an edible mushroom that grows in orange, frilled shelves, with clusters sometimes weighing over 100 pounds. It looks a little like an oyster mushroom that’s been to the tanning salon, but is a different genus of true, edible mushrooms found all over the world. “Chicken of the woods” mushrooms taste more like chicken than beyond meat tastes like beef. But they may have even more flavor than chicken, with a gamey taste. This is what I’m hoping for when I want vegetarian food to add unexpected treats to my diet.

Foraged “chicken of the woods” mushroom. Image credits.

ABC V seeks nothing more than to “inform and inspire a cultural shift towards plant-based intelligence, through creativity and deliciousness.” Weirdly, the chefs at this restaurant did indeed perform this exact hocus pocus. I’m hoping you have a place like that near you!