This week’s Trib hits a few hotspots, but first we want to talk about Monica Eng’s trend piece
on the growth of certified organic restaurants, and the use of organic ingredients in restaurants more generally. Much ink and many bytes have been devoted to describing Crust’s certified organic status, including in these pages, but suffice it to say, a restaurateur has to be truly devoted, and frankly militant, to obtain and retain the label. Eng outlines the requirements for certification, which include keeping a “description of how products will be handled and the physical barriers that will be used to ensure organic and non-organic products won’t mingle.” This sounds an awful lot like keeping Kosher; what’s next, two dishwashers? Eng goes on to report that many fine restaurants, in an effort to maximize quality, simply pick the best ingredients available, whether they’re organic, local, sustainable, or none of the above. Certification is all well and good and pure and dogmatic, but it’s not the only way to do right by the world, or one’s body.
Xni-Pec in Cicero may not be certified organic, but people can’t seem to separate themselves from its complex and pleasing Yucatecan moles and seafood long enough to complain or notice. Robin Mather Jenkins recommends visiting when time isn’t of the essence, and ordering the signature Mayan food rather than the humdrum Mexican dishes on offer.
Meanwhile, in Tablehopping, Phil Vettel still loves mk, and Ms. Eng continues the tradition of coming up with a funny description for Sura’s interior (“the set of Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’”) and being ambivalent about the food.
Restaurants face challenges going totally organic [Tribune]
Yucatecan fare stars in Cicero [Tribune]
mk [Official Site]
Sura [Official Site]
[Photo: the certificate of organicity, Organic Facts]