January 12, 2010

Scrapin' Up the Bits... Vegetarian Style

Well, kinda "vegetarian," in that I'm slowly reading a much-hyped book that makes the case for vegetarianism at the moment, but more on that soon.

First, some local restaurant news, both from the fine pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

To begin with, I'm a little late on this, but the Penn Brewery's sneak peek was apparently a rousing success. From a third-party, I understand that there was a line out the door at times. And from the PG, we learn that a new brew, Allegheny Pale Ale, was on offer! Also we learn that the contract brewing days at Lion Brewery in Wilkes Barre are over and that the restaurant will open some time in the next few months.

Another new opening, the Pittsburgh Culinary Institute downtown has opened a lunch-only, "white cloth" restaurant on the 18th floor of the Clark Building. It's called Azure 18. Three-course lunch menu for $12. Sounds like a 12-buck investment worth making, at least once, eh?

Speaking of the 'Burgh and chefs, the PG's China Millman recently tweeted about a blog from a local chef, originally from Spain, Daniel Aguera. He apparently makes empanadas at Asylum Coffee Bar downtown. Yet another to add to my "To Eat" list.

And as was
recently suggested by a rare commenter on this blog, I have to make it back to Legume very soon. These folks really are committed to doing it right. According to the most recent monthly newsletter, the restaurant will no longer use any factory farmed meat, and they are really committed to getting as much meat locally as possible.

To the title of this post, I'm currently reading Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. The author is a vegetarian (not a vegan, at least I don't think), and, thus far, using examples of the atrocities committed on and by factory farms and in the oceans, all in the name of eating animals, he is making the case for vegetarianism. At least he appears to be in the first third of the book that I have completed.

For me, the book started off on the wrong foot, asking why people in the U.S., at least, don't eat dogs. He delves into the cognitive dissonance about how we treat dogs vs. the animals that end up in our burritos or between our poppy seed buns. This is, to my mind at least, an old and tired argument. Call it cognitive dissonance or hypocrisy or what have you, it's not limited to vegetarianism vs. omnivorism. It's called being human. How many vegetarians, for example, own and wear shoes/clothing made from animal products?

From there he gets into the familiar territory of the horrors of factory farming, and I'll admit that I am learning new things. And, yes, those things are telling me I need to do a better job of sourcing meat (and fish, and eggs) from truly sustainable sources.

Some of his arguments intended to make farmed animals seem more worthy of not being butchered for meat can sometimes be weak and poorly sourced in terms of supporting evidence. He also has twice directly taken on Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. Given its popularity and that Pollan has become perhaps the singular voice on the national front for more responsible eating (and all that entails), perhaps that' s a necessary thing. We'll see how well he succeeds.

I guess, then, this considered the first part in multi-part review of Eating Animals. Which would be LBoN's first book review.

On the subject of animals and mystery meat, my Fast-Food Abomination of the Week award goes to... Subway, for its new angus beef sandwich. I've seen the commercials, but it is not yet listed on the Subway Web site. I don't blame them. It does not resemble meat. It looks like an overly long, burnt hash brown. Maybe that's because it's more like the pink slime?


Sam said...

Hi there. I think you must be a fantastic cook. Wow. Very impressive. I am now your loyal follower. If you ever have a spare minute, come visit my blog at www.samwich365.com. I would be honored to have you visit/comment or best of all follow. Happy New Year. Keri (a.k.a. Sam)

Daniel Aguera said...

Thank you for writting about me and Spanish Pie! You can also call us at 412-407-PIES(7437) and we'll deliver to you.

Chef Daniel

Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook said...

No problem, Chef Daniel. I hope to make it to Asylum very soon.