Why 350 should matter to most everyone (and other palatable points of interest).
Thursday, April 30, 2009
This fall, on Oct. 24, starting at precisely 3:50pm, I will eat the first of 350 fresh oysters – at Passionfish, in order to honor their hall-of-fame credentials for sustainably gathered goods, and for another key reason I’ll illuminate shortly (and in no small part because their shooter-style, carrot-ginger vinaigrette treatment is exceptional).
Or not. Maybe when that singular Saturday arrives, I’ll help a local school garden and its student caretakers harvest 350 pounds of produce to sell at a farmers market before routing the proceeds to eco-causes of their choosing. Or cook up three gargantuan veggie burgers that collectively weigh 350 pounds – and are sculpted to spell “350.” (Somebody grab a wheelbarrow of grilled onions.) Whatever the case, my hope is that a creative Monterey County might enthusiastically join me in a synchronized global effort in which hundreds of different groups will undertake inspired/artistic/attention-grabbing permutations of the number 350.
Mention of the project surfaced several times as part of an excellent MIIS-sponsored talk last week on journalism and activism. The 350 International Day of Climate Action got several plugs because it’s a primary project of panelist (and stud-journo-cum-activist) Bill McKibben, the man credited with bringing global warming into wider consciousness with 1989’s The End of Nature. The idea: A team of scientists led by NASA’s James Hansen recently published a series of papers showing that we need to cut the amount of carbon in the atmosphere from its current 387 parts per million to 350 or less if we wish to “maintain a planet similar to that on which civilization developed.”
That recent recognition, combined with the assembly of the world’s leaders for the Kyoto-updating Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December, make now the ideal time to mobilize the masses.
Galvanizing acts of support are gathering everywhere from Spain (where some loco bravo will cook 350 pots of paella with solar cookers) to Panama City (where students will sweep the streets for trash and sculpt it into an installation that reads “350”) to the Great Barrier Reef (where 350 scuba divers will form the numerals underwater).
More than 500 actions are already scheduled in 50-plus countries. Not all efforts will be food-centric, but as the panel discussion reminded us, while food is not the largest generator of carbon (that’d be buildings), it’s a biggie, and one that is arguably the easiest to adjust – cut out a little meat, hit an extra farmers market, and take it from there.
For more information, visit www.350.org or call (415) 575-5529. P.S. This passage is 350 words (No, don’t count. I’m kidding.)
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Back to the passion for fish in P.G. (655-3311). Stopped by after I saw Cindy Walter sourced in a Washington Post piece about farmed bluefin, hoping to rap about that and her worm compost bin – and happy to act on any excuse to fall in love with the seafood preparations and bargain wines all over again.
A friend and I did just that. Words get in the way when trying to do the Dungeness crab salad tower with avocado and spicy ginger vinaigrette justice ($13). Same goes for the tilapia with garlic-balsamic vinegar butter ($18) and a sensational baked wild shrimp-oregano-garlic-lemon-feta appetizer ($10). And a Calera Pinot out of Hollister ($20/half bottle) was a revelation as well.
The moral of the story on the bluefin… avoid it. Farmed versions only undermine years of outreach on the species’ precarious predicament, Walter says. The website at the bottom of the receipt refers people to www.tagagiant.org for more ways to help.
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The esteemed-but-semi-secret Bistro Moulin (333-1200) near the Aquarium has some lively things launching this month. Wine director Colleen Manni is hand-plucking two select wines from her list each month to offer at bargain price points. For May, Manni has opted for two Chateau Saint Pierre’s 2008 Provence Rose for $15 and a Chateau Lagrosse 2005 Cotes de Bordeaux for $18. In the kitchen, chef/owner Didier Dutertre has his own May specials going: lobster paella (May 7-13, $29.50); coquille Saint Jacques (May 14-20,$28.50); and chicken and spinach cannelloni au gratin (May 21-27, $19.75). Ask about the brand new line of olive oils, fruit-infused balsamic vinegars and Dutertre’s own custom salad dressing while you’re there.
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Probably the best party series the area has, Surf N Sand fine spirit tastings (624-1805), takes to Sand City for the first time Friday starting at 6pm at the Ol’ Factory Cafe. Tequila’s back in the spotlight, and the añejos alone are worth the $30 – but there are more than 30 superlative tastes total, plus music, apps, art, dancing and, says party playmaker Ryan Sanchez, free shuttle service from Main Event Limousine… River Road Wine Trail Annual Springfest is May 2: Twelve great artisan wineries, music, barrel tastings, snacks, for free fifty free (www.riverroadwinetrail.com)… Brophy’s Tavern in Carmel (624-2476) is waving 50 percent off the entire bill for locals on Wednesdays. Let’s eat. And drink.