New Sustainability Ranking System Shows You How to Save the World by Eating


We remember the days before big chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks pledged to make sustainability a top priority, back when “organic” was the only health-food buzzword people cared about and using “sustainability” in a sentence usually meant we’d have to define it at least once*. But things are different now. More and more restaurants are scoring publicity by advertising their sustainability commitment, and it can be hard to judge which restaurants  are actually living up to sustainability standards and which ones are falling short.

Enter the UK-based Sustainable Restaurant Association’s new global sustainability ranking system that’s available to any restaurant in the world. The ranking system basically measures how well a restaurant fits the SRA’s tenets of sustainability (Society, Environment, and Sourcing) and then assigns a score of one, two, or three stars depending on how well they do.

The scores are then publicized to let eco-friendly consumers know where they can go to get sustainable (and delicious) food in the hopes that they’ll put their wallets where their mouths are and support sustainable dining. So far, over 500 UK restaurants have been SRA ranked and the Association provides over 1,200 restaurants with advice on how to find sustainable alternatives to traditional restaurant practices, meaning that they (and their customers) are working to save the world one bite at a time. Now that’s our kind of activism.

* For the record, being sustainable basically just means keeping an eye on how many of the planet’s resources we’re consuming.

PicThx The SRA


Study Shows 57% of Americans Consider Eating Out a ‘Special Occasion’ [INFOGRAPHIC]


As we all know, the current economy isn’t the perfect setting to make lux outings of any kind a regular thing. Unless you own a swimming pool of Benjamins and bathe in champagne, if so — I hatchoo. For the rest of us peeps, we’ve become more budget conscious — especially when it comes to food. About 71 percent of Amercians are saving money by whipping up a meal at home instead of dining out, while 57 percent said eating out used to be a regular thing but is now seen as a special occasion.

The following infographic by TurboTax gives an enlightening picture of our spending habits when it comes to food — breaking it down to gender, age (echo boomers to 67 years plus) and even the type of restaurants we seek. It’s a fascinating peek into something we think about every day — from a quick coffee run before work to a dinner with friends. Personally, I’d like to see how the necessity of keeping a food budget has affected the quality of food we eat, and thus, our overall health.

dining out vs cooking

Infographic via TurboTax


Get A Free Burger at Red Robin if Your Name is Jim

Who and/or what is “Jim Day,” you ask? Who cares! FREE BURGERS!

Red Robin is celebrating the renown holiday affectionately referred to as “Jim Day” (whatever that is) on December 4 (that’s today, folks) and giving away free Sweet Jim Beam Bacon Swiss burgers at participating restaurants.


Urban Spoon + Facebook Timeline = Dineline

Facebook’s Timeline feature is pretty nifty in that you have a manageable visual chronicle of your world. A personal life story detailed in pictures, people’s sentiments, and a myriad of internet media that is pertinent to you. Odds are, you probably have a wide array of restaurant check-ins and, if you’re reading this blog, a photo album dedicated to everything remotely interesting you’ve ever eaten. Well now, the Timeline concept merges with your inner culinary conoisseur, powered by Urban Spoon.

The local restaraunt website and mobile app that helps you find new restaurants and book reservations can now help you chronicle and share your own food adventures on Facebook with a feature called Dineline. With Dineline, you will be able to keep track of all your restaurant check-ins, share photographs with friends and even keep track of what dishes you had at their respective restaurant — all in the pursuit of creating a social dining experience that endures long after the last bite of each meal.




BRAWL: Food Trucks vs. Restaurants

Local restaurants throughout many cities have voiced concern over the expansion of food trucks in their community. Quick service food trucks “stealing” customers threaten traditional brick and mortar restaurants, and in an attempt to level the playing field, they are asking city legislators to toughen up the regulation on food trucks.

The SoCal Mobile Food Vendors’ Association claims that stricter regulations are “clearly anti-competitive…[and] limit the public on their favorite foods.”  It is unfair for restaurants to believe they have a monopoly on a certain area (

Recently, due to the popularity of food trucks, cities such as San Francisco have streamlined their permit process and made the cost of obtaining a permit less prohibitive. Permits used that used to run upwards of about $10,000 are now as low as $300. This ends up flooding the market with a bounty of tasty options.

And the only law that food trucks must obey in relation to restaurants is that they must notify nearby businesses about when they are going to be in the area and that they are not allowed to park within 300 feet of a business selling similar food (

Restaurants have a lot more at stake when customers begin to dwindle, and in an already competitive market (restaurants have a failure rate of over 50%), it’s understandable that there’s a lot to cry about.

However, from a consumer’s standpoint there’s really no battle. It’s a WIN-WIN situation. The wider the selection of good grub the better, and ultimately, the more competitive the pricing. Some restaurants that can’t handle the competition shouldn’t be playing the game. Be better or make room for something better.


BJ’s Secret New Restaurant Concept

Enter the clandestine world of upscale casual dining restaurants with BJ’s recent announcement of their new concept restaurant opening in Anaheim, CA called BJ’s Grill. Not much is known about the new restaurant as BJ’s representatives have repeatedly dodged questions made by reporters from the OC Register regarding the new location.

An inside source revealed that one of the few things known about the new concept behind the restaurant is the staff’s planned use of wireless tablets, presumably to jot down orders. The new location is scheduled to open by Halloween, so those of you in the OC, keep your eyes peeled!


Umami Burger Opens in San Francisco

NorCal finally gets to taste what all the hype is all about with their very own Umami Burger location that opened last week. For those of you unfamiliar with this burger of the fifth taste, it is a Southern California burger restaurant chain that has been the toast of SoCal’s burger enthusiasts.

Their famed Umami Burger is topped with shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, a parmesan crisp in lieu of sliced cheese and their house-made Umami Ketchup.

The San Francisco location had a soft opening earlier last week and is currently serving up their delectable burgers to the fine citizens of the Bay Area. If you’re in the region you can go and experience the Fifth Taste for yourself at:

2184 Union St

San Francisco, CA

94123 415-440

Sun – Thurs: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Fri + Sat: 11 a.m.-12 a.m.

(via Inside Scoop SF)


Upscale NY Venison Served On Saddam Hussein’s Plates

You’re looking at venison drizzled in date syrup that is to be served at New York’s upscale eatery Park Avenue Autumn this season. What you may not realize about this particular iteration of the Iraqi delicacy is that it is being served on plates once owned by the infamous Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Park Avenue Autumn is famous for seasonally changing its decor and menu, and is also recognized for its various art collaborations — this dish being part of a project they’re calling Spoils. The restaurant explained the concept behind Spoils in a press release stating “As symbols of the past, they represent the rich and complicated history of a place long misunderstood by its invaders.”

No word yet on a price tag for the meal served on looted artifacts, but rest assured, given the restaurant’s upscale target market, historical and monetary value of the plates, they’ll fetch a more than meaty price tag.

(via Huff Post New York)