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10.22.08

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Phaedra

Go Fish : Nosh on sushi the sustainable way at Café La Vie.

Dish

Seafood Watch takes on its greatest challenge yet: sustainable sushi.

By Amber Turpin


GREAT ESCAPE
Amazing, but it's been a year since the Monterey Bay Vintner's Association's last Great Wine Escape Weekend. Just around the corner (Nov. 7-9) are three days of gala tastings, interesting seminars, winemaker dinners, vineyard tours and wine education about the nine varied appellations surrounding the Monterey Bay, and most of it at the fancy new Clement Monterey hotel in Cannery Row. One seminar that caught my eye is a comparative tasting hosted by Riedel glassware that illustrates the differences in wines based on--you guessed it--what vessel they are decanted into and drunk out of. If you can't get down there for the Great Escape, a similar seminar at Vinocruz (happy second birthday to them!) happens on Nov. 15. Seems like the Riedel experts have hit the road. See the Great Wine Escape Weekend schedule at www.montereywines.org.

FALLING FOR MUFFINS
Fall is for baked goods (actually, any time is a good time for baked goods), and there are a few noteworthy muffins around town just crying out for recognition. Gayle's has the ever-popular carrot-apple muffin, extremely moist, spiced, glazed and excellent with a steaming cup of chai (Gayle's serve Sun Chai, one of the spiciest and least-sweet chais available on the market). Emily's has an apple-walnut muffin that deviates from other variations by being more like a dense mini cake with big, soft chunks of the fruit and a contrasting chewy, carameley exterior. Lulu's offers a number of muffin varieties to choose from, but the simple, nostalgic doughnut muffin is my favorite right now. It's essentially a plain vanilla batter that's baked and then tossed in cinnamon sugar to create an old-fashioned-like finish (it also tastes just like a snickerdoodle cookie). Needless to say, it's delicious when paired with a coffee beverage. All of the above locations have pumpkin products as well, always a seasonal treat. On the home front, a friend convinced me to whip up a batch of flaxseed muffins, and to my delight, they're a bona fide crowd pleaser. The not-so-secret recipe resides on the back of Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Flaxseed Meal.

SAVE-THE-SUSHI PARTY
After years of hearing about our oceans' declining health, I've definitely started thinking of certain kinds of seafood as a limited dining luxury. Farewell to the summers of salmon four times a week, and sayonara, ahi. Fortunately, the folks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who produce the go-to guide for purchasing sustainable seafood, have come up with another item to address the 800-pound tuna in the room: the sustainable sushi guide. With a cuisine based on fish it's immensely important to focus on alternatives that promote conservation and avoid pollutants. "Every sushi restaurant serves some sustainable items," says Sheila Bowman, senior outreach manager for Seafood Watch. "We've created the tools so people can find those good choices--and enjoy them." The new guide makes its debut on Oct. 22, and the aquarium encourages the public to make this day a coast-to-coast sushi party. Download the guide starting that day and share your sustainable sushi experience via Facebook (info and link at www.seafoodwatch.org). Or just sashay on down to Café La Vie Oct. 22-28 for Sushi Week and a menu of sustainable seafood specials prepared with tender, conscious care.


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