Resource: Festivore dining guide


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From the 100-Mile Diet to the Head to Tail movement to dining for social equality, nearly everyone brings a lot of passion and philosophy to the dinner table these days.

But when it comes to dining out, many have a harder time ensuring that they'll be able to align their meal with their values. Short of calling up every chef in town, it can be difficult to know exactly what you're buying into when you visit a restaurant, and some diners are curious for more detail.

A new resource that helps conscious eaters navigate the vibrant restaurant scenes in Seattle and Portland is festivore. The online dining guide rates restaurants along a comprehensive, values-informed list of criteria, which include: "deep green," "mostly local" and "real food," "ultra-healthy," "very affordable," "people-connector" and "taste excellence."

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At the helm is Dean DeCrease, a local businessman and environmental activist who has a knack for tracking down real, good food. And festivore has piqued the interest of some heavy-hitters in the world of culinary culture: DeCrease lists members of the Slow Foods Movement and Chefs Collaborative as allies.

According to DeCrease, anonymous diners are sent to selected restaurants to generate reviews for festivore. After the initial visit, reviewers discuss their findings with one another, and also interview chefs and owners to get detailed information about things like their policy on buying fair trade ingredients, etc.

So when you see stars here, notice that each star stands for a separate category, rather than an overall rating. For example, renowned Seattle fine-dining destination Tilth misses a star for affordability, but still garners a "Festivore Choice" designation, assigning it the guide's highest level of praise.

Festivore sticks to certain areas of the dining world; they won't usually visit chain restaurants or other places where they simply feel there isn't a bigger story to tell. But those rules are not hard-and-fast: for example, DeCrease feels that Portland-based Burgerville is revolutionizing the concept of fast food by committing to grass-fed beef and zero trans fats, and that warrants a festivore mention.

The festivore team is gearing up for a busy fall, connecting with dining communities in Washington and Oregon, and planning to extend their reach to Vancouver, San Francisco and London. So, whether you're already part of the conscious dining movement, or you're looking to learn more about it, this local resource may help point you in a delicious new direction.

Photo credit: Flickr/Jim O'Connell, licensed by Creative Commons.

Comments

I logged into Festivore to see what I could find. I was in search of a brunch place and pulled up Silent Heart Nest. It was a fun dining experience and a place new to me. We shall see where Festivore sends us next.

Posted by: Seattle affairs on June 22, 2008 10:38 AM