Attend an Earth Dinner This Week

by David Dadekian

The Earth DinnerMany of the best restaurants in the area are having Earth Dinners this week in honor of the 41st Earth Day this Friday, April 22. The Earth Dinner program was developed by Organic Valley, a cooperative of family farm-owners and leader in organics. Each year, they host Earth Dinners at restaurants throughout the country to raise awareness for sustainability and organic food supply.

A portion of the proceeds from each Earth Dinner directly benefits Chefs Collaborative, the leading nonprofit network of chefs and farmers that fosters a sustainable food system using the power of education, collaboration and responsible buying decisions. The Midwest dairy farmers of Organic Valley will match every dollar donated, up to $10,000. “Chefs in cities and towns across the country have really stepped up to the plate to hold delicious dinners in celebration of Earth Day—and in particular, to put a spotlight on sustainable and organic choices,” said Melissa Kogut, executive director of Chefs Collaborative. “We really value our longstanding partnership with Organic Valley,” added Kogut.

Providence restaurants Nick’s on Broadway and Farmstead / La Laiterie are both offering Earth Dinner specials each night of this week (during their regular dinner hours). Nick’s on Broadway Chef/Owner Derek Wagner is planning a special tasting menu with the Earth Day theme for their dinner service. Wagner says it will feature local bounty and will definitely include dishes made from a whole Stoney Hill Farm pig he’s receiving on Tuesday. At La Laiterie, Chef Matt Jennings says, “Look for our ‘Earth Dinner Specials’ to be offered in addition to our regular menu, and know that these dishes have been created with our local growers in mind and a continued dedication from our staff to progress the conversation of what it means to purchase sustainably.”

On Thursday, in nearby southern Massachusetts, Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro Executive Chef Matt Maue will be preparing a special five course tasting menu with the option of wine pairings with each course. Courses will include a Spring Vegetable Salad with Brambly Farms‘s poached egg, a Brambly Farms’s Pork Pate, a Hopkins Southdowns Lamb Ragu, NH Venison and Butter Fried Carrot Cake.

On Friday evening in Providence, Gracie’s and New Rivers will be offering their Earth Dinners. “Celebrating local foods and fostering a more sustainable food supply have always been at the root of Gracie’s mission,” said Ellen Gracyalny, owner of Gracie’s. “We take great pride in using local food, not only for its freshness and rich flavors, but to also support the local economy and minimize the negative ecological effect of the restaurant. Hosting an Earth Day Dinner is a natural for us. It’s an extension of who we are and what we believe in.” Gracie’s dinner will feature a unique menu created by Executive Chef Matthew Varga. The menu will highlight spring produce from local farms that supply Gracie’s with the restaurant’s fresh ingredients. Guests will also receive educational materials about the Earth Dinner and Gracie’s commitment to sustainability.

Diners in Newport can look forward to Earth Dinners at two local restaurants. Tallulah on Thames is offering a Prix Fixe Three Course Menu highlighting local farms and artisans & includes a glass of wine from a local winegrower. The menu will be offered on Earth Day, April 22nd as well as the 23rd & 24th of April.

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar will celebrate Earth Day with a three-course dinner featuring a locally grown blend of greens with roasted beets, Reynolds Barn goat cheese, asparagus tips, and Aquidneck honey-lavender vinaigrette, paired with the 2008 Sakonnet Vineyards Chardonnay; an entrée of pan-seared Bomster Scallops with Rhode Island Johnny cakes, pea green-chive blossom salad, and Hill Farm bacon vinaigrette with the 2008 Sakonnet Vineyards Fume Vidal; and a Rhode Island Ice Cream Float with house made vanilla bean ice cream and Yacht Club birch beer soda. “Like Chefs Collaborative, our culinary philosophy is guided by utilizing ingredients purchased from local purveyors, from fishermen to farmers,” said Casey Riley, Chief Operating Officer for Newport Restaurant Group. “We hope our loyal guests will support us in our effort to help raise funds to support this great organization and the local food movement as a whole.”

Details on all the dinners follow below. Please come out and support your local restaurants, farms and Chefs Collaborative.

  • Farmstead / La Laiterie: Earth Dinner specials, Tuesday, April 19 through Saturday, April 23, kitchen opens at 5 p.m., 401-274-7177
  • Nick’s on Broadway: Earth Dinner special tasting menu, Wednesday, April 20 through Saturday, April 23, open for dinner at 5:30 p.m., 401-421-0286   UPDATE: $60 per person, exclusive of tax, beverage + gratuity. Wine Pairings available for $5 per course. Menu posted here.
  • Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro: five course prix fixe Earth Dinner special tasting menu, Thursday, April 21, $59 per person, $20 additional for wine pairings, tax and gratuity are additional, open at 5 p.m., 508-203-9463
  • Gracie’s: Earth Dinner menu, Friday, April 22, open at 5 p.m., 401-272-7811
  • New Rivers: Earth Dinner, Friday, April 22, open at 5:30 p.m., 401-751-0350
  • Tallulah on Thames: three course prix fixe Earth Dinner menu with glass of local wine, Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24, $65, open at 6 p.m., 401-849-2433
  • The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar: three course Earth Dinner with local wine pairings on Friday, April 22, reception at 6:30 p.m.; dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. $55 per person; tax and gratuity are additional, 401-846-2260

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