Free-range, non-commodity restaurants in San Diego
After watching Food, Inc. I completely reformed the way I eat. I'm now looking at organic, free-range foods and have switched to being vegetarian completely. I do want to start eating meat again, but want to make better educated decisions about what I eat.
What are recommendations in San Diego for good, local high quality ingredients, focus on sustainable foods, organic, cage-free, farm-raised foods?
I'm looking to hear your recommendations on the best available here in SD. I live in Hillcrest but I'm open to drive wherever.
Linkery is one obvious first starting point (also look through Jay's blog) and also the restaurant which follows this philosphy most in San Diego. There are a lot of restaurants which use now for some (not all) of their dishes frrom time to time organic/free-range meat. It might be good to check online menus before going to a restaurant or just give them a call since dishes can change often or the availablity of different meats.
San Diego is pretty short on this kind of place, I'm afraid. Linkery is really the only game in town if that's what you're after. Burger Lounge, Farnhouse Cafe, Toronado, and Small Bar serve burgers made with Tallgrass grass-fed beef. Whole Foods market in Hillcrest and La Jolla carry organic and pastured beef, pork, and poultry. At the farmer's market on Saturday in Little Italy you can get pastured meat raised locally by Da Le Ranch, though you have to ask him specifically what he has that day - some of the beef they sell is grain-fed. Homegrown Meats in La Jolla carries beef raised on Palomar Mountain on grass, but they also sell some USDA Prime, so again, caveat emptor. Lastly, Curtis Womach sells pasture-raised chickens at the Hillcrest farmer's market on Sundays.
Oh, and you should definitely check out People's Co-Op in Ocean Beach for the best organic produce in town. They also sell cage-free, fertile eggs which are quite tasty.
Mama Testa's taco shop uses free-range meat and organic ingredients when possible (according to the menu and interviews the owner has done)
CuppySD-- a suggestion: patronize your great Sunday morning Farmer's Market in Hillcrest, and ask the farmers there who they supply. A few I know-- La Milpa, Schaner Farms, Sage Mountain-- will tell you which restaurants they sell most to. They are great resources. Oh, AND if you can find a copy of Edible San Diego (does it still exist? I just picked up a copy of Edible Austin while in Texas for Christmas. . .) they have terrific articles about restaurants and farmers.