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Dining choices and politics!

I was not surprised when the CH Moderators recently took down a thread (about Chick-a-Fil) which had evolved into a discussion about a restaurant chain's politics. The discussion had become more about politics and less about the original post. Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, a wide range of political issues often, rightly or wrongly, influence our dining choices. I'm hoping that the moderators will not take this post down, because it raises what I think is an important issue. Among the political issues which may influence some diners are:

1) Does the restaurant source mainly from local producers, American producers, or significantly from foreign producers? This can involve products as diverse as produce, seafood, wine, etc.

2) Does the restaurant serve foie gras?

3) Does the restaurant use only sustainable fish and seafood (such as those recommended by the Monterey Bay aquarium)? See: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

4) Does the restaurant serve caviar from endangered sturgeon sources, or from countries such as Iran, Russia, etc.?

5) Does the restaurant engage in discriminatory practices (women, races, gays, etc.) or make openly discriminatory statements?

My question is, which (if any) of these or other political stances do you consider important when deciding where to dine? Or...from your perspective, is the dining experience the sole factor that influences where you eat?

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  1. 1,3. I prefer that.
    2. Glad in they do.
    4. Don't eat caviar.
    5. Hard to know...if they make disc. comments I would leave.

    I generally don't order unsustainable fish and seafood and encourage restaurants to serve local produce.

    1. Don't you mean ethics?
      Politics involves insincere self serving bureaucrats choosing which country invade next.
      Life is too short to worry about any of the ethical issues you raise. More to the point foie gras is absolutely delicious and you realy should be be buying your wine from anywhere except America.

      14 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          The OP stated "Does the restaurant source mainly from local producers, American producers, or significantly from foreign producers? This can involve products as diverse as produce, seafood, wine"

          I'm sorry but American wine doesn't appeal to me, i have tried so many over the last 30 years and it just doesn't do anything for me.

          1. re: davidne1

            You might want to keep trying! There are many American wines whose "roots" are both literally and figuratively, European...and many have indeed done extremely well in blind tastings.

            I certainly have no issue with a restaurant sourcing some of it's wines from outside of the U.S., but I like to see a balance between domestic and imported wines.

            1. re: josephnl

              and dont most european wines now have american roots anyway, since the wine blight?

            2. re: davidne1

              That's odd, since American wines regularly win in blind tastings in France. I knew a French fellow who was a wine importer in San Francisco in the 1970s who told me that American wines were already equal or superior to all but the greatest French labels. But maybe you don't like French wines either.

          2. re: davidne1

            The issue that brought this up was a posting regarding Chick Fil A's (I said Chick a Fil...shows you how often I've gone there!) widely publicized alleged advocacy for anti-gay causes. This is, I think, both a political and ethical issue. Perhaps some of the other issues I raised are more ethical than political, but the two often cross.

            1. re: josephnl

              I guess it depend which side of the political issue of homosexuality you fall to declare it a ethical issue. If those are not your morals then it has nothing to do with your ethics.

              I don't get why people are so shocked about chick fil a ,,,,they have always been pretty clear they are a religious based chain. Thats why they are closed on Sundays.

              1. re: josephnl

                I boycotted Wendy's for years (not that I ever ate there much anyway) after they pulled their ads from the TV show "Ellen" when she first came out. Foie gras, on the other hand, will pull me INTO a restaurant! The PC arguments against that are complete hogwash.

                1. re: BobB

                  bob - to you they are hogwash, just as caring about ellen's sexuality or not is hogwash to someone else

                  1. re: thew

                    Anthropomorphization of a bird not hogwash? Hey, if that's your thing...

                    No, I hear what you're saying. My opinions are those of myself alone and should not be taken to represent the views of station management.

                    1. re: BobB

                      the issue isn't anthropomorphization , but what is or is not cruelty vis a vis said bird. but the stuffed burger @ DB bistro moderne justifies all sorts of cruelty in my mind.....

              2. re: davidne1

                Davidne1,I agree with everything you say here, except the wine.

                IMO, dinner should be about dinner, and not some ego-inflating, self-serving, political "statement".

                To the self-righteous boors, who feel the need to bore me to tears with their tedious political beliefs via their politically correct food selection, I have four simple words, "Shut up and eat."

                1. re: davidne1

                  that is not really what politics means

                  1. re: thew

                    What a strange set of definitions around politics people have here. I wonder where this comes from However, definition wise, "politics" refers to collective decision making practices by and for the citizens of a place-- for the polis (the people and the city).

                    In this case, the discussion may be ethical or political or both. These ideas are not mutually exclusive (hence the creation of human rights laws, for instance ).

                2. I think the moment we turn our eating experiences into didactic exercises, we are entering the realm of the neurotic. Allowing words and mental formations to take away from and hijack the spontanaity of the experience of pleasure and enjoyment. It's quite 'American' to engage in this practice.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: arktos

                    If Chowhounds aren't going to consider these issues, who will? Don't we want the best food that is also sustainable food? We can differ on which of these issues is important to us, but to call people who discuss it "neurotic' is just plain rude.

                    1. re: arktos

                      Not sure what you mean here, Arktos, nor your declaration that governing eating with politics and ethics is somehow uniquely American. You may wish to consider, for instance, that the EU has banned the use of BGH whereas in the US, this is completely allowed. Fair Trade is most definitely an issue in Europe and certain towns have been labelled (branded) as such. Sustainable development is also a rising concern, especially around fishing and the industry.
                      Perhaps it is because so much in the US is determined through individual purchase rather than policy that the discussion seems so much more heightened to you. But make no mistake, there are many politics around European foods and Europeans participate in this discourse.

                      That said, cannot speak for some of the issues raised in the OP.

                      Also, for davidne1, who is likely not reading this: Politics simply refers to collective decision making practices by and for the citizens of a place-- for the polis (the people and the city).

                        1. re: josephnl

                          Bovine growth hormone. Stimulates milk production in cows. Some people think that it's unnatural and therefore inherently evil.

                          Europeans in general are also more up in arms about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) than Americans, for similar reasons. Though there are plenty of conspiracy theorists on both sides of the pond who think scientists are out to get them.

                          1. re: BobB

                            And some people have seen how BGH may stimulate milk production by 10% or so whilst increasing the risks of mastitis (which brings pus into milk and causes great pain to the animal) and lameness. So not so much evil because unnatural, but really undesirable for the additional pain and suffering caused through the process.

                            I appreciate that you believe some people may be over-anxious about developments, but dismissing the concerns wholesale is no better.

                        2. re: Lizard

                          Lizard, why would I not be reading this?

                          1. re: davidne1

                            Because I wasn't responding directly to you, and some people only check in when it's about or to them.

                      1. I think your question is quite thoughtful, and CHers undoubtedly run the gamut. I am still trying to find a balance, if that isn't general enough... There is wanting to support local small businesses, but what if their products are sub-par or overpriced? Wanting to protect (no matter on how small of a scale) endangered species but also wanting to enjoy oneself here and there with a beautiful, fatty piece of toro. Balancing convenience and financial constraints with the desire to support fair trade practices and preserve heirloom crops... Not wanting to know that the owners of one's beloved farm or restaurant or shop support causes in direct competition with one's personal philosophy or ethics... There is no clear cut answer, but there are a few specific incidents that spring to mind where I was largely repulsed or attracted to a business based on the alignment (or lack thereof) of its practices/politics/ethics and those of mine. The pork purveyor at a farmer's market who was loudly declaring that "all dirty [demographic] should die," with me standing right there and having bought from her for years. The business woman who only kept enough of her profits to keep a roof over her head and food on her table, with the rest of it going towards fighting domestic abuse... and whose cafe turned out the worst coffee (-ish), bacon (-esque), potatoes (-ish), and eggs (-ish) at $19 (in 2004-2006!). The ex-pat so enamored with California that he only dealt with the wines of my beloved home. The chef I knew as a friend who talked about his customers being so stupid, not realizing the difference between the advertised veal and consumed pork. Then there are the issues of larger businesses and industries with their lobbyists and undue influence on our food supply and business practices and political contributions...

                        It almost seems like too much to think about sometimes when all you're trying to do is get a pork chop for dinner or treat a friend to her favorite meal/restaurant or figure out if you should pony up extra money for the item you feel or think is best aligned to your overall view of how the world should be... In the end, though, it's quite beautiful that we can vote with our dollars, no?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: link_930

                          Thanks, link_390 for your eloquent statement. You have pretty much expressed my feelings perfectly. We shouldn't be telling others what or where they should eat, nevertheless I do feel that our individual ethical values give us both the right, and yes also the responsibility, to vote with our dollars. I object to, and disagree strongly with those who call this self-righteous, boorish or neurotic.

                          1. re: link_930

                            I couldn't have said it better. This is one of the more sane, rational answers to a topic that can easily deteriorate into an "in your face" shouting match.

                          2. None of them matter to me.

                            I go for the food.

                            If it's good. I go back.

                            If not. I don't.

                            1. As long as the food's good, I couldn't care less. Life is too short.

                              1. You're talking about ethics and "morality"

                                1- why not ... if the produces are good and come from good sources ... (america is vast and wide! who wants to have fresh california strawberries in Maine in january (for example) ); heck some ethnic restaurant source their product from across the world.

                                2- If you do not want to eat foie gras, don't eat it .

                                3- No one is against virtue. old habits are hard to break; and not all restaurant can deal we an increase in cost for sustainable fish (and/or pass the bucks to the clients)

                                4- what's wrong with Russia ? are they that bad ?

                                5- does that still happens at large ? (other than hear-say and bad-mouthers ?)

                                I don't particularly care about most of the above most of the time; if that matters to you, then just don't spend you money on them.

                                If the restaurant is serving good honest good and I'm having a good time than their job is done and I'm happy to give them my money.

                                M.

                                1. PS: I will not eat in a restaurant that serves caviar from Oklahoma.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: beevod

                                    Don't knock Oklahoma caviar if you haven't tried it! See: http://nmwally.wordpress.com/2008/08/... (not exactly oesetra, but sounds tasty)!

                                    1. re: beevod

                                      You may be kidding about caviar from Oklahoma (I am not sure) but there actually is excellent caviar from Oklahoma in the form of paddlefish caviar- the roe goes for $180-200/lb. I have personally taken paddlefish and converted the roe to caviar by salting( I got 7 lbs from my 40 lb catch). It was fine grained, mild flavored. Anyone who likes sturgeon caviar could not help but like it. The egg size is more uniform than sturgeon. Petrosian buys this stuff from the Oklahoma Fish and Game and sells it for a king' s ransom. If you were kidding about caviar from Oklahoma that is one thing, but if not, you are simply uninformed.

                                      1. re: LRunkle

                                        I was not aware of the fact that there is real caviar from Oklahoma. If you click on the link in my post it will take you to a recipe for something called "Oklahoma Caviar" which sounds tasty, but is definitely not fish eggs!

                                    2. There are bigger issues once in awhile than whether you're happy with your meal. Would child labor bother anyone or would that be fine as long as the noodles are good?

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: escondido123

                                        That's not something I check on when selecting a restaurant. Do you?

                                        1. re: DPGood

                                          My point was that some posters here seem to think that nothing matters but their happy stomach. I think there are other issues to consider, that's all.

                                        2. re: escondido123

                                          How would one be aware of that ? hear-say ? bad-mouthers ? If that (child labors) happens in the US/Canada/France/... then it would be illegal and should be prosecuted according laws in place.

                                          We are (mostly) from countries where we "support" business with our money; if you don't approve of something don't go; don't let them get your money.

                                          It has been a societal choice for some year that we want "more" for "less", and that lead us to buy cheap products (in every aspect of consumerism, not just food) from developing countries; and those countries did not conform to our "way of life", but that did not matters ... cheap products ...

                                          ...

                                          1. re: escondido123

                                            If it's legal, it's ok with me. If it's not legal, then it should be reported.

                                            1. re: Steve

                                              Steve, maybe some things that are legal shouldn't be, and other things that are illegal should be legal.

                                              1. re: DPGood

                                                True, but I'm not looking to change society with my meal. If local child labor laws are observed, I'm ok with eating there.

                                          2. I don't mix politics with food.

                                            I don't really care about sourcing.

                                            And nobody has mentioned the Seinfeld episode....!

                                            1. I guess I'd be moved one way or another by any of the above with the exception of foie gras - I don't think it's necessarily an especially brutal practice, and your average foie gras-raised duck in the US is treated FAAR better than your average chicken (especially egg layers) and many cattle. But I digress.

                                              Obviously, my eating can be swayed by politics, but the interesting question is where to draw the line. I don't necessarily need to know that the owner of every establishment I patronize is in support of the same causes I am. I just like what I'm eating to have been responsibly raised and the people serving my meal to have been treated reasonably. Beyond that....

                                              There was an interesting situation here in Pittsburgh a few years ago. I won't name the restaurant because that's not really the point, and also I don't want CH moderating this post away:

                                              So there was a place - let's call it the 'Hippy Dipper,' an ice cream shop (again obscured) that had a deliberate and obvious 1960s peace love & brotherhood vibe to it. Some people discovered that the owner had a blog (not related to the restaurant, just his own blog), and that he espoused a lot of far right wing ideology, including a lot of homophobic sentiment. Some people really kicked up a fuss, boycotted the store, told others to do the same. The owner took down his blog, but the incident was written up in the local paper, and I'm relatively sure the damage was done permanently.

                                              Now on one hand, I'm sympathetic to someone who is attacked for his private beliefs in a very public and overwhelming manner, even if I don't agree with his beliefs. Just owning a hole in the wall ice cream shop (or whatever he actually owned) doesn't seem to justify putting him in the spotlight like that.

                                              On the other hand, he seemed to very cynically capitalize off of one set of beliefs while espousing nearly the opposite. It felt like a personal betrayal of his customer base (even though surely few of them knew him personally). Does this make publicly outing his personal views fair game? I haven't been back to his shop, myself.

                                              Thoughts?

                                              3 Replies
                                                1. won't go to a restaurant that serves veal, foie gras, nor caviar.
                                                  i prefer restaurants that tend toward organic food and those that offer very interesting vegetable dishes.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    Curious about your veal statement... do you also not go to restaurants that serve lamb, or milk? I felt similar to you.. well, not that I wouldn't go to such a restaurant but I wouldn't order veal or buy it at supermarkets due to my objections with how veal was raised.

                                                    Then I met a farmer who asked me those questions, pointing out that lamb and veal aren't much different (both young animals), and that if I drink milk, I need to recognize that male calves are a natural byproduct of milk production, and can be raised humanely. If I eat beef, and if I eat lamb, not eating veal is illogical. I now buy meat from that farmer in a CSA, with deliveries once a month of beef, pork and yes, veal. Google "rose veal" if you want to know more about this type of veal.

                                                  2. Do I make ethical choices when considering restaurant selection? No, I don't.

                                                    Do I make ethical choices when considering what to eat. Yes, I do. Well, at least I try to.

                                                    I like it when a restaurant details the provenance of its food. I particularly like it when there's local (or seasonal) food involved. I particularly like it if the food is organic or free-range. I don't generally eat foie gras and would normally mention this aversion when booking a table at a place if I was going to eat a "surprise" tasting menu. I can't recall any menu mentioning a "foreign" provenance for its food but there is one country's produce that is never bought at home and would never be eaten in a restaurant. As for open discrimination, this would be illegal where I am so is unlikely to occur in way that would come to the attention of potential di

                                                    1. First of all, thank you, josephnl, for bringing up this thought-provoking topic, and for wording it in such a way it has stayed up. :>)

                                                      Yes, there are foods I do not eat because I don't care for the way they are produced or where they're from, but few people know what they are or why they are on the list. I don't refuse to patronize a eatery or store that serves/carries those items. I just don't order them out or buy them to bring home.

                                                      Yes, there are food and products I try to buy because I like the way they are produced...up to a point. Growing up in Vermont, my farmer neighbor used to say about the antiques trade, "Just 'cuz it's old don't make it valuable."

                                                      Similarly, just 'cuz it's organic, natural, Fair Trade, etc. don't mean it's better. I've had some pretty nasty all natural, organic, pesticide-free, free range preparations...and paid a premium for the privilege...once.

                                                      The ethical/political/moral beliefs of the owners can come into play if they are made obvious. I won't seek them out, but if they became public, as in the case eluded to by cowboyardee, they might factor in my patronizing them, though in all fairness, this hasn't come up.

                                                      I respect someone's reasons for not eating certain foods or patronizing certain places, but their method of communicating those abstentions is often annoying at best, but more often, self-righteous. You know who you are. You are the one who says in a loud voice, while perusing the menu, "*I* won't eat *these* barnacles. These barnacles are ripped from the bottom of tramp steamers with foreign crews. *I* only eat free range, organically grown, non-gmo, cruelty-free barnacles."

                                                      If you can explain your point of view logically, in normal tones and rationally discuss it, you may just convert me. If you get in my face, I may just order a second helping, just to pi** you off.

                                                      1. My motto: keep dogmas out of food, and in religion, where they belong....

                                                        2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                            Well, we dogs don't refuse anything (though we are supposed refuse cocoa/chocolate, onions, grapes/raisins....). It all comes out the same, and hopefully someone's there with an appropriate disposal device.....

                                                        1. 1. Don't care. Is it tasty?
                                                          2. As long as it appears on limited items on the menu, that's great!
                                                          3. Bring on the sharkfin! Actually, I don't like it, since it's pretty bad as food.
                                                          4. Don't care, as I don't eat caviar.
                                                          5. Hey, it's their business.

                                                          My focus is on the food, and that's about it. Does that make me an awful person? Quite possibly. But, I don't care. Because, to me, people that talk and play up little things like food choices are more concerned with appearing to be noble and rarely engage in more significant acts and choices, everything from simple volunteer work to donating blood.

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: ediblover

                                                            "people that talk and play up little things like food choices are more concerned with appearing to be noble and rarely engage in more significant acts and choices, everything from simple volunteer work to donating blood."
                                                            _____
                                                            That sounds suspicious. Err.. completely made up because it suits your argument.

                                                            But yes, by all means, donate blood and volunteer at worthwhile charities, people. Be nice to others. As you were.

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                              It's about the difficulties of action/giving versus the ease of inaction/denial. Another (common situation) example is people choosing to go on fad diets (requiring denial and less action) rather than exercising (requiring hard work and time).

                                                              The expected social praise from "doing good" goes back a long time. There are many good articles and such on the matter.

                                                              As for my "argument" I never made one. My stance is simply, "it's about the food." I don't need to make an argument because that's how I feel and it's pointless to justify my beliefs on this particular matter.

                                                              1. re: ediblover

                                                                I used 'argument' very loosely. I believe it was fairly clear what I meant. You don't see me arguing with everyone who said they're not swayed by politics while eating - no justification is needed.

                                                                ...Except when you claim that people who make an effort to eat ethically are dis-inclined from taking active steps toward helping others. That's ridiculous. Eating ethically and living generously is not an 'either/or' situation like those presented in the articles you vaguely refer to. The difficulties of action/giving apply just as much to people who practice self denial (I'm being generous in calling it that) in eating as to people who don't.

                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                  Thank you very much, cowboy, for addressing this overstatement.

                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                    Talk about over-thinking it. Where did I say they were mutually exclusive? I didn't. Did I generalize? Nope. In fact, I was specific in saying, "people that talk and play up little things..." If you took that and twist it, that's your thing to mean some kind of broad stroke on all, that's your thing.

                                                                    Good grief.

                                                                    1. re: ediblover

                                                                      So it's okay to apply ethics to food choice as long as you don't talk about it? Right. Come on, dude, people talk about everything. I can certainly think of as many good reasons to talk about one's ethical food choices as I can to talk smack on said choices and people who have the audacity to mention em. People talk about their ethics in eating for the same reasons they make those ethical choices in the first place - because they give a damn.

                                                                      It's not quite that I'm overthinking - it's more that your argument is so thin and flimsy (and yet you won't give it up) that I'm forced to fill in the blanks. You mentioned 'many articles and such' supporting a claim you made up. There ARE some articles and studies about the psychology of charity, and disincentives to giving. They don't apply very well to food ethics. I assumed you were referring to these, and that's where the 'mutually exclusive' comment came from. But maybe I should have asked which articles (don't respond too quick now, what with the thousands to choose from...)

                                                                      Peace out, Charlie Brown

                                                              2. re: ediblover

                                                                ediblover,

                                                                I'm with you on basically all your answers. In other words, I don't care.

                                                                But, just for the sake of discussion, lets reexamine No. 5. Would you really have no problems going to a restaurant that implicitly (because explicit discrimination is, y'know, illegal) discriminated against minorities?

                                                                Let's say you *are* one of those minorities that the restaurant discriminates against. Would you still go?

                                                                I know of at least 2 places in the South that implicitly still discriminate against certain minorities. Oh sure, they still serve them, but they make it very very clear that (1) you are not welcomed and (2) don't expect to get the same service/food as them "white folks".

                                                                Personally, I think I would have a hard time going to such a place -- be I white or black.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  know as in know first hand or know as in its the rumor?

                                                                  not being hateful ...just wonder...

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    I can give a few examples.

                                                                    I've been to plenty of "exclusive" club dining events. Said clubs exclude certain people. I didn't care.

                                                                    I like hole in the walls. I often try out some foreign one where I am the minority. Not only that, but I tend to go alone and get their by physical means (walk/bike, so I'm sweaty); talk about sticking out. Have I been singled out? You bet. Do I care? Not really. I'm there to find/eat good food.

                                                                    Just this past weekend, I ate at a mid/high range place, and my party was the minority group. Party in front of us given an outdoor/indoor seating option. We weren't. Parties next to us were given the description of the specials and whatnot. We weren't. Parties next to us were generally served faster. I shrugged it all off.

                                                                    If you want to treat me like trash, fine. Just don't serve me trash; then I'll have an issue. For all the hatred and whatever, I think it's a bit funny that the all-might-dollar still rules.

                                                                    1. re: ediblover

                                                                      I'm surprised that it's fine with you to be treated like "trash", but that is your prerogative, and I accept that. But is it fine with you to see others (a racial minority, let's say) treated like "trash"? To me, I can't imagine patronizing such a place regardless of how wonderful the food may be. To do so, IMHO would make me complicit in their unacceptable behavior.

                                                                2. I agree that this is an ethical, rather than political, position. That said, I do make choices based on my standards. Mostly, I don't eat endangered species. So no orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, or bluefin tuna for me.
                                                                  Foie gras is a little trickier, and I tend to err on the side of eating it. Same for caviar, though I can't really afford the spendy sturgeon variety, and generally end up with trout roe anyway.
                                                                  What a restaurant CEO does with their money after they feed me is their business. If Domino's made a great pizza before their head handed his money over to hateful anti-abortion orgs, I would probably still order from them on occasion. Lucky for me, their pizzas are terrible and I haven't had one in more than a decade.
                                                                  Generally speaking, I also try to avoid eating produce out of season, as it is more likely to be the product of virtual slave labor (I'm looking at you, tomatoes).

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: gilintx

                                                                    "Foie gras...I tend to err on the side of eating it."

                                                                    I err on that side too.

                                                                  2. I am the op and am very pleased at how much interesting comment has been posted in 5 days. Clearly I should have titled my post differently...perhaps "Dining choices and ethics", nevertheless the responses have been very interesting and range from essentially "If the food's good, I'll go. Don't bother me with other issues." to "if the restaurant serves veal, count me out". Interesting, but not really surprising.

                                                                    I guess I owe it to the other posters, to comment on where I stand, and I guess it's sort of in the middle.

                                                                    1) I like to see restaurants source locally whenever possible, but not necessarily exclusively. I live in southern California and although we have local mussels (from Carlsbad, CA), I definitely prefer those from Prince Edward Island. Although I love many California wines, I also regularly drink pinot noir from Oregon, and often enjoy a sauvignon bland from New Zealand, a burgundy from France, a brunello from Italy, etc.

                                                                    2) I do enjoy foie gras and although I'm not thrilled with how it may be produced, I do eat it on occasion and do not boycott restaurants that serve it (yep, I too can be a bit hypocritical at times).

                                                                    3) I definitely prefer going to restaurants that serve sustainable seafood and consider it a real plus when a seafood restaurant indicates compliance with the recommendations of marine biologists at major aquariums.

                                                                    4) I rarely have caviar and have no problem ordering Russian caviar. I don't know if Iranian caviar is available in the U.S., but I have seen it in Europe, and would try to avoid any restaurant supporting the Iranian economy.

                                                                    5) Of course blatant discriminatory practices are generally unlawful, nevertheless there have been a few times when I was definitely convinced by press, personal observation and/or the experience of close acquaintances that a restaurant discriminated. I would not go to such an establishment, regardless of how terrific the food may be.

                                                                    On the other side of this coin, are those restaurants (or other businesses for that matter) that are extraordinarily socially conscious or generous. I am thinking about one Italian restaurant in southern California that donates many more meals to the poor than they sell to patrons. Although I'm not especially fond of their food, I'll still go there occasionally because I like supporting that kind of a business.

                                                                    Thanks everyone for your contributions to what I think has been an interesting discussion.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                      Thanks for this thread and for waiting a while before posting your views. I think the way you worded your OP in the neutral form that you did contributed to the (mostly) civil discussion that followed. It otherwise may have just deteriorated into an unwarranted "josephnl bashing."

                                                                    2. It's hard to find a seafood place in Florida that doesn't have offerings on the Avoid lists for 3), in most cases multiple, multiple species in the red. And given how tightly the US fisheries for grouper, snapper, pompano, etc. are managed in state and federal waters, I've got no problem eating those sorts of fish caught in proper season for the species. There's been far more debate on the state of grouper fishieries around here than you can fit on a dozen wallet cards, and I feel like I'm making an informed consumer when I have a nice grouper sandwich from a reputable fish restaurant.