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Still Ordering Bottled Water?


Anna Blume
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Listening to All Things Considered Tonight, I heard an interview with the general manager of Chez Panisse who explained that the restaurant decided to serve its patrons local water instead of the imported Italian stuff once offered as an alternative.

The explanation seemed a reflection of the long-standing friendship of Alice Waters and Michael Pollan and shared thoughts about the environmental impact of bottling and shipping all that water from far away when there is a perfectly good supply coming out of the faucet.

The restaurant even installed a carbonation machine (!) to satisfy those who prefer their aqua con gas.

Do you think restaurants in the area will follow suit with our troubled waters? Or is this just a California thing?

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I order sparkling mineral water at restaurants mostly because I tend to notice (and greatly dislike) chlorine in my water.

I also like the feel and taste of good mineral water.

It may be irrational, but I also believe that bottled water is "safer" than tap water. I may be hemorrhaging money unnecessarily, but my eyes are wide open, I know what the restaurant is making off of my water purchases. It doesn't matter to me.

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I order bottled water in DC because the EPA now reports that 90% of DC water falls below the lead action line, and they don't bother to tell us where the 10% is. See http://www.epa.gov/dclead. I'm not really cool with a 10% chance of too much lead in the water. I would prefer to take a 90% chance of throwing my money down the toilet by drinking bottled water.

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I suggest everyone follow my lead and begin printing your own money on tiny pieces of paper. This will avoid the environmental impact of the US Treasury hauling trillions in cash all over the country and save a lot of trees as you print your own bills on postage-stamp sized recycled paper. I've yet to encounter a restaurant that will accept my Dente-Dollars as payment, but maybe if we all band together this will become a common accepted practice.

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I suggest everyone follow my lead and begin printing your own money on tiny pieces of paper. This will avoid the environmental impact of the US Treasury hauling trillions in cash all over the country and save a lot of trees as you print your own bills on postage-stamp sized recycled paper.
Laudable as your project may otherwise be, it won't save any trees, as the paper used in US paper currency is made of cotton and linen.
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The explanation seemed a reflection of the long-standing friendship of Alice Waters and Michael Pollan and shared thoughts about the environmental impact of bottling and shipping all that water from far away when there is a perfectly good supply coming out of the faucet.

Unfortunately, there is a sharp contrast between eating local food and drinking local water.

Apples from Chile, bananas from Ecuador, and meat from across the country not only negatively impact the environment, but are of far worse quality than what you can get locally.

Water from the Alps tastes much better (to me, and probably to most) and is more healthful (minerals v. chlorine anyone?) than any local bottled water I've tried.

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Listening to All Things Considered Tonight, I heard an interview with the general manager of Chez Panisse who explained that the restaurant decided to serve its patrons local water instead of the imported Italian stuff once offered as an alternative.

The explanation seemed a reflection of the long-standing friendship of Alice Waters and Michael Pollan and shared thoughts about the environmental impact of bottling and shipping all that water from far away when there is a perfectly good supply coming out of the faucet.

The restaurant even installed a carbonation machine (!) to satisfy those who prefer their aqua con gas.

Do you think restaurants in the area will follow suit with our troubled waters? Or is this just a California thing?

I think it all depends on which city water you're drinking. We have all been duped going all the way back to the Perrier explosion. Is it really worth ordering a "natural spring" water that for the most part is a hoax and spending $8-$10? In New York, the consumption of bottled water in restaurants is astounding yet its tap water is rated as one of the best in the country. In fact, at one time in the late 70's, Macy's was bottling our city's tap water and selling it from its shelves. I applaud Chez Panisse for starting hopefully an alternative from all these years of pretending that only bottled water is fit for consumption. Merci bien!!!

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Unfortunately, there is a sharp contrast between eating local food and drinking local water.

Apples from Chile, bananas from Ecuador, and meat from across the country not only negatively impact the environment, but are of far worse quality than what you can get locally.

Water from the Alps tastes much better (to me, and probably to most) and is more healthful (minerals v. chlorine anyone?) than any local bottled water I've tried.

Sadly, the locally grown bananas available here in DC are substandard. The Shenandoah Valley grapefruits kinda suck, too. Don't forget the mangoes.

And I'm unclear why Chilean apples are worse for the environment than the Pennsylvania (fresh Nittany's, anone?) kind, though I agree that they are general the worse for having travelled transcontinentally.

I wonder what Alice could do for the environment if she served bottled water, but refused service to anyone who drove up to the restaurant in an SUV?

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QUOTE(Manguito @ Mar 23 2007, 06:02 PM) *

Unfortunately, there is a sharp contrast between eating local food and drinking local water.

Apples from Chile, bananas from Ecuador, and meat from across the country not only negatively impact the environment, but are of far worse quality than what you can get locally.

Water from the Alps tastes much better (to me, and probably to most) and is more healthful (minerals v. chlorine anyone?) than any local bottled water I've tried.

Sadly, the locally grown bananas available here in DC are substandard. The Shenandoah Valley grapefruits kinda suck, too. Don't forget the mangoes.

And I'm unclear why Chilean apples are worse for the environment than the Pennsylvania (fresh Nittany's, anone?) kind, though I agree that they are general the worse for having travelled transcontinentally.

I wonder what Alice could do for the environment if she served bottled water, but refused service to anyone who drove up to the restaurant in an SUV?

When I read the first two paragraphs of Manguito's post, I assumed it was tongue in cheek. But then the third left me wondering. In any case, I have little doubt there are many enviro/local-dodos who actually are that clueless but nonetheless feel qualified to make sweeping pronouncements on food quality, and other subjects. Of course, this does not include me :o

BTW, Chilean apples really are no worse for wear by traveling than (most of) those grown more locally. The vast majority of fresh apples are cold-stored for at least some time before being sent to market, and the apple is really indifferent whether it is being stored in a warehouse or (for maybe two weeks) at the same temperature in a refrigerated ocean container while making the trip up here. All bananas of course are making the refer container trip.

Excuse me I have to hop in my SUV and go find something to eat.

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When I read the first two paragraphs of Manguito's post, I assumed it was tongue in cheek. But then the third left me wondering. In any case, I have little doubt there are many enviro/local-dodos who actually are that clueless but nonetheless feel qualified to make sweeping pronouncements on food quality, and other subjects. Of course, this does not include me :o

BTW, Chilean apples really are no worse for wear by traveling than (most of) those grown more locally. The vast majority of fresh apples are cold-stored for at least some time before being sent to market, and the apple is really indifferent whether it is being stored in a warehouse or (for maybe two weeks) at the same temperature in a refrigerated ocean container while making the trip up here. All bananas of course are making the refer container trip.

Excuse me I have to hop in my SUV and go find something to eat.

About this time of year the market apples are surely stored as long in their respective warehouses as the Chilean apples have in the hold of their supertankers or whatever, but I think win out for having been of better quality in the first place. As to what the Safeway or even WF is selling (local or Chilean) I can't tell the difference and don't much care, though they'll do in a pinch. Apples actually store so well (comparatively) that there's always a moment of revelation for me in late August when, after nine months of decent-tasting apples from wherever, the first real, fresh ones come to the market. Oneof those "holy shit!" moments, in the best sense.

Essay question: If person A drives his or her Hummer 30 miles to eat at a "sustainable/local/organic" restaurant and Person B walks to a "death to the rain forests, we need our beef" McDonald's, who does more environmental damage?

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...enviro/local-dodos who actually are that clueless but nonetheless feel qualified to make sweeping pronouncements on food quality, and other subjects...

Shall I post my resume...or will a list of my personal qualifications suffice?

Or, maybe we could just continue discussing our opinions on bottled water...

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About this time of year the market apples are surely stored as long in their respective warehouses as the Chilean apples have in the hold of their supertankers or whatever, but I think win out for having been of better quality in the first place. As to what the Safeway or even WF is selling (local or Chilean) I can't tell the difference and don't much care, though they'll do in a pinch. Apples actually store so well (comparatively) that there's always a moment of revelation for me in late August when, after nine months of decent-tasting apples from wherever, the first real, fresh ones come to the market. Oneof those "holy shit!" moments, in the best sense.

Essay question: If person A drives his or her Hummer 30 miles to eat at a "sustainable/local/organic" restaurant and Person B walks to a "death to the rain forests, we need our beef" McDonald's, who does more environmental damage?

I'm not prepared to concede that a Chilean apple can't be just as good in March as a local one is in September, but I'll guess the seasons insure we'll never be able to do a side-by-side of that one. Admittedly, it is possible to taste a local one right off the tree, at least in August and Sept., while the Chilean ones in February and March (eaten up here) are guaranteed to be off the tree for at least two-three weeks. But they've got to be better than those that have been in cold storage for 5-6 months, n'est pas?

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What's with these Chilean apples everyone is rattling on about? Almost all the apples I see in the supermarkets come from either Washington state or New Zealand, and that's true all year long. Even at supermarkets in the Shenandoah valley in October.

To keep on-topic, what ever happened to Quibell water from West Virginia? I never see it any more. The idea of importing drinking water from Europe is just mind-boggling.

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What's with these Chilean apples everyone is rattling on about? Almost all the apples I see in the supermarkets come from either Washington state or New Zealand, and that's true all year long. Even at supermarkets in the Shenandoah valley in October.

To keep on-topic, what ever happened to Quibell water from West Virginia? I never see it any more. The idea of importing drinking water from Europe is just mind-boggling.

I've never seen Quibell water, but would probably drink it were it offered to me in a restaurant. While I generally prefer the taste of Evian to most other water, when I am really thirsty I just want a glass of water, period.

Perhaps those restaurants touting their dedication to local food could offer locally bottled mineral water.

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I've just been informed by someone who heard this story that Chez Panisse is essentially putting themselves out of the water business. All their "L'eau du tap" is free.

In the NPR piece, their GM said that their decision to stop selling bottled water basically results in a wash, financially, for them. Any profit from bottled water was offset by the amount of water they gave away to regulars, VIPs, etc.

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Ahh, time for a "local" SF guy to chip in.

1. The Hummers go to In-and-Out burger and Starbucks, all the hipsters drive Prius's or other Hybrids and go to trendy places like Pete's coffee; the people drinking bottled water are driving BMW's & Audis....so like d'uh..European car, European water, totally.. B)

2. Our tap water is mostly via Aquaduct from the Sierra Mountains, so just like NYC, our tap water is very clean and not at all chemically, but out dogs in doggie parks must bring their own bottled water (to be enforced...no...seriously...the board of supervisors are trying to make it a law...might just be a crazy rumor, but then again...) :P

3. We drink bottled wine with dinner, water is just a nusiance :lol:

4. The people consuming the majority of bottled water (in almost any restaurnat) are the chefs, cooks, waiters, managers and bartenders :o

5. The customers prob. got charged for their first bottle, ther rest were gratis :D

6. Seriously, I have never worked in a city where people buy fewer bottles of water in restaurants, and most of them are tourists, so maybe they aren't losing that much money anyway... :)

7. Actually, I wonder what kind of cars they drive at the CP anyway...? :o

Dave Batista

"People's Republic of San Francisco"

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Oh, that is too bad. That was some of the best bottled water I ever had, and it was nice that it was more or less local. That wacky bottle was really cool too.
It's not just the water, it is the bottle in which it is packaged that negatively affects the environment.

Also, although tap water is often held to higher purity standrads than bottled water, some cities, like DC, always seem to have a problem with the water supply for various reasons (usually an aging system). If the water supply is fine, then tap is fine; but I filter the water I drink at home in DC and Miami, and all the restaurant has to do is install a filter to serve tap as well.

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It's not just the water, it is the bottle in which it is packaged that negatively affects the environment.

Also, although tap water is often held to higher purity standrads than bottled water, some cities, like DC, always seem to have a problem with the water supply for various reasons (usually an aging system). If the water supply is fine, then tap is fine; but I filter the water I drink at home in DC and Miami, and all the restaurant has to do is install a filter to serve tap as well.

Check this out www.biotaspringwater.com
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Essay question: If person A drives his or her Hummer 30 miles to eat at a "sustainable/local/organic" restaurant and Person B walks to a "death to the rain forests, we need our beef" McDonald's, who does more environmental damage?
Do women own Hummers? Don't Hummer owners prefer McDonald's?

Is Person B is of formidible weight and stature and wearing shoes with cleats?

* * *

I wonder what the cost to profit ratio is on the sale of bottled waters at major supermarket chains.

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Do women own Hummers? Don't Hummer owners prefer McDonald's?

Is Person B is of formidible weight and stature and wearing shoes with cleats?

* * *

I wonder what the cost to profit ratio is on the sale of bottled waters at major supermarket chains.

Dunno, but I bet it costs a lot more to ship it than to get the water.
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I rarely, if ever, order bottled water at a restaurant (or at home or work). Filtered tap water is just fine for me in all of those instances.  Of course, if I am out and unprepared, on in need of water refreshment and the only option is bottled water, you buy it. But that is a rarity for me.

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On 3/23/2007 at 5:09 AM, porcupine said:

When I heard that piece, my reaction was "finally - thank God." I mean, really, shipping and trucking water halfway across the world?! What's next - designer air? (yes, I know about oxygen bars)

You're a woman before your time, porcupine (also available in strawberry, root beer, and grape flavors).

One thing I don't understand is that they capture "the same air that hangs on the crisp Rocky Mountains." Have you ever tried to do anything exerting high up on a mountain? You'll be sucking wind in half the time you would at sea level.

[Housewife from the 50s (the 2050s) talking to her guest]

"May I offer you a whiff?"

"It's been a long day - I'd love a couple snoots of Rocky Mountain Air with a Strawberry Oxygen chaser."

We really need to focus our nation's resources, and develop the Orgasmatron with the same urgency we displayed in beating the Soviet Union to the Moon.

No, Pool Boy, not the Motörhead album. Admit it, you're impressed with the umlaut.

1 hour ago, Pool Boy said:

I rarely, if ever, order bottled water at a restaurant (or at home or work). Filtered tap water is just fine for me in all of those instances.  Of course, if I am out and unprepared, on in need of water refreshment and the only option is bottled water, you buy it. But that is a rarity for me.

This is ultra-nitpick, but theoretically (and also in practice), ice-cold water temporarily numbs your palate, and diminishes a small percentage of the overall flavor. 

The same in reverse with hot tea - it isn't so much that the accompanying food will be muted, but the tea itself.

If you want the maximum flavor on your palate, most beverages should be served just below room temperature. Again, this is ultra-nitpick and I'll shut up now.

(I actually only posted this because Pool Boy's post had been relegated to the previous page.)

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