I am a fan of the Paleo Diet (with some occasional Weston A. Price modifications). I’m a fan of sustainable and locally grown produce and the humane treatment of animals. I think it was Wendell Berry who said that, “Eating is an agricultural act.” I am also fascinated by the potential of social media.
A couple of nights ago I was introduced to a fascinating and ethnically diverse mix of healthy eating, social responsibility, fast food, and social media. It came in the package of a new restaurant - 4Food. Their mission “is to De-junk fast food.” The center piece of the menu is the (W)holeburger – a donut-shaped burger made out of either beef, lamb, pork, salmon, turkey, or vegetable. There are many vegetable options that can be scooped into the center and this is then sealed off by options like Daikon Radish or Kimchi. There are several types of buns, including one that is made out of rice for those who have a gluten sensitivity. If you are avoiding grains altogether, you can have a kebab made out of any of the “donut” centers.
The only potential negative I can see is that the combinations can be be mind-numbing. After sampling the salmon, lamb, beef, along with some root vegetables, hominy salad, and brussel sprouts, I know that next time, I will need to go in with a plan. The combinations tasted like the winning creations in some Food Network Top Chef challenge where the competitors were given the charge: “think Golden Arches meets farmer’s market.” Twitter streaming and the use of ipads are part of the ordering experience.
Located at 286 Madison Avenue (the corner of 40th street), the place has a clean, open look. Stainless steel, IPad ordering, and technology sceeens combine with the 140 million burger combinations.
The food is locally-sourced, the serving materials are all compostable, and they are committed to hiring displaced workers. The confluence of technology and mindful dining make 4food a great classroom for children of all ages.
For me, the place represents possibility, choice, community, and fresh, good-tasting food. I now have a “go-to” place for my Meetup group and my children’s birthdays. I also have somewhere to get fast food when I want to feel like a smarter, more responsible gourmand. Let’s hope they plan to share the secret.