Friday, March 3, 2017
Taste of Blue Zones event benefits local schools

by David Mendez, Easy Reader News

The Manhattan Beach Civic Center will be chock-full of food on Sunday, as 23 restaurants from Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach will join together for local schools. 

Taste of Blue Zones, a foodie festival organized by the Beach Cities Health District, aims to give Beach Cities citizens an idea of the food variety possible at its participating Blue Zones Restaurants. Fare available for sampling ranges from the chef-driven Darren’s to quick casual sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s. All proceeds will benefit the Manhattan, Redondo and Hermosa Beach education foundations.

“It’s a great way to raise money for the ed foundations,” said BCHD spokesman Eric Garner. “It’s also a community coming together to celebrate the network of health we’re seeing in our restaurants.”

More than 130 restaurants in the Beach Cities now participate in the BCHD Blue Zones Restaurant program. To participate, a restaurant must optimize itself to make healthy choices easier for customers. 

“Dan Buettner always said that one of his greatest victories was getting Eat at Joe’s to be the first to join the program,” Garner said, referring to Blue Zones founder Buettner as well as the Redondo Beach diner institution.

“We’ve got a really nice array of our restaurants, from the fancy to the family-style,” said Blue Zones Project Director Lauren Nakano. “It’s going to be an eclectic, fun way to try a bunch of different types of dishes.”

Many of the menu items scheduled to be on offer are Blue Zones-approved veggie, fruit and fish-forward dishes, such as the poke on brown rice from Jus Poke, or the ceviche and smoked fish from Captain Kidd’s. But Locale 90 Pizzeria will also have its clay oven on site to cook fresh pies.

All of the businesses involved are donating their time and resources to the event, Garner said. 

“Private businesses are seeing themselves as cogs in the community, and wanting to get involved,” he said. “It goes to show that it’s not all about getting money, but about being community partners.”

Farnaz Fletcher, executive director of the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, expressed gratitude for BCHD’s support.  “It’s tremendous, both that they allocate funds to the foundations, but also the support they provide for social and emotional health through the districts,” she said.

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