Dr D’Brant’s Healthiest Meal on Long Island: Quetzalcoatl
The more we discover about the foods we consume, the more important eating organic becomes. Take, for example, the chemical pesticide DDT; though it hasn’t been used to treat crops for 30-40 years, Dr. D’Brant explains that there is still “not a piece of beef” that isn’t contaminated with it today. Strong chemicals like DDT remain in the ground for centuries, making its way to cows by way of the grass they are given in conventional feeding methods, and eventually into our systems. Here’s a scary fact: According to Dr. D’Brant, “287 chemicals are found in the umbilical blood of the average newborn—217 of which are considered neurotoxic!” Not only are organic foods more nutritious, pure, and tasty, they are also free of harmful chemicals, as well as shelf-life enhancing irradiation and genetic modifications (nonGMO), of which the long-term health consequences have yet to be determined.
Gonzalez is working to have organic items on the menu by the summer. He says, “The plan is, if we can, to have 100% organic from the oil to the chicken.” Due to expense, he will start by offering an organic menu two to three days a week, then, gauging the customer response, will take it from there. He will be purchasing all food from local organic farms on Long Island. To help promote a better understanding of this important shift in ingredients, Dr. D’Brant has provided a list of benefits of eating organically that will be posted in the restaurant and provided to patrons.
Gonzalez gained a taste for authentic Mexican cuisine at a young age. His father, a mechanical engineer, would travel across Mexico to design and build machines in sugar factories, where the workers would show him the best foods in town. When Gonzalez would visit his father as a teenager, he recalls tasting what he describes as some of the greatest foods in Mexico and listening in on conversations where the local women would reveal recipes and kitchen secrets. “I never thought that I would become a chef, but I learned a lot about cuisine,” he remembers, “and like my father, I like to cook.” Gonzalez’s experience with Mexican food in America would prove to be a pivotal revelation. “When I came to the United States, you can imagine my disappointment when I went to Mexican restaurants. That is the reason I opened my own.”
With a Mesoamerican temple-like feel, Quetzalcoatl’s dining room gives off a sense of culture. “You’ll see we don’t have sombreros and things like that,” Gonzalez notes. “It is deeper in our roots; it is more native than most restaurants.” Just as in the atmosphere, the menu is a direct translation of the heart of Mexico, a civilization so entwined with food, that the two are almost one in the same. “Food is the main thing for us in our culture,” says Gonzalez, “the ingredients…the preparation…the time we spend on that.” Gonzalez speaks of Mexican cuisine with passion and bottomless understanding. He enthusiastically shares his knowledge, all the while stressing the influence of history on modern Mexican fare. The healthful ingredients, natural cooking methods, and freshness encompassed on the Quetzalcoatl menu are all a reflection of Mexico’s storied past.
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