Area 31 Chef John Critchley Loves The Dolphins

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Yes, this post is full of Dolphin pictures, but first:

Chef John Critchley has made a strong impact on the local dining scene since joining up with Kimpton Hotel Group to head up all food operations at The Epic Hotel in downtown Miami. Area 31 was recently named an Esquire Magazine Best New Restaurant 2009, not to mention three Best Of's in the New Times.

Area 31 is committed to sustainable

seafood. The name comes from the United Nations designation for

the fishing area from which the restaurant draws its catch: the

Southeast Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and

South America's northeast coast. All of Area 31's fish are short line

caught or farmed in sustainable waters.

The restaurant is also monetarily committed to eco-friendly business practices. They have a daily prix-fixe, five-course Sustainable Seafood menu for $50 with items like Smoked Kingfish Croquettes, Whitewater Clams, and Seared Texas Redfish (menu changes based on catch) that includes a glass of organic wine, and a portion of whose profits go directly to the Marine Mammal Conservancy of the Florida Keys.

This past Friday, Chef Critchley presented the first check from menu proceeds to the MMC. Short Order was there with our camera. Remember, supporting the Area 31 Sustainable Seafood menu means supporting the protection of marine mammals and their habitats through research, rescue, rehab, release and education.

Chef Critchley toured of the Marine Mammal Conservancy's property, presented a $2,000 check ("Next time, we want it to be $10,000"), and was treated to a live dolphin experience at Dolphins Plus, an organization with whom the MMC works closely.

Here are some pictures from the experience.

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