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1 8 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t THESE DAYS, IT SEEMS THAT THE WORD "SUSTAINABLE" gets bandied about as often as a birdie at a bad- minton tournament. But as concepts go, sustainability is probably a more important trend than, say, molecular gastronomy. All along the supply chain—from farmers of the land and sea to chefs and restaurateurs, and eventually to guests and consumers—people are realizing the importance of encouraging and cultivating a system of propagation that is beneficial not only to the end of the chain, but to the environment as well. It helps if the idea of sustainability comes with a side of tasty food, too. Wexler's Deli in Los Angeles strikes the balance between the concept of sustainability and the execution of deliciousness. Opened in 2014 in Downtown Los Angeles's Grand Central Market, Wexler's Deli leans into tradition, of- fering deli favorites such as house-cured and -smoked corned beef, pastrami and lox, as well as fresh baked breads, bagels and housemade condiments. While this keeps the lines long and guests coming back for sec- onds, it is the caviar and sturgeon program that reveals the restaurant's dedication to renewable aquaculture. "In terms of seafood and caviar, aquaculture often gets a bad rap," explains Chef Micah Wexler, who owns (and gives his name to) Wexler's Deli. "But when it's done right, it's sustainable and has a low environmental impact. It's also very necessary—along with fisheries management—if we are going to save our oceans." Wexler adds another idea into the mix, one that is less spoken but just as important: preservation. Teaming up with Black River Caviar in Uruguay, Wexler has upped the ante, setting the standard for how to source this delicacy responsibly. "Black River Caviar has a second-to-none focus on sustainability and preservation of the sturgeon species," notes Wexler. "They were the first to produce aquaculture sturgeon in the Southern Hemisphere, and they consistently generate a masterful product, all while constantly striving to make each harvest better by using the latest innovative technology and seeking to improve every aspect of cultivation." Through this partnership, Wexler's offers two varieties of caviar from Black River Caviar Company: Siberian, with a firm, distinct texture and palate that is subtly buttery with a slight hint of dried fruit, and Osciestra, which is golden brown and creamy with a touch of nuttiness. "The Río Negro River possesses excellent properties for sturgeon breeding," explains Wexler. "The Baygorria Dam, where their plant is located, stands on basaltic soil, free of contaminants and pollution, making it a completely natural area." This provenance gives Black River caviar qualitative benefits much like terroir does for wine. "We have a responsibility as a restaurant to give people good, healthful food to put in their body," explains Wexler. "So many people today want to know where their food comes from and what went into it, so we really strive to create a space where we've done all the work and made the right choices so that our guests can just eat and enjoy." CHEF MICAH WEXLER SERVES UP SUSTAINABLITY WITH A SIDE OF DELI-CIOUS AT WEXLER'S DELI by Karen Moneymaker Wexler's offers two varieties of caviar through their part- nership with the Black River Caviar Company in Uruguay: Siberian and Osciestra. SOURCING Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Micah Wexler brings tradition and responsibly sourced seafood together at Wexler's Deli. PHOTO: MARC FLAMM PHOTO: COURTESY OF WEXLER'S DELI Caviar Dreams ■cr

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