5 Dining Resolutions for a Better, Healthier, More Delicious 2021

After a particularly long and dismal 2020, let's make the next year count, shall we?

Eat your veggies | Photography by Trevor Dixon; styling by Kelsi Windmiller

Around this time each year, we put together a list of dining resolutions. With age comes wisdom, ya know? We learn about predatory delivery apps one year; we resolve to be more intentional with our takeout decisions the next. We discovered (finally) how great some Pennsylvania wineries are, so we made 2020 the Year of Buying More Local Wine. Now, after another year lived (endured?), we have all sorts of vows to add to our list. Here are a few to get you started.

south philly timeline

Photo by Claudia Gavin

Give up the cheap meat (if you can).

We saw what the COVID did to the meat industry in America. We read about it in the Times. We saw it with our own eyes, in the form of supply shortages at our local grocery stores, or maybe we watched one of the many Netflix documentaries about factory farming when we were stuck at home with nothing else to do but watch documentaries on Netflix. In the end, there’s only one conclusion you could possibly come to: If you can, eat the right meat — and only the right meat. The “right meat” in Philly comes from our local farmers markets and co-ops and Primal Supply Meats.

Eat more vegetables.

In 2018, a team of scientists got together and pulled off “the most comprehensive analysis of the damage farming does to the planet to date,” according to the Guardian. In it, they concluded that the “single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet” is avoiding meat and dairy altogether. Yes, fighting climate change starts on your plate. In 2020 alone, more than 9,000 fires have burned over 4 million acres of land in California. If that’s not enough incentive to eat more vegetables

The dining room at Little Fish | Photo by Ted Nghiem

Eat at the BYOB you kept meaning to go to.

Though the pandemic has been hard on literally all restaurants, there is a sort of pecking order to which businesses have the highest chance of survival. And all the way at the bottom of that list are our beloved BYOBs, the chef-owned, high-end dining rooms that don’t have the added luxury of a liquor license to help cushion their crash landing. So when we’re allowed back inside restaurants, make sure some BYOBs are at the top of your list. Otherwise, they may go extinct.

Continue to support the new pop-ups and markets

Aside from all the atrocities (which, yes, is a big aside), this year reminded me a little bit of 2010-2015 era of Philly dining, when the city was teeming with pop-ups and new food businesses. It was a really exciting time, because we — the entrepreneurs, the chefs, and the media — all knew that we were on the verge of something really great. Of course, this year, many of the pop-ups and pivots and lightning-in-a-bottle food businesses that made waves were born of survival, but still, there are some really amazing food and drink things happening in this city right now. Don’t let them go away.

Get a moka pot.

Buying a moka pot was the best decision I made in 2020. I want it to be the best decision you’ll make in 2021.