At the chic Restaurant Nora, diners routinely extol the cuisine — as much over its fabulous flavor as the fact that it is almost 100 percent organic. It's fitting that the only certified organic eatery in the country resides in the heart of Washington, D.C., a hotbed of environmental activists and national policymakers who are surely influenced by this delicious — and healthy — food.

At Nora's, food and politics blend. Just reading the menu's manifesto on turtle-safe shrimp, Amish free-range chicken, saving the swordfish and shade-grown coffee raises your environmental IQ. Just ask regulars Janet Reno, Donna Shalala and scores of senators. Even President Clinton has dined at Restaurant Nora — twice.

On the wall hangs a framed document from organic certifier Oregon Tilth vouching for Restaurant Nora's all-natural reputation. Chef/owner Nora Pouillon is excited about the day she can add a USDA "certified organic" seal to her display.

Pouillon's commitment to organic cooking began 30 years ago because of her concerns over the environment and chemical-laden food. Today, hungry customers flock to her restaurant because of its organic certification and because the cuisine is both wholesome and elegant. "So many people are now aware of the quality of our food, including issues about hormones in meat and genetic manipulation of soybeans and corn," she says. "People come here to eat clean food that's healthy, seasonally produced and not bioengineered."

— L.K.