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Is bottled water tapped out?

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Restaurant-goers no longer need to feel like cheapskates when responding to a server's "Sparkling or still?" with an awkward, "How about tap?": The faucet is hip again.

Twin Cities restaurants are joining nationwide efforts to eschew unenvironmental bottled water in lieu of tap through a campaign called Think Outside the Bottle,

which reports that producing bottles for the US bottled water market required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil last year--that's enough fuel for 1 million US cars for a year. Plastic water bottle production generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide last year and when bottles aren't recycled, more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter.

I'm all for drinking tap water in lieu of wasteful bottled, with one caveat. When I dined at an upscale restaurant in downtown Minneapolis recently, the tap tasted so fishy, probably due to spring run-off that I switched to bottled..and felt like a total ass about it.

Think Outside the Bottle participating restaurants: Annie's Parlour Barbette Birchwood Cafe Bryant Lake Bowl Common Roots Cafe Ecopolitan Egg & I Kafe 421 Kitty Cat Klub Sunny Side Up Cafe Red Stag Supperclub Restaurant Alma Sapor Cafe The Lexington Cafe Amore