In New York, it seems there are at least 20 new restaurants that open each week. It’s always been one of the most thriving industries of this city. Recession, smeshion, it’s not going to stop us from gobbling up pork belly and glorified pizza. And while I love to eat out as much as the next lazy New Yorker, the tab starts to add up fast. So it was with great relief when my friend told me about the Organic Soul Cafe.
Every Tuesday night , a group of natural food enthusiasts are led by Annette Averette, cook up a multi-course meal using farm fresh ingredients. Averette, who helps run the Sixth Street Community Center where the cafe is located, wanted to put her CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares to use and transform them into healthy dinners at an affordable price.
If you’re unfamiliar with CSA, it’s essentially a partnership with local farms where you can pay a fee and pick up your own personal supply of organic farmed vegetables each week. The soul cafe gets all their ingredients from Hepworth Farm in upstate New York and fresh salmon from a fishery in Cordova, Alaska. It’s a pretty amazing deal considering for $11, you get soup or salad and four vegetarian dishes.
Highlights includes cooked kale with raisins, stuffed grape leaves, and sauteed quinoa with broccoli, onions and peppers. For the less diet-strict or animal lovers (and by lovers I mean love to eat them), you can pay $15 for all the same veggie dishes and a hearty helping of Alaskan salmon. Did I mention it was BYOB as well? It reminds me of the old “Sunday Supper” idea where firehouses or churches would cook up some crazy big dinner to raise money. But this is way better because you get less creepy casseroles, no preaching and booze! While it’s not some trendy restaurant, there’s something to be said about the satisfaction of eating a home cooked meal.
For those who are low on cash but still love natural food, you can sign-up to volunteer in the kitchen and get dinner on the house. Cooking skills are obviously a bonus, and my friend said it was a great opportunity to pick up some tips on cooking vegetables in new and inventive ways. I’m sure this goes way beyond my “trick” of just adding salt to everything. The menu changes constantly due to what’s in season, and they even do screenings of movies like Food Inc. It’s great for people like me who’s idea of soul food is limited to double down sandwiches from KFC.
Photo Courtesy of: Chicapoquita
Organic Soul Cafe
Sixth Street Community Center
638 E 6th St
Between Ave B & C [Alphabet City]