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Meat free and healthy in Harlem?

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My wife and I just moved to Harlem. 116th and Lenox to be specific. My wife doesn't eat meat but will eat fish. I will eat meat but I try hard to only eat humanely sourced meat. We also tend to be very healthy eaters. We know there are wonderful food options all around us. Many of which we know about already. Based on our diet choices where would you recommend that is within a roughly 10 minute walk of 116th and Lenox and secondarily what would you recommend that is a bit further away in Uptown Manhattan. We aren't looking for healthy only. For example, I love a good fried fish sandwich! Also, any place that serves humanely sourced meat would be great.

Thanks!

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  1. I haven't been there since a friend moved from her apartment down the block two years ago, but Le Baobab used to have decent thiebou dienne, a Senegalese fish stew, and a basic, but fair, grilled tilapia. They rotate through what's listed on the menu depending on the day of the week, so call ahead and make sure they have what you're looking for.

    El Paso Taqueria a few blocks east of you also has a number of decent fish and shrimp-based dishes, many of which are reasonably healthy.

    Moustache on East 102nd is a bit of a walk or 1 stop away on the 4/5/6, but if you don't mind, the menu there offers many vegetarian dishes + good, freshly baked, house made pita.

    Look for posts from Rose Water. I've seen her write a number of informed and informative posts about vegetarian eats in your neighborhood. Here's a recent one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8019...

    (In that same thread, DaveCook recommends Treichville for thiebou dienne, also not far from you, I think.)

    -----
    Treichville
    339 E 118th St, New York, NY 10035

    El Paso Taqueria
    237 E 116th St, New York, NY 10029

    Le Baobab
    120 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

    Moustache
    1621 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

    21 Replies
    1. re: michelleats

      Wow, thanks for the shout out, michelleats! And welcome to the neighborhood propjoe (and love your name!). Alas, because of the dearth of places with vegetarian/humanely sourced meat options, and because we have a willful child who loves Moustache and wants to go nowhere else, we don't get out in the neighborhood all that much.

      So...the vegetarian options are sparse.

      I haven't yet been to Red Rooster, so I can't comment, but it might be the most promising option. People in the neighborhood like Chez Lucienne next door, but I was unimpressed on my one visit there. People in the neighborhood also have recommended Food for Life Supreme, across the street from Amy Ruth's (right near you), but I haven't yet been.

      Moustache is solid, and has awesome vegetarian options. No commentary on their menu on humane sourcing of meats.

      Uptown Veg and Manna's both have steam table food with lots of vegetarian options. Though the food at Uptown Veg is delicious, I almost always feel yucky afterwards (not food poisoning yucky, just bodily remorse or something). Manna's food is consistently good, and I appreciate the clear disclosure of what's in everything (smoked turkey in the collards, etc). Haven't sampled enough at Strictly Roots to really say, but they've been pretty good/not amazing on the couple times I've eaten there.

      At the soul food places (Amy Ruth's, Melba's, etc) you will have the option to combine vegetarian sides. Our recent visit to Amy Ruth's really made me question why people on the Manhattan board recommend it over and over again; is it because it's a safe/more familiar option for people reluctant to explore the neighborhood? The mac and cheese was fine, the green beans a soggy mess, and the fried okra absolutely embarrassing--cold, rock hard, floury, absolutely flavorless batter. To use the flavorful batter from the otherwise unremarkable fried chicken would be a marked improvement. Dinosaur BBQ's veg options are much more appealing/extensive/tasty.

      re fried fish--fishers of men (125th at lenox) makes up an enormous sandwich of freshly battered freshly fried fish. batter is a touch on the bland side, and it takes a while, but it's quite good.

      But, recognizing that this isn't what you asked, there are also lots of great CSAs in the neighborhood. We were part of the Central Harlem CSA for years (135/7th ave pick up) and love love loved it. They got *amazing* produce from Roxbury Farms, and about once a month you could order meats, eggs and cheeses via Lewis Waites Farm. We're now part of the Harlem Community Farm Share, with less exciting produce from Lancaster County, as well as fruit, dairy, egg, bread and herbal medicine shares. It's much more active overall--organizing lunches at the food bank, composting via a community garden, etc. There's another CSA in the Kalahari building near you, and I think they also use Roxbury Farms (really, the most amazing greens and corn imaginable). The farmer's market at 110th and Morningside on Saturdays is small but quite good. Karrot and Organic Forever are two expensive natural food places with lovely lovely staff, and there's a late fall CSA starting up at Karrot: http://www.karrot-csa.com/

      -----
      Fishers of Men II
      121 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027

      Amy Ruth's
      113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

      Melba's
      300 W 114th St, New York, NY 10026

      Karrot
      304 W 117th St, New York, NY 10026

      Uptown Veg
      14 E 125th St, New York, NY 10035

      Manna's
      54 E 125th St, New York, NY 10035

      Moustache
      1621 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

      Chez Lucienne
      308 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY 10027

      Food for Life Supreme
      108 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

      Strictly Roots
      2058 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10027

      Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
      777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

      Organic Forever
      2053 8th Ave, New York, NY 10026

      1. re: rose water

        I really envy you your CSA, rosewater. A lot of the ones down in my parts can take years to join off a waiting list.

        Agree with you about Amy Ruth's sides, too. My impression is that people like the restaurant for the fried chicken and everything else is sort of just an afterthought.

        Thanks for a great list! You've given me a few new ones to try!

        -----
        Amy Ruth's
        113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

        1. re: michelleats

          Wow, thank you both very much! A lot of good info and fun new places to try. Thanks for the CSA info rosewater. We currently belong to one in our old neighborhood but will try to join a Harlem CSA next season for sure.

          1. re: propjoe

            The Renaissance bldg on 116th and Lenox belongs to a CSA with deliveries from Roxbury Farm.

            1. re: gloriousfood

              Hmmm...do they also have dairy, meat or egg shares?

              1. re: rose water

                No, just produce.

          2. re: michelleats

            I've been part of Corbin Hill Road Farm: http://www.corbinhillfarm.com
            I love what they're doing for NYC communities as they distribute at multiple locations in the city. Take look at what they do:

            http://www.dnainfo.com/20110727/harle...

            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/din...

            They have an interesting model
            - flexible payment, pay weekly or for the entire season
            - produce is aggregated from several upstate farms. less risky a tractional CSA model of single supply of produce

            And my favorite of all - they bring fresh produce to poor communities that don't have access to healthy produce.

            1. re: megawong

              Do you have to rub it in?! ;)

              I love the sound of this CSA and prices are jaw droppingly reasonable. I wonder if it's a sustainable model without donations. There are a few other semi-social justice-y CSAs in town that tier memberships according to ability to pay, but the Corbin Hill Farm model sounds much better, assuming it's self sustaining.

              1. re: michelleats

                That's the beauty of this farm share! Anyone can join!! None of that cut off date nonsense.

                They are hoping to reach 3000 members by next year. Which I've heard is their break-even point. This is their 2nd year and they're over 50% goal. Not bad for being around for 2 years. Plus, there is a winter share this year.

                If you live in Central Harlem, Mr. Dennis Derryck is frequently at the 135 W. 120th St pickup location. He's a bit nutty but so damn enthusiastic and passionate. Stop by and chat with him.

                I really wish them success because this reaches so many more people and communities than just a traditional CSA.

                OH! And members get to vote on next season's crops :)

                1. re: megawong

                  I don't live anywhere close to Central Harlem these days, but I'm forwarding this to a close friend who lives in East Harlem, in hopes of filching some of her loot if she signs up. Professor Derryck is one righteous fellow. Thanks for posting all this great info!

          3. re: rose water

            So, the Karrot winter CSA is fully booked, and despite my recommendation, I didn't sign up in time :( Now I'm looking forward to checking out the Corwin Farms winter CSA.

            propjoe, turns out the grim looking bodega near you (diagonally across the street from Conway's) is one of the participants in the Fresh Bodegas program: http://www.grownyc.org/freshbodegas/l... Great looking carrots, kale, broccoli, apples for sale (plus Red Jacket juices); annoyed that the type of apple wasn't specified, but otherwise great.

            Though I know nothing about her tastes, a coworker of mine recently raved about Food for Life Supreme. They have carrot fries?!

            Another place I've been meaning to check out is Kiosk, on 116th between Madison and Park. Moroccan tagine type place.

            Cafe Ollin was recommended in the thread michelleats linked, but isn't on this thread. They have a surprisingly broad range of vegetarian options, and *awesome* cemitas.

            And of course there's the East Harlem Patsy's. Way better pizza than Bad Horse, Piatto D'Oro, etc.

            -----
            Piatto D'Oro
            349 E 109th St, New York, NY 10029

            Patsy's Pizzeria
            2287 1st Ave, New York, NY 10035

            The Kiosk
            80 E 116th St, New York, NY 10029

            Food for Life Supreme
            108 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

            Cafe Ollin
            339 E 108th St, New York, NY 10029

            Bad Horse Pizza
            2224 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

            1. re: rose water

              Corbin Farm winter share deadline is Nov 15th.
              http://www.corbinhillfarm.com/winters...

              I hope you decide to join!

              1. re: megawong

                I did, and I'm excited! The only thing that gave me pause is stuff I read somewhere (that I can't now find for the life of me) about how they want to focus on produce that's familiar in the neighborhoods they serve. I'm glad to take the unfamiliar stuff; that's part of the great thing about being part of a CSA!

                1. re: rose water

                  Ah! Yes, its stuff like collard greens and tomatillo. Don't worry, there's still the "normal" stuff like tomatoes, potatoes, squash, corn, etc.

                  And if you don't like something, there's a swap box.

                  1. re: megawong

                    Sorry, I obviously wasn't clear. I'm more worried that it'll focus heavily on the "normal stuff."

                2. re: megawong

                  And now they're having a lamb share! As the only one in my home who eats meat, I doubt I can pull it off, but it looks amazing!
                  https://sites.google.com/a/corbinhill...

                3. re: rose water

                  Besides Patsy's, which doesn't deliver, can you recommend any other good pizza places in this neck of the wood--especially for deliveries?

                  I haven't tried Bad Horse but have tried PDO and wasn't impressed.

                  1. re: gloriousfood

                    I've been ordering from Dreamer's Pizza @ the 3rd Ave location.

                    It's pretty solid pizza. I've tried their Hawaiian (made w/ crushed pineapples so you get more pineapple per bite), pepperoni w/ green peppers and the thin crust wild mushroom.

                    All delicious. A bit pricey for weeknight delivery but it's the best I've had in the area.

                    -----
                    Dreamer's Pizza
                    1850 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10029

                    1. re: megawong

                      Hmmm...thanks! I just took a look at the menu, and it looks really good. I will definitely check this place out.

                    2. re: gloriousfood

                      I haven't tried La Corsa, but have seen it recommended: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8019...

                      Pizza from both Piatto D'Oro and Bad Horse is unimpressive and overpriced.

                      -----
                      Piatto D'Oro
                      349 E 109th St, New York, NY 10029

                      La Corsa
                      123 E 110th St, New York, NY 10029

                      1. re: rose water

                        La Corsa is our go-to spot for pizza delivery, for sure. Their thin-crust grandma pie is pretty consistently good!

                        -----
                        La Corsa
                        123 E 110th St, New York, NY 10029

              2. My recommendation to you would be Zoma - IMO it's the best Ethiopian restaurant in NYC and only a short walk from you. There are plenty of vegetarian options. There are meat dishes too, of course, but vegetarian dishes are so tasty that even a committed carnivore like me would be happy with a combo of veg dishes. I would highly recommend it, unless you hate Ethiopian food or eating with your hands!

                -----
                Zoma
                2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

                1 Reply
                1. re: uwsister

                  Oh, of course! Yes! Zoma is fantastic!

                  -----
                  Zoma
                  2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

                2. Once again, thank you all!