By Michelle Slade
We know the feeling: you’re in the supermarket with a massive, brightly coloured carrot in one hand and a tiny, limp excuse for one in the other (which costs twice as much). Or scenario 2: looking in the window of a restaurant serving organic thingamies on top of whole-wheat bla bla for roughly the cost of your rent and knowing you’d far, FAR prefer to eat that processed beef patty with salty fries across the road.
Luckily, not everything’s so black and white (or fluorescent and anaemic) these days. You can eat ethical food that’s relatively dirt cheap but actually tastes better than soil. It’s even possible in NYC - the city of double bagging and endless cardboard coffee cups.
Purbird (Park Slope)
Purbird specializes in just one food item: chicken. And boy do they put a lot of effort into their chickens: Amish farm raised, antibiotic and hormone free, vegetarian-fed and free-roaming. Basically, these chickens had a better life than you’ll ever have, so you should have no qualms about eating them - especially as the price is so reasonable: $8.95 for a half or $15.95 or a whole one. They taste pretty amazing too. We’re not sure if that’s down to their free-spirited lifestyle or the way they’ve been cooked, but we’ve never had such tasty, juicy chicken. The sides are great - jalapeno mashed potato, whole grain mac ‘n’ cheese, creamed spinach - but it’s the chicken you ought to come here for.
Bareburger (multiple locations)
Surely it’s bad enough to worry about what burgers are doing to your arteries - you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about how happy the cow was before it became a food. At Bareburger, the latter can definitely be removed from your conscience: the burgers are organic, which means the cows lived their lives “as nature intended” and weren’t fed growth hormones, antibiotics or additives to fatten them up as quickly as possible. The prices don’t seem to have been fattened up either: most items are under $10. The organic approach at Bareburger definitely results in great-tasting food: “fresh” and “juicy” are two often-used words about the burgers here.
Foragers City Table (Chelsea)
You might not think so now, but we promise you’ll be able to excuse the lack of apostrophe when you visit this restaurant-within-a-market and try out some of the Asian-inspired food on the menu. The ingredients come from local farms (including one they own themselves), and everything is organic, healthy, sustainable and delicious. There’s a massive range to choose from, but firm favorites include the wok-tossed pork short ribs with basil and black pepper, seven-spice chicken wings, and tea-smoked black cod with spring pea ragout. Meals aren’t “change from a twenty” cheap, but they’re not “remortgage the apartment” expensive either: they’re about $25 for an entree, and well worth the splurge.
Michelle Slade is a freelance writer, editor and proofreader. She writes for a number of fun and wacky websites and publications, and is also the author of If I’m Not Mistaken, That’s Bacon: Kosher Guidance for Confused Jews and Haggadah Good Feeling About This: Passover Guidance for Confused Jews. She blogs with her husband at www.makingitanywhere.com.