What You Feel in Your Soul

By on March 28, 2016

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A visit to Soul City will dispel the prevailing myth that only a few selectively chosen souls are endowed with the gift of creativity while the rest of us sit by and observe.

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Instead, Amy and Kevin Smith, believe that creativity, when nurtured, encourages the expression of the human spirit through song, art, food and community and they’ve created a place that invites creativity to come in and find respite.

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Through their color drenched interior, their hand crafted cocktails, Amy’s recipes infused with Jamaican flavors and Tulsa’s singers and songwriters, Soul City embodies the Smiths’ commitment to Tulsa’s creative community.

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Just being in the space inspires me. As one who spends her days scribbling in journals and sketch books, it is a treasure to find a place where one can sit, enjoy coffee or a drink and not feel rushed or hurried. This is truly a place that nurtures the creative soul in me.

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Amy’s distinctive spirit is evident throughout with her signature artsy-funky pieces. Amy’s desire to encourage others’ artistic spirit lives in Soul City’s gift store whose entire presence features local artists and their work and offers it to guests for sale. Collaboration with their Sysco distributor, Chef Lia Lewis of Sysco, Amy and Kevin were introduced to Cecilia Landeros. Her training brought a new commitment to artistic expression through food with such delights such as Soul City’s Most Awesome Brownie—an extremely, caramel goodness that has a very special ingredient. For cheesecake lovers, Cecilia’s made-from-scratch Mango Cheesecake is a delightful end to any meal or a boost to a mid-day treat though you’ll want to ask for it by name; it’s not yet on the menu.

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Landeros’ culinary skills shine throughout the menu as she and Amy worked in tandem perfecting recipes from Amy’s New Orleans’ roots and time spent in Jamaica. From such experiences, inspiration for Soul City’s Jerk Chicken Tacos and Foo-Egg-O-Sliders manifested in tastes that are unique, though familiar, savory though soothing, spicy yet soothing. The Jerk Chicken tacos feature corn tortillas filled with jerk chicken, Soul City Slaw, cilantro, lime and queso fresco perfectly paired with a side of mango and black bean salsa. It’s drip-down-your-chin good.

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Yet, if pressed to choose a favorite dish, I have to go with the sliders. With their fire braised chicken breast cooked in fire roasted salsa with pepper jack cheese, fried egg, ghost chili mayo and Hott Dix Rimmed Bun (a specialty addition that is sprinkled throughout the menu), this dish had me back within a day for more of their “get- inspired” flavor. When I make my Top 10 List for Tulsa sandwiches in 2016, this will most definitely lead the pack.

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One other distinction: I always appreciate side dishes that are inspired as the main entrees and Soul City’s Roasted Rosemary Potatoes recalls Sunday dinners for this farm girl, always a nice reminder for me.

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For the lighter side of dining, share a Cheezy Nirvana, a selection of gourmet cheeses with fruit, prosciutto, nuts and artisan bread. Though the cheeses offered change as available, on the day we visited this dish featured Ballerina Gouda, Blue Cheese, Mango Ginger cheese, Port Wine cheese and Applewood smoked cheddar. Toasted Wine Spread Chutney added a nice punch of tangy, savory goodness.

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And yet, there is more. Much more! Soul City stocks and staffs a full bar with specialty cocktails and an extensive beer list including local standouts such as Marshall’s, Anthem, Prairie, Coop, Dead Armadillo and Black Mesa. Wine drinkers also are celebrated with Stark Raving Blends and Miranda Lambert Red 55 Winery offerings. With a room devoted entirely to performing artists and a comfortable patio deck, Soul City inspires celebratory events and is happy to host them.

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Our visit ended well with sampling of the Ruby Slipper with Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, elder flower, Sprite with a Blood Orange Garnish. And finally, the Okie Mule with its Bulliet Rye 95 Bourbon, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and mint inspired me in an entirely new way. The thoughtful choosing of local ingredients and creative mixed drinks enhances the musical venue which is busy with singers and songwriters from Tulsa – and beyond – all that much more enjoyable.

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Come for the flavors, come for the muse but come be inspired by Soul City.
1621 East 11th Street, Tulsa, OK. 918.582.SOUL. Tulsasoul.com

The Novel Gardener

About The Novel Gardener

"The Novel Gardener", Maurie Traylor, lives, creates, writes, paints, gardens and cooks in Mid-Town Tulsa. Her work has appeared in Oklahoma Gardener, Edible Tulsa Magazine and The Tulsa Literary Review. When not writing or painting, Maurie works with clients in creating meaningful spaces for home and garden. Her inspiration for her creative life stems from her family, namely her grandmother, whose garden and kitchen fed migrant workers and a large family during The Great Depression. Following that example, Maurie begins each day with the question, "What can we create today?"

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