June 5, 2023

Cafecharlotte Southbeach

The View On Cooking

Soul Slice’s biscuit-crust pizzas push the boundaries of Southern food

The black-eyed peas pizza at Soul Slice. Credit: Brandy Collins

“Let’s just modify the narrative of soul food stuff,” said Karter Louis, previous musician and restaurateur. After approximately three many years and 6 models, Lewis opened his latest undertaking, Soul Slice, on June 19 in Oakland, a date decided on to honor the Juneteenth holiday break and the roots of soul meals. Given that then, the cafe has presently gained focus for its menu of distinctive, biscuit crust “pizzas,” topped with Southern-design foods like black-eyed peas and warm back links.

Soul Slice
5849 San Pablo Ave (at 59th Road), Oakland

At 1st glance, Soul Slice’s menu is overwhelming and adventurous, a broad variety of standard soul foodstuff all served in pizza sort. For anyone who grew up on traditional soul food, the presentation looks downright sacrilegious. But though Soul Slice makes use of the term “pizza” on its menu, Louis advised Nosh that “We enjoy in the style of pizza but it is not pizza. It is fundamentally soul food items on an open up confront biscuit with soul foods elements.”

The preparation of Soul Slice’s vegan-helpful biscuit crust is one particular major variance involving its offerings and Italian-model pies. The crust is made up of no butter, is not spun or twirled and does not contain traditional elements of pizza dough, Louis claimed. And when there are five pies that have a tomato sauce base, Louis states that none of them use oregano or any other Italian seasonings in the taste profile.  

“The tomato sauce is not to mimic the sauce of Italian [pizza]. If you taste it, it is a little bit sweet” Louis reported. “Our tomato sauce carried all the flavors of the substances on the biscuit crust.”

The most gutsy pie could be Soul Slice’s black-eyed peas pizza, which is made up of somewhat crunchy but meaty black-eyed peas, the sweetness of sweet potato, and savory roasted garlic, inexperienced onion, alpine cheese and (for acidity) tomato sauce. Less the alpine cheese, Louis reported, the BEP is a vegan pie. 

“Black eyed peas on a biscuit crust basically flavor like meat,” said Louis. “It’s type of really hard to wrap your mind all-around. Even I assumed someone set meat on it. It was captivating to me.” It is Soul Slice’s second very best offering pie, Louis mentioned.

Soul Slice’s finest vendor is its Cajun shrimp pizza, which is topped with Cajun shrimp, beef hot links, tomato, green onion, pickled peppers and tomato sauce. The standout component in this article is the all-beef very hot connection as a substitute of the pork backlinks a single may count on on a standard soul meals menu. 

“I preferred diverse expressions of proteins on the menu,” Louis explained. He chose a beef sizzling website link for this unique pie to honor some of his Muslim household customers, as nicely as other folks who eschew pork. It is also a nod to his roots in Louisville, Kentucky, exactly where beef scorching links are more widespread. “It provides extra variance … and I try out to be inclusive on the menu.”

There is even a pizza form of dessert at Soul Slice, a peach cobbler topped with a single big marshmallow, served on that biscuit crust with a dollop of non-dairy ice product.

Soul Slice’s catfish croquettes with collard greens and soul sauce. Credit history: Brandy Collins

But though Soul Slice’s concentration is on “biscuit crust with soul foods toppings,” as Lewis places it, there are also selections on the menu that are offered on their have. Consider the Hoppin’ John, a hearty and vegan dish of strain-cooked black eyed peas, chives, garlic, onions and Carolina Gold’s rice. The term “Hoppin’ John” refers to a tale in one of the earliest American cookbooks, “The Carolina Housewife, 1847” in which a guy named John “came a-hoppin” when the dish was ready. “There are so several strategies to use black eyed peas and I feel it’s just one of the star ingredients of our menu,” Louis claimed of the dish, which he says is an underutilized working day-to-day food items beyond the Southern custom of serving BEPs as a New Year’s working day meal

There’s also a play on salmon croquettes, only this time it is a catfish croquette, a patty of fresh new tender catfish and potato served with “soul sauce,” for a spike of heat. “In our property it was made with mackerel,” stated Louis “In Kentucky, it was under no circumstances built with salmon.” The dish is plated with al dente garlic collard greens and roasted sweet potatoes. 

Washing down your tastings on faucet at Soul Slice are brews from Oakland’s Federation Brewery and the Bay Area’s 1st Black-owned beer organization, Hunter’s Point Brewing. Louis says that his target is to make certain that a great deal of Soul Slice’s consume record is from Black and brown-owned alcoholic beverages producers. “We have an option to present items that are produced by Black and brown persons that in fact will make it far more available,” Louis claimed which includes Chardonnay from the very first Black-owned winemaker in California, Property of Brown, and pink blend wine from Black winemaker Danny Glover of Healdsburg-based L’Objet Wines.

All of this is a significant departure for Louis, who was an operating lover in San Francisco mini-tea chain Samovar before founding the now-shuttered Appalachian-design restaurant Hillbilly Tea in his previous hometown. “I’ve done all these eating places, I like food, but how does it really link to me?” Louis explained of his former ventures. In quite a few methods, Soul Slice is an try to carry all individuals Bay Spot-meets-Louisville threads with each other. 

What is staying cultivated at Soul Slice is an giving that pushes its customers out of their consolation zone when continue to honoring traditional aspects in soul food.  “Soul Slice is non-pretentious and celebrates the heritage of soul food stuff in a really progressive and modern day way,” mentioned Louis. “Basically to give glory and honor to a cooking that is not targeted on as significantly and doesn’t get as a great deal credit as it justifies.”

Soul Slice is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 3 p.m.- 9 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.