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Good Taste: Edge of the Woods Natural Market
July 10, 2006 by Howard Blas

379 Whalley Avenue New Haven, Connecticut Tel.: (203) 787-1055 Open: Mon.-Fri. 8:30am-7:30pm, Sat. 8:30am-6:30pm, Sun. 9am-6pm

At first sight “edge,” as the locals call it, is your typical health food store: Fresh flowers for sale greet you at the door, beyond which are the selection of organic produce, the wheat-free cookies, egg replacer, grains, nuts and dried fruit. And of course the faux deli products (veggie turkey, bologna, ham and bacon). Upstairs are the natural cleansing agents and other cosmetics, vitamins, books and herbs.

But it is the eatery downstairs that sets this store, a 20- minute walk from the Yale University campus, apart and makes it worth a visit. And the fact that it’s all kosher to boot. With baked goods, hot and cold sandwiches and bars of the salad, juice and hot- food variety, it’s more than just a student draw.

All sandwiches are $5.25. The “Grilled ‘shrooms” offers button, portobello, shiitake and cheese; the Italian combo serves up vegan bologna, ham and salami with toppings and cheese in a foccaccia wrap. The hot bar features rotating entrees (all for $5.50/lb.), with selections like roasted sweet potatoes (vegan); broccoli phylo (vegan, using Tofutti sour cream), the soybean tempeh, Hawaiian- style; and spiced greens and tofu. Soup of the day ($4/lb.) on my visit was wild rice lentil. There are also 20 or so cold salads, some of which - like the Moroccan couscous, the wheat berry and the coconut lime brown rice - can be heated up on site in the microwave. For the less adventurous but equally pious, a sign in English and Hebrew announces “Kosher Pizza - Thursdays 3-7 p.m.”

There’s a mind-boggling array of desserts, including vegan blondies and brownies, eight different kinds of muffins (try the vegan blueberry corn or the pear fig), cakes and all-vegan pies. A teacher from the nearby Yeshiva of New Haven, his ritual fringes dangling at his side, waits in front of me at the bakery line. Next stop, perhaps, a kosher yogurt and berry smoothie?

Howard Blas
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