Healthiest Soul Food 

Purple Plum

Soul food doesn't have to be bad for you. That's what Sharon Anderson and Sherrie Sparks, the owners of Glenview's Purple Plum restaurant, have proven with their innovative "California Soul" menu. Don't worry: Soul food hasn't gone on a diet here. You'll still find mainstays like buttermilk fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and biscuits, but these dishes are balanced by lighter offerings such as spinach salad, pan-seared mahimahi, and pear and pomegranate sorbet for dessert. Just like in the best kitchens of the South, skilled cooks put the vegetables of the garden in their best light. Braised greens, including mustard, turnip, collards, and kale, melt in your mouth. The quality of the produce is also apparent in the ginger-vanilla sweet potatoes and pickled beets. And don't forget your grains and legumes: Red beans and rice go down easy with andouille sausage in a side dish. The atmosphere is one of low-key elegance with art on the walls and soft light. Though it has a Southern flair, Purple Plum is a beautiful expression of the heart of Oakland.

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