WE Community Cafe Offers Perfection on a Plate

WE Community Café located within Urban Ministry at 1229 Cotton Avenue SW has been opened since March 9th. The place, in my totally biased opinion, is a little piece of Heaven right in Birmingham’s West End where on any given Wednesday between 11am and 2pm you can see people from every walk of life coming together to break bread in peace, unity and love.

The chatter-ridden space is  inviting as it welcomes those from varying socio-economic status,  zip codes, backgrounds, educational opportunities and lifestyles. The former soup kitchen of more than 30 years now turned into a social enterprise “pay-as-you-can” café with the recommended donation of $5 ushers diners further in to the bustling food line just beside beautiful dark brown wood tables and shiny new chairs, while sweet R&B and inspirational tunes bellow out of the speakers. (Note, if you can’t pay, no worries. It’s already handled on your behalf. That’s the beauty of WE Community Café.) The amazingly friendly and knowledgeable staff of seasoned chefs and western-area young adults participating in Urban Ministry’s paid, intensive internship program continue to set the atmosphere for what is sure to be a dining experience to remember and want to repeat. But it’s the food that ties it all together as an unspoken unifier of the masses weekly offering perfection on the plate for just about every palate preference. Want southern cuisine and food which speaks to the soul? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want a great hangout for your friends and you to gush, pose and take pictures of food which is picture worthy? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want fresh produce? On any given Wednesday they will have it right from their very own mind-blowing garden. Want vegan and vegetarian options? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want flavor-filled international-themed and regional dishes? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want clean, organic foods? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want aromatic teas that will make you stand in line more times that you’d be proud to admit? On any given Wednesday they will have it…and so much more. You should pay them a visit! And look for me. I’ll be one of the ones with a HUGE satisfied smile on my face:)

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Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas (Swiss Chard Enchiladas were also devoured right after this pic was taken), Black Beans, Fresh Corn on the Cob and a Chilton County peach

 

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Mixed Greens salad picked from Urban Ministry’s Urban Garden across the street from WE Community Café. As FRESH as it can be!

 

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Enjoying a great lunch at the WE Community Café with some dear friends. (We’re FULL!!!)

@AngelaMMoore316

You Can Take the Girl Outta the Hood….

There’s a popular saying that was really popular in my life growing up. “You can take the man/woman/boy/girl outta the ‘hood, but you can’t take the ‘hood outta the man/woman/boy/girl,” was something often said in various forms depending on the geographical location of the man/woman/boy/girl being discussed. So ‘hood, as in neighborhood could be easily substituted with words like the country, the ghetto, the projects (of which my daddy was particularly proud), Alabama, the Gump (as in Montgomery, my place of birth) and so on and so on.

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While designing my meme anticipating the upcoming Straight Outta Compton Movie and proudly blasting the West on my chest (as in West End, as in West End Manor, as in #35211), I thought about the fact that I’m glad the ‘hood remains in me. Now, don’t get me wrong. My “hoodocity” pales in comparison to some, probably most, as I’ve always been a bit genteel, and sure, it has been buffed, polished and shined up like an Italian leather Easter shoe, but believe me, it’s still there. And I’m proud. My ‘hood has helped me so much. It’s helped shape a little girl into a culturally rich, people sensitive, genuinely caring, grown woman.

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Nowhere else can you learn creativity and ingenuity like the ‘hood where you took a cardboard box and made a full-fledged dance floor, or turn Jolly Rancher and pickle selling into a thriving business. Where else can games like Four Square, Double Dutch, Hide and Go Seek, Dodge Ball, Old Mary Mack, Red Light/Green Light and Hands Up for 85 give you eight full hours of absolutely free fun, and teach you the art of improvising, teamwork and how to refresh yourself from a water hose? Where else can you have your summertime hair stylist live right across the street and she hook you up with braids and beads so colorful and plentiful that they would have made Bo Derek jealous? (Shout out to Carol!) Only the hood could provide the luxury of a wintertime, springtime, and falltime hair stylists who lived two blocks over and had burnt fried bologna, homemade biscuits and Alaga Syrup waiting for you when you walked to her house ALONE as a six or seven year old with $5 in hand to pay her to press the mess out of your hair with Queen Helen or Royal Crown Hair Dressing. (Thank you Mrs. Feagins.) The ‘hood taught me my signature picture pose and how to do it in a way that was real sassy, but still classy. (Take a look at any of the many hundreds of pictures I take today and that “hand on the right hip, head slightly tilted, smile straight at the camera” pose remains the same. As it shall. #35211ForLife) The ‘hood taught me event planning the time my Mom and her friends shut down our entire street, with permission from the city, to host a block party that rivaled one from NYC. Nowhere but the ‘hood would have an unofficial, organized “hospitality committee” comprised of the most loving and caring neighbors who would canvas the street day or night, going from house-to-house to take up donations of funds or food if anything happened to one of their own, or would call for prayer in time of tragedy (Kudos to the 19th Street caring crew like my Mom, Mrs. Mary, Mrs. Long and the rest.) My ‘hood also had loving fathers like my own and so many who wouldn’t mind breaking up a street fight (Gasp! Yes, we did have those) then calling us all to the front porch to break down some common sense (or break out a belt), reminding us, especially the young men who might have been involved of how loved and valuable we were.

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My ‘hood taught me about love, respect, courage, confidence, support to and from others, community, fun (for free) and so much more. None of that do I wish to depart. So yes, the saying is true. You can take the girl outta the hood, but you can’t (and shan’t) take the hood outta the girl, at least not this one.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Things I Miss

There was a trend going on called “I’m So” where people share memories of people, places or things familiar to their city, neighborhood or school. I must say, I was tickled pink reading and reminiscing on memories of old. It reminded me of this post originally posted some time ago. Today, in honor of #TBT and to go with my #bloglikecrazy theme of Making Memories I’ve remixed this post again. What are your favorite memories?

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Riding into work recently I took a mental trip down memory lane compliments of Pandora. The music of old made me think of people, places and things I’d enjoyed in the past. It made me realize just how much our past really shapes who we become.

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I Miss…

  • Quincy’s Yeast Rolls from the Midfield Quincy’s down from the Cobb Midfield Six Theater and across from Wendy’s
  • Baskin Robbins in Birmingham
  • The Alabama State Fair at Fairpark
  • Practicing for my Easter speech at Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church (where we also listed to Shirley Murdock’s “As We Lay” on the church van just before going to visit the elderly)
  • Palmetto Jeans from Parisian and ribbons from Hancock Fabric in Five Points West
  • Sundays in my overalls with one strap down at George Ward Park (before the fights and killings, of course)
  • Giggling (and being scared at the same time) because I knew what B.A.Q. meant
  • Pulling the cardboard box out of the middle of the street when cars came by interrupting a serious breakdance street session
  • Learning how to drive in Arrington Middle School’s parking lot
  • Waiting on “Batman” to ride down the street in his car
  • Ice Cream from the Ice Cream man that only costs $.50, and rode by just before the mosquito spray man
  • Gas that was under $1
  • Three-piece, plastic, birthstone jewelry sets from Woolworth in Western Hills Mall
  • Size 2 (and her cousin Size 0)
  • MTV when the “M” actually stood for music and Duran Duran was in heavy rotation
  • Having friends in West End (where I lived) and Homewood (where I went to school)
  • Having a serious crush on Cosmo Flex
  • Going to the teen dance at Showbiz
  • Going to Piggly Wiggly off of Jefferson Ave (just down from the African American golf course)
  • ANYTHING from Marsh Bakery
  • First day of school outfits from Parisian, JC Penney’s, New Ideal, The Pants Store or Yielding matched with Bass, Mootsie Tootsie or Sam & Libby shoes
  • Parties at the LR Hall, Highlands Racket Club, Masonic Temple, Rime Garden Inn or anywhere else people would let wild teenagers go
  • GIORGIOcotillions
  • Free movies at the Cobb Midfield Six Theater (minus the people fighting, or the occasional boyfriend drama)
  • Walking to get my hair straightened from 19th Street to 18th Place with Royal Crown, enjoying a “burnt” bologna sandwich or biscuits with Alaga Syrup when I arrived
  • Riding in the back of my family’s green station wagon, passing women on Birmingham’s 4th Avenue and getting a valuable lesson in life on how not to end up a “woman of the night”
  • Magic City Classics when everyone wore leather, pleather and fur and my bestie and I walked the entire game
  • The Flintstones and The Jetsons in heavy rotation
  • Cassette Tapes and answering machines with my “sultry voice” and music from the Quiet Storm in the background
  • Saturdays at the Five Points or Bessemer Flea Market, Sundays at Fair Park and summers at City Stages or The Southern Heritage Festival
  • Having a “boyfriend” in KTU (for all of one month mind you) and thinking I was something
  • Sick days out of school when I wasn’t actually sick
  • Soap Operas when Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless and All My Children were about as bad as television would get
  • Shelly the Playboy, Tall Paul and anybody from WENN, and hearing “Go to Churrrrccchhhh” on Sundays on WATV
  • Skipping school to go to Magnolia’s for a brownie or Subway on Southside for a meatball sub then coming back to eat in Ramsay’s courtyard
  • Boys who actually dressed up to impress girls because the girls demanded it

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Not at all ungrateful for the present or lacking in hope for the future, sometimes a gentle reminder of good things from the past proves to be just the boost needed. One thing I’ve learned is when you’re on your way somewhere, it’s good to remember the great places you’ve already been knowing that even better days are always on the horizon. Here’s to many more amazing memories!

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@AngelaMMoore316