Harlem Eat Up is a food festival created by Chef Marcus Samuelsson, much in the likeness of the Food & Wine Festival. For one week, there are numerous dinners in Harlem restaurants with their respective chefs, coupled with celebrity chefs from around the US. The proceeds are donated to charities benefitting the Harlem area. I attended an amazing dinner this year, which I will write about later. For now I’m giving you a run down of my visit to the Harlem Stroll, where you get to try lots of food and booze, as well as enjoy cooking demonstrations and music performances.
This year Marcus Samuelsson was joined by Melba Wilson and Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest, who became a chef, that has fast made a name of himself in the culinary world. He showed us a recipe for wings, which was so much fun! (And I’m definitely going to try cooking with yuzu now…)
I’m going to get my favorite bites out of the way to start with! Melba’s restaurant had their fried Southern Catfish on a stick again, and it may have been even better than last year. Delish. BLVD Bistro had Shrimp and Grits to die for. The grits were immensely buttery. Harlem Tavern’s Ceviche was out of control. Packed with seafood, it was my Numero Uno this year.
Alcohol was everywhere in the tent, the party was lit. A DJ kept it fun, everyone was having a blast! Here are my favorite alcoholic beverages: Hennessy had a lovely little cocktail, citrus-y with berries. Belvedere had us pick a garnish from rosemary, thyme, mint and lemon, which we had to put in our palms and clap to release the aroma. It was then mixed with vodka, club soda and tonic water. Delicious. Hendrick’s Gin gave us a refreshing cocktail with cucumber and lemon. My favorite wines were Mionetto’s rose prosecco, and Cavicchioli 1928 Spumante. Last but not least, Hpnotiq had my favorite cocktail, donning a little gummy fish….
The Harlem Chocolate Factory sweetened us up with a Rose Truffle, made of Rosé champagne ganache with candied rose. Lady Lexis Sweets had Charleston Bread Pudding you could not have just one of. Aromas Boutique Bakery spoiled us with a Szechuan Lavender Brownie (omggg) and a Carrot Soup Shot, yummy. Mountain Bird contributed with a delicious Sticky Toffee Fig Cake. My favorite of the sweets this year was a collaboration of Shake Shack and Lady Lexis Sweets: Bread Pudding topped with Shake Shack Vanilla Frozen Custard topped with salted caramel sauce. Hmmmmmmm.
Row House had a most delicious Aji Amarillo BBQ Beef Rib Tip. I love Dinosaur BBQ, so I was excited to see they participated with their amazing Pulled Pork Slider. Kingston Restaurant served up Jamaican Charcoal Jerk Chicken, so good, I’m definitely going to the restaurant for more. Bier International was kind enough to spoil me with the food of my people: Bratwurst and Pretzels. And the ever present Barilla Co. had some scrumptious pasta and a cracker with Bruschetta.
All in all I had so much fun! Although this festival has now passed, I hope you keep it in mind for next spring, you will not regret it…..