Bohemia Blog by Agent Kelly Ann Higgins
By: Kelly Higgins
A lot of my clients ask me “What do you like about living Uptown?” And before they can complete their question I find myself blurting out “FOOD” in a completely involuntary exclamation of love. I am our office “Foodie.” I have a standing Saturday morning date with the Food Network and a cup of coffee, every date night is a new culinary adventure and my “Recipes” Pinterest board is maxed out!
Uptown has some killer food and in the last 7 years I have made myself a bit of an expert in finding these treasures and indulging! My friends, family, clients and followers all know that if you need a place for a coffee, dessert, date night, or a friendly brunch, I’m your gal!
In fact, I found narrowing down the places that I wanted to write about a daunting process! But after suffering my own “Sophie’s Choice,” I’ll reveal to you some of my nearest and dearest Harlem delicacies!
For Your Caffeine Fix: DOUBLE DUTCH ESPRESSO
As much as I love a good meal out, I am BUSY! And nothing keeps me charged throughout my day like Double Dutch Espresso. They have healthy Greek Yogurt bowls, avocado toast, smoothie bowls, and the traditional croissants and donuts one expects from their coffee shop. With a smiling staff, who remembers your order, a vintage décor that feels like you are enjoying a latte in your cool Aunt’s house, Double Dutch is a true oasis on a hectic day. The best part is the buttery smooth espresso with delicious chocolatey Counter Current Culture Beans! You can all me an expert, call me an addict, tomato-toma-tah!
For A Slice: PATSY’S PIZZERIA
BRICK. OVEN. PIZZA. When you are in the mood for an authentic slice (bubbling cheese, sweet sauce, fresh basil and charred crust) then you have to head to East Harlem for Patsy’s. This neighborhood favorite has been open since 1933 (you read that right!) and is famous city wide for cranking out the best pizza around, and my family travels from New Jersey for a pie here. Of course the Margherita is my favorite, but you really can’t go wrong!
For Your Sweet Tooth: KITCHENETTE
I am a sucker for dessert. It’s my fatal flaw, but one I fully embrace when it comes to this place. With polka dot décor, and a 1950’s diner style counter teeming with pies and cakes abound, Kitchenette really does have my heart. They have individual sized pies that make you feel like a giant and are (almost) too fun and cute to eat. The banana cream pie, filled with real bananas and topped with fresh whipped cream, will bring tears of joy to your eyes. Not to mention the triple layer cakes slathered in real butter cream.
Pro Tip: They Deliver!
For Romance: CHERI
One of my most recent finds is Cheri! I typically go to Maison Harlem or Chez Lucienne when I want French food, but last week I gave this place a whirl and I am so glad I did! The décor is elegant and quirky (They have the faces of famous people on all their plates and the menu is in a vintage book!) and they have a back patio with a grand piano that is going to make me feel I am in The Great Gatsby come spring! With white linen tablecloths, dim lights and wine by the glass or bottle, you can really woo your boo in this cozy authentic French corner. The Truffle Shepard’s Pie and escargot were a real treat, but the pate’ was melt in your mouth tender and is a MUST.
Pro Tip: Make a reservation on Open Table and avoid a wait!
For Mixology Fun: ROKC
Few places have me returning as often as this unmarked restaurant. They have the MOST FUN cocktails I have ever seen; smoke filled decanters flowing from bourbon, beverages out of frozen red peppers, and a Truffle cocktail served with cheese. This tiny Japanese den has the most exciting drinks around, and we haven’t even talked about the food. The pork buns are OUT OF THIS WORLD. I am talking unctuous and fatty pork on a steamed bun that feels like a cloud-like carnivore dream! My favorite is the freshest oysters in the city as far as I am concerned served with a shallot mignonette that takes these chilled-sea-slurps over the top!
For Netflix and Snuggie Time: A1 ASIAN FUSION
Sometime you have a DAY. You just need to go home, put on The Office reruns and bury yourself in dumplings. And I understand. When that’s how you need to end your day, you need to order from A1 Asian Fusion! The dumplings have delicious chunks of ginger and the sushi is legit! I always order the Salmon Don, and I swear it is so fresh and the biggest serving. I have recommended this place to plenty of people and made addicts out of all of them. The best part is that they deliver FAST! You hit “Order” and moments later you are in miso soup heaven! You are welcome.
For The Brunch Gang: LIDO
With Spring on the Horizon we are all looking forward to some street side brunching. Is there anything better than a latte in one hand and a mimosa in the other? I didn’t really think so! When it’s time for brunch I love Lido. They have a short rib benedict that will make you question ham altogether and a blueberry pancake that I have had dreams about. And let’s not forget the bottomless mimosas! You can also make a reservation here, and I definitely recommend it, the secret is out on this place!
For Greasy Burgers and Shakes: HARLEM SHAKE
With two locations in Harlem this place is never far! There are three things you have to get. 1, the Hot Mess Burger, topped with cherry peppers, melty cheese and a BACON RELISH (thank you very much!) these flat top grilled burgers are not for the dainty and are the epitome of a burger! 2. The Sweet Yam Fries. These “healthier” cousin to your traditional fry are a perfecting pairing with this burger, and go great in any sauce 3. The Double Chocolate BACON Shake. Served in an adorable glass this funky take on an American classic has me wondering what I have been doing with plain chocolate my whole life. #cheatdayalltheway
For A Night In Bangkok: THAI MARKET
I cannot control my love for this Morningside dream! The peanut chicken dumplings are so balanced and are just beautiful pillows of yum! The Thai Crepe filled with baby shrimp, shaved coconut and topped with a house made pickle is such a unique dish, and I always order to share. Many a diner have been converted! You can’t go wrong with the curry, the Pad Se Ew or the steak. But if you want to go out of your Thai “norms” I would say this is the place for you! I have never had anything here I didn’t love, and the décor is so fun with newspaper menus and umbrellas hanging from the sky!
Pro Tip: Walk off dinner to The Hungarian Pastry Shop a few short blocks away for a late night espresso and an assortment of pastries and desserts. This place is cash only and been in business since JFK was in office. This is real deal NYC.
The thing I love is that I could keep going and going about theses restaurants and shops, big and small that I genuinely love in my neighborhood. Harlem is a so unique for so many reasons and the food culture is just one part of what I love about my neighborhood.
Now, I am off… and if I am being honest, I am going to go get a latte.
Don’t stop exploring! Don’t stop eating!