By Lil Nickelson
Romance is in the air and it’s getting hot out here as Valentine’s Day weekend 2016 unfolds. It’s 21 degrees outside right now in Harlem, but it feels like 10 degrees and the temperature is going to drop as the day progresses. It’s not a day to be outside walking; not unless you’re walking into a warm, cozy spot to eat. Whether you have a lover to share a meal with or not, don’t let that stop you from venturing out to eat this weekend. Take someone that you love like your child, parent or grandparent out to share a meal. It could be a group of platonic friends that are in between lovers that gather together to celebrate their love of life and having good friends that are there for each other. Or as the late Whitney Houston used to sang take out your greatest love of all and romance yourself. You never know who may cross by your path this weekend and the sparks fly and ignite.
I’m an early riser and it’s going on 8am on Saturday as I compose this article so breakfast time right now. If I was heading out within the next hour I would be heading over to Sylvia’s Restaurant (328 Lenox Avenue in between 126th – 127th Streets) for one of their old school soul breakfasts of grits with either fried fish, bacon, salmon cakes, fried chicken livers and gravy or fried chicken with waffles. Or if I was looking for something non old school then I’d head over to Maison Harlem, a French bistro at 341 St. Nicholas Avenue (127th Street) where I could savor quiche Lorraine, French toast with bacon, home fries and a fresh fruit salad, eggs benedict or an omelette with smoked salmon and goat cheese served with home fries and a mixed green salad.
If you don’t get out and about until brunch time you could head to either of those two restaurants. Or your old school offerings expand to include Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken (2841 Frederick Douglass Blvd in between 151st – 152nd Streets). Want to sample a brunch menu that blends Jamaican, English and New York cuisines then you’re going to The Edge Harlem (101 Edgecombe Avenue at 139th Street) for some ackee and saltfish served with sautéed kale, beer battered fried cod fish and chips, a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese or the Ultimate Edge Burger.
If you’ve got a little more money to spend you should make your way over to New Harlem Besame Latin Soul Lounge (2070 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd at 124th Street). Their Afro Latin food menu offerings include guava BBQ wings or ribs, oxtails and peas and rice, chicken or shrimp in garlic sauce along with some amazing signature drinks. The Cecil and Minton’s located at 206 and 210 West 118th Street (off St. Nicholas Avenue) is delivering that one two punch with fabulous food and terrific music this weekend. Minton’s hosts an intimate series of dinner events curated by Executive Chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson. The Cecil offers an a la carte menu along with a selection of sumptuous dinner and drink specials.
And I know either today or tomorrow I will make my way over to LoLo’s Seafood Shack at 303 West 116th Street in between Manhattan Avenue and Frederick Douglass Blvd because this is Lobster Fest weekend. For $35.00 for two people they offer split roasted lobster with a choice of LoLo’s signature sauces, wok seared veggies and a side of pineapple rice. Add some love on top with half shrimps with your choice of sauce and all February long their dessert is roasted pineapple with coconut chutney and it’s complimentary on Valentine’s Day. Okay now I’m so hungry from writing about food that I got to go. Later readers with all of my love.
Happy Valentine’s Day.