December 20, 2017

Remember that one time last week where I brushed off fancy restaurants? I may want to take that back a little bit... To be fair, however, I was talking about the fancy Manhattan restaurants and this post is focused on a fancy Harlem restaurant. I went back to NYC this weekend, I couldn't get enough, but this time with my mother. These two trips were planned out in advance, but were spontaneously next to each other. We both love Food Network - there's actually a poster of Guy Fieri in my kitchen in my apartment. The kitchen is flavor town, after all. My mother booked us brunch at Red Rooster by Chef Marcus Samuelsson in Harlem for when we got there. Little did I know, I would be thanking her forever. 

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Samuelsson's food influences are quote dichotomous yet intriguing. He was adopted from Ethiopia by Swedish family. Therefore, his Swedish family and his Ethiopian birth family influence his cuisine. He developed a love for food from his grandmother, who was a chef. According to, he "...went on to become a renowned force in international cuisine," by being an executive chef at Aquavit in NYC and receiving numerous awards including a James Beard honor. He opened Red Rooster to be influenced by and build on Harlem's rich culinary culture. 

Red Rooster has a hip Harlem ambience to it. Very cool, very New York. There was even a DJ. What's more NYC than a bustling, hip brunch place with a DJ and eclectic comfort food on the menu. To start off, we had to try his cornbread. This cornbread with honey butter was delicious and hit the spot - there was even real corn in it! I also had to try a Bloody Mary, because I've never had a proper one in my 22-year-old life. I'm sorry to announce that I did not like it. It was too savory and spicy - not things I look forward to in a drink. Not saying it wasn't good to someone who enjoys this drink, however. I also may be scarred from the morning of the first day of classes my last semester of college. We went out for birthday drinks for two roommates the night before and one of the birthday girls made us to-go Bloody Mary's for the next morning, which was actually canned tomato soup and Guaro, a Costa Rican vodka-type alcohol that I brought back from my travels. Needless to say, I did not indulge. 

My meal sent me to heaven. I got the Shakshukatory, which is one of my new favorite dishes. It was a steaming dish of grits, spicy tomatoes, ricotta, eggs and avocados. I also got a side of HEAVENLY roasted brussel sprouts with just the right amount of red pepper flakes and parmesan. It may be the best dish I've ever had. 

Have you had a good brunch lately?

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