When friends and readers ask me about some of my favorite places to eat in the city, and Harlem specifically, more often I think more about a specific dish or item that makes me do the happy dance than the place.  Here is my growing list of BESTies (in no particular order):

  • Almond Croissant – Les Ambassades Patisserie (Harlem) – – Caramelized buttery goodness in a pastry with a perfect almond paste inside and toasted slivered almonds on the outside.  I try to limit myself to 1 or 2 a month with a coffee.
  • Chicken & Waffles – Amy Ruth’s (Harlem) – – If I MUST, this is where to have it!  Season-battered and fried to a golden crisp with a divine traditional waffle.
  • Rugelach – Lee Lee’s Baked Goods (Harlem) – Get your timing right and you can have these hot out of the oven from a professional baker who has been making them for decades.  Traditional apricot or chocolate, they are worth the calories.
  • Moroccan Fried Chicken – Native (Harlem) – – Though it has changed over the years this Middle Eastern seasoned dish still remains on my list.  It comes with seared collards (ask them to make sure they have been triple washed), mashed potatoes and a tangy saffron yellow walnut sauce.  Delicious!
  • Salmon Croquettes – Sylvia’s (Harlem) – – I don’t go often, but when I do it is mostly for breakfast and this is what I order with grits and slab bacon.  Maybe its because my mother made them as kids, but there is something very familiar and comforting about them.  Oh!  Make sure you get some biscuits and ask for real butter.  So good!
  • Porchetta – Porchetta (LES) – – I first fell in love with this pork delicacy in Rome.  Just gorgeous, seasoned well and painfully good.  I’ve had it as a sandwich on a ciabatta roll, but the plate with cannelli beans and greens is calling my name.  It’s a MUST TRY!

    Porchetta sandwich @ Porchetta
  • De Pabellon arepa – Caracas Arepa Bar (LES) – – This corncake filled with shredded beef, black beans, salty white cheese and sweet plantains is orgasmic.  There are others from which to choose that I can go on about…try them for yourself.
  • more to come…

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