Harlem’s EatUp Festival Is The True Definition Of Eat, Drink And Be Merry


Whether you were raised in the kitchen, or the take out guy knows your first name. If your pantry consists of only salt and pepper or your DNA is made up of onion and garlic, the second annual Harlem EatUp Festival encapsulates one life’s greatest joys: food.

The four day event–co-founded by Marcus Samuelsson and Herb Karlitz–consisted of Dine-Ins at some of Harlem’s most prized restaurants including Ginny’s Supper Club, Melba’s Restaurant and Bluejeen among a few. I attended Chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson’s Dine In Minton’s, which was was equal parts tasty as it was a turn up! With help from guest chef’s Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Jenkins, attendees enjoyed a five course meal of roasted asparagus, rice porridge in an oxtail broth, seared scallops atop charred broccoli and then the most tender lamb I’ve ever experienced in my life. It literally melted–almost evaporated–in mouth.

The fun didn’t stop there, Saturday (May 21) I and a few hundred other food lovers ventured to the park for the Stroll presented by Citibank. While the weather was cloudy, and there was a bit of a nip in the air, it didn’t stop guests from enjoying sample after sample. Ticketed attendees from all over New York taste the savory and succulent dishes from some of today’s most innovative chefs.

I had everything from Sisters Cuisine’s marsala curried potato and chick pea, to Barawine’s hand cut Ahi Tuna with Japanese seaweed, ginger soy and chili sauce on top of crisp cucumber. My sweet tooth got the best of me (as it always does) and I ventured over to Lady Lexis Sweets where I had a bread pudding that may rival your nanas, and rum raisin oatmeal cookies that continued calling my name. (I had three…okay five)

The line for Red Rooster’s fried chicken with whiskey glaze and mac and greens was out the door, but still worth the wait, and once I finished inhaling what Chef Samuelson offered guests, I mozied on over to Harlem Shake where the fried chicken sliders with jalapeños literally made forget, even just for a moment, about how large my student loan balance is.

The Harlem EatUp festival brought out everyone, young, old, black, white. New York natives and tourists. The chill environment, coupled with great music made for Harlem’s second annual food festival an excellent way to spend a weekend.

Will I be returning next year, you ask?  Is the sky blue?