Yatenga Brunch Steak Sandwich

Because I’m from Harlem, people are always asking where I eat in the neighborhood, and Yatenga has our stamp. I’m not sure if people know how great the food is up here because I’m always able to grab a seat but I am not mad at that, at all.  I’ve been a few times, and the service is pretty decent on average. I love the brunch staff at Yatenga though, and find them to be the most pleasant and attentive. Who wouldn’t think so, when you can get a mimosa pitcher all to yourself?

Yatenga Mimosa

Decor wise, Yatenga is full of vibrant colors and even more vibrant food lovers. They’re somewhat tucked away on Adam Clayton unless you’re familiar with Shrine which is run by the same owner. I know it took me too long to get up there so I encourage you to try it out now that you know about it. Yatenga is also great in the evening time when it’s full of Harlem’s night owls vying for drinks.

Yatenga Harlem

I actually ended up looking it up on foursquare before coming by and saw that Joy from Joblogues had the steak sandwich which was all the rave. How could she steer me wrong? Now every time I go, I try not to order it. It’s so amazing you won’t even look at the other menu items. The steak is served on ciabatta which is a thicker bread but it’s great if you’re looking for a hearty meal. The bread isn’t stiff either and the steak which is a grilled hanger steak, is a burst of smokey textured greatness.

Yatenga Brunch Steak Sandwich

A fried egg is served on the sandwich and you can order with or without it. But the real winner here are the mixed green which I’ve gone back and ordered just a side of. I’m not sure what dressing is on this salad, it’s probably a lot simpler than I think it is but it’s amazing. When do you know me to brag about greens? But Yatenga has made them refreshing, fun, and dare I say, addictive. If you’re going up to Harlem, keep them on your radar.

 

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BLVD Bistro Pancakes

Pancake lovers gather around.

If you haven’t yet, head overs to BLVD Bistro in Harlem for brunch and especially for their pancakes. I was lucky enough to catch their extended brunch on a Sunday and even though the wait was long, it was worth it.

BLVD Bistro Mimosa

It had been a while since I’ve seen a chef greeting guests and thanking them for their patronage so it was very refreshing to meet Chef Carlos and get to know more about him and his business. He even poured us more champagne, and I knew I was going to love this place already.

The pancakes I ordered were topped with a blueberry compote and a sprinkle of heaven. I have yet to find pancakes that are softer, richer, and more full of flavor than the ones at BLVD. Believe me, they are as good as they look.

BLVD Bistro Pancakes

Every time I’m asked where to brunch in Harlem, I say go to BLVD Bistro.

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Seasoned Vegan

“The food you love, veganized” Is Seasoned Vegan’s motto. As you walk in, the Harlem neighborhood mural inside of the entrance draws you. Seasoned Vegan is known for their veganized soul food, which was created by Mrs. Beener. Mrs. Beener and her son, Aaron Beener, are the owners of this vegan restaurant. Mrs. Beener have been cooking and eating vegan food for over 20 years. This restaurant serves different themes of food on a daily basis (Tuesday-Sunday); they aren’t opened Mondays. I commend the Beeners for raising awareness by opening this vegan restaurant in this Harlem community where the “chicken spot” is popular.

Mac N' Cheese x Broccoli x "Fried Shrimp"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dish was very different in comparison to what I usually have at SV. The fried shrimp which is made from organic fermented soy, has an interesting taste but still gives you the flavor of real shrimp. The stewed fish blew my mind. Mrs. Beener, you have done it once again! Mrs. Beener’s stewed fish is made out of fermented soy with seaweed as the “skin” on the sides. Her recipe is reminiscent of actual fish my mum would make on the weekends. It smells and tastes like real fish. I love the fact that Mrs. Brenda Beener can capture the flavors of non-vegan food into vegan food. I’ve been to many vegan restaurants and they lack flavor in all honesty. If a lot of these places added more flavor and seasonings into their recipes they would have a lot more non-vegan customers as well as potential vegan eaters as well.

Vegan Lunch Closeup

 

 

Crawfish x Spinach Salad x Spinach Pesto Mozzarella Pasta
That crawfish is SUPER GOOD and I need this recipe because the seasonings make you feel as if you’re eating seafood. It’s made out of burdock root (a rooted vegetable), which has a lot of health benefits such as anti-inflammatory and stunting the growth of cancer cells. I really enjoyed eating this dish because the spinach pesto pasta was just amazing. The Daiya cheese that was blended in so well you couldn’t tell if it was dairy or not.

 

I am absolutely head over heels over the Mac N’ Cheese at Seasoned Vegan. This is one of their staple dishes, which is a best seller. People come in wanting and craving the Mac N’ Cheese every day. Brenda and Aaron are doing a fantastic job in bringing the community together to eat well-seasoned delicious vegan food that is made with love.

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Chicken Shawarma

You know when you set up brunch at a restaurant you’ve never been to and you get there only to find out they don’t serve brunch? No? It’s just happened to me at Silvana?

Luckily, my date was the “Shawarma Gawd” himself, Brandon, whose blog you can find here. It was a first time for the both of us, checking out Silvana’s in Harlem. Refreshing cucumber water at your disposal and plenty of trinkets, bags, home wear plus more to peak your interest, Silvana’s is comforting. I could hardly stay in my seat because I wanted to look at everything. However, the arrival of Brandon’s tea wasn’t something I wanted to miss. I’m no tea guru; I barely like tea. Brandon on the other hand, could drink tea everyday of his life. They have a French press for the variety of teas they offer and I was simply fascinated at how these things work.

tea press

Then our shawarma arrived! I ordered the chicken on some kind of bread and it was stuffed with hummus, salad, garlic spread, and a few other items I couldn’t even pronounce if I tried. Yes, there was a party in there and I didn’t know what to do about it. I tried to consume it like a sandwich and when that didn’t work, I just used my fork. I’m not too big on hummus but the chicken was really fresh. I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t make the huge mess I made, however, it was all right for my first experience.

Chicken Shawarma

I saw my future briefcase at Silvana’s so I do need to go back but I definitely would try something else on the menu here.

 

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Chocolat Calamari Salad

I’ve been catching a lot of our Instagram followers getting a Taste of Harlem at Chocolat lately.  Just in time for me to take my second peak here, I had the honor of being invited to a tasting of their new menu, along with a few other great bloggers and I’m excited to share.

Chocolat is on restaurant row and the ambiance is pretty sexy and exclusive. The music here is great and despite them having a bigger crowd than my last visit, I really appreciated the service this time around.

This was a 9-course tasting and I took dessert home, how could I avoid to? We started with 4 appetizers, went onto 3 entrees and ended with 2 dessert dishes. The Blackened Mahi Mahi Satay was very light and seasoned evenly, which my taste buds do not take for granted. The mango salsa was really a hit and added a kick to the lightness of the mahi mahi. The Shrimp & Watermelon salad is great if you’re looking for something refreshing and the two blended well with one another.

Blackened Mahi Mahi Satay with Mango Salsa Watermelon Shrimp Salad

The calamari salad here is actually a signature dish and very popular amongst the guests. I felt that the salad needed more dressing but I could see why it’s a local favorite. The short rib empanada reminded me of a puff pastry because it wasn’t deeply fried which is a good thing. The salsa that came with it really pulled the rib flavors together, so always dip this bad boy if it’s kept on the menu.

Calamari Salad Short Rib Empanada

I wasn’t a huge fan on the jerk chicken and rice but I’m sure since the tasting, this dish has likely been taken to the next level. The chicken was just lacking that jerk kick to it but it was cooked through and still had great flavors going. The yard bird came with another amazing sauce that really did it. But I did feel as though the bird had an awkward set up with only watermelon and corn on the cob to accompany it.

Jerk Chicken and Rice Southern Crispy Yard Bird

Closest to the best thing I had all night was the grilled salmon fillet that was served with sautéed kale, leeks and a mango coulis. We really had to ask the chef, Joseph Guittierez, what was in the sauce. The salmon was just made to perfection and the heat radiating of off it paired with the coolness of the coulis and the fresh mango flavor was just doing wonders. I would go back time after time again for this specific dish and it’s highly recommended. It really stole the night.

Grilled Scottish Salmon Fillet

Nothing ever ends if it doesn’t end with dessert so of course I was indulging in the black cake a la mode, which was really good. Nothing made my heart melt more than the pastelles of guava and queso. I am somewhat biased because this is a childhood favorite of mine but i really admire Chocolat for pulling this off perfectly. I even took a few of it home.

Jamaican Black cake a la Mode Pastelles of Guava & Queso

With restaurant row really becoming a staple “go to” in Harlem, it’s safe to say the owner of Chocolat, Leon Ellis, is ahead of the race. With some fine tuning to the menu, it has some great potential and more than few great dishes on the list already.

Chef and Owner of Chocolat

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Over the summer, I had the pleasure of meeting a young woman by the name of Tiffany Bender. Although I am still learning about this powerhouse of a woman, I feel like I’ve grown to know her enough to speak about her a bit to my readers. Tiffany is an extremely charismatic, upbeat, cute-as-a-button, warm person. Her accomplishments speak for themselves and I promise you, she has a good story to tell.

You will see Tiffany Bender on your TV Screen someday and luckily for me, I got to see her in the kitchen! See, Tiffany is a baker and she has a knack for baking cupcakes. I love to bake too and I have a knack for eating cupcakes so it was no surprise that I found myself  at her FAB Mom’s FROST event in Harlem

Tiffany baked over 50 cupcakes for this event and I was allowed the time and space to network with other like-minded female professionals thanks to her. There were strawberry cupcakes, yellow cake, and red velvet all for decoration. Tiffany guided us on what we could decorate with; she provided cream cheese frosting, peanut butter for the jelly filled cupcakes and a few other flavors. There was edible glitter, m&ms, colorful spray and fun at the table to enjoy. The best part of it was that she made the cupcakes with love. Thanks Tiffany, for letting me in your world one cupcake at a time.

Tiffany Bender

I was able to steal Tiffany for an interview as well. Get the details on Miss Tiffany Bender.

In your press release, your inspiration for Fab Mom Frost is evident. What made you want to share those memories with others and make it an event?

I love hosting. Not in the tradition, get on the stage and get a crowd hype — I mean intimate moments between good people. When I bake it’s that very nostalgia that comes to me of hosting a few friends over whenever I want to try a new recipe especially since I hate sweets. Isn’t that ironic?

How does your love for baking and your ability to bake (so well) factor into your everyday life and who you are? Is it Cupcake Therapy?

My grandma was a baker; both of them actually. So when I would get shipped to Jamaica (seriously — for the entire summer), my Dad’s mother would let me help her …well mostly lick the spoon …and entire bowl.

In the states, everyone in our complex loved my Mother’s mom’s cakes. My brother and I would be turned into delivery boys once she got to baking. I can’t say there are any family recipes or anything — but I definitely got the baking spirit from them. With one being sick and across an ocean and the other resting in peace I guess it really does serve as a form of therapy. 

What is your favorite thing to bake? And what is your favorite cupcake to have?

My favorite thing to bake is of course cupcakes. They are just SO FREAKING CUTE! My favorite cupcake would have to be a sweet potato recipe I stole from my college roommate. Those things — I could eat all day. And I did! And paid for it in the gym night after night!

Last but not least, have you ever invented your own cupcake? If so, what? And if not, is it something you would try to do?

Best cupcake I ever invented wasn’t necessarily an invention — just a random idea. Strawberry Ice Cream cupcakes. I literally just poured batter into a cone, (a few failed and set my oven a blaze -lol!) but when I got the measurements right: pure magic! 

You can find her at http://mstiffanybender.com/ or Instagram/Twitter: @MsTiffanyBender

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