A sermon is something that speaks to your soul and that’s exactly what my meal at The Food Sermon did.

For my first edition of Plantains Before Love, we dined at The Food Sermon, a quaint first come first serve seating Caribbean restaurant nestled in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Upon immediate entry the restaurant was aesthetically pleasing! The simple décor and wooden benches were reminiscent of a local restaurant on a tropical island with beautiful white tiles lining the walls to add a modern twist. Through the speakers played old school calypso and classic island tunes my father would love.

Now onto the reason why we’re here…the food! The menu is build your own bowl style with the basics: a meat, rice, beans, and gravy. The meat options are lamb, jerk chicken, salmon, and tofu for the non-meat eaters. Rice options are brown and white rice. Beans are red beans and chickpeas with either a bold coconut ginger sauce or a spicy tomato sauce to complete the bowl.

For my bowl I had the jerk chicken with white rice, red beans, and spicy tomato sauce! By the time we ordered the dinner rush had started so the cashier did warn us there would be a thirty-minute wait but we are absolutely okay with that. One of my fellow Food Before Love insiders had visited The Food Sermon before and assured me it was well worth the wait.

Our meals came in a little less than the expected thirty minutes, piping hot and plated to perfection. The bowls were assembled picture perfectly just as displayed on their site.

Jerk Chicken Bowl with White Rice, Red Beans, and Tomato Sauce

After taking my picture I dug in and was immediately satisfied! The jerk chicken was actual jerk chicken and not a poor imitation that unfortunately is too common nowadays. It was made with a jerk season versus jerk sauce. So if you are not a fan of spicy foods I would suggest you stay away from it. The rice and red beans were cooked to the perfect texture, not too mushy or too hard. I did have some reservations about the tomato sauce when ordering because of the tanginess tomato sauce can sometimes have but I also wasn’t in the mood for ginger. That wasn’t a problem with this sauce. It was perfectly flavored and not too robust like a spaghetti sauce.

All of the components and their seasonings worked together to make the bowl a non typical Caribbean dining experience. The best way for me to describe my meal is hearty! The portions are also very generous. I was able to leave a great size back for lunch the next day. I asked for some extra tomato sauce to take home and the next day the meal was just as amazing as the night before.

I give The Food Sermon not only thumbs up but all ten fingers and toes up! I plan to make my way back to the restaurant in the next week. My only warning would be the spacing, I would advise going just as they open if you plan to dine in.

Until next time Foodies!

Bon Appetit!


As a busy New Yorker, coming across a ravioli bar like I Ravioli at Eataly Downtown is ideal for my day-to-day. While I normally frequent their Flatiron location, I happily accepted an offer from the Eataly team to visit their second location. I had never been to Eataly Downtown so I was excited to see what was in store, literally.

Though I was guided to the bar upon arrival, I loved that there was a pathway on the floors that was leading the way. Now, you never have to worry about getting lost in the hustle and bustle of lunch since it takes you directly to where you need to go. Before approaching the bar, you get to see the chefs making the fresh pasta and the variety of options. Both chefs present on my visit seemed happy to chat about what they were making for the day, and knew plenty about each variation shown. They explained the process and how quickly it would be for me to get my meal. After the chef made a few suggestions on his favorites, I was ready to try them out for myself.

Photo by Tanya Maithai

The menu was pretty easy to choose from and so was having a glass of Rosè while I waited. The ravioli comes stuffed and there are a number of sauces available as well so you can pick your favorite day (based by sauce) to come grab your bite to eat. It wasn’t even three sips later, when my order was already up for me to grab. It was really quicker than a New York Minute, which is perfect for someone always on the go. Should you have some time to spare, there was ample seating to enjoy.

I ordered the prosciutto stuffed ravioli with the sauce of the day which was a mushroom, arugula and beef sauce. To my surprise, I was also invited to try the Pesto Trapanese, as well as, the Carbonara sauce over a bed of ravioli. I was already enjoying the pasta I ordered but the Carbonara had come to steal the show. It was creamy, with the right amount of cheese and sauce to compliment it. I found myself digging my fork back and back again into the bowl.

Photo by Tanya Maithai

The best part about the experience at I Ravioli at Eataly Downtown was that you could take ingredients home with you and recreate what you’ve had. From fresh pasta to the sauces, everything is suddenly available to you for the days you won’t have time to run in for lunch. Again, completely ideal for any ravioli lover, especially one who wants to bring the taste of Eataly, home.

NYC Restaurant week 2017 summer
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Since its inception in 1992, NYC Restaurant Week has now expanded to four weeks of a financially friendly opportunity to explore and try restaurants you may otherwise feel out of your reach. With 390 restaurants participating, the options can seem a bit overwhelming. If you have no idea where to go, we want to help you make your choice during these last days. Note: NYC Restaurant Week ends tomorrow, Friday, August 18th. So make your reservations now!

So “how does this work?” you may be askingDuring NYC Restaurant Week, you can indulge in a 3-course prix-fixe meal, which will cost you $29 for lunch and $42 dinner (plus the cost of beverages, tax and gratuity). This menu is offered Monday – Friday and on Sundays at some locations. You can find out which restaurants are participating and explore the menus they are offering here.

NYC Restaurant week 2017 summer

To give you a taste of what to expect and to help you narrow your options, here is what a few of our hungry friends had to say:

Danielle, @DaniDares (Food Before Love Insider)

Where to go:

The Clocktower (Flatiron) (lunch)

What to order:

Appetizer: Shellfish linguini, lemongrass, king crab, lobster bisque

Entree: 36 Hour braised Pork Belly, crispy polenta, roasted apricots, golden thyme

Dessert: Peach Eton mess, almond whipped cream, vanilla meringue

Beverage: Gruner Ventliner

Favorite details of the experience: The entire experience was decadent. The walls are adorned with images of classic icons. It felt as if we were in someone’s home that was hosting us for lunch or the perfect setting for a game of clue. The bisque was fulfilling yet not heavy, and the pork belly melted in my mouth with such a succulent flavor.


Name: Jessica, @Jessbcause721

Where to go:

Schilling Restaurant and Bar (FiDi) (lunch)

What to order:

Appetizer: Chicken liver crostini with shallot marmalade, house pickles and dijon

Entree: Branzino w/ a black garlic broth, root vegetable fricasse and charred broccoli florets

Dessert: Tiramisu

Beverage: Traditional Austrian beer Hefeweizen

Favorite details of the experience:

I absolutely loved the chicken liver crostini! It was super rich and the sweetness of the shallot marmalade just literally melted in your mouth. I would go back just to have that. I also loved that the broth with the branzino was spicy. The branzino was tender and flaky, there is so much you can do with fish so I enjoyed that they kept the broth light and flavorful and kept the branzino as the star.I would give the food a 4, that tiramisu was heaven in a shot glass.

Ambiance of the restaurant is very farm to table as the location is an industrial converted garage with wooded accents, glowing string lights and plush pillow lined benches.  The door was pulled all the way up so we had a nice floating breeze. I adore restaurants like this that kind of invite the hum of the city in while you dine. You can always feel connected to the world around you..

Great for dates or just catching up with friends. The waitstaff was extremely friendly and were more than accommodating when my boyfriend and I wanted to sample a few of the beers before deciding. Service is definitely a 5. All in all I would love to go back, as I said before its cozy, I had a great time and the food was AMAZING!

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Haley & Sarah, @twotastebuds_nyc

Where to go:

Sant Ambroeus (West Village)

What to order:

Appetizer: Battuta Di Manzo (Steak tartare)

Entree: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Dessert: Gelato & Sorbet

Beverage(s): Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon “La Contessa” 2015

Favorite details of the experience: The tagliatelle alla Bolognese was one of the best pasta dishes I have had in NYC and our waitress let us have a wine tasting while deciding which we wanted!

Where have you gone for NYC Restaurant Week? Let us know all about it in the comments below or tag us @FoodBeforeLove on instagram!

NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2017

With such a great list of restaurants, it can get really tough trying to decide where to eat during NYC Restaurant Week. Luckily, you still have time to decide. The winter 2017 NYC Restaurant Week starts on January 23rd – February 10th and reservations are now open. The “week” over time, has turned into two weeks but who’s complaining? Getting a three course lunch for $29 and a three course dinner for $42 is every diners dream, especially at restaurants who normally have a higher price point. Many are also offering brunch as well.

The hard part is choosing where you want to go. With over 300 options, it can get overwhelming sifting through menus which all locations haven’t made public. So I compiled the Food Before Love picks of the season. Be sure to #YumCam us with the good eats you decide to indulge in.

NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2017
Photo courtesy of NYCGO


Tavern 62

I was curious about Tavern 62 because Chef Burke had yet to disappoint me in the past. He was raving about the restaurant on twitter and it’s time we find out for ourselves. After all, every one of his restaurants provides a different experience and this menu is serving a ton of options for all.

Type of restaurant: New American

Perfect for: A business lunch or long lunch with a co-worker

What you need to know: They recently opened on the Upper East Side and are participating in NYC Restaurant Week only for lunch on Monday-Friday 

Book Tavern

Toloache Entrana


When you have the opportunity to see a Wednesday Matinee and then go to lunch near by, you can’t really complain. That’s the experience Toloache gives you for NYC Restaurant week. Whether you’re on your way there or wanted to grab a bite after, this midtown location will become your go to.

Type of restaurant: Mexican

Perfect for: A great third date spot or place to bring a parent before you head over to see a show

What you need to know: The brussels sprouts are amazing. Seriously, they taste like bacon.

Book Now

Soccarat Paella at Soccarat

Socarrat Paella

Socarrat is always my midtown go to. Why not indulge in their paella for NYC Restaurant Week? They offer a variety of different kinds of paella as well so if you’re not into seafood, there will be plenty of options. Most of the paella’s they serve are for two so prepare your appetite and bring a hungry friend.

Type of restaurant: Spanish

Perfect for: When you’re looking for a quick spot to grab a great bite.

What you need to know: They have multiple locations all over New York City so you’ll always have access to one.

Book Now

Gaby Brasserie Française

If you plan on going to a french restaurant, bring extra cash so that you can order all of the desserts available. Gaby’s is serving up a few classic favorites that will leave your sweet tooth asking for more.

Type of restaurant: French

Perfect for: Groups or eating family style

What you need to know: They’re in the Sofitel Hotel so don’t get lost trying to locate this one.

Book Now


Haru Gramercy Park

Gather around sushi lovers because if you haven’t discovered Haru yet, now’s your chance. Known for their sake specials all over the city, it’s easy to run up a hefty tab. Don’t miss the deal they’re offering for Winter Restaurant Week.

Type of restaurant: Asian Fusion

Perfect for: After work with friends, Date Night

What you need to know: There are plenty of Haru locations, all who offer something different.  Just don’t go on a first date, it may be hard to hear the other person over all the other conversations.

Book Now

Maya Restaurant Margarita


They’re a few blocks from the nearest train but worth the walk. Maya is a pretty large establishment so you won’t have worry too much about waiting on a table for a group or even for two. The atmosphere is almost modern mayan giving you old world vibes with a twist.

Type of restaurant: Mexican

Perfect for: Any occasion 

What you need to know: The margaritas here are to die for. Don’t leave without one.

Book Now

The Sea Grill

If you’re interested in romantic city views, this Rockefeller Center restaurant is where you’ll want to be. You can even host private events here when it’s not NYC Restaurant Week. The menu has a lot to offer for this steal of a deal and seafood lovers are flocking to make a reservation.

Type of restaurant: Seafood

Perfect for: Special Occasions 

What you need to know: 

Book Now

Arlington Club
Photo Courtesy of Arlington Club

Arlington Club

The great thing about NYC Restaurant week now is that you can even drop in on a Sunday for dinner at a few locations. Arlington Club is one of them and they’ll be happy to receive you with open arms.

Type of restaurant: Steakhouse

Perfect for: A night out with friends 

What you need to know: You don’t have to dress up, but you should. Grab your friends and hit the town + order the steak.

Book Now


Fig & Olive Downtown

This restaurant is always on my to eat list but that will change this NYC Restaurant week. Not only do they have great happy hour deals, but the dinner here is infamous amongst NYC diners.

Type of restaurant: MMediterranean 

Perfect for: Any occasion 

What you need to know: The Brunch menu isn’t offered online but that shouldn’t deter you from making a reservation

Book now

Photo Courtesy of Grub Street


Minton’s has been in the game for a while as one of Harlem’s gems but now you have access to experience it. With features like live music, and Chef JJ in the kitchen, you’re in for a treat.

Type of restaurant: New American

Perfect for: Late Nite Vibes and Romantic dates

What you need to know: Be sure to wear your dancing shoes because the jazz music here will make you want to do more than just tap your foot.

Book Now

Download our FREE NYC Pocket Guide

Do you often find yourself questioning where you should dine this weekend? Or maybe you’re tired of the same NYC restaurants. This NYC pocket guide takes you to 10 Food Before Love Favorites that will change how you eat. It’s perfect if you’re visiting NYC and are tired of relying on yelp. Let your taste buds have a party. .