A culinary tour of NYC, Part II.

My culinary tour of NYC continues. Don’t miss Part I.

Sunday Brunch — Harlem

You’d think that since I’m southern, I would know soul food. And I thought I did, until I went to Sylvia’s in Harlem. It was years ago, but it’s still the best fried chicken and red velvet cake I’ve eaten anywhere, including in any southern state. Sorry to betray my roots with truth. So I was excited to get my Sylvia’s fix again this trip. We attempted Sunday brunch … but here’s the rub. Sylvia’s is so good that it’s in demand. (Read: constantly packed and touristy). On this rainy Sunday morning, we could barely squeeze in the front door. And since we were on a bit of a schedule, that wouldn’t do.

Instead, we walked across the street to Corner Social, which was unknown to us but had a great look and an even better-looking menu. I spotted exactly what I wanted before we even sat down — an item that had long evaded me, even earning a spot on my official culinary bucket list: chicken and waffles. Well, in this case, it was chicken and pancakes. (Close enough.) I find crispy, savory fried chicken over fluffy pancakes drowned in maple syrup a genius combo. It’s sweet and salty. Soft and crispy. The perfect marriage of opposite, yet complementary, flavors and textures.

chicken-pancakes

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Cooking Spree: Chinese Takeout

For many years I lived in the heart of NYC, where anything you can imagine was delivered straight to my door:  food, groceries, laundry, cupcakes, wine, even prescription medicine. That came in really handy when I had the flu and could order Gatorade, a bagel and some chicken soup from the deli downstairs. You become friendly with your regular delivery folk, in an awkward, overly-familiar kind of way. When the laundry comes back, you try to meet their eyes, smile and thank them at the door while hoping they weren’t the ones folding your clean underwear earlier that day.

In Manhattan, almost all restaurants deliver, and you’ll find a folder crammed full of countless menus in every NYC kitchen. When I didn’t feel like cooking, I reveled in my ability to order takeout from anywhere at anytime. I explored the world’s cuisines from the comfort of my own couch — sushi, Indian, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Hawaiian, Greek. Now that I’m back in the suburban South, my options are limited to pizza. Or pizza. Needless to say, I don’t have food delivered anymore.

That’s okay, since I discovered how to make some of my favorite Chinese food at home. I give you sweet & sour chicken with coconut rice and sesame noodles. I won’t claim either to be authentic, but they’ll do for me.
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