Talking SCHOP! Cooking & crawling (40353)
Talking SCHOP! Cooking & crawling (40352)
Talking SCHOP! Cooking & crawling (40351)

It’s my birthday month! Time to start the celebrating and think about what I want to do and eat on my special day. I am taking some suggestions on how exactly to celebrate it this year. We know there will be food and drink, but the experience remains a mystery…

What is not a mystery is the wonderful time I had at the opening of City Cookhouse (1325 Fifth Ave., (646) 580-1325, Owners Ahkilah Johnson and Paul Hawthorne opened the doors of this modern, minimal and functional commercial kitchen to guests, clients, family and friends last Thursday night. The mood was high, the food was good and the company appreciated it all.

Johnson and Hawthorne opened City Cookhouse to improve the health of their community by advancing food awareness and to serve as a foundation for instruction on creative and healthy ways to eat. It is becoming a “food salon” of sorts by providing likeminded chefs, caterers, culinary teachers and other food entrepreneurs access to a full-service commercial kitchen and a space to express their thoughts around food and wellness, both physical and emotional.

Thursday was not my first time at City Cookhouse, as evidenced by the vibrant collage of photos of activities and clients that have used the kitchen for teaching and taking cooking classes, parties, culinary tastings, offsite catering preparation or developing restaurant menus and filming cooking demonstrations–the latter of which was my first experience with City Cookhouse. You can check me out in the orange shirt and ponytail, diligently chopping, slicing and dicing while a camera looms in the distance…

City Cookhouse is a one-stop shop right in our neighborhood. As a food professional, I am happy to have this forward-thinking space available and not far from where those who need it most can use it and appreciate it. Thank you, City Cookhouse!

Perhaps as a precursor to my birthday celebration I can throw back some cocktails and victuals at Food & Drink Boulevard on Thursday, May 10, 6 to 10 p.m. If you attended the annual Bar and Restaurant Crawl–a sold-out event since its inception in 2010–you will love this pre-summer kick-off event that will take you from 112th to 124th streets on Frederick Douglass Boulevard to sample some of the best of Harlem’s restaurant row.

Angie Hancock, owner of Experience Harlem and the creator of the crawl, has put together an evening that celebrates the diversity of watering holes and feed troughs along the ave. “I’m absolutely thrilled about the emergence of Eighth Avenue as Harlem’s new Restaurant Row. There are so many interesting options, from Ethiopian, to French-Senegalese and American, reflecting the diversity of not only the neighborhood but also New Yorkers. With the opening of a hotel and more niche restaurants, Harlem is simply unstoppable,” said Hancock.

Food & Drink Boulevard will be the ultimate evening of food, cocktails, music, culture and surprises with over 16 tantalizing restaurants and stores participating: 5 & Diamond; 67 Orange Street; Bad Horse Pizza; Bier International; Billie’s Black; Cedric; Chocolat; Franz James Florist; Frederick Cafe Bistro; Harlem Skin Clinic; Harlem Tavern; Harlem Vintage; Levain Bakery; Les Ambassades; Lido; and Moca.

Tickets are only $5 ($10 at the door) for drinks, appetizers and special promotions. If you plan early for fun, you can also get two tickets for the price of one–I’m rhyming now?! A portion of each purchase benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem. Go to for more details and to purchase tickets.

Thank you, Harlem, for setting me up for another great birthday!

Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!

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Questions at dinnertime? Chat with me at AskSCHOP, Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m.

Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! which is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Email