As the fall weather begins to settle in, we begin to stock our coffers in preparation for winter hibernation. Yes, we gather food and household items so trips to the store are minimal, but we also gather information for good watering holes and eateries that might soothe some cabin fever should the need arise.
Enter Cantina (1838 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., 626-755-8864), the new Harlem taco and tequila bar just one block shy of Central Park. There under the red neon sign, in the converted ground floor tailor shop, is an intimate, amber-lit space to gather over affordable tacos and myriad tequilas.
I went to a small tasting when Cantina first opened. They were still working out the kinks, but I knew this would soon become the place. I tasted the sushi-grade ahi tuna tacos, their tableside guacamole and the tart and potent margarita. Ole! That guacamole was one of the best I have had in a while. It has a creamy mouth feel and taste with the right amount of salt and citrus. I will be back if just for that!
Though the official Oktoberfest has come to an end, there’s still plenty of time in the month and places in Harlem to enjoy a glass, a can, a bottle, a pint or a stein of beer. One of the newest that was old and now new again is Riverbank Grill (@riverbankgrill, 679 Riverside Drive, 212-234-1023, www.riverbankgrill.com) right in Riverbank State Park off 145th street.
Riverbank Grill is a beer garden and restaurant overlooking the Hudson River and offering unbeatable views of the George Washington Bridge and the Palisades along with over 30 local and international beers and American pub-style food. The 5,000-square-foot space has plenty of elbow room both indoors and out for gatherings and private dining. Go for weekend brunch before spending a day in the park, sip drinks while watching the sun go down behind the Palisades or take a break while cycling up the Hudson River Greenway.
Other notable Harlem beer handouts to get your suds fix must include Bier International (@bierint, 2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd., 212-280-0944, www.bierinternational.com). My favorite beer is the Belgian gem Duvel Green. A couple of glasses of those with the truffle fries and the Merguez sausage treats me right every time!
Lastly, when something pops up temporarily in Harlem, you go! Harlem Brew (@harlembrew) has a created a Brew Garden Pop Up at MIST (@myimagestudios, 46 W. 116th St., between Fifth and Lenox avenues) every Thursday through Sunday, 12-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m., through Nov. 3. I definitely want to go for “brewunch” one Sunday.
I raise a stein to you, Harlem!
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc or chat with her on Instant Messenger at AskSCHOP, Monday-Friday, 6-8 p.m. For even more recipes, tips and food musings subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.