News flash! Jacob Soul Food Restaurant, located on the corner of 129th Street and Lenox Avenue, now has outdoor seating. Set up very discreetly, the privacy is welcomed as you don’t always want the world watching as you lick your fingers and smack your lips.
Remember when I told about a new restaurant named Babbaluccis that was under construction, but it was hard to tell if that restaurant was going to serve Italian or Indian cuisine? Well, it’s an Italian kitchen with a wood-burning oven. Yum! Lenox Saphire is still a fav of mine, especially on a Saturday afternoon, when I just want something light.
Seen having brunch most recently was Ambassador Suzann Johnson Cook, who hosts the monthly ProVoice/ProVoz workshops. Often held at the Harlem State Office Building, ProVoice/ProVoz most recently traveled to Washington, D.C., where Ambassador Cook, Virginia Ali and Vida Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl and Angela Franco of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held court. According to its mission statement, the organization seeks to “…cross racial, ethnic, political and religious lines together. For an hour and a half of power, winning women learn and share lessons of leadership, conversations and motivation for women leaders. It is not just another women’s organization, but a collective effort of individuals and organizations, led by women to advance our causes and who help Black and Latina women come together and ‘get to the table.’ It’s a movement, ever evolving, exciting and energetic. We shape it together. Somos uno.”
Seemingly a dining hotspot for many is Corner Social, located on the corner of 126th Street and Lenox Avenue. Midday/midweek the place is packed. Forget about the weekends. However, if you want the best Sunday brunch, head over to Ponty Bistro. The French toast and pancakes are so good, I can taste them as I write. The only thing to watch out for is if you order a mimosa, you have to request that they go easy on the orange juice.
Sushi anyone? Zumu just opened, and I do mean just, at 128th Street and Lenox Avenue. Whoever thought the day would come when a Japanese restaurant would open on Lenox Avenue north of 125th Street. Well, there’s nothing wrong with a little chicken teriyaki, with a tekka maki roll on the side and a bottle of hot sake to wash it down.
And that’s the latest on the hood’s version of Restaurant Row. But wait a minute! Let’s not forget the tried and true Londel’s, Harlem’s only supper club. Besides the delicious soul food, there is still jazz Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday brunch. Elegantly renovated, with quality service and good cornbread, Londel’s should not slip off your list, especially if you’re planning for a large group. They can accommodate.
Speaking of the hood, what’s up with the buses. One after the other is “Not in Service,” during peak hours of the day, as the crowds swell to disproportionate numbers. It’s frustrating as well as a clear sign of negligence and disrespect. We all know this would never happen downtown. I buy my monthly MetroCard and deserve the same service as those below 110th Street. It’s the ultimate hassle to call the MTA at 511, because you must go through several minutes of recordings before you get an instruction telling you to leave a message. So I plan to write a very strong letter.
To all of my loyal readers, you may recall, I owe you the eight-sentence text that was drawn from a letter written by Sam Melville, a political prisoner housed at Attica, to which Dance Theatre of Harlem performed one of the most invigorating pieces I have ever seen. The piece entitled, “Coming Together,” was choreographed by Nacho Duato. The physical strength of the dancers symbolizes the depth of feelings, commitment, enlightenment and transformation Melville must have undergone during his time in prison. The fast tempo, rigorous ballet movements dramatically reflect the intensity of the times. The eight-line passage, which is repeated over and over throughout dance, throws the audience into a trance. It is the struggle and the story Melville must have undergone. Fixated, you don’t realize, until suddenly, when the dance comes to an end, that you have traveled through the essence of Melville. The letter reads: “I think the combination of age and the greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time. It’s six months now, and I can tell you truthfully few periods in my life have passed so quickly. I am in excellent physical and emotional health. There are doubtless subtle surprises ahead, but I feel secure and ready. As lovers will contrast their emotions in times of crisis, so am I dealing with my environment. In the indifferent brutality, incessant noise, the experimental chemistry of food, the ravings of lost hysterical men, I can act with clarity and meaning. I am deliberate—sometimes even calculating—seldom employing histrionics, except as a test of the reactions of others. I read much, exercise, talk to guards and inmates, feeling for the inevitable direction of my life.”
Melville was killed in the Attica prison riot that began September 9, 1971.
Until next week … kisses.