It was a lazy end of summer Sunday in Harlem. The weather—GORGEOUS! I was content to be in the ‘hood, tooling around with my pups. Right before noon a text rolled through my phone, “What are you doing today? Wanna ride out to Brooklyn with me?” My response, “OK!”
The text came from my friend and colleague, Alicia, who is about to open her first restaurant, a new concept she and her team have been working on for some time. I assumed we were headed straight to the location, but once she picked us up and we were in route, she disclosed the full plan for the day for which the restaurant would be the final destination.
Our first stop was Tafari Tribe (591 Flatbush Ave., 347-529-7697) to visit her aunt and owner of Tafari, Sandra. Inside was a beautiful collage of African arts—clothing, jewelry, accessories and more. They were so welcoming to me and my dogs. Alicia handled her business and left with a dope pair of afro pick earrings.
Right next door to Tafari is the newly opened Hype’s Kitchen (589 Flatbush Ave., 718-484-0437) from the social media phenom, Maja Hype. There he translates his deep love for all of his Afro-Caribbean people into the food.
Since I had the dogs, Alicia went into Hype’s Kitchen to see what it is all about and returned with some jerk chicken and mac ‘n cheese for us to share. We were not mad at it at all. Spicy and fLavorful, the chicken hit all the notes of good jerk and the mac ‘n cheese was, as Alicia said, “like Jamaicans like it,” not laden with cheese but more like a macaroni salad. It was gone quickly…
Our jerk appetizer was to prep our bellies for margaritas at our next destination. We hopped back in the car and headed to Fort Greene to park our butts in the patio at Habana Outpost (@HabanaOutpost, 757 Fulton St., 718-858-9500, cafehabana.com). Now I have seen and heard about this place numerous times, but to be there on a stunning day with my friend and my pups lifted me higher and higher.
Alicia wasted no time in getting the first round of margaritas ($11) and I was here for it. By the time we were ready for the second round, food needed to be added to the order. Tacos it would be, shrimp ($7.75 each) for her and fish ($4.75 each) for me, plus some guac and chips ($7.75). Fresh and delicious, they were finished with different combinations of pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa verde, chipotle mayo and charred salsa negra.
We had our last round and finally walked over to see Alicia’s new baby Likkle Jamaican Dumpling House & Library (884 Fulton St., 347-463-9750, email@example.com). After looking at myriad locations in Harlem that did not pan out, it was fate for her to find this corner location in her childhood neighborhood that is just perfect for her handmade dumplings and food inspired by her Jamaican heritage.
The vibe at Likkle is so perfect for a rich experience in fusion food and culture with their “likkle” library of curated books and a deep arsenal of creatives coming in for talks on the couch. I cannot wait for Likkle to open soon! I will, of course, give you the 411 on the date. And…I just might be blessing the kitchen too!
Thank you, Alicia, for a fabulous day in Brooklyn, for your friendship and your sisterhood. “Big up” to Likkle Dumpling House & Library!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!