Good Eats at Second Annual Harlem EatUp! Festival

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Sunday afternoon we celebrated Harlem’s culinary diversity at Harlem EatUp! Festival, a five-day food festival. Harlem EatUp! Festival, was created by world-renowned chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson and event marketer Herb Karlitz. The duo put their heads together and came up with a concept that showcases the unique foodie scene and all of the fabulous artists Harlem has to offer. The festivities began on Wednesday, May 18th with a series of chef-hosted dinners entitled “Dine in Harlem”. The series helped shine a spotlight on some of Harlem’s best eateries by inviting popular chefs to host an evening of dining featuring a guest chef at each venue. The first dinner was held at Ginny’s Supper Club hosted by Marcus Samuelsson and featuring guest chef Bobby Flay.

Marcus Samuelsson, Chirlane I. McCray and Herb Karlitz
Marcus Samuelsson, Chirlane I. McCray, and Herb Karlitz

We attended the final event of the week, the “Sunday Stroll” presented by Aetna. The “Stroll” is an outdoor foodie adventure featuring some of the best bites in Harlem. The day was filled with music and culture as dueling DJs set the soundtrack for the afternoon. Soulful music filled the park as we visited and revisited kiosk after kiosk of tasty treats.


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The items offered differed from simple but delicious pulled pork sliders to exquisite beet cured eggs filled with a creamy chicken liver mouse as presented by Rowhouse Harlem. The fascinating little bite was also topped with a candied mustard seed for a surprising burst of sweetness.

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The afternoon presented us with an opportunity to sample dishes from some of the restaurants on our constantly growing list of places to try. One of the most popular eateries on our foodie bucket list is Streetbird Rotisserie. Streetbird brought a noodle dish inspired by Asian cuisine; soba noodles tossed with a black bean soy dressing, pulled rotisserie chicken and fresh vegetables.

Scott Conant (L) and Lorenzo Boni
Scott Conant (L) and Lorenzo Boni

In addition to the tastings, guests also enjoyed a free wine class and demonstrations by some of the city’s top chefs on the main stage. Like many events, the best part is mixing and mingling with the people. Celebrities, politicians and artists from all walks of life were in attendance. There were no divisions, or trailers or annoying VIP sections, just a varied assortment of happy foodies immersing themselves in a celebration of Harlem’s heritage, and a forward glance to its culinary future. Best of all the event raised awareness and much-needed funds for several charities. Proceeds from the stroll will benefit Historic Harlem Parks. For additional information on Harlem EatUp! Festival,, visit HarlemEatUP.com