“The game changer for me?” he said, pausing during the nine-block walk from Red Rooster to his duplex near Frederick Douglass Boulevard. “That was when I noticed that there were more wine stores in Harlem than liquor stores.”
I first met Chef Samuelsson before I moved to NYC while visiting my former college roommate, a resident of Harlem. I had just hopped off the bus up from Boston and we were catching up over dinner on the patio of the since-closed Native. Mr. Samuelsson, donning a wreath on his head, walked over to chat with me and my friend. I was curious about his wreath and wondered what made him come over to speak to us. Later I connected the dots when I remembered seeing him in one of my food magazines and recalling that he's Swedish-raised, realized that his wreath was in celebration of Midsummer. I also remembered that I was wearing my "Always Hungry" t-shirt which had a Food+Wine magazine logo on it. Yes, I'm a bit slow!
|My sister and her boyfriend were thrilled to meet one of chefs behind the special Black History Month menu|
Since then it's been an amazing journey for Chef Samuelsson, and I've enjoyed watching how he's made strategic business partnerships from Macy's to World Market. One of the most recent developments that's intrigued me is the creation of a unique Black History Month menu at Red Rooster. Inspired by Black female chefs, and overseen by Chef Adrienne Cheatham, the $62 prix fixe menu features 5 courses which my sister Ariane and her boyfriend recently got to experience.
My tastebuds were jealous!
|Amuse: Miss Adrienne's Macarons (a twist on the traditional pastry, it's made with duck liver and balsamic vinaigrette)|
|1st Course: Broiled Oysters|
|Courses 2 through 5 (l to r, clockwise): Charred Octopus//Blackened Catfish//Beer-Braised Pork Belly//Island Frosted Flakes|
My sister and her boyfriend were intrigued by the oysters which were seasoned with black olive aioili and fennel, and while she was surprised by how much she liked the octopus her favorite course was the pork belly made with creamed turnips, roasted turnips and smoked vinegar jus.
I couldn't let my sister and her boyfriend keep all this deliciousness to themselves, so last weekend, Mr. Lovebird and I had our own Red Rooster experience on Valentine's Day. Although I've been to Red Rooster twice before, it was Mr. Lovebird's first time, and we enjoyed a relaxing (kid-free!) evening, with live music and impeccable fare:
Have you visited Harlem lately? To learn more about Red Rooster Harlem visit their website and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter for the latest events and special menus. The Black History Month menu continues through the end of February!