Lately, I've been spending a lot of time hanging out around my own neighborhood, Harlem, as part of an exciting project I'm working on (more details to come). I love the budding coffeeshops and restaurants on Harlem's restaurant row and jump at the first chance to bring my friends from downtown NYC to this side of Central Park. Before the summer is officially over, I'll be squeezing in a few more patio beers and outdoor brunch sessions at my favorite spots in Harlem.
For brunch, my favorite spot is Barawine. Bottomless mimosa - need I say more? The interior decor is bright and minimalistic, and the outdoor seating leads up to a row of brownstones to lust after. All the while, the DJ is making sure everyone has a great time.
For some post-brunch caffeine boost, head over to Double Dutch Espresso. This intimate rustic spot serves up a perfect cup of joe and, dare I say, offers the best cup in the neighborhood. Indoor seats are usually hard to snag as it's a local favorite spot to work, but the outdoor patio is generally open while weather permits and ideal for some peace and quiet in an otherwise busy city.
If coffee is not for you, then head a bit north of Double Dutch and try some tea at Serengeti Tea & Spices. They have several different iced teas, from Africa, to cool you down on a balmy day. The tasting room is well-stocked with teas and spices of all variety, and feels like a hidden gem, just waiting to be discovered.
By this time, you're probably ready for something sweet. Pop into Levain Bakery - yes, there is now one uptown - for some perfectly baked oversized cookies. Indulge in a cookie (or share it with a friend), or order some fresh baked bread to go. This place won't disappoint.
Funnily enough, I find that no matter where I'm headed to in Harlem, I always find my way to Streetbird Rotisserie. Perhaps it's because the A/C train is right at the corner, or perhaps Streetbird is the perfect representation of Harlem's history. The interior is a celebration of the art and culture of the Harlem, while the food is a mix of Asian/African cuisine that punctuates the tastebud of the neighborhood.