More than a food experience in Harlem


by Jonathan Haggstam

Food experiences are often exhilarating, but sometimes stressful. When your selection of foods is limited to a Pescatarian Diet, everyone automatically decides to say "I'll will choose a restaurant". To the normal person this would seem kind or considerate, or, simply stressful.

Food experience can be likened to that of a traveler-eating varied foods is like picking which state to travel to next. What should I eat today? Food experiences are ignited by spontaneity or sometimes one have to travel due to unforeseen circumstances.

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Pescatarians focus on a plant-based diet but which include fish hence can be seen as a semi-vegetarian diet.

Despite the reason for the food that I choose or the place that I travel my food experiences have been the acting agent of my exposure to diversity, excitement, and human connection to others. When I am selecting foods, I dab into my mood, affordability, and the dire need to fulfill some emptiness/boredom whether emotionally or physically. Whether I am in New York, Florida, or Vegas all depends on what type of fulfillment that I need at that particular time of my life.


My food experiences have provided me the opportunity to experience that of a never ending roller coaster ride. From high points of sharing a first time brunch at Sylvia's with that of many people from varied culture, countries, and cities (Harlem, Copenhagen, and London). Within Harlem it ignites a sense of togetherness, joy, fulfillment that I could never get through the routine recreational activities that some people our age do to fulfill physical or emotional urges after a long week of final exams, meeting work deadlines, or relationship blues.

My best food adventures in New York often includes live jazz over a complimentary mimosa, fried fish (Southern comfort) cooked with an elegant crunch, and wonderful singing of " Old Happy Day" which take me back to my childhood experience in the Mississippi church. The waiters also serve food with an attitude of grace and quickness which with no doubt make everything taste better.

A stroll down a block takes me to a restaurant that resonate so deeply to who I am, The Red Rooster. Although my choice at this vibrant and intense sense connection and culture is different, the experience is sensational. I would typically chose a glass of red wine rather than food.

The experience here is more about the view of engagement of a young to older sleek, funky, and powerful group of people using food to establish connection.

Just as an airplane flight or a bus ride places us in a position to greet, connect, and share. I see this at this very place. A glance at the diversity in the menu releave some choices of oxtail, cabbages, and sautéed cauliflower. The food is used as an instrument to connect others to each other while a new artist performed.

The human connection, life, and diversity make this food experience memorable. My experience solidify all of the truth that you read about, Harlem has the true diversity in music, food, and overall culture.