Some Healthy Food Fun:    The Wanderlust Food Diaries (of a chronic daydreamer)

"Drop Me Off In Harlem"
( the Vinateria Restaurant, Harlem, New York)

On the Menu The full menu at the Vinetaria
Music The Harlem Triple Play, featuring Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, 70's band Odyssey, and Lenny Kravitz

"Drop me off in Harlem, yeah man, beautiful Harlem.
You'll get red beans and rice, it's very nice, way up there in Harlem"

    --Louis Armstrong (from the song "Drop me off in Harlem")


One of my best friends back in Chicago, Harry, spends a lot of time in New York and he keeps bugging me to tag along with him and his daughter to the Big Apple.

He asked me again in the summer of 2013, and I had to hold off again as I complete this year long "mega-savings" binge, in which afterwards I can get the hell out of Corporate America, and make trips like that whenever I feel like it.

When he goes next spring, I told him I'll be ready, because there is the new restaurant called the Vinateria up in lower Harlem, it should be a cool spot for my Food Show, a kinda Food Network meets Travel Channel meets Health Channel, and maybe a little History Channel.

He told me although we are all gonna stay in Manhattan, his relatives are down in Brooklyn, and he said he won't have time to hang out up there with me.

I said "No problem. I'll just grab a cab, and tell him to 'Drop Me off in Harlem' ".



About the Vinateria Restaurant

Inspired by their story, I dug up some info on the Vinateria Restaurant.

Yvette Leeper-Bueno (pictured at far left with "hubby" and mother), is a Harlem resident who says she has seen the area change over the past decade and has come up with a modern Italian eatery that has a lot of old world charm to it. She says her family has been involved in Harlem life for decades; her mother migrated there from Jamaica and her father from North Carolina--both in the 1950s.

It seems the Vinateria is getting some rave reviews, as Chef Gustavo Lopez's delicious cuisine and Gabriela Davogustto's amazing wine and beverage selections make it one of the hottest new spots above Central Park.

Yvette hired Jonsara Ruth to design a space, using many recycled materials, to give an amazing Modern-Chic look, but at the the same time, the look and feel of a Stylish, Vintage Harlem Spot. Gotta love that bar area!!!!.

Oh and that menu!!! (full menu link below) From Pan Seared Chicken, to amazing flatbreads, Sunday Brunch (my favorite thing in the world), to Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, to Seared Pan Branzino (a European Sea Bass)...uh, I think I made the mistake of writing this article on an empty stomach, because now my stomach's growling!!!

Can't wait to get there next spring when my Syndicated Traveler's Food Show should be in full throttle!!!



My "blurb" on Restaurant Eating

My main "secret weapon" which I keep in my pocket at restaurants is papaya enzymes in capsules, which I "discretely" pop in my mouth after dinner. Papaya Enzymes give me the freedom to eat what I want, amazing at helping my system digest meat, gluten, and everything else. I also take Chlorella in my smoothies, which pulls toxins, mercury and other heavy metals from the body. I have others secret weapons, but these are my "heavy hitters".

I keep a small packet of Pink Himalayan Salt in my wallet as well as Natural Coconut Palm Sugar. Although I will only use them if I can get away with it, I try not to make a scene. But, God forbid if I get stopped by the police, because it looks like I'm carrying around small packets of heroin and cocaine LOL!!!

I do try to avoid 
Canola Oil if possible. However, even if anything slips past (which is inevitable), I don't think too hard on it, because the next day, I will be back into my often mundane, healthy eating regiment, that has served me well (I have never been sick in my life). A place like the Vinateria is my treat, my reward so to speak, so I JUST GO FOR IT AND ENJOY!!!



What's Cooking up in Harlem at the Vinateria?



Full Menu at the Vinateria (click here)                         Full Wine List at the Vinateria (click here)                         


Below, Sautéed Scallops with Sunchoke Purée and Tomato Corn Relish                                                                                                                                         Below, Steak and Eggs!!

Below, Flat bread with eggplant purée, caramelized onions, arugula and parmigiano                                                                                       Below, Flat bread with tomato, mozzarella and micro greens (I could eat that whole thing!!!)

                          Below, French Toast (my favorite Sunday Brunch Date Food !!!)                                                                                                               Below, Hand cut beef tartare, quail eggs and toasted baguette

Below, Dessert!!! Chocolate mousse, Homemade Cinnamon Gelato and Sea Salt                                                                                            Below, Wine, Wine, and more Wine at the Vinateria



The Harlem Time Capsule "Triple Play"


                        "Drop me off in Harlem"                                                                                              "Native New Yorker"                                                                                                     "New York City"

          Originally recorded by Duke Ellington, 1933                                                              Recorded by "Odyssey", 1977                                                                                                  

       Recorded by Duke and Louis Armstrong, 1961                                   (Dedicated to Yvette Leeper-Bueno, owner of the Vinateria)                                         Recorded by Lenny Kravitz, 2014




I think the reason this restaurant inspired me is that I can see the metaphor in the Vinateria Restaurant, as I see the metaphor below the surface in most things.

For example, most of the furniture and such at the Vinateria is from recycled materials. To me, that means that the Vinateria has taken the best of the "Old Harlem", and transformed it into their vision of the "New Harlem". When I get there next spring, I won't be looking for "Soul Food", but instead "Food with Heart and Soul" (ask my mother, I was never a big fan of Soul Food anyway)

Understand that I'm an amateur historian, deeply aware and rooted in what I call my "Unforgivable Blackness". At the same time, I am a modern, Cosmopolitan, International Man. The sacrifices of history have afforded me the freedom to step outside of the past and embrace the new, embrace the best and rest of the world, to create my own "world view" that is unique and genuine to me (and BTW, a person's blog is their "World View", the world through their eyes). So, I'm comfortable with the totality of what I am, and no matter how my "world view" evolves in the future, I will always be deeply rooted.......way up there in Harlem.

P.S. I didn't mean to go too deep, but that's me sometimes. The funny thing is, if we were at this restaurant drinking and commiserating, you would have no clue I was "deep" at all {chuckle}.

~stay healthy~





"Sail Forth. Steer for the deep waters only. Reckless O soul, exploring. I with thee and thou with me. For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared go. And we will risk the ship, ourselves, and all." --Walt Whitman


The Vinateria Restaurant
2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NYC 10026

The Vinateria on Facebook

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Copyright Disclaimer:Much thanks to the owner of the Vinateria to allow me to use the photos for this article........

Copyright Disclaimer: Right to use photos claimed under: Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


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