Archive for April, 2010

Fried chicken & waffles.

Most unusual combination.

Or not ;)

It was one of those days. And Harlem was just the place for a little soul food. A classic Southern gluttonous experience of finger-licking good.

You’ve never seen a table so excited to scan a menu. Scan it we did…over and over again. Appetizers: catfish lafayette or bayou baked brie? Entreés: jambalaya or braised short ribs? Sides: mac n’ cheese or corn bread? We debated like it was our last meal. And frankly, felt like it was gonna be mine that day.

Two words: Red wine.

Sigh. No further story. With too many options swirling, we did the next best thing and asked our lovely server. Without hesitation, her response – “chicken & waffles”.

Really! Well, now. Someone had to order it.

Hand up.

Verdict: Insanely good. Absolutely hit the spot. Dare we say, perfect?

Perfect for what I needed on that painfully…painful day. Any other day and enthusiasm would’ve been muted. But to be fair, will definitely come back for round II.

…once we’re able to button our jeans up again.

Stand-out dishes:

Catfish Lafayette
(seasoned deep fried morsels of succulent fish w/ a great sweet & hot sauce + jerk scallion mayo)

Cajun Tempura Fried Okra
(part of 2% of population who loves okra. don’t care. pair that w. a crispy tempura batter, satisfying!)

Honourable mentions:

Southern Fried Chicken & Waffle with a chipolte-coriander-lime maple syrup
(crackling skin & juicy meat, combined with sweet waffles smothered in syrup…comfort food at its best)

Sweet potato fries
(with that wickedly good chipotle mayo)

It pains, but unforgettable:

Braised short ribs seared & slow simmered in rich thyme-molasses-scotch bonnet pepper & veg stew
(N enjoyed, but wasn’t blown away & it was a little too fatty for our liking)

Fried Plantains
(sticky…in a “hold pls, need to unlock jaw first” kinda way)

Until next time:

Hot Crab & Crawfish Dip with chili-garlic toast

Harlem Jambalaya
(shrimp, chicken, smoked sausage, catfish & crab meat w. seasoned rice)

Blackened Catfish
(J’s dish. Too busy licking fingers to try…next time.)

Great, casual, easy vibe. Serving Cajun & Creole, Harlem (Underground) is good.

Too good. Once-in-a-quarter-let-it-all-go-good.


Harlem Underground
745 Queen St. W
Harlem East Side
67 Richmond St. E


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Mâche salad

Salad season!

Well, every season is salad season…and by that, I mean every day. 

So, we need to be a little creative. And here’s a fav – mâche salad with my three A’s: asparagus, artichokes & avocado. 

Mildly nutty in flavor & buttery soft in texture, mâche greens are also delicately pretty. High rankings on the scale of prettiness. Important, remember? And with this recipe, so tasty.


mâche greens
2-4 artichoke hearts
2 stalks of grilled asparagus
2 campari tomatoes
1/4 avocado
1/3 extra virgin olive oil
2/3 balsamic vinegar
black pepper


Assemble, toss with oil & vinegar and a dash of black pepper. Enjoy!

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Lady Marmalade

Best brunch in the city? Ongoing debate.

Best eggs benny in the city? Lady Marmalade.

Not a huge waffle, pancake or french toast kinda girl. Give me a good omelette or benny any day. So, this 30-min-wait-Leslieville-hot-spot already has that going for them. No, impartiality doesn’t exist here.

7 featured bennies on the menu. Ranging from brie, avocado & bacon (which L got, minus the bacon) to fresh tomato & pesto, everything is made fresh and to order.

After much debate, decided on the cheddar, bacon & mango. Attempted a bacon-avocado swap, but no substitutions allowed. My 2 cents: avocado should just be a given. Or a staple, like ketchup.

Served on charmingly mismatched plates & cutlery, our bennies come smothered in a creamy lemony hollandaise, with a side of greens & potatoes. With that first bite… yes! Love a good benny. 1 down, 6 to go.

T ordered the “kung foo”: organic tofu scramble with shitakes, bokchoy, spinach, scallions, sesame, served with basmati brown rice, toast & a salad. Unique for a brunch menu, yes. Enjoyed, yes.

Other stand-outs with rave reviews – the huevos rancheritos &/or huevos migas. Just another reason to come back ;)

fyi: cash only

898 Queen St. E

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Our happy place

If you’re having a bad day, just look at this pic. It may help.

Or you may just need a stiff drink.

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Decadence @ the Bellagio

I’ve been neglectful. And these pictures have been waiting, oh so impatiently, to be shared.

My my, Vegas is indulgent in more ways than one.

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Camp Organic.

Think of the Apprentice, on steroids.

4 offices. 3 days. 7 sins. 7 teams. All disciplines. Different personalities. Intense-ness x 10.

Storytelling exercises, interviewing techniques, ideation sessions… to prep us for the big one.

36 hours to develop and pitch a new business.

Each team had a ‘persona’ to target. And we, team Greed, had the ‘Douchebags’. I kid you not, written on the piece of paper.

With that, to my dearly respected friends whom I called – pls don’t be offended.
I’ll explain, I promise. Alternatively, I’ll grovel at your feet and buy you a round (or five)

So, our initial task was to extract insights from our personas.  Purpose: demonstrate compelling customer empathy. Support our pitch with juicy material. Tell a great story.

Ok, but where does one find such deep & irresistible insights?


From complete strangers.

On the streets. In the bars. At the Bellagio. At Wynn’s buffet. At the Palms.

Why, of course. Cue heart palpitations.

Time to grovel. We quickly realized that this term was presumptuous, (slightly) judgmental and our men didn’t fit the profile as described. Our men weren’t douchebags! Our men were ambitious, purposeful, enterprising, successful, competitive, self-motivated etc. And we were barely scratching the surface.

So many layers. So complex. Our “Eric with a C”.

p.s – Guys, I KNEW all of this before I called you…purely validation research.

At this point, I’ll stop here. Would hate to spoil anything for the next lucky souls ;)

For me, it was an exhaustingly-fantastic experience. 9hrs of sleep over 3 days exhausting. Driven to consume first-ever Red Bull exhausting. 2.5 days to get over jet-lag exhausting. Worth it? Absolutely. Professionally & personally, we were challenged. In ways we had never been before. Tempted to do the Vancouver-mush, but will save for another time. Those who participated in the previous 17 will understand. Agree or disagree, it’s an experience.

And if I could show one pic, it would be this one (thanks U).

team greed's incoherently brilliant ideas

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