Monday, March 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Brunches

What a great weekend that surprisingly didn't include tons of sleep: I ran Saturday errands which included grabbing great seats for Sade's concert in June, did some cleaning and organizing. I managed to get last minute tickets to Janet Jackson's Number Ones - Up close and Personal tour which stopped at Radio City Music Hall.

Before my trek into the city to see Janet, I had to brunch. Last weekend  was filled with fabulous photo shoots for my upcoming exhibition, "Her Word As Witness." I learned of the restaurant, Black Swan, from one of the writers I photographed, Nekesa. She raved about it  telling me that she and her husband frequents the spot because the delicious food. I immediately put Black Swan on my list and actually bumped it up, past Basil, Red Rooster, past Egg, past Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Funny, how I never noticed this place, it's on Bedford, avenue a major thruway for cyclists in central Brooklyn.

Where is Black Swan, exactly?

It's right there on Bedford Avenue near Lafayette Avenue near the G train station and the KFC.

Ruby joined me for brunch. It was good to hang with her after a long, mean winter. (Ruby is the white bike in the crowd. She's fierce, love her to death.)

The french toast that my friend raved about actually came with smoked bacon. Despite what the menu requested, I asked for a substitution, chicken apple sausage. That worked. The Black Swan is lightly designed with shellacked, wooden planks for tables and a skylight as the main source for light during the daytime. The dining section has a long community table, four booths and about 8 tables for couples. I ordered the rum French toast with caramelized bananas and the chicken and lemon flavored waffles. My first order the sausage and chicken were burnt to a crisp. (I wish I had gotten a picture of that) Of course, I sent it back, which is advised against, I couldn't eat around such culinary damage. 

My second attempt at the rum French toast. And, how French can you get: the bread was none other than a store baked croissant!  

 There's my chicken and lemon waffles in the background.

 This was simply delicious. I'm always curious about the seasonings choices that people use for their fried chicken. I know I tasted garlic, perhaps just salt and pepper. 

The next day I meet my amazing friend, Noelle, in Harlem. She's here visiting from Miami, a city I'll be visiting in a few weeks for a photo shoot. We, well, I decided on Native, a restaurant that I've always enjoyed. I was very close to choosing Melba's, another soul food spot that has a good reputation. 

Noelle orders eggs Florentine with grilled portabella mushrooms on an English muffin.

I get the beans and rice with spinach and plantains. We share an entree of friend Moroccan chicken. I love the beans and rice, who can go wrong with that? Plantains, succulent. Spinach, my favorite veggie, perfectly seasoned with sliced garlic. The Moroccan chicken was served with creamy mashed potatoes and walnut sauce. If it wasn't on the menu, I wouldn't have known that it was made with walnuts. I would have enjoyed the chicken if it was perhaps made with dark meat as opposed to a breast. I also though the seasonings would have been better suited for a gravy as opposed to being infused into a batter and fried. It was still good. I enjoyed the food and the chat with Noelle.

 This was awesome.

 Noelle, an amazing photographer, professor, educator, friend. 

After walking to the Studio Museum in Harlem then to the Schomburg, which is closed in Sunday, I didn't know that, we got dessert at the very visually stimulating Red Rooster. The atmosphere is, as JJ would say, dynamite! We sat near the front near these towering wood shelves that had all types of memorabilia. Just where I was sitting I saw a cassette tape of M.C. Hammer's You Can't Touch This, a abacus, a transformer toy. Then there were books, including Marcus's own volume of recipes and the latest issue of Uptown magazine which featured Marcus. 
This apple pie was not cool with me. I give it an "E" for effort. I didn't the cheddar cheese crust. Yup, the crust was made with cheese. In culinary theory, it sounds cutting edge, but my tongue was like, fail. If you taste a piece of crust alone it tastes just like a Cheez-It cracker. Cheese and apples don't mix. (Love you, Marcus, muah)

These sweet potato donuts, on the other hand, were great, great, great. I especially loved the very cute presentation. Mini firers. Yes!

 Pureed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and sugar. 

 Red Rooster does salmon kinda seriously.

There are actual photographs in the "water closet" at Red Rooster. A real nice touch!

Chefs busy at work. 

Places I ate:


  1. This looks great!Glad you had a wonderful day!!

  2. I hope to follow your footsteps very soon and experience those sweet potato donuts... Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I have to say you take great looking photos ;-)