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Harlem Eat Up!!

"Harlem Eat Up" Food Festival

By Mitchell Acks

The 3rd annual Harlem EatUp! Festival is no ordinary festival that one had the chance to taste some of the finest foods of chefs from Harlem and elsewhere.


We went to the The Ultimate Grand Tasting (Ticketed Event) on May 21, 2017, where we enjoyed tastings of Harlem's favorite restaurants accompanied by an assortment of fine wines, beers and cocktails, in an all-you-can-eat format.  This day was less crowded than their The Ultimate Grand Tasting on May 20, 2017 where we have plenty of space to enjoy in Morningside Park.


This festival had a fine balance of 25 participants paired with delicious wine, spirits and beer. Also, one had the chance to learn from leading experts of Bordeaux Wine with 30 minute wine classes each hour, led by Gorman-McAdams MW, along with leading tutors Linda Lawry and my good friend, Robin Kelly O'Connor.


Robin, a leading wine educator, international wine judge, wine writer, and sommelier.

Citi Card Members and Press were able to enjoy the neat Citi Card member Lounge with Chef appearances, specialty cocktails and tasty bites. Citi is a founding sponsor of Harlem EatUp!.




Many would enjoy the Mortadella Deviled Eggs with ramp pesto prepared Chef Kolin Vazzoler paired with Simi Sonoma County Chardonnay was very tasty and different. Also, one had the chance to sample from Citi Market Challenge Winner, Tsion Cafe & Bakery, noted for their Ethiopian food like their Doro Tibs of Chicken, berbere, tomatoes, spices, injera. They were serving at the Citi Lounge and another booth. The Chicken Taco from Sexy Taco/Dirty Cash also was very popular.


To finish the fine food and drinks were delicious samplings of desserts.  The Alcohol Infused Cupcakes  were just right in taste and size by NYC's Best Dressed Cupcakes LLC.  Also, many enjoyed the samplings by Harlem Chocolate Factory and Mere Viola's Sweet Delights.


Many danced first to the DJ  Stormin Norman of105.1 and then the talented musicians of the Rakiem Walker Project.


One also had a choice to go The Marketplace (Free Admission), that featured a pay-as-you-go selection of good eats from notable Harlem restaurants, food vendors, a wine and beer garden, the Whole Foods Market Kids' Zone, and the EatUp! Main Stage presented by Macy's where you can catch our home and visiting chefs cooking up live demos, as well as performances.


Also, there was the neat The EatUp! Main Stage presented by Macy's (Free Admission) for live culinary demos and performances featuring Harlem's chefs, musicians and dancers alongside guests from NYC and beyond. One had the golden opportunity to listen to talents like: Marcus Samuelsson, Karl Franz Williams (Solomon & Kuff Rum Hall/67 Orange); Brian Washington Palmer (Sexy Taco/Dirty Cash), Donatella Arpaia (Iron Chef); Roger Mooking (“Man Fire Food”), and more.



There were Dine In Harlem Dinners from May 16th to 19th of Harlem's hottest restaurants and  acclaimed chefs from NYC and across the country of their collaborative multi-course dinners . Menus were paired with a delicious selection of Bordeaux wines - red, white, rosé and sparkling- something for every palate; and, each dinner will feature dynamic Harlem artists and performers.


There were various attendees to lend their support. We took a picture of Chris Canty of New York Giants and Erik Coleman of the Jets.


The festival was founded by award-winning chef, international restaurateur, and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson.  Also, Karlitz & Company', another founder, provides services range from producing Culinary Events & Festivals to Corporate Entertainment.


The Festival will donate net proceeds to impactful Harlem charities. These donations will be disbursed by the newly formed Harlem EatUp! Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen community by supporting the people, cultures and non-profit organizations such as Citymeals-on-Wheels and Harlem Park to Park that empower Harlem.


Citymeals on Wheels ( provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to New York City’s homebound elderly. Working in partnership with community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals prepares and delivers over 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals for more than 18,000 of our frail aged neighbors each year. Last year, over 15,000 individuals volunteered nearly 72,000 hours of their time.

Since its founding in 1981, Citymeals has relied on the generosity of its Board of Directors, the City of New York, sponsors and other designated gifts to cover administrative costs. This ensures that 100% of all public donations will be used entirely for the preparation and delivery of meals.


Harlem Park to Park (HP2P) is a neighborhood development organization of entrepreneurs committed to cultural preservation,small business and community development in Central Harlem, NYC’s premiere cultural, dining, shopping, lifestyle and nightlife hub north of 110th Street. This organization was formed in September 2009 for 130+ premiere businesses located within the geographic area of Central Park North to 144th street and Morningside Park to Marcus Garvey Park. Their mission is to encourage commerce that successfully sustains small businesses; promotes the community and culture of the Village of Harlem and celebrates the neighborhood’s historic CHARM.

More about this fabolous festival, Harlem Eat Up, can be found at



 Anissa Rochester (Founder of Beauty Within TV) New York Giants Football player Chris Canty and journalist Mitchell Acks.


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