Slightly more than a year ago, the sun was warmly shining yet the air was cool and crisp. It was one of those magnificently perfect, but rare days, when summer turns to fall. I was standing, admiring the view of the Hudson with two of my closest friends. I inhaled and took it all in. I was leaving New York, but I didn’t dwell on it. That day, up in the serenely beautiful and otherworldly Cloisters, after a good lunch with great friends, I was happy and content in the moment.
Four hours prior:
“Someone’s coming,” I said excitedly as I peered through the glass. Jenny, K-Dubs and I were loitering outside Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen in Harlem, as it was getting ready to open for lunch. It was my last month in New York and I had a list of places I wanted to eat at before I left. The famous fried chicken here was on it.
As we stepped in, I was surprised by how small the place was. A really nice lady brought out plates, and asked if we would like sweet ice tea or lemonade. I asked for a mix of the two. She then told us to help ourselves to the food, which was served buffet style. The much-hyped fried chicken was good, but I wasn’t blown away by it. The chicken was tasty and had crisp skin. But when I had a breast piece, it was slightly dry, the thigh pieces though were moist and tender. I liked the collard greens, oxtail and ribs, but my favorite was the turkey wings with gravy. I loved the gelatinous texture of the skin and the succulent meat. Mmmm Mmmmh Mmmmph! I think I went back three or four times, my plate piled high with every pass.
The food isn’t great, it’s good. But what you get is a variety of satisfying food for an amazingly cheap price. Would I schlep all the way up there for a meal again? I don’t know, but since we were all the way up here, we also planned our trip to include The Cloisters.
Charles’ + The Cloisters = Worth it.
With our bellies full, we embarked on a little adventure to get to The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected, even with the non-functioning subway that day. However I was surprised that admission was twice the price of a meal at Charles’. It was worth it though; I was very taken with the dramatic medieval charm and architectural beauty of the place. Besides the art, and magnificent view, for foodies there are gardens with lots of fresh herbs. It was quite educational looking and smelling the whole plant as opposed to the dried, chopped up stuff I commonly use.
It was a little bittersweet, discovering all the great new places in New York just as I was going to leave. But it also made my last days there incredibly memorable.
I leave you with some photos, memories of a wonderful day.
Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen
2841 Eighth Ave. (Between 151st and 152sts.)
New York, NY 10039
Call for hours, an all-you-can-eat meal costs around $10, Sorry I can’t remember.
The Cloisters: Information here