I spent the better part of my day yesterday riding in a tow truck to take my car back to my mechanic. This annoyed me because I JUST GOT THE DAMN THING FIXED!!!! Anyway, after a long drive right across the GWB (lots of traffic) to Fort Lee, NJ we dropped "Pearl" off at the garage and drove right back to NYC. The tow truck driver and I bonded over Newports and coffee and he turned out to be a very nice man.
I got home in just enough time to shave my head and dash back out to meet my friends for dinner at Melba's on 114th St & 8th Avenue. I had dinner with Yvette & Kim, my friends who I just saw down in Richmond, VA a few weeks ago. They were in town because Yvette's sister was renewing her wedding vows. Melba's is a new spot in Harlem that's owned by the daughter of the woman who owns Sylvia's, the legendary soul food spot in Harlem. The place is small but it was quickly filling up with the beautiful people when I arrived. I quickly found my friends and joined them in full appetizer mode. I ordered a glass of chardonnay and introduced myself to the other couple at the table with them. We chatted over spinach salad with a LOT of red onions & mushrooms, catfish fingers and spring rolls with blackeyed peas in them....the food is really quite good. Anyway, more people began to arrive and our table began to get crowded....Claire, who's a good friend of Yvette's arrived looking fabulous with loose blonde colored twists....Claire is one of the coolest people that I have met in a while...I don't get to see her often but when I do, we always have a blast! She ordered a really good bottle of Pouilly Fuisse that the table shared. I wound up sitting next to this Indian chick who's a doctor at Montefiore, she was pretty funny. The drinks and the convo was flowing and the waiter came around and took everyone's dinner orders.....I had the BBQ Turkey Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes & Spinach sauteed in garlic & olive oil....Yummy! Claire had Chicken & Waffles....THAT'S REAL old-school!!! Everybody ain't up on Chicken & Waffles! The doctor had a vegetarian entree that consisted of Portabello Mushrooms, goat cheese & Onions....that may have been the only thing on the menu that I would have passed up....I LOATHE Goat cheese....I think it's disgusting...lol. Yvette had the grilled salmon with mac & cheese which also looked good...but I eat salmon all the time....In the middle of our meal, Melba herself sent us over a platter of short ribs of beef on top of these little circles of grits...it was DELICIOUS!!!
It was then that I began to survey the room and I realized that a lot of the "Kids" or "The Children" were in the house....as in the room was most assuredly er...Gay? The only thing missing ...I swear...was the rainbow flag outside!!! As I gazed out of the windows of the restaurant I saw a lot of gay (male & female) couples walking up and down the streets.....and I thought to myself (okay, I said it out loud) Is it me or is this particular area of Harlem becoming the new Chelsea????? The energy is SOOO very different now. Growing up in Harlem...the 116th Street Area of my childhood is where the dopefiends came to cop their drugs. Nobody hung out over there....very dangerous!! Although some of the seedy elements are still around...they are rapidly cleaning up that area and it will be unrecognizable in the next year or so....I guarantee it.
Anyway, the hour was getting late and the ladies were talking about moving the party elsewhere to continue drinking......They already had me drinking Grey Goose & Sprite, Grey Goose with Pineapple & Cranberry Juice (with a twist of lime of course) and some martini with a Lychee Nut in it and I just knew I wouldn't be able to hang (I definitely CANNOT drink like I used to) so I quickly said my goodbyes and started to try and walk the 13 or so blocks home. I got to maybe 120th street (in front of another cool drinking spot called "Moca's") and my knees were aching so badly I had to hail a taxi the rest of the way.
Once again, I so enjoy the time I get to spend with my friends...especially the ones from out of town....it was an amazing night and I am really glad they invited me. I can't wait to do it again.
By the way....if you are ever at Melba's have the Sweet Potatoe Pie....It's AWESOME!!!!