What I Ate | Vegan Burger, birthplace of hip-hop and Wes Anderson reference in Harlem, New York

There is so much to see, learn and experiment in Harlem. We just had the chance to check a tiny part of Sugar Hill – the famous neighbourhood that is remembered as the birthplace of the hip-hop movement. A quick reading on the Harlem Renaissance history can give you a brief idea about its heritage.


But my husband was so touched by stepping at Sugar Hill for the first time that I wished we could stay a little bit longer to explore this area better. But it does not need to go very far to see how its community preserves and embraces different cultural and social aspects in this neighbourhood.

From the remains of an extremely rough time indulged in social problems to different views about its current gentrification, Harlem is a right place to check and learn a lot about American history itself.

Photo by susanjanegolding on Foter.com / CC BY

It’s present in the street art, the churches and the restaurants, bars and cafes as well. Harlem is actually a fascinating place to explore the quirky architecture of New York as well.


I confess I have been there especially to check a famous address from my favourite movie – The Royal Tenenbaums. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, you will understand me. The house is located at Archer Avenue was a fictional address to Angelica’s Huston’s character and her (pretty much) eccentric family. Then, I had the chance to see The Tenenbaum house with my own eyes.


Why Wes Anderson picked this house in Harlem? I have no idea. Maybe it’s because its architecture is fascinating and peculiar at the same time. But there I also another good explanation for this in this article published here.


Of course, food is also a big deal in Harlem. You probably heard about Sylvia’sthe queen of soul food – founded in the 60’s. There are numerous places to go for soul food in Harlem. The gastronomy in this part of Manhattan is just as eclectic as its population.


We escaped the hype to go for something more intimate. We visited the Sugar Kitchen and Bar,  a Latin American and wine bar that we decided to visit after reading loads of interesting reviews about the place. I wanted to visit this place especially because of the veggie burger that someone recommended as the best local one.


There is no hype about it. I believe the food is Latin American with an influence of Dominican cuisine. Nice! It definitely seems like a place embraced by the community when imagine locals visiting it for a juice or a beer after work.


There were only two customers in the restaurant when we started to browse the menu. But I heard it is packed on the weekend. Its décor is rustic and elegant.

The place is cosy and welcoming. Latin music is a must. And it seems to be the paradise for the smoothie enthusiasts. There is a huge selection of smoothies, juices and shakes in this place.


The guy serving us was friendly and even recommended us to change seats to get a bit more breeze coming from outside. He was right. New York was so hot that week, that it was impossible to say no to this kindly advise.


And talking about warm weather, we asked for some beers to cool down a little bit. The restaurant has a nice selection of wines, cocktails and beers. I knew what I wanted to eat, that famous vegan burger.


The vegan menu is quite varied in this place. I was happy to see cassava chips. That’s what we call Latin American for sides!


I love cassava chips, but I have asked for sweet potato chips. My burger choice was the quinoa and black bean burger, served with avocado and tomatoes, while Rob asked for the other version of the veggie burger, the one with chickpea and pesto.


I have to say this was one of the most delicious vegan burgers I had in life. It’s juicy, well-seasoned and the presentation is also something to admire the effort of this place to serve delicious homemade food.

New York does burger like anywhere else, and this little gem in Harlem has put its name in the map of quirky gastronomy in the city. Loved it. Yes, Sugar Hill, you win my heart, soul and stomach now.


Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.

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