Chaiwali Love: A Delicious Harlem Haven

I found a dining place with vegan options to appreciate in Harlem. Amazingly enough, it’s a four minute walk from my favorite place– Studio Museum Harlem.

Last Wednesday, I had the most thrilling time in New York City. I saw the latest Kehinde Wiley paintings at Sean Kelly Gallery, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s current works at New Museum (excited about going to her talk next month!), and spent time at Schomburg Research Center for Black Culture Library and their awesome bookstore.

Schomburg Bookshop presents to self: Jean-Michel Basquiat postcard, a Radical Dreams “Unbought & Unbossed” Shirley Chisolm lapel pin, the graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s “Kindred,” and “Black 20th Century Art” (which the cashier kindly gave me for free).

The art hopping/book collecting day conjured up a supreme appetite. I had to be at a place near Studio Museum, seeing as it was my primary reason for coming to The Big Apple. The second annual Lea K. Green Artist Talk, a tremendous honor named after a wonderful arts advocate, would be bestowed upon one of my favorite contemporary artists, Jordan Casteel.

Chaliwali, on Lenox Avenue, was listed as a nearby spots with vegan options. I cyber browsed the menu and ultimately decided that it would be the perfect place to have dinner before the event. Of course, I walked down the wrong street. It wouldn’t be me if this didn’t happen…..

I almost died.
Just died.
This kale burger is simply exceptional. And I told Eric, my waiter, that it was perfect. I can see why it’s popular. It is giant, crispy, flavorful. I’m not the biggest kale fan, but this burger was swaying with powerful intentions, especially with the tantalizing side dishes–garlic spinach, spiced rosemary potatoes, and chutney. I had one hand holding onto dear life of my burger loaded with crunchy lettuce and juicy, perfectly ripened avocado and the other held a fork, digging into potatoes and spinach with greedy relish. I had Harry Meets Sally moments with that food, closing my eyes, savoring every bite, very happy to alone at the bar. It was that good.
When finished, the whole plate yes, I could barely move.

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