Bloomfield’s White Gold Butchers Wows on Upper West Side

If you’re wondering why the corner of 78th and Amsterdam smells like chicken fat, you have April Bloomfield to thank. The Upper West Side can now join the growing list of neighborhoods able to claim its own serious butcher shop: White Gold Butchers.

How did these New Yorkers hit the jackpot? One of Bloomfield’s partners in the venture, butcher Erika Nakamura, just happened to go to high school around the corner from the shop and she still lives close. When she, Bloomfield, restaurateur Ken Friedman and fellow butcher Jocelyn Guest were looking to set up a retail butchers shop and restaurant combo, the Upper West Side fit the bill.

“We wanted to go where there was a sense of community and yet that still needed something like this,” said Bloomfield. The trio wanted to serve people who really cook, and early indications are they chose correctly. Sales on day one dashed any assumptions that New Yorkers want “tender” quick-cooking cuts. Observing what was left in the case just before closing time (New York strips, rib eyes, and fillets), Bloomfield said, “People want cold-weather cuts.” Indeed on opening day, it was mostly families stumbling into the corner store with kids pressing up against the case and parents asking questions in preparation for weekend slow-cooks and roasts.

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In Harlem, Rum Gets the Spotlight at Solomon & Kuff

Harlemites may not know it yet, but this summer, they’re all going to be hanging out down by the river. Frederick Douglass Boulevard has long been considered restaurant row above the park, but recently opened rum bar and gastropub Solomon & Kuff at 134th and 12th Avenue will have diners heading to the West Harlem viaduct’s shadows.

The Harlem restaurant scene has high standards, which doesn’t always mean high prices or flashy names. Karl Franz Williams, the restaurateur and mixologist behind Solomon & Kuff has been opening restaurants and cafés in Harlem for more than 10 years. With Caribbean roots from St. Vincent, combined with a love of rum and spice on display at his cocktail bar 67 Orange, Williams wants Solomon & Kuff to convey a strong sense of authenticity.

“This is the culmination of a lot of what I’ve been working on for 10 years,” says Williams.

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Harlem Eatup! Might Just Be a Populist Food Festival

When Bill Clinton was in his twenties, he lived a few years in the United Kingdom. When he flew home, he would take a bus from the airport to Harlem and walk the length of 125th street. May 14 through 17 was Harlem’s inaugural Harlem EatUp! Festival, and no one in the crowd was expecting to see President Clinton return on Saturday May 16. Standing on the stage in Morningside Park, Clinton said, “Harlem is about music, the churches and the small businesses. But nothing characterizes this neighborhood more than the food.”

And he was right. There was a palpable sense of surprised delight from the planners and attendees.

It’s rare that a food event has so many different goals: Celebrate the community, attract chef and diner attention from other parts of the city, offer education and guidance to culinary students and small business owners, all while shining a spotlight on restaurants and vendors new to cooking for a five-hour ticketed tasting event. But stakeholders from all sides of the equation seemed satisfied with the turnout, the management and content of the events.

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