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August 7th, 2012 by harlemhouse

Now you can enjoy Cafe Amrita indoors and outdoors.  A friend of HarlemCondoLife let us know that Cafe Amrita now has outdoor seating.  They have been steadily doing good business now for many years and their additional seating looks great.

Conveniently located 0n 110th and Frederick Douglass Boulevard right by the subway stop, Amrita is a great spot to have a coffee solo or a beer with a friend.  We often have our Blog meetings there as they also have wi-fi.  Please see our review by Austin2Harlem from a couple years back of Cafe Amrita.

Cafe Amrita
301 11oth Street
New York, NY 10026
#212-222-0683

May 31st, 2011 by Harlem Condo Life

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By Austin2Harlem
Since the beginning of April, one of my favorite Harlem bodegas has been going through a major transformation. It’s the bodega on the corner of West 112th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

I spoke with the owner recently and asked “why all the changes?” He said it was time for a different look and he wanted to keep up with the changing neighborhood. From these photos, which were taken in April and May, you can see the evolution of this Harlem Bodega. One day it was boarded up and then the next thing you see is a big red sign. I like the new appearance and I’m ready for the bodega to reopen.

In addition, the owner said they plan to open in about another week with 24 hour store hours. So if you need an item after hours, this place at 2070 Frederick Douglass Blvd plans to be open!
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April 17th, 2011 by Harlem Condo Life

By Austin2Harlem
I was running errands today (April 17th) and look what I saw!!! I think this sign says it all! Let’s hope they really mean it regarding the June opening date! That would be a perfect time to open the place since temperatures should be just right! Stay tuned Harlemites!

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March 12th, 2011 by Harlem Condo Life

By Austin2Harlem
On Friday, I witnessed a hopeful sign of warmer weather to come…the return of the fruit vendor and ice cream truck together!

August 11th, 2010 by harlemhouse

The Five and Diamond

By HarlemHouse

The Five and Diamond Restaurant on Frederick Douglass and 112th street has recently gone through a couple of changes.  Chef Ryan Skeen has turned over his expertise to Chef David Santos.   I won’t get into the story of why the Restaurant changed chefs this has already been written about.  I am here only to review the restaurant as it stands now and to let you know what you can expect and experience while dining there.

Recently I ate at The Five and Diamond with a friend.  I have been excited to try the food here since it opened.  At this Mediterranean, American cuisine restaurant I spoke with brothers Carlos Santos (General Manager) and David Santos (Executive Chef) about the food at Five and Diamond.  First off the food was delicious. The Portuguese flavors and styles add an excitement to the dishes.  For starters we had the Seared Scallops with Apricot Gazpacho and the Prawns with Crispy Pork Belly.

Both were very good.  I was skeptical of the prawns and pork belly (together) combo appetizer but this turned out to be my favorite of the two.  They also offered an Heirloom Tomato Salad which they had run out of the night I was there.  The small plates/appetizers will run you between $12-$15.  For the entrees we had the Chatham Cod with Manilla Clams, Celery, Tomato Coriander Sauce and the Iowa Farms Pork Loin with Sweet Corn, Seasonal Mushrooms, Gooseberry Puree.  The Cod was cooked perfectly crisp on the outside but tender and rich and flavorful like butter on the inside.  This dish was perfection.  The Pork was tender and seasoned well.  The gooseberry puree added a random yet interesting twist to the dish.

Also very popular is the  Philly Cheese Steak Entree with Clothbound Cheddar, Crispy Shallots and Red Pepper Foam.  The customer at the table next to me had this and I decided this will be what I have next time.  The Grande Plates/Main courses will run you between $24 – $30.  This may seem expensive but considering the quality and care that goes into the dishes and how satisfied your taste buds will be after eating here, I think you will find it well worth the dinero.

Last but not least the desert.  They have a nice selection of choices ranging from Chocolate Spongecake with Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato to a Homemade Cookie Plate.  All deserts are baked fresh on the premises and considering Chef David’s reputation and experience in this field he wouldn’t have it any other way.  But there is one desert that has me craving to go back for more and I have been obsessing over ever since I ate there, the Brioche Doughnuts. I know what your thinking, donuts after dinner?  That’s what I thought so I ordered the cookies.  My friend ordered the donuts and I finished them.  Basically what you get is a bowl of small round hot doughy sugar donuts with a dish of warm icing on the side to dip them in. It’s “ridiculous good!”  I am hungry again just writing about it.

They offer several different specials throughout the week, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday Portuguese Brunch, for $20 (Unlimited Sangria for $10 extra) looks particularly inviting to me.Also recently my fellow blogger Austin2Harlem, posted about 5 & Diamond’s Happy Hour with their $5 Menu.  A great deal and an intimate bar setting.  The Curry Lamb Belly Sliders are awesome!  I have not tried the pig ears yet. My first thought after dining here was what a great place this will be to bring friends and family to.  It’s impressive without feeling stuffy.  Being a dog lover I got a kick out of the fact they had a bowl of water in front of the restaurant for peoples’ pets to quench their thirst on those hot summer days.  I also liked the music selection which was loaded with a lot of Stevie Wonder classics along with other great soul and R&B.

Overall I would say 5 & Diamond definitely stands alone and offers a unique addition to all the other great restaurants in the area.  There is a need for a place like this in Harlem.  The space is the right size and the location is perfect.  I think they will do well here as the foodies which frequent Melbas, Frizzante, Mojos, etc., stumble upon it.

August 1st, 2010 by Harlem Condo Life

By Austin2Harlem
This past Friday (July 31), I was the first to tell you about the change taking place at 2052 Frederick Douglass Blvd.-that’s where Grand Liquors use to be. I was hoping for a food joint, but now know that will not be the case. I have confirmation that CheckSpring Bank, the Bronx-founded banking company, is moving into that space in Harlem. As a matter a fact, they’re trying to open this Wednesday. The construction crew was working today (August 1) non-stop.
Oh well…so much for my desire to have a Thai food place or diner open up on FDB in Harlem. Maybe someday? I guess the more appropriate thing to say now is “Welcome to the neighborhood, CheckSpring Bank.”

July 29th, 2010 by Harlem Condo Life

By Austin2Harlem
Coming out of the B/C subway line at 110th Street heading north, I quickly noticed there was construction happening at 2052 Frederick Douglass Blvd., which use to be Grand Liquors Inc. in Harlem. I quickly asked what was going into this space. The first response I received “it’s going to be a bank branch.” Then someone else on site said “it’s going to be a check cashing place.” Darn to both responses. I was hoping for something else, say a diner or Thai food. Wouldn’t that be good to have another food joint on Frederick Douglass Blvd?

July 23rd, 2010 by Harlem Condo Life

By Austin2Harlem
These chalkboard signs shown in this post say it all. There are some good happy hours to check out in Harlem! I found three early evening happy hours and one late in the evening that are very reasonable and worth stopping by!
The first chalkboard is from my favorite hang out Cafe Amrita, which is located near the corner of 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Circle. Their prices for happy hour go as low as $3 for a beer and it lasts until 8 PM.
Second, is a newcomer to the Harlem happy hour scene. Five and Diamond has been busy non-stop since it opened in the Spring, but now offer a ‘5 for 5’ drink and menu special. The menu is different. Crispy Pig Ears are available for $5…I kid you not! Go early if you want to experience the ‘5 for 5.’ Five and Diamond’s happy hour is from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. (I hope they change that to 8 PM one day. It’s a bit early.)
Another newcomer to the happy hour scene is Frizzante located at 117th and FDB. Their beer and wine starts at $4 a drink.
And the most interesting happy hour in Harlem is at Mojo on 119th and St. Nicholas. They do a reverse happy hour in Harlem that starts at 10 PM and goes until 1AM. Their signature drinks during happy hour are $6! That is a deal! Plus it’s always happening at Mojo in Harlem!
With all these happy hour options, there is no reason to be home in Harlem. Get out and frequent one of these establishments. Better yet, tell us what you think of these places and any other happy hours you may like!

Cafe Amrita sign board

5 and Diamond sign board

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Frizzante sign board

Drinks at Mojo's reverse happy

July 19th, 2010 by Harlem Condo Life

By HarlemGal for HarlemCondoLife
I can’t help but notice how the Rupert Murdoch business publication called The Wall Street Journal keeps writing and profiling Harlem in their real estate section in a very positive light! It just happened again over the weekend with a highly complimentary article titled Costco, Condos Accent Today’s East Harlem, which is also known as Spanish Harlem.
To my knowledge, this is about the third or fourth positive article in this conservative publication about Harlem this summer. Based on those brief statistics, I have to ask: is The Wall Street Journal in love with Harlem, a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, long known as the black capital of the world? Let’s recap to answer that question.
About a month ago, Austin2Harlem told us about the raving WSJ article on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Then we see ongoing coverage about the Emmitt Smith hotel project. Up next was a somewhat sympathetic article about a condo titled Getting Deals Done. This talked about the unique structure called Gateway Condominiums. And now in July, we see a glowing article about East Harlem by the Journal saying it “has come alive.” These are the printed words you will now see in what I believe to be one of the most conservative business papers on the planet. I am not knocking their coverage of Harlem. I am just saying I am shocked that this is now happening and that I somewhat agree with some of the things mentioned by the Journal about Harlem, which leads me to answer my own question with an enthusiastic YES!, I do think The Wall Street Journal is madly in love with Harlem. Can you blame them?

June 19th, 2010 by Harlem Condo Life

Graphic by The Wall Street Journal

By Austin2Harlem

Every day I am surprised by what I see and learn living in the Big Apple. Yesterday was no exception. While surfing the internet on June 18, I came across a complimentary article in The Wall Street Journal about Harlem, my new adopted home. I moved to Harlem a little over a year ago from Austin, Texas.

What I found interesting about this article is that it focused strictly on Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Blvd. (FDB), a street I venture up and down often that starts at 110th Street and continues past 125th. I agree with what the Journal said about Frederick Douglass Blvd.: “When you walk through the neighborhood, you can find different things that you wouldn’t have ordinarily found before.” This statement is true from my perspective.

In the short, but exciting, period that I lived in Harlem so far, using the term change to describe FBD is putting it mildly. There is always something new happening on FDB. The Circle opened up recently, two major apartment buildings have been finished since I arrived, several restaurants are operating on or near FDB and soon this boulevard, also known as 8th Avenue, will be getting its very own beer garden. The FDB metamorphosis continues. And witnessing it like this-and reading about it in a notable publication-makes me very happy that I get to live and experience Harlem life.