maison harlem + the studio museum

Yesterday, we had lunch at Maison Harlem, a cute bistro on 127th. The brunch menu has many tempting choices, and I must say I slightly regret not having tried the eggs Florentine or the Croustillant de Chèvre salad. However, I had a pretty real craving for a Croque Monsieur, which is precisely what I order. The $12.50 sandwich comes with a heapload of fries - possibly the best I've ever had. The Croque itself is rather good, but I do have two major complaints:

1) the ham is sweet, American ham - not the jambon parisien it should be. Moreover, there is way too much of it.

2) the top slice of bread is topped with cheese instead of béchamel. Nice try, Maison Harlem! I know a béchamel when I taste one.

Mom's Feuille de Brique ($14), a ham & cheese-stuffed phyllo pastry served on a bed of ratatouille and topped with a poached egg, is visually stunning. Mom confirms the ratatouille is perfectly up to her standards, and it indeed tastes just like her own (recipe here).

For dessert, we share a decadent chocolate mousse ($5), which is exactly the way we like it.

I would definitely recommend Maison Harlem to French people who miss home!

After lunch, we visit The Studio Museum in Harlem, which is totally free on Sundays. The exhibits upstairs aren't super thrilling, but the space is nice nonetheless. Downstairs, though, are two galleries containing beautiful photographs taken in the neighborhood. Make sure to stop by the museum shop for a nice selection of art books.

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