What’s the recipe for an unforgettable family brunch in Harlem? Delicious and abundant food. Outdoor seating in beautiful weather. And a crystal clear view of the Hudson River. On Saturday we celebrated Jordan’s mom’s birthday at Sofrito, a Puerto Rican restaurant located inside Riverbank Park at 145th and Riverside Drive. And it made for the perfect day.
Sofrito is a beautiful space, and quite large as far as NYC restaurants go. I had been there more than four years ago on New Year’s Day for brunch, and I’d been wanting to go back.By the looks of this photo, Jameson seemed to have his doubts about the place, but by the end of brunch, he was a happy little dude. The birthday girl with her favorite one-year-old!As a large party, we shared a sampling of appetizers that included carne frita, calamari, and empanadas. We each had our own entree, and I tore down my pina colada french toast with pineapple chutney. And then we split a sampling of desserts like tres leches cake, chocolate bread pudding, flan, and some kind of passionfruit mousse number that I nearly forgot was something I was supposed to sample and share with others. And meanwhile, this was our amazing view of the George Washington Bridge and the Hudson River. Not a cloud in the sky, and I could have sat out there all day.For her birthday, we added to my mother-in-law’s collection of Alex and Ani bracelets, and she loved them. It’s been fun to gift her different ones with different meanings (grandmother, a “J” for her grandkids’ first initial, and her birthstone). Giving her gifts is also fun, because I promise you you’ll never find another person who’s more appreciative when you give them a gift. As her kids, we have a running joke that we could give her a pen cap, and she’d likely say, “Oh my goodness! You know, I’ve been wanting something like this because I just lost a pen cap last week!” She’s the best.
As we finished eating, the kids caught sight of the nearby carousel, so we chased them over there so they could enjoy it. And while the big cousins absolutely loved it, Mr. Jameson was less than thrilled. He was clinging to Jordan so tight, and he finally just resigned to putting his head on Daddy’s shoulder and riding this terrible thing out. Now, in his defense, it wasn’t until I was going through these photos that I realized just how creepy some of these carousel animals actually are. They’re like ultra-bright mutant animals. What in the world?Once he was off the carousel, Jameson could look at it and scowl from a safe distance.
And the family enjoyed a few more moments in the glorious sunshine. My mother-in-law absolutely adores her family, and being with all of us would have been gift enough to celebrate her birthday. But I’m so grateful that she got all of us, and an absolutely beautiful day as well. A beautiful day to celebrate such a beautiful woman — Ma.