The 5: Nicky Sunshine Picks Her Top 5 Soul Food Spots in NYC

Nicky Sunshine is an actress, stand up comic, producer, improv artist, and writer who won an honorable mention in “NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity” competition and Stand Up New York’s “Music is a Joke” series. Her self written one woman show “Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam” has sold out 8 times at The National Black Theatre and Broadway Comedy Club, and she has performed in numerous off Broadway productions including The Vagina Monologues at New World Stages, Yo Soy Latina, and Platanos and Collard Greens.

Her acclaimed Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam is back on stage this February in celebration of Black History Month. The one woman show will play exclusively at the Wow Cafe Theatre (59-61 East 4th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003) on February 9 and again from February 22-24. Tickets for all four dates are available now.Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam is based on Sunshine’s initial aspirations as an actress and how rejection and low self-esteem led her down a path of sex work and addiction. “My past made me feel unworthy and ashamed,” Sunshine said. “Telling my story meant stepping out of the shadows of secrets and lies and embracing my personal truth. Standing in the light of who you are is empowering and I wanted to share that with others.”

The timing of the show’s run is particularly poignant in light of the #MeToo movement and the horrifying allegations against singer R. Kelly. “The revelations concerning R. Kelly are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discussing trauma and abuse of vulnerable young people in our communities,” Sunshine said. “Sex trafficking, sex work, sexual assault and exploitation occur everyday and it needs to be addressed and remedied. The MeToo conversation must be widened to include a multitude of issues, stories, and voices.”  Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam is just one of those stories. Although the show shines a light on the dark underbelly of sex work, Sunshine also hopes the show will educate her audience on sex work and what both women and men in this industry experience.

Proceeds from the events will support WOW Cafe Theater and its ongoing work with neighborhood youth and arts programs. Tickets to each show are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door.

She’s the co creator of the foodie web series, “Let’s Get Greedy” which has achieved over a half million views on YouTube and airs on “Manhattan Neighborhood Network” in NYC, and leant us her palette for this week’s edition of The 5, which covers Nicky’s picks for the 5 best soul food restaurants in New York City. Enjoy!

#1 Pies n thighs Brooklyn- what’s not to like about smothered biscuits and gravy, grits and decadent pies galore. This favorite eatery in Brooklyn gets extra points because their pies taste like homemade. Try the bourbon pecan with a heap of ice cream. Yum!

#2  Lighthouse Fish Market Harlem- is a carry out made to order seafood treasure. On the weekends the lines snake out the door. It’s open until 2am! The fried whiting is well seasoned crispy heaven. Not only are the Mac n cheese and greens slamming, but they have surprisingly great desserts ranging from banana pudding to homemade cakes. You can also pick out your own fresh assortment of seafood and vegetables in their walk in refrigerated area and have them steam or sauté for a healthier option.

#3 Melba’s of Harlem – rose to fame by beating Bobby Flay in the “Chicken and Waffles” showdown. Omg! This dish is a must try, served with thick sweet strawberry butter. The catfish strips are so delicious I get them every time. I wash my Sunday soul food brunch down with the outta this world Sangria! Two of them and you won’t make it to church!

#4 The Door in Queens- is a super popular Caribbean Soul Food establishment in Jamaica Queens. Of course they have excellent standard fare of jerk chicken, goat, oxtails, rice n peas, and curry chicken. The stand out is their snapper or salmon served in a traditional “rundown” sauce. The recipe consists of coconut milk and some other secret ingredients that will have you licking the plate. Addictive! They also have homemade authentic West Indian beverages like peanut punch and lemon ginger drinks. So worth it.

#5 Dinosaur BBQ Harlem- never disappoints. I take my out of town guest here for a smoked meat feast! The ribs, brisket and bbq chicken is so flavorful you’ll think you’re in Texas. I really like their version of whipped sweet potatoes and cornbread.

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