TGIF: Brooklyn Foodie Finds and Other Tidbits
Happy Friday friends!! With the cookbook deadline looming, I've been spending a lot of quality time with my laptop the past few weeks (and weekends), so it hasn't really felt much like summer. Thank goodness for our rooftop - at least that gives me a sliver of outdoors to enjoy during the evenings. Last weekend was a nice change of pace, though: my little sister Maria and her husband Peter came for a visit! They just got married last November, and it was their first visit to the city since they were engaged. It was so fun to see them, and to have an excuse to get out and explore the city a bit.
We decided to head out to Brooklyn, which these days is pretty much the food capital of the universe (at least according to every magazine and newspaper and blog). Brooklyn is enormous, so we zereod in on two neighborhoods I've been dying to explore: Red Hook and Gowanus. On Saturday we took the free IKEA ferry out to Red Hook (which gives you amazing views of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty) and on Sunday we subwayed out to Gowanus (named for the canal). These areas look and feel totally different – Red Hook is on the waterfront, with shipyards and old warehouses and cobblestone streets, while Gowanus is land-locked and feels gritty and industrial, with its dirty canal and old barges, and lots of construction everywhere. Actually both areas feel pretty industrial, though they're rapidly gentrifying, as evidenced by the hordes of boutiques, restaurants, condos, and – most notably – the high-end grocety stores being built: there's a new Fairway Market right on the water in Red Hook, and in Gowanus, a brand new Whole Foods with a rooftop restaurant and a 20,000 square foot greenhouse growing hydoponic lettuces and vegetables.
Red Hook feels like it's own little city, separated from Manhattan by the water. It was totally ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and it's pretty incredible how much the area has recovered. I love the contrast of the old brick warehouses on the water, with the lower Manhattan skyline in the distance. There are all sorts of cool artists' ateliers by the water, including a glass-blowing studio.
Apparently there used to be a cable car running along the water in Red Hook, and it still sits by the water. Maria and I of course needed to take a picture beside it! There are so many great spots to eat in Red Hook that we couldn't get to them all (plus I was on a very specific mission...as you'll see below). Next time I can't wait to check out Sixpoint Brewery (for the beer), Brooklyn Crab (for seafood and water views), Baked (for their cookies), and The Good Fork (for cozy vibe and good food). (
My main reason for going to Red Hook? (Besides the excuse to ride the ferry?) Lobster rolls!! We ate lunch at the Red Hook Lobster Pound, which – in my humble opinion – has the best lobster rolls in the city. They bring in fresh lobster from Maine daily, and serve huge chunks of lobster meat with just a touch of homemade mayo on a buttered bun. So. Good. The place is totally no frills - literally just some picnic tables next door to the place you order, but absolutely worth the trip.
Aren't the newlyweds cute?! On Sunday, we went to brunch at Runner & Stone, a cute little cafe/bar near the Gowanus Canal that happens to have the best bread, croissants, and brioche in the entire city. I would have never found this place had my French friend Coralie not introduced me to it last year. Again, completely worth the trip. To round out our carbfest, we stopped for dessert nearby at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, which I had been dying to try ever since I got their cookbook last fall. Their pies are out of this world, and the space (with its mismatched tables and chairs and chalkboard menu) is super-cute.
Here's the Gowanus Canal, taken from the new Whole Foods' rooftop cafe. They're clearly trying to clean up the area, and have added a nice waterfront walk with park benches and even some food stands. And the Whole Foods is truly a work of art – I could have spent all day in there. The Brooklyn food map that you see at the top of the post was painted on one of their walls, as they sell all sorts of Brooklyn-made products there. Pretty cool.
Some of you may have seen this picture on my Instagram feed last week...it's a glorious dinner party/wedding reception that I walked past last weekend in my favorite neighborhood garden. I instantly started dreaming about having a cookbook launch party there, and got really excited until I called on Monday and asked the price: $10,000 just to rent the space. (That doesn't include rentals or food or anything else.) Hmmm...looks like I'm going to have to find a Plan B!
Cheers everyone! I hope you all have a great weekend – anything fun planned? In the event that you're looking to use up the last of your summer peaches, I highly recommend this peach burrata salad or peach blackberry crumble. I'm hunkering down to get a bunch more work done on the book – just 2 more weeks to go! I cannot believe the finish line is in sight!
P.S. What are your favorite Brooklyn food spots? Comment below if there's any place you think I should check out (I know there are LOTS)!