Sunday, April 3, 2011

In a Brooklyn state of mind...

It's April in NYC and despite mother nature's last show of tricks with snow, sleet and hail in the past few weeks, the daffodils are sprouting up out of the ground and the robins are out in full force.  So on a gorgeous sunny Saturday, me and the Mistress of Spices (on a gastronomic visit from Paris, of course!) trekked from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn for a day of shopping, eating and drinking. 

There is a definite ongoing war between Brooklynites and Manhattanites on who resides in the best part of NYC. You will always hear from someone in Brooklyn stories of larger apartments, cheaper rent, better food, and cutting edge art & culture. The Manhattanite likes their taxis and prefer to stay on the island for everyday convenience, even if they are paying for a smaller apartments and more rent. 

Within the past few years, Brooklyn has definitely come into its own with a great shopping, dining and bar scene and a definite gentrification of certain neighborhoods such as Williamsburg, Park Slope and Fort Greene. What used to be an urban spread of warehouses, rundown row homes & retail store fronts is slowly being cleaned up into a more prosperous and respectable facade.  Brooklyn still retains its charm and their artsy inhabitants as evidenced below. 
One of the best reasons to come out to Brooklyn is for the Brooklyn Flea Market. From Thanksgiving through March, the Brooklyn Flea is housed indoors at Skylight One Hanson, an event space in the landmark former Williamsburg Savings back. From April to Thanksgiving, it is then moved outdoors.  Luckily for us, this weekend was the first weekend for the return of the outdoor market at the Brooklyn Flea! 

Started in April 2008, it is one of the largest outdoor flea markets in the New York area featuring hundreds of vendors.  Not only do they offer a tasting of some of the best local culinary talents around, but there are some amazing vintage shopping, jewelry and reworked furniture from vendors within the tri-state area.  So naturally, the first stop for us on an early Saturday morning was Fort Greene.

After scoring on a vintage electric blue winter coat, we decided to head over to the pupusa stand for some well-deserved grub. While in the long line, I eyed two adorable kids who were happily munching on an elote which is just a Mexican grilled corn drizzled with mayo/butter, salt, chili powder, and Cotija cheese. Now, grilled corn is one of my favorite things to eat. I don't care that the kernels get stuck on my tooth and I look less than ladylike eating it. It is just delicious and if I could eat it all year, I would.  Looking around at the other neighboring food stands, I found what I was looking for.  The elote was heaven: perfectly grilled kernels with crisp char, salty cheese, creamy mayo, and a slight kick from the chili.  Washed down with the watermelon bebida, it was the perfect way to finish waiting out the line for the pupusas.
We shared the "pupusa platter", pollo for me and bean and cheese for the Mistress of Spices. Topped with the traditional pickled cabbage, sour cream and tomato sauce, the crunch and sourness of the pickled cabbage was the perfect foil for the pupusa. Nothing was better to share on the stoops of the school lot while basking in the afternoon sun. 

Dessert was found at the Good Batch with the Bonfire, a gooey mess of goodness made from home-made soft-cocoa waffle, salted caramel sauce, dark chocolate ganache, and roasted meringue.
The Mistress of Spices decided to also try one of the unique Asian inspired hot dogs from Asia Dogs since they offered a vegetarian hot dog.  While they are famous for their kimchi hot dogs, the Mistress finally settled on the Sidney: Thai mango relish with cucumber, red onion and crushed peanuts. Ymm, ymm.

While we enjoyed the eating and people watching, our stomachs can only handle so much food unfortunately. Pizza Moto and Porchetta will have to wait for another trip!

Off we went in search of our next adventure at Miss Favela in Williamsburg, located right under the Williamsburg Bridge. A few of my friends had highly recommended this Brazilian restaurant, especially their Saturday afternoon Feijoada samba party. Greeted with the bright blue, terracotta orange and emblazoned name in hot pink, it was a welcoming beacon promising a fun, tropical respite from city life.  

We were immediately welcomed with a smile from the host who promised to accommodate us when the rest of our party arrived.  In the meantime, we were welcome to sit at the bar and have a few caipirinhas and mojitos which we gladly accepted. The lovely bartenders took care of us well.  :)
Once the band was fully set-up, the music, drinks, and food got the Saturday afternoon party rolling.  With a pitcher of caipirinhas, yuca fries and pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), it was the perfect way to finish the afternoon in Brooklyn dancing away and making new friends. 
So if you've been avoiding Brooklyn because of those crazy weekend delays on the subway or whatever reason, some amazing vintage shopping (at half the price of what you can find in the vintage shops in Manhattan), authentic caipirinhas and afternoon samba party are well-worth the trip!! So long for now Brooklyn!  I will be back soon.  

Brooklyn Flea Market:

Fort Greene

10am-5pm, Rain or Shine
176 Lafayette Ave. (btw. Clermont + Vanderbilt Ave.

10am-5pm, Rain or Shine
27 North 6th St. (btw. Kent Ave. + East River)

Miss Favela: 57 South Fifth Street @ Wythe, Williamsburgh. Phone: 718.230.4040

1 comment:

  1. A blissful day in BK! I can't wait for my next trip (with Luis) to do it again!