Bridge & Tunnel

Ace Hotel  When it rains, it pours. Fitting now as this week we've had quite a few spring showers. I haven't been too bothered by them though as they make sitting in coffee shops all the more real. And I've definitely had my fair share of coffee the past few days. 

Tuesday morning, I met Michaele Weissman and Erin Ferretti Slattery (check out Erin's soulful account of our meet-up) at Café Pedlar, another gem of the Brooklyn Franks, featuring freshly baked (in house) pastries and Stumptown java. Bobbi welcomed us with incredible cups of coffee, including Stumptown's special mocha blend, and a tray of sweet treats: melt-in-your-mouth lemon olive oil bundt cake, soft pretzel-wiches oozing with creamy Vermont butter, and topped with pumpkin seeds and sea salt; linzer torte; and streusel. After Pedlar, Michaele and I continued the wining & dining as well as the conversation at another Frank stop, Prime Meats. OMG, their spätzle is so creamy & comforting and exquisite, it just might make me drop everything (often) to cross the Manhattan-Brooklyn border rain or shine for a cozy dish alongside a pint of Six Point Sweet Action. I know, I know, Brooklyn isn't really that far away. It's just the process of taking the bus to get to the subway, and then the walk… yadda yadda yadda. I'll stop now. Nothing, really, would keep me away from the spaetzle. Even crazy weekend subway construction. And it shouldn't keep you away either.

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I love the feel of Manhattan; its classic New York-ness. Its 'cheeseburger-cheeseburger-pepsi-pepsi-no Coke' Saturday Night Live-esque diner's; its crazy but incredibly knowledgeable cab drivers; its dichotomy of late-night partiers mixed in with Puerto Rican grandmothers sitting in their fold-up lawn chairs in the middle of the sidewalk in the East Village; the rush; the sirens; etc. etc. And I know that the DIY hipsters get tons of flack from the local Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens (etc.) residents for taking over the neighborhoods and changing the scene. But wow. Brooklyn has so much to offer as well. The coffee shops, chocolate factories, meat markets, pickles, and biergartens are really paying off. And it's just all so purdy.

Williamsburg

Tuesday evening after Brooklyn, I trotted on down to E. 9th & Avenue A for a little Dirt Candy. Nothing dirty about this little vegetarian nook, it serves up interesting non-meaty dishes. Our menu: jalapeño hushpuppies with maple butter; French onion soup; portobello mousse with sliced portobellos; crispy treat paella; and grits with chunks of corn and a tempura-fried egg. I'm partial to a bit more flavor, though Amanda's twist on vegetarian fare promises a new and exciting future ahead.

Portobello Mousse  Grits  Paella

Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Amy and her baby at Diner. Big, fat juicy liverwurst sandwich on sourdough with whole-grain mustard and fries with homemade mayo. Uh, yeah. Yum. Oh, and a cup of Stumptown. Afterwards, we headed to Marlow & Daughters to browse the delish eats & enhale the incredible smokey aroma of freshly butchered and smoked meats, another of Mark Firth and Andrew Tarlow's creations. Then the Billyburg trail took us to the Mast Brothers chocolate factory. More yum, great chocolate, and rumor is that there may be future tie-ins with Stumptown. Check it out, for kick-in-the-pants chile chocolate, not to mention exquisite eye candy. hehe. Oh, and be sure not to miss Bluegrass & Chocolate, a free outdoor event June 21 featuring Frankenpine and Potbelly Gumbo.

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Friday evening, I ended up back in Cobble Hill for drinks and okra at Abilene. Then I got convinced to see the Detroit Cobras  at Southpaw. Terrible sound, unfortunately, so didn't get too into it. But the okra earlier was good.

Today, I trekked it up and over to the Upper West Side, and found myself at Ayurveda Café. One set menu for $9.95 consisted of good for the body and psyche small dishes on a circular tray: uppama; brown rice; tofu with green peas; bell peppers with potatoes; yellow daal; salad, raita, bread & chutneys; and besan halwa for dessert. Yum.

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Thinking I would be cool and catch the #6 on the East Side after spending a few moments in Strawberry Fields, I strolled through Central Park only to be surrounded by red, white & blue. No, not a Flag Day celebration, but the Puerto Rican day parade. Unfortunately, I wore the wrong shoes. But no worries. I managed slooooowly to book it down 6th to Bryant Park, kick off the heels, prop up the feets, and chill for a bit. Then lovely Ken met me and brought me a bag of scrumptious Lighthouse espresso beans… shades of Seattle. Yay!

On a side note, check out the bar at the new Ace Hotel at 29th & Broadway. A great little nook serving up delicious cocktails and a stylishly funky vibe.

Tonight, it's time to relax, put the feet up, enjoy the peaceful evening, and watch the new season of True Blood. Bon appétit!     

       

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