Daily Archives: October 2, 2012

A Foodie goes to Brooklyn

Not too long ago, a friend of mine moved from the West Village to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn which is across the Williamsburg Bridge of course.  Since then I have visited a few places for food and drinks in this very up and coming neighborhood that is being revitalized and quickly becoming a high rent district.  Being a follower of this blog from time to time, he has been suggesting to me for quite some time to spend a day in Williamsburg and walk around to the various restaurants and bars that are cropping up everywhere so that I could write about his new “hood”.  So this past weekend, we did just that!
It was a beautiful, sunny, fall Sunday with that crisp, cool feel.  After a workout, a trip to the local farmer’s market and a few chores around the house, I got on the road fairly early and met my friend at his apartment.  We started out at Pies & Thighs (yup, that’s the name of the place) for brunch.  It’s a very small restaurant which specializes in Southern style breakfast items like chicken & waffles, biscuits and gravy, and grits.  They also bake some awesome looking pies on premises and I was told have great donuts.  I ordered the smoked pork hash and my friend had the fried chicken & waffles.  The food was really good.  I was glad I had not eaten anything in the morning.   The hash came with potatoes and two eggs, which I chose to have over easy, with a green salsa on the top.  The pork was tender and the combination of the salsa, runny yolks and meat was perfect.  I tried some of my friend’s waffles which were made of buckwheat flour and were really good.  He didn’t share any of the chicken so it must have been too good to part with.
After brunch we decided to walk toward the East River and work off some of the calories we had just consumed.  We ended up at the Brooklyn Flea market.  For the most part it was like any other flea market with people trying to sell their junk.  But I was surprised by the number of food vendors selling all kinds of tasty and interesting bites.  There was a truck selling lobster, another one selling tacos; there were stands with dosas, pizza, lemonade and ice cream.  There was even one stand that had porchetta which they were slicing to order.  We were glad we had just eaten else we would have likely eaten one of everything.  This is definitely a place I’d like to go back hungry someday though so that I can try the food.
Having had enough of the crowds, we exited the market and went to sit on a bench by the river to rest our feet.  As we sat there watching the passersby and debating whether we could swim across the East River, we watched a storm cloud approach overhead.  I’m not really sure why we didn’t opt to start for our next destination until the drops actually started but we didn’t.  Perhaps it was because we were both in lazy Sunday mode and didn’t feel like moving.  We decided to go find a sports bar to catch the Jets game which had started by then.   Running through the pouring rain we wound up at The Whiskey Brooklyn.  We sat at a table with a great view of the game and ordered their house draft beer in the dark style.  The only choices are dark and light and it’s the only beer on tap.  When asked where it was made, the waitress told us it was a secret and would not divulge any information.  The beer tasted like someone took Schlitz and added color to make it dark so we have now dubbed this the place with the “crappy secret beer”. The beer may have been bad but the Jets game was worse so we waited till the rain stopped and moved on to Banter, an Irish bar that was much quieter and had better beer.  The Jets game was looking pathetic by now with the 49ers winning 24 to zero.  So we drowned our sorrows in a glass of Corsendonk Dubbel on tap and turned our attention to the exciting ending of the Ryder Cup instead.  I never thought I would admit to watching golf and I’m not sure that it’s something I would watch on a regular basis but at this particular moment it was quite fun.  The Europeans sitting at a table nearby cheering on their team made the vibe a little more interesting I think.  For a second we thought about heading to a driving range but who were kidding in our lazy Sunday modes.  We opted for a another Dubbel instead.
We walked around more of the neighborhood as my friend pointed out some of the other interesting eateries along the way.  After some time went by we realized that it had been a while since we ate and we were starting to get hungry so we decided to head back toward his part of the neighborhood and find a place to eat.  We wound up at Rye.  He had eaten there before, and said the food is consistently good.  It’s a nice place inside with dark wood walls and a big bar. We sat at the bar not wanting to necessarily get a table.  As we perused the menu, my friend decided the place was too quiet for him on this night and wanted to try elsewhere.  Not wanting to be rude, we had a cocktail before leaving.  I had something called a Southside which was really delicious.  It was made with gin, cucumber and lime juice.  Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that gin is my drink of choice for cocktails.  We then headed for Walter Foods for dinner.
Walter Foods was much more lively and fun.  The menu looked good.  We asked our waiter to surprise us with an appetizer of his choice which ended up being a warm artichoke dip with toasts.  It was really good!  In fact it was the best artichoke dip I’ve ever had with big pieces of artichokes in it.  For my meal I ordered a seared Arctic Char served over sautéed mushrooms and roasted corn.  My friend was apparently having a fried chicken kind of day and ordered it again for dinner; this time served with mashed potatoes and a hot sweet honey glaze.  Both meals were excellent – my mushrooms and roasted corn particularly tasty. This time I got to taste the chicken which was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  The flavor from the honey glaze made it extra good.  I commented it was almost as good as mine so I then had to promise to make him my skinless version of fried chicken to compare tastes.
After dinner we started heading back toward my car when my friend spotted the neighborhood hangout, Clem’s, and decided we should have one more drink to end our day.  When we walked in we saw that the Giants game had started and ended up staying to watch.  It was a far more exciting one than the Jets game earlier in the day.  Despite a Giants loss to the Eagles, it was an exciting game to the very end.  Quite tired after a fun but relaxing day, we headed home. 

A view of Manhattan from Williamsburg – taken from rooftop bar at Wyeth Hotel

I’m looking forward to going back and trying a few more of the places we didn’t get to.  One can only eat and drink so much in a day.  And now I have a blogging buddy to drag along.  Other places I’ve been to in the area are the Brooklyn Brewery, Hotel Delmano (it’s not really a hotel), and the rooftop bar at the Wythe Hotel with its spectacular views of Manhattan.  So if you ever catch yourself just passing over the Williamsburg Bridge, why not take a detour into this wonderful neighborhood with little traffic, friendly bike paths and a whole new culture growing just on the other side of the East River!!


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