To combat the soul crushing polar vortex we experienced this winter, we’ve been taking a lot of car rides around the borough of Brooklyn. We’ve discovered some hidden culinary gems in overlooked neighborhoods like Ditmas Park and BedStuy and one great date night go-to option in the West Village. Here are some of our winter 2014 favorites.
Scratch Bread: We braved the elements on two separate Sundays to get nourished at Scratch Bread in BedStuy. The Mr. calls it a fly trap because the line, even in the January freeze was 25 people deep! This window-only establishment serves up a delectable cup filled with a soft boiled, runny egg, grits and a topping of your choice which include mouthwatering options like pesto, smoked almond romesco, or jalepeno sauce. Its the perfect to-go breakfast food for days when you want something a little more special than your standard homemade eggs, but don’t want to drop the cash on a champagne brunch. On both trips to Scratch, we shared our food with the little miss in the back seat of our car. Well be back this spring to try the pizzas, the hot sticky mess (custard soaked sticky buns!) and hopefully bring some baked goods to a park nearby.
Mimi’s Humus: Aside for the authentic Middle Eastern food, my favorite aspect of this Ditmas Park gem is the design of the dining room. Perforated wood lined walls and white penny tiled floors with pops of sage and persimmon on the walls, the modern design influence highlights the simplicity of the delicious, creamy and authentic humus dishes and brunch-y shakshukas (poached eggs in sauce). Garlic and cumin aromas will awaken your taste buds upon entering this cozy cafe. The large windows and relaxed ambiance at Mimi’s are a good alternative for when you’re thinking of Marrakesh or Tel Aviv but are stuck in Brooklyn.
Chez Sardine – We’ve spent two date nights at this restaurant, named after one of my favorite canned foods, and would still return for the well -edited Japanese small plates menu. Creative sushi rolls, our favorite features crushed pretzels, pickled onions and salmon, evoking an incredible Sunday bagel, are served up in an tiny yet airy dining room on a charming West Village corner. Add cool beats, hipster waiters and a nice bathroom and you’ve got what New York Times’ Pete Wells calls “Asian Stoner Food.”
L&B Spumoni – When we visited this Midwood stronghold with our friends who recently moved to Park Slope from Venice Beach, CA we reveled in the mobster history of the pizza. We shared two of L&B’s classic Sicilian style saucy pies inside and played nicely with the corner slices. Spumoni ice cream, a traditional mixture of lemon, pistachio and chocolate was our desert, which we ordered behind a women who advised the scooper to ‘pack it in.” L&B’s massive front yard was empty but come summer, fuggetabout getting a seat.
Cafe La Mejor – This tiny Bushwick coffee shop has great vibes. In the darkness of winter, the florescent candy colors of this cafeteria perfectly convey the tropical, retro sensibility of Havana, the gorgeous city we visited just before the Mr. and I got engaged. The little miss made a friend outside the bright shop and sat still long enough for her parents to drink a Cafe Con Leche which is prepared with a dallop of whipped butter and salt. mm. We’ll definitely be back to celebrate our love for Cuba and support this local gem.