Tag Archives: brooklyn

A Sampling of Smorgasburg


A disclaimer: I didn’t actually have the ramen burger. I know, it’s a travesty—who treks out to Williamsburg from Morningside Heights (taking the dreaded L train; I don’t think it’s that bad…) only to not try the food that Smorgasburg’s most famous for?

Well, I guess it’s a reason to return!

I think Smorgasburg is quite genius, actually. Plunked on the western edge of Williamsburg, it (the original site; there are several others now) rewards Manhattan-ites who are willing to get to Brooklyn with a vast number of options of extremely filling foods and incredible views of Manhattan. Much of the food is more than just the latest, trendiest, foodie-est thing to eat.

This is the way I suggest doing it:

  1. Bring cash. That’s all the vendors take, and you don’t want to have to wait in the line once you get there.
  2. When you arrive, walk around and look at every vendor. You don’t want, upon spending all your money and stuffing yourself, to realize that someone sells your favorite food on the other side of the space.
  3. Bring friends to split. Too many things to try to eat all of everything.


It’s been a long time since I’ve had fried calamari. These were excellent. The spicy tomato mayo (just behind the squid in the cone) was a nice touch—I might try to make that sometime soon.


This corn is grilled, and then rubbed with butter and sprinkled with cheese. I’ve had corn like this before, but I’ll never say no to this combination. It’s completely delicious.

IMG_8499 IMG_8502

This was the highlight of the bunch. Duck confit with cabbage on a brioche roll from Duck Season. You really can’t go wrong with duck confit and brioche. We actually wanted to get two sliders, but they were out—the cook generously offered to cut this in half for us. Even half of this sandwich was enough—I’m not sure I could have eaten the entire thing.


A friend recommended this nutella ice cream sandwich from Good Batch—it did not disappoint. Though again, the serving was essentially too large to finish.


My friend wanted to get something sweet, but these caught her eye instead: beer-battered cheese curds. I thought it sounded disgusting, and even once we got them I wasn’t so into it. Then I dipped one in spicy aioli and bit into it; my doubts melted away in a haze of melted cheese and umami (that’d be the fermentation of the beer). I’m actually still craving these.

All in all: Smorgasburg is totally worth it. I’ll definitely be going back when it opens again in the spring.


Cadaqués, a perfect place to sample and indulge

The Tortilla Minute

I consider tapas synonymous with the beginning of what will become a late Spanish summer night out.

That is, if you are eating quality tapas with a quality crowd.

The latter portion is up to you, but the former is basically guaranteed if you end up dining at Cadaqués. As I reread that, I am wholeheartedly aware of the straight-out-of-an-add promotional tone it gives. They didn’t pay me to shower them with compliments. You have my word.

There is a DJ on popular nights-out, like Fridays. The music is trendy and offers a background beat. It is just loud enough that you know it’s playing , your mood is lifted, and you may want to wiggle a little in your seat, but you can still hear everything your friends are saying.

The drink menu is exquisite. Every cocktail looks, sounds and tastes sophisticated. The Picasso is a refreshing work of art to the eyes and the palate.

Tapas are meant to be shared. That is why a tapas outing requires good company. And by good, I mean open-minded and willing to get one of everything (or at least a variety of menu items). The less dietary restrictions, the better. The menu is a little bit misleading in that the “To Share” section sounds like it would be the tapas section, and the main courses section sounds like its items are meant for each guest to order individually. Both sections are actually tapas. The appetizer section has some items, such as soups, that are understandably meant for one person and other items, such as ceviche and tortillas, that are also share-friendly.

No portions are large enough to be the sole order of an individual. This means that the bill fills up faster than you think. The good news is that your stomach fills up gradually, and overeating is not something to worry about.

Tapas offer an eat-and-be-merry kind of dining style. Dishes are brought out in no particular order, other than the order in which they become ready. Usually one or two are brought out at a time, so patrons can really savor each bite.

Spanish Risotto

The Spanish risotto and tortilla minute are my favorites. The risotto is made with crispy rice that is coated with creamy tetilla cheese, offering a satisfying contrast. Other flavors include shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms, fennel and parsley. The tortilla minute is your classic Spanish omelet, which always contains potatoes and onions. You have the choice of making the omelet less standard, since it can be chorizo, morcilla or asparagus-filled. I recommend the chorizo for a slight smoky flavor.

For dessert, there are five items from which to choose. I advise going with five people, so that you can order every single one. Or, stomach and wallet permitting, do that with whatever number of people are in the group. The molten chocolate cake, while not gushing with lava, is still warm and soft inside. It is best eaten when scraped off in layers and mixed with vanilla ice cream. The apple empanadas are mini and fried packaged apple pies. They are not greasy, and they have a slight crisp. They come with plantain ice cream, which offers a slightly less sweet banana flavor.

Service is not always speedy, and your glass will most likely remain without water until you ask for some. BUT, when there was a little mix up (my friend’s pan con tomate bread slices were brought out without the manchego cheese) the restaurant gave us an unexpected gift. A server came over with a porró, a large glass drinking vessel filled with white wine, and demonstrated the proper way to drink from it. So the benefits far outweigh the little mishaps. And if you are lucky, your waiter will be a hybrid of Johnny Depp and James Franco.

Note: Cadaqués is also open for weekend brunch from noon-4pm. It accepts AmEx and cash only. There is an ATM machine inside in case you forget.  Cadaqués is on 188 Grand Street in Brooklyn.

Egg, a minimalist’s brunch heaven

I normally think brunch is a snooty kind of meal (I picture one Elle Woods type character exclaiming to another, “Let’s BRUNCH. We can get mimosas and…”) but at Egg, breakfast and lunch are combined in a low-key and down to earth way.

Egg has a childish appeal, with crayons in a cup as centerpieces and plain tables covered in white paper, waiting to be scribbled on. There are school chairs—you remember the stackable ones, right? Each table does not necessarily have the same kind. In any other restaurant, all this would look tacky. At Egg, it creates a young, fun, vibrant and natural atmosphere.

Dining at this restaurant makes one feel close to a wholesome rural farm, despite its placement smack in the middle of North Williamsburg, This is no coincidence. Egg has its own farm in Oak Hill, a town with 200 year-round residents.

The country ham slices are thin, lean shavings. Upon my first bite, I encountered an unfamiliar taste. I realized that, when it comes to ham, I am unfortunately accustomed to processed flavor. It was a nice surprise, to say the least.

Granola is my absolute favorite breakfast food. I have tried all sorts of fruit/nut/sugar/honey/oil varieties, but Egg puts the majority of them to shame. The granola contains dried cranberries, sesame seeds, flax, chia and nut slivers. Fresh, lightly textured yogurt lies beneath all of the goodness. And the dish is topped with a honey drizzle. Everything is toasted, but only to the point of crunchiness. There is nothing worse than burnt granola.

For those of you who are pancake lovers, Egg ensures a generous stack of three. They are enormous.

Egg offers numerous sides. The breakfast selection is more grain, bread and meat focused—featuring items like buttermilk biscuits and candied bacon. The lunch selection is more overtly Southern—collard greens, mac and cheese, etc. If you are between two meals, ordering a meal and a side will serve as a compromise.

Disclaimer: I did not end up trying any of the egg dishes, but I am sure if you do, Egg’s eggs will live up to the expectation.

Things to note: There are no reservations. The waiting process operates similarly to that of a medical office. The only difference if that what awaits you is not a shot, throat swab or lolli. Instead, what awaits you is an assortment of completely natural items, straight from Mother Nature herself. Upon entrance, you stand in a small room with glass windows that allow you to see the restaurant. It functions solely as a waiting room. You personally sign in on paper located on a desk in the room until the hostess comes out from the restaurant to cross the next name off the list and show the party to its table.

Take a look at the website for separate Breakfast, Lunch and Weekend Brunch menus. Any meal will be a great one, but one menu may have something that calls your name a little louder.

135 N 5th St
(between Bedford Ave & Berry St)

Take the L to Bedford.

Be a Food Taster for 24 Hour Restaurant Battle!

Have you ever watched the Food Network, wishing that you could be one of the judges? Have you ever wanted to have a taste of the food on the television screen? Well, now is your chance!

Ben just found a site that gives you FREE tickets to “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” in Brooklyn. The catch is that the show only films on Tuesdays and Fridays, midday, from now until mid-February. Fridays would probably be most convenient for students…

Also, the site says you must be 21. I wouldn’t be deterred by this–I have gone to several Food Network events with that warning, and I have yet to be reprimanded. The site also says that you must not have ANY food allergies.

For more information and to get tickets, visit http://livingfreenyc.com/featured/be-a-food-taster-at-food-networks-24-hour-restaurant-battle/.

Review: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Last night, I was thoroughly excited. Working at Good Housekeeping was totally paying off–I was invited to the release of the New Brooklyn Cookbook! I invited Claire as my guest to help me cover the event. We took the 1 line to Columbus Circle and switched to the A train to High Street… it was quite a trek. We then searched out the bookstore at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge where the event was supposedly taking place. When we arrived, the bookstore was closed. I frantically checked my emails, and I realized that I had the wrong date–by 2 weeks!

Determined to salvage the night, Claire and I decided to walk just a couple blocks over to the legendary Grimaldi’s Pizzeria of Brooklyn. I had never been to the famous pizzeria, so I knew that it would be an experience I would not soon forget. Luckily, the line outside the eating establishment was relatively small when we arrived. A man complete with Brooklyn accent and whispy white hair was supervising the line, and he alone allowed people to enter the restaurant. He was only slightly intimidating. (Although we did see him get in a very heated dispute with a man who was trying to cut in line… it did not end well for the random line-cutter.) After about 30 minutes, we were allowed to walk through the entrance.

The smell of pizza immediately hit us, and our appetite for pizza increased tenfold. We were seated close to the pizza counter. Starving, we ordered a Margarita pizza with two cream sodas without any hesitation. (I had just seen one of those horrifying anti-soda ads on the subway, but we were not going to miss out on the Olde Brooklyn sodas.) While we waited for our pizza, I stared jealously at the little kid ravenously devouring his slice next to me. I had to refrain from snatching it out of his hands… He was lucky that our pizza arrived within 10 minutes.

The pie was steaming–a sure sign that it had just come forth from the oven. The cheese clung desperately to the pizza as we pulled away each slice. The flavor of the first bite was perfection. The bottom of the pizza was beautifully charred, with little flecks of black. The cheese was not too thick, and the sauce was sweet. Claire and I agreed that the basil was the single best part, and we snatched up the pieces with the most basil leaves. The cream sodas only enhanced the experience. (I don’t care what those healthy, anti-soda people say.)

The second slice was not as satisfying. The pizza quickly turned cold, and the crust turned chewy. Fortunately, after we each had our second piece, we were full. We felt guilty leaving 2 slices untouched, but the waiter understood our predicament. The remaining slices were boxed up for us to go.

At only 12 dollars for a small pizza, Grimaldi’s is definitely worth the price. Whether it is the best pizza in New York… well, that’s still up for debate. However, I must say that it saved what could have been a very disappointing night.