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Wednesday
Jul062011

Brooklyn Day – Part The First: Williamsburg

Last Monday I had the day off. The whole day, people! I hardly knew what to do with myself.

Except that I did: I wanted to go to Brooklyn. I don't get the opportunity very often, as my life seems to circle around the all-consuming triangle of Hoboken, Chelsea and the Flatiron District during the work week. But given a day off, I jumped on the L train and headed to the 'Burgh. For brekkie.

By which I mean breakfast, of course. If you were to suggest to me that I sneak in some activities before breakfast, I would assume you are one of the following:

1. Crazy

2. Nuts

I don't do things before breakfast. It's just not right: nothing good can come of it. So, with that being said, the only problem remained, where to breakfast? I chose Marlow & Sons, owned the operated the same people as Diner, which is right next door.

I truly enjoy when good food and design collide. I hadn't yet put Marlow & Sons food to my lips, but I was immediately impressed by their turn of the century menu design, which incorporated the ubiquitous NYC pigeon. Nice work.

I chose the Poached Eggs with Sauteéd Greens and Toast.

I love a poached egg. And these were ENOURMOUS, perfectly cooked so that the ooey-gooey yolk had just the right amount of oooze to it, and sprinkled with sea salt and a smattering of cayenne pepper. The "greens" were lamb's quarter greens – like a blend of spinach and arugula with just a hint of bitterness. The appeared to have been simmered in a broth of a chicken variety, as they were wonderfully seasoned and sported a ringlet of juice. The bread – a multigrain – was soaked (in a good way) in butter and stock juices.

I left no evidence behind, excpet a spotlessly clean plate.

My belly was full, so I could enthusiastically devote myself to a day of activities. That involved food, of course. As I ambled back to Bedford Avenue, I stopped into Marlow & Daughters, the specialty market the final member, completing the trio of Diner and Marlow & Sons.

These Daughters, whoever they are, know a thing or two about gourmet food selection. Fresh and ripe produce was arranged in crates outside, while the inside was stocked with goodies including these tiny pepperoni that I picked up for The Box:

He devoured them (practically whole). Next time, I'm going to try the pork and beans:

I also picked up a copy of the intriguing periodical Diner Journal. Stocked with well-written food-related stories, illustrations of mixed drinks and shellfish, and enough enticing recipes to keep me busy for some time, this magazine is a true gem. You can find out more about it here.

Marlow & Sons
81 Broadway Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY 11211

Marlow & Daughters
95 Broadway Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY 11211

Around this time, I was feeling the need for coffee. I had not yet visited Blue Bottle Coffee in Williamsburg. Before you gasp in horror, just know: the situation has been rectified. I have gone. And would like to go every day if I only could. I actually left that place with a tear in my eye that I could not go more frequently.

Check out these fancy-pants gizmos that drip the cold brew coffee (Kyoto and New Orleans blends):

Like giant hourglasses measuring the passage of time in drips of caffeine rather than grains of sand.

The folks at Blue Bottle are pretty good at carrying their signature color throughout the shop – even the espresso machine is decked out in it.

And the coffee – did I mention how good it was? I chose the New Orleans cold brew, as the barista instructed me that this blend would be best with soy milk (my chosen mix-in). He recommended drinking the Kyoto black and I wasn't brave enough to disagree with him. He commanded an air of authority.

Let me tell you, I sucked down that New Orleans coffee like nobody's business. Slightly sweetened to take the edge off the chicory flavoring, smooth as a freshly iced cake, and rich as trust fund baby. I wanted to swim in a vat of it. Next time, perhaps.

Blue Bottle Coffee
160 Berry Street, Brooklyn, NY

After the coffee, I needed some carbs. Wouldn't you? The answer is yes. I strolled into the Northside Bakery, attracted both by the turquoise storefront and the promise of authentic Polish baked goods. While the fruit-infused crumbly bread shown above looked incredibly enticing, I opted for a multi grain loaf literally bedazzled in seeds of all varieties:

Having eaten most of the loaf throughout various parts of that day, I can attest that it is highly satisfying: packed with grains, delightfully chewy on the inside (so much so you just want to squeeeeeeze it) and the crust is both flaky and hearty with a glimmering egg-white sheen.

Northside Bakery
149 North 8 Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

That concludes my tour of Williamsburg. Next up: Clinton and Cobble Hills where I encounter the Forbidden Donut, a formidable ice cream soda and side walk chalk! Stay tuned...

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