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29 October 2018

bushwick to brighton beach; the best places to eat in brooklyn


the number one thing i was looking forward to doing in new york, was eat. more than sight see, more than visit friends, more than see that magnificent skyline or those well-worn streets, more than anything, i was excited to eat. new york's culinary scene is rivalled only by london's - or so i was told, and boy oh boy did i do my research when i came to where i wanted to eat. like charlie, i plotted out food on a map by type; coffee spots, brunch spots, must-eats, and pizza-on-the-run, and that way, wherever we were, we would know what food was nearby. sadly, unlike charlie, that plan didn't unfold the way i'd hoped. but, nevertheless, we perservered. and actually, some of the food we had that was unresearched and unknown to us, and we only visited on a hot tip from a local, turned out to be some of the best.

brooklyn whiskers bakery, bushwick

on the third morning of our stay we were so desperate to get out of our awful airbnb and get on the way to coney island, that at about 8am i'd quickly typed in "breakfast food near me" and this little gem popped up. vegan, open, and some excellent reviews, so we made our way there and got settled in the cosy cafe. we pored over the breakfast options - some fresh from the kitchen, some baked and on display, and decided to have one of everything. well, just about. i nabbed a pecan maple swirl-type muffin thing which was moreish and bloody delightful, as well as a slice of figgy toast with almond ricotta and lavender agave drizzled on top. honestly, never had a meal like it. washed down with an almond iced latte, and i just about forgot about the terrible night's sleep i'd had. oh and by the way: it's cat themed, and super affordable (for america). you're looking at about $10 for coffee and a fancy toast - before the tip.

find it: 760 buskwick ave, bushwick 11221

roberta's, bushwick

this was the only thing on my pre-determined map that made it to this list. we went straight there from checking in to our airbnb, wrecked from the uncomfortable flight over, and rocked by the discovery of just how small our space was for the next few days, we figured eating would solve some of that. and man-oh-man, did it ever solve that. we ordered a starter salad to share (to be healthy), as well as pitcher of brooklyn's finest ale, to wash down our two enormous pizzas. mine, a classic marg, her, something spicier, and let me tell you this: we had no problem finishing all of the food they put in front of us. if american portions are bigger, we didn't notice - famished or not, that was the absolute best way to start a food adventure. bonus points for the pretty beer garden and total hipster vibes. this was a little more expensive than expected - around $20 for the pizza, and $24 for the pitcher - before the tip.

find it: 261 moore street, buskwick 11206

hometown bbq, red hook

this was a hot tip from an instagram pal that i knew we had to follow through on. our last hotel was just up the road, and it was in between where we were and where we wanted to be, so it was fate. until we arrived, saw the ridiculous line inside, and questioned our sanity. we don't line up for food in london, so this should have been no different, but we persisted. we ordered pints to keep us busy in the line (it's what the locals were doing), and waited. and ordered more pints, and waited some more. and then when we got to the front, we were pretty tipsy, and ended up ordered far too much food. and yet again, we ate all the food. i'm talking bbq brisket, burnt ends, mac and cheese, korean chicken wings, ribs, collared greens... my god, it was so good. look, i don't remember how much it cost, but it can't have been cheap. you know what? whatever i paid, it was worth it. i didn't eat again until the following morning, and we were there for lunch.

find it: 454 van brunt street, red hook, 11231

smorgasburg, prospect park

again, this is one that was on rebekah's mental list, and one that sort of happened by fate. we planned to meet some friends for brunch on our first day in the city, and prospect park is near where they lived. on sundays, prospect park hosts smorgasburg, a food market dedicated to some of the greatest food on the planet. like the original ramen burger. yeah, that was first launched at smorgasburg. like the llama party fizzy sodas in all the flavours. those are epic. there are the home frittes and the dough-nuts and the original crack pies (not the milk ones, sorry nerds) - and there are dogs. and the park is open to the public, and the stalls are actually pretty affordable! for food stalls, i mean. so take like $20 and eat yourself dumb - it's what we did! hot tip: there are two locations. the smorgasburg in williamsburg is a hell of a lot busier, and bigger, than prospect park, so save yourself the hassle and just go to prospect park instead.

find all the locations here.

cafe at your mother in law's, coney island

when we got to coney island, and everything we wanted to see/do/eat at was closed, we had to think on our feet. rebekah found this gem of a restaurant via the good old fashioned internet, and boy - was it a rare find. located in "little odessa" - brooklyn's own downtown ukraine, cafe at your mother in law boasted a hybrid menu, of korean and uzbeck fare, which we didn't know could work but absolutely does. dave cook of the new york times explains it better than i ever could, but trust me when i say this is a hidden gem that should not be missed on any trip to brighton beach. it's byo - we brought in russian beer, because we're nothing if not authentic, and the cafe is terribly lit and plays everything from russian football to russian music videos on its tiny tv, but the staff are friendly and the food is goooood. the price of the dishes ranges from like $2 to $9 - no, i'm not kidding. you'll want to finish your meal with a trip to rita's on the esplanade, too, for some traditional iced custard. it's just like ice cream, but not.

find it here: 3071 brighton 4th street, brighton beach, 11235

nathan's famous hot dog, boardwalk

you can't come all the way out to coney island and not eat at nathan's - i'm told it's sort of a prerequisute to entering the area. there are two restaurants, to make it easy for you to get your hot dog fix, and they're a mere walk from each other so if you don't get your fill at the first, you will by the second. nathan's is the trusted name in hot doggeries, is now a sponsor of a major league baseball team, and has been home of the world famous hot dog eating contest for the last forty years or so. so yeah, nathan's is kind of a big deal! a hot dog will set you about a couple of dollars, and to be honest - it tastes like a hot dog. i'm not going to go out on a limb and say it was the best one i've ever had, but as there was not a lot else open and nathan's is open every damn day of the year, they get bonus points for being open when nothing else was.

find them: 1310 surf ave, coney island, 11224

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