(Illustration by Danny Brito)
I’m asked for NYC recommendations more than anything – more than makeup tips and clothing links combined. I don’t mind it, at all; I like giving recommendations! But I figured it was about time that I start compiling a list for the blog, because I have a whole lot of favorite places and I’d love to share them with you. I started out by highlighting five of my favorite spots in my borough of Brooklyn. Consider this one of many to come. Warning: this is photo heavy!
Brooklyn Farmacy + Soda Fountain, Carroll Gardens
Personal Favorites: Chocolate Egg Cream, ice cream and homemade soda floats (Pink Poodle or the Strawberry with Strawberry ice cream), Cherry Lime Rickey
It’s no secret that I’m one for nostalgia, so it goes without saying that this old-fashioned soda fountain tops my list of favorite Brooklyn spots. Housed in a restored 1920s pharmacy (the floor still bears the name, “Longo’s Pharmacy”), this ice cream and soda shop has a menu full of delicious treats, including the Brooklyn classic, egg creams! I sometimes stop by for a classic chocolate egg cream, but when my little sister (or niece, in this case) comes to visit, we stop in for a variety of indulgences: sundaes that are big enough to share with the whole table, ButterBeer (yes!!), Hibiscus floats, homemade Cherry-Lime Rickeys.
Red Hook Lobster Pound, 284 Van Brunt St, Red Hook
Personal favorite: Maine Style lobster roll, Bobby likes the shrimp rolls and the lobster BLT.
I love lobster rolls, and this is my favorite lobster roll in the city. It’s super fresh and perfectly simple, which is the way I like it. Not overdressed, nothing too fancy – just big chunks of lobster, lightly tossed in mayo with minimal garnishes, served on toasted bread. It’s an order at the counter, seat yourself at the picnic area next door type of place, so no worries about your messy eating habits.
Al Di La, 248 5th Street, Park Slope
Personal Favorites: Funghi e Polenta with a poached egg, Malfatti (Swiss Chard and ricotta gnocchi with brown butter and sage)
Al Di La is my favorite restaurant in my neighborhood; I’ve never had a bad meal. Their menu is seasonal and ever changing, but my favorite dish – the funghi e polenta with a poached egg – is a staple on their lunch menu. That’s a major bonus, because though it gets packed at night, lunch time is rather calm. The dish (and most others) is majorly decadent, so I make sure to walk there and back to trick myself into thinking I’m working it off (I’m not). So worth it.
(dishes, top to bottom: ricotta cavatelli, funghi e polenta, daily fish)
Buttermilk Channel, 524 Court Street, Carroll Gardens
Personal favorites: does “brunch” count? Pancakes, scrambles, pecan pie french toast.
Buttermilk Channel is open for both dinner and brunch, and both are great. I prefer going here for brunch, but only because breakfast is my favorite and should be served at all times. The atmosphere in this restaurant is great – and that’s almost as important as the food. The owner, Doug Crowell, is a wonderful, friendly host who makes you feel so welcome; you can tell he puts his heart and soul into the place. He recently opened another restaurant, French Louie, which I’ve been meaning to check out. I think I’ll do that, this weekend!
Dough, 448 Lafayette Avenue, Bed-Stuy
Personal favorite: plain glazed, because the donut itself is the best part!
Dough is now a household name in NYC, partly because of its presence at the Brooklyn Flea’s Smorgasburg and local Whole Foods. Their Bed-Stuy outpost hosts an array of flavors, ranging from classics like glazed and cinnamon sugar, to Hibiscus or Chocolate with Earl Grey. You really can’t go wrong with any, but the best part about Dough is exactly that…the fluffy, perfect dough. I usually get the glazed, Tessa gets the Hibiscus (pictured below, with matching hibiscus tattoo). But sometimes, we get an entire box and take a bite out of each. It’s called research. Look it up.