Aahh, Beverly Hills. It makes me think of some of my favorite past Beverly Hills residents.
Come on. I had to.
Let’s take the Adopt a Block feature nationwide!
I didn’t expect to get a sugar rush during a quick trip to Beverly Hills, but when roaming around for parking spots (something that I usually don’t get to experience), I spotted the Paulette Macaron shop. I know macarons have been pretty popular in the past few years whether as a wedding dessert or as a way to fulfill a craving for something sweet, fancy and French; but I have to admit that I missed the boat on this food trend. This visit changed that.
Nice shop, right?
I love how colorful the macarons are.
A tower ofmacarons?
Big Mitss and I ended up getting a pack of 12 with a variety of different flavors. I am now a convert to macarons! My personal favorites? Pistachio (I believe that was a special that day), Caramel, and Coconut. I find I don’t like the fruity flavors as much (that means the Passion Fruit), and I’m not sure that chocolate macarons are all that great either. I will have to try some more here in NYC soon.
Big Mitts pointed out the Famous Cupcakes shop practically across the street from Paulette Macarons. Can I admit to you that I was weary of this place? Another cupcake place? They’re “famous”? Riiiiiiight. Yet after tasting these cupcakes, I have seen the light. Dude, when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. Don’t judge food by its storefront.
First of all, this place is kinda spiffy….
Also imagine my surprise that I like something that the Kardashians like too.
There were so many to choose from: Cookies ‘n Cream (chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse topped with Oreo buttercream frosting), Chocolicious (milk chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting) and the 24 Karat (carrot cake with walnuts crowned with cinnamon cream cheese frosting).
We ended eating one of the specials for the day, Mocha Latte.
From what I could tell, it was chocolate cake with a coffee-like frosting with a fabulous coffee-chocolate ganache center.
I know I’m showing you half eaten food, but I can’t resist this cupcake.
If I can say anything about these cupcakes, it’s that they tasted homemade like someone just baked them at home and decided to sell them in the store. Really! I couldn’t believe how fresh it tasted. The coffee-chocolate flavor really did taste like a mocha from your favorite coffee shop. We also had a Chocolicious that we ate more than a day later and that tasted good albeit like a cupcake I would normally get with the cake not as forgiving. I think buying from the store must be the way to go.
So, yes I found all of this sweetness in one block of Beverly Hills (specifically, the corner of Charleville Boulevard & South Beverly Drive). I’m still thinking about that cupcake…..
Oh my! I haven’t done an “Adopt a Block” post in awhile, so here it goes:
Today, I thought I would focus on two restaurants on the corner of Lafayette Avenue and South Elliot Place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Again, I remember when these two restaurants weren’t even there, and the food pickins’ in the neighborhood were slim. How times have changed!
67 Burger and The Smoke Joint are situated diagonally from each other and a part of a little community of restaurants that dot the criss-crossing of Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street.
I go to Smoke Joint when I don’t really care if I am about to eat a full day’s worth of calories in one sitting ’cause when BBQ tastes good, it’s just good. I am always reading that many people think BBQ in New York is bad and just not up to par with what you can find in the South. Look, I just go with what my taste buds tell me. If the tastebuds like, then I don’t care if the food doesn’t compare to what you can find elsewhere. Shouldn’t enjoying food just be free of judgment sometimes? My answer is “Yes!” Before I started eating meat somewhat regularly again, Smoke Joint was my meat guilty pleasure.
At Smoke Joint, I prefer their version of spare ribs. They tend to be bigger and have more meat on the bone. Go big or go home (or better yet stay home).
Husband J chose the baby back ribs, which are much smaller and leaner. If you want to be dainty, try these. I don’t go to Smoke Joint to be dainty. Word.
The sides are lovely too. I tend to make sure I fit a veggie in by getting their collards which are not overcooked and have a smoky flavor to them. Also two words: Macaroni and cheese. Smoke Joint’s version isn’t bland, and the cheese has a salty sharpness to it. Yum…
I tend to wash all of this down with beer. It’s BBQ. It’s not time to be cute.
I didn’t drink both of the these. The other is for Husband J.
If you get a chance to go to Blue Smoke, I tend to like going when it’s warm. They open up the windows so that part of the restaurant is open air. You get views like this:
This large building is the Williamsburg Savings Bank Building, and it’s the tallest building in Brooklyn. It was recently turned into condos (a very first decade of the 21st century thing to do in Brooklyn) and the ground floor event area, Skylight One Hanson, currently serves as the spot for the Brooklyn Flea during the winter. When I see this building, my heart warms because I know I am home or at least close by.
Right across the street from Smoke Joint, is 67 Burger. It offers everything from basic burgers to its own specialty burger creations, which can be made with turkey, veggie or regular old beef. One of my favorites has been the 67 Burger combining blue cheese and bacon. You can also build your own with toppings such as a crisp artichokes, cajun spice and avocados. There are no limits here. They serve beer and wine as well in case you don’t want sodas or milkshakes. They also sell salad, but really why? It’s a burger place.
This time around, I had The Southwestern burger: Chipotle mayo, Jack cheese, roasted peppers and scallions.
Can I say that 67 Burger’s fries are fabulous, BUT the ones I got during this last trip were waaay too salty. This is coming from the woman who eats salt and pepper by themselves. Hello!
I also enjoy 67 Burger during the warmer months because you can eat outside. What I hate most about the winter is being cooped up, if you haven’t figured that out already.
67′ Burger’s outdoor eating area. If you look closely you can see The Smoke Joint.
I do love this little corner of Fort Greene and the funny thing is that there are actually a couple of other places right on that corner worth a look, Mullane’s being my favorite for decent bar food, beer and watching sports. I love this corner of Fort Greene!
I also know this is the New Year and many of you are focused on healthier eating after the holidays (including me), so I hope you don’t mind that I wrote about BBQ and burgers.
So in NYC, restaurants often spring up next to each other. A restaurant or bakery begats another one, and so it goes. With that in mind, I thought I would highlight various blocks around NYC that have great little restaurants and food spots that have made their own little restaurant row wherever they may be. Welcome to the “Adopt a Block” series!
This week’s block:
The corner of Van Brunt Street and Dikeman Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
I was lucky to get to visit Baked and Fort Defiance, which are right across the street from each other on Van Brunt Street. I don’t really ever get a chance to go to Red Hook, or should I say that I don’t really make the effort. It’s a neighborhood right on the water in Brooklyn, but it has no dedicated subway station nearby. My trip to these two outposts required a bus trip. I hate buses, but the B61 runs pretty frequently in case you’re wondering, Brooklynites and another NYers. Also back in the day, Red Hook didn’t have the greatest rep. If you heard that the party was in Red Hook, you declined. Know what I’m sayin’? However, like so much of Brooklyn (and NYC for that matter) the neighborhood has changed quite a bit.
Baked is not new to New York City’s baking scene as it’s been around for five years. I’ve been hearing about this place for quite awhile and couldn’t wait to try its sweets. Baked sells whoopie pies, brownies, cakes, cupcakes, various dessert bars, pies…you name it. Besides, Baked’s goods are on Oprah’s Favorite Things list, so it must be good right? Ha! What did I try?
The Sweet & Salty Cupcake
All I can say is PER-FEC-TION. This might be the perfect cupcake for me. First of all, the cake is completely and totally perfect. I would eat just the cake any day without any frosting. It was moist, full flavored REAL chocolate-tasting chocolate cake. This is what chocolate cake should be (Yup. I liked it THAT MUCH). What was most fascinating about it though was the frosting, which had a consistency more like a ganache than anything. It almost didn’t make it into my mouth on the first bite (Yes, I know. Lovely image). I couldn’t figure out what the flavor was until an AHA! moment: Toffee! At least I thought it was toffee. Ooohhh…Plus, I love salt. LOVE salt! There were some big crunchy salt crystals on the top. Awesome! This cupcake was the perfect blend of salty, sweet, creamy, and chocolate-y. These cupcakes also just got the Serious Eats NY distinction for Best Cupcake in New York City. Although I need to do some more research, I may have to second that. By the way, the grasshopper bar (creme de menthe filling sandwiched between chocolate mint cookies) was great too, and I’m not a huge fan of mint and chocolate.
Oh yeah, Baked was just on Bobby Flay’s Throwdown last night (actually as I am writing this). Apparently it’s Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie was up against Bobby’s version of Banana Cream Pie. I’m also excited to eat more of Baked’s goods at my BFF’s wedding later this year.
I moved across the street to get a drink at Fort Defiance, a bar named after a Revolutionary War fort that was built in the area for the Battle of Brooklyn (the US lost that one, but, thankfully, didn’t lose Brooklyn). Fort Defiance is a part of the sorta not as new movement of haute mixology. It’s all about getting back to the tradition of finding the finest spirits and mixers to produce quality cocktails.
It’s been blazing hot here in NYC, so I actually ended up getting something pretty refreshing:
The Barbados Buck
I was pretty shocked when I was served the drink. I’ve never seen a light-colored Dark and Stormy before. The recipe is apparenty a throwback to Bridgetown, Barbados’ British Club recipe from 1930. It was soo good. Perfectly mixed (Don’t you hate overpowering alcohol tastes?) and tasting as if there was actually fresh grated ginger in there except there was none in sight (I suspect they made their own fresh ginger beer). I wanted to try another drink, but I thought it would be too much. Although now that I think about it, I should have just gotten another drink. I enjoyed speaking to my extremely friendly and knowledgeable bartender about spirits from Antigua, especially since they had one that I had never heard of there, English Harbour rum!
Technically, this bar is also a cafe selling primarily small plates, so I figured I would try some of the bar food. If you’re thinking chicken fingers and mozzerella sticks, you’ve got the wrong place.
A whipped smooth egg mixture with a nice dash of black pepper to enhance the flavor. Yum! I couldn’t believe the size of the deviled eggs. They were hard to put in my mouth and not really the finger food that I thought they’re supposed to be, but I wasn’t going to complain.
I also tried the oysters. Fresh and tasty. I wished I’d had more.
Icky Blackberry shot…actually these are all pics from my Bberry
I’m glad I explored Red Hook especially since it’s so close to me, but can feel kinda far away at times. There are many restaurants out there that looked quite interesting, so I urge anyone to buck up and come out to try Red Hook’s offerings.
Have you explored any new neighborhoods or streets in your town lately just for the food?