So the holiday weekend is coming to a close. I'm planning my next blog-review but for now I'll drop some more short takes. These are from my experiment on Facebook. I don't consider these full blown blog posts. At some point I'll stop back into each of these places for an update.
July 29th, I stopped into Good Eats Diner, at 69-32 Grand Ave, Maspeth, NY.
I'm back in the old neighborhood, hoping for a sighting of my father, Ed. I’ll start with Irish Tea, then the Irish Breakfast. No way I finish this, huge. The eggs are perfect over medium, thick bacon of pork meat not just fat and tasty sausage. There is plenty of black and white pudding*, yet I want more. I don't normally do tomato with breakfast but its's grilled perfectly. Slicing nicely not becoming a mess as the knife runs through it. The large helping of home fried potatoes doesn't disappoint. The service is friendly enough but this Grand Ave eatery assumes you're in a hurry. Large clean bãno. Ed was spotted. I walked with him on Grand Ave while he did his shopping.
*For the uninitiated pudding in this case isn't the dessert Americans are accustomed to but more of a sausage.
Aug 9th, I discovered Egg, 109 N 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY.
A chapter ends then a new one begins*. Starting with a French Press like we used to serve at the cigar lounge. I had the Eggs Rothko an easy-cooked egg in a slice of brioche, topped with Grafton cheddar. Served with broiled tomatoes. I skipped the kale and opted for the locally sourced homemade pork sausage. I also added a side of candied bacon. I finished my coffee with a duck fat lavender shortbread cookie. This was breakfast heaven and a beautiful-beautiful morning in Brooklyn. I got in just before the crowds at 9 AM this place is popular for good reason. El BAÑO was large and clean.
*The French Press coffee reminded me of the full service cigar lounge that I used to own and operate. Among the many things we excelled at we served a damn good French Press coffee.
May 17th, I checked out the famous Sylvia's, 328 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY.
I needed breakfast and was in the neighborhood. I noticed this Harlem institution opens early. I’m glad I finally stopped in. The dining room doesn’t open till 9:00 so it was coffee shop style counter seating. I didn’t know what Slabside Bacon was but I’m glad I do now. Eggs over medium, butter soaked grits, fresh biscuits and better than average coffee. Friendly wait staff. El banõ could use a makeover but it’s clean. Peeked at the dining room, I’d like to come back for lunch or dinner* with the wife, Mrs Columbo.
*Recently some classic NY restaurants are getting a modern review in local papers and are being criticized for not living up to their reputations. Sylvia's has been whispered about. I enjoyed my breakfast experience. I'll definitely be back for lunch and give you my take.
June 7th, I visited Nostrand Donut Shop, 1449 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn.
Apparently it’s national donut day. I was assigned Brooklyn so I decided to check out the second best donut shop in the borough. This place is old-school just like the neighborhood it’s in. Doesn’t look like they burn down buildings anymore but this part of Flatbush has definitely not been gentrified. I sat at the old Formica counter and ordered the egg and beef sausage platter. I want that sausage recipe tasty like butter. Coffee is nothing special, a step above 1980's gas station type coffee. The staff was friendly but oblivious to the fact that it was national donut day. I asked the Greek lady behind the counter what their best donut was she shrugged her shoulders and with a heavy accent asked me if I like glazed. The donut was fresh and not too heavy on the glaze. Cash only and no EL BAÑO for customers.
June 11th, I stopped into The Bean, 101 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn.
I think I accidentally walked into a vegan coffee shop. I see a list of power proteins none of them are beef, chicken, lamb or pork. I’m having the Nutella Fitzgerald, it is espresso, Nutella and milk. With raspberry rugelach. I don’t hate this. For vegan types there’s plenty on the menu. The place is well staffed for its size. There is a sign on the door clearly indicating for customers only, the key is on a 2 foot long stick, yet El BAÑO is kind of nasty.
Sep 5th, I got a table at Whitmans, 331 10th Ave, New York, NY.
Is This the Best Burger at Hudson Yards? *YES!
I don’t think I was looking for Whitmans, but I found it. I was looking for a "famous" burger cart, I guess another time. Since I don’t have to go back to the office let’s start with a rye old fashioned. If you like to look around in the fridge and throw whatever you have together on the burger you are the creative type. This is a menu of difficult choices for the creative type. I already feel like I must come back. I kept thinking I should start with the Whitman Classic, their signature burger. Yet I chose The Hound, medium. An excellent burger of an applewood smoked bacon infused patty, arugula, smoked gruyere cheese with onion crisps on a potato bun. Paired with the house Malbec. I ordered a side of Blue Cheese Fries because I can’t get enough blue cheese in my life.
I noticed for Manhattan the prices were not outrageous. Upon delivery I quickly learned why. The burger is on the smallish size. Hot damn its tasty though and perfect for those with a smaller appetite. My patty was medium perfect, juicy without the bun looking like a crime scene. Every bite prompts a little grin. Since I had the blue cheese fries as a side accompaniment, I wasn’t going hungry. Pro tip: mix the chunky blue cheese dressing in with the hotter fries at the bottom of the bowl. The blue cheese will taste more like a sauce than a salad dressing poured over fries.
The wait staff were the perfect combination of friendly and attentive, working as a team not free agents waiting to get on their phones. Looking at the bar I expected a decent Old Fashioned and my drink didn’t disappoint. Have I had better in the city? Yes, but this was good enough that I considered a second drink.
The crowd was a mix of busy professionals and Hudson Yards tourists. When I looked up after filling my gullet, I found my self alone around 3:45pm. Then I started really paying attention to the music. It was tunes most would be familiar with but lyrics that were completely unexpected and different.
With three locations I’ll be sure to share a nice meal with the wife, Mrs Columbo. Find a Whitmans at Hudson Yards, East Village and SoHo.
Clean El Bano.
*Yes, my only burger so far at HY.
May 8th, seeking some good coffee, Doughnut Plant, 245 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn.
This is supposed to be the best damn doughnut* in the city. If the carrot cake donut is any indication there is reason for the hype. Premium coffee house brew, excellent. Seating by the huge window is great for people watching. The 2, 3, and 4 rumbling beneath my seat puts a big grin on my face.
*The queen's English.