This summer we traveled to our former country of residence, America. And it was good to be back! I realize I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to live in another country and culture for so many years. Living abroad broadens your horizon and eliminates prejudices. Like so many Europeans I once had a prejudice against American food. How wrong was I?! I discovered the US is one of the best food countries in the world. And there’s no country that can beat it’s diversity. I dare say I had my best pizza ever in Seattle, the tastiest beef gulash with spätzle in New York, the greatest tacos in Phoenix, and recently I had the most scrumptious Indian dosas in Washington, DC. The US has so much insanely good food to offer. It’s just a matter of going to the right places and knowing where to find them.
Before going to DC, the city where we used to live, we decided to spend a couple of days in Brooklyn, NY. We rented an apartment in the historic district Ditmas Park, which is just south of Prospect Park. A great neighborhood as it turned out. The amazing antique Victorian houses with front porches and lush gardens gave us a totally different New York experience. The subway took us to Manhattan in no time and to our pleasant surprise we found great restaurants, bars, and shops just one block away from our apartment as well. I’ll list some of my discoveries, that are worth crossing the Brooklyn Bridge for. Click on the map down below for the locations.
Could someone please open a Cafe Madeline in my The Hague neighborhood!? I cannot think of a better place for breakfast. It is hard to choose from their extensive menu with dishes created with local and seasonal produce. The savory Breakfast Bowls (Brekkie Bowls) are among my favorites, such as the Brekkie Bowl with sweet potatoes, soft eggs, avocado and quinoa, or the one with mushrooms, farro and a perfectly poached egg. But I cannot resist their buttermilk biscuits with avocado and eggs either. Their Moroccan flatbread with poached eggs, hemp seeds and roasted asparagus is also out of this world.
1603 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY, http://www.mkt.com/cafemadeline
Also located on Cortelyou Road is Lea. Their pride is the huge Stefano Ferrara oven imported from Naples. In this oven they do not only bake their bread and pizza but also roast their meats and veggies. We had some wonderful antipasti here, like grilled string beans with sheep’s yoghurt, garlic and mint, and cast iron squid with homemade tzaziki. On pleasant days, it’s the terrace in front of the restaurant where you want to sit.
1102 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY, http://www.leabrooklyn.com
Sycamore bar and flower shop
The odd combination of being a flower shop and bar sure gives this place an extra dimension. The dark bar in the back has cool vibes and a great selection of beer and whiskey. The flower shop in front sells pretty wild flower bouquets. If you are in a floral drinking mood you can even get a beer + bouquet special! Check out their site for events.
1118 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY, http://www.sycamorebrooklyn.com
Mimi’s Hummus & Market
A tiny restaurant with a tiny kitchen but with great food. The Middle Eastern dishes are simple but well prepared. Mimi’s is especially well-known for her velvety hummus and spicy Shakshuka, but other dishes like the Iraqi Pita Pocket and Mujadarra Bowl are also worth trying. Next to Mimi’s Hummus you’ll find Mimi’s market, where they sell craft beers, cider and other delicatessen.
1209 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY, http://www.mimishummus.com
Ditmas Park inhabitants can count themselves lucky with Hunger Pang. I’m usually not a big fan of fusion, but it definitely works here. The Asian-American dishes are creative, fresh, and very flavorful. They work with happy meat only (i.e. no hormones, no anti-biotics), which makes this restaurant extra appealing.
1021 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY http://www.hungerpangnyc.com
If you’re craving one of the best pretzels of NY, go to Werkstatt, a place for very good Austrian food. The pretzel is giant and served with delicious housemade liptauer cheese plus mustard. Yes, the traditional Wiener Schnitzel is on the menu, but there is room for creativity as well: crepes stuffed with sauerkraut and smoked white fish and a creamy mushroom sauce, a vegetarian celery root schnitzel with tartare sauce, risotto with leeks and brussel sprouts.
509, Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY, http://www.werkstattbrooklyn.com
Breakfast, dinner, and drinks in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn