Friday, August 12, 2011

Foodie day in Williamsburg

Petitesoeur and I had a lovely summer day snacking our way around Williamsburg. We started off at Blue Bottle Coffee, the Brooklyn outpost of the Bay Area roaster, for some cold brew to kick-start our day.

I got the New Orleans with chicory, milk, and sugar, along with an olive oil semolina buckle with Brooklyn Winery Riesling poached peaches and almond lavender streusel on top. Petitesoeur, much more the coffee purist, went with the Kyoto black, along with a buckwheat buttermilk biscuit sandwich with Tasso ham from Marlow & Daughters, housemade strawberry jam, and raw milk cheddar from Smith's Farmstead.

They had a very impressive cold-brew-drip set-up -- "perhaps the longest and most theatrical drip bar on the eastern seaboard" according to their website. We also got to watch the barista masterfully hand-pull espressos on their restored 1958 Faema Urania lever espresso machine.

Properly caffeinated (perhaps a little too caffeinated in the case of petitesoeur), we head off to explore some more, hitting our next string of foodie destinations on Bedford Avenue.

The first was Radish, where we admired the wonderful and fresh prepared foods we weren't yet hungry enough for, but ended up getting a homemade blueberry basil soda.

Further on down the block, we hit the Bedford Cheese Shop. The smell that hits you upon opening the door is just heavenly! We spent a good deal of time in there, taking in the overwhelming selection. Incidentally, if there were a prize for cheese writing, it should go to the Bedford owner for his hilariously colorful descriptions.

When I saw this funky pretty little cone of cheese -- called Crocodile Tears -- I knew I had to come back to get it. I decided on that along with a Farmer's aged gouda that was wonderfully sharp, nutty and caramelly, and also picked up some Anarchy in a Jar strawberry balsamic jam. Next stop on the block was kitchen supply store Whisk where I stocked up on more of my beloved Bacon Marmalade.

Finally we started getting peckish, so we head down to Nha Toi for bahn mi. It was a tiny little joint with just a couple 2-tops with low Asian-street-stall stools, a window counter with a handful of high stools, and a few benches on the sidewalk - perfect! We ordered the summer roll with pickled vegetables -- so pretty! -- accompanied by 2 delicious sauces (so good I brought them home with me).

We also split a banh mi with bì heo (shredded pork and skin with roasted rice powder). It was so big we only ate half of it between the 2 of us (with the other half packed up to bring home to Redneckhunter). And now that petitesoeur's coffee buzz had finally calmed down a bit, she left with a Vietnamese iced coffee for the road.

Our final destination was Maison Premiere for their $1 oyster happy hour. Now a lot of places in the city do $1 bluepoints, or one type of oyster, but at Maison Premiere, every oyster from their extensive menu is just $1 -- all the better to serve up absinthe, Pimm's and other cocktails. I let petiteseour choose a sampling: 2 each of Madaline, Caraquet, Quilcene, Triton Cove, Gigamoto, Elkhorn, Oakland Bay and Skookum.

Before:And after:It was lovely sitting in their back garden slowly slurping oysters and amusing ourselves by people watching. Petitesoeur finished off with a palate-cleansing cocktail -- an Old Hickory: Dolin Blanc vermouth, Carpano Antica, Peychauds and orange bitters.

Finally, it was back to the cheese shop to pick up our cheese, now that we were heading home and out of the summer heat. Petitesoeur got a slice of ricotta cake, imported from Sicily. We were going to go back to Blue Bottle to eat it (I guess she needed even more caffeine!), but since they were closed, we just had it on a sidewalk bench. It was divine - definitely the best ricotta cheese cake I've ever had. Smooth, lemony - I'm still craving more... The perfect ending to a great day!

Blue Bottle Coffee
160 Berry Street

158 Bedford Avenue
(718) 782-2744

Bedford Cheese Shop
229 Bedford Avenue

231 Bedford Avenue
(718) 218-7230

Nha Toi
160 Havemeyer St.
(718) 599-1820

Maison Premiere
298 Bedford Avenue

1 comment:

Little Paper Hen said...

Only been to a small part of Brooklyn once but I actually remember walking past the Bedford Cheese shop! They were closed but I did longingly peek through the window. What a fun day you must have had.