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May 5, 2004 12:10 PM

Planning Chowish Trip to Brooklyn, prob Park Slope, poss also Coney Is--Sugg?

  • c

Shockingly, my chowhound roomie and I have neglected Brooklyn and its rise to culinary fame! We'd like to go to Park Slope, probably next weekend. We're planning to try the much lauded pizza at Franny's. Anyone been? I remember reading something about a great Mexican place that serves many interesting quesadillas. We'd like to know about the best coffee and also about the best bakeries. We prefer cookies over cupcakes and for this sort of event will stay away from upscale patisserie (you can, in our opinion, eat more cookies than you can tarts in any given day). Any specialty food store recs are also welcome. we'll probably graze more than anything, but recs on top three choices of restaurants for a sit-down would also be most welcome!

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  1. "I remember reading something about a great Mexican place that serves many interesting quesadillas."
    -This is Mexican Sandwich Shop- pretty good "gourmet" quesadillas. I like the wild plum, brie, & double smoked bacon.

    "We'd like to know about the best coffee"
    -Ghorilla on 5th Ave

    "Any specialty food store recs are also welcome."
    -Definitely check out Blue Apron on Union & 7th and Beirkraft on 5th & Berkely?

    9 Replies
    1. re: amp156

      Why does everyone like Gorilla Coffee? I was there and had the worst cup ever. It's strong but almost bitter and not rich at all. I also hate the uncomfortable plastic seats and the blasting music. Moda Coffee on 5th Avenue is 100 percent better.

      1. re: peanut

        Weekend? Brooklyn? Grazing? May? Don't think you could do better than the stands by the Red Hook Ballfields. Checkout this recent thread.

        Also, if Coney Island is of interest, go a little further east to Brighton Beach. Both under the el (Brighton Beach Ave.) and along the boardwalk. Great grazing there.


        1. re: bobjbkln

          If you hit Coney Island, you have to stop at Totonno's pizzeria at 1524 Neptune Ave...Often considered part of the pizza holy trinity...

          1. re: TomS

            Except that Totonno's is whole pie only, so may not be appropriate for "grazing".

            1. re: bobjbkln

              Good to know, re:Totonno's. any other Coney Island ideas? Thanks guys for being so helpful!

              1. re: claire

                Well there's always the original Nathan's Famous. But be prepared for long lines, even this time of year. And as I previously suggested, walk a few blocks east to Brighton Beach, a grazer's paradise.

                1. re: bobjbkln

                  Yes, yes I totally agree about this. Check out my post about my day at Brighton Beach.


                  1. re: at203

                    Phenomenal stuff! Brighton here we come!! All you Brooklyn folks are awesome. thanks for your help!!

        2. re: peanut

          I don't usually drink drip coffee, but I find Gorilla's (not Ghorilla's) espresso blend to be very good with just a hint of sweetness.

      2. I wouldn't recommend any cookie places in the slope, to be perfectly honest. There's two bakeries on 7th Ave called Uprising, but they have been roundly panned (no pun intended) on this board. There's another place on 5th near Flatbush (and Frannie's) called Blue Sky, but I think they close early and are more of a "muffin place."

        For grazing, I would suggest splitting tlacoyos at Cafe Mexicano on Union and 4th Ave. Depending on when you are there, you can stroll down 5th and hit A&S Pork Store, which has great fresh mozzarella and other Italian specialties. Bierkraft is pretty good for specialties too, as the other poster said. Gorilla Coffee is indeed excellent coffee.

        I would say Park Slope is best for hitting restaurants, not grocery shopping. My top three choices for sit down:

        1) Belleville
        2) Blue Ribbon Sushi (though pricey)
        3) Rosewater

        13 Replies
        1. re: at203

          so, might we better grazing in another of the neighborhoods that have recently become food hot spots? Williamsburg? Carroll Gardens? Cobble Hill? I like the tlacoyo idea. where would you send us in other nabes for cookies--and i mean like really great ones, like you'd make at home if you had the time...

          1. re: claire

            You might be better off grazing in Carroll Gardens, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Here's a short tour you might enjoy:

            Exiting at the back of the train, head east on President st to Court. Turn right on court and stop at Monteleone's. Hopefully they'll have their ices if it's a nice day. If not, they make fine Cannoli.

            Then, you have 2 options. You can continue up Court to Sweet Melissa, which is a fancier pastry shop but makes a very tasty double chocolate cherry cookie. Alternatively, you can continue east on Union to Henry. Stop at Mazzola for their Heath Bar cookie (which I have a personal weakness for--very homemade tasting, not too gigantic. Just right with an iced coffee). THEN you can continue on Union across the BQE, stopping at Helen's fabulous Cheesecake. There, if it's a nice day, you can sit out back in their garden and enjoy a piece of fabulous cheesecake as promised by the name, or one of their very tasty scones. Personally I prefer the scones, especially the one with white chocolate and pistachios.
            FINALLY, if you have any room left (or want to take something home), turn right on Columbia and head up a couple of blocks to Margaret Palca Bakes. My favorite thing there is the Linzer Torte (NOT the linzer cookie), but they don't always have it. They are also famous for their rugulach.

            That area is also a cute little enclave for vintage shopping--2 good shops right on Union. There's also an interested vintage furniture shop on Columbia across from Margaret Palca...if you're into that kind of thing, of course.

            have fun!

            1. re: budino

              oops, I meant continue WEST on Union. I think! Turn left! Turn left! Towards the water, away from Smith!

              sorry. geographically challenged. Oh, and both Monteleone's and Mazzola are both pretty good places for classic "brooklyn cookies", as I like to call them. You can buy them assorted by the pound (like for $5 or so) and they inclued things like rainbow layered cookies, pignoli cookies, and the like. If this is indeed a cookie trip, you might want to add these as well.

              1. re: budino

                Alma (Mexican) on the same strip in Columbia Heights is great too.

                1. re: textimage

                  Alma: excellent city skyline view anyway...but it's on Columbia Street, not Heights.

                  M. Palca has great coffee that is well known and appreciated amongst the locals. Her brownies and blondies are a tasty afternoon pick-me-up.

                  1. re: sixozpatty

                    I thought the area was called Columbia Heights? Yes its ON Columbia Street.

                    1. re: textimage

                      Columbia Heights is in southwest corner of Brooklyn Heights; the Columbia St. neighborhood (Margaret Palka's location) which flanks Columbia Street for several blocks either side of Union St. was created by Robert Moses' depressed BQE which separated it from Carroll Gardens of which it used to be a part.

                      1. re: bobjbkln

                        so this is not considered columbia heights? sorry so dense.

                2. re: budino

                  I totally agree with this plan. If you get off at Carroll Street, walk west on Court towards downtown Brooklyn. When you hit Atlantic Ave, take a left. Then you can hit the greatest of the great, Sahadi's, a super place for grazing. I recommend the potato herb phyllo pastry, warmed up. Also, hit Damascus Bakery for baklava. More great grazing!


                  1. re: at203

                    There is also great food at the Oriental Grocery on Atlantic closer to the corner of Clinton (across from Key food) Their spinach pies are delicious--much better than Sahadi. In fact all the prepared food at Oriental Grocery is better then the prepared food at Sahadi's. There hummous is great and they make incredible stuffed grape leaves with a delicious garlicky tomato sauce. They also do all their own baking and their middle eastern pastries are out of this world.

                    1. re: rita

                      great to know. i'm addicted to sahadi's

                    2. re: at203

                      I love the baklava at Damascus. Also the "strudel" -- really like baklava with fruit instead of nuts. Delicious and unique.

                    3. re: budino

                      I may be a little late chiming in here but you'll find ideal grazing material at the Redhook ballfields, written about a fair amount on these boards. Just a little past Caroll Gardens farther down Court Street, under the BQE in Redhook you'll find the most amazing mecca of Central American and Mexican fare. The soccer fields are a destination spot for latinos looking to play soccer on the weekends and the fields attract a large array of vendors grilling up fresh tacos, carne asada, grilled corn, pupusas oozing with fresh oaxacan cheese, mangos on a stick rubbed with lime and chile mmmm, the list goes on. The food is delicious and you'll feel like you've been transported to Latin America for nothing more than the cost of train fare. Disfrute!

                3. There's not much in Park Slope, besides a few good restaurants, that's good for that kind of chowing except for Tacos Nuevo Mexico for a pastor torta, chalupas or some tacos, and Gorilla Coffee and or Cafe Regular for a cappucino.
                  If you want an experience you couldn't necessarily have in Manhattan, I would recommend taking the D train to 9th Ave (39th St), and walking a few blocks to 8th Ave between 42nd and 43rd streets. There you'll find Ba Xuyen (4222 8th Ave), where I highly recommend either the #1 (Dac Biet) or #7 (Chicken Fu) banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), a hot or iced Vietnamese coffee, and a Sinh To Bo (avocado shake). If you continue walking south on 8th Ave to 61st street, you'll be able to see pretty much the entirety of Brooklyn Chinatown, which can be a lot of fun with the crowds and all the vegetable, fish, supermarkets and various restaurants. Along the way you could stop at one of the dumpling shops on the side streets, one or two of the 25 or so Chinese bakeries, Ti An for a bowl of pho, Tea & Tea for bubble tea (I like the hot ginger), lots of other places. After that, you can either hop on the N train at 61st and 8th for the ride back to Manhattan, or if feeling intrepid, can journey west to the giant strip of Mexican and Central American restaurants, music shops and grocery stores that run along 5th Ave in Sunset Park from the 60s or thereabouts down to around 40th street.

                  1. I live in San Francisco and would like to order dinner for my daughter and her family to be delivered to her home on Berkeley Place in Park Slope...what would you all recommend?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Karen47

                      Blue Ribbon Sushi definitely does delivery. You can check out their menu at Is there any kind of food she particularly likes? I have a huge menu selection here if you can direct me. Also, go to and plug in her zip code and you will get a bunch of menus for places that deliver, and can pick one out.

                    2. Karen, depends on your price range and their area of interest . . .
                      the upscale places that *might* have delivery...Brooklyn Fish Camp (the cod sandwich is deeelicious), Stone Park, Blue Ribbon Sushi

                      you can send them a really good Speciale pizza from La Villa, or a Cali-Mex burrito from La Taqueria
                      lots of places that make food for takeout here do pickup only I'm afraid...that is, you have to pick it up yourself

                      if you can check menus and phone numbers at

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pitu

                        pitu: Are the burritos at La Taqueria worth a trip from Manhattan?