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Carroll Gardens/Atlantic Avenue food excursion--please help!!

  • erica Oct 2, 2010 08:20 AM
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I have a chef friend visiting from the Bay Area. Each year, we spend an afternoon cruising different food locations, shopping and sampling. Last year, for example, we visited Arthur Avenue, a neighborhood I know fairly well.

This time, in a few days, I would like to spend some time at Sahadi's and Damascus Bakery(I have not visited either of these in years) and Mile End for smoked meat (I've never been here) or on near Atlantic Avenue.

I thought we could combine that with a walk around Carroll Gardens and this is where I need help:

I have a short list of places that sound interesting--Mazzola Bakery; Esposito Pork Store; Ferdinando's Foccaceria.

What are the best food meccas in the area--no particular cuisine; no formal sit down eating, since we will end up with an early dinner at Marlow&Sons or Fatty Cue. (Comments on those two are welcome; we plan to get there at opening time since they do not take reservations..) Please give me any interesting food shops in W'burg within walking distance of those restaurants as well, if we have time we can peek in before our early dinner...

I know that this is rather vague--we are interested in any types of food with a particular interest in Italian baked goods. Is there any great biscotti in the area?

Hoping I can plan an interesting and tasty food afternoon.....extra points for mentioning your favorite items at each stop...many thanks!!

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Mile End
97 Hoyt St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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  1. If you're going to Mazzola, Brooklyn Farmacy has good egg creams/ice cream sundaes/etc. and is nearby.

    Other things to consider if you're in the area on a weekend are the ballfields in red hook, and also Baked on Van Brunt has some different and really delicious stuff, but those are a hike unless you take the B61 or have wheels.

    Frankies Spuntino, Lucali & Buttermilk Channel are all nearby and close for good sit down meals if you decide not to go to Williamsburg.

    -----
    Lucali
    575 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

    Buttermilk Channel
    524 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

    Brooklyn Farmacy
    513 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mike11201

      Thanks, Mike! We will go Monday so the ball fields are out, but who can say no to an egg cream?

      Anyone else???

      1. re: erica

        Defintiely do Ferdinando's and their panelle. Nearby is Calexico for carne asada burritos.
        Also, if you're doing Mile End, nearby is Fast N' Fresh Deli. Its an unassuming little bedega with pretty good Mexican food and a tiny back garden to sit in out back.
        Joe's Superette for rice balls/prosciutto balls.
        Esposito's for homemade soppresata or really good Italian combo hero. Also, very good stuff at Caputo's a few blocks further down on Court.
        If you're venturing into Red Hook, then Defonte's for huge heros. I would suggest roast beef, mozarella and freid eggplant.

        -----
        Joe's Superette
        349 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

        Calexico
        122 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

        1. re: jdf

          If you are at Ferdinando's / Calexico, suggest you head around the corner onto Columbia for dessert--rugelach from Margaret Palca Bakes.

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          Margaret Palca Bakes
          191 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          Calexico
          122 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

    2. If you are interested in Italian baked goods, then I would recommend stopping by Court Pastry (on Court between Degraw and Kane???) for their lobster tail, which is amazing. They also make some other great things, tho I think the 7-layer cookies are better at Monteleone's, also on Court St but between Union and President, next to the pork store.

      Tho on the whole, I think Mazzola's is probably a better bakery, I'm partial to Caputo Bakery on Court St as it's closer to my house, and their lard bread is delicious.

      At the pork store, have them slice you up some of the house-made soppresata and dry sausage, but avoid the fresh mozz, as it's not very good there.

      For good fresh mozz and lots of other italian items, try Caputo's deli further down court st (between 4th place and Luquer, I believe) Overpriced, but the Mozz is the best in the neighborhood. Ask for it salted and they'll dip it in salt water for you. They also make decent fresh pasta--not superb, but decent.

      And finally, before you get on the subway, stop at Joe's Perette (Superette, but missing the the SU from the sign) on Smith between Carroll and 2nd and have some rice balls and proscuitto balls. These are small and delicious. Order two of each kind: meat, cheese, and proscuitto. You'll wish you ordered more, but since you're having an early dinner, it's probably just as well.

      -----
      Caputo Bakery
      329 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      Court Pastry Shop
      298 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      12 Replies
      1. re: missmasala

        Also, just to add, don't know what you're planning to get at Sahadi's or Damascus, but here are some recs that may not be obvious when you're shopping at these stores:

        At the Sahadis prepared food counter, try the fried cauliflower and the stewed giant white beans, if they have them. Both very good.
        Damascus has better spinach pies than sahadis and delicious mahmoul, the filled cookies. (All of their desserts are good but I'm partial to the mahmoul.) I also always pick up some of their handmade pita. Damascus also has prepared salad things in their fridge, including some stuff Sahadis doesn't offer, like muhammara. Felafels also better at Damascus than Sahadi's tho neither have outstanding felafel.

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        Sahadi's
        187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

        1. re: missmasala

          Thanks ever so much! I had no idea what to look for at Sahadi's and Damscus so that is a big help. I can pick up supplies for a couple of at-home meals for later in the week...I am looking forward to tomorrow!

          -----
          Sahadi's
          187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          1. re: erica

            It's a little rainy today so you might want to limit the area you're covering. Getting to Mile End, Sahadi and then Ferdinando's is a pretty long walk. If you're willing to forego Mile End, I'd recommend that you do.

            Listen to missmasala but add in going across the street from Sahadi's/Damascus to Oriental and the other smaller store (starts with an M). Nice to look around and it feels more like the old Atlantic Ave Middle East. I think that, if you end at Sahadi's, you'll carry home more groceries than you think. The olives, feta varieties (I like the Bulgarian) and hard goods (ie; rose syrup, Lebanese olive oils, etc) are great. On Court St, wander into all the bakeries that are still there; although Mazzola (on Henry and Union) is our favorite, the others are all interesting as well. Also, hit D'Amico's. Have fun.

            -----
            Sahadi's
            187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

            Mile End
            97 Hoyt St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

            1. re: Steve R

              Steve: Many thanks! I just learned that we will only have about 2.5-or so hours including driving time, so perhaps we should just concentrate on Sahadi et al, and places near the restaurant in W'burg---either Fatty Cue or Marlow and Sons. ARE there any worthwhile food stops in the area of either of those two restaurants?

              I will do my best to get to Carroll Gardens, however. Am concerned about getting to the restaurants early due to no-reservations policy--both open at 5pm...

              -----
              Sahadi's
              187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

        2. re: missmasala

          We're going to be in the neighborhood next Sunday afternoon. Joe's Superette sounds great, but I suspect they're closed on Sundays. No one answered the phone just now when I called.

          Any other places where we could buy rice balls and prosciutto balls? Also interested in other recommendations for other really special Italian or other foods to pick up while we're in the area. Basically, interested in any shops to hit for prepared foods on the way from Clinton & 4th Place to Atlantic Ave.

          Damascus Bread & Pastry is already on the list. Sadly, Sahadi's is closed Sundays, according to the website.

          Thanks!

          -----
          Sahadi's
          187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          Joe's Superette
          349 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          1. re: uwsgrazer

            Joe's Perrette is definitely open on Sundays. Call during the week to ask for their hours, but we picked up our rice and procuitto balls on a Sunday at around 11 AM.

            1. re: bobjbkln

              You're right. Joe's is open till 6 p.m. on Sundays. We will definitely plan to check it out this weekend. Thanks!

            2. re: uwsgrazer

              Just made it to Ferdinando's Foccaceria for the first time and really enjoyed it. Didn't try the rice balls (which i believe have prosciutto in them) but the panelle with ricotta and sauce appetizer (i think its just called the sicilian antipasto) was killer and we really liked the rest of the food a lot - its a sit down restaurant but i get the distinct impression plenty of people stop by for take out (there is a counter up front where a lot of the food seems to be prepared/plated, it wouldnt be the least bit awkward to wait around at the front of the store for your take out).

              1. re: tex.s.toast

                What did you have for your meal? I've been several times, but I've stuck mostly to the sicilian snack food. I'm interested in doing a dinner there sometime soon though, so any feedback that you or anyone would have on the rest of the menu would be greatly appreciated (I'm particularly interested in the cuttlefish).

                Btw, their rice balls have meat, peas, and sauce inside. They're excellent.

                1. re: razeup

                  Ferdinando's used to cater exclusively to a lunch (workers) crowd and closed late afternoon. As the neighborhood became more residential (and more upscale), they lengthened their hours, but not their cooking schedule. Everything is prepared for lunch and just hangs around for dinner, so most people feel that the food is better lunchtime.

                  1. re: razeup

                    We had the zuppa de cozze, spaghetti marinara and the tripe. overall id say the sicilian snack food/antipasti were the strongest part of the meal, though none of the three items i just mentioned were weak in the least and all were probably a better "value" in terms of quantitiy for your money.

                    The mussels were a bit surprising in that the zuppa was really just a little of their very good red sauce spooned atop a largish portion of new zealand green-lips which had good, if kinda average flavor (which melded nicely with the sauce but the dish isnt really more than the sum of its parts - youre getting mussels with red sauce and thats what it tasted like)
                    the spaghetti marinara was a HUGE portion (a pound of pasta maybe) for like 10 bucks and was exactly what my dining companion wanted the night before a long run - again solid but unexceptional
                    the tripe was good, thoguh it could have been a bit more tender. in all honesty i ordered this dish because we tried but failed to get in to al di la earlier in the evening and i was craving their tripe (which is truly crave worthy) so this fell down a bit because it wasnt the exact dish i wanted (from al di la). i wasn't unhappy with it, and after gorging on our antipasti - the grilled eggplant was excellent, the sicilian antipasto w panelle great and the side of rabe nicely toothsome - i was happy enough to take some of it home to reheat for lunch the next day, but i was left wishing that i had given up on having tripe for the evening and ordered the pork chop pizzaiole special which sounded super good.

                    id say the pastas and mains are good but not great, but the overall experience was very definitely worthwhile.

                  2. re: tex.s.toast

                    Thanks for the tip, tex. Sadly, Ferdinando's is closed Sundays. Will keep it on the list for a visit when I'm in the neighborhood on another day.

              2. Don't limit yourself to panelle at Ferdinando's" the arancine special is a large, very tasty rice ball topped with sauce and ricotta. Court Street has by far the best biscotti (at the amazingly best prices) perhaps in the city--especially very traditional ones like the sesame Regina, or the lemon glazed drops. Their fig-stuffed biscotti are superb, too. Damascus also makes a lovely fig-stuffed sweet bread, sold in rings or small pieces: addictive.

                1. One more rec - Blue Marble on Court (Smaller selection) or Atlantic (much larger selection) for delicious ice cream. I loved the egg cream at Farmacy but was less impressed with the ice cream sundae. Oh, and coffee at Cafe Pedlar (to drink) or D'Amico (to buy beans).

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                  Cafe Pedlar
                  210 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Olive123

                    Keep in mind that Blue Marble on Atlantic is apparently closing at the end of the month and I've heard their selection is dwindling. Too bad b/c it has a bigger selection than Court and more rioom to sit (including the back garden).

                    1. re: Olive123

                      Thanks everyone! I did go to D'Amico, as well as to Court Pastry and Caputo's and the Chocolate Room. We then moved up to Sahadi's and Damascus. The problem is that it was pouring on Monday afternoon so the tour was more abbreviated than I would have liked. We did go home with bags full of bread and pastries and some Sahadi nuts and spreads, though. Then had dinner at Fatty Cue. I liked it, especially the brisket with the bao buns, but I think my friends were less impressed.

                      Thanks all for the advice--I wish I had had time to check out more places...

                      -----
                      Sahadi's
                      187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                      Court Pastry Shop
                      298 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                      Chocolate Room
                      269 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                    2. All good spots but nobody mentioned Sams on court street for Pizza & the experience. Or chip shop, Jakes BBQ on Columbia St. Frankies 357 on Court. If your friend is a chef from out of the area take him to Fairway.. Oh did i forget the Chip Shop..

                      You will not be hungry in Bklyn...

                      Ciao-

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bklynsausage

                        The pizza at Sam's is excellent..not to mention the decor!

                        1. re: venezuelan

                          Sams is a real experience. And you are right the pizza is one of the best in the city in my opinion. The decor and the spirits of Lucy & Ricki. It really brings me back every time I go there..
                          Ciao-