Saturday, August 05, 2006

Let me count the ways...

Oh, there are so many reasons to love the Clinton Hill / Fort Greene area (mostly food related I admit). And we found a few more of late.

The past few weeks have been big ol' eating Clinton hill (and fort Greene) weeks. G-pup and I were planning to have a puppy-less dinner date, and were planning to do so in man-ha-ttan. The puppy park walk though took longer than expected so I proposed that we have a date in the neighborhood. I was craving Mexican food and suggested Pequena. G-pup, never one to turn down chips, salsa and a Negro Modelo was all up for it. I have to admit this was damn good food. (Anyone know how to say that in Spanish?) The tiny little place churns out quick, fresh and relatively healthy mex food (a little too fast, since our appies and main meals arrived within about 5 minutes of each other - making us feel a little rushed, and crowding the table tremendously). Turns out the front seating may even be dog friendly. My favorite part was the daily flavors available for the margarita (which you can mix and match), our choices were kiwi, coconut, raspberry and mango. I mixed kiwi and coconut (and then it had the lime-y-ness of a marg!) YUM! The guacamole was fresh, spicy and enormous. Yummy pico and crisp chips too. G-pup gorged on the quesadilla and I ate as much as I could of the veggie fajitas before having to hand it over. Yes, our eyes were awfully big for that meal, and its a good thing I forgot my metro card so that we would have to walk some of it off on our way home.

Saturday morning we made our way over to Smooch (on Adelphi and DeKalb). I had been reading on the new and super improved chowhound boards that Smooch was being touted as the best coffee in the nabe. That always sounds like a challenge to me. I have to admit that they were pretty right about that. I still agree with Mr Minerva that ici has the best going, but its a bit more of a hassle than the walk up coffee shops (although they have recently added some tables out front, so maybe we can take the pup!). Smooch's coffee was really dark, syruppy and yummy, and no scalded milk. Also had one of their stunningly moist muffins that are so full of yummy flavor. And might even be vegan (a lot of their stuff is). On a subsequent visit I had another yummy muffin and G-pup had some deliciously hearty bread with vegemite spread on it. (yeh, he's an ex-pat - did I not mention that before?)

On Sunday for a break from the laundry and the heat, we stopped in to check out the new girl on the block - Cynthia, who opened up the Brown Betty Cafe on Grand at Fulton. She has put together a friendly, homey place, where she does a lot of baking herself. She had a friend teach her how to make a mean cappucino (and she's doing a great job at it - so make sure you stop in and give her some practice). G-pup was hungry and had a creamy, toothsome quiche (oh yum!) with a baby greens salad that had this funky zesty mango spice dressing on it. It was surprising and refreshing. I had an enormous oatmeal cookie, and yes I ate the whole thing (even Cynthia mentioned she was surprised I ate the whole thing!)

We also decided to do two take out nights a week to allow me more time to work (I am working a new job now, trying to finish up some of my large scale drawing series, and put together some community art grant proposals, so that means I need more time!) Our first take away was a meal from Red Bamboo (I was craving vegan having spent a week eating white starchy food upstate for a week). They seem to have really hit a good stride, with a jumping patio complete with jazz band on the weekend, and a more distinctly flavorsome menu. Our second meal was last night from Choice. We got stuck in the huge downpour so came home soaking wet with our food. We had their green gazpacho which was creamy, bright and a bit spicy; a special salad with spinach, arugula, avocados and grilled red peppers with feta stuffed inside. It was a yummy complex (and surprisingly really spicy!) salad, unfortunately it got a little oily in the croutons and towards the bottom, and that, combined with the mac n cheese - which I found to be overpoweringly rich this time - was a little too much for my tastebuds. (G-pup thought the mac was perfect). It also meant that the rich looking raspberry cake is waiting for us to eat tonight.

We have a great menu coming up this week thanks to a rich abundance at the CSA. We will be using the corn, potatoes, peppers and onions to make a piquant corn chowder. The basil and tomatoes will provide us with a delicious (and different) pesto pizza (doing the pesto with basil and pecans). We can round it all out with corn risotto with a side of beets and greens. (And yes I can make it all vegan and stunningly yummy!)

Somewhere in the mix we stopped in at june. for brunch. I had the croissant French toast, which sounded deliciously decadent - but wasn't. It didn't quite work, it was part burnt and didn't provide the creaminess which one would like from their French toasted anything. I can't remember what G-pup had. I will check in with him and let you know.

Hope everyone out there is enjoying the fabulous weather we are finally having - and I hope to see you all at the 'Only in Brooklyn' street party hosted by Le Grand Dakar. No, I won't be one of the wrestlers!

86 S. Portland at
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am - 11pm
Fri-Sun 10:30am - 12am
All major credit cards accepted

Other reviews: Citysearch, Go Brooklyn, Yelp, Add Your Own, New York Daily News, Chowhound 1, Chowhound 2, Chowhound 3

264 Carlton at DeKalb
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu 8am - 8pm
Tue 8am-12pm
Fri & Sat 8am-12am
Cash only

Other reviews: Eating for Brooklyn, a mention in Chowhound, SuperVegan, Brooklynian, Set Speed AKA One Hanson Place

Brown Betty Cafe
466 Grand Ave at Fulton

Cash only

Other reviews: Clinton Hill Blog I, Clinton Hill Blog II, Brooklyn Record I, Brooklyn Record II, Brooklynian

229 DeKalb at Clermont
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu 8am - 8pm
Tue 8am-12pm
Fri & Sat 8am-12am
All Major Credit Cards

Other reviews: CitySearch, Go Brooklyn


Dahl said...

i love brown betty! you have to try the thai iced tea, and if you go there for brunch, cynthia makes a mean breakfast pizza. she's starting to do dinner on friday and saturdays too - can't wait to check that out.

Lesterhead said...

the thai iced coffee at brown betty is simply wonderful.

Rich Woods said...

Enjoying the CSA these days... though we're a little tired of peaches. LOL We had the corn last night (plain off the cob) and it was amazing.

Terra said...

Just this morning my husband used the word toothsome and I told him that he's the only person on earth that uses that word. I guess I'm wrong!

Anonymous said...

RE: Smooch
Best. Muffins. Ever

Anonymous said...

i'm shocked that you left pillow cafe out of this list.....they have wonderful sandwiches and coffee as well!

esm said...

don't be too shocked! never claimed all-inclusive, but also not exclusive - i will add them to the map. there have also been a lot of openings that I haven't added lately. feel free to go on to the map and post a comment so that i can add your thoughts to the map.

Anonymous said...

I had an excellent salad at Pillow Cafe a few weeks ago. Its another relaxing environment where you catchup on light reading... I will be back!