I have this friend. We'll call her "Angela".
I met Ang 10 years ago, when we were both too mature for the group of friends we were hanging out with, but we'd sadly lost touch for most of the last seven years. Enter MySpace (yes, I succumbed), and a few exchanged emails, and a ridiculously fun weekend before New Years, when she was visiting her brother who lives here in San Francisco.
Angela lives in NYC, you see -- Williamsburg to be exact -- and on New Years Day, when we said goodbye, it was knowing that we'd rekindled a friendship that fizzled all too early many years ago.
Suffice it to say that when we hit up New York this last time, it was a given that we'd go to Ang's 'hood to get a taste of what's going on in Brooklyn. And a tasty sojourn it was, my friends. As we left her apartment, she told us that she was taking us for a brunch the likes of which she'd only otherwise had in San Francisco.
Roebling Tea Room is a wonderful space, light-filled and high-ceilinged, with an imposing tea bar in the center of the room. While service was a bit spacey, the food was all stellar, including The Eggs. I don't like eggy things, and yet, I was so enamored of Roebling's Baked Cheddar Eggs with Fennel-Raisin Toast & Grits ($9) that I've tried to recreate them at home no fewer than three times since I've been back. That dish might actually inspire me to start, you know, BAKING. Because the thing is, I can't find FENNEL-RAISIN BREAD anywhere. Acme? Arizmendi? Della Fattoria? Are you listening???
From Roebling's, we headed towards the waterfront as Angela shared the neighborhood's history, from the Greenpoint oil spill to the indie music and art scene flourishing there today. We stumbled upon a corner bar, what might be considered the epitome of a neighborhood dive, and popped in for pints of Stella Artois and Guinness. Ang decided we needed some coffee next, so we headed back towards her house, stopping at a tiny little coffee shop with a MacBook at every seat, where she and C were delivered a pair of bittersweet mochas by a stunning Nuyorican diva.
As we came to the corner where we were to turn right towards Ang's apartment, my nose picked up the smell of barbeque smoke. I turned to C and said, "Do you smell that"? The look on his face told me he did. Fearing for her life, Angela revealed that Brooklyn's best barbeque was ON THIS VERY BLOCK. And so, we found ourselves at...
...Fette Sau*, or Memphis Minnie's Long Distance Lover. Look, I don't got to 'que joints for vegetables, and neither should you. So do I care that the too frou-frou sides are too expensive? No. And does it bug me that their sauces are merely OK? Well, alright, this one bugs me a little bit, but keep reading and you'll see why it's forgiven.
We ordered a sampling of three different cuts (~$15 for 1lb of meat) to share, since we had a dinner planned at Aquavit in two short hours. But I can tell you honestly that the meat here? It is so incredibly well-smoked, so moist and juicy and tinged with beautiful pinky goodness that I didn't WANT anything to interfere with my enjoyment of the bovine and porcine bits. Except maybe one of those, oh, FIFTY OPTIONS for Bourbon. Because these people? They clearly know that nothing goes with barbeque like Bourbon.
Of course, you know the Gastro-crew, and you know that we didn't put on ten pounds between us by the end of long weekend by stopping there.
One of Angela's neighbors owns a precious bakery called Cheeks, and she'd been raving about their Espresso & Fleur de Sel Cookie ($2) since we shared a fleur de sel caramel in San Francisco. It was incredible. Layers and layers of flavor, chewy, satisfying. Delicious. Of course, C's chocolate chip cookie was gone fast enough that I got only a tiny nibble. I'm totally enamored of this cutie-patootie little place, and C shouldn't be surprised if his birthday cake this year is a Red Velvet from Cheeks.
*Pay no attention to the tools who give this place fewer than four starts on Yelp. Seriously, one of these morons actually says that the "pork belly was a tad bit fatty". No shit, Sherlock. Please go back to your flavorless, fatless meat product dinner and leave the rest of us your portion of deliciously fatty bacon.