Four for a dollar dumplings are among Manhattan's finest exports. Photo by Rachel DeLetto.
There are plenty of things I’d rather not see migrate over the bridge from Manhattan. Like sports stadiums. Or more Manhattanites. But when the exports involve cheap eats, it’s time to roll out the welcome mat.
Case in point: the arrival of four-for-a-buck dumplings on the shores of the East River, or at least within a half-mile of it. Fried Dumpling on Mosco Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown has long been a starred spot on the Brokavore’s cheap-chow map, so when I got wind of a like-minded spot opening in Downtown Brooklyn — Golden Fried Dumplings at 192 Duffield St. — it was time to investigate. (more…)
It’s been a while since I’ve shared a frugal food find here, and there’s a reason. Even The Brokavore doesn’t live by day-old bread alone, and a pesky need for shelter recently led me to become a first-time homeowner. Which means I’ve been spending a lot of time battling basement leaks and sucking on plaster dust instead of searching out dollar tacos.
Buy a home and like it or not, before long you’re going to find yourself darkening the automatic doors at Lowe’s or Home Depot. With one of each within a mile of my South Slope home, I’ve made many a grudging trip to both. And given my natural gift for parsimony (though gift is maybe not the word Mrs. Brokavore would use), having two competing big-box behemoths within easy reach led me to wonder: which is cheaper? (more…)
Where to go for a taste of old Brooklyn, the inquisitor on the NY Times’ “Hey, Mr. Critic” blog wants to know. Sam Sifton (Mr. Critic) offers up some good ones, including Randazzo’s in Sheepshead Bay, the venerable Totonno’s in Coney Island and Defonte’s in Red Hook. While such names prompt loving thoughts of roast beef and mozzarella heros—at the latter—the list also got me thinking about what other old tastes of Brooklyn should be added to the bunch.
Number one: Ferdinando’s (151 Union St.), a tin-ceilinged beaut that opened a few blocks from the waterfront in 1904, and hasn’t changed much since. (more…)
Food carts are all the rage these days, but Tacos El Bronco isn’t part of the growing fleet of retrofitted cargo vans with sleek logos and Twitter feeds that serve Kobe hot dogs or $4 brownies sweetened with agave nectar. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) It’s just an old-school lunch truck that sets up nightly in front of the Key Food at Fifth Ave. and 43rd St. and serves murderously good tacos for $1.50 apiece. And that’s it—no burritos, no quesadillas, not even rice and beans. (more…)
If hell was a bit nippy this past weekend, or airborne pigs were spotted over Prospect Park, I can offer an explanation. Which is this: Shortly after noon on Saturday, I, The Brokavore, a man devoted to thrift the way carp are devoted to swimming, walked into the Mile End on Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill, asked for a poppyseed bagel, and pried $2.50 from my cold, not-quite-dead hands. (more…)
OK, let me get this straight. Certain Brooklyn foodies’ heart rates are climbing because tomorrow morning they’ll be able to wake up in the borough chosen by Yahweh as the spiritual home of the bagel, hot-foot it to Boerum Hill and buy one freshly imported across international lines, from a country where Tim Horton is a culinary icon? And for this they’re going to lay down a schmear-melting $2.50US a pop? (more…)
Two things about the pastrami and corned beef sandwiches at David’s Brisket House are likely to raise an eyebrow. First is the locale: an otherwise generic- to sub-generic-looking deli in a predominantly Caribbean area on the Crown Heights-Bed Stuy border. In other words, not the first place you’d expect to find top-notch Jewish deli. Second, and more notable for our purposes, is the price: $5, unbeatable for honest-to-goodness, luscious, salty, fat-streaked cured meats piled on rye, an indulgence that tends to run in the double digits. (more…)
Doubles from Ali's Trinidadian Roti Shop. Photos by Mark Sullivan Bernal.
A Brokavore quiz: The word “doubles” refers to a) a team tennis match; b) a beloved Trinidadian snack; c) manna for the cheapskate chowhound.
If you hesitated before answering d) all of the above, it’s time you were brought up to speed. In the edible division, a “doubles” consists of a dollop of thick chickpea curry (channa) served between a pair of small fried flatbreads (baras), along with a hit of tamarind chutney and, if you do the right thing and order it “with pepper,” West Indian hot sauce. Wrapped up piping hot in a wax-paper twist, it’s a terrific miniature gut-bomb that melds chick-pea earthiness, chutney sweetness, cumin-and-curry tang and scotch-bonnet heat, along with the bland comfort of the doughy, stretchy bread. And they run a mere buck or buck-and-change apiece, which can mean lunch for a couple dollars. (Or do like the Trinidadians do, and eat them for breakfast.) (more…)
Will you PLEASE do a bagel review? a reader named JT requested a while back, following a post on the mediocrity of Tim Horton’s donuts. I don’t know what kind of review you’ve got in mind, JT, but I do have a tip for you: The Bagel Hole in the South Slope has the best bagels in Brooklyn, and probably the whole city.
It took me a while to realize it this, though. When I moved nearby a few years ago and started going there they seemed kinda small and kinda hard. This is a common reaction, I was later told by Phil Romanzi, who’s owned the narrow, no-frills shop for close to 25 years. If your notion of a bagel is a dough bomb as big and round as a softball and as soft as a Twinkie, then they take getting used to. And it almost certainly is, unless you’re of a certain age and grew up in or around the five boroughs. (more…)
We’re in the thick of barbecue season, which means if you’ve got a patch of earth, deck or roofing tar big enough to hold a grill, a cooler and a few chairs, it’s your civic duty to throw one. Or several. You think we’re going to leave this simple summer pleasure to suburbanites?
If your mind works like mine, right about now you’re considering how much it’s going to run you. And it’s true, entertaining can be a costly proposition. As the gods of thrift would have it, though, many of the staples of backyard barbecuing—beans, coleslaw, iced tea—are built from peasant-level ingredients that can be had for spare change. (more…)