Spam Bushwick from Brooklyn Independent Media on Vimeo.

As a blog all about championing Brooklyn, we’re pretty forgiving of our borough’s more out there attempts at staying true to oneself, whether it’s adult pre-school, artisanal porridge or even a whole shop devoted to mayonnaise. Leave it to Bushwick though, to really push the boundaries of what’s acceptable, with the Brooklyn Independent Media bringing us a short profile of a pair of artisanal spam-makers who call the neighborhood home. We’d call them “humble artisanal spam makers,” but they seem pretty impressed with their “frivolity,” “experimentation” and elevation of spam into “something more than people could have imagined” it to be. (more…)

Pickle Shack. Minus the pickles.

Pickle Shack. Minus the pickles.

Pickle Shack
256 4th Avenue (between President and Carroll), Gowanus
347-763-2127

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What it is: This vegetable-focused bistro and beer bar is a bright spot amid the blight, an oasis in the Fourth Avenue desert or any other cliché you can think of that translates to “really surprising and special food and beer in an unexpected location.”

Why we love it: We love burgers as much as the next guy but just because we’re drankin’ doesn’t mean the food needs to be a meat-and-grease feast. Pickle Shack keeps it classy and light with smoked tofu, kale salad, artichoke dips and other stuff that feels like an indulgence but not an arterial train wreck. There are dozens of beers to choose from and the taps run heavy on the Dogfish.

What to order: Try the transformative fried hop pickles ($6)smoked tofu bahn mi ($12, topped with a house-fermented kimchee of local greens, avocado, aioli, quick pickled carrots), the veggie burger ($14) and the hot smoked Carolina BBQ pulled oyster mushrooms ($14), as deliciously whack as they sound.

Regular tip: If you like the pickles, get ‘em to go at the Brooklyn Brine store, around the corner at 574 President (between 3rd and 4th aves).

hops

 

Hops Hill
886 Fulton Street (Waverly and Washington Aves), Clinton Hill

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What it is: Clinton Hill craft beer stronghold, in the top 12 of Zagat’s 2014 list “Hottest New Beer Bars in the USA.”

Why we love it: At Hops Hill, beer is the main affair. There’s nothing to distract you from the mission of drinking good beer, plenty of it. Serious foam-heads will feel like they’ve finally arrived. Host to regular tap takeovers and themed drinking events like ‘Imperial Stout night.’

What to order: Pick from 12 constantly rotating taps, 53 bottles and 11 cans. Expect to see local NYC breweries like Single Cut and Barrier Brewing represented among American crafts like Evil Twin and Thirsty Dog along with an assortment of international selections. Whiskey-wise, the Hill boasts 80 different high end and small batch bourbons, ryes and single malts. Charcuterie and cheese plates will help you soak it all in.

Regular tip: Try one of the beer cocktails!—like the Nightcall, made with bourbon, imperial Stout, honey syrup and mole bitters—to mix it up.

Alison Pels at Pels pies

Alison at Pels Pie Co. Awww…

Nothing makes the olds around here happier than seeing members of the Brokelyn Alumni Club go on to bigger and other things. Longtime readers may remember Alison Pels’ seminal work on freeloading at museums and her bravery and fortitude in hydrant-testing drugstore makeup with the other Broketown Ladies. She is also the journalistic powerhouse behind the definitive investigation into whether Dr. Bronner’s really has 18 uses. (Spoiler alert: maybe.) Now she’s plying her smarts on pastry dough with Pels Pie Co. (446 Rogers Avenue), her pie shop, bar and coffee house opening today in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens with all kinds of merriment, then open daily from 7 to 10. Stop by, but don’t do any of these things! Mean time, here’s more on how Alison rose from the ranks of the doughless and achieved what 1 in 3 Brooklynites only say they’re going to do:  (more…)

Delilah's Steaks

Delilah’s wants you to get your cheesesteak on, fo free. via Facebook

We’ve got to hand it to ‘em: Philly did a pretty good thing when they invented the cheesesteak. Thinly sliced beef, melted cheese, sauteed onions and peppers, if you’re trying to be healthy…you might even say it’s a sandwich worth celebrating. Luckily, the holiday fairies agreed when they created National Cheesesteak Day, and to tout the noble feast, Delilah’s Steaks is giving away their cheesesteaks for free all day on Saturday. (more…)

We're not sure what's in those boxes but we'll eat it anyway

We’re not sure what’s in those boxes but we’ll eat it anyway. via Flickr user Robyn Lee

Sunset Park is the largest of Brooklyn’s Chinatowns. Yep, there’s more than one. Follow this guide and discover what to see, where to go and what to eat, and you’ll quickly fall in love with the bright and dizzying culture. Whether it’s the incredibly cheap produce or the inexpensive snacks, there is sure to be something that you’re going to want to purchase — but the people-watching and window -hopping game is strong in this neighborhood, so even just a couple bucks is enough to make a day of it. (more…)

03/23/15 1:00pm

The Way Station

The Way Station
683 Washington Ave. between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue
Prospect Heights
(347) 627-4949

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What is it: A steampunk, sci-fi bar and nerdvana with whovian mixed drinks and decor.

Why we love it: It’s the bar you’d find on lonely outpost in an asteroid belt, were Victorian England to have colonized space. This place is no slap-dash Trekker bar; it’s a love note to classic sci-fi (like Doctor Who) with red vinyl booths, brass-fitted beer taps, and ray guns behind the wall. Add to that one or two musical acts almost every night on an intimate stage and you have an experience that can’t be found anywhere else in Brooklyn. Bring anyone with an opinion on which Doctor was the best or your friend who goes to steam punk cos-play. Friday afternoons are teacher appreciation happy hours: “All funds (a.k.a. fines charged to bar patrons for poor public behavior) collected in the bar’s ‘Douche Jar’ go towards an emergency teacher fund to help with parking tickets, budget cuts or other inconveniences experienced at their job.”

What to order: Any one of their cocktails. We love the Dark and Stormaggedon which is ginger beer, rum, and lime.

Regular tip: The toilet is a recreation of the Doctor Who TARDIS time machine/space ship, a British police call box that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

The cozy view inside Annex. Photo by Tim Donnelly.

The cozy view inside Annex. Photo by Tim Donnelly.

Annex
753 Fulton St., (at S. Portland), Fort Greene
718-858-4790

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What it is: The newly expanded coffee shop from the folks behind the Greene Grape is a vast, airy space, with ample room for laptop workers during the day, or a great bar anytime.

Why we love it: The fine folks at Greene Grape continued to grow their empire by opening this corner mecca of good coffee, baked goods and good times. The design is like a landlocked cruise ship, with big communal tables and window-side cushiony lounges that allow for great conversation spaces.

What to order: The coffee bar serves Blue Bottle and Oslo coffee, house-made pastries. The bar has a rotating selection of 10 craft (but not snobby) beers. Pop by in the morning for one of its signature breakfast sandwiches, and check back for its new night menu.

Regular tip: The bar is starting to partner with its across-the-street neighbor Greenlight Books to host literary readings (Sarah Vowell appeared there already) in addition to other cider, cheese and more events.

03/18/15 4:00pm
cherry izakaya

Here be cheapness (and charity). via Facebook

Despite the fact that we’re a blog that encourages people to do things like saving money through the power of cooking your own damn food, we understand it’s nice to go out sometimes. We also get that it’s nice to feel like you’re doing a good deed. Also it feels good to drink a lot of beer. Tonight, you can do all of those things, because Williamsburg Japanese spot Cherry Izakaya (138 North 8th Street) is rolling out $1 beers and complimentary food just for you. Well, you and whoever else shows up. (more…)

03/17/15 2:26pm
How bad do you want one of these Luke's rolls right now? Via flickr user chopstix2steaknives

How bad do you want one of these Luke’s rolls right now? Via flickr user chopstix2steaknives

Guys, it’s almost sixty degrees outside today! The weather is probably giving you a heady buzz—not to mention a bunch of hallucinations about the weekend in Montauk you’re saving up for (is it just me, or did other people think/hope that the Hamptons episode of Girls was a broke person’s fever dream?). Warmer temperatures also mean more fish in the water, so your favorite seafood treats are back on restaurant menus. Not quite ready to splurge on a lobster roll? That’s okay, neither are we. But here’s some fun news: we got an email letting us know Luke’s Lobster will selling their lobster rolls at their Brooklyn Bridge Park location for just $10 this Friday.  (more…)