05/05/16 12:29pm
Soft Spot's two-for-one happy hour is so good it's trouble. Via Facebook.

Soft Spot’s two-for-one happy hour is so good it’s trouble. Via Facebook.

We at Brokelyn certainly write about lots of things besides drinking and bars (like, you know, reading in bars, dates you can go on in bars and bars with wifi), but we happen to be very good at bars, especially knowing how to drink cheaply in Brooklyn. That’s why amNY turned to us for tips on the best bar deals in Brooklyn: We put together a list of Team Brokelyn’s favorite beer and shot specials, $2 cans, happy hours, free pizza with drinks and more ways to fill your liver without emptying your wallet, from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint: Check out our list of our recommendations here.

As always, don’t forget to check our 2016 Bar Guide to find more of our Brokelyn recommended bars around the borough; and if you like beer but really hate paying for it, the literal best deal in the city is here for you: Our new Queens Beer Book is on sale now, and gives you more than 30 beers at Queens’ burgeoning beer scene for less than a dollar each!

05/03/16 3:52pm
Chiktay herring at La Caye. Thank me later.

Chiktay herring at La Caye. Thank me later.

I grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and I never really felt like I “fit.” The neighborhood was largely Caribbean, but the only people I had interactions with were my fellow Haitians. Most of the kids in my school were either Irish or Italian, and I was one of three black students in my class. It’s safe to say I didn’t identify with any of my peers on a cultural level — especially where food was concerned. New York is America’s little melting pot, and there are dozens of restaurants that represent each respective country. But this has never been the case with Haitian restaurants.

Once I got to college, I made it my duty to throw house parties for my friends whenever I came back home to Brooklyn between semesters. I would beg my mother to prepare a buffet of traditional Haitian food for my friends to try. Everybody loved those parties, and I’ve wanted to share the food with friends and strangers ever since.

Good Haitian food takes love and time— from cleaning the meat, to seasoning it using authentic imported spices, to ritual meals like soup joumou, a yellow pumpkin soup we eat on New Years’ Day. And while I’d love to have my mom cook you all some Haitian food, it’s much easier to share my secrets about where else you can get the good stuff. So here’s a list of the best Haitian restaurants in Brooklyn. If you’re feeling really adventurous, double down (get it?) with our Caribbean snack crawl picks along the way.  (more…)

04/26/16 8:17am
The literal sign of summer. Via @Conrad.

The literal sign of summer. Via @Conrad.

There will be days soon when the summer sun is so punishing, the still air of the underground subway station so menacing, that your thoughts will conquered only by only visions of relief. It is then that walking down Smith Street, your eyes hazy with the reflective heat of the blacktop strangling the city, you’ll spot what is surely a mirage of an oasis chipped off the side of a building. It’s not much: just some picnic tables, umbrellas, pitchers of cold beer poured into plastic cups while hot dogs and burgers conga line off the grill, but it is real, and its relief is powerful. It’s no mirage and it’s no longer a fantasy of a summer to come: The Gowanus Yacht Club, summer’s advance rider, banging loud on the drums of war against cruel memories of winter, is back open for the season. (more…)

04/25/16 10:21am
The sign that once hung outside Supercollider. Photos by Scott Steinhardt.

The sign that once hung outside Supercollider. Photos by Scott Steinhardt.

If you’ve ever stepped off the train in South Slope/Greenwood Heights/whatever, you passed Supercollider and probably didn’t even realize it. Their signs in front of its location on Fourth Avenue between 17th and 18th streets were always barely lit and hard to read. The adjacent buildings were all but vacant and plastered with poison warnings. Even when compared to the mostly-desolate stretch of Fourth Avenue north of the bar, it still seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere.

But hidden behind its humble entrance was a large, friendly place that served as an offbeat hangout for people looking to get more than a few drinks in them, creative types looking to hone their craft and everyone in between. They were all strangely drawn to the allure of a lonely little bar in a part of town where places with more notoriety were only a block away on Fifth Avenue. It was rarely, if ever, packed to the gills, affording passersby and regulars alike a place to chill, listen to a blissed out, dreamy soundtrack and hide away for a bit in its dimly lit atmosphere.

But Supercollider abruptly shut its doors last week to make way for another condo project, further proof that small bars with a large artistic following will eventually cease to exist in favor of upscale living spaces, costly storefronts, and stylings that strip character from a neighborhood and turn it into more of the same. (more…)

04/21/16 1:34pm
Brunch at Forrest Point

Brunch at Forrest Point, via @SarahSandbach on Instagram.

If you’ve been good about budgeting on groceries and busting out your crockpot this winter, you deserve a little springtime splurging. Dare to deviate from your normal hang and head to these Bushwick brunch spots for some our favorite newcomers and oldies but goodies, to satiate all of your weekend (and weekday!) desires. We know brunch by nature is pricy, but read on to see where to get our favorite dishes (and still be able to afford eating the rest of the week). We broke it down by some of the best standbys in the neighborhood, some newcomers to the scene and where you can get brunch beyond usual brunch hours. Just make sure not to piss off your server.  (more…)

04/20/16 3:00pm
From pre-ordering the alcohol to groping, here are 11 ways to piss off your brunch server

Resting brunch face. via @hikeforsanity on Instagram

Are you tired of not leaving a lasting impression during your brunching endeavors? Are you looking to up your game from needy customer to full-blown sadist?

Greetings, and welcome to Pissing Off Your Brunch Waitress 101! I’m Hope, your attentive, friendly, ~attractive~ waitress. I’ve worked at a popular Cajun brunch spot in Crown Heights for about seven months now, and I’m here today to school you on techniques for ruining my entire shift. Within minutes of you exhibiting any of the behavior below, I’ll know that you’re out for blood (and I’m talking about my blood, because I just told you that we don’t serve Bottomless Bloody Mary’s).

By following my simple instructions, you’ll find yourself reaching levels of brunch assholery you never dreamt possible. I’m great at my job, but after dealing with you, I’ll start to doubt it. In just 11 easy steps, you’ll harness the power of making me cry at my service station as I beg the bartender for a shot to numb my pain. You’ll learn how to make me regret becoming a waitress so I that I would have time to “pursue acting.” And if you practice diligently, our brunch interaction might even inspire me to quit and look for a desk job instead. (more…)

04/19/16 12:28pm
U thirsty, bro? MiJin / Instagram

U thirsty, bro? MiJin / Instagram

No matter what kind of seder I’m hosting or attending, be it Upper West Side formal, Crown Heights casual or Bushwick non-traditional, I bring Manischewitz. For those unfamiliar with Manischewitz, let me explain: it’s a kosher concord wine that costs $5-7.99 at any given liquor store, and it’s usually on the bottom shelf alongside Taylor Sherry and a Sangria mixer. (You’ll understand this strategic store placement once I tell you about how it tastes.) Bringing Manischewitz to a seder is like bringing guacamole to a BBQ: not essential to the occasion, but hastily consumed anyway.

Manischewitz tastes like Welch’s Grape Juice meets Port meets the blood of our forefathers; there’s definitely something “afflicted” in the flavor. At 11 percent ABV, it’s the kind of sticky sweet wine that gets glugged like juice at the dinner table, resulting in a collective morning-after headache for everyone involved.

All the same, Manischewitz is ingrained in Jewish culture. So much so, in fact, that there’s even an expert on it. And I decided to ask him why, despite its cloying sweetness, hangover-inducing notoriety and a bevy of better options, Jews still deign to have Manischewitz at the seder table. (more…)

04/12/16 3:56pm
Photos by Lauren Paige.

Turn these ingredients into a delicious black bean and corn tortilla soup. Photos by Lauren Paige.

The friendly neighborhood bodega is a staple of New York living. You know them by the faded awnings, vivid pictures of sandwiches on the walls and the smell of bacon a mile away. Most bodegas are open 24 hours, even if you have to order through the window after 12. When you are in a pinch and can’t make it to an actual grocery store, the bodega can be your saving grace.

Thanks to gentrification, we are now blessed with a new wave of bodegas called “gourmet delis.” While you can still count on them for the regular single beers, baconeggandcheese and lemmegeta’s we all know and love, some of these upgrade include new additions like fresh produce, organic dry goods and bright glass storefronts. If you’re shopping at one of these, you might be able to snag yourself some fresh produce, but if you can’t, try channeling your inner Grandma and grab some canned veggies from a good ol’ fashioned bodega to create something baller on a budget. (more…)

04/12/16 2:22pm
The fermentation party's front door... aka a portal to another world. Photo by Sam Corbin

The fermentation party’s front door… aka a portal to another world. Photo by Sam Corbin

This weekend I went to a fermentation party in Clinton Hill. No, I’m not sorry. Despite its reputation as a yuppie/yuccies-only trend, fermentation is actually a widespread and incredibly accessible practice. And Sunday’s party, hosted at the Brooklyn Free School, was packed to the gills with home-brewers and neophytes alike who flocked from various parts of the borough to swap starters, scobys and other sour recipe secrets. There were workshops, potluck-style tables organized by type of fermented food, and an area reserved for people to donate starter cultures (more on this in a second).

As an amateur kombucha brewess myself, I was looking forward to sharing my latest batch and swapping stories. But when I arrived, I realized that this was far more than a niche get-together, and that I was way out of my league. This was no tupperware party — this was some kind of small-batch speakeasy. In the span of one gut-fizzing hour, I tasted chipotle kimchi, brazil nut cheese, sour dumplings and miso beet hummus; I drank belgian ale, amazake and ghost pepper water kefir; I ate a goddamn fermented cookie.

What I saw on Sunday begs the question: is fermentation the new pickling? Will kimchi jokes be the next focal point of Jimmy Kimmel’s next Brooklyn Week? Are vinegar-based preserves as passé as pre-condo Williamsburg? To these we at Brokelyn sing a resounding “yes!” Folks, the fermentation game in Brooklyn is strong. Much stronger than spicy McClure’s. And you might want to get with the program.  (more…)

04/06/16 1:57pm
With Bubbie on the box, you'd feel guilty not buying this. Sam Corbin / Brokelyn

With Bubbie on the box, you’d feel guilty not buying this. Sam Corbin / Brokelyn

Are you Jewish? If so, try to explain matzo to someone who isn’t. It’s like this flat cracker. That doesn’t have flavor. It’s just a big flat flavorless cracker. 

It’s hard to sell. Frankly, unless the person you’re talking to is teething, there’s really no selling point for the 10 x 10 boards of wheat flour and water ONLY that observing Jews get stuck with for eight days a year. I do love matzo, though. It’s big, it’s crunchy, it only comes around every so often and it’s versatile AF. So when I heard there was an artisanal matzo company coming to Brooklyn, I did a simultaneous eye-roll/spit-take. Did this mean the bread of affliction was suddenly… hip?

That was my first question for Ashley Albert, co-founder of The Matzo Project. For the past six months, Albert and her team of bakers have been toiling away in commissary kitchens and R&D labs out-of-state to craft the perfect unleavened cracker. She’s been juggling the task furiously on top of her other co-owned business, the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus.

As luck would have it, The Matzo Project came together just in time for Passover. I was surprised to learn, however, that Albert wasn’t looking to corner the holiday market. Not even a little.

“We’re not planning on making this a Passover item,” Albert told me. But wait. How can matzo be anything other than a Passover item?  (more…)