07/06/16 9:06am
Which ice cream will come out victorious?

Which ice cream will come out victorious?

The first round yesterday was our largest elimination, cutting down 12 flavors to four. Ultimately, Brooklyn Bell, Blue Marble, Uncle Louie G and Ample Hills moved on to Round 2.

Here’s the rub of the bracket system. According to the scores, Ample Hills’ only just eked out a win over the competition, and their overall score was less than that of, say, Davey’s. (“It was that Vanilla Bean,” Morawa said. “I rated it really high.”) But it was best in the quadrant, so it moves on to the next round. Look, I don’t make the rules, that’s up to the NCAA.

In Round 2, the ice creams start with a clean slate and judges can change their scores from round to round. For example, if Eric Silver gave Blue Marble’s vanilla an 8 in the first round, he could use the new ice cream expertise he gained in the last 20 minutes and rate it a 10 in Round 2. As a reminder, we rated the shops on their vanilla and their most popular flavor. Only four will survive this round! Let’s dive in. (more…)

07/05/16 11:08am
Which ice cream will come out victorious?

Which ice cream will come out victorious?

Happy Summer, New Yorkers! We’re officially post-solstice and now that we’ve gotten all that freedom out of our systems, it’s time to honor the most important summer holiday: National Ice Cream Month. And what better way to celebrate than by yet again doing a bunch of research no one asked for?

Inspired by FiveThirtyEight’s Ultimate Burrito Bracket, I set out to find the best ice cream in Brooklyn. This led to many weeks of existential contemplation: what makes something the “best” ice cream. Is it the most original flavor? The creamiest? The most refreshing on a hot summer day? How much it reminds you of childhood summers? Furthermore, is it fair to compare, say, OddFellows’ Miso Cherry with a classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough? How does the shop affect the experience? And isn’t that what ice cream is: an experience? It’s summer and comfort and cool down and love. (Well, as long as you aren’t actually working at one of these shops, serving the sweaty, sun-addled masses.)

In the end, we actually ended up determining the best ice cream shop, rather than flavor, in Brooklyn.

Is our research scientific? No. Is it delicious? What, do you think we ate 30 pints of ice for the sake of selfless journalism? But we put together a fair fight, and in all honesty, you’d be well served by any of these ice creams. (more…)

07/01/16 9:00am
Soak up the sun: Brokelyn's 2016 ultimate guide to Brooklyn outdoor bars!

Soak in the sun all summer long at (clockwise from top left) Bar Chord, Our Wicked Lady, Margarita Island and a bunch more bars in our guide.

Y’all, we did it. We survived a blizzard, Ted Cruz, a weird season of Broad City, and that one night in May when we had to pull our coats out from under the bed again. Dreams of a margarita-soaked Brooklyn summer kept us warm through those cold nights— but wake the fuck up, it’s finally here! Now is your chance to fling off your comforter, don your mom jorts and man-spread all over the most wonderful time of the year: outdoor drinking season.

Eager to suck down a pitcher of sunshine but not quite sure where to go? Waste no time in the group text: Team Brokelyn has compiled a comprehensive list of nearly 175 spirited spots across the borough where you can drink outside. From wine bars to dives to every sidewalk seat in between, we’re passing along our notes on each bar’s vibe and spilling our secrets to navigating the drink menu without spending your summer allowance all in one place.

Don’t spend the prime of your young adulthood watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix — get out there and get tequila drunk! Outdoors! Simply click the ‘hood you’re headed to and let us be your patio spirit guides (and don’t forget to cop one of our new Brokelyn tank tops so you can be your best summer self).  —Meghan Stephens (more…)

06/29/16 12:04pm
Photo by Gabrielle Westfield.

Photo by Gabrielle Westfield.

When I was first asked to cover a press preview of the eats at the LIC Flea & Food this year, I assumed that I would just get to try a couple of different food vendors that grace the Queens region and call it a day. After all, other than having a few friends who live in Astoria, my only real connection to Queens is falling asleep drunk on the G train and finding myself in Long Island City with a half-eaten slice in hand. Sleep training aside, no one prepared me for the food marathon I was about to endure, with some of Queens’ finest vendors itching for you to try their latest culinary creation that you can find at the LIC Flea every weekend. They include innovative food mashups (mac-n-cheese waffle sliders), refreshing summer treats (masala chai-flavored ice pops) and seasonings that traveled all the way from the Dead Sea.

Queens is one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in all five boroughs, so naturally its foods reflect this. From now until October, locals get to taste how some of these different cultures cross-pollinate their menus. (more…)

06/24/16 2:00pm
On the corner of Patchen and Halsey Avenues in Bed-Stuy, Grandchamps does delicious Haitian comfort food

On the corner of Patchen and Halsey Avenues in Bed-Stuy, Grandchamps does Haitian comfort food, via @grandchampsbk

If you haven’t yet been to Grandchamps, the family-owned Haitian eatery on the Eastern edge of Bed-Stuy, you’re in for a treat. Heaping plates of Haitian-Creole classics, such as griot (roasted and pan fried pork) served with pikliz and sos (pickled vegetables and onions), rice and beans and plantains,($16) and snacks like Haitian patties at two for $3, constitute a menu of well-flavored comfort food that will fill you up and still provide plenty of left-overs.

More than a hotspot for high-quality Haitian eats, the cafe is also a dedicated community space, staffed by neighborhood folks, many of whom were untrained prior to hiring, chef and co-owner Shawn Brockman told Brokelyn. This weekend is a good chance to check out both the food and the culture of the space, as they’re putting on a three day “fete” of live music, DJs, and vendors to celebrate their one-year anniversary.  (more…)

06/16/16 1:28pm
A relaxing spritzer happy hour in the backyard of Pete's Candy Store. Photo by Bridget McFadden/Brokelyn.

A relaxing spritz happy hour in the backyard of Pete’s Candy Store. Photo by Bridget McFadden/Brokelyn.

A few years ago, I had my first Aperol spritz because I was nauseous. I was out at a neighborhood cocktail bar, it was late, and I probably just should have gone home, but my worldly companion insisted on a surefire cure. He caught the bartender’s attention, pointed to me and yelled “this one has a tummy ache!” and proceeded to rattle off a list of ingredients: ice + prosecco + bitters + soda + orange slice + one fat olive. The bartender handed me the glowing tonic. With just a few sips, my stomach was soothed and the night was young again.

It turns out my friend was onto something. The spritz gets its bite from a bitter liqueur —a wine or spirit-based mixture infused with herbs and citrus — that was once primarily taken as medicine. Since discovering its powers, I’ve relied on the spritz to treat all sorts of ailments, from indigestion to humidity to apathy. So I was excited this past May when I hit up the Food Book Fair and learned that they had dedicated their Sunday night party to a charming new book about the best cocktail ever, Spritz.

Spritz the book, which came out last month, describes the origins of the iconic Italian cocktail, maps out its current territory in Northern Italy, and includes a slew of cocktail recipes to help you bring the spritz home to Brooklyn. If your post-work drinking routine needs a little refresh, you’re in luck; we’re giving away a copy! Enter your name in the comments for a chance to snag this beautiful book. (more…)

06/16/16 9:00am
No bologna: The 9 best vegan sandwiches in Brooklyn for $9 or less

The vegan BLT at Little Skips won’t leave you achin’ for bacon. Photos by Sam Corbin.

Sandwiches are the perfect food. Why? Because they allow you to combine any number of ingredients and pile them as high as you like, so long as two wayward pieces of bread can hold the whole thing together. And though I admit I’m a kind of sandwich apologist — in my view wraps, burgers and even pizzas folded in half could be included in the category… it’s just dough on either side, right? — for the purposes of this article, a sandwich shall be known only by its more conservative definition. Two slices of bread, stuff inside.

It’s about as hard to find a vegan sandwich in Brooklyn as it is to find a vegan. In other words, not very, and more frequently in select areas. I’ve spent the last six months hunting for the best vegan sandwiches in this borough, just so you don’t have to settle for a dud. And I limited my search to sandwiches that cost $9 or less. Because the minute a sandwich costs $10, it stops being a sandwich and starts being some fancy bullshit.

With that, here are the nine best vegan sandwiches in Brooklyn, for $9 or less. (more…)

05/26/16 12:13pm
She's a beaut! All photos by Kate Mooney

She’s a beaut! Photos by Kate Mooney/Brokelyn

Yesterday, which at 88 degrees and sunny felt like the first day of summer, the Brooklyn Barge reopened for the season. Greenpoint’s waterfront bar, located between Transmitter Park and Milton Street, is literally housed on a barge jutting out into the East River. Its reopening has been long-awaited, as last year’s season was cut short due to permitting issues and it didn’t open the doors until the fall. But now it’s here to float, and we’re pretty dang excited about spending our summer chilling on a boat with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, because honestly is there anything better than drinking on the waterfront?  (more…)

05/25/16 2:06pm
8 late night happy hours where you can still keep the party going after dark

You don’t need to tap out as early as you thought, after all. Soft Spot / Facebook

Why a late night happy hour? I say, why not a late night happy hour. It’s only right that after spending the better part of an evening patronizing an establishment, we ought to get some sort of reward for our endurance, or just a kickback to keep us buying until last call. The late night happy hour is both a thank-you to customers and a fuck-you to curfews, gathering the night owls for one last surge of drinking before the night’s truly questionable decisions unfold.

Since we first rounded up Brooklyn’s late night happy hours in 2012, at least half the spots we had are now defunct. Some have shuttered, and others have simply realized they can afford not to offer cheap drinks past 8pm anymore. But much like we believe in your right to wear jorts, we also believe in your right to save money on alcohol this summer, especially since you’re going to be spending it on all those dumb music festivals and bottomless brunches. So we’re championing the late night happy hour once again, with these seven spots where you can still get an affordable drink after dark. (more…)

05/20/16 2:03pm
The hot dog wars return! Nathan's and Feltman's renew rivalry with super cheap showdown May 28

How many hot dog wars will the next administration involve us in? Photo via Flickr user Angela Rutherford.

Coney Island is basically the equivalent to an Americanized Birthright for hot dogs (despite what Detroit may think). Though a little less kosher than we’d hope for, Coney Island is a historical motherland to the birth of our beloved franks, home to not only Feltman’s (the man, the legend, who started the frank craze in the United States), but to Nathan’s Famous since 1916.

On May 28, Nathan’s is celebrating their 100th anniversary by going old school and selling their famous weiners for the original 5 cents each! From 11am-2pm (and limited two per customer), you’ll be able to enjoy a piece of Brooklyn history (and get a fancy commemorative certificate) joining swarms and crowds of people looking to grab some weiners. Seems innocent enough, right? Patriotic even?

Sure, Nathan’s Famous is THEE hot dog hot spot on Coney Island and quite frank(ly) the planet, but let us not forget how Nathan Handwerker originally got his start: working for Feltman’s, who is widely considered the inventor of the hot dog. But did you know that Feltman’s is in the midst of a comeback? Steeplechase Beer Garden (a mere two blocks from Nathan’s) will be hosting a Feltman’s pop up selling their historic weenies for 10 cents each from 2-4pm on the same damn day of Nathan’s Famous Centennial. (more…)