Feeling French in Brooklyn

2013-05-05_12-59-19_739

Last month I made a last-minute trip to Brooklyn to visit my friend Melissa for the weekend. I arrived on Saturday and left on Sunday, and I think the whole visit clocked in at around 27 hours. We made the most of our time together and had a lot of fun wandering around Brooklyn, eating and drinking everything in sight. On Saturday afternoon, we stopped at Sweet Melissa Patisserie for some tiny desserts.

2013-05-04_17-26-47_389

We first discovered Sweet Melissa in the summer of 2009 and immediately fell in love with the adorable décor and delicious pastries. Plus Melissa obviously loved the name. She took the quaint bakery in Park Slope as a sign that she needed to move from Richmond to New York, and that when she did, she needed to live in Brooklyn. Later that year, Melissa moved to Brooklyn. I visit a couple of times a year, and I don’t think we’ve ever skipped a trip to Sweet Melissa. It’s not the best bakery in Brooklyn, but it’s pretty good, and it holds sentimental for me. This was the first time I had gotten the mini desserts and I am so glad that I did. We split them while sitting on a park bench outside the bakery. I’ve never been to France, but it all felt very French to me.

2013-05-05_12-23-40_79

The next morning we continued to indulge our Francophile tendencies by traveling to Williamsburg for brunch at Le Barricou. I was a little nervous that I was not hipster-cool enough to fit in at this restaurant (or in this neighborhood), but I managed to blend in just fine. We slipped into the restaurant around 10:00 AM with no wait, which was a nice surprise. We had expected a long wait, but it seems that we were just early enough to get a table before the rest of the neighborhood shook off their hangovers and ventured out in search of greasy food, coffee, and mimosas.

2013-05-05_12-30-01_447

A new development during this New York trip is that Melissa is on an espresso macchiato kick. I had forgotten how much I liked them, so I followed suit and had a few macchiatos during my trip. The one at Le Barricou was not the best, but it did give me a jolt of energy. Kyle has poetically described mornings in Paris spent people-watching while sipping dark, rich espresso and idly chewing on pieces of baguette. Kyle didn’t really care for Paris but he fell in love with its espresso. I wonder if the experience at Le Barricou would have reminded him of his time in France or if it would have just reminded him of his last trip to Brooklyn.

2013-05-05_12-57-12_463

The French country style décor and the brunch menu certainly felt French to me. The vegetarian egg white omelette that I ordered might not have been very authentic, but it was tasty. The egg whites were fluffy and stuffed with delicious seasonal vegetables. The potatoes were perfect, which is a word that I don’t use often, because I’m always trying to think of ways to improve upon the dishes that I eat, but I wouldn’t change a thing about these herbed fried potatoes. The side salad had a light citrus vinaigrette that provided a bright contrast to the heavy potatoes.

2013-05-05_12-36-37_686

We cleaned our plates, which was not an easy task. The food was rich but it was so mouth-wateringly delicious that we couldn’t stop going back for more. I had not eaten to the point of pain in a long time, but this meal left us both completely stuffed.

One nice surprise about the meal at Le Barricou was the great service. I expected a little better-than-you attitude from the wait staff, with their tight pants, ironic facial hair, messy hair buns, and bright red lipstick. However everyone we came in contact with was very friendly and helpful, no attitude or snark at all. Maybe it was my messy bun and my skinny jeans.

2013-05-05_12-36-59_53

As we finished our meal, we reflected on how slightly French our short weekend had been. Walking back to the train, Melissa talked about her business trips to Europe over the last year. She said that Denmark felt really weird for her (but kind of awesome) because, being fair-skinned with long, straight, brown-blonde hair and grey-green eyes, in Denmark she was surrounded by people who looked exactly like her. I can’t imagine what that would be like, since I have always lived in pretty racially diverse areas, and have never really felt like I blended in to a crowd of people who looked exactly like me. I then wondered aloud where I would go for a similar experience. Having a mix of European ancestors in my family tree, including Irish, German, and Swedish, I don’t think I look anything other than American. Without skipping a beat, Melissa said,

“I always thought you looked French.”

Maybe it was the tiny pastries, the double shot of espresso, or the oeufs that made Melissa think that. Or maybe there’s something to it? Upon further consideration, I’m pretty sure the only thing that makes me look French is my default facial expression: bored.

2013-06-16_12-27-15_630

But when I want to feel French and can’t afford the transatlantic plane ticket, I know where to go.

Sweet Melissa Patisserie, 175 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Le Barricou, 533 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY

Kyle and I are packing our passports and taking a little getaway this week (not to France). However, sometimes we like to feel like we’ve been transported to another country without shelling out for the expensive flight and hotel room. Food can do that for you; so can ambiance. I recall an innovative low-budget at home date night while we were in college, that involved stir-fry, chopsticks, pillows on the floor, and a kung fu movie marathon.

What do you do to feel like you’ve traveled to another country while staying in your own town?

Advertisements

Everything Bagel Sprinkles or: I Left My Heart in a Brooklyn Bagel Shop

CIMG3425

One of the reasons I am so glad that January is finally here is that I am a little bit closer to my next New York trip. A couple of months ago, I marked January 25th on my calendar and the countdown began. I am just three weeks away from my next trip to the city that never sleeps, and I’m so excited I can hardly sleep already. For the last seven years, I have traveled to New York City at least once a year, and I never made it there in 2012. My plan is to make at least two trips in 2013 to make up for it.

CIMG3413

When I spend a long time away from the city, I start to feel nostalgic about the times I have spent in the big apple. There are so many different things that draw me to New York that I probably couldn’t count them all (although it might be fun to try, perhaps in sonnet format). One of those things is the bagels and flavored cream cheese. Bagels in any other city just can’t compare. Everything bagels in particular are a special treat that I always try to have when I visit New York. Oh how I miss them when I am away.

DSCF0027

I recently came up with a way to curb my cravings for New York bagels and I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen a sneak peek a few days ago. Everything Bagel Sprinkles are really easy to make and a great seasoning for bagels and more. I have personally found these very useful when my local coffee shop sells out of everything bagels and I have to make a multigrain bagel work instead.

DSCF0028

All it takes is a few of these sprinkles and I have a multigrain bagel in an everything bagel’s clothing. I think these would also be great on a veggie sandwich, baked into focaccia, or sprinkled on a savory snack like hummus (why not?). One of the ingredients is sea salt so you may need to watch your intake, but you can always dial down the level of sodium by cutting the amount of salt you add to the mix in half.

DSCF0041

I have just two more caveats when it comes to this stuff. First, it’s going to make your breath smell. . .

DSCF0033

Sprinkle shots consumed by a professional blogger on a closed kitchen course. Do not try this at home.

. . . delicious! Just kidding, the garlic and onion can actually be a little aggressive so watch out for that. This does not stop me at all (it’s totally delicious). You might want to buy stock in Trident gum immediately.

DSCF0023

Second, if you store this in a jar or canister, make sure you give it a few good shakes before sprinkling. The smaller pieces (sea salt and poppy seeds) tend to sink to the bottom rather quickly. You should shake or stir the mix before sprinkling so you will get an even dispersion.

Everything Bagel Sprinkles

DSCF0036

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Adjust salt to taste. Store in an airtight container. Shake before using.

19 days ‘til NYC!

NYC Summer Vacation

image

I am currently on a train to New York City (sans wifi) for my big summer vacation. Hence, another first: first time posting from my WordPress app for Android. Please accept my apologies if this post looks a little wacky due to the new posting method. I’ve been a little nervous about whether this will work or not, but hey, you don’t know until you try.

Kyle and I are headed north to meet up with my other partner in crime, Melissa, who is a Virginian transplanted to Brooklyn. We have a ton of fun things planned so I don’t know how often I will get a post in, but I am looking forward to sharing all my adventures with you in the near future.

Here is a taste of what is on my list for this trip:
*chelsea market
*candle 79
*bagel boy
*angelica kitchen
*rbc nyc espresso
*wichcraft
*picnic in central park
*palo santo
*oral fix

Any suggestions?

Hope you have a great week – I know I will!