It felt, for just a moment, as if I’d been back on the water near Kittery, Maine, chowing on fresh seafood, barely dressed with mayo and stuffed into lightly-toasted hot dog buns. Or was it simply a Northeastern version of skägen, the prized appetizer in Stockholm, Sweden, which marries slender, cold water shrimp with herbs and mayo and arrives with toasted bread? Either way, this shrimp roll (pictured, above) from the Red Hook Lobster Pound booth at the Sunday Brooklyn Flea had me in a blissful state, and eating it while tucked onto the grass, adjacent to the water’s edge of the East River while gazing at Manhattan, made it all the more splendid.
I’m in New York to see the Wilco concert tonight at Prospect Park, and so a Brooklyn stay seemed in order, since all anyone is talking about is the big piece in the Times from last Thursday. Brooklyn’s moment has arrived, and it has so much more than just skinny jeans and facial hair to offer. Take your morning cup of coffee. At the Blue Bottle Coffee Roasters here, you can see the entire apparatus for roasting the beans, as well as the impressive cold brew contraption in the main seating area:
I would have been happy with just the coffee and the shrimp roll, but walking through the Brooklyn Flea (Saturdays in Fort Greene, Sundays on the waterfront in Williamsburg) had my head spinning. Porchetta was being sliced and served into thick sandwiches; four types of ethnic tacos all beckoned; a milk kiosk doing grilled cheeses and milkshakes almost had me reaching for my wallet, then I saw the lobster and shrimp rolls – a personal weakness – and just had to fork over the $10 for the shrimp version. Then I realized that I still had to meet my sister in the city, and since we rarely get together (she lives in D.C.) we decided to meet for a late lunch of soul food. I don’t mean fried chicken, grits and collards, by the way, I mean Jewish soul food: cured meat, smoked fish and baked/mashed potatoes in various forms (along with plenty of pickles) were the order of the day. The 2nd Avenue Deli (now located on 33rd and 3rd, by the way) is my go-to deli in New York City. This triple-decker behemoth of corned beef, hot pastrami and salami on rye with coleslaw was a winner, and it only took three of us to take it down. Can’t wait to see what the rest of this trip brings. Hey, any suggestions for can’t miss eats while I’m here? Love to hear them.