Best of Brooklyn NYC

As promised, here's the story of how Brooklyn NYC and I became pretty hot and heavy.  It was a Monday afternoon, and quite honestly, I was just looking for a good time.  But, after spending just a few hours with Brooklyn, it became clear this was the beginning of a lifelong affair.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I were a New Yorker, I would live somewhere in Brooklyn.  It's also quite likely that I would start each morning with a cup of coffee from Oslo.  It was chilly from the morning rain when I arrived at their Roebling location, so I ordered a Cafe Au Lait with a carrot coconut mango muffin.  The muffin was surprisingly hinted with a bit of gingerbread, which I loved, and the COFFEE!  Rarely do I find a cup of coffee I feel needs little/no sugar.  {I am typically a dark & sweet (black w/sugar) kind of gal.}  This Cafe Au Lait was so damn delicious, I barely even {and almost regretfully so} added the tiniest drop of their simple syrup to my cup.  Even though the afternoon warmed quickly, I finished every last ounce of this coffee {another big time rarity for me on a hot day} and it was good 'til the very last sip.

A little later in the afternoon I bought the cutest ceramic milk carton vase at Sprout Home.  {It's currently hosting one of my garden's gorgeous pink hydrangea blooms on my dining room table.}  Sprout Home is a full service garden center that also carries wonderful little home products {such as the aforementioned vase} and floral design services.  It's just the loveliest urban garden store; and they've definitely mastered the art of having an incredible collection while keeping things beautifully edited. I was also super pleased to learn they have a Chicago location {their original home} as well as I find myself there much more frequently. 

I love to be in the kitchen, and I very easily could have spent hours perusing the goods at Whisk.  When I walked in, a staff member was teaching a small group the ins and outs of kitchen cutlery which I thought was pretty cool {not only to have super knowledgeable staff, but to be imparting that wisdom upon clientele on a random Monday afternoon}.  Whisk's shelves are brimming with everything you could ever want in your most perfect kitchen.  My picks for the day?  A large Epicurean cutting board, a couple of frosting spatulas, two boxes of pretty fantastic birthday candles, a manual juicer {for small and large citrus WITH a strainer and measuring cup attached - yes please!}, and ironically enough, several whisks.  And, I couldn't resist taking a photo of two of the striped straw options they had available.  How sweet would these look in a signature cocktail?  

Right down the street from Whisk, is The Bedford Cheese Shop.  They are not kidding when they say they are serious about their cheese.  The scent when you open the door is delightful {especially to someone like me who may or may not be capable of living off cheese and cheese alone}, full of all of the delicious selections that fill their well stocked and beautifully presented cheese cases.  It completely broke my heart to have to leave without making a purchase, but I had nowhere to store this cheese and all day ahead of me.  There was no way it would have lasted.  But, I look forward to returning to this shop, cooler intact, to take home one {or two, or three} of my favorites.  

They might be serious about their cheese, but they definitely have a sense of humor in how they describe it.  This may be the best description of any food by any shop I've ever seen.  

After taking in some wonderfulness in Williamsburg, I went on to Red Hook.  I went to Red Hook specifically for Baked.  I am most definitely a Baked devotee.  I am obsessed completely with their brownies {I have never tasted one better} and this has spurred a desire to taste/bake/master all of the ridiculously scrumptious sounding/looking recipes in each of the Founders' two cookbooks.  On this particular Monday, I stocked up on some pre-wrapped brownies {to share with my family upon my return}, a peanut butter chocolate crisped rice square, a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and a salted caramel cupcake {the very last of which I split with my traveling companion}.  All were, as expected, completely ridiculously heavenly.  I also picked up a copy of their newest cookbook, Baked Explorations, and was delighted to find it signed, as well as a Baked coffee mug because well, why not?  These guys are the real deal and you are absolutely deprived if you've never tasted the goodness that comes out of those ovens.  

Right next door to Baked is a fantastic little wine shop called botta di vino.  The energy from the store itself and Triciann {one of it's Owners} is irresistible!  When I asked for a "reasonably priced super Tuscan" she instantly delivered with a bottle of Zingari {which she tells me means gypsy and I am instantly sold} 2008 which proves to be not only reasonable at $18/bottle, but also quite tasty - so much so that it now resides on my favorites list.  Their wine cellar is not to be missed; and the custom glass floor above it gives you the perfect birds' eye view.  Very sharp design, a beautiful wine selection and super fun staff made this quick stop in a highlight of my visit. 

From Red Hook I travelled to BoCoCa, a collective term for the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hills, and Carroll Gardens.  While I got shut out at the two antique shops I had wanted to visit {closed on Mondays, not so great research on my part}, I was happy to see and visit familiar favorites like Free People and Paper Source among the boutique shops.  And while many boutiques were closing up for the day by the time I arrived, I was able to pick up some Whiskey Sour Pickles from Brooklyn Brine, the Beer & Pretzel Caramels {that I have been DYING to try and have now addicted me} and "The King" {their signature with good reason} candy bar from Liddabit Sweets all at By Brooklyn, a sort of one stop shop for all things handcrafted by Brooklynites.  I was also able to grab a spinach and feta pie from Damascus bakery and shop for some wonderful goodies at Sahadi's, a specialty and fine food Brooklyn institution since 1948.  

As I exited Sahadi's and out of Brooklyn, my only regret was that I didn't have more time to explore and enjoy.  I take comfort though knowing my suitor waits for me just outside Manhattan, and that when I next see him, he won't disappoint.  

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