Food For Thought — September 9, 2014 at 10:02 am

Brooklynites Get a Taste for Local Spots and a Good Cause

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Food lovers of Brooklyn made a break from their usual brunch routines to gather at East River State park for Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint on Sunday.

For under $30 ($30 at the door), those attending could sample four food- and two drink-tastings from neighborhood eateries the likes of Reynard, The Brooklyn Star and Maison Premiere – all against a crystal clear Manhattan skyline.

Live music, curated by Rough Trade NYC and featuring Ben Fields, Jack + Eliza and Son Little, blasted alongside the rows of food tents and kept the festive crowd in an upbeat mood.

The festival was good for the soul as well as the stomach, since all proceeds went to help fund the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center, which will provide a permanent home to neighborhood social justice organizations, arts programming and a hub for community gatherings.

What was great about the day was it provided the perfect opportunity to sample all those many restaurants, cafes and bars you always mean to hit up in the borough but never get around to. Here’s what I’ll be trying again:

  • Miranda (80 Berry St.) was on show with drool-worthy-yet-healthy whole-wheat empanaditas, stuffed with Tuscan kale, ricotta salata, currants, caramelized shallots and sun-dried tomatoes – topped off with a well-executed mole sauce.
  • While the crowds hovered around the comfort food, The Bedford’s (110 Bedford Ave.) smoked scallop with a summer bean succotash and a pistachio pistou was not to be missed.
  • The Meatball Shop (multiple locations), on the other hand, served up the comfort in spades with its pork meatballs and spicy meat sauce.
  • Bakeri (150 Wythe Ave.) made the-bomb dark chocolate chip and peanut cookies. (I will be dreaming of these for a while.)
  • Zona Rosa (571 Lorimer St.) knows what it’s doing with a carnitas taco. Wowzers.
  • Oslo Coffee (multiple locations) might have had the best thing there: it’s coffee. OH MY GOD IT’S COFFEE. It made me fall in love with coffee all over again. (And I wasn’t aware we had fallen out of love.)
  • I take the last one back. The best thing there was Café Moto’s (394 Broadway) sweet-yet-salty warm date cake with toffee sauce and fresh whipped cream. Anyone familiar with sticky toffee pudding will understand.
  • The Frozen Brancolada, a summery combo of mint, Jamaican rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut cream from Brooklyn Taco is the new pina colada. (Why isn’t it a thing by now? So good!)
  • Extra Fancy (302 Metropolitan Ave) had hands-down the best thing between sliced bread (or in this case, a sliced roll) with its Connecticut Style Lobster Slider. As someone who’s on Team Connecticut Lobster Roll (i.e. no cold mayo with my crustacean), I was happy to have this bite of warm, buttery goodness.
  • Last was a bite of Ovenly’s (31 Greenpoint Ave.) shortbread cookies with raspberry jam in the middle. I’m already getting cravings for those.

The food was, on a whole, delicious and it was fun to try so many flavors. It left me hoping that more NY neighborhoods would embrace the altruism and community spirit on show at Taste and roll out similar events for themselves. Crown Heights/Bed Stuy Taste? Sign me up!

Twisted Talk: What neighborhoods should have a Taste event? And for what cause? Do you have any favorite Greenpoint/Williamsburg eateries? Discuss below! 

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