Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Brooklyn Flea’s Ice Cream Bonanza

Today was a gorgeous day to be out and about, so I went to the Brooklyn Flea’s Ice Cream Bonanza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I sampled ice cream from many vendors:  honey lavender from Luca & Bosco, salted caramel from Fort Grace, Thai from Odd Fellows, mole from La Newyorkina, banana whama and coconut key lime from Phin & Phebes, Old Bay corn from The Bent Spoon and sweet as honey and ooey gooey butter cake from Ample Hills.  My favorite was the ooey gooey butter cake from Ample Hills.  This was seriously delicious ice cream!

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Two for Tuesday: Spumoni

National Ice Cream Month is nearly over, so I’m featuring spumoni.  I have a memory of the best spumoni at Villabate Bakery in Brooklyn (before it became Villabate Alba).  Where better to try spumoni than at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.  L&B is a pizzeria that sells spumoni and ices as well.  It’s still owned by the same family as the original owner.  There are outdoor tables outside, and you can walk up to the window and either order pizza or spumoni/ices.  On my visit, I got both.  I saw a lot of people with plastic cups of the signature spumoni with its distinctive green, brown and yellow color representing pistachio, chocolate and vanilla.  So I got one too while my friend got plain vanilla.  While it was a smooth treat, I prefer my spumoni with pink cherry in it.  Also, I prefer the lemon ice at L&B to the spumoni.

Spumoni L&B

The second spumoni I sampled was at the recent Giglio Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from an Uncle Louie G’s stand.  It had the same vanilla, chocolate and pistachio in yellow, brown and green.  However, it was smoother than L&B and had more flavor.  I really enjoyed this one.

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Two for Tuesday: Brooklyn Pizza

I finally made it out to Brooklyn to try Totonno’s in Coney Island and L&B Spumoni Gardens’ pizza in Bensonhurst.  Pizza is a controversial topic, I realize.  My grandmother talked about wood-fired pizza from Naples.  My mother grew up on coal-fired pizza.  As my family worked in the pizza business and owned a pizzeria, I’m pretty critical of pizza.  Among aficionados, Totonno’s has a history and is known as some of the best pizza.

Totonno's
On our visit, we didn’t have to wait on line.  There was one table available.  There are no frills here.  You sit; they bring you paper plates and plastic cups.  You have your choice of canned or bottled soda and water.  Service is rushed and not friendly.  Because of the demand and lack of space, you may have to share a table with other patrons, as we did.  We ordered the large plain cheese pie, which is a steep price at $19.50.

Totonno's pizza
The three elements of pizza are crust, sauce and cheese.  With a coal-fired oven, one would expect the blackened bottom and a certain flavor.  Sally’s Apizza in New Haven has the perfect coal-fired crust.  Totonno’s crust didn’t have that blackened bottom, and the dough was lackluster.  The tomato sauce was bland–just a tomato taste.  The cheese was also pretty flavorless.  I had really wanted to love this place because of its history, but I felt it was lacking in taste.  I really don’t think it’s worth a trip out to Coney Island just for this pizza.

L&B
L&B Spumoni Gardens is a subway stop and short walk away from Totonno’s.  Here, the specialty of the house are Sicilian-style pies.  For those who don’t know, Sicilian style pies are square pies that are more doughy.  My mom says that when she was young, Sicilian pies came with tomato and onion, but that is not how they are served today.  The pie at L&B is good, but where’s the cheese?  I understand the sauce is on top of the cheese, but I don’t think there’s enough cheese.  It’s unfortunate because the sauce is very good, slightly sweet and with oregano.  With more cheese, this would be one hell of a Sicilian pie.

L&B Spumoni Gardens pizza

Two for Tuesday: Appliance and Dinnerware Stores

If you are looking for the best in kitchen appliances, Krup’s Kitchen & Bath in Chelsea is the place to go.  If you want something with a retro feel or in a unique color, Krup’s has it.  Look at this adorable 1950s-style refrigerator from Smeg in pink:

refrigerator

How about this adorable oven range from BlueStar in purple:

oven

Fishs Eddy is the quintessential store for dinnerware with its interesting and kitschy designs.  If you’re a NYC fan, there are many local patterns like the New York skyline, the tunnels, the Brooklyn bridge, dog walkers, Brooklyn and more.  I got the Brooklynese set for my mom.

Fishs eddy storefront

They have other designs too like Alice in Wonderland, the New York Times crossword puzzle and this pretty pattern from Lotta Jansdotter that I wrote about before.

creamer and coffee mug

creamer and coffee mug

Fishs Eddy also has a cool collection of vintage dishes dating back to 1903.

vintage fishs eddy

I also like these small trays. I got one that’s a recipe card, but there are others like a parking ticket, a lotto ticket, a restaurant check, a prescription and more.

recipe card

Smorgasburg

I finally made it to Smorgasburg, a weekly outdoor food festival on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Smorgasburg is not exactly what I thought it would be.  I thought there would be food purveyors more like the market near South Street Seaport with foods and goods that you take home, but it’s more like a food court with stands of Indian street food, ramen, banh mi, smoked meats, grilled cheese and more.  I got a Bolivian pork sandwich and soda from La Casa de Camba.

Bolivian pork sandwich

The colorful stand was a fun spot with lively music playing and a bar on the side for patrons to sit.  The pork sandwich was very good.  I got mine mild, as I’m not a fan of spice, but it came in mild, medium and spicy.  The soda was refreshing.

Bolivian soda

A gruyere grilled cheese from Milk Truck:

Milk Truck grilled cheese

I did pick up some creative jam, grapefruit with smoked salt, from Anarchy in a Jar:

jam and marmalade