Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chile Pepper Festival

OK…. this has to be a must visit, right?

It’s open this Saturday, September 26th and is $15-20 to get yourselves invited. To quote Yelp on this:

“Get ready for fall’s hottest event at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chile Pepper Festival! Feel the burn by sampling an array of hot peppers from around the world and get entertained by amazing performances you won’t forget. Also, satisfy your sweet tooth with a variety of chile chocolates and so much more! Get your tickets today!”

I’m thinking @rogueales should be there too, since they have a whiskey(!) brewed with jalapeños. Whaat? I hear you ask. You should check them out too.

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Advertisements

Chocolate, chocolate, everywhere

….but especially in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Now chocolates are not our usual talking point, but given we are occasional patrons of this local business, it occurred to us we should comment about it. They’re local after all! So here we are, let’s talk:

IMG_0623Deliso Confections at 278 87th Street [off 3rd Avenue] is a teeny-tiny spot…. but oh boy do they know how to make delicious hand-made, specialty chocolates right there
on the premises.

We like them so much we think that you all should visit…. and tell your friends to visit too. Damn it go and buy some for Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or both.

The box below is what we bought on our most recent visit…. full of delicious goodness, but including vegan peanut buttercups and sea salt caramels. Yum. We give them a whopping 9/10 for friendly service and excellent products!

IMG_0624

Hiatus Fever

We have it. Bad.

Just when we were going to post another of our epic Egg & Cheese on a Roll tomes, we go and take a short vacation – this time to the Newport Folk Festival…. which was fabulous by the way.

And then after a short break doing our day jobs, we opt for a long weekend in the North Fork of Long Island. Up near Greenport. We managed to pick a great weekend, hot and sunny, clear blue skies and great wine tasting was had by us both. Shinn Estate Vineyards and Sparkling Pointe are some of our favorites, but a newer, smaller winery named, Coffee Pot Cellars caught our fancy and their fantastic Gewurtztraminer stood out for us. Hats off to veteran North Fork winemaker Adam Suprenant for some great wines.

On our last day, we ended up at Mattebella Winery in Southold where we sat and chatted with the winemaker and were invited to enjoy a yet-to-be-released dessert wine called, Noble.

We’d give Mattebella Noble a big, fat 8.5/10. It’s delicious, well-rounded, aromatic, with bags of floral notes. And when released, remember to take two sips. It’s the second one that’ll get you.

A fun sneak preview of a new wine and a privilege to share the experience with the winemaker himself, Mark Tobin. We would of course show a photograph of the wine, but it isn’t even ready to be bottled yet.

Bridgeview Diner

We’re back again!

This time we thought we’d step back in time and visit the Bridgeview Diner, down on 4th Avenue and 90th Street in Bay Ridge for a slightly grander experience for our Egg & Cheese on a Roll competition. This place is huge for a diner.

There’s a lot oIMG_0575f staff around to escort us to our table, which was nice. Then there was the person who came to drop off some water for us, and of course the lady who was waiting the table and taking our order. She was the one wearing bobby-socks.

They were all nice. Considering it was only 8:15 on a Sunday morning.

So how was it? I think we both agreed it was pretty damn good. Again, we opted for the Egg, Cheese and Potato (kinda like home fries) on our rolls, and of course the regulation coffee. We were given the option of one egg or two (another nice touch), but the whole ensemble scored highly on promptness, nice waitstaff and good atmosphere, if a little dated. The coffee was a meh however. But we’ve come to expect that so we deliberately set our bar lower.

IMG_0573

I mentioned stepping back in time since there were some nice, almost vintage touches IMG_0574in the wait staff, decor and table place mats. One might even say, it was cute. The ‘cocktail guide’ place mat underneath our sandwich you can see a glimpse of above, is really cute and retro-looking, although I fear it was not in an ironic sense. All in all, I’d give the Bridgeview Diner a resounding 8/10. Nice all-round job, you guys.

Bay Ridge Diner – May 31

IMG_3396 We have a backlog of Bay Ridge Diners to report on, so hang onto your kaiser rolls and follow us through an egg & cheese on a roll – fueled tour of what our local eateries have to offer.

Seriously, is there anything more New York than this portable breakfast?  Of course not.  AndIMG_3395 Bay Ridge Diner delivers big on this.  Decent rolls, eggs fresh and hot, and oh yes, we got it with hash browns slapped on ’em.  If you’ve not made a habit of this starch on starch indulgence yet, get thee to a diner that will acquiesce and frigging dig in.  And Bay Ridge Diner does it.  On top of that, your meal is served on these crazy colorful fiesta-ware wannabes that can’t help but make you smile.  Like most diners in the Ridge, the coffee is meh, but drinkable, making it practically gourmet compared to some of the swill we’ve tasted at other establishments.  But how do they score on the sammich?  I’d give it a very respectable 7/10.

And here is what happens when inflatable pants dummies are left alone on a street bench in this conservative enclave of Brooklyn.  Oh, won’t someone think of the children!IMG_3398

Great Expectations

Seriously, we expected great things from our next candidate, Hinsch’s. It seems like it’s been around since forever, near the corner of 86th Street and 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Not too long ago it closed ‘for renovation’ but we thought it’d gone for good. We were wrong and were delighted when it reopened, only to be horrified that the new owners had ripped down the original exterior signage, including a classic neon hanging sign on the side of the building. In its place is a bland, ugly, not even close replica. A sad day…. or so we thought….

IMG_0529

However, we’re here to report on the breakfast, right? So let’s tuck in.

It was good. We can say that right off the bat. Again we opted for the egg, cheese and potato on a roll option.

Firstly, the service was excellent, the coffee was – wait for it – a big fat meh. We think our usual coffee tipple of organic Sumatran, freshly ground and brewed French-style in a cafetière [French press on these shores], is setting the bar a little high for local diners. But still, meh is meh.

So, the sandwich. It was very fine. It was very filling. The potato was tasty, the egg and cheese part excellent, but the roll let it down slightly, tending to soften too much well before we were through.

That said, we pretty much skipped lunch since there was so much. Great value too. Just $4.00 and $1.50 for the coffee. Despite the roll and the meh, we’re going to give Hinsch’s a 7.5/10.

Well worth a visit, but don’t look at the horrendous signage.

100th and 4th

The Narrows Coffee Shop is an odd place. Doesn’t open early, never open on a Sunday but has great potential.

It sits in an enviable position down on 100th Street and 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge…. almost close enough to touch the magnificent Verrazano Bridge a mere three blocks further south. And on Friday last, we finally got to test their skills at the Egg & Cheese on a Roll test.

How’d they do? Well as in other places the coffee was the big let down, being another meh in an increasingly long line of mehs. The breakfast however, was pretty good. We opted for the addition of potato on our breakfast rolls and that served us well. The seasoning was a little lacking in my view, although my cohort on these reviews insisted it was pretty good.

It was tasty and filling. We were offered the option of 1 or 2 eggs which is nice. The roll was a little lightweight in my view, but held up in the end. Inside, the diner is on the small side, but it was easy to find a table [ it was still earlyish, 8:00 am], but was filling up with locals by the time we were leaving.

Overall we’d give it a 6.5/10. IMG_0545

We had great plans!

Plans are like deadlines, they’re almost perfectly made for breaking.

Our plan of reporting on Bay Ridge diners and their ability to produce the American classic breakfast of egg & cheese on a roll has fallen into a hole of inactivity. I guess one of us having ‘minor surgery’ and the other having crisis after crisis at her day job might – I say might – have played a part.

We aim to put that right by blitzing this blog with photos of, and reports about the diners we have visited, since we’ve still been eating breakfast on our travels and tweeting about the meh coffee we’ve had that accompanies our classic brekkie!

I’ll be right back with the first report as soon as possible.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Royal Restaurant* on 5th Avenue, in Bay Ridge is your classic diner in almost every way. It’s got the little bar stools, those cute ones that rotate. It’s got the open kitchen style for their short order cooks. And it’s damn cute.

IMG_0693 IMG_0691It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, but as you know we were there especially for our Egg and Cheese on a Roll crusade. So, how did they do?

They did good.

So let’s dive straight in: The roll was lightly toasted giving it a nice firmness. A good handhold in fact. The eggs were done just right (ie. not too rubbery, not too runny), while the cheese was that classic American cheese, melting about right.

We elected to go for the potato addition on this one and it was a good call. The whole ensemble tasted delicious, with the addition of just a little salt and pepper to taste.

If there was any let down it’d be the coffee, it was just so-so. Very drinkable, but since we’re coffee snobs, I’m thinking regular diners are not going to cut the mustard in the coffee stakes department [see how I used a foodie metaphor there]. But I wouldn’t want to mark it down for that.

On the whole Royal Restaurant did us proud. we give them an 8 out of 10.

So, go check them out if you’re in the neighborhood for breakfast… it has a good menu for those who’d like to expand their horizon beyond egg and cheese. But if this is anything to go by, recommendations all round!

*Royal Restaurant is what the photo shows, but the hanging sign [not visible in this shot], records the name as ‘Towne Royal Restaurant’. So I’m not sure what to call it.

The Diner Special Event!

Okay, it’s not that much of a special event. It’s more of an experiment and taste test.

Here’s what it is: We’re taste-testing the American simple breakfast classic, Egg & Cheese on a roll. Simple, right? There are a number of classic diners in our neighborhood, that just deserve to be subjected to this test. The bonus (or otherwise) for us, is we get to do the testing.

In the following posts we’ll be reporting back on the absolutely best, top drawer, superlative Egg and Cheese on a roll. Now, we can vary this slightly…. but only very slightly. We’ll allow for the inclusion of potato from time to time and this breakfast will always come with coffee, natch!

We’ll post interior and exterior shots of the places we visit along with shots of the sumptuous fare we’ll be eating…. and make recommendations for you to check out for yourselves, should you choose to take up this challenge. Your call.

We have a few places in the can already. So as soon as any of us get our act together to collect the images off our iPhones and put fingers to keyboards, you’ll be able to make judgements yourselves.

Later….