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

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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….

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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.