On my second to last day in NYC, I took the subway over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. I loved the quieter streets and shorter brownstone buildings in Williamsburg. It was creative and artsy, its own cultural community, away from the sometimes stifling and bustling streets of Manhattan. I felt an openness and collaborative spirit, especially prevalent in the many food locales around the city.
Here’s a list of Brooklyn favourites:
- Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory and Shop
Try: Thyme Chocolate Bar (they offer free samples of any of the chocolate bars!)
Perks: Free public tours are available every day, every hour between 11am and 5pm.
The tour took us into the grinding room and tempering room; we learned about sourcing the cacao beans from multiple countries, tried the cacao fruit and nib (there’s a white outer layer reminiscent of lychee, and then the seed which is comprised of the husk and nib, and is the basis for chocolate), and saw the entire artisanal chocolate making process. It was very informative and so delicious – as part of the tour, we were able to try a number of the signature chocolate bars, in addition to the pure chocolate bars from Peru, Tanzania, and Madagascar.
Find it: 111 N. 3rd Street, Brooklyn NY 11249
- Oddfellows Ice Cream Co.
Try: Lime Tarragon, Miso Butterscotch Cherry, Saffron Passionfruit, or Coconut Kaffir.
Perks: This bright and friendly ice-cream shop close by the Brooklyn waterfront had some of the most inventive (and delicious) flavours I’ve ever tasted. The Lime Tarragon was top-notch.
Find it: 175 Kent Avenue
- Toby’s Estate Coffee
Try: A cup of their Brooklyn Blend coffee and the pistachio-agave cookie
Perks: Close by the Whole Foods on Bedford Avenue, Toby’s Estate Coffee shop is a must-stop for me in Williamsburg. It’s the perfect bright and airy spot to sit and write for awhile, lingering over a cup of Brooklyn Blend coffee and something sweet. There was also a high percentage of very well-dressed hipster/business guys in the shop (think Fedoras and suspenders and skinny ties) that I casted furtive glances at over my cup of coffee and book, thoroughly failing at being any sort of discreet.
Find it: 125 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11249
- Momofuku Milk Bar
Try: Crack Pie and Cereal Milk Soft Serve
Perks: There are several Milk Bar locations scattered around NYC, all offering Christina Tosi’s infamous “cereal milk soft serve” and “crack pie.” Like a true hole-in-the-wall foodie spot, the Williamsburg shop is rather innocuous. I completely walked by it on the way to the Mast Brothers Shop. Honest to form, the artsy chalkboard menu boasted a full menu of inventive treats in addition to the famous Momofuku pork buns.
Find it: 382 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
- Spoonbill and Sugartown
Perks: Okay, while I know this isn’t a food place, this bookstore welcomes you in and refuses to let you leave; there’s always something new to be discovered in here, ranging from artistic to philosophical to historical. Bedford Ave. offers everything from bar to boutique, restaurant to ice-cream shop, so be sure and make this lovely bookstore one of your stops.
Find it: 218 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
- Blue Bottle Coffee Shop
Try: New Orleans Iced Coffee and the Olive Oil & Rosemary Shortbread
Perks: This bright and airy coffee shop is along a quieter street in Williamsburg, and as most of the space is occupied by a coffee bean roaster, you can smell the coffee in the air from a block away. The shop offers a wide selection of drip coffees and pairs bakery items to complement the various blends. The Blue Bottle website also provides guides on the many different brewing methods, which gave me a deep and newfound respect for baristas everywhere that learn all the steps to these techniques.
Find it: 160 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Try: The BBQ tofu sandwich
Perks: Just off of Prospect Park and down the street from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, this charming part health-food store, part sandwich and coffee shop was one of my favourites in Brooklyn. The bar seating faced out onto the street, and I was immediately hooked by all of the healthy food choices the shop had to offer, ranging from quinoa salads to creative tempeh sandwiches. The daily lunch and breakfast specials were inexpensive and so delicious.
Find it: 810 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
- Botanic Gardens
Perks: Yes, okay, this too is not a food place, but if you are in Brooklyn and close by Prospect Park, explore this peaceful space. I loved the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden, and the orchard near the entrance of the gardens is the perfect place for a picnic. Plus, on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10am-12pm, the park is free of charge.
Find it: Located next to Prospect park and the Brooklyn Museum
If you are in the mood to explore more, check out + Brooklyn Spots: these are some of the places I would’ve loved to visit.