Ethnic Enclave Cooking

Jun 10, 2022

Hello everyone,

As has been long promised, I finally managed to convince my dad to go on an afterwork walk with me through the area, acquiring a nice sampling of cuisine along the way. Here is the result:

First stop: Hasidism

While perhaps not the most authentic experience, seeing as the proprietor wore a cap embroidered with the words “good vibes”, the baked goods themselves were certainly up to scratch.

What can be seen is some very good white bread, a poppy seed roll suspiciously similar to the Polish Makowiec, and some sweet bread I forgot the name of, but my dad claimed was well represented among German and Hasidic last names. Overall, not too expensive, and a very nice treat. I would warn that more “authentic” Orthodox businesses may be less partial to outsiders, but I’m not one to stop the more adventurous.

Second Stop: The Southside

Following a confused, less than optimal jaunt through the Broadway triangle, my dad and I finally arrived to the start of the Avenue of Puerto Rico (and later Vespucci way), which in its entirety forms Graham Avenue. Here, we found ourselves in front of what can only be described as a Caribbean fast food establishment. Titled La Isla Cuchifritos, the small establishment was filled with platters of deep fried goods, all smelling heavenly. Recognizing us for Gringos, the lady offered her suggestion on what to get for a snack, for the princely sum of 4 dollars.

To the left is deep fried dough with a cheesy center, while the right is crusted plantain. Both were quite good, but such food must be eaten hot. I highly recommend.

Third Stop: Italia…. Oops!

I’m going to be honest, our walking got the best of us. Heading past my old school, still dominated by an Italian administration, we found ourselves buying authentic, southern style paninis in an Italian run street side deli. Suitably titled Anthony and Son Panini Shop, the staff were friendly, even if the prices quite high. Here’s the problem, though: we ate our evidence. Perhaps as a testament to their deliciousness, I only realized that I was meant to take a photo of my dinner while wiping my lips.

Let’s be real, though: you can imagine what can be bought in a Little Italy. Honey, pasta, meats, cheeses, bread, fish, and so on. All quite good, and accompanied by the old school feel of established small business. I would hurry to visit, though: more and more stores are closing.

Lastly: Poland!

Wrapping up our journey, we soon found ourselves in the center of Brooklyn’s Polonia. Even today, stores sell a litany of goods from back home. Considering we were essentially grocery shopping, no one store can be referenced as a highlight from our trip, though the Associated supermarket is a good starting point for the uninitiated.

Ah, the flavors of Central (Not Eastern) Europe. Mustard, imported honey, some Halva (crushed pistachio dessert), Borscht extract (it’s really Zurek, which is different), a traditional Easter decoration I found in the closet, and the ubiquitous Polish Kielbasa. Seeing as I’m Polish, you may assume I would encourage you to visit and buy your fill. That is, in fact, the case.

At the end of the day, our stroll through Northern Brooklyn only allowed a cursory glimpse of the array of local food on offer. Naturally, it is up to you to explore, adn discover what else there is to find and consume. Irrespective of the shortcomings of this endeavour, my Dad and I had a great time, and we highly recommend you follow in our explorative footsteps.

Regards, Wegrzyn Senior and Junior

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