There are many reasons to visit Brooklyn. My favorite is for the food, with each visit becoming a Brooklyn based foodie tour!
One of the fabulous things about living smack dab in the middle of the East Coast is that we have several major cities within a few hours’ drive: Philly, Baltimore, Charlottesville, and Washington D.C., to name a few.
Whether it’s signing up for a White House tour, catching a Broadway show, shopping endlessly, visiting the National Aquarium, or a host of other experiences, you’ve got options. Tons of them.
And, if you’re a foodie like me, those regional destinations become even more amazing, especially when THE foodie mecca is a mere three-and-a-half hour drive away and your sister happens to live there.
When Josie and Shawn first moved to Brooklyn, they lived on 4th Street in Park Slope, which was a stop or two (if memory serves) from one of the Brooklyniest neighborhoods: Williamsburg. They’ve since moved to an apartment another stop or two away in Prospect Park, and I make it up to visit at least twice a year — if not more often.
Our weekends together are food-focused, and mostly cheap eats at that. I swear, even though living in NYC is super expensive, eating there is relatively inexpensive compared to restaurants and take out here in the Baltimore/D.C. suburbs.
So, we keep a running bucket list of food stops, whether it’s a fancier restaurant, a little hole in the wall, a great place for cocktails, or a food truck. Places get checked off, and others get added on throughout the year, safely preserved in my Bullet Journal.
Brooklyn Based Foodie Tour
My next visit to Brooklyn is coming up soon — in less than a week! With that in mind, it seems fitting to share my thoughts on why you should consider a Brooklyn-based foodie tour, with (I’m sure) more posts to follow in the future…
1. Brooklyn is a cheap(er) launching point for all the things.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to find an affordable (for my budget, anyway) place to stay in Manhattan. Brooklyn, however, is only a stone’s throw away from Manhattan – seriously, as little as one stop – and has options that aren’t quite as shocking. Even better is when you know someone who lives there, like I do. My sister and her husband live near Prospect Park, in a small two bedroom (!!!) in one of the quaintest neighborhoods around.
What’s great about Brooklyn is that you get the restaurant and shopping variety of Manhattan, but with a little less concrete, more trees, and a lot of Brownstone charm.
I love the subway system in NYC. It’s easy to follow, cheap, and takes you pretty much anywhere in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. Catch a movie and director’s interview at IFC Center on Sixth Avenue at West Third Street in Manhattan AFTER having dinner on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn – with no problem.
A few years ago, a stop at Prosperity Dumpling in Chinatown was a must for the best, most inexpensive dumplings around. You could take a peek behind the counter to watch them work their dumpling-making-magic. Prosperity Dumpling also happened to be one of the smallest, most crowded, restaurant spaces ever!
It was basically a bunch of people jammed into 144 square feet (and that’s likely a generous assessment), all trying to get the most mouthwatering dumplings on the planet. There might have been two bar stools and one three-foot-long counter, which is what constitutes calling it a “restaurant.”
It was the kind of place you’d eat your dumplings on the go, as you hoof it to your next destination.
Sadly, Prosperity Dumpling closed in … 2016, I think? No matter. There are plenty of other dumpling haunts to seek out!
Speaking of foodie must-sees back in Brooklyn, Smorgasburg needs to be on your list of to-dos.
It’s like a food truck fair. The mother of all foodie meet-ups. A “Brooklyn Flea Food Market.” It’s FANTASTIC, and filled with soooooo many unique cheap eats options. Like crazy Asian-fusion hot dog combos (I happen to be a giant hot dog fan).
There are a slew of other fresh, fun and tasty plates to try, too. You can easily spend a couple hours there, wandering up and down the tight isles, checking out the various vendors, and tasting a little bit of everything. Bring your appetite, and get there early!
And be sure to check out all the different Smorgasburg locations these days—it’s not only in Williamsburg anymore!
3. Pizza and bagels and cocktails.
One of the best things about Brooklyn, and anywhere in Manhattan, is the copious amount of pizza joints. Thin crust? Check. Deep dish? Check. Hand tossed? Check. Classic Italian recipe from a century ago? Check.
A slice is also one of the cheapest eats around, with many going for $2 to $3. Lunch under $5 in NYC? Yes, it can be done.
As for breakfast, one of my favorite Brooklyn cheap eats finds is BAGELS. Especially from a place like Bergen Bagels or Brooklyn Bagel Shop, where devouring their “everything” bagel is a delicious no-brainer. I’m typically a plain cream cheese on a toasted bagel girl, but in NYC everyone (yes, everyone) gets their bagels toasted with butter. And, yes. I did too. (YUM.)
When you find great cheap eats, it lets you splurge on other things, like cocktails! I don’t often go out for cocktails these days (for a variety of reasons), so when I visit my sister a few times a year, we generally add it to our list of “must dos” while I’m there, even though — unlike food — they’re pretty pricey.
4. Brunch options like no other.
Everyone, EVERYONE does brunch in NYC.
At 2 p.m.
For us “southerners” in Maryland, brunch is a thing between breakfast and lunch, closer to…say…11 a.m. What’s great about running a couple hours earlier than the rest of Manhattan is that there usually isn’t a wait, and service is speedy.
I have to try Eggs Benedict whenever it’s on a brunch menu. I’m the same with patty melts on a lunch menu, shrimp and grits on a dinner menu, and mojitos on a drink menu.
Did someone say “shrimp and grits”?? Three cheers for Sweet Chick!
And, then, there’s The Cornelia Street Cafe in the Village with Eggs Benedict, and…ohhhh…it was good. Before the Eggs Bennie even came out, we had this refreshing spread to get us started:
Chinatown isn’t far from Brooklyn via the subway—maybe a 15-20 minute ride, unless you’re trying to get there during rush hour. But, even still, things move very efficiently! Far better than taking a cab, or – gasp! – renting a car.
Remember Prosperity Dumpling? (R.I.P.) Yeah, it was there.
But also, so many other really cool finds, especially if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, and you love to cook like me!
Spending time in New York City can be an adventure. Or, it can be an excuse to try a really great ‘shroom burger for the first time.