The Accidental Locavore’s friend Peter had long been tempting me with an excursion to his neighborhood of Park Slope. Long famous for its co-op and stroller traffic jams, recently, like the rest of Brooklyn, it’s become a real Mecca for foodies.
As it turned out, we had a beautiful day for our adventures. We started with a quick walk around the hood, peeking through the windows at Royal Palms, where you can partake of the latest gaming trend — shuffleboard! Peter said it was the hottest place on the weekends, with people lining up well in advance to get a court.
Almost next door was Ample Hills Creamery, a well-known ice cream shop. We took a quick look at the flavors so we could decide whether it would be ice cream or gelato from any number of places after lunch.
al di laTrattoria is a neighborhood Italian place, cozy and rustic and one of Peter’s favorites. I was curious about the soup special—described as clam with couscous, so we ordered that along with an escarole salad and polenta topped with wild mushrooms. The soup was a big surprise! Baby clams floated in a lovely broth with tomatoes and couscous. There was a lot of lemon zest and possibly some saffron—all-in-all, a terrific combination! The polenta was your essential Italian comfort food. Lots of mushrooms, greens and cheese topping creamy polenta, what’s not to like? As we left, we tripped over the ubiquitous strollers, deserted at the entrance, marring what otherwise was a lovely lunch.
Trying to burn off some of the polenta, we walked over by Peter’s apartment and did a little shopping. I found the perfect birthday present for my bestie at Bhoomki, a little boutique on 5th Avenue, and then we just had to check out some of the gelato places to see if they’d have any flavors more interesting than Ample Hills’. Further down the street, we ducked into the Lion in the Sun, a great stationery store owned by some friends of Peter’s. Although the WTF sticky notes were tempting, I somehow resisted.
What I didn’t resist was a bag full of bagels at Beygl. Peter said they were the best, and it’s one of the things we really miss from the city. They were really good, but do not knock Murray’s off of the top of my list … but if I lived in Brooklyn, it might be a different story.
Chuckling at the irony of it, we dodged yet more strollers, and checked out Fleisher’s — ironic because they started just across the river from us in Kingston and I’ve never been there. It’s a cool store, with lots of perfect-looking meat, along with interesting, local, artisanal condiments. Now I’m definitely going to check out the Kingston store, since it’s easier to bring things home from there.
Further down 5th Avenue, we went into Russo’s — it’s one of those old neighborhood places that has somehow managed to survive gentrification. There must be 100 different varieties of fresh, homemade pasta, including some great-looking ravioli. I was very envious of Peter, who could just grab some and take it home, but I wasn’t smart enough to bring an ice pack and cold bag (next time!). We each got a container of grilled artichoke hearts, which were a great addition to my dinner that night.
Feeling that we’d walked off enough of lunch, our last stop was back at Ample Hills. I tried a bite of Salted Caramel Crack but wasn’t addicted. My universal ice cream search is always for dark chocolate, so I had a big cone of that. It was good, but the search goes on.
Tripping over $10,000 worth of strollers in front of the Park Slope Co-op, we said goodbye and vowed to make Arthur Avenue in the Bronx our next outing. Any recommendations?