Uncovering Uncommon Brooklyn

Brooklyn continues to be one of those places that intrigues me.  From TV many of you will probably recognize a strong Brooklyn accent. Linguists Label this a full fledged dialect of American English. but languages aside, there is a lot more about the place that lets it stand out on my things -to-do,  places-to-see list. It was once a large independent city, then the famous bridge came. It helped define our culture of baseball, and then the west coast had to jump on to the national scene. Welcome back Kotter, well the verdict is still out on that one.  Let's move back to the present and assume past wounds have healed. What we have now is a great culinary scene, multiethnic, yet distinctly evolved through the Northeastern American lens.

Earlier  today as I was heading back from a customer visit. I decided to take the long way back. My iPad GPS was telling me that straight on third and then a right on third - don't you just  love NYC's grid arrangement of streets and avenues - would take my into the heart of Carroll Gardens. For some history follow this link

After a brief tour, I landed a comfortable parking space on Court street. The vibe felt good. There were locals elegantly  - in a NYC kind of way - sipping beers at several open air cafes and pubs. Early happy hour. Not a bad idea.   I was a bit tired, and super hungry as I had still any lunch.  The atmosphere was laid back, relaxing , a definite change from the daily rote of business life in NYC's financial district. The vibe felt real good.

As I explored along Court Street, a sign - "brick oven ... brick oven something"  - caught my eye. Imagery of brick ovens always have an emotional effect on me. I can still vividly recall, brick and stone ovens nestled throughout the bucolic lands of friends  and family in Southern Italy.

Brooklyn Bread

Brooklyn Bread is a small cafe' that  uncommonly offers a wide variety of signature sandwiches built on perfectly fresh breads. French inspired baguettes, boules and mini-ciabattas adorn  the shelves.  You won't find mounds of pre-sliced cold cuts, sitting in smokey meat cases, hoping not to survive to the next business day.  Nor unattractive slop heaps of butter and cream cheeses. Nope. at Brooklyn Bread, ingredients are provisioned just in time, just as they would be in your home kitchen.

And  then they have bagels. Well kind of bagels, just way better. Let me explain why. Through the baker's magic wand, they have cleverly transformed bagels , what has elsewhere sadly become a predictable culinary item, into something new, full of  renewed potential. For all you purists out there, bagels are great, Jewish bagels are even better, but they are not as versatile they could be. Brooklyn Bread has created the perfect bagel shaped bread creation.  I heard that some call them Ciabagels, or Baglebattas. While bagels usually are chewy, heavy and rarely retain any crusty Mediterranean crunch, theirs got all of this right. Almost twice as large as normal bagels, their babies were light and crusty, perfect for gourmet sandwich making.

But man does not live on bread alone. I decided to try their #8 ,  a fresh turkey, brie cheese,  mesclun salad leaves, topped delight.  I  took a risk by ordering this combination.  I usually eat smoked turkey, or a variety with some kind of flavoring - Cajun, cracked pepper or oven roasting. But as I saw how they prepared my sandwich, I knew that I was about to bite into an uncommon sandwich. The staff delicately laid fresh slices of fresh turkey meat on a white rectangular plate, and not the usual pile-it-high action that characterizes most deli shops.  I  was right. This was hands down the best "bagel sandwich"  had ever had.

#8 fresh turkey , brie cheese, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes on sesame seed bagel bread

Brooklyn Bakery - Bagel Sandwich # 8

Lesson learned. If you start with the best ingredients then you can't go wrong. At Brooklyn Bakery I noticed this in their bread, in their exquisite freshly craved turkey, and even in their selection of their sun dried tomatoes, which were moist and not overpowered by excesses of garlic.

To complete the excellent experience, the staff did not miss a beat. I will be bragging about this place with many of my friends who call Brooklyn their neighborhood or roots.

Too bad that they do not have a web site yet. They've got something going that is a winner, and that is repeatable, across many a neighborhood. Maybe this post will help get them started.


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