BK DAY aka Brooklyn Day aka Manhattanites-need-to-get-over-themselves Day. This day has long been in the works for Kevin and I. He is a devout Brooklyn lover, and I rarely go past 14th Street. Thus, we decided that my being an ignorant and snooty Manhattanite was no longer something either of us could overlook anymore. We planned a day for all of our mutual friends (aka the Lam fam) to become a little more Brooklyn-cultured. We didn’t quite have the turnout we’d expected, but this made logistical coordination a little easier.
The verdict? One of the best days I’ve had all year. Friends. Gorgeous weather. Delicious food. Down-to-earth environment. Fun activities. Not one siren. Our original plan was Lucali (best pizza in Brooklyn?), Brooklyn Boulders (rock climbing warehouse with music and hot Colombian men), and finally, Coney Island. We deviated from our plan, but it ended up being a perfect day.
So here’s the story…
Rich picks me up in his hard-top convertible (yummy). I jump in the backseat behind Todd alongside Teresa. We just cruise. By cruise, I mean stop at every other red light until we hit BK. Our first destination, Lucali, was closed at 1:30 PM on a Saturday! HUH? The ripped up sign hanging on the door said that they’re only open after 6 PM Wednesday to Saturday, closed Tuesday. They must be really good if they can turn away business like that.
Oh well! We went to Café Luluc a few blocks away on Smith St., Carroll Gardens most lively street. I noticed that the restaurants and bars are relatively small and have a strong sense of community. Café Luluc was designed to be a typical French bistro with stained mirrors, French doors (duh), old pictures, wooden seats, and blackboard specials. Their brunch menu is pretty standard: omelets, eggs benedict, french toast, pancakes, yogurt, and fruit. Chicken paillard, croque monsieur, and pain au chocolat also grace the menu to give Café Luluc an authentic Frenchness. They also have some latin flavors in the form of pulled pork sandwiches and grilled mahi mahi with guacamole and salsa.
Our food took a long (bad word) time to prepare, but we were happy with everything once it reached our bellies. The food was good, but nothing to write home about. Todd’s turkey burger was to blame for the delay, but I heard it was worth the wait. My eggs benedict and Rich’s calamari salad were fine. Kevin’s pulled pork sandwich and Teresa’s steak sandwich were very good. The side of fries were thin, crispy, and salty…just the way I like them. We shared pancakes as a table, which reminded me of Café Centosette’s in that they were almost muffin-like, extra toasty on the outside, and fluffy on the inside.
We went to the Zombie Hut, Brooklyn’s most notorious tiki bar, after brunch to watch the rest of the US vs. Ghana game. What a heartbreaker, huh? Anyways, this bar is adorned with bamboo and colorful pictures. Most importantly, however, it is blessed with a strong A/C unit (unlike Painkiller). The bartenders are friendly for a change (*cough* Manhattan). There’s a huge courtyard in the back perfect for large groups, summer weather, and fruity cocktails. I definitely need to go back, especially since it’s only 4 stops from me on the F.
Kevin, Teresa, and I left Rich and Todd to their own devices and headed towards Brooklyn Boulders for an intense hour of rock climbing. Carlos, our Colombian rock climbing expert, was refreshingly charismatic and funny. Language barriers are always fun btw. We didn’t sign up for the class, but instead decided to free climb without belays. All those years as a competitive swimmer? Hah, means nothing. Our arms felt like jelly within 10 minutes, and our hands are absolutely ruined for the next few days.
An hour-long session of beginner rock climbing equated to hunger. We returned to Smith St. and ate next door to Café Luluc at Verde. The restaurant is warm and intimate. The industrial look wasn’t too overdone since the candles balanced everything out. However, our meal was disappointing. Ugh, Smith St, I expected more from you!
My seafood salad was a little under-seasoned but incredibly fresh. The calamari and shrimp were crisp. If only the cook squeeze one more lemon over my little sea creatures my dish would’ve been perfect. The pasta in Teresa’s shrimp and scallop spaghetti was overcooked, and the cream sauce was not at all “light” as described on the menu. It just seemed messy to me. Kevin’s orecchiette with chick peas and prosciutto in a garlic oil sauce was decent but nothing special. The “prosciutto” actually seemed to be pancetta, which is never a problem in my book.
Our last stop in BK was Blue Marble Ice Cream. What an adorable neighborhood ice cream parlor this is! My mini marble cup of vanilla ice cream was exactly what I needed to forget Verde’s tiramisu. And mini means mini. My scoop was probably only 2 inches in diameter, but that’s all I could eat. Mmm! I can attest to Blue Marble’s success now. Their “farm fresh” organic ice cream is extremely creamy and smooth. The flavors are strong too. No cut-rate feebly flavored ice cream here! No sir! We ended up chatting in the shop for over an hour. That’s the power of ice cream.
So that was my perfect day BK Day. And yes, I think a little part of me has fallen in love with Brooklyn, particularly Carroll Gardens.