Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vegan Treats in an Oasis

Tons of things on my monstrosity of a "to-do" list but wandering into Pacific Oasis Cafe wasn't one of them. Nonetheless, I'm so glad that my hunger and curiosity led the way. What I came to find was the cutest cafe east of Franklin avenue. I pass this small storefront on my way to work every morning. Most of the time I'm on my bike so I'll just roll on by, no time for stopping. Actually, I first noticed this place being carved out last summer. I couldn't imagine what type of store it would be since it wasn't on the main street, Nostrand, but right around the corner on the less traveled Pacific street.


David Lalmiyev, 26, pictured above, officially opened the cafe on January 19, after acquiring it from the owners of the nearby Pacific Street Lofts. David has been a merchant in the neighborhood for the past 10 years with his brother who owns the shoe and jewelry shop around the corner on Nostrand. David has big plans for his shop, looking to add a sidewalk cafe, garden and adding summer fare like smoothies and fruit salads when the weather gets warmer. Ultimately, David wants to extend the store into a full scale restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine and hookahs for after hours. 

The decor was a collaborative process, Yahirah Hernandez, girlfriend to David and shop supervisor, selected most of the furniture, light fixtures and asked her cousin, a master carpenter, to paint and assemble the major appliances. A great use of space, with most of the tables and chairs from Pier One Imports, the walls colored in green matte paint with gold sponge overlay, a flat screen TV suspended in the corner over a wicker love seat. A lovely spot, indeed.

Pacific Street Cafe has your expected fare, paninis, soup, bottled juices, coffee and various sweets. Then we come to the desserts, a variety of vegan treats. Most of the cafe's sweets come from local bakeries like the kosher certified L’estis Desserts, a major wedding cake vendor in the NYC metro area. Since, the sweets were the most prominent, I decided to photograph them, there they are:

Red Velvet


Chocolate Truffle with Almonds

Espresso Cake

Chocolate Cake with Gold Dust

The "Nostrand Park"

Homemade cookies and Yahaira

Delicious chicken noodle soup

Behind the scene...

Pacific Oasis Cafe
1295 Pacific Street 
bewteen Nostrand and New York Avenues
Brooklyn, New York
Monday - Friday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three Chicks on a Farm

The last time I visited Flatbush Farm was back in November, the Amish-esque restaurant served as the finish line to the Big Apple Tweed Ride, the fall edition. This blustery winter afternoon brings me back to brunch with Sadio and her friend, Dacil, visiting New York from San Francisco. It was a good starting point for a busy Sunday, later on I'll be making my way to the Brooklyn Photo Salon and Sadio will make it uptown fo the Tea and Coffee Festival.

As any trendy restaurant in any major city, Flatbush Farm was packed, but our wait wasn't too long. I knew that I wanted to try the crispy duck confit with cheddar chipolte grits, mushrooms and frisee. I checked the website beforehand. After spending all that time in Malaysia a few years back, I managed to skip this delicacy that was offered in nearly every restaurant. Sadio had the buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy and Dacil tried the farm burger with a sunny side up egg, bacon and fontina cheese.

We substituted appetizers with hot beverages, me, peppermint tea, Sadio, English Breakfast. Both kettles of water were not even lukewarm, they were borderline cold! Luckily, our southern, husky waiter, with wild blond sideburns, Tamlin was his name, politely obliged when we asked for warmer water worthy of tea brewing. (He was so handsome, yes.) Flatbush Farm could easily become a brunch must simply because food is made with organic meats and veggies, often gown and purchased locally (I kept on wondering if my duck came from Prospect Park, lol! They did say everything was local, correct?)

The food was delicious, service and atmosphere, delightful. Check out my flicks, gotta run!

Highly conceptualized, down to the menu design.

Chatting about marriage!

The first round of cold tea.

Dacil's coffee was hot!

Sadio smiles for the camera in between dropping science on food!

Crispy Duck Confit with Cheddar Chipolte Grits

Farm Burger with a Sunny Side up Egg, Bacon and Fontina cheese. 
Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy 
More awesome duck.

It is a rat race for toast!

All smiles!

Flatbush Farm

76 St. Marks Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tucked Away Tuesday Brunch

Here's a quickie: had brunch on a weekday (gasp) and it seemed like a little getaway in the middle of a bustling week. I checked out a local staple, Cheryl's Global Soul, located on Underhill Road and Sterling Place. Tucked underneath the relentless yet aesthethically beautiful Eastern Parkway, I enjoyed buttermilk pancakes with bananas, chantilly cream and blueberries and an omlettle stuffled with asparagus, tomatoes and goat cheese. Topped it off with iced ginger bear and fresh OJ, yum!

Cheryl's Global Soul
236 Underhill Avenue at Sterling Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238-5302
(347) 529-2855

Cheryl's Global Soul

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Double Delicious!

I don't remember how we got on the topic of doubles but my friend, Valerie, immediately named A&A as the best and ultimate spot in Brooklyn for doubles.  Not only did she certify its deliciousness but created a mystique around the shop explaining that you almost have to 'catch' A&A as it is often closed. I wondered when the heck could I get my hands on one if they keep 'interesting' hours. Come to find out that doubles and bakes are generally breakfast foods or snacks, so no need to be open around the clock. Nonetheless, I'm so late! I've tasted roti done every which way but never tasted a double!

So, I venture over to Nostrand avenue one brisk February afternoon for my maiden tasting (I prayed that they'd be open!) I combed the street hoping not to overlook the shop which I hear is a whole in a wall, but upon finding it, the store is small but clean, well-lit and quite pleasant. I look over the very concise menu: bakes and doubles styled with different seasonings, essentially spicy or sweet. 

The young woman behind the glass begins to assemble my double, placing two palm sized pieces of fried bread (sort of like Indian naan, but not baked) side by side, hence explaining the name double. 

She placed a dollop of curried channa, then tamarind sauce then a flagrant chutney, wrapped it up in wax paper. I thought I better get another one, "double that order of doubles, please."

Before I left the shop I had a little sneak peek, delish:

I imagine that nothing goes better with doubles than Peardrax!

The bike ride home was only 10 minutes but with the tamarind, cumin and curry mixture fluttering and the warmth of the bread on my back it seemed like I would never get home!

Oh, the joy that danced on my lips once I finally tasted and for $1.25. Of course, I had to take a million pictures of them, here's one:

Taste for yourself:

A & A Bake and Doubles
481 Nostrand Ave
(between Fulton St & Halsey St) 
Brooklyn, NY 11216

They're open at 6:30am - 3pm, Satrudays open until 5pm, closed Sunday