The latest best adaption from the West Coast is not just any cup of coffee but Blue Bottle coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Blue Bottle Coffee Bar & Roaster opened a New York City location in Spring 2010. Originated from San Francisco and established their business from the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s market. I had revolved our day trip with the mission of getting a cup of drip brewed from Blue Bottle Coffee with the company of my hot yoga and food enthusiast friend, Cynthia Wang.
10.16.2010 (11:00am) : Cynthia and I met at the the Hester Street Fair for the New York Magazine Grub Street Food Festival. Located in the Lower East Side, this very jam packed event celebrated local New York City chefs, restaurants and small food business around the 5 boroughs. With over 30 food vendors from Brooklyn, Kickstand Coffee & Pies n’ Thighs to Lower East Side, Pain D’ Avignon & An Choi. So many mouth watering choices. What caught our eyes and appetite was first Nijiya Market presenting The Rook, a Japanese gourmet catering serving taiyaki, a Japanese pancake traditionally with red bean paste ($3). The Rook was serving unusual fillings this included: cheese & olive oil and red bean & cream cheese. They were pouring the pancake batter over a beautiful cast iron fish mold and in few minutes added fillings to a batch with sausage & cheese in which is what we had. It’s definitely a children’s favorite and a nostalgic treat for adults.
One of the best things eaten at the Grub Street Food Festival, Cynthia and I agree is Il Buco’s Panna Cotta with aged balsamic vinegarette (for only $1) Panna cotta is essentially a pudding in Italian with cream, milk, sugar and gelatin. Il Buco’s panna cotta was creamy in texture and the balsamic vinegarette, the tart and tangy contrast nicely with the semi-sweetness of the panna cotta. I can eat several of these. There were plenty of samples around like bacon marmalade from literally they stand by their name and call themselves Bacon Marmalade to An Choi’s pickled pigs ears which was deliciously seasoned. While coming in we spotted these beautiful handmade twisted pretzel from Sigmund Pretzelshop. Cynthia and I shared a truffle oil cheddar cheese pretzel ($3) with homemade mustard seed and beet sauce on the side. As beautiful as the pretzels looked, the pretzels were absolutely fresh, the mustard sauce out shined the pretzel.
Finally, we settled for Purple Yam for lunch. Long lines for this particular food vendor is always a sign of good food. Purple Yam a Filipino restaurant in Brooklyn was serving a Filipino kind of soul food, chicken and ribs in a signature apple vinegar marinade and sauce over what more appropriate than purple rice ($5). The Philippines known for their roasted pig, Lechon without a doubt the ribs was juicy and tender and the chicken meat both deboned nicely without any mess. Purple Yam was also serving a pork belly in steamed bun ($4) which the pork again is equally as delicious as David Chang’s pork buns from Momofuku Ssams Bar.
12:30pm: With our tummy filled we made our way to Pier 11 to catch a ferry ride to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Free, courtesy of Ikea. Before the ferry ride, we made a beverage detour at a Chinese cafe on Allen Street. Cynthia was struck by the idea of boiled Coca Cola with ginger and lemon she decided to have one. Apparently, hot Coca Cola with ginger and lemon is a remedy for preventing a cold or to fight a cold, FYI.
We caught the 1pm ferry and arrived to Added-Value, a Redhook Farm for their Halloween Harvest with fresh produce for sale all locally grown in Redhook, apples from Red Jacket Orchard, pumpkin picking, and a live band of blues.
2:00pm: We then took the free shuttle bus (courtesy of Ikea) to Smith & 9th Street to take the G train to make our way to Fort Greene, Brooklyn to do a little vintage goods browsing at the Brooklyn Flea. This outdoor flea market is one of the best in the city with many inspirational objects dated back to early 1900s. It’s a treasure for anyone who is looking to remodel their apartment to artist who needs some inspirational references or if you’re a little nostalgic a gift for someone to a treat for yourself.
4:45 pm: Our final destination, Blue Bottle Coffee Bar & Roaster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Located on 160 Berry Street, you can smell the coffee beans roast from a block away and this is a fact! The space used to be a garage and probably a warehouse of some sort but the interior space with only three bar seats and a standing counter top is elegant and edgy. Blue Bottle is not your typical coffee shop with big arm chairs and puffy couches, it is meant for a quick and snappy experience but you are of course more than welcome to stay to relax, most likely standing or if you’re lucky sit by the bar and be mesmerized as the barista pulls an espresso shot. There is a beautiful Siphon coffee brewed method on display and further back is an amazing space where Blue Bottle roast their own coffee on-site! The menu is very straightforward and as much as I wanted a latte or everything, I can only tolerate one cup of coffee during late afternoon. I chose the drip brewed coffee house blend ($2.75). The coffee is prepared individually from precise and accurate measurement in grams of coffee beans to grind and ratio to temperature of hot boiling water and is poured over the coffee grind and patiently drips through a Blue Bottle filter. An individually cup of brewed coffee roughly took less than 60 seconds. The aroma was fresh and the first sip was intensely bold and an instant awakening. Making Blue Bottle a worth while outer borough coffee destination.
See my slide show, an adventurous day trip from Lower East Side to Red Hook to Fort Greene to Williamsburg and back to Lower East Side in all in 8 hours. Take this itinerary, just wear comfortable shoes.
Added- Value/// 370 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Blue Bottle Coffee /// 160 Berry Street Brooklyn NY
Brooklyn Flea/// 176 Lafayette Ave (btw. Clermont + Vanderbilt Ave.) Brooklyn, NY 11238
Hester Street Fair /// Hester St New York, NY 10002