A Day in Brooklyn
Being the foodie that I am, my visit to the Brooklyn Flea market was focused mostly on the food options. Even in the indoor winter location, there are several food vendors to choose from. We went for a $10 sample platter from the Red Hook Vendors: a chicken tamale, a zucchini pupusa, chorizo, rice and beans and all the condiments (cabbage, jalapenos, pickled onions). There was so much food it was enough to leave two people stuffed. The disadvantage of being indoors — the food wasn't being cooked to order, but was being prepared somewhere else and brought to the stand and kept warm in various containers. But, in fact, after tasting the food, it didn't seem to matter. The masa on the tamale was light and had a deep corn flavor and the tamale was filled with a generous helping of tender braised chicken. The pupusa was fresh and soft and the zucchini was a nice ingredient for it. The chorizo was flavorful with a bit of spice, but was the one thing that wasn't hot.
Of course something sweet must follow the savory. The buttercream brownies with sea salt and cocoa from Scratchbread were just too tempting to pass up. It had a soft, creamy texture just verging on fudginess, with a bittersweet flavor. It managed to be light and salty and just a tad messy with cocoa powder drifting off with every bite. But we couldn't get over how amazing it was, agreeing that it might have been one of the best brownies we had ever tasted.
A walk up Atlantic Avenue took us to Blue Marble ice cream for a small bowl of blueberry pomegranate sorbet and culture frozen yogurt. We stopped at Sahadi's for dried cherries, dried apricots, pistachios and almonds, and some fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. Finally, we headed to Tripoli Restaurant, owned by the family of one of my dining companion's coworkers, Omar, for a mid-afternoon Lebanese snack.
We were treated to a delicious sampling of hummus, babaganouj and falafel. We chose to try the Mjudra (cracked wheat): lentils cooked with cracked wheat and onions, served with fatoush (mixed salad with pomegranate nectar). This was a great new dish for us — the lentils look like they will be heavily savory but in fact have a light sweetness to them because of the caramelized onions. The fatoush was a refreshing side with just a touch of fruitiness. Omar then brought us a plate of milk pudding, fresh baklava, and halva. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Middle Eastern desserts because of the often cloying, syrupy sweetness. I wasn't crazy about the milk pudding covered in a rosewater syrup, but the baklava was actually quite good — a nutty baked phyllo dough. The halva was a solid hunk of sesame powder that dissolved as soon as I bit into it. We were too full — me, full? a surprise I know! — to finish it all, so Omar kindly had it packed up for us, and we somehow managed to roll ourselves home.