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Pizza Crawl in Brooklyn!

What do you do on a cold winter day in NYC?!?!

PIZZA CRAWL!

What was on the agenda?!

DiFara’s PIzza and L&B Spumoni Gardens

DiFara’s

Hands down some of the best pizza I have had in NYC! I started with the square slice fresh, fresh, fresh out of the oven. It was literally steaming until the last bite. I got the corner piece since I am a huge crust lover. The sauce was tangy and sweet. The cheese was stringy and there was a perfect amount to not overpower the rest of the yummy ingredients. The final touch that really threw this pizza over the edge was the fruity olive oil he drizzled on top and the fresh basil that he cut with his handy scissors that got sprinkled on right after. The regular margarita was my absolute favorite at DiFara’s, but I am sure you simply cant go wrong with anything that they serve there. 

P.S. The man who runs and owns this establishment it simply adorable and is a master of his craft. Watching him work with so much care and respect for each pizza simply made the entire experience that much more memorable. 45 years and still going strong!

 DiFara’s square slice

The owner and creator of DiFara’s Pizza: Domenico DeMarco 

Margarita slice

L&B Spumoni Gardens

This spot is THE spot for Sicilian style square pizza. The cheese is under the sauce on this slice, which makes it so original and fun to eat. The pizza is really doughy and fluffy. It is kind of crazy because the pizza looks so huge but it is so fluffy, so you can put 2-3 slices down easily! It’s all about the sauce and the dough here… They do not hold back! I also covered it with fresh parmesan, chili flakes and garlic powder…mmm…yummy!

Yes..that is half a tray. I don’t think I got enough! Totally panicked, so I am freezing all my leftovers for a rainy day.

Slicing it right out of the oven

Check out the oven situation! There are at least a couple of trays in each oven. This place is a well oiled machine! Cranking out trays of Sicilian pie like there’s no tomorrow. :)

My weekend in Poland

Who cares if it’s freezing out! When you know that there is a Polish neighborhood near by, loaded with incredible baked goods and smokey kielbsas, you simply can’t stay away! This is how I spent my Sunday. Lucky me.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn is sometimes referred to as “Little Poland” due to its large population of Polish immigrants, reportedly the second largest concentration in the United stated after Chicago. Cool!

This neighborhood is loaded with Polish bakeries, restaurants, meat markets and food specialty stores. Adam’s had the most incredible selection of cakes in the window. I had to jump in and take a look around.

Head cheese: it’s not a cheese but a terrine or meat jelly made with the flesh from the head of a calf, pig, sheep or cow, often set in aspic (gelatin made from meat stock). Head cheese may be flavored with onion, black pepper, allspice, bay leaf, salt and vinegar. It is usually eaten cold, at room temperature or as a luncheon meat.

I love this stuff! So flavorful! The meat just falls apart in your mouth. Tasty!

Kielbasa is a must…obviously! It is a staple in Polish cuisine and comes in dozens of varieties; smoked, fresh, made with pork, beef, turkey, horse, lamb, veal, or bison with every region having its own specialty. There are many popular varieties. A couple popular examples are:

1) Kabanosy, a thin, air-dried pork sausage flavored with caraway seeds.

2) Krakowska, a thick, straight sausage hot-smoked with pepper and garlic; named after the city of Krakow 

They can be served hot, cold, boiled or grilled. It can be cooked in soups, stews, bean dishes and casseroles. Serve it with fried onions or just as cold cuts on a platter. You can’t go wrong with a great Kielbasa.

Herring is packaged and sold in the back.

The cakes in the front window were so impressive I simply had to show them off!

Chocolate almond meringue happiness! Don’t you just want to shove your face in that?

This layered cake blew me away! Chocolate meringue layers with whipped cream and toasted nuts. So creamy and fluffy! What a work of art!

Another awesome spot is the Star Deli and Bakery. You can smell the freshly baked cakes from the street! Sweet Sweet vanilla. 

This is an Eastern European babka, a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake. It had such a light, airy texture and mouth-feel to it. The vanilla flavor was strong. I loved this cake. So simple but so impressive.

Slice that puppy up and take a look inside! It’s like a cloud!

You want a bite? ;)

The cheesecake was awesome too! If you get out there get both please! 

Northside bakery has an incredible selection of prepared polish foods. They have perogies, cabbage rolls, schnitzels, freshly baked rye bread, challah bread and everything else you would wish to find in a Polish restaurant.

 For lunch I got a cabbage roll stuffed with ground pork and rice stewed in a sweet tomato sauce and some chicken soup. ;)

 Check out their freshly baked challah bread and sweet jelly donuts.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn is such a treasure. I am so happy that this neighborhood is close to Manhattan. Now I know where I am going to buy my tea cakes and Polish meats. :) Ha ha! Yes!

Yemen cafe…so much to see! so much to eat!!

Found it! Found myself some Yemen food…Wonderful!

Hanging out in Cobble Hill, in crazy hot temperatures and craving something new and exciting for lunch…what do I find..simply what I have been craving for..Yemen food at Yemen Café.

I was greeted right when I walked in with a warm welcoming smile. (which I love..obviously!)

After skimming through the menu and getting overwhelmed with my options I opted to get a glimpse of every steaming plate of food that was leaving the kitchen. This food was so beautiful and the smell coming from the kitchen was so overwhelming, I had to ask to take a look inside….which usually never works but today it did!


When I went into the back they were in the middle of baking their traditional Yemen flat bread. They were preparing this bread by flattening it out on a small circular pillow and pressing it against the wall of their tandoor..this process is almost exactly how naan is made in Indian kitchens. The tandoor oven was scorching hot and one of the largest ones I have ever seen. I think it is because their bread is so large and in charge.
The bread was used to dip into everything that came to the table. Sautéed lamb livers; sautéed lamb with onions, tomatoes and Yemen spices; Haneez (slow roasted lamb) served with pilaf and stewed okra..ha ha!  Just realized it was all lamb..My fave by the way.

Please check out this spot. The food is delicious and the staff if so warm and welcoming. They will answer any questions and will suggest only the best. Enjoy!

DURIAN SHAKE AND PHO IN BROOKLYN..;)

Now I have had a lot of pho in my life and I have to say…this one really stood out. Took yet another trip out to Sunset Park, Brooklyn where I stumbled across this adorable, friendly Vietnamese restaurant, Thanh Da.

Pho is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine and culture. Pho is a soup that has either a beef or chicken flavored broth. The broth is prepared by boiling beef or chicken bones for hours along with spices such as ginger, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom. Bean sprouts, fresh limes, thai basil, mint, hoison sauce, chili sauce (sriracha) and fish sauce are usually always an accompaniment.

The Pho that I ordered at Thanh Da came served with slices of rare beef and beef tripe. There are many other pieces of meat that can be served in the broth like flank, brisket, tendon..etc.

I also ordered another fave…the summer roll. So fresh and light, it is the perfect starter to your pho dinner. Rice paper wrapped around pork slices, cooked shrimp, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and fresh vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers and scallions. The rolls are traditionally served with a peanut sauce.

Having had both of these dishes before I had to try something new, that’s where I got the durian shake idea. I have had durian once before while backpacking through Southeast Asia and I thought it was one of the strangest things I have put into my mouth. I wont lie, when I got the shake I was a little hesitant..but after summoning up the courage I went for it…um….UNBELIEVABLE!!!  So refreshing, tasty and flavorful! I guess since I didn’t have to deal with the texture of the raw fruit the flavor really came through and I loved it! It was the perfect ending to my Vietnamese meal.

For anyone who has never had pho or summer rolls..please do so and for those who have not had durian shakes do it now!