Tuesday’s lunch challenge report

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With torrential rain, thunder and lightning, damaging winds, hail, frogs and locusts in the forecast, my so-called challenge became more, well, challenging.  But I was up for it.  Umbrella in hand and just-in-case MetroCard in my bag, I cut through Prospect Park to the Lincoln Road entrance.  Even if my go-to place for Trini food* was off limits (the challenge is to find places I’ve neither eaten in nor read about), I figured there would be plenty of other options in Prospect Lefferts.

From Lincoln Road, I walked south on Flatbush not quite to Parkside, then back up the other side of the street.  The commercial strip is heavy on laundries/laundromats, hair and nail salons (my favorite: “Butter Nails”), wire transfer services and small groceries.  I saw one fancy coffee shop – pretty much obligatory in a Brooklyn neighborhood that the New York Times  real estate section has called the borough’s “best-kept secret.”  (Amazing, the ability of black and brown people to keep the places they live secret!  Cue Spike Lee and “Christopher Columbus syndrome.”)   In addition to straight-up West Indian eateries, I passed West African (one) and Chinese and Indian (many) places . . . which, come to think of it, is in and of itself a pretty West Indian mix.  Oh, and there was also a clothing store (pictured above) that was essentially a shrine to Bob Marley.

I finally turned in to Errol’s Caribbean Bakery – Caribbean, in this case, meaning Jamaican.  They had hot food on offer – jerk, various curries – but the heat and humidity had done a number on my appetite and what I really wanted was a snack and a cold drink.

The fare and the tab: callaloo patty ($2) and store-made** peanut punch ($4).  Both of these, I should add, were at the top of the price range in their respective categories . . . I could probably have had change back from a $5 bill if I’d gone with a beef patty and ginger beer, but you pay more for health food.  And that’s what this callaloo patty was: plenty of long-cooked chopped greens stuffed inside a whole-wheat crust, then baked.  I am not generally a big whole wheat fan – there’s a certain hair-shirt aspect to it that I find (a) annoying and (b) not so tasty – but there was nothing self-righteous or penitential about this patty.

The peanut punch was cold, creamy, and sweet.  Jamaicans may sing its praises as a healthful, protein-packed energy drink, but I know a milkshake when I taste one.

The ambiance: bakery display cases full of buns, cakes and rolls, a refrigerator full of drinks and juices and a counter area full of friendly people.

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Behind the counter at Errol’s

Errol’s Caribbean Bakery, 661 Flatbush Ave, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn

Errol's Bakery & Catering on Urbanspoon


*De Hot Pot, 1127 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn.  Best doubles I’ve ever had.

**I refuse to say “house made,” because Errol’s is definitely not a “house.”

 

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