Eating Nostrand Avenue: Taste the Tropics

imageSunny and 63 degrees in the second week of February! On the last such frighteningly unseasonable day, a few weeks ago, I arranged my tempo run (expect a Boston marathon training post soon) so that my cool down would end right around Nostrand and Avenue D. That’s where Taste the Tropics dominates its corner through sheer exuberance and force of personality. Continue reading

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Eating Nostrand Avenue: Ital Fusion

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Food for the long haul

With each desperate dispatch from Aleppo; with each revelation about Russian interference in November’s election; with each ethical breach by the Grifter-in-Chief and his progeny; with each horrifying cabinet appointment – the temptation to curl up in a ball grows. Some days, it’s overwhelming.

What helps?

Activism, I would say. Coming together as a community. Supporting one another. Fighting back. (And, for Syria, checks to Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee and the UNRWA.)

I list those things first, because I honestly believe them to be the most important . . . but also, if I’m to be even more honest, because they sound like the sort of thing one should believe to be most important.

Here, at the risk of sounding trivial, are other things that help:

Running.

Looking at birds.

Eating soulful, home-style cooking.

Which brings us to Ital Fusion. Continue reading

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.”