Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Divas Do DUMBO (with photos)

The 2 DinerDivas began their Down-Under-The-Manhattan-Bridge-Overpass Good Friday in Brooklyn Heights at Diva1's nabe-fave Montague St. diner, The Grand Canyon, home of the 7 oz. burger. But this was breakfast.

At 9:30 a.m. the place was filled with a good-sized breakfast crowd but still there was a comfy booth available with chairs nearby to spread our things out on as we placed our orders: a brunch-worthy Monte Cristo and tea for Diva2, a Belgian waffle and bacon with black coffee for Diva1.

The waffle arrived first, buried in what looked like at least 2 rashers of bacon, surprising Diva1, who had expected a couple of slices, maybe 3 at most. Plenty of butter and single-serving-containers of Kraft fake-maple-syrup accompanied the waffle. The waffle, buttered and syruped (and bacon put to the side), was delicious and properly puffy if a little on the bland side. The bacon, if a bit much, was nicely done, not at all limp and wimpy and not too crisp, either.

Diva2 drizzled a bit of the syrup on her Monte Cristo which she declared to be quite tasty while also noting it was a large-ish serving.

After downing our meal, we kicked back with the Friday New York Times crossword puzzle and readily proffered refills of our tea and coffee. In fact, we sat for quite some time puzzling over ... and finishing ... the puzzle without ever feeling rushed or in any way unwelcome -- quite the opposite, in fact, a neighborhood-diner-perk we appreciated and rewarded with a generous tip before leaving.

From there, we made our leisurely way through the Brooklyn Promenade, along Old Fulton Street, past the already lengthy line for Grimaldi's Pizza (we did not indulge), to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory at the foot of Old Fulton Street to enjoy some fresh, handmade ice cream.

The line into this little shop, too, was out the door, but the ice cream -- a scoop of butter pecan and another of coffee ice cream in a waffle cone for Diva2, a scoop of butter pecan in a waffle cone for Diva1 -- proved well worth the short wait. Rather than take the cones outside to eat, we sat at one of the 3 tables. Diva2 declared the coffee ice cream had the absolute perfect coffee taste; and Diva1 echoed the sentiment, noting that the Factory had achieved pecan perfection without overwhelming the ice cream with nuts.

From the Ice Cream Factory, the Divas paid a short visit to part of the newly-opened Brooklyn Bridge Park, noted an upcoming appearance of the Young@Heart singers at Ann's Warehouse, peeked in through some doors at Jane's Carousel (to be ensconced at year's end in a new pavilion in the aforementioned Park), and stopped in for some Easter goodies at Jacques Torres Chocolates, where we admired the $60 chocolate cow and where Diva1 bought the irresistible dark-chocolate-dipped Tuxedo Peeps, a requisite dark chocolate rabbit, and 2 chocolate mud cookies, one of which Diva1 ate on the spot, the other of which she gave to Diva2, who devoured it later at home.

Diva1 just wants to say not only is the chocolate the absolute best in the world, but those Peeps are the Cadillac of Peeps. Clearly not something bought off the shelf in some drugstore, they were soft and sweet little marshamallow confection perfection!

Next on the foray into DUMBO was PS Books, where the Divas lightly grazed at the shelves then gratefully fell onto the store's comfy couch to rest and chat while paging through their selections.

Next thing we knew, it was after 3:00 p.m., and time for another eating adventure, this time at the newly opened Choice Market at the corner of Jay & York Streets. Once inside this roomy eatery, we chose drinks from the refrigerated case (some interesting, different choices among the usual Cokes), perused the menu, placed and paid for our orders at the cash register, then took our seats at one of the long communal tables. A waitress brought our orders to us when they were ready:

Diva2 declared the hanger steak delicious and done as ordered: pink and juicy. Asked about the side of mashed potatoes, she said they were fine and not at all watery, which is Diva1's usual complaint about mashed potatoes ordered out. Diva1 found the salmon burger to be lovely, garnished with fresh lettuce, tomato, and crisp sprouts. Her only question was that she thought she might have preferred mustard to the mayonnaise already on the burger -- but then again, maybe not. Anyway, she hadn't been given the choice, which she thought it would have been nice to have, especially at a place named Choice. The french fries were a real treat, served hot, outsides crispy, with a side of perfectly ordinary ketchup. Only thing was the fries came already salted, while she would have preferred to add her own salt; actually, she'd have preferred pepper, no salt. The portions were perfectly sized, appetites sated with nothing left on the plate.

All this was polished off with new-to-us soda choices: Fentiman's "botanically brewed" Traditional Ginger Beer for Diva1 and Fentiman's Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger for Diva2. Diva1 definitely recommends the Ginger Beer to any true ginger lovers out there; Diva2 noted that even the Orange Jigger had a kick of ginger in it. These drinks added some decided tang to the meal!

The ambience here was casual, relaxed (as we had earlier at the Grand Canyon, we lingered here too after our meal, feeling welcomed and not at all rushed, the place busy but uncrowded), and all about good, fresh, well-prepared food. And only our earlier sweet indulgences as well as our desires to return home meant passing up the tempting desserts on offer here.

The Divas will definitely choose Choice -- and do DUMBO -- again.

Grand Canyon Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on Urbanspoon
Jacques Torres Chocolate on Urbanspoon

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