Thursday, January 3, 2019

worlDCrave: Brooklyn Foodie Tour Part1

Pin It Now!
A few weeks ago, I visited one of my oldest friends from college, Erin. She's one of those friends where no matter how much time has passed, you pick right back up where things left off as if you just spoke last week. Both of us were married this summer and attended each other's weddings, but as brides we couldn't spend as much one-on-one time together. So, a Brooklyn visit was long overdue!

This post will be a little different than most - rather than a review of one restaurant, it will be part 1 of a 2 part recap post of all of our food-related adventures. 

My late arrival on Thursday night meant that Friday morning brunch was our first foray out on the city streets. Based on a recommendation from another friend, we tried House of Small Wonder in Williamsburg.

Tiny with no reservations, we definitely lucked out being able to go on a weekday, otherwise I'm sure we'd have had a lengthy wait. 

Erin and I literally had the same thing, starting with the Shochu Bloody Mary. Shochu is a Korean liquor.  It was light and refreshing - not too spicy. A great way to wake up and get the day started. I did feel a bit cramped in the super cozy seating area; privacy should not be an expectation when dining here.

The cuisine at House of Wonder was a unique combination of French-influenced, and Japanese fusion. For our meal, we each enjoyed the Okinawa Taco Rice. Served over a bed of sushi rice, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado, the star of this dish was really the tex-mex ground pork ). The perfect combination of sweet and spicy - I found myself scooping this into my mouth not wanting the dish to end. You might be thinking 'A French-influence Japanese fusion restaurant featuring a tex-mex dish, huh?'. Some research revealed that this dish originated due to large U.S. military presence in Okinawa, and catered to American's taste preferences. This dish is widely popular in Okinawa now as part of their 'fast food' culture!

After brunch, we wandered around the city, eventually making our way into Manhattan. Before heading to happy hour we had a quick snack - pizza and garlic knots - our only food consumed in Manhattan proper. It totally hit the spot - though I could have done with warmer knots. I am so jealous of all the New Yorker's endless supply of pizza whenever the urge strikes. All of my DC people know this is just not our reality (although, thanks to Timber Pizza and Wise Guys, things have improved significantly). 

We made our way back to Brooklyn once happy hour ended. Erin and I planned to see the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights - if you haven't done it, it's totally worth it! Sadly it was miserable weather, so we drove to the restaurant and planned to drive around to see the lights after. Another recommendation led us to Mama Rao's - and it didn't disappoint! Note - this is not THE Rao's.

I was totally craving old school Italian food. And Mama Rao's delivered. We started with a classic caprese salad. Fresh and light, a perfect start to the meal. I also enjoyed the soft red peppers served on top of this dish for an extra bite of sweetness.

Stuffed rigatoni was one of the main courses. I've never had this before (and I've been to my fair share of Italian restaurants) and I will definitely return for this dish. Filled with cheese and served with a classic meat sauce, if I had to choose a final meal, this dish would be part of it. Of the two pastas, I think this one was my favorite - thought it was a really, really hard decision!

We also opted for the gnocchi based on the recommendation of the server. Light and fluffy, these gnocchi passed (with flying colors) my 'do they melt in your mouth?' test. Served with fresh mozzarella, and a light tomato cream sauce with fresh basil, I am so glad we opted to give it a try.

Though we were stuffed, I couldn't resist the cheesecake. Served with caramel sauce and whipped cream - the cheesecake was perfectly airy but appropriately dense - in that way that only cheesecake can be. Erin sampled the tiramisu, served in a dessert dish. I was a bit surprised to see the dessert served in this fashion, but Erin was pleased with the flavor (I didn't try it myself because I wanted to savor every bite of my own).

I'll wrap up the review of this amazing Brooklyn weekend with Part 2. Stay tuned!