With 2012 drawing to a close, I took a few moments to reflect on the year before looking forward to what 2013 might bring. Here’s my list of favorite edibles from neighborhood visits, both official and otherwise, over the past nine-plus months.
Bismillash Restaurant – biryani (City Line)
Golden Apache – jerk chicken (Flatlands)
Saraghina – strawberry-blueberry pastry and a caffe latte (Bed-Stuy)
Ted & Honey – turkey club and coffee (Navy Yard)
The top 10:
10. Mrs. Maxwell’s Party Cakes – chocolate pastry (East New York)
I’d like to sample every single thing in this place, but I fear it would take me forever.
9. Yun Nan Flavour Snack Inc. – pork-and-rice-noodle soup (Sunset Park)
A nondescript storefront in Sunset Park’s Chinatown, this restaurant features traditional Yunnan soup. Particularly recommended if you like spicy things. Wear a shirt you don’t mind getting stained – it’s hard not to slurp.
Jimmy’s suffered damage in Superstorm Sandy, but it’s back open now. A local institution for almost 75 years (will there be a celebration on February 1?), it’s the kind of place that your parents take you to because their parents took them there.
7. Dough – various donuts (Tompkins Park North)
Dough’s treats have become high-calorie staples for me. Everything about this place is unusual, from its location (across from housing projects) and its flavors (like dulce de leche, lemon thyme, and blood orange).
Note: I have not yet been to Peter Pan, so any comparisons will have to wait.
6. J&V Pizzeria – Jo Jo sandwich (Mapleton)
Chicken parmesan on garlic bread makes a delicious combination. Right on the border between a Chinatown and the Italian Bensonhurst.
5. Il Porto – margherita slice (Wallabout)
Jumping into this place to escape a late-season freezing rain, I was rewarded with a perfect slice of pie with mozzarella, tomato, and basil. Perfect with a trip to BLDG 92 or as a pit stop while riding your bike along the Flushing Avenue lane.
4. Ba Xuyên – banh mi and avocado shake (Sunset Park)
The Sunset Park trip in May was a great food adventure, and I’m sure there are many hidden gems between Chinatown on 8th Avenue and the Latin American community on 5th. But Ba Xuyên remains a special spot, particularly when you take the food to the park for the view. It’s the rare type of restaurant you insist is worth the trip to skeptical Manhattan friends.
3. Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos – tacos (Bushwick)
It doesn’t matter what you put inside. It’s all about the tortillas, freshly made on the premises. If you go during the day you can see the factory in action.
2. Totonno’s – garlic and olive pizza (Coney Island)
Not an “official” nabe trip, but good enough to warrant a mention here (and a bonus post after the Times featured its struggles after Sandy. While it remains closed, “Our Church of Pizza” might re-open next month.
1. Original Pizza – white slice (Georgetown)
Perhaps my memory of this slice was enhanced by coming very early on in my travels. Maybe it’s because Original Pizza is nearly inaccessible by public transit, so many of my readers will never be able to verify my claim. It could have been the spring air and the feeling of total freedom in which I was still reveling after having quit my job.
It doesn’t matter. This started out at #1, and at the end of the year, so it remains.