May 26, 2008


Pursuing my goal to eat every cupcake worth eating, I came upon Babycakes after having dinner in Chinatown and heading to the LES. I had heard of the place, and knew they offered vegan cupcakes, allergy-friendly treats, and made use of agave syrup in place of refined sugars. I wanted to try it out and see if these good ideas actually equaled a tasty cupcake.

So, here I was, drawn into the snug bakery by a carefully flickering sign. Amy and I stared into the case of the bakery contemplating our options. The offered a good handful of pretty standard options, most available gluten-free or regular. We settled on a regular lemon, and upon receiving it squeezed into the corner and sat on the windowsill. The kitchen is open and the space features brick-a-brack as well as a few things for buying, including bottles of agave syrup. The service was friendly and they dolled out cupcakes to a steady stream of customers passing in and out of the small storefront.

The icing was creamy and lemony--not too tart, not sugary or too sweet, and not piled high. The cake was the most interesting. It was moist and has a great texture, along with an interesting taste. It was more carrot cake-like than anything, minus the carrot, and also not too sweet. Since Babycakes does not use dairy/butter, they use ingredients like sweet potato and pear instead. The taste of these ingredients can't really be picked out when eating a cupcake, but they do have a lightly spiced, different kind of flavor.

Overall Amy and I definitely approved, and felt okay with ourselves after eating it. With organic ingredients and dairy/egg/refined sugar-free, that sneaky guilt feeling is largely absent. Because of these features, however, the prices are a fairly high, with regular-sized cupcakes at $3.00 and up. To sum up, this is an excellent option for vegans, allergy sufferers, diabetics, or just cupcakes lovers looking for something new. -Laurel

Address: 248 Broome St (b/t Orchard and Ludlow)


Payment: Cash, Cards

Take Out: Yes

Open Late: 11 pm on weekends

Delivery: Yes

Large Group Friendly: No

Bar/Happy Hour: No

Perch w/ Guest Reviewer David

The Perch Café is a nice little eatery nestled along Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue, a hotspot for pubs and brunch. Despite the bright red theme, the décor is as unassuming as eateries come in Park Slope, with plenty of seating (tables in the front, a diner counter in the midsection, and a lovely garden patio) and a warm, tender atmosphere – the perfect Sunday brunch atmosphere. We opted to sit outdoors, but there was no room at the inn when we arrived, so we sat in the comfy lounge area behind the diner counter chit-chatting. Within minutes, a table opened up and we were seated at an umbrella-shaded patio table.

The Bird in a Nest (Perch’s name for eggies in a basket) came with two slices of bacon, and while quite tasty and crisp, was not as hearty as I was hoping for. The bread was a simple slice of white which could have been better replaced by a slice of sour dough or ciabatta to make the meal more substantial. To supplement, I ordered the croissant with strawberry preserves, which was everything that it should be – crisp, light, buttery and flaky. If I had not been so famished, the meal would have been absolutely wonderful, but it seemed to me that the Egg & Chicken Apple Sausage Sandwich that Laurel ordered (of which I sampled, and it was delicious) was the better value of the two.

Before ordering I had been considering the Huevos Rancheros, and after finishing my light breakfast, I unfortunately noticed a patron with a ravenous appetite quickly consuming said order. The sight of this made my sense of fulfillment completely wilt. It looked so good that I almost walked over to ask for a bite.

The wait staff was quite courteous and friendly - and not the kind of fake, snobby friendly that you see so often in NYC. They were also attentive and quick, which is a big plus in this town.Overall, The Perch Café is a great place to have a relaxing mid-day meal with some friends, but if you’re especially hungry, make sure to order something that’s obviously going to be thick and hearty. -David

Perch is a delightful place. Now, there are many factors that go into me saying that: the weather was beautiful and we sat outside. I was hungry for tasty brunch and that's exactly what I got. The service was friendly and two waitress complimented my attire (I'm easily pleased by such things).

To elaborate, the cafe is cozy with a few tables, a couple of couches in the back, and bar seating with a some pretty cakes and goodies along the bar. The decor is fun, with their iconic white bird on a red background popping up throughout the restaurant. There is a good amount of additional seating out back (where we sat), each table covered by a large yellow umbrella. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff is cheerful.

The menu ranged (this being a Sunday early afternoon) from breakfast choices--french toast, egg dishes, breakfast sandwiches, granola--to lunch fare--sandwiches, salads, soups, etc. They also offer dinner options and appetizers. Perch serves up some classic dishes, but with some nice touches: a roasted pear salad with candied walnuts, a BLT with mesclun on rosemary focaccia. Prices range from $1.75 for a bagel, 4.50 for a cup of soup, and up to $12 for a full dinner.

I ordered, as David mentioned, an egg and chicken apple sausage sandwich. This was, quite possibly, the best breakfast sandwich I have ever had. It costs $7 and includes a generous portion of split chicken sausage, a piece of 3-egg frittata, melted white cheddar, and some homemade bread. All of this was sandwiched together and grilled like a panini (see picture). It was a fairly large sandwich and totally delicious. Amy ordered their house french toast, made with the same bread and sanwiched with strawberry preserves, which was heartedly approved.

I would like to come back here on a nice day for brunch or lunch and sit outside. I'd also like to come here and try it out as a bar. FYI: check out their website and see the events calendar for lots things going on all week long. -Laurel

Address: 365 5th Ave (near 5th Street), Park Slope, Brooklyn


Payment: Cash, Cards

Take Out: Yes

Open Late: Yes, 1:00 AM on the weekend

Delivery: Yes
Large Group Friendly: Yes, fairly.

Bar/Happy Hour: Yes (bar)

May 19, 2008

Rush Hour

We stumbled upon Rush Hour (no, we weren't drunk) while looking for some semi-cheap eats in the LES. We had seen this place before, Creperie being right across the street, but had never tried it out.

The menu includes soup, salads, sandwiches, fries, and most of all burgers. The restaurant includes a skinny counter with a few stools in the front, and a small (and I mean small) seating area in the back with a couple of small tables and stools. Most order out, we ordered in. I got a turkey burger with cheese and an order of onion rings, which was about $9. A little steep for "fast food," but the burger itself was huge, the bun was brioche, and the turkey was juicy-- very tasty all-in-all. The onion rings were minced and shaped into a ring, which was a downside, but fried fresh and crunchy.

The food was made-to-order and the service was friendly. I would definitely suggest this place for take-out or delivery if you're in the mood for this type of fare, or as a drunken pit stop after some late night bar hopping. -Laurel

This place has to get a lot of business - it's in the middle of one of the best parts of town to get cheap drinks, and it's super delicious. However, in their attempts to be witty, this place fails miserably, because every other word is spelled incorrectly, and all of their sentences are grammatically incorrect. This doesn't necessarily affect business, per se, and it did entertain me a great deal, but for some reason it always bothers me when businesses can't spell.

The night before, I had had dreams of eating hamburgers, and they were probably the best I'd ever had. I woke up craving them, so I was unbelievably excited to find Rush Hour while we were walking around the LES (and also because I had pain in my ankle and thigh because I had just fallen in a hole that was plugged with an upside down traffic cone, which made a...hole). All in all, his place really hit the spot. Laurel's right though, it is pretty tiny, and the stools are pretty much the same height as the table, so it makes it hard to eat properly.

Foodwise, I also got a turkey burger and onion rings, but I added a lemonade. It was fresh squeezed and had just the right amount of sugar, a perfect combination for a greasy meal, but about 20 minutes later I was about to fall over again...from pain. Make sure you take some tums beforehand, or at least 3 drinks. -Jennifer

Address: 134 Ludlow St, near Rivington St

Payment: Cash, Cards

Take Out: Yes

Open Late: Yes! 2am weekdays, 4am on weekends

Delivery: Yes

Large Group Friendly: No

Bar/Happy Hour: No

Roberta's Pizza

Okay, so I didn't get any pictures of the food. But there's a reason - we ate it so quickly, I completely forgot. Also, the first time we went to Roberta's, Laurel and I had a little adventure beforehand. First, we went to a bar in Carroll Gardens called Sample This, which we'll have to write about later because I think we're in love with it. Either way, when we finally tried to get to Roberta's, we had to take a cab because Carroll Gardens is about three trains from Bushwick.

Unfortunately, however, the cabbie didn't have GPS and we were lost, oh, I don't know, forever? And he pulled over three separate times to look at a map, costing me $10 more than it should have. By the time we got to a street we vaguely recognized, I ended up throwing $20 at him and jumping out, resulting in us being in the middle of nowhere. I asked a car at a stoplight which way to go, and the driver (he was black and kidding, sort of) said "Towards the white people." I laughed wholeheartedly, and Laurel waved at them. We then walked FOREVER and then finally ended up in the middle of nowhere eating margherita pizza and drinking wine Amanda brought. To be honest, I still have no idea how to get there...

Because the second time proved much more lucky - Brett drove. However, I did realize it takes at least 3 trains to get to this place unless you're in Manhattan near an L. However, the pizza is really tasty and I was glad we made it. I made my own pizza - pesto, artichoke and ricotta and it was delicious, although I wanted feta and pesto sauce rather than just basil leaves, but that's okay. Also, I will say the waiter (although totally hot) is either pretty inattentive or completely awkward. He always seems to have every single table in the joint and doesn't know whether he's coming or going. The first experience with him, I let him finish our wine, but the second I almost ran into him when he finally came to our table to give me a box to take home my pizza (which by the way, the portions aren't that big, I was just full from my BYOB). - Jennifer

Indeed, it was quite the adventure finding this place. When we FINALLY reached our destination, we walked right past it because we had no idea it was a place of business, let alone a pizza joint. It's definitely tucked away, but still manages to stay busy.

I can't say I was in the best state of mind to accurately judge the pizza itself, but I do remember it being pretty delicious. I'm a sucker for good margherita pizza, and this was good-- fresh sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil. The portion was a little small, however, and a bit pricey as far as pizza goes (aren't pizza and ice cream supposed to have the highest profit margins, other than McDonalds fries?). But I am definitely willing to go back, as I am a true lover of pizza. I'd especially go back if I had a ride (Brett? eh?).

I would suggest this place if you are craving some good pizza, interesting and fresh toppings, are willing to spend a little more on said pizza, and have some time to spare and a walking buddy. -Laurel

Address: 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn (Bushwick)


Payment: Cash only

Take Out: yes

Open Late: yes

Delivery: yes

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: BYOB

May 11, 2008

Le Petit Cafe

Jess woke me up and reminded me of our brunch date, so I started scouring the internet for somewhere that had cheap breakfast in my favorite part of Brooklyn - Carroll Gardens. I settled on Le Petit Cafe, and I'm so glad I did. We went in and were a tad confused - it was super small and looked like a place that you just order at the counter and then sit down and wait. But then the waitress pointed us to the probably one of the most magical places I had ever seen. It was a huge "backyard" patio, complete with an outdoor fireplace, cobblestone floor, a fountain, a garden, and, of course, gnats (which ended up not being a huge deal).

I was craving my standard brunch - french toast and eggs. I was elated to find that they had both and it was cheap ($5.95 for the french toast, and $3.50 for eggs, home fries, and bacon). The french toast was absolutely delicious - soft melt-in-your-mouth egg-coated thick cut french toast. The eggs and bacon were a little weak, but the home fries were absolutely yummy, made with peppers, onions and a bit of thyme. I was also craving lemonade, which surprisingly they had and I was so excited.

My only complaint was the service. It was terrible. There was no one to direct traffic (you seat yourself) and it was hard to get the wait staff's attention. When you finally did get their attention though, they were pretty nice. To be honest, it might not be worth it unless you have a lot of patience and time on your side, and the food isn't necessarily that fantastic. However, it's really pretty in there, so it might be worth it. And there's apparently a Le Petit Cafe in Soho, but I'm not sure it's the same owners (that one apparently sucks a lot more). - Jennifer

I will most likely return to Le Petit Cafe at some point, and for the following reasons: it is standard breahfast/brunch fair, which honestly is what I want at breakfast/brunch time. Also, as Jennifer pointed out, the setting is so so nice. It's a little like eating in a really fancy green house. And lastly, the food is pretty good and so are the prices. I felt like I should have paid a lot more judging by the surroundings alone, but I only paid $3 for 2 eggs and sausage on a roll. Deal!

The menu included all kinds of egg dishes (sandwiches, benedict, etc), french toast, pancakes, a large variety of paninis, granola, soups, salads, and lots to drink-- smoothies, juices, beers, sodas, etc. I will most likely return when I have a visitor, as anyone could find something to their taste here.

The service was slow and sparse, but I wouldn't go here for table service if you were in a hurry anyway. It's much better to sit and enjoy the covered patio in the back. Isn't brunching about relaxing, anyway? -Laurel

Address: 502 Court St. near 5th St (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)


Payment: Cash, Cards

Take Out: Yes

Open Late: 10:30 Mon-Sat, earlier Sun

Delivery: No

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Some beers and such, no actual bar


We've been to Lobo before, but only for margaritas and chips and salsa. I did gather from that visit that the margaritas were tasty and well-mixed, which is pretty much enough for me to return. And return we did-- in honor of Cinco De Mayo.

We had a party of six, so we didn't expect to be seated quickly on the biggest Mexican food-eating, margarita-drinking day of the year. We were told there would be a 45 minute wait, but after standing around for less than 5 minutes we were told a reservation was canceled and a table just our size was ready. What luck!

The menu is large and sports standard Tex-Mex fare: tacos, fajitas, chalupas, burritos, etc. Everything is priced as usual in NYC, ranging from about $9-14 for an entree. Margaritas are $7 for a standard with different flavors and a large size available. I had chimichangas, which consisted of two fried burritos with chicken, rice and beans inside. Not the best, but definitely not bad and satisfied my Mexican food craving. The best parts were easily the chips and salsa and the margaritas. The salsa is free, fresh, well-seasoned, and the staff did a decent job of keeping some on our table at all time. The margaritas were strong and made with fresh juice and good tequila.

The service was decent, especially considering it was their busiest day of the year. I will most likely be back for some drinks and chips and salsa, especially when its nice out so I can relax in the garden seating. -Laurel

Let's face it - if you read our blog, you would think that we are alcoholics. Perhaps we are, but I personally don't think so. The first time we came to this lovely little establishment, we had just gone to the Essex for our first book club meeting and watched leatherheads (which wasn't that great, of course). We had been drunk all day and decided to keep going with some gigantic margaritas. They were still a tad expensive I must say.

Going on Cinco de Mayo was the next obvious choice, and a good one. I was pretty hungover from a night of hanging out with those dudes in The Protomen (by the way, my parents DO read this, and I apologize profusely for disgracing the family name), so I decided to forgo drinking. Instead, I settled in on some nice, delicious chicken burritos. And man, they were tasty. We go to La Esquina a lot in this office, and to be honest - I dig these Lobo burritos a lot more. The beans were pretty gross though, unfortunately, because I love refried beans. Other than that, the atmosphere was pretty cool, except they had the Mexican flag upside down for some reason. Not a big deal, and maybe I'm not in the loop of Mexican culture - but I just thought it was weird. And I like the employees - they were super attentive (probably because they wanted us to leave, but I'll take it that they were just awesome). -Jennifer

Address: 218 Court St at Warren St (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn)


Payment: Cash, Cards

Take Out: Yes

Open Late: Midnight on the weekends.

Delivery: Yes

Large Group Friendly: Yes, and they take reservations for groups of 5 and over.

Bar/Happy Hour: Yes, and margaritas are cheaper during happy hour.
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