April 29, 2009


We went to Loulou for Easter brunch and they happily accepted our reservation for seven about 30 minutes before the fact. The interior was small-ish and homey, with another small outdoor space in the back. We opted for inside since the wind was crazy.. think moving to Oz crazy.

The options were pretty standard for brunch but with a French twist. Per usual, Jennifer and I ordered a savory item and a sweet item and split. This time it was the French Toast, which came with some fruit and nuts and syrup, and the French Burrito, which was a crepe stuffed with egg, chorizo, and veggies. The french toast was solid, reasonably fluffy and the fruit was a nice touch. But during our many brunch excursions, I've had better. It was not melt-in-your-mouth, melt-in-my-shoes good.

The burrito was interesting, and pretty tasty. It was a hefty portion, more than enough for one, and the balance of the burrito, potatoes and salad was nice. Like most things, it could have used more chorizo. Overall, the prices were standard for a NY brunch.

The service was attentive, and refilled our coffees pretty often. Although he only refilled half way every time. Seemed like he could have saved some trips by being a bit more generous, but no biggie. He was nice and we all left full and satisfied.

Loulou is a good option for brunch if you're in the neighborhood, and the atmosphere is relaxed. I'm not sure it's my favorite around, but I think I'll be back, perhaps to try dinner. -Laurel

Davis and Amanda have been raving about this place for weeks, so I was excited to try  it. As Laurel said, we called 30 minutes before we decided to go. Normally, we just wing it, but it seemed like a brunch day (you know, it being Easter and all), so I figured it would be full. Luckily, it wasn't so much.

Our sweet/savory split proved successful yet again. However, if I had gotten the French Toast alone, I would have been disappointed. See, it was good French Toast, thick cut, egg soaked, and grilled to perfection, but it wasn't great French Toast. Great French Toast, in my opinion, has a bit better toppings or maybe one more piece of toast. Something about it was just off. Not taste wise, just overall satisfaction wise. The burrito was good, but seemed a bit...overrated. No offense to my lovely friends, but their ravings about that burrito just didn't live up to expectations. It was good, and filling, and the potatoes were delicious, but the chorizo (as small a portion as it was, as Laurel mentioned) was...not very good. It was a lot of fat, rather than a lot of meat. I've had lots of chorizo, so while I was not an expert, I do feel like I can say - it just wasn't up to par.

However, I will say, the place was absolutely delightful and very cute. And the waiter played along with me when I made my usual terrible jokes (I can sometimes be an embarrassing uncle when we go out to eat). Either way, I would love to try Loulou again some time, and maybe try something different. They have a lot to offer, and everyone else seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Worth a try, if you're around the neighborhood. - Jennifer

Address: 222 Dekalb Ave (Ft Greene, Brooklyn)

Website: http://www.louloubrooklyn.com/

Payment: credit, cash

Delivery: no

Open Late: midnight on weekends

Large Group Friendly: yes, they take reservations

Bar/Happy Hour: yes-- no corkage fee on Mondays (BYOB) and 20% wine list on Sundays

April 26, 2009

Kings County BBQ

A barbecue truck near our house? Yes, please. The Kings County BBQ truck rests on Quincy Street near Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn. We were unsure how it would taste considering the website is a little tacky, but of course, we're up to give anything a try - especially if it's barbecue.

When I called, the woman was extremely nice and explained that they were out of beef brisket, but that they had everything else. She also was patient when I made sure with Laurel that we ordered everything we needed, and they were patient when we called back to add some things on. We ordered enough to try everything.

The pork is smoked to perfection and they are very generous with their servings. The barbeque sauce is sweet with a touch of twang to it, a great compliment with the slaw, which was also sweet and had vinegar in it (exactly how I like it). I have since then ordered again, with some friends, and tried the pulled chicken. It was tender and juicy, but I prefer the pork. Our friend Davis tried the beef brisket, and it was thick cut, tender and absolutely delicious. Also, the second time around, they forgot our jalapeno cheese grits, but the guy was nice enough to go back and get them, so it was no big deal.

Definitely ordering from here as much as possible, and if you're near the 'hood, you should too. -Jennifer

The faithful Southern in me explodes all over the place when it comes to barbecue. I love barbecue, especially when done right. Pork is a magical meat. These feelings accounted for, I obviously was pretty excited to find out that there was a BBQ truck equipped with a smoker near our apartment, and that it would deliver to us. Deliver barbecue. To me. M-A-G-I-C.

We called to order and the people were super nice and let us know how long it would take. They were even courteous about us calling a few minutes later and adding on to our order. About 30 minutes later a nice guy showed up with our order and we dug in like it was a limited time offer.

The pulled pork and pulled chicken were very good-- pretty moist and flavorful, and even better with the accompanying barbecue sauce. Only complaint was that they were a little cold when they got here, but it was a cold night and they didn't seem less than fresh. Both came with slaw and pickles and a bag of chips for $6 (barbecue can be expensive in NYC, so this is a much fairer price IMO). We also tried out their jalapeno cheese grits, which were a bit thick but oh-so-delicious.

We will obviously be ordering from these guys again, I can't believe we haven't yet. If you're lucky enough to live close or be nearby when the truck is moving, you should try it out too. -Laurel

Address: Moving location, usually in BedStuy (delivers). Check Twitter/call for info.

Payment: cash only

Delivery: yes

Open Late: yes

Large Group Friendly: no, but you could order for a crowd

Bar/Happy Hour: no

April 22, 2009

Coco Roco

Peruvian food at its best. Filling, delicious, and cheap. Located on both Smith Street in Carroll Gardens and on 5th Avenue in Park Slope, Coco Roco offers the standards: rotisserie chicken, black beans and rice, fried sweet or green plantains, and yuca. But they also offer some different choices for those feeling a little more adventurous, such as Pulpo Al Olivo (rosemary octopus with olive sauce) or Choros Chinos (wok roasted mussels with a ginger, pepper, onion sauce). They also offer a number of other different shrimp, squid or oyster choices, paella and empanadas.

Laurel's family orders from here quite often, so we've had the opportunity to give it a try more than once. We usually order the whole chicken with two sides, which we get with two giant orders of rice and beans, and then add a side of sweet plantains. The order comes with two different sauces: one a light cucumber type sauce with a slight fire to it (salsa verde) and the other a red sauce, but actually on the non-spicy side despite its color and contents (salsa roja). The chicken is tender and juicy with just the right amount of spice, the beans and yellow rice and plantains are the perfect compliment.

The coolest thing about this place would have to be its salsa nights. They do salsa lessons from time to time and then have nights were they just DJ into the wee hours. If I had any ability to dance whatsoever I would be the first in line, but I don't. Who knows though, maybe I'll be "So You Think You Can Dance" one day...but I'll be slightly bloated because of all that delicious Peruvian food I ate to get there. -Jennifer

I have had numerous encounters with Coco Roco by way of my aunt and uncle, since we generally order one of two things when my aunt and I aren't cooking: Joya or Coco Roco. I love Peruvian food because really, what's not to love. Anyone I've introduced to this cuisine has at least like it.

I must admit I've only ever tried their delivery and takeout. I've been inside the restaurant once to pick up food, and the interior is a little cheesy but the atmosphere is still nice. They have a small area set up for music at nights and a long bar. Every time we've ordered delivery from them, they've come pretty quickly, and sometimes super quickly (in 10 minutes). The value is really great, seeing as a whole roasted chicken with two large sides and a salad is $15 and enough for four people. Our party of four also ordered a large side of plantains for $6, making our grand total $6 apiece with tax and tip, and plenty of food.

The food is nothing fancy, but is totally comforting and satisfying. The chicken is flavorful and moist, the rice and beans pair so well, and I just love love fried plantains. I also love their white-ish-green sauce (I think it probably has sour cream and cilantro in it.. I just know it tastes good in my mouth).

Try it out-- not sure about the dine-in experience, but they have music and dancing, so can't be that bad. Definitely worth it for delivery/take-out if you're in the area. -Laurel

Address: 139 Smith Street (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn) or 392 Fifth Ave. (Park Slope, Brooklyn)

Website: http://www.yelp.com/biz/coco-roco-brooklyn-2

Payment: Credit or Cash

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Yes, open to 2am for salsa nights

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Full Bar, with different drink specials throughout the week.

April 16, 2009


I had been to Baked once before on a rare trip in a car while on the way back from Fairway. I had a coffee, which was good, and a taste of the Sweet and Salty cake, which was especially good. I was looking for a chance to go back, and over a year later that chance came in form of Ikea+Fairway+Jennifer's parents rented a car=return trip to Baked.

Inside Baked is cozy with a bit of seating, and a long counter and glass case displaying their goods. They also have their cookbook on sale, which I will one day buy. They offer all sorts of treats: bars, brownies, cookies, cakes, pastries, etc. I ordered another coffee, a slice of their famous Sweet and Salty cake, and a couple of homemade marshmallows. The Sweet and Salty cake is a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and salted caramel hidden in the cake and the icing. It's chocolatey and not too sweet, which is why it's so good. Each bite tastes of chocolate, espresso, and a hint of sweet and salty from the caramel. It's reasonably moist and the icing is nice and light. One piece is big enough for two (as you can see below). A definite try.

The marshmallows were perfect marshmallows. Soft, pillowy, sweet. I especially enjoyed the peppermint one, although I can't say eating just marshmallows is my favorite thing. These were excellent if you're a fan.

Baked is definitely worth the trip, especially if you're in the neighborhood. I just found out that they stock their treats at Green Grape in Fort Greene and I am stoked. -Laurel

Baked is a cute shop - one that I wouldn't mind sitting in to work on homework (if I had any) - and it's run by cute artsy types who were really nice and helpful when we were trying to decide what to eat...but it's not exactly close to a train. However, it is close to Ikea, so if you take the free ferry over and buy a bunch of Swedish things, you can carry your smorgasbord to Baked and enjoy a treat...smorgasbord. I think smorgasbord is the only Swedish word I know.

While Laurel and I always agree to try something different, I couldn't resist the large chunks of salt on top of the chocolate-y Sweet and Salty Cupcake. From the first bite, the mix of salted caramel and chocolate lifted my taste buds and made me feel better after a long day of shopping at Fairway and Ikea. My mother got the Sweet and Salty Brownie, which was even more tasty than the cupcake. My bite of Laurel's marshmallow was soft and delicious. I'm not a big fan of marshmallows solo, but I would probably eat many more of those if I got a chance.

Baked is definitely worth a try, and as Laurel mentioned, if you can't get a car, or don't feel like taking a bus out to Red Hook, definitely make a trip to the Greene Grape and give it a try there. - Jennifer

Address: 359 Van Brunt Street (Red Hook, Brooklyn)

Website: http://bakednyc.com

Payment: Credit or Cash

Delivery: No

Open Late: 7pm

Large Group Friendly: No

Bar/Happy Hour: just coffee and tea and such

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