The last stop on our honeymoon was a three day layover in New York before we flew back home to LAX. The flight from Belgium to LHR then JFK wasn’t terrible, but the layover was so short we ended-up running to our connection flight and barely made it on time. Finally back in the US we settled into our hotel in Jamaica and ordered delivery food and spent the night relaxing and unwinding.
The following day, we took a taxi to the Jamaica subway station and took the J to downtown Brooklyn. I had never been to New York before and the J train was a wonderful way to be introduced to the city. It was an above-ground subway train so we had the opportunity to see the neighborhoods and the beautiful old buildings. We went straight to Vanessa’s Dumpling House for some lunch and it was so nice to have a different style of food. The boiled dumplings were delicious and screamingly hot. The “pot sticker” type of pork dumplings were super crispy on one side and had so much flavor. We people-watched while we ate and sipped on our beers. Since we had a few hours to kill before Brooklyn Brewery opened we decided to hop across the street to Lucky Dog and happily discovered they had a pretty decent craft beer selection. We drank a Traditional Lager by Yuengling Brewery and enjoyed the company of fellow craft beer lovers. After chatting with some new friends for a bit we headed down the street to Brooklyn Brewery.
Brooklyn Brewery was a fun experience. Brooklyn Brewery was started in 1987 by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. Hindy learned how to brew during a six year stay in various Middle Eastern nations only to return to his home town in 1984 to found Brooklyn Brewery with his neighbor, Potter. Garrett Oliver has been head brewmaster since 1994 and is also an accomplished author and has since become partner in the brewery. I had heard lots of praise of their beer but it’s difficult to source in So Cal. We tasted the Cuvée La Boîte, Brooklyn Lager, Sorachi Ace, and Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55 to name a few. The Cuvée La Boîte was light and fruity with a bubbly mouth-feel and the Sorachi Ace was very balanced with a nice hop flavor. The tasting room was big with tall ceilings and long wood communal tables. Wooden taster coins burned a hole in my hand as we rushed to get a seat before they were all filled. Tasting the very enjoyable beers and hanging out for a few hours, we left to get some food and ended-up going to Brooklyn Bowl.
I had previously seen via Food Network that Brooklyn Bowl has the best fried chicken. Having tasted it, I am not sure if I agree but I can confidently say it was damn good. It was kinda pricey to get in just to eat ($15 per person cover) but I was so hungry at that point I didn’t care. After stuffing our faces, we continued on to Tørst. Fun Fact: Tørst means Thirst in Danish. The man behind Evil Twin beer, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, and his business partner Daniel Burns opened the bar in March 2013 so it’s still very new. Burns, the former head of Momofuku’s test kitchen, and Jarnit-Bjergso have come together to make a hip bar covered in reclaimed wood and artsy ecstatic that just happens to also serve a kick-ass tap list of beers. Not only do they have hard-to-get Evil Twin beers but they have other mouth-watering options to try. For example, I had the Gose by Westbrook Brewing Company and it was simply divine, and that’s coming off my trip to Belgium. I also had As Follows by Stillwater Artisanal Ales, which is one of my favorite gypsy brewing companies. After a long day and very fun evening cabbed it back to Jamaica.
The following day we didn’t do much in the morning because I wasn’t feeling that great (perhaps it was the gross hotel we were staying at?) but managed to drag ourselves to downtown to visit Pony Bar in Hell’s Kitchen. We took the underground subway this time and I am not as much of a fan of the underground as I am of the above-ground but it was certainly manageable. The car parking prices were outrageous so I am glad we didn’t attempt to rent a car…$35 per hour to park is just crazy. We walked a few blocks and found the Pony Bar to be seriously packed at 6pm. We managed to find a few seats open and bellied-up to the bar for a few beers and food. I ordered the grilled cheese since I was still not feeling that great and Sean got a BBQ sandwich. Both were good but a little greasy. My favorite beer from the Pony Bar was the Obovoid Oak-Aged Oatmeal Stout by Boulder Brewing Company. We decided to head back to the hotel early since we had to leave the next morning and we wanted to save what was left of our money. Next time we go I think we will stay in the city so our commute to do anything won’t be so long and arduous. Those long and hot subway rides aren’t the most fun thing in the world but it beats paying $40 for a taxi. It’s good to be home!