By Sara Davis Christie
We’ve been on a roll lately, taking very short, random weekend trips to do absurd things, mostly go see UFC fights. This past weekend took us to Brooklyn, so this is as brief of a recap as I can do about of our 48 hours in Brooklyn, including everything we ate. Ignore the weird tenses, this is all stuff I wrote down on a napkin so I wouldn’t forget.
Little Rock Airport: We didn’t eat here because we’re running late all the time. Didn’t even hit the bagel place as per tradition! Also, TSA pre-check is the jam!
Reagan National Airport: I had never heard of this airport before, but here we are!
U Street Pub: Turkey Club Sliders: UGH. I know I should have extremely low expectations in airports re: dining, but geez. All I can think about while eating these stupid tiny sandwiches is, “WHY DID I DO THIS?!” A million “pickled” red onions AND super honey loaded Dijon, the 1-2 punch of terrible for my palate. The whole thing was sweet and dry and upsetting. Mimosa was helpful. Here’s to better choices soon….
Brooklyn! We’re here!
Checked into our Airbnb and immediately went to the bar/snack place around the corner.
Midwood Flats: Spicy Lil’ Wings: Hungry as hell. Don’t typically eat a lot of wings, but this is what the table wanted and after two margaritas (house made and delicious) I don’t care, I just want food. Pretty delicious but thank God for ranch ‘cause my mouth is on fire.
Bluebird Brooklyn: Meatballs, Hot Tots, Crispy Brussels: Meatballs are legit. This sauce is extra garlicy which gets a million points from me. These tots though… These taste like when you were a kid and somebody’s mom who had worked hard all day then came home, realized she needed to feed a bunch of kids and pulled out a bag of freezer burned tots and baked them until they were just brown and still pretty soft and extremely disappointing. Then she topped them with Cheez Whiz, only this cheese on the “Hot Tots” make Cheez Whiz seem gourmet. This dish should be the guilty pleasure warm dish I wanted it to be, but it’s actually real gross. Sad. Brussels are way better than the tots (what world is this!?), the citrus makes them interesting, but they’re still brussels. Still not cheese dip.
A note about traveling outside of the South: The service in New York is not great, we certainly aren’t in the South anymore. Maybe it’s not regional, maybe I just pick crappy service places. But I kind of feel like it’s regional.
Gino’s Trattoria & Brick Oven Pizza: Pepperoni Pizza, Olivey Foccacia on the house, Wings, Mozzerella Sticks: This bread is legit! It’s super soft inside and crispy butter goodness on the outside. Pizza was good, it’s so cold here I’m just glad to have anything warm. I would have maybe ordered a well-done bake if I could go back in time. Good reviews all around on everything else. Oddly enough the chicken wings got the most praise. I think these guys I’m with just really like wings. The real star of the show here though is Mario, who is exactly the person you want to encounter in an Italian restaurant. If I lived here, I would come eat here a lot just to see Mario. Side note, my husband always orders the funniest, Kool-Aid looking drinks and it makes me laugh every time.
Pio Bagel: Bacon Egg and Cheese Everything Bagel: The pace of this city never ceases to amaze and overwhelm me. Hitting the ground running with no coffee this morning was one of my worst ideas. This place is overwhelming, but the takeaway is that all NYC bagels are superior to other bagels and it might be impossible to get a bad one here. Personal space apparently isn’t a thing in this shop.
Marriott Hotel Brooklyn: We stopped here because it’s sub zero outside and since it’s “vacation” and Saturday, I really wanted a mimosa. It’s noonish and the bar has a big sign that says “Bar Opens at 4:30.” Sonofa… So, I did the obvious thing and went to the little coffee bar area and bought the baby bottles of La Marca and a bottle of OJ and made my own mimosas in the plastic cup the barista so kindly gave me. Probably could have skipped the juice… The other reason we came here is because all the fighters are staying in this hotel and we wanted to see them. It’s fun sitting here and listening to all these different fight camps discuss strategy. The Boston team is the most fun to listen to, obviously. Now we’re playing a long game of “Who is that? Who’d he fight last.” It’s a very ridiculous Saturday.
Brooklyn Brewhouse: Meatball sliders, coconut shrimp. Seemed like a good idea to cram some food in our faces before we head off to the fight. Not gonna lie, we were fully expecting this to be some TGIF kind of food, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t all pretty delicious. Shrimp were what I expected, but the sauce was a lot more complex than what usually accompanies coconut shrimp. These meatballs were so good! Seasoned and cooked perfectly on these weird pillowy soft buns. It could have been my super low expectations, but I’m very pleased with this choice. Did have a cocktail with red bull in it…WHY WOULD I DO THAT?
Ummmm, we keep passing BBQ places EVERYWHERE here and I just shake my head and say “nope” and keep walking. I can’t bring myself to even give it a whirl. In my head I just hear “NEW YORK CITY?!” in the Pace Picante style. Just doesn’t seem right.
Random Bar/Restaurant by Barclay’s Center: Chicken tenders and tequila shots. No good choices were made here. Also, are fight fans the worst? Does that mean I’m the worst?
Barclay’s Center: I had big hopes and dreams for my food experience here, but the fights were too good to be up walking around looking at menus and standing in line, so I had a Nathan’s hot dog and a beer and that was it.
Junior’s Brooklyn: ALL THE BREAKFAST. Also some French fries. You know you’ve really done something when you have to do a panoramic photo to get it all in there. The fights weren’t over until 2am, then we walked back for approximately three million miles in the coldest wind I’ve ever been in. My face is so red and peely it looks like I’ve been in a face only tanning bed for several days. We have been in better places mentally and physically. So, in attempt to soothe ourselves we have ordered it all. Turns out they bring every table a little tray of pastries and some OJ. I like it here. Everything is classic, but delicious. No frills and no disappointment. This was either the best or worst choice before heading to the airport, only time will tell.
Reagan Airport again: SmashBurger: I just wanted to try this place and so I did. It was fine. Better than the average fast food burger I think. Also, I want to be home now.
It turns out that traveling gives me a lot of anxiety because I know I don’t have time to hit up all the most delicious places and that people will always say “you should have gone to X restaurant and then to Y bar” and I will feel bad for not doing my trip right. But there’s something to be said about just accepting that you’re on a whirlwind 48 hour super adventure and just eating things that are in the neighborhood. It was a whirlwind, but we spent basically no time in cabs or on trains and we got to see a place we’ve never been before. We also saw some stellar fights, which was the whole point anyway. Here’s to more low pressure, happy eating travels in the future.