Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bits and Morsels heads to the Brooklyn Flea

Lobster roll from the Red Hook Lobster Pound at the Brooklyn Flea.

Every New Yorker should know about the Brooklyn Flea. As the name suggests it is a market in Brooklyn filled with great finds and fabulous food. The Flea happens on Saturdays in Fort Greene (Brooklyn) and Sundays in DUMBO.

Both markets sell vintage furniture, clothing, collectibles and antiques, new jewelry, art and crafts by local artisans, with a bit more of a collector/curated focus at the bridge flea. The Flea was founded by Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler and launched in Fort Greene in April of 2008. The second location in DUMBO was just launched this June and has been running on Sundays.

I made the trek to DUMBO last weekend with my digital and had a most enjoyable Sunday in New York. The flea is directly under the Brooklyn Bridge and since the weather permitted, I decided to walk over the bridge.

Believe it or not, this was my first time walking across the bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge, which was completed in 1883, is a marvel. Once you get acclimated to walking above a constant stream of cars and trucks (took me a few minutes) the views can’t be beat and the walk won’t take you more than 20 minutes.
Looking towards Manhattan from the planks of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Brooklyn Flea has become a food destination. It is a hub for mainly local food companies to sell their goods. Everything from the ice pops to the coffee is top notch. Unlike a farmer's market (which has its perks), all of the vendors sell food that you can eat on the spot, so come hungry.

People’s Pops makes its popsicles by hand using seasonal and all organic ingredients. This should be your first stop (especially in the summer heat). I sampled the lemon ice and the strawberry popsicles; both were ultra-refreshing (the flavors are constantly updated, so don't expect the same flavors on your visit).
On the bridge looking towards Brooklyn.
There are two pickle stands at the flea, McClure’s Pickles and Rick’s Picks. McClure’s’ are more traditional pickles and Rick’s offers a greater variety of pickled items, such as beets and green beans. Both look beautiful in the jar and both offer sample after sample of pickled goodness.

If you like lobster rolls: you absolutely must get one from the Red Hook Lobster Pound. They sell them at the Flea and their line is the longest.

Right next door to the lobster rolls are my favorite pupusas from The Red Hook Vendors. A pupusa is a thick corn cake that’s filled with anything from cheese to meats. I’m a fan of the jalapeno pepper and cheese version. They are authentic and fiery. For dessert, stick to a Madeleine or two from Choice Market and enjoy it with a cup of Stumptown iced coffee.
The destination: The Flea under the Brooklyn Bridge.
After my day at the Flea there was no way I was going to walk back across the bridge or take the subway with all my delectable finds. There were plenty of yellow taxis near the Flea and so I was back on the Upper East in 20 minutes.

The city can get depressing and lonely (or exhilarating depending on how you look at it) when it empties out in the summer months. For those susceptible to the former mood swings, the Brooklyn Flea is the perfect antidote. You might even make a new friend. New and exciting vendors and items are constantly being added so check here before you go to either one of the Fleas. There's a map of all vendors each week, so you can pre-plan where you intend to shop.
Clockwise from top left: Stumptown coffee; Madeleine from Choice Bakery; A pepper and cheese pupusa - yummy!; An iced coffee on a hot summer day.
Rick's Picks. McClure's Pickles.
Red Hook Lobster Pound menu. Lobster roll from the Red Hook Lobster Pound.
Clockwise from top left: Choice Bakery treats; Lemon ices from People's pops; Strawberry pop from People's pops; Blue Marble Ice Cream cart.
A selection of non-edibles from the Brooklyn Flea Market ...
The Bronx's Stella D'oro factory is closing in October after being in business for over 75 years. Factory workers had been on a long strike and now that they are back at work it was announced that the factory is officially closing. The operations will be moved to another location, but the cookies and products will still be available. [NY Times]

Workers process farmed-salmon fillets (SalmonChile). [WSJ]
Usually the Gourmet Institute is only available as a package deal, but this year the events are going to be open to more people with reasonably priced tickets. The Gourmet Institute is a Fall weekend event which takes you behind the scenes of Gourmet Magazine. The tickets for their food and chef-filled events will range from $20 - $300. [Food Section]

Something to think about the next time you order salmon. Chile is the second largest exporter of salmon and there is presently a virus affecting the fish they are permitted to export. This is going to have a drastic effect on Chile's economy. Atlantic salmon is most susceptible to the virus, so beware. [WSJ]

Did you know that there used to be a Steak Row in New York? Steak Row was named for all the steak houses located on East 45th Street from Lexington to first Avenue. Nothing much remains except for The Palm and Pietro’s. The Lost City is a fascinating blog which offers a full assortment of New York history. [Lost New York City]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

Comments? Contact Jordana here