February 2007


Puebla
47 First Ave.
(btw’n 2nd and 3rd Streets)

East Village
(212) 473-6643

 


by Rachael Parenta

My preamble:

I am not Jesse Post. By that I mean I’m not some renowned Internet food critic from Brooklyn. Rather, I’m just your run-of-the-mill finicky eater/stand-up comedian from Brooklyn. Well, I was born in New Jersey but I live in Brooklyn now, just a few blocks from where my Great Aunt Ester and Great Uncle Jack resided a half a century ago. So am I gentrifier or am I merely reclaiming my roots? Exactly.

My point is that I don’t usually write about food. Usually, I date people for four to five weeks then spend two to three years telling jokes about them. The only time I write about food is when I use food in my poignant yet hysterical extended metaphors. (I have a great example where I talk about my relationship with the Chipwich.) However, there is a tiny eatery in the East Village that I enjoy so much it has inspired me to write and share with you.

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Beast
638 Bergen St.
(at Vanderbilt Ave.)
Prospect Heights
(718) 399-6855

 

 

In Brooklyn, we treat brunch as if it were a high holiday. In other parts of the country (even other parts of the city) brunch is kind of a novelty — maybe something to do on Mother’s Day or a pre- or post-birthday party. But here in America’s fourth-largest city it’s a birthright.

The basic tenets of the meal are just — sleep late, eat a big meal, maybe get a little tipsy, certainly work up a good caffeine buzz, read the paper slowly, talk loudly. It’s an elaborate and secular way to worship something we highly value: our day of rest.

But the execution of the meal fails often, probably because of the overkill. Though they shall remain nameless here, I’ve been burned by bad Brooklyn bruncheries who rush you along, skimp on the coffee, over-poach the eggs to the point where they fall off the plate and bounce, and generally treat the food like a no frills Restaurant Week version of their regular offerings.

This is all why I’m so attracted to Beast on the weekends. Not only do they offer up great food during brunch but they understand why we like brunch to begin with.

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The Bourgeois Pig
124 MacDougal St.
(btw’n Minetta Ln. and West 3rd St.)
West Village
(212) 254-0575

 

 

In high school, my friends and I wasted many a weekend afternoon wandering around Greenwich Village trying to be cool. I don’t think any of us knew what we were looking for, but we were sure that this neighborhood was, for one reason or another, cool. It never occurred to us that, being underage, much of what might have been cool at that point was beyond our reach. After enough Saturdays walking up and down Bleecker Street, stopping into the same bookstores and drinking the same lattes and sitting on the same benches in Washington Square, we moved on. The punchline came when we turned 21 and found only abject lameness behind the now unlocked doors of downtown.

It’s a shame that this storied corner of our city has become a sort of French Quarter of backwards baseball caps and halfhearted debauchery. Real debauchery, after all, would come with a nice sense of style.

Considering the fact that I largely stay away from these parts, I’m especially grateful for accidentally finding what I was always looking for — a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it wine bar in the middle of MacDougal Street’s chaos. It was an astonishing Happy Hour that brought me in, but it’s the snacks that keep The Bourgeois Pig alive in my workday-hardened heart.

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