Frequent Q commenter The Snob has volunteered to share his culinary expertise in a column I'm calling Snobbnobbin', at least until I hear from the masked man himself that the name is simply too annoying, in which case I may call it Schwartz Shorts.
First up, a joint I'm sure you've seen in your travels...but how many have wandered in? Snob did, more than once I suspect, and filed this report:
IMMACULEE BAKERY II
1227 Nostrand Avenue
Prospect Lefferts is not exactly a prime place for proper pastry. Respect to Tip of the Tongue for finally bringing serious croissants and pains a choclat, but beyond Lincoln Road, the best specimen you'll find is more likely to be larded with spicy beef or herring. These are the fine, flaky patties -- pates -- you'll find at Immaculee Bakery II on Nostrand. The Haitian bakeshop (their original location is down the road at Linden) has much more on offer than just bread. Start with the pate, a quintessential Haitian street food, and understand just what sets cuisine kreyol apart from the rest of the islands. A square of folded dough, rich with buttery layers, cushions a dollop of spicy meat filling. At just a dollar, it's likely the best flavor bargain in the ever less affordable NYC. "Just one?" you'll be asked when you order a single... and it's a good question. But beyond street eats, Immaculee dishes out more substantial fare, and it's a good place to dip into Haitian food. The steam table (and when you see a crummy restaurant grade in a storefront like this, it's always because of the steam table) is piping hot and stocked with a varied menu. There's griot, the roasted-then-fried pork dish made bright with snappy, vinegary shredded carrot and cabbage pikliz atop. Some fish in sauce. Black rice with pigeon peas and mushrooms. And most unique of all, legume, the Haitian vegetable mash that's akin to Indian saag in texture, and not exactly vegetarian -- there's usually some pig or crab frolicking in the green. Vegetables and herbs -- parsley and thyme anoint most dishes -- give Haitian food a Franco-African feel that's at some remove from the neighborhood's usual jerk and curry. Don't be intimidated by the language barrier, the customer is always right here, even when he's mixing the pwa nwa with the wrong riz. Most foods can be ordered by the dollar ("$5 of griot, please"). Just don't forget that pikliz!
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.