The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

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.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Six Days On the Road and I'm Gonna Make It Home Tonight

Escovitch. Don't Deny Yourself. Done right, it's delicious.

Two fantastic versions of that song, one by Dave Dudley and the other by the Flying Burrito Brothers, vie for best on my list of 1,000 greatest tunes of all time. The tune and changes and words are exactly the same, but the meaning of the songs seems completely different. That's an amazing accomplishment, really. I know that sort of lyrical costume change happens sometimes in the world of American Standards, as per Jonathan Schwartz's WNYC radio program, but then you have to listen to HIM, which means your day is pretty much ruined. Sorry Jonathan, but I just can't stomach the sound of your saliva amplified as it is through that shock-mounted Neumann microphone.

Has it really been six days since I posted? The Q has busied himself at work and play, and I've hardly missed it. Perhaps the blogging has lost its luster. On a related note, there's been something I've been meaning to ask you for some time, and now's as good as any. Do you eat a lot? I mean, of course you eat some, and I'm not asking whether you eat too much, but do you sample the various foods of the nabe with relish? Or rather, since relish doesn't go well with everything, do you buy food at local counters on a regular basis?

It occurs to me that what the Q needs, besides an editor, is someone to share their subjective opinions about neighborhood nosheries so that folks can hopefully become a bit more adventurous in their culinary experimentation. Me, I'm a coop shopper and daddy of poorly trained little ones, and the kids are remarkably unadventurous in their leanings, so I really don't eat out enough to make a dent in the remarkably diverse nearby offerings. (I know, I know, it's not a neighborhood of Restaurants with a capital "R," but c'mon now, every third or fourth business out of 100's serves food, and you've got to be a royal snob or have allergies to certain Caribbean spices if you can't find a decent, strange or genuinely genuine morsel of deliciousness out there.

The Yelp is a disaster, and not to be trusted, though I'm a fan of the writing of certain snotty reviews. The other sites have barely enough votes to lend a hand, and are geared towards the gourmet. Local shops might get a review that serves as a pretentious thumbs-up, as in "I wandered into this filthy hole-in-a-wall and found the proceedings charming in a third-world sort of way. The food was "interesting" and I hope to stop in again next time I'm here on Safari." But c'mon, man, you live and eat here. You're a native.

If someone wants to be the Ruth Reichl of the Q, please identify yourself and I'll give you the keys to the kingdom. In the meantime...

What's your favorite local eatery? Please share frothily!


maxwell qw said...

Mama Louisa's Hero Shop. Eggplant Special hero. Fresh turkey hero. Chicken parm on spaghetti. Oh my goodness.

Runner-ups: De Hot Pot for doubles, Ali's for aloo pie, Errol's for patties, and Peppa's for jerk chicken.

Alex said...

Honestly can't say that I like any food in the neighborhood all that much except for De Hot Pot. Other food is perfectly serviceable (mostly) but I wouldn't call it good.

diak said...

Another vote for Mama Louisa's heroes. Anything parmigiana, the Italian special, the smoked ham... I could go on and on. (The only bad thing about the place is the long wait... tip: call ahead.)

And although a little outside the neighborhood lines, has anyone tried G. Lee's BBQ (Nostrand & Union)?

Paul Galloway said...

The jerk at Peppa's is heavenly. I'll also recommend De Hot Pot, Zen Chinese, and the veggie Reuben sammich at Wholesome Foods, yum!

I wish to God I could find a halfway decent slice of pizza in our area. I'll eat Ginos', but only when I'm a) drunk or b) planning to get drunk.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Y'all. Some of the best food in the neighborhood is Bluestone at Lakeside. They even have great pizza. And Paul, for you that's even closer than Peppa's! Bluestone is a MAJOR addition to the nabe.

I've been invited for a tasting. Perhaps you should join me!

Paul Galloway said...

Right - of course I forgot about Bluestone. I'll give their pizza a try.

Actually, I think - handsdown - the best food in our area is at the Botanic Garden Cafe. I'm gonna claim that as belonging to Lefferts. Damn fine food there.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

AND...drum roll...the CHUNKY CHICKEN SALAD SAMMY IS BACK!!! When I first started going to the Garden commissary 25 years ago, that was my favorite. Then discontinued it a few years back and I constantly complained to the manager, who's still there after all these years. And danged if they didn't bring it back!

Adrian said...

Another vote for De Hot Pot, particularly for doubles I also like Culpepper's Bajaj restaurant on Lincoln and Nostrand, and Meytex Lounge. For pan-Caribbean comfort food, Mangoseed is great.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Adrian: What do you recommend at Meytex?

L. said...

Not quite in Lefferts, but Anarkali Indian Cuisine and AM Thai (both on Church) will both deliver to our neighborhood. I've had great food from both places.

suzanne said...

Ramagi's on Rogers is pretty tasty. Both their grandma's slice and margarita pizzas have earned a place in my heart and my belly.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Is it a permanent or temporary place in your belly? I'm concerned about any food that takes up residence...

shelley said...

As someone who eats from restaurants on Flatbush Ave nearly every day here's my go to list.

Jamaican Pride Bakery: Pumpkin Vegetable Soup (Friday Only). My husband is a big fan of their beef patties & meat loaf (seasoned beef in a more bread like dough, they don't have it regularly)

Blessings Herbs & Coffee: Egg, Avocado & Tomato Sandwich. Any/All salads

Errol's Caribbean Bakery: Veggie Patty, Callaloo (with or without Salt Fish) with Ground Provisions (I usually ask them to take off the oil)

Tugboat: Simple Sally Sandwich

Jus Fishy: Salmon Burger with Sweet Potato Fries (served with grilled pineapple, onions, & tomato). Also have a great seamed fish & veggie sides.

Scoops: BBQ Chunk with whichever grain they have for the day & veggie side they're serving. They also have great soup.

De Hot Pot: Doubles, but my new favorite is their Vegetable Roti (Pumpkin, Potato & Chickpea Chana)

Tip of the Tongue: 3 Bean Chili, Chicken Salad on a Croissant, Spinach & Chickpea Salad

Family Pizza: Slice

Golden Krust: Stew Chicken or Ox-Tail, rice & peas (ox-tail gravy on rice & peas) with steamed cabbage,

Out of the neighborhood, but deliver here: Ghandi Indian, A.M. Thai

I've found via eating a lot of Caribbean food over the last nine years, in this neighborhood, the Trini places season their food more consistently than the Jamaican restaurants. So if you're a person who wants your food to taste the same each time I'd stick to Scoops, De Hot Pot or Jus Fishy. If you like a more peppery flavor Errol's is your my husband (native Yardie) says "they're heavy handed with the pepper"

Jeffrey M. Jones said...

Who cares about the food??? (I do; thx)

What about the Taj Mahal version:,d.cWc