Strap on your fanny pack and download a compass app—you’re about to embark on Edible Brooklyn’s second annual travel issue.
I’m joking. You needn’t necessarily pack your bags, but I do hope you’ll climb aboard your favorite reading chair. Because while these stories might inspire you to hit the road, our conceptual destination wasn’t guidebook-style itineraries, but a collection of great travel tales about—and, in some cases, by—a few of our favorite BK tastemakers.
Take Tamar Adler’s Hemingwayesque recounting of an unexpected dinner in an unassuming Italian town. The closest I’ll ever come to tasting that meal is likely Flatbush Avenue, where the feast she and her brother shared might inflect his flavors at Franny’s. But while I’ll never experience that mostarda firsthand, Adler’s moving memory is itself a palpable pleasure.
I was sent on another armchair adventure by the story of chef Liza Queen’s two-year tour of Vietnam. I’d long loved her market-minded menu at the Queen’s Hideaway in Greenpoint and was heartbroken when it folded three years ago. But lucky for you and me both, she took an impulsive sabbatical in Saigon, where she gained fluency in flavors like fish sauce and shrimp paste. Now back in Brooklyn, she brings those ingredients to bear at her new Bedford Avenue restaurant, Potlikker, where the category-defying menu includes a few killer Vietnamese dishes—no passport needed.
Perhaps all roads lead to Williamsburg, or so it seems from our photo essay on Toby Smith’s equatorial expeditions in search of incomparable coffee for his cafés on North 6th Street and its sister outposts in Singapore and his native Australia. The direct-trade don personally travels everywhere from Brazil, Costa Rica and Guatemala to Yemen, Java and Ethiopia, meeting the farmers who grow the cream of the crop, and bringing the best beans back to Brooklyn (and the best images to this issue).
But other trips detailed in these pages are of the more replicable sort—like our meaty weekend in Montreal, by the butchers who supply our steaks at Fleisher’s in Park Slope, complete with both Edible-minded itinerary and abundant first-person anecdotes. (What, you’d never quite comprehended that our state borders a French-speaking country? Me neither. Oy vey. On y va.)
Or follow St. John Frizell, owner of Red Hook’s Fort Defiance, on a ravenous ramble through real-life Portlandia, a West Coast wonderland of succulent crab, small-batch beer and forest fungi. Beware: You may consider decamping to Oregon.
But even after savoring these experiences—on the page or in the flesh—we bet you’ll conclude as these chefs, butchers and mixologists do: that the rest of the planet is a great place to visit, but that you wouldn’t trade Brooklyn for anywhere else on Earth.
Cover: Ukrainian dumplings, grandma style. Photo credit: Vicky Wasik.