36 Hours in Brooklyn


This was my first time in Brooklyn, and I was fortunate enough to be guided around town by a close friend who used to live there. These are a few of the great meals we had over roughly 36 hours in Brooklyn.

Pad thai at Williamsburg Thai

Despite its generic name, Williamsburg Thai made for a very satisfying start to this weekend in Brooklyn.

Maybe it was because I was starving, having only eaten Chex Mix and other nutritionally deficient road trip snacks on the way over. Maybe it was because I had only experienced lackluster pad thai in Boston for the past year. Or maybe the pad thai at Williamsburg Thai really was that good. In any case, Williamsburg Thai served the best pad thai I had eaten in a long time. The mango salad was refreshing, as was my passion fruit sparkler.

Coffee and pastries at Devoción

Devoción started in 2006 with the goal of producing the freshest coffee imaginable—not just by roasting the beans for flavor, but by preserving the freshness of the coffee to deliver the rest of the flavor. What makes Devoción unique is their origin-to-cup timeline. Their coffee can go from Colombia to your cup in Brooklyn in as little as ten days, a significantly shorter journey than most coffee today.

Set against the backdrop of a lush green plant wall, the atmosphere at Devoción is immaculate, bringing together hipster coffee culture, young professional digital nomad vibes, and an inviting dose of nature in a concrete city. I could’ve lingered there all day, if only there were an open table.

The guava croissant from Devocion is decorated with bright pink stripes of pastry on its shell.

Devoción is known foremost for their coffee, but they are perhaps equally well-known for their bright pink guava croissants. Shatteringly crisp, with lashes of neon pink striations across the surface, and filled with a guava paste, these croissants flaked off pink shards of pastry with every bite.

A new batch of guava croissants had just emerged from the oven when I stepped up to the counter, so I had to order them. But the leek and parmesan turnover and dulce de leche kouign amann were both tempting enough for a return visit.

Second breakfast at K’Far

On this trip to Brooklyn, I was fortunate enough to stay at The Hoxton Hotel. This stunning boutique hotel not only has bespoke guest rooms with beautiful views of New York City; it also contains an Israeli bakery, restaurant, and lounge, called K’Far.

Meaning “village” in Hebrew, K’Far is an all-day culinary village inspired by chef Mike Solomonov’s hometown of K’Far Saba in Israel. I noshed on olive and feta boreka, a pistachio sticky bun, a tahini chocolate chip cookie, and plenty of coffee. The bakery menu also features Jerusalem bagels, cinnamon walnut babka, and more.

Rum cocktails and dancing at Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock is a rum and reggae bar in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn. It’s a perfect place to meet a friend for a drink or a night out (though there is a cover and a line outside after 10pm on weekends).

A rum painkiller cocktail in a glass, with a wedge of pineapple on the rim.

Though the rum-based tropical drinks are all great, the vibes are the real draw. When you’re two Painkillers in and everyone is dancing, all seems right in the world. An added bonus: if you ask nicely, you might be allowed to bring food from outside into the bar. Peaches HotHouse is conveniently right across the street. They have great fried chicken and mac and cheese, and the cornbread portions are generous.

Yemeni coffee at Qahwah House

Did you know that coffee originated in Yemen? I am ashamed to say that I didn’t, until I came here. Qahwah is the Arabic word for “coffee.” At Qahwah House, they serve premium organic coffee, grown in Yemen.

When you first walk in, the first thing you notice is the smell of cardamom wafting on a buttery breeze. A map of the world covers one wall, showing the historic distribution of coffee arabica, showing the flow of the coffee trade from Yemen to other parts of the world. It was a humbling experience to sip such delicious coffee, prepared in a way that was unfamiliar to me, all while learning about the history of coffee and the hands that prepared it.

Two coffee pots and four small traditional coffee cups sit on a wooden table, next to a slice of sabaya, a Yemeni pastry.

The coffee here is served by the pot. Without knowing that, we ordered two. The Mofawar was my favorite—medium roast coffee served with cardamom and cream. Coffee and a slice of sabaya—allegedly Yemen’s favorite pastry, made from stacked, buttered sheets of dough and topped with honey—made for a filling and delicious breakfast.

Brunch at Five Leaves

Although we had a more substantial breakfast than planned at Qahwah House, we still rounded out the trip with brunch at Five Leaves. Famous for its connection to the late Heath Ledger, Five Leaves is an ever-popular weekend spot. Ledger was involved in planning the restaurant, and after his tragic death, his family released money from his estate so that Five Leaves could be completed and open to the public. Now, it lives on in Ledger’s memory, with certain Aussie influences on the menu.

A plate with hardboiled eggs surrounded by a bright pink rim, salmon with capers and dill, cream cheese, and potato pancakes.

Space is undeniably cramped at this popular restaurant, but despite its limitations, Five Leaves serves an enjoyable brunch. The menu contains both savory and sweet brunch staples, like ricotta pancakes and house-smoked Norwegian salmon. The mushroom toast also did not disappoint, with sauteed kale, a perfectly poached egg, and a plethora of mushrooms and maitake mushroom cream on top. It was akin to a decadent, savory French toast.

A plate with a slice of multigrain bread topped with mushrooms, sauteed kale, and a poached egg.

I’ll come back one day to try their sticky toffee pudding.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s