Global business with local company is what Urban Adventures is all about. We embarked on their Beer and Czech Tapas tour in Prague two years ago, and it’s clear to see how much they’ve grown since then. Now with tours all around the world, each taken care of by a local’s perspective and handpicked gems, we knew we were in for some of Brooklyn’s best food and drink when we signed up for their Brownstone food tour.
That local was Brian, our incredible guide who brought first class knowledge and an even better welcome and hospitality. Being a food blogger himself, we got on right away and were also joined by another couple from across America. Meeting up at Stinky Brooklyn on Smith Street, we were already introduced to a completely new side of Brooklyn compared to where we stayed in Bushwick.
Just as cool but in a completely different way, it’s clear to see that it’s not a cheap place to live! The main road and side streets were filled with characterful cafes, bars and restaurants and we could not wait to fill our boots by experiencing the best of the local businesses that the tour focused on. Urban Adventures do an absolutely wonderful job of supporting the economy of the communities that they bring their tours to – all places were family run and use only local ingredients from the state of New York.
It was so refreshing to experience the community togetherness between the small businesses that you simply don’t expect in NYC. We saw numerous examples of how the cafes and restaurants supply each other with their speciality, whether it be bread, coffee beans or locally brewed beer. It reminded us a bit of Sheffield… and that’s not something we expected to say about New York!
We won’t go into full detail about each of the stops as we wouldn’t want to ruin it for you – please get this on your NYC itinerary, whether it’s your first time, tenth time or you’re a New Yorker yourself.
We started off at Stinky, perhaps named after the worldie cheeses that are displayed from floor to ceiling across the shop. Indulging in some Spanish manchego at 10am kicked things off extradonarily, and we returned later on to buy some of their groovy craft beers for an evening at Sofar NYC. We also got our hands on the best packet of crisps we’ve ever had – Torres Selecta Black Truffle changed our lives and we almost broke down in tears to find them at Whole Foods Market at Picadilly Circus last weekend! You need to get involved.
Kicking on to Bien Cuit where we enjoyed raisin bread which hadn’t long come out of the oven, then to Stumptown for some of Brooklyn’s finest third wave flat whites and one of our stand out visits of the tour at One Girl Cookies, we were living the foodie dream in arguably the best city for the best food in the world.
One Girl Cookies served up elegant bites of chocolate pistachio, lemon rosemary, and chocolate hazelnut with cinnamon cookie cakes. They certainly didn’t hang around for long – just seemed to dissapear as soon as it hit your mouth, leaving only the heavenly taste to linger… in a good way!
We never seem to come away from a food tour feeling anything but stuffed – craft IPA’s from Local 61, salmon and cream cheese bagels from Shelsky’s and spinach filled pastries from a Syrian bakery made sure of that once again. We simply can’t fault a single stop on the tour.
Another stand out is D’Amico coffee which encapsulated all that is great about the Brooklyn community and the Urban Adventures ethos. Away from copious Starbucks branches and third wave hipsters (as much as we love that too), we were taken to a coffee shop which is completely adored by the locals. Sat down right by the colossal coffee bean roaster which the family use every single morning, we were joined by the owner who chatted to us all on a one to one basis, expressing her love for what she does and the cafe’s entire back story. It’s clear that the punters are regulars in the truest sense of the word, with friendly vibes more commonly found in a family living room than a coffee shop. Everyone knew everyone. It was amazing to see and be a part of for just half an hour or so.
Our tenth and final stop led us to Brooklyn Farmacy for a traditional Egg Cream beverage – no it’s not a pharmacy and no the drink has absolutely nothing to with a Creme Egg, nor contain cream nor egg!
It’s a Brooklyn born cold drink mixing milk, fizzy water and chocolate/vanilla syrup, freshly prepared in front of us which we’re told is the only way of making it the way it should be. Whilst those that adore it are crying out to have it in a bottle or can, at least this place aren’t having any of it. It’s refreshing taste and beer style head means it has to be made fresh and served in a glass each and every time.
What a way to end proceedings – with something you can only get in the area we were in.
We had such a terrific afternoon on the Brownstone Brooklyn Tour. Brian represented the pioneering Urban Adventures perfectly and we’ll certainly be looking out for it next time we’re travelling. Not only were we experiencing some scrumptious bites to eat on the tour itself, but he gave us top class reccomendations for the rest of our trip – if you’ve read our last post which included Ops Pizza and Hometown Bar-B-Que, we picked these tips up from Brian!
One more NYC post to come from us, and it’s all about how to have the perfect week in this tremendous place. Let us know down in the comments if there’s anything you want to find out from it!