I have a Pamela Barksy canvas bag inside my purse that reads, "I'm having an affair with New York." I have always loved the Big Apple. Despite countless trips to Manhattan (I think if I actually tried to count, it might be close to 100 visits), before this weekend I had never been to Brooklyn.
I blame my aversion to crossing the bridge on Sex and the City. When Miranda and Steve wanted to relocate to Brooklyn, the girls were shocked. Actually, horrified. They complained about how far away it was and even insisted that cabs won't go there. What can I say? They got to me.
When my family was invited to a wedding in Brooklyn, we all decided it was time to give this popular borough a real chance. We rented an Airbnb in Carroll Gardens and showed up ready to explore.
On our first day, we headed out in search of lunch. My coworker had suggested a place that was just a few blocks from our Airbnb called Buttermilk Channel. It's on the corner of Huntington Street and Court Street in Carroll Gardens.
We were pleasantly surprised to discover they had space for us on the outdoor patio. We were seated next to a man enjoying lunch with his Golden Retriever, Dan, who was wonderfully friendly.
I had taken a peek at the menu online and was delighted by all the vegetarian-friendly options.
We started with a round of ice tea for all the ladies. Both my mom and sister found the tea too dark, so kept watering it down with their tap water.
To begin, we ordered the popovers. My mother, who is usually the portrait of restraint when it comes to dining out, has an obsession with popovers.
The Buttermilk Channel popovers come sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with honey. I ripped off a piece and the moment the honey hit my lips I had a flashback to Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) where you celebrate a sweet new year by dipping apples in honey. Both my mom and sister felt the popover itself could have been flakier, but I was content.
For her entree, my mother selected the avocado toast. I wanted to make a comment about that being a "basic" order, but I knew she wouldn't get the joke.
The toast arrived topped with mashed avocado, pickled cherry peppers and a soft boiled egg.
When she had totally cleaned the plate, she commented, "The avocado was so creamy and the peppers added a nice spice. My favorite element was the super crunchy bread." She continued, "Oh, the egg was also cooked perfectly."
My sister decided on the fried chicken sandwich. When we first sat down, she had asked the hostess what she thought the best item on the menu was and with zero hesitation she fired back, "No question, the fried chicken sandwich."
When the sandwich arrived, all three of our mouths dropped open. Look at the size of that thing!
I watched as my skinny sister inhaled the entire sandwich - fried chicken, bun and slaw - leaving just a few batter crumbs on the plate.
As she wiped the corners of her mouth with her napkin, I said, "So? What did you think?" She smiled and replied, "Well, this is without question the best fried chicken sandwich I have ever had." Please notice how a tendency towards hyperbole runs in the family. She added, "The batter on the chicken is what you dream about - crispy, peppery and caramel brown. The bun was delicious and though the portion was definitely enormous, it wasn't obscene."
I too received an oversized entree. I had chosen the veggie burger and what landed in front of me was a tower of veggie goodness. That is at least three inches high!
The patty was made from mushroom and barley, then topped with cheddar cheese, cabbage slaw and pickles.
This burger was huge and intimidating to lift and try to take a graceful bite (this is not first date food). The mushroom-barley patty was thick and very filling. I loved the addition of the cheddar cheese and just like the fried chicken sandwich, this too came on a fluffy bun.
To share, we ordered a side of French fries. None of the burgers or sandwiches come with them automatically (which my mom thought was mean and cheap). These fries were superb - thin, crispy, coated in salt and even more heavenly when dunked in the accompanying aioli.
Overall, we really loved our experience at Buttermilk Channel. The outdoor patio was lovely, the food was fresh and the portions were generous. For me, the best part was the never-ending wave of dog walkers parading by with excited pups.
I must say, my first-ever meal in Brooklyn was a total home run.