There are two recession specials lurking in Brooklyn right now, and I wouldn’t feel right not sharing them.
One is Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, from North Coast Brewing. It’s not that it’s a new beer—it’s twelve years old—it’s that it’s an incredible beer, and on tap (a rare thing hereabouts) dangerously close to my abode. When asked to describe it I got so excited I sputtered, “It tastes like smoke and 1962 and tuxedos and bitterness.” (Yes, someone’s been watching too much Mad Men.)
Anyhoo, this velvety stout—which its website more sensibly proclaims “has a robust coffee and chocolate flavor profile”—is available two ways in Cobble Hill. At Bar Great Harry, where the taps are always changing, the dark-as-night elixir comes in a 12-ounce mug for only $5. Or wander into microbrew haven American Beer Distributing to buy a bottle for $2.25. These beers are 9% ABV (alcohol by volume), folks. That’s two Guinnesses in one little glass—a glass, no less, with a handle, which you will require after drinking two of them.
Not wishing to feel so, well, blurry? Get thee some carrots. Grampa Van Buren used to tell me carrots would improve my eyesight, and I figured an ophthalmologist would not lie to me. I was wrong. I held it not against him, but against carrots, for years—especially that ubiquitous, often dreadfully-stringy carrot soup. So I was shocked to find a silky version I loved at Ted & Honey, a tiny shop on Clinton Street. The giant bowl you see below, a steal at $4.50, uses local produce and is puréed with a hell of a kick of ginger. My very professional food-writerly notes read: “dill, ginger, strong black pepper, $4.50, three hunks of garlic Italian bread, the bomb.” The caliber of the peppery, gingery goodness was reminiscent of Manhattan’s new health-centric eatery Rouge Tomate, where they are currently serving a killer squash soup with licorice foam—for twice the price.
Bargain, thy name is Brooklyn.