Living and working in Manhattan leaves me little time to explore the outer boroughs of New York because there’s still so much to see and do in the city. After living here five years now, I have come to the realization that it’s just my excuse and that I needed to get out and explore more; aka stop being such a neighborhood snob! I decided because of all the great food and drinks NY has to offer that I needed to do a day trip to Brooklyn. I decided to pick a few Brooklyn neighborhoods near each other since I wanted to get to know some of the parts. So, Part 1 of Do a Day Trip to Brooklyn begins in the well-known areas of Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook!
My first stop was Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists in Gowanus, Brooklyn. This hip coffee spot sees quite the coffee-loving crowd daily and is a fun stop for coffee lovers. As you enter you’re greeted with the delicious smell of roasted coffee beans; it’s a great morning stop!
“The people at Abbotsford Road have been sourcing and roasting coffee since 2002. Being in the coffee industry for so long means we’ve developed valuable partnerships with producers around the world to ensure an exceptional supply of beans. Even more importantly, we’ve also developed a way of doing business that best helps the people pouring our coffee – you.” -Abbotsfordroad.com.
They roast their own beans on site and are happy to walk you through the process because the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. The atmosphere is industrial and calm, so if you work from home and are looking for a new coffee spot to park and work for an hour or two, this is a great go-to place. I had the pleasure of sipping on a hot cup of the Vivo and the Forza Coffee’s paired with a Thai Chicken Meat Pie as well as Sausage Roll. Both the coffee and food were delicious and I really enjoyed having the Vivo with the sausage roll because the Vivo coffee has fruit and sweet cherry notes, along with honey and toffee. After some black coffee, I enjoyed a Laté because it was a cold day in Brooklyn and I love caffeine. The coffee here is outstanding, but the laté really won my heart! It’s smooth and well balanced, almost making it a very seductive late sipping experience. If you want something refreshing without caffeine also, Abbotsford Road also makes great iced teas too. The Strawberry Iced Tea is my go-to because it has just the right amount of sweetness, but isn’t too sweet.
After our Abbotsford Road stop, it was time for some whiskey at Van Brunt Stillhouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. This distillery produces some great Bourbon, Whiskey, Rye, American Whiskey, and a Smoked Corn Whiskey! Each and every one is so unique and has a great taste. I feel like they make a brown spirit for every palate preference here, and if you like to learn a lot while sipping whiskey, then you will want to get tickets for a tour here! You’ll tour behind the scenes in the distillery and learn about the distilling process while sipping all that Van Brunt has to offer. You will learn so much on the tour about bourbon, American whiskey, and even some fun history about the company and where they source their quality ingredients. After the tour and tasting, it’s always a good idea to enjoy a cocktail at the bar, and on Sunday’s from 6pm-close, you can enjoy $8.00 Old Fashioneds as well as 10% off VBS bottles!
MOONSIDE – VBS Rye Moonshine, Lime, Cucumber, Mint Infused Cane Syrup, Seltzer
AMERICAN SOUR – VBS American Whiskey, Lemon, Cane Syrup, Aquafaba
RYE OLD FASHIONED – VBS Rye Whiskey, VBS Aromatic Bitters, Cane Sugar, Lemon Twist
OLD SMOKEY – VBS Smoked Corn Whiskey, Maple, Arbol Pepper Bitters
I had the pleasure of enjoying the Old Smokey cocktail which packed quite the punch as well as the Moonside, which was lighter and refreshing. Van Brunt Stillhouse makes a great late in the day stop after a nice brunch because it is open weekdays from 4-9pm and weekends 2-8pm and 2-9pm.
Feeling great and still with the rest of the day ahead, we headed to Carroll Gardens to The Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain for some Egg Creams, Ginger Soda, Sandwiches, and Ice Cream Sundaes! Carrol Gardens is a gorgeous area full of beautiful brownstones, great restaurants, and the Farmacy. It used to be an old apothecary that is now a restaurant serving delicious food, soda fountain drinks, and sundaes. The sandwiches here are large and delicious. I scarfed down a Vanilla Egg Cream and Green Gorilla Sandwich made with house pesto and Brooklyn mozzarella. Its gooey, giant, and delicious! Alongside the green gorilla was the Pastrami & Kraut which is piled high with meat and sauerkraut; it’s a pastrami lover dream sandwich! Last but not least, if you have enough room for dessert (you should make sure to save some room) then you should try the Affugazi Affogato and the Sundae of Broken Dreams. The menu is quite large here and offers more than sandwiches. Here you can have Brooklyn Hot Dogs, Mac & Cheese, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Grilled Cheese on top of sixteen sundae offerings, and egg creams. This spot is perfect for groups and families and makes for the ultimate weekend brunch stop or for after work sweets.
This day trip to Brooklyn mentally was relaxing as well as it really opened my eyes to just how much New York I’ve been missing. I now know not to use Manhattan as my excuse and plan to eat and drink more throughout Brooklyn this spring and summer, so stay tuned!