Sunday, February 17, 2008

Field Trip: Williamsburg

Although it wasn’t an official field trip, I spent Friday night exploring and enjoying Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And, since I haven’t had the opportunity to write about one of my favorite NYC neighborhoods yet, I figured now would be the perfect time.

J, Bon, Enrico and I headed over to Williamsburg after work on Friday and took advantage of the nice weather (as in, above 30 degrees) to explore the neighborhood. We took the L-train to Bedford and headed south on Bedford Street towards our final destination, The Slackers concert at the Luna Lounge.

Every time I visit Williamsburg I never make it more than 1/2 mile from the train station before I get sidetracked and stumble into a vintage clothing shop, boutique, bar or restaurant. So, heading in the opposite direction of the Brooklyn Brewery essentially opened up a whole new Williamsburg for me. Of course, I can’t wait to spend another sunny afternoon at the Brooklyn Brewery’s Friday happy hour once the snow melts and my bones de-thaw, but I digress.

My amigos and I made it all the way to Visa Versa, a fun unique clothing shop along Bedford Street, before we veered off the beaten path and into a store. There, J found a killer Fedora/Stemson black and white checkered hat and Bon found a perfect white disk belt. Having worked up our thirst for our first Friday night cocktail, we headed down the road to a thirst quenching bar. We found the perfect spot on Grand Street at a placed called Iona (, which kindly served us some tasty cocktails. It was the kind of place you’d love to call your neighborhood bar, with plenty of room on a Friday night to actually choose between a table or a bar stool and friendly faces to share a drink with. Although it was cozy inside, snuggled up next to a table of Brits watching soccer (yes, the real football) I’m looking forward to coming back for some outdoor ping-pong and BBQ.

Since we had some great foodie recommendations from a local Williamsburg resident at Enrico’s office we gathered ourselves and headed over to Fette Sau, for some BBQ. Unfortunately, we hadn’t read about how popular the place was and decided not to wait it out for a table (or eat outside, which was option B.) The BBQ and sides smelled and looked phenomenal and I loved the interiors of what is actually an old auto body shop. But, the few interior tables weren’t enough to hold the crowd and we had to give way to the 20 or so diners who had made it there before us. Again, another great spot for a summer day where the great outdoors can be enjoyed to the fullest. If you’d like to check it out here’s a link (

So, we headed back up to Bedford Street and around the corner to Bonita (, which was crowded but seated us quickly. I’m a native Californian and don’t expect much from NYC places who boast ‘real Mexican food,’ based on several lack luster experiences I’ve had since I moved here. Luckily, Bonita proved me wrong. The Mexican-cart-style-corn ranked favorite among our table and the unique evening specials made ordering fun. Items like the breaded chicken burrito with cilantro aioli sauce and the deep-fried quesadillas with succulent pork and chili sour cream put a new twist on NYC Mexican food for me. My fish tacos with shredded cabbage and crema brought me back to the beach in Cabo San Jose (even if tacos were only a dollar in Mexico.) The only downfall of Bonita was the lack of beverage options, which was limited to beer and wine. Based on their location, next to a church they don't have a full liquor license. But, living in Harlem, I’m getting used to that.

After dinner we headed over to Luna Lounge for The Slackers show. The venue actually reminded us of somewhere in San Francisco’s Mission District; with it’s bar like atmosphere and unprotected stage. The few tables and chairs kept the skaners in the center of the floor but once Tonight and Sister, Sister came on there was no way to avoid dancing. The band, originally from Brooklyn, told stories about growing up in the neighborhood before locking into one amazing set after another. It was an awesome show to say the least.

Heading back to the L-train we found one last bar, filled with friendly locals who only served to remind us that Williamsburg is an awesome place to spend a day…or night.

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