For our last day in NYC, my friends and I decided to dress Bohemian.
Well, yeah. That’s our definition of “Bohemian”—I think we dressed more LA-hipster instead. The unexpected warm weather really messed us up.
That was our conceived theme of the day, because we were going to hit up the two most hipster areas in Brooklyn: Williamsburg and DUMBO.
People hate on hipsters for many reasons, calling them every colorful adjectives from “pretentious douche-bags” to “free-bumming spoiled children” to “unshaven, vegan, scowling, music-blasting, coffee-sniffing hypocrites.” Okay, that last one was a combination of many adjectives, but as a whole, that’s the kind of negative connotations hipsters bear. In fact, most professional newspapers don’t even allow journalists to use the word “hipster” to describe anyone because its interpretation today is varied—most leaning towards the unfavorable.
(Hilarious!!! Picture credit to Cat Birds Eat)
As an amused observer, however, I find hipsters adorable, from their plait shirts and oversized glasses down to their skinny jeans and pointy shoes. Maybe it’s because my dad used to be one—until he became a born-again Christian pastor/missionary.
I think it’s kind of funny, in an almost sad way, that people make fun of hipsters sniffing artisanal coffee beans and chowing on organic raw salads all they want, while hipsters make fun of us “mainstream” people drinking Starbucks coffee and eating a (real meat) burger. Can’t we all just get along?
I think the hipsters’ original movement towards authenticity and uniqueness is laudable. But like any movement, it’s lodged itself into a label. That’s just human nature—we like to define ourselves and group ourselves with like-minded people into a common identity. And we tend to look down on people who aren’t part of our group. I’ll bet there were hipsters even during the Stonehenge ages.
I’ve talked and even worked with hipsters before. Individually, even if we disagree on some things, I find they retain their unique personality and interest. And all of us do. It’s just when we hang out as a group or clique that we become conformed into a group identity, but I don’t know…I don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing. After all, we all need a place in which we belong.
We met a lot of interesting characters in Williamsburg and DUMBO. Not all went under the “hipster” category, but uh…there definitely were a lot of “plaid+skinny jeans+crumpled scarf” attires.
But first, before we arrived in Brooklyn, we stopped by Essex Street Market just to browse around. We weren’t really planning to get anything, but when we saw the array of fantastic Greek foods laid out fresh from the oven at Boubouki, we knew we had to try something!
The lady working at Boubouki was so sweet. She’s into the whole natural and seasonal ingredient philosophy, and she pleasantly conversed with us about her business and passion.
She said that she has a special phyllo dough company she frequents because they apparently have the best tasting phyllo. She bakes her savory pies fresh every morning. In fact, the spinach pie she had laid out was still warm from the oven.
Obviously we bought a piece.
It was crunchy and flaky like butter-infused parcel paper, with a tangy and sprightly filling of sheep’s milk feta and fresh spinach in the middle. Oh my goodness. I really wish I had a Greek godmother.
We also stopped by Shopsin’s, the most bad-ass original hipster of restaurants.
I first heard about Shopsin’s from a fellow blogger who told me the owner is bird-flipping crazy. She apparently got kicked out of the eatery because she took too long to decide on the menu. But goodness, with a bazillion wonderful-sounding items on the menu, I don’t know how anybody can decide what to order! The owner doesn’t conform to any one concept or cuisine, thus jumbling all kinds of mad creations into his menu. He doesn’t conform to customers, either, as you can probably tell.
We passed. We didn’t have the time for a sit-down meal, and Shopsin refuses to allow take-out. Plus, each dish was expensive.
We took the subway to south Williamsburg in Brooklyn, just off the tip of the Williamsburg Bridge.
I sound like a tourist right now, but I love riding the NYC Subway! It’s the dirtiest of most subways I’ve ridden in my life, but I love going down the station and having all sorts of entertainment troupes break dancing or banging away on pails. It always makes me appreciate how many “undiscovered” talented people live in this city.
The only downside about the Subway is that it gets cramped like sardine tins most of the time. But we rode the train during non-rush hour so we got a whole compartment to ourselves. Hence the camera-whoring.
Anyway, we got off at Bedford Avenue and walked for our third bagel store of the NYC trip.
This is my old buddy, The Bagel Store. I wrote a glowing review for it once, and I will try to contain my brimming enthusiasm for it now.
But aaah! I really love The Bagel Store!!! Its home may be in hipster town of Williamsburg, but dang it is badass! They claim to be the best bagels in Brooklyn, but honestly…I think I like their bagels best out of all the three bagel shops I visited in New York.
There are many things I love about this bagel store (the most being their background story), but from a purely bagel-lover standpoint, The Bagel Store doesn’t just carry the same ol’ sesame and everything bagels.
They are bagel artistes—without a hint of pretension and snobbery. The owner, Scott is seriously in love with bagels, and he likes to play around with different flavors for both bagels and cream cheese. Just drool over this colorful array of cream cheeses:
It’s this kind of playful creativity that makes the mundane affair of bagel consumption so exciting and fun. But having more choices means it was even harder for the three of us to agree on which bagel and cream cheese combination we wanted to share.
So we did what any reasonable people in our shoes would do: we each got our own, and we also hauled a dozen various bagels to lug home.
Marilyn got the everything bagel with spinach artichoke cream cheese.
Tracy got the classic breakfast combo of sesame bagel, egg and cheese:
Oh my God look at that cheeeeeeeese.
I got two, because damn it, I wanted both savory and sweet options. So the first bagel was French toast bagel with Nutella cream cheese:
That’s right—Nutella cream cheese!! It was freaking dynamite in the mouth. And yes, that’s a light dusting of powdered sugar on top. Despite it sounding like dessert, it’s actually tame on the sweetness. It’s not a donut—it still stays true to its chewy and elastic bagelness.
My second bagel combo was the Bacon, Egg & Cheddar bagel with the sundried-tomato-bacon-scallion cream cheese.
Yes, yes, yes! It tastes every bite, chew and lick as good as it sounds.
(We like to stuff our face with bagels. Picture credit to Marilyn.)
Since Tracy and Marilyn both had a savory breakfast, they decided they needed to cap the morning with something sweet. Naturally, after our all-American breakfast, we wanted all-American pie.
In slinks Pies ‘N’ Thighs, which we discovered on Yelp was just about a block away from The Bagel Store:
A lascivious name for a house of luscious pies. Not gonna lie; we got a kick out of its name and that kind of immediately cinched our decision to have pie here.
It was quaint, ultra-Bohemian little bakery/cafe. In addition to pies, it also bakes a selection of sweet-smelling, sweet-looking donuts and muffins.
We obviously asked our server about the history of Pies ‘N’ Thighs’ name, and was just a smidgeon disappointed that there isn’t any juicy story behind the name. Other than pies, the store is known for its deep-fried Southern chicken—thus, Pies ‘N’ (chicken) Thighs.
Everything about this place is cute. From the colorful chalkboard to the checkered tablemats…
…to the window sill decorations…
Even the menu was adorable:
It was the kind of place you cuddle with your lover when you’re dating and bring your kids for playdates when you’re married.
It came with the teeniest dusting of nutmeg. The pudding was definitely not Jell-O quality. It was thick and custardy.
But the crust was definitely the cream of the crop. It was like a big, caramelized slab of butterscotch cookie: sturdy, brittle, and intense with browned butter-and-sugar notes.
Okay, I know this NYC series seems like it’s never ending. But this is our last day in New York, and I’ll be very sad when the series ends because then it’ll really hit me that the trip is over. At least I have them documented, so I’ll remember them for as long as this blog still exists.
Oh, and just for light-hearted fun…
Question of the Day: Hipsters—love or hate them? Or ambiguous? I wonder if they only exist in America?