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Artery cloggers on Union Street - Schnack and Helen's Fabulous Cheesecake (LONG!)

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Artery cloggers on Union Street - Schnack and Helen's Fabulous Cheesecake (LONG!)

Dipsy | Apr 26, 2003 04:57 PM

Today's gustatory pleasures were found across the BQE on that quaint little stretch of Union Street. Schnack I'd heard about. Helen's Fabulous...how did we not know about this?!

First Schnack. I was a huge fan of Patois from the get-go. Regrettably, after a truly horrid service experience at Uncle Pho some years ago, we stopped supporting Alan Harding Enterprises. But driving down Court Street this afternoon we decided that we would lift sanctions and venture over to Schnack.

It just seemed like the perfect rainy Saturday sort of joint so we settled in to check out the grub. We got there around one o'clock and were surprised to find we were the only patrons. Decor is cool with the usual amusing little details Team Harding excels at - a vintage Holiday Inn Hotel-finder light box, Bozz Scaggs Silk Degrees playing in the background, comfortably mismatched banquettes.

Our waitress came over and took our drink order, then went off to prepare our milk shakes. She finally brought them out 10 minutes later, glasses not quite full but it seemed she needed to save some for herself, as we later watched her sucking back a shake herself. [Memo to skinny waitress - honey - you won't look so good in 3 months if you keep skimming from the customers' shakes!] She wondered if we were ready to order. Hmmm. We each ordered the "Triple K" - 3 schnack burgers on a kaiser roll. "Huh?" she asked. We had to point out that on the menu, 3 burgers on a kaiser was called a "Triple K". Fries for my husband, onion rings for me.

I'll admit. The food was good. Just what we wanted. But my burger(s) arrived sans the side of pickles I had requested. By this time, there was one other party in the place - a father and young son. It took a good 5 minutes to get someone's attention. Our waitress was busy in the back working on the (our) shake, lost in vanilla/chocolate bliss. So the other waiter finally looked in our direction. Now I'm normally much more vocal but I didn't want to call out with my mouth full of onion rings. In the moment, the onion rings carried more weight than the missing pickles. Pickles finally arrived, waiter left, our waitress is still rocking out and working that shake, and our glasses are empty. We're enjoying our burgers - a tad messy but rather satisfying, despite the fact that the kaiser roll seems to be a plain old bun, but I'm parched. Further note to wait staff - I would have ordered a soda, perhaps even another shake, but no one bothered to check. In fact I could have sat there all afternoon drinking those shakes and jacking up the bill! A few more parties came in, our waitress noticed at last that we were finished, and she promptly brought the bill. We paid and left and probably over-tipped her at 20+% but the damage was a mere $19 for a mighty tasty lunch. We had forgiveness in our hearts and will probably return again some day soon. Next time with bikes in tow so we can work it off.

Walking back up Union we pass a glass fronted bakery/cafe called "Helen's Fabulous Cheesecake". Or was it Helen's Famous Cheesecake? Whatever. Helen's probably should be famous. An intriguing assortment of jumbo scones beckoned us to come in. Now you'd think that after scarfing down the Triple-K, onion rings and a shake food would be the last thing on my mind. But the air in there was literally perfumed with the scent of what I surmise was creamed butter, heavy cream, and all the best things that go into scones and cheesecakes. A very friendly young woman behind the counter enthusiastically recommened that we try the scones. She made us feel that we had simply made her day by selecting two of the dried cherry variety. (Sorry but I haven't sampled them yet. I was able to look at food but not ready to eat again so I shall have to report back later). There were some five or six varieties of cheesecake in a glass case and we opted to bring home a slice each of the pistachio and caramel. I snuck a taste of pistachio not an hour ago and had to beat a hasty retreat after one forkful or I would happily have devoured both slices in one sitting. The happy counter woman also told us we must take a look at the garden, where they serve weekend brunch in fine weather. Beautiful, restful and appealing, even on a rainy day such as today. I thought I knew about most of the great food purveryors between Brooklyn Heights and all parts of the Slope, but somehow this one has been overlooked. And while frequent forays to Helen's Fabulous won't do wonders for my hips, just a whiff of fresh baked goodness certainly does wonders for my soul.

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