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Coffee & Tea

Long, messy Brooklyn post (Asian, coffee, tacos, and more)

PAL | Jul 28, 200606:31 PM     7

The new site has gotten me to be more chatty. Other posters on the outer borough board, I guess, see the new site as some form of cyber duct tape that has been taped to their cyber lips.

Thanh Da, the new Vietnamese sandwich place on 57th Street and 8th Ave in Sunset Park. Nice sandwich, particularly the bread, and the thing was actually spicy due to the presence of both jalepenos and some kind of red hot sauce. But overall, it seemed to lack cohesion and that certain something-something.

Olympic Pita: not new, but what a great place. The falafel on dafa bread was amazing--best to let the counter guys fill it, they know best.

The Chinese take-out place by the Prospect Avenue R station makes the best MaPo Tofu I've ever had from a storefront joint. I've never eaten anything else there...

The pho place on 86th Street and 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge is related to the famed palace of pho on Avenue U (I forget the names, but this board has crowned it the pho king of Brooklyn). But the 86th Street place, while much better than the location would suggest, just isn't as snappy as the Avenue U one.

Also in Bay Ridge, Banana Leaf, the Malaysian "bistro" in Bay Ridge, can actually pull off some non-fusiony homestyle dishes. When I ate there for lunch (roti canai and mee goreng noodles--both great) everyone in there was Asian, including a couple of ethnically Malay guys. All seemed pleased.

There is a small Korean grocery store next to Banana Leaf...this is a sign, along with a lone Korean restaurant on 3rd Ave, that Brooklyn may finally be getting a small share of NYC's Korean population.

Indeed, there IS a Patel Brothers Indian grocery on 45th Street and 4th Avenue in Sunset Park. And it's clean, has a small selection of fresh produce, and the usual array of spices and legumes. Hooray.

Tacos: La Flor de Piaxtla across from Sunset Park. Tiny, yummy tacos, like Taqueria D.F. used to make a long time ago (now they can barely boil water without messing it up).

I urge all South Slopers to try El Centenario deli (20th and 5th) for tacos and such. They even have a menu and will deliver. Their carnitas, the last time I was in there, was truly special.

Coffee news: I tried Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint, and it was superb. When I was there, though, they weren't using Seattle-based coffee beans, but instead were featuring Counter Culture coffee from Durham, North Carolina. I'm not aware of anyone else using those guys in New York. Still, I felt a little silly going all the way up to the middle of nowhere Greenpoint for an espresso. So, back at home, I still like Gorilla more than anywhere else. Yes, they are a dark-roast enterprise, but it's fresh, locally-roasted, strong stuff, and, well I just like the place. If you like your coffee drinks milder and milkier, then I'd recommend Mule on 4th and St. Marks or Regular on 11th. Both great places, but not my cup of tea.

I bought two types of beans from D'Amico and Sons--a study in Bipolar coffee-ness. The Costa Rica was stale, tasteless, and highly acidic. Just dreadful. On the other hand, the freshly roasted Viennese blend--the only blend they have listed as a medium-dark roast--was absolutely incredible. Balanced, crisp, cocoa-y, nice medium acidity.

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