a romp through carroll gardens and boerum hill

Brooklyn is quite amazing.  An incredible transformation of a borough.  Each area is just screaming out community, community, community.  I love it. 

Emily and I spent the day in the area of Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill.  Just a few places we wanted to check out.  I particularly wanted to go see Bien Cuit, a bakery at 120 Smith Street.  Before we got to Bien Cuit we walked into One Girl Cookies which is like walking back in time.  An adorable store with tiny cookies all made fresh daily.  We tried four. 

Orange coconut, chocolate coffee caramel, ginger bread and cinnamon cookies with a chocolate filling in the middle.  All delicious.  Love the size.  I particularly loved the orange cookie.  Small like a Mexican wedding cookie topped with shredded coconut.  Cookbook coming…

Just a little background here on Bien Cuit where we went next.  I met with the owners, Kate and Zach about a year and a half ago if my memory serves anything.  They are married.  Zach has quite the baking resume.  They were ready to open up their own bakery and ended up getting to me through of all people, my lawyer, to get some advice.  BTW, I love my lawyer. I never tasted their wares but the pictures looked amazing.  They had saved a pretty decent amount of cash, enough to not have to take anyones money but still in need of maybe another $20/30K tops to do what they needed to do.  We talked location, we talked construction and we talked about running a bakery. They were brand new to NYC.  I introduced them to a few people who knew these topics better than I did.  I also pointed them in the direction of a city loan so they didn't need to take anyone elses cash.  If they were still short, I recommended putting what they needed on a credit card because if they were successful quickly they could pay off that debt with no reprecussions easier on a credit card than with a loan.  Bottom line, they sent a few emails now and then and then they opened.  The bakery is called Bien Cuit.  I finally got out there to visit with Emily.  The place had a line the entire time we were there.  They were understaffed but it could have been the day.  They are in desperate need of music because the place is eerily quiet.  But let's get down to it, the pastries, the bread and the iced tea are out of this world.  It was like eating a pastry in one of the top patisseries in Paris, that good.  The one above is an artichoke goat cheese pastry.

This is the pear apple open faced croissant.  The bread is out of this world on both of the pastries.  Perfectly browned, savory yet sweet at the same time, just down right omg.  Congrats to both Kate and Zach.

BTW, they sell Christine Ferber jams there, straight from Paris.  Check out the breads!

Our next stop was Bird.  A womans clothing store on Smith Street but they have 2 other stores, one in Park Slope and the other in Williamsburg where they carry mens clothes too.  They do a really good job.

We also stopped in a store that only carries items made in Brooklyn, store name By Brooklyn.  Anything from bitters to chocolate to clothing.  It kind of defines what is happening in the borough.

Jumped into Smith + Butler before moving farther down the street.  A super groovy store that can outfit anyone who is looking for that hipster Brooklyn look, particularly the men.

Em wanted to go to Court Street Market.  Another walk in to the past.  They even carry Durkee sauce, something I grew up with and of course had to buy. 

This was one of the sweets in the front of the store.  I figured out what it was the second I saw it.  Quisp cereal being substituted for Rice Krispies in a treat.  I grew up on Quisp.  Cap'n Crunch in a different shape.

The store has a bunch of great singular products….really well curated.  I bought a variety of crackers.  Emily and I had the turkey club for lunch.  They make the sandwiches right there and then you can sit down in the back.  Wow.  Just perfect.  We added a little hot sauce but otherwise quite a treat.

Here is the sign for the club.  Love this place.

Many more places to come back to.  I wish Bien Cuit could deliver fresh croissants to my door daily! 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. greenskeptic

    I love this tribute to what’s going on in the 718. I’ve returned there part time after many years away and am delighted at the community renaissance happening there. Look forwarding more posts as you make your way around te borough.BTW, Quisp was my favorite cereal growing up, so I will definitely have to try one of those Quispy treats you mention.

    1. Gotham Gal

      we grew up on quisp too!

  2. kcohen

    i love this cobble hill tour. i’ve been living here for almost 4 years and there have been some amazing foodie additions over that time. when you come back, you must try the whoopie pies at one girl. they might be one of the most delicious i’ve ever tasted. for some reason, i still haven’t had a court st market sammy. i might pop over today. thanks!

    1. Gotham Gal

      i saw the whoppie pies…they looked amazing. just went for cookies that day. you must pop in court street. very cool…and the sandwiches are killer

  3. Guest

    CNN has featured this post today. I have attached a screen grab.

    1. Gotham Gal

      really? where is the attachment?

  4. njs

    Pretty awesome you come to and blog about Bklyn. since I left Manhattan and moved to Carroll Gardens I found most Manhattanites roll their eyes at the prospect of seeing what the boro’s offer.  What’s great about this neighborhood is the mix between classic and new Brooklyn.  Next time check out the old school aspect to the ‘hood – Sam’s, Staubitz (think you’ve blogged on it before), Los Paisano’s and Esposito’s Meat Markets, Caputo’s Italian Market and Bakery.  Plus Court Street Books is a great independent book store.  Def also worth working your way down through Gowanus and Sunset Park for gentrifying and ethnic Brooklyn.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Love Staubitz. Old Time butcher.

  5. Amy Thomas

    Sigh. I love Brooklyn! And I’ve been dying to go to Bien Cuit. Your photo of the open faced pear-apple croissant was just the nudge to put it on my weekend to-do list – merci!

    1. Gotham Gal

      a MUST

  6. Samara

    love that you came to my hood!! One Girl Cookies is one of our favorites! Next time try Buttermilk Channel for brunch its amazing. Happy New Year! 

  7. hellosailor

    I do like Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, although in general, I am not a huge fan of Brooklyn. (I also love Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene.) My husband lived in Cobble Hill when we met, and it was pleasant and leafy, but it would have better with that bakery there!

    1. Gotham Gal

      I wish Brooklyn was like it is today when we lived there

  8. William Mougayar

    Wow. The look and color of that crust on the pastries say it all. I can tell how it will taste just by looking at it. I’m going to have to figure out what train to take to go there on my next trip to NYC. Thanks.

    1. Gotham Gal

      beyond delicious. worth the journey

  9. Jennifer McFadden

    Yeah! You just saved me some serious time. I often stay at a friend’s place in Carroll Gardens when I’m in the city (2 days/wk) and this saves me a ton of research. She’s not one for pastries (or anything that has more than 20 calories) and, therefore, not the best source for info. The bakery looks amazing!

  10. rebeccastees

    I love best your posts that have a lot of day in the life photographs!And I thought your suggestion about adding music to the bakery was a great one.