Being out and about almost every day meant that a lunch venue was either planned or we simply stumbled upon a place that looked and sounded decent. Here’s a bunch of places that we got our teeth into.
A few steps off busy Atlantic Avenue is this popular neighbourhood hangout we happened to walk past one day. It was the quirky fit-out that got my attention, really. A miss-mash of 1920’s lounge bar with industrial oddments, prints, checkered floor and old hardware.
There’s coffee and micro-brew for those that are interested, but a quick bite was all that we needed. The Bob burger (12) sounded just like the right thing. A patty made up of chorizo and beef, a brioche bun, some tomato, bacon and a nice big wedge of pickle. As impressive as it looked and sounded the meat was quite dry, even being cooked at medium-rare. Decently-flavoured with chorizo, however.
The scrambled eggs (10) is impressive in size and almost big enough for two. Home-fries are lumped to the side with a good pile of applewood smoked ham dividing the two. The best part? That sweet and smokey bacon.
Not all that far from Building on Bond is Mile End Deli, a Jewish eatery named after the neighbourhood in Montreal, previous home to the owners. While people flock to Katz’s for its pastrami, Mile End is doing its own Montreal-style specialty known as “smoked meat” where the brisket is dry-cured in salt and spices, slowly smoked in oak and then steamed.
It was one dish that drew me here. The smoked meat poutine (12), a common Canadian dish that’s a tasty mess of fries, cheese curds and gravy. Here at Mile End you can have it with their smoked meat, and man, what a meal it is. Aside from the meat being quite heavy on the salt, for me anyway, I couldn’t get enough of the poutine.
There’s also the smoked meat sandwich (14), stacked high with slices of the same smoked brisket and mustard in light rye. I like that there’s even the option of having your meat lean, medium or fatty. This was one massive sandwich.
Ok, it may not have been for lunch but we did happen to schlepp all the way to Prospect Heights in the blistering sun for a post-lunch ice cream fix. We’d heard that people flocked to this corner creamery but there wasn’t a great deal going on when we arrived.
Ample Hills Creamery may be a magnet for people that love the creamy frozen stuff, but I wasn’t all that wooed. I went for the house signature, the salted crack caramel. This concoction boasts Deb’s famous crack cookies with salt, butter, sugar and chocolate. It isn’t one for the faint-hearted due to the sky-high levels of sugar and salt. I didn’t like it and I couldn’t finish it. Perhaps my palate can’t handle excessive amounts of sugar and salt.
The other one, a Mexican hot chilli, is dark chocolate ice cream with Saigon cinnamon and ground chilli flakes. Not all that bad, but again, not all that amazing.
Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue isn’t frugal when it comes to places to eat. There are so many to choose from. I’d already known about this next place, The Meatball Shop, when I was invited to sample their wares when they first opened. I don’t think they realised I was living in Sydney.
The laminated menu has a bit of a DIY element to it, where you can customise your meal however you want. With a whiteboard marker you simply check the boxes you desire. If you want Naked Balls you simply choose your type, the sauce and the side. The Sandwiches follow the same formula – Choose your meatball, your sauce and your cheese. Easy. Want an ice cream sandwich? Then choose your biscuit and then your ice cream.
Sliders may be a quick and convenient way to eat a meatball, such as the spicy pork slider (3) with tomato sauce or the chicken with pesto (3). They’re tasty enough but don’t compare when you add a few more dollars and end up with something like the hero sandwich (10). It’s much bigger and seriously good – Lightly toasted baguette, spicy pork balls, parmesan cream & provolone cheese. You even get a salad on the side. Bargain.
Walking aimlessly along Court Street brought us to Watty & Meg. This corner eatery gives the feeling that you’ve stepped back a few generations – somewhere a tad colonial with book shelves, pressed metal ceiling, fans, tiles and mahogany. Even the music that was playing conjured images of sitting in a rocking chair on a porch overlooking plantations in one of the southern states.
A spicy tuna tartar (16) was a little hard to pass up as a starter. Chopped tuna mixed with grilled tomato confit, some pickled plum purée and pine nuts. Loved the fibrous yucca chips that came with it.
I’m never one to order a salad as a main meal but for some reason it was all I was in the mood for. Quinoa, kale & avocado (14), simple ingredients, some almonds, mango and vinaigrette. Even better when it was all mushed together.
There’s also the wild fish sandwich (15) with Chatham cod, tomato, arugula and tartare. As a sandwich goes it was decent enough, but nothing ground breaking.
To make up for the healthy salad option, I thought the espresso bean panna cotta (6) would do nicely for something sweet and calorie-filled. The dollop of cream and generous scattering of feuilletine flakes made it a winner.
Just as good was the key lime & white chocolate cheesecake (10). It may have taken another ten minutes to wait for it after the panna cotta arrived, but it was worth it. Almond crust, serrano pepper, some berries and lemon curd. Loved it.