ANY OCCASION: Ha Noi (Park Slope)
Hanoi is so consistent it hurts – that’s why it’s my number one go-to! The chefs at this place really know how to marinate pork, and they nail it every time. The Garnish Studios team goes here after video shoots, surf sessions, etc. It has no vibe, just good food, and I really appreciate that.
GO-TO ORDER: Grilled Pork Vermicelli Bowl with Cut Fried Spring Rolls
BODEGA: Top City Gourmet (Bushwick)
Top City Gourmet is right around the corner from my apartment. It’s where I get my batteries, the occasional smoothie, and soil for my plants. It has the charm of a classic, unfancy bodega, but every once in a while they surprise me with some up-and-coming CPG brands on the shelf.
GO-TO ORDER: Chopped Cheese with Lettuce, Tomato, and Hot Sauce on a Roll (the kids from Taft High put me on)
BRUNCH: Tina’s Place (Bushwick)
Tina’s Place is the only spot in Bushwick that feels like home (South Carolina) – diner-style seating with floor-to-ceiling fake wood paneling and Ellen DeGeneres blaring from a wall-mounted TV. It’s my safe haven to escape the pretentiousness that comes along with NYC living.
GO-TO ORDER: Basically, I just try and replicate the Waffle House “All-Star Special”
DATE-NIGHT: Hometown BBQ (Red Hook)
Hometown BBQ is on the main strip in Red Hook. You can expect a live band, a long line out the door, and extreme anxiety watching an employee walk up to the chalkboard to cross out brisket from the menu. BBQ options are limited in NYC, and Hometown is solid. It does some experimenting with flavors such as the Korean sticky ribs and Vietnamese hot wings, but the staples are the ones that really shine! A date that ends in the meat sweats... is the best kind of date.
GO-TO ORDER: Brisket (Burnt Ends), the comically large Beef Rib, Vietnamese Wings, Half Rack of Baby Backs, Baked Beans, and Potato Salad
FAST-CASUAL: Holy Pita (Brooklyn Navy Yard)
Holy Pita’s food is vibrant, delicious, and plentiful. You’ll run into owner Josh every day and his sweet Pit Bull named Pita, which makes the experience that much better. He will try and push the sumac fries on you, and my advice is to just do it!
GO-TO ORDER: Chicken Shawarma Salad with Sumac Fries
HAPPY HOUR: Til Death (Bushwick)
I am allergic to alcohol, so I’m not the right person to ask…. but I will give this slot to my favorite coffee lot in Brooklyn – Til Death. It’s run by two badass ladies who serve coffee out of an RV in a tiny triangle lot in Bushwick.
GO-TO ORDER: Iced Dirty Chai with Oat Milk
HIDDEN GEM: Ba Xuyen (Sunset Park)
When I was broke a few years ago, I would ration a Ba Xuyen $6 footlong to make it last the day. This place is definitely a far trek from Bushwick, but when I am in the mood for Banh Mi, it’s always worth the trip. Go take your friends here and support this beautiful establishment. I need this place to stay open forever!
GO-TO ORDER: The #2 - Vietnamese Banh-Mi Classic. Crispy light toasted french bread, pate, Chả lụa (pork roll), pickled carrots/daikon, cilantro, cukes, and mayo.
Parlay (Sunset Park)
Klom Klorm (Bushwick)
Tacoway Beach (Rockaway Beach)
Tacos El Bronco (Sunset Park)