Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie in the sky featured

Growing up helping in their family restaurant in South Dakota, sisters Emily and Melissa Elsen were put through their pie paces by Granny Liz and now hold an impressive resume in baked goods. Making the butter crust by hand, the sisters churn out different pies everyday in their Brooklyn bakery. Double crust no less, something that you see far too little of in other (lesser) pie shops. The filling is influenced by season and locally sourced, never failing to come together to make the sweetest taste ever.

While it may not make birds sing, it sure is a dainty dish for a king and even the over-worked apple pie has been re-invented here with the addition of salted caramel. We’ll say it again, that’s salted caramel. The pies are sold by the slice and while they don’t skimp on the size, you’ll still regret opting to share because pie this good deserves your undivided attention. Go early on in the day to avoid the gut-wrenching disappointment of seeing your favorite filling wiped off the chalkboard.

Littleneck Outpost Reel it in

After the roaring success of their seafood shack in Gowanus, the guys have stretched their little necks out once again to open an all-day cafe in Greenpoint. Spotting a gap in the area for a boutique sandwich place, they took over a property which had lay dormant for 35 years and did it up like a classic New England Mom and Pop shop. With maritime touches here and there, lots of seating, and large windows making the place look bright and airy, it already vibes as a relaxed neighborhood hangout. A small retail bit provides an array of artisan items for your gourmet grocery needs, like Dave’s Coffee Co. Coffee Syrup or jars of in-house specialities such as bacon jam—an improvement to any sandwich you put it on. The menu itself has taken a patchwork approach, incorporating classics like the lobster roll but also introducing new sandwiches and a breakfast section which includes a winner of hearts and stomachs alike, shrimp toast, with juniper yogurt, dill and a hard boiled egg.

Row NYC Base camp Metropolis featured

If you’re going to a city so good they named it twice, you most certainly don’t want to be nibbling around the edges. What you want is to take a whopping bite of the so-called apple – taking in core, pips, stalk and all. And there’s no better place to fill your mouth with NYC goodness from than the center of this metropolitan universe: Times Square!

Row NYC provides the proverbial and literal front row seat to all the action in town, as the five boroughs converge in one seething mass, right outside on your doorstep. The commotion of Midtown quickly fades away though, as the plush surrounds envelope guests as soon as they enter through the revolving doors. But don’t think the cosmopolitan vibe ends there…

This ultra-modern, €140 million hotel, completed in early 2014, was designed to reflect the essence of New York itself – refined and raw in equal measure. Artworks and installations are sprinkled throughout the building, cocktails and live music flow from the restaurant-bar, and naturally service is 24/7. That leaves just one decision (if one should choose to sleep, that is): which one of the 1,331 rooms is it going to be?

Emily Pizza fairytales

How’s this for a story to tug on your heartstrings. Matthew Hyland fell in love with making pizza after stints working at Pizzamoto and Sottocasa, so he and his wife Emily decided they’d have a crack at starting their own joint. They were, however, without a pizza oven and short on funds. One successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $15,000, and one custom copper-plated pizza oven later, the restaurant was ready to go. Then Matthew went and named it after Emily (what a charmer), and it opened happily ever after.

It’s cosy and simple on the inside, with a hockey-stick bar and wood block stools and tables. There is, however, the odd concession that they’ve made to Brooklyn-ize themselves and appease the neighbours — namely that cluster of old-timey fixed-gears on the wall. Speaking of neighbours, there’s a hell of a lot of pizza places in this part of town, so how do Emily’s offerings hold up in such competitive climes? Very well indeed, as it turns out. For a start they’re reasonably priced: A Margherita will set you back around 10 bucks, and as you up the topping stakes the price climbs accordingly. That oven makes all the difference, too. The pies come out bubbled, crisp and flaking at the edges.

Toppings-wise, there’s two main roads you can travel, either red or white (i.e. do you want a tomato-based pizza, or a non tomato-based pizza), and on either stretch there’s some humdingers coming straight out of the leftfield. The eponymous Emily, for instance, is topped with mozzarella, taleggio, pistachios, truffle sottocenere, and honey. If you pushed us to single one out for special praise, we’d nudge you in the direction of the Angie — dried fruit compote, blue cheese, cured ham, and arugula. To be honest, though, if you closed your eyes and pointed towards the menu at random you’d have a hard time going wrong.

Output Dark side of the club featured

More than a few wizened techno heads have commented on Output’s passing resemblance to a certain Berghain, and basically, the compliments don’t come much higher than that. Just like the Berlin prototype, there are no cameras, no VIP and no bullshit. And thanks to their Funktion One soundsystem, the beats are both crystal clear and ferocious at the same time.

Prices are a tad steep for this part of Brooklyn but the clubbing experience – from the lineups to the lighting – is world class. Buying tickets in advance neutralizes the worst sting, but whatever you end up paying, you won’t begrudge them once you’ve seen the vast warehouse space and killer views from the rooftop smoking area. In a nutshell: Hands down the best post-industrial rave this side of the Atlantic.

Mast Brothers Willy-amsburg Wonka & the chocolate factory

Workshop and primary sales point of the bearded chocolate-making bros Rick and Michael, Mast Brothers is the undisputed ground zero in the hearts and minds of many a New York cocoa-craver. Holing themselves up in a rough and ready Brooklyn space, the boys have created a rustic city retreat replete with cocoa bean burlap sacks, bare support beams and distressed wooden furniture—with twanging bluegrass tunes floating out of the speakers and adding to the countrified vibe. It’s the chocolate, though, that is firmly front and center here. Sourcing their beans from small farms in Ecuador, Madagascar and Venezuela, the siblings convert their fairly-traded raw materials with artisanal skill into bars with so much quality that the Brooklyn Wonka might even call them scrumdiddlyumptious, man.

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