Next, an asparagus salad: bright green, supple spears draped over the thinnest of duck prosciutto, finished with a currant gastrique and shavings of pecorino. You become absorbed in composing the perfect bites, the prosciutto wrapped around the asparagus, the pecorino hovering precariously on top.
Jason recommends your next stop, a little bistro, JAMES, surrounded by silent Park Slope apartments and lush trees. You can't see inside, but the flicker of candles makes the windows pulse gently. You haul open the door, take the last empty chair at the bar, and explain the rules of the night to the bartender, Eric.
When you smell pork belly approaching, you know you'll like where Eric's head is at. It arrives in all its glory, surrounded by smoked mango, garlic scapes, and mizuna. It melts immediately in your mouth, just as it's supposed to. Salt and smoke flood your brain.
Then you come face-to-face with another poached egg, this one nestled in a handful of black kale and red quinoa, studded with smoked almonds and ricotta salata. The crunch, the creamy yolk, and the leafy kale are all perfect antidotes for the pork belly. You go back and forth, over and over. You briefly consider piling the pork belly onto the salad to see what would happen.
Your treasure map to Weather Up
The man also makes a damn fine Pimm's cup. Laced with lime, strawberry, mint and ginger ale, you finish it too quickly out of excitement and begin to sip contentedly on your companion's Cristo Rey, a spicy-tart blend of tequila, cointreau, lime, tamarind, and Thai chilies. You think about happily parking your butt on this stool all night, but alas, that's not how the game is played. You decide an alcoholic palate cleanser is in order.
When you ask him where you should get your drink on next, Eric laughs and says, "Oh, you guys want to drink? Somewhere else? . . . Oh. I know. You'll love it," he says, quickly scratching out a rough map. "It's fucking sexy."
Wandering the streets and squinting at your messily inked map, this truly feels like a scavenger hunt. Luckily, Eric's description of the nondescript "subway-tiled" exterior of WEATHER UP is dead-on.
Inside, it's dark, candles punctuating every few inches on the bar with a deep orange glow. You ask for gin. The barman takes his time pouring a "20th Century," a heady blend of gin, lillet blanc, crème de cacao, and lemon, into an elegant coupe glass. When it's time to settle and drag yourself off to bed, you find that the bartenders have comped a round and made you promise to return. You decide to ignore the fact that this is excellent customer service and convince yourself they are your new best friends.
Cemitas at Smorgasburg
The next morning, you devote your final hours in Brooklyn to foodie tent-citySMORGASBURG. You go nuts, cooing over jams fromANARCHY IN A JARand making weird noises of joy at a handmade grapefruit soda with Thai spices. At DOUGH DONUTS's infamous stand, you hand over some crumpled bills and are gifted a bright pink hibiscus number, topped with a spindly candied hibiscus flower. It's fluffy, sweet but not cloying, and brightly tropical. The sun is beating down, but you don't mind because it melts the frosting at a perfect rate, getting it all over your hands. You lick your fingers clean.