There are two things you should know about me. First and possibly most important, I love chocolate. Second and not least, I’m a Manhattan girl through and through. Once I cross the water, I start to get really nervous. What if the trains stop running and I’m never able to get back to the big city? All that blue sky and trees makes my adrenaline start pumping and it doesn’t stop until I’m back on terra firma once again. None the less, I found myself in the ‘burbs last week when I went to visit Milk Bar. And to make matters worse my fear and paranoia of being away from the island were compounded when I got off the train to find my cell down to its last bar. The week before one of my boys had experienced the childhood joy known as a mild concussion, so the fear of being phoneless in Brooklyn and worrying that I would get that dreaded call from the school nurse was just more than I could handle. So I popped into the nearest Verizon store for a little charge.

When the kind gentleman in Verizon offered that I could drop my phone off and come back whenever, well my first thought was I would never see it again. But I gained some composure and slowly backed out of the store to take a walk around the neighborhood. I walked to the corner and was met with the smell of delicious baking bread. Lo and behold it was babka heaven at the Northside Bakery. I love babka but I find that most of the versions in Manhattan truly disappoint. But here was some truly delicious babka, almost a cross between babka and pannetone. I went for the blueberry and cheese but I was torn between it and the chocolate or the plain cheese. I would have bought them all, but then I would have eaten them all. I did manage to eat almost the entire blueberry one myself. I also picked up some brioche breadsticks, which my kids happily munched on after light saber fighting with them first.

So then I began to make my way back to my phone and came across Radish, a very nice looking gourmet prepared foods shop. I almost didn’t go in but I peeked closely into the window and saw COOKIES and lots of them. I’m a sucker for good packaging so I went in and I was totally surprised to find a treasure trove of Brooklyn Flea artisanal treats. I mean lots of cool stuff. I’m sure they sold food in that store but I couldn’t tell you what, I was so busy marveling at all the goodies. And of course not to offend, I bought something from each and every artisan. My favorites were the sea salt caramels and the “snacker” bar, a fancy take off of the snicker, from Liddabit Sweets. Mr. Concussion helped me eat the snacker and I was longing for the days when he was much smaller and didn’t consume so much food. The caramels were perfect in their simplicity, just soft enough and with a nice bite of salt. I’ve hidden the rest so as not to have to share.

I also got some cocoa caramel stroopwafels — a Dutch waffle cookie with a paper thin caramel cookie and some chocolate oatmeal chunk cookies from The Good Batch. I liked the stroopwafels, toasted just to warm and crisp them, but again Mr. Concussion got in there and ate the whole bag of chocolate oatmeal cookies. I’m seriously starting to get nervous for the teenage years. We may have to consider third and fourth jobs just to feed the children.

To top things off I got a bag of chocolate gingersnaps from Whimsy & Spice. If only it was Christmas they would have been perfect. They also had some pretty looking marshmallows but I can never bring myself to pay that much money for some whipped sugar and gelatin.

As I finally headed over to Milk Bar and passed a bunch of cute shops on the way, I poked my nose into the Bedford Cheese Shop and Whisk, a lovely cookware store, but I was out of time. I had really wanted to visit Mast Brothers Chocolate so I convinced the hubby to make a second trip out later in the week. At least he could protect me if anything went wrong.

This time our first stop was Blue Bottle Coffee, a total must see mecca for coffee aficionados. The coffee was great but I loved the fact that they baked their own sweets using local product, most notably Mast Brothers Chocolate. Hubby and I shared a very grown up and delicious s’more. We walked around the corner to try and get a closer look at the real Mast Brothers but unfortunately its showroom is only open to the public a few days a week. I was really starting to love the fact that all of these local stores supported each other and sold local products. It’s such a rare thing to see such a great community that takes care of its own.

We decided to cross the tracks and find the Meat Hook and the Brooklyn Kitchen, a good walk from Bedford Ave’s main drag, but it was a sunny day.  The meat hook is a fantastic butcher shop inside the Brooklyn Kitchen, a home goods/dried goods specialty shop that again carried tons of locally made products. We were far from home and it was really warm and beautiful outside so we decided to forgo any raw meats and instead shared “the hooker” a soft and meaty beef jerky (and the name wasn’t too bad either). And with that I think you can agree, it was the perfect time to end our journey and return back home.

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