Wheated: a sufferer of celiac disease’s nightmare

Pizza made with wheat

Pizza made with wheat

  • Subway stop: Fort Hamilton Parkway
  • Walk from subway: 9 minutes
  • Neighborhood: Flatbush/Prospect Park South
  • Location: 905 Church Ave, between 10th St and Coney Island Ave

With a name like Wheated, it’s important to check your Celiac Disease at the door. Wheated is a pizzeria located almost at the southern end of the G, which loves wheat so much they just added the suffix -ed and thought, “Hey, you figure it out.” And figure it out I did. It’s not really close to the G and the walk there has you questioning if there is a pie of gourmet pizza at the end of this trek, or am I just going to be greeted by some more Popeye’s, which, frankly, I’m not above. Make sure you have a map on hand when exiting the subway station, because navigating the best way to cross over Ocean Parkway can be a bit daunting, but it’s worth it. Eventually, you’ll see that shining beacon of hope: the plain white sign all lit up with the words “Wheated” written in the lower right corner. “Why didn’t they just put the name in the center of the sign? Or fill the whole sign with the name? Why do I have to search this entire white sign to find the name?” And then you remember, “Oh right, aesthetics.” I should make it clear that I didn’t dislike the walk or the neighborhood or the sign, I just had to have google maps open on my phone the entire walk there and I looked like “that” person walking down the street. The person from out of town, staring down at their phone, then looking up, squinting at the road signs, and then motioning at a stranger to ask for help, only to be given the silent treatment because they think you’re going to ask for spare change, “just a dime, anything. A penny would be great,” when really all I was going to ask was, “Do you know of any places that love wheat around here?”

Search the white sign and eventually you'll find where it says

Search the white sign and eventually you’ll find where it says “Wheated”

When I finally got there it was of course prime pizza eating time, so I was forced to eat at the bar, which I actually prefer in most cases, especially when your food is pizza. Pizza is supposed to scream casual, friendly, and meat lover’s supreme, so sitting next to strangers at a bar and judging their toppings choice is right where I want to be while eating pizza. Their cocktails list can make you nervous because you’ll want to sample them all but you remember that walk here and you’ll think twice. With drinks like the Horses Neck made with fresh lime, fresh ginger, WHEATED bourbon, and soda water, and the Brown Derby made with fresh grapefruit juice, honey syrup, and WHEATED bourbon, and the Bourbon Manhattan made with WHEATED bourbon. They love wheat and they’re not ashamed of it.

Secret photo of the bartender making our drinks and my fellow bar-sitters hands and plates

Secret photo of the bartender making our drinks and my fellow bar-sitters hands and plates

I settled on the Kentucky Buck which has strawberry, lemon, ginger, bourbon, and soda water because I figured I was about to imbibe enough wheat that I didn’t need to have wheated bourbon as well. Also, it’s summer and I like strawberries. I come from a town where we have a strawberry festival every June and it’s gotten progressively more and more depressing as the years have went on. Or maybe I’ve just become more aware as I’ve gotten older and it was always that depressing. Either way, sometimes you just need a good, depressing summer strawberry to start off your pizza.

Kentucky Buck with depressing strawberry...and some other drink

Kentucky Buck with depressing strawberry…and some other drink

Once you’ve settled on a drink and are ready to think about wheat, you might want to start browsing the pizza menu. You are at a pizzeria after all. If you have any understanding of the borough you’re currently in, you’ll notice that all of the pizzas are named after Brooklyn neighborhoods. An example of their pizzas include Sunset Park, Ditmas Park, Windsor Terrace, Bensonhurst, and Gowanus. Nothing says delicious like the Gowanus Canal. Notable absences in their Brooklyn themed pizzas are Bed Stuy, East New York, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. There is however a Park Slope 2.0. They largely have white pies and/or vegetarian pizzas, which is all fine because you can add meat to any pie. My eye was immediately drawn to the East Williamsburg with Crimini mushrooms (don’t know what Crimini is, but I love a good fungi), fresh AND aged mozzarella (they’re not ageists at Wheated), olive oil (alright, gotta have a little greasy drippage on a pizza), and truffle salt (!!). If you know me, you know I love truffle salt. Almost as much as my cat and Breaking Bad. I almost asked for it a couple years ago on Christmas, but thought, “No, asking for salt for Christmas would be weird.” BUT SANTA KNEW. And on Christmas morn’ I opened up a can of truffle salt and almost cried. Seriously. I got a little teary. And then I got it again the following Christmas. Santa knows best and truffle salt is the best. If it was acceptable to put truffle salt on my toothpaste, I would. Needless to say, the East Williamsburg was ordered, along with a Windsor Terrace, a pie with plum tomatoes, basil, garlic, onion, Pecorino-Romano, that fresh and aged mozzarella again, sweet red peppers, and hot sopressata because a girl needs her meat.

Drinks rising from a landscape of pizza

Drinks rising from a landscape of pizza

While waiting, I noticed the man sitting next to us was chowing down on his pie when he ordered a refill on his drink. His refill was a five finger pour of straight Jim Beam into a glass. I mean, that’s kind of lot to just pound while eating pizza alone. Then he grabbed a little squeeze bottle of some unmarked condiment and squirted it all over his pizza. “Whatever that is, he’s either a genius or wasted, and judging from his glass I’m going with the latter,” I thought. Then our pizza came. And the truffle salt was all over those mushrooms and variously aged mozzarellas and it was delicious. After several bites, the man sitting to my left decided to butt in on my pizza enjoyment. “Did you try the spicy honey?” “Hhibmpbt?” I said with pizza falling out of my mouth. He grabbed the unmarked condiment bottle and explained how they have their own spicy honey that you have to squirt on all of the pizza to get the true “Wheated experience.” I continued shoving pizza into my gourd while he spoke, only breaking eye contact to see what he was drinking. A Mexican coke. This guy has a head on his shoulders and is probably mildly more trustworthy when it comes to condiment choices than the man with the tall pour of bourbon. Good call bro. Both of you. The guy with the coke and the bourbon, you both know what’s up. That’s the great part about pizza, it’s the great equalizer. Unless you have Celiac Disease. My apologies, but please-

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off the G

Myrtle Diner: a diner that serves food

Myrtle Diner's art deco style, because all diner's have that Miami Beach art deco feel

Myrtle Diner’s art deco style, because all diner’s should have that Miami Beach art deco feel

  • Subway stop: Myrtle-Willoughby
  • Walk from subway: 2 minutes
  • Neighborhood: Bed-Stuy
  • Location: 750 Myrtle Ave, between Nostrand Ave and Sanford St.

When most people think “Bed-Stuy,” they usually think “Do The Right Thing,” Notorious B.I.G., birthplace of Jay-Z, home of gourmet doughnuts, among other things. When most people think “diner,” they usually think New Jersey, greasy breakfast served all day, waitresses who resent you almost as much as their jobs, and sticky menus. While these assumptions may be true in some cases, Myrtle Diner is here to add to the list of what you think of when you think Bed-Stuy and diner. Located a block and a half from the Myrtle-Willoughby stop, this “diner” has only been open for a couple of weeks and is offering this part of Bed-Stuy what it’s been missing: a Modern European/Asian Fusion diner with a menu that changes everyday and a lot of white walls with black trim. The people of the Myrtle-Willoughby stop didn’t know that’s what they were lacking, nor did they know that was a thing, but now they do, because apparently that’s a thing. This is not your typical diner in a metal box with syrup covering the walls and tables. There’s no punk youths here showing how cool and rebellious they are by being straight edge and going to a diner at 1 in the morning to order a grilled cheese AND french toast AND a Doctor Pepper. At this diner, there are white walls accented by black with the name of the diner written in art-deco font. It gives the inside less of a “24-hour eatery located in a strip mall” feel one might expect with a diner, and more of a “Miami Beach, but without all the colors and half naked bitties” feel. So, really the only thing Miami Beach and this diner have in common is that there are hints of art deco. They play a lot of hip-hop music too, which is probably something that happens in Miami Beach. So two things.

As you can see, this place is really dirty and gross

As you can see, this place is really dirty and gross

I passed this place a lot as it was being gutted and turned into it’s current state and thought it was going to be some prohibition era style speakeasy, but it is quite the opposite. Maybe I thought it would be a speakeasy because a couple weeks before it opened, I was standing on my tippytoes, trying to peek over the paper covering the windows so I could see. “What is this going to be?” I said aloud to no one. “You like the look of it?” I heard from behind me. I snapped around and two men smoking cigarettes were parked outside in a van. “Well, this is how it all ends. I wish my cat liked me more, but that was always a losing battle,” I thought to myself. “We’re just waiting for our liquor license, and then it should be open. We’re having a soft opening next week. You should come if you’re around!” the men said from the van. “Oh, wait, you aren’t going to skin me alive? You own this place?” I thought to myself, but out loud I just said, “Great! Thank you!” and went on my way. The whole windows boarded up thing, as well as the men talking about liquor licenses from an un-marked van, had me thinking “speakeasy.” Since then, I have been back for dinner and brunch and realize that these two guys may not own it, but they are the chefs and they know what they’re doing. They would never skin me alive unless it was for the greater good, like making a delicious meal. To be honest, I never really thought they would skin me alive, just when  you don’t think anyone is behind you and then suddenly there’s a voice right over your shoulder talking to you, it can be a little jarring. That’s all.

Sometime's that sign just says

Sometime’s that sign just says “Dinner.” Either way, they’re not here to fuck around. They got brunch. They got dinner.

Let’s talk about the food and not how my heart skipped a beat one time several weeks ago. As I mentioned above, their menu changes everyday. Some people might find this annoying, but I like it. It forces me to try things that I might not otherwise order, and it gives the chefs an exciting kitchen to work in (I assume. I only guess this because the one friend I have who cooks the best food you’ll ever eat has said that he never wants to work at a restaurant because he’d get bored cooking the same thing day in and day out. Well, friend, you should go here and ask for a job. But only if you’re reading this. If you’re not reading this then we’re no longer friends. Goodbye forever). For brunch, they only had one choice and it was Japanese-style meatloaf. A lot of people I know live and die by meatloaf and in theory one would think I would feel the same. I love meat and I love loafing. But for some reason, when you put the words together, they become really unappealing to me. But since that was their only choice, I ordered the meatloaf with an egg on top and a mimosa not on top and was so happy I did. Would I have otherwise picked that off of a menu with more than one option? Hell. No. Was it the best meatloaf I’ve ever had and would I get it again? Yes. A thousand times yes! What’s made even better is that because it’s still a new place, the staff is so happy to have you there that they will spontaneously surprise you with a little treat. Both the dinner I had there and the brunch were finished off with an eclair on the house. They gave me free veggies at my dinner. They gave me a free wave goodbye when I left- BOTH TIMES! The toilet paper in the bathroom? Free!

Tell me this loaf of meat doesn't look good?

Tell me this loaf of meat doesn’t look good?

Being new, they’re still working out some kinks, one kink being that they tend to not have a lot of costumers. I’m hoping more people will begin to fill this place out, because the food is good, the walls look cool, and free stuff. They’ve got a nice soundtrack blasting through the restaurant, they know how to salt your food, and free stuff. You’ll always have something new, the staff is super friendly, and free stuff. So why don’t you just go there ya dangus so they don’t close and I can keep going there to get free eclairs? And next time you think of Bed-Stuy and diners, you’ll think of white walls and Asian meatloaf.

No one there will skin you alive. So you can-

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off the G

WNYC Transmitter Park and the East River Ferry: Stunning views of Manhattan and old men fishing!

WNYC Transmitter Park sans transmitter towers, plus an esplanade!

WNYC Transmitter Park sans transmitter towers, plus an esplanade!

  • Subway stop: Greenpoint Ave
  • Walk from subway: 5 minutes
  • Neighborhood: Greenpoint
  • Location: West St. between Greenpoint Ave and Kent St., on the East River

Don’t be fooled by the name of this park; if you come here in hopes of seeing some of WNYC’s hotshots of broadcasting, you are S.O.L. (Shit Outta Luck). This is not the home to RadioLab, nor has it been the home of WNYC’s transmitter towers for 25 years. Those are apparently now in New Jersey. So, thanks for lying to us W “NYC,” you’re not even transmitting from the same state. Back to the topic at hand, a few years ago, someone had the smart idea to turn this block of property that is right on the East River facing one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline into a park. And kudos to them! Because it’s a bit of an undiscovered gem by out-of-towners, meaning you are basically guaranteed a prime spot to view the sun setting over the Empire State Building, while you crop out that hideous new building, 432 Park Ave, from your pictures. Does that building have a name yet? Do they accept applicants for low income housing? Someone get back to me on that. One of the best parts about this park is the “water esplanade” (I pulled that term from the NYC Parks website) that juts out from the Kent St. side of the park, zigzagging through the East River. I say it’s the best part because A.) it’s design allows for people who are afraid of the water and prefer to stay on land (good job going to a park on the river, ya numbnuts) an unobstructed view of the skyline, while also allowing everyone on the esplanade that same view without the hassle of fighting for coveted railing space; and B.) the farthest reaching tip of the esplanade is usually home to people who could not give two fucks about the view, usually are passed out with a shirt over their face or drinking a tall boy beer from a black plastic bag (you can’t pull the wool over my eyes!) while their fishing rods are propped up between the slats in the railing hoping to catch some of that topnotch East River tail. In this scenario, I’m using the term “tail” to mean fish. I’m sure the fish caught in the East River are perfectly fine to eat, but mentally, I don’t know if I could get past where it was caught. If I was at a restaurant and I saw on the menu “East River Bluefish” I’d probably skip over that one. If it was ever in the East River, that’s probably where it should stay, and that’s a universal rule that also extends to humans who have swam in the East River. I’m sorry, but the East River is your home now. And I don’t mean that in a murder-y way, I mean that in a, “evolve into a being that can survive there comfortably, like a mermaid” way. There’s probably some chemicals in the river that can help that process along anyway. I feel like I’m getting off topic, so let’s reel (PUNS!) it back in.

As the saying goes, "What a difference a day makes"

As the saying goes, “What a difference a day makes”

If the fishing and views weren’t enough of a draw, there’s also a playground with sprinklers, some weird rocky hole with a bridge over it, and a “no dogs off leashes” law that no one is there to enforce so a lot of dogs just roam free. At sunset, the park becomes it’s version of “packed” which means you need more than two hands to count the number of people there (that’s an understatement, there are actually a good amount of people there at sunset, but nothing too overwhelming. If you’ve gotten to that age, like I have, where you get sweaty and nervous thinking about going to a place which might force you to stand within earshot of someone, you’ll be okay). During the day, the crowd is usually pretty slim, you might see some kids who either don’t have school or whose parents were just like #yolo, let’s go to the park. You might also run into some people who are wearing yoga clothes, sitting on a bench with their eyes closed, breathing deeply, as a woman in big sunglasses standing behind them scrolls through her iPhone, saying, “Take in the sounds that you hear. And exhale.” If it’s a weekday, you’re bound to run into at least one Greenpoint or Williamsburg hipster and wonder to yourself, “What are you doing here? What’s your job?” And then you think to yourself, “What am I doing here? What’s my job?” And then you join the women on the bench and breath deeply as you try to make sense of it all.

The aforementioned rocky hole with a bridge over it. I'd like to see you come up with a better description

The aforementioned rocky hole with a bridge over it. I’d like to see you come up with a better description

While this park is off the G in Greenpoint, there’s another mode of transport that you can take here: the East River Ferry! You’ll see it occasionally coasting by if you’re standing on the esplanade and if you have $4 to spare (or $6 on the weekends) and you like it when you’re freshly brushed hair gets blown so out of whack that you go home, stare at yourself in the mirror with a razor raised to the nest that was once your head hair, and threaten your reflection, “I’ll do it!” then the East River Ferry is worth the trip. Better yet, if you have allergies and want to skip the park altogether, but you have to get those sweet, sweet Greenpoint views of Manhattan, you can just get off the G and take the ferry instead. You’ll get the same views, and then some! And you’ll have the option to get off at any of their other terminals, including Midtown/East 34th St., Long Island City, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg, DUMBO/Brooklyn Bridge Park, Wall St., and if you’re lucky (aka if it’s the weekend between the end of May and the end of September), Governor’s Island. The G doesn’t go near any of those other terminals, if you’ve somehow found yourself at this blog trying to find ways to avoid the G. I get it. The G can be….a real low point in the day, to put it delicately. I get it. Don’t let the walk to the Greenpoint ferry terminal turn you off to the idea of taking the ferry. The other terminals are actually inhabited by more than just warehouses and show signs of human life.

A different view of Manhattan, this time from the festive rear seats on the East River Ferry that can't help but remind you that you're on the East River Ferry

A different view of Manhattan, this time from the festive rear seats on the East River Ferry that can’t help but remind you that you’re on the East River Ferry

In short, go to the WNYC Transmitter Park for the views, stay for the boozing with the fishermen, and then leave on the ferry because you can only handle the G so much in one day. And ya know what, bring your dog and let them roam freely. Take a picture of them without a leash on next to a sign that says they have to wear a leash. Then share it on instagram with the tag #Idareyoutofindme and then set your account to private so they can’t actually find you. Here’s a picture of someone else’s dog:

I wish someone would lift me up to see the skyline

I wish someone would lift me up to see the skyline

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off The G

61 Local or Local 61: A name that the local’s can never seem to get straight

61 Local in all it's well-lit glory

61 Local in all it’s well-lit glory

  • Subway stop: Bergen St.
  • Walk from subway: 45 seconds
  • Neighborhood: BOCOCA, Boerum Hill/Cobble Hill
  • Location: 61 Bergen St (duh) between Smith St. and Court St.

Today’s subway stop drops us off in BOCOCA or Boerum Hill-Cobble Hill-Carroll Gardens for long by way of the Bergen St. stop. Much like the name of this sort-of bar, the neighborhood it’s housed in is not the easiest to pinpoint. It’s kind of right in that sweet spot between Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill where if you stand in one part of the “bar” and take a picture, your iPhone will tell you it was taken in Cobble Hill, but if you walk a few paces to your left and do the same thing, your iPhone will claim you’re in Boerum Hill. I’m talking of course about 61 Local, or as I call it 50% of the time, Local 61. I always thought it was named for it’s address, 61 Bergen St, and just ignored the “Local” part of it’s name. It wasn’t until two days ago when I was talking about it with someone who thought I was referring to the 61 Local bus. Something clicked. The light bulb above my head indicative of an “a-ha moment” briefly flickered before I metaphorically doused it with a beer.

You may have noticed that I used the word “bar” above in quotations. That is because, more than a bar, this place is more like a well-lit, high-ceiling, perfect meeting spot for moms, alcoholics, people who like to work on their laptops in public spaces but only if there’s alcohol within reach, co-op shoppers, and claustrophobics. Or a person who could fit into all of those categories. Or just a few. Or none of those categories, it’s a pretty welcoming place to all. If you prefer the close quarters, dimly-lit, somewhat dank drinking holes, there’s a section back near the bathrooms that can satisfy almost everyone of those needs.

If you like living like a troll in a dark area, you can sit back here and gaze longingly at all of the other customers basking in the light

If you like living like a troll in a dark area, you can sit back here and gaze longingly at all of the other customers basking in the light

As you can see from the pictures, 61 Local is set-up kind of like a picnic, but indoors, with several community tables, often flanked on either side by people using laptops. They’re “working,” but more likely they just needed a fucking second away from their kids so they could online shop without their little tykes climbing on the keyboard, asking for juice, and then accidentally adding a million things to your cart and in the process, typing in your exact credit card number as they’re rolling over the keys, and then, oops! They’re sticky hands hit “Submit Order” and now you’re getting 50 pairs of men’s XXXL slacks in olive green. This is a situation I’ve never been in, but I imagine it’s one that’s worth avoiding. Hence all the people on laptops. At night, 61 Local becomes more packed with people looking to just drink and skip that work bullshit. Drinking responsibly of course. This is BOCOCA for god’s sake!

Even though it’s nighttime, doesn’t mean you won’t see the occasional baby balancing on Dad’s shoulders as he basically shot guns a beer. I actually witnessed this once. The person recognized from around town, noticed that I was sitting with someone they also knew from a different part of their life, didn’t feel like coming over to say hi and make small talk, had just ordered a beer, had an infant sitting on his shoulders, and just generally seemed to be between a rock and a hard place. The rock was, “do I make small talk with these people who I know from different areas of my life?” and the hard place was, “do I chug this beer with a baby on my shoulders?” He chose the latter. It made for great people watching.

An outdated photo of their beers from two years ago

An outdated photo of their beers from two years ago

In addition to moms, dads, and alcoholics, this place also has a great beer list that hangs behind the bar on a chalkboard map of Brooklyn. I’m a beer drinker through and through and was surprised when flipping through the menu this past weekend when I saw a beer float. How have I missed this in previous visits? Is this new? Will it be reminiscent of the time I bought a carton of ice cream, ate half of it, went into the fridge, got out a beer, and poured it into the carton? Because that just made one soggy cardboard carton and a waste of a good beer. Ok, it was probably a Bud Light. I wouldn’t risk a nice beer on that gamble. This beer float was served in a glass (off to a good start) with Blue Marble Ice Cream (I don’t know if that means anything to anybody, I hear it’s good) and a stout (now we’re cooking with gas). It was a much more successful float than the one I created. Here, look at this picture!

Beer Float in Glass on Table

Beer Float in Glass on Table

If you’re not one for beer, don’t worry! They have wine too! And free water! And food! Food! They pretty much can cure what ails you if what ails you is hunger. They have everything from Avocado Toast (yes) to Triple Kale Salad (I hate kale, but more power to you if you’re into that) to Tokyo Chicken Curry (no idea what that is) to Grilled Cheese (my literal, actual, hands down favorite food) to Half Grilled Cheese (half of my literal, actual, hands down favorite food). And they have dishes in basically every size so if you’re a big fat hog on the inside but you eat like a bird on the outside than you’re in luck!

In short, if you’re looking to pretend you’re in a cafe when you drink and not some dingy hole, this is probably the place for you. And if you don’t like being around a bunch of laptops, don’t fret! They have laptop free brunches on weekends! Don’t even think of tarnishing the goodness that is brunch with that clunky laptop. You will be laughed onto the street! But then come back in a few hours and you’ll be among your people. Also, I would say this place is by and large handicap accessible, except for one not even full step down into the place. It’s shallower than a curb. You didn’t think they’d have a place in BOCOCA that wouldn’t easily accommodate a stroller, did you? For the record, I’d like to state now that BOCOCA is going to be an interesting place in 10-15 years when all these babies have grown up a little bit. It will be overrun by youths. And youths make me scared. I always think they’re laughing at me on the subway. That’s all for now, and remember-

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off The G

Dough: I die in Bed Stuy (from too many dang doughnuts)

image1 (2)

mmm…donuts

  • Subway stop: Bedford-Nostrand
  • Walk from subway: 2 minutes
  • Neighborhood: Bed Stuy
  • Location: Corner of Lafayette Ave and Franklin Ave

Happy National Donut Day, America! In celebration, I am making my first real entry into this blog about my favorite spot along the G, my favorite spot in Brooklyn, my favorite spot in New York State as a whole, and I would even go so far as to saying this is my favorite spot in the world. Of course my favorite place is a doughnut shop because deep in my heart of hearts I have the culinary cravings of a teenage boy. I’m talking about Dough, and no, not their relatively new storefront in the Flatiron District, I’m talking their original home off the Bedford-Nostrand stop in Bed Stuy, hence their slogan “We Fry in Bed Stuy.” In the past year or so, Dough has gained so much momentum that it usually has a line around the corner (that corner being Lafayette and Franklin for those of you who are cartographers), has opened a second store in Manhattan, has topped many lists for best donuts, has been eaten by Jerry Seinfield (yeah, he ate the whole store. Google it. I know you won’t), and even opened a pop-up at a food festival in Osaka, Japan last month. Being fairly close to my own home, I’ve been frequenting this place for a few years. It’s a small one room shop with windows looking into their bakery from the main store. Not long ago you used to be able to sit on one of three stools they managed to squeeze in there so you could shove a donut down your hole, all while making awkward and prolonged eye contact with the bakers who were always making everything BUT donuts. I’d force a whole blood orange donut down my throat and watch as the baker stacked several layers of a cake on top of each other. “Where is that cake going? All I see for sale here is donuts,” I’d think to myself as glaze cascaded down my chin, ruining yet another sweatshirt. I still to this day do not know what happens with those other baked goods. I could ask, but why ruin the mystery. You can still watch them baking through the glass, however it seems in the interest of creating more space the owners have removed the stools facing the bakery. It’s either that or the bakers asked the higher ups to remove them after too many unappetizing views of me just jamming donuts at my face. I’m really not an attractive eater. I was once told that it looks like I’m fighting with my food when I eat. I’ve also been told that when I use a knife it’s as if no one ever taught me how to cut. But I digress.

As I said earlier, there is now usually a line around the corner. Last summer was when this first became overwhelming if you are like me and are looking for a quick gourmet donut fix. I may have never asked about where the other baked goods go, but I did muster up the courage to ask why there was a sudden increase in popularity. “I don’t know. Probably because it’s summer,” was the cashier’s reply. No. I have been to Dough in previous summers. The heat does not suddenly make doughnut fiends appear. There had to be a better explanation. “Oh, we were also on Food Network,” she said. Ok. That’s it. Next time you’re asked this question, lead with that. Now that basically every visit to Dough includes a built in minimum five minute wait in line, I’ve overheard some interesting conversations from people all over the world looking to get that aforementioned gourmet donut fix. The most notable was the group of Japanese tourists who sparked my interest. Amidst a flurry of fast-spoken Japanese I heard some of my favorite words known to man: Mister. Donut. I studied abroad in Japan and in those few months I joined the frequent donut eaters club at Mister Donut, a popular donut chain with a catchy jingle where the only words were “Mister Donut!” I ate enough donuts (and then some) to get a free mug. This is how I choose to apply my talents. I go to Japan and eat hundreds of donuts in a few months and return with a mug. I no longer know Japanese, but I still have that mug. In a recent visit with a friend from out of town, a couple behind us in line asked if these donuts were really worth it. Yes. They really are.

The real meat of these donuts is the glaze. My favorite was and always will be their blood orange donut with a candied orange peel. I think it was a peel and not a slice. To be honest, I can’t really remember because in a rare lapse of judgement DOUGH DISCONTINUED THIS DONUT. So many times in line (and also online, because occasionally I google “dough blood orange donut”) I’ve heard people saying that the blood orange donut was their favorite and where the fuck did it go and what were they thinking. What were they thinking? Another Dough mystery, this one yet to be solved. In the picture above are some of the survivors from the great blood orange donut nixing. Clockwise from top left is their Cafe Au Lait, Salted Chocolate and Caramel, Hibiscus and Dulce de Leche. My new favorite has become the Cafe Au Lait, which I usually pair with a blood orange flavored San Pellegrino soda. I pour a little of the soda out on the sidewalk as a sign of respect for our fallen donut homie. Their donuts are usually a reasonably priced $2.50-$2.75, with other classic flavors like Lemon Poppyseed and…Plain. They have rotating flavors, one of my all time favorites being pumpkin. I would like to make it perfectly clear that I do not appreciate pumpkin flavored things in the fall. I think it’s overdone and usually comes out gross. Every fall when Facebook statuses change to celebrate Pumpkin Spice Latte season at Starbucks I grimace and purge my Facebook friends list. I don’t like those. And I don’t like pumpkin things in fall. But I really like Dough’s pumpkin doughnut. So that should say something. It’s the exception that proves the rule. Pumpkin shit is gross.

In short, if you need a donut stat, don’t go here. You will wait awhile. But if you don’t need a donut right this minute do go here. But don’t ask to go to the bathroom because they don’t have one. They’re also cash only. Ya know, if you need a donut stat but don’t want to wait in their line, Dough distributes their donuts to various shops throughout the city. So there ya go. Also, I realize that I switched back and forth between spelling donut like that and like doughnut. If that bothers you, I apologize, but I was just trying to keep you on your toes. Anyway, happy National Donut Day and until next time-

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off The G

Why the G? Why Me?

Welcome to the very first posting on “Off The G!” This will not be a normal entry for the blog, but just an introduction that will basically echo everything that was written in the “About Off the G” section, just rewritten with completely new words and completely off the top of my head. Some might call that an entirely different thing, and we’ll see what I’ve got when I’ve finished writing this. You could be totally right! Or I might get bored and just copy and paste the About section. Here we go:

G Line

I’ve lived in New York City for five years and all five of those years have been along the G line. I’ve done my fair share of complaining about the G and I don’t expect that this blog will make that stop. The G is inherently an awful subway line, there’s just no way around that. It doesn’t have as many cars as the other subway lines, it only stops in the middle of the platform, it doesn’t run nearly as frequently as the other subway lines, and it was the last train to reopen after Hurricane Sandy. I’m not sure if that’s true, someone should look that up. If it’s not true, it certainly felt that way. This blog is about the fun stuff you can find above ground along the G line, once you walk up those stairs and are OFF THE G. Hey! That’s the name of this blog!

I guess I’m being a little rough on the G. I do take it every day and have come to truly appreciate it being one of the only modes of transport to connect North Brooklyn to Downtown Brooklyn and beyond without needing to make a bunch of transfer, or god forbid, take the bus. If there is one thing you will surely learn throughout the course of this blog is that I hate taking the bus. There is something endearing about the G and how it only runs every 10 minutes (when we’re lucky) and how it is the “short train.” What makes those qualities endearing, I really can’t say.

Now let’s get into why this blog and why me. I love to travel and I love reading travel guide books. Anytime someone I know travels to a place I’ve been, one of my favorite things to do is to write very detailed descriptions of how to ride public transportation, where to get cheap food, where you can safely black out, etc. Some might think that I get off on acting better than everyone like I know what’s best. Yeah, maybe. That would be a fair guess and I’m not going to fight that. One time someone asked me for suggestions for a friend who was traveling to Dublin, a city I had spent a few months in. After I spent the entire night happily writing the longest email I’ve ever written I thought to myself, “Being a barista sucks, how can I just travel and write about good places to go to forever?” I haven’t been a barista for several years so these ideas have long been brewing. I’ve thought about writing a blog on places around the city for a few years now but felt wildly unqualified. I still am. But a few weeks ago something clicked when I thought of the latest iteration of my original idea; a blog devoted to places you might find and consider a reward for riding what is considered by many to be the worst subway line. I hope to have at least one entry for every stop on the G. Each entry will be tagged with the subway stop it is closest to so you can find all the entries I’ve written on each stop by clicking the tags. In addition to tagging the posts with subway stop, I’ll also tag it with the neighborhood, what kind of establishment it is (restaurant, museum, bathroom, what have you), whether it is handicap accessible and other important information. Therefore if you’re looking for a handicap accessible place along the G, all you’ll have to do is click the tag. Looking for a fancy bathroom along the G? Click the tag! Tags!

What do I hope to get out of this? The satisfaction that comes with writing extensively on a subject I have no qualifications to write about, just because I like doing it. Why now? I decided awhile ago that I wanted the first entry to be on my favorite place in the whole world: Dough. And the day this goes live is National Doughnut Day. So really, it all makes sense.

Enjoy the blog, at least a little more than you enjoy the G

And keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off The G