Here are a few reasons why:
Skirt steak and basil spaghetti from Chimu, a Peruvian restaurant in Williamsburg. We wandered in at 5:15pm on a Saturday to an already-half-full restaurant and were wow'd with every bite. Chimu's ceviche mixto appetizer is an absolute must-order. It's an enormous blend of mussels, shrimp, crab and white fish cooked ever so delicately in lime and cilantro.
After the ceviche, the skirt steak must be the most popular dish at Chimu, as all three people at the table next to us ordered it. The meaty cut of tender, simply yet perfectly seasoned steak is served over a heap of green spaghetti - so much that I made an entire dinner the next night out of my leftover pasta and some fresh shrimp. Basil sauce coats the spaghetti without drowning it and tasted just as good the next day. This dish is fantastic on its own, but you can kick it up another notch by asking for a side of chimichurri.
|Peruvian basil spaghetti and skirt steak at Chimu|
Morning stroll through the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, the enormous flea and food markets that Philly has been working to replicate. Our strategy was to scope out all the food vendors first, each pick one thing to eat, wander some of the vintage stalls and crafters, return to food vendors for another bite, wander more stalls, repeat until you are stuffed and/or broke. We went during winter, when the two Brooklyn attractions combine and move inside, so we didn't actually get the full effect. But if the excellent mix of cultural and tasty delights we saw was any indication, the warm weather version of Smorgasburg must be out of control.
The vintage goods at the Flea are really neat to explore, too, maybe a little pricey for stuff that is supposed to look worn, but someday when we have a big house in the 'burbs to furnish, I'll return and shop for real.
|One of the many Smorgasburg vendors we visited making delicious little rice balls.|
Afternoon snack at DiFara Pizza. One of New York's most revered pizza shops, Di Fara serves up insanely good square slices that make riding the Q train out of your way, $5 per slice, and the possibility of a wait, all worthwhile. Founder Domenico DeMarco has been rolling the dough for every pizza since 1959 and places each topping with tremendous care. It's a safe bet that anyone else you see working there is family, too. There is space to sit but it's very small. No worries, you'll scarf Di Fara's down so quickly that standing is no big deal.
|Di Fara square slice. Heaven.|
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge should be on everyone's bucket list. It's an historical artifact in its own right, having revolutionized the way bridges were built, like, a zillion years ago. (Actually constructed from 1870 - 1883, 13 years!) It also has a really interesting story behind it, including generations of a family, the many challenges of bridge building and the discovery of decompression sickness. The details are depicted on plaques spread out across the bridge, so while we fully support looking up and all around you at the sights, also be sure to look down and read the info along your journey. If you don't want to walk both ways, start on the Brooklyn end (take a subway there) and walk back to Manhattan for this stellar view:
|Brooklyn Bridge with the Freedom Tower and Lower Manhattan in the background|