The first one I went to was Sweet Treasures, which is replacing The Three Star Bakery. It's been open a few days. I thought it was going to be called La Dolce Vita. I was wrong. There's been a bakery at this site (just north of Prospect Ave.) for over a hundred years, and Sweet Treasures, a classic Italian shop, will continue the tradition very well. In addition to my dollar coffee, I tried free samples of doughnuts & lard bread. The girl behind the counter said the lard bread was their specialty, & she's right. It's excellent. She told me her dad had been baking for 33 years, & that the Guzzo family used to run Princess Bake Shop in Sunset Park. There's a couple of tables by the window and it's a great spot to watch people go by. Good luck to the new business.
Baked in Brooklyn, at 26th & Fifth, is also newly opened. It's on the site of Aladdin Bakery, which has been making bread since 1972, & the owner, Joseph Ayoub, has done nicely for himself. The best thing about the cafe space here are its huge glass windows that let you see the bakers in action. I love that kind of thing. I got more free samples: spoonfuls of cheesecake, & some sort of cherry danish. The bread looked good, & I got a big bag of bread rolls for a buck, which seemed like a good deal. Along with the pastries, they also sell sandwiches & bagels here, though the bagels I saw looked like a mutant breed I'd stay away from. Coffee was pricier here than Sweet Treasures, and the wanderers-in were a mix of older locals & newer folks. One hipster twenty-something flirted drearily with the girl behind the counter & boasted that he never left Brooklyn for Manhattan. There was no need. The girl herself had only been in New York four months, & told me that her boyfriend sold gourmet chocolate on Pearl Street. I almost asked her if she'd been to Pearl Diner, but decided against it.
This place is hard to figure out Its sleek looks & its bouncy Brooklyn moniker* seems aimed at newer Greenwood types. It's a bit of a freak in this quiet industrial, cemetery stretch, but the bakery side of the business should keep the cafe afloat. The food looks pretty good, and is not insanely priced & if the bread's decent, I'll come back. It's not really a comfortable place to linger, though there is a window counter. This allows you to sip your drink and gaze at the cemetery across the street, which might or might not be a draw, depending on your humor. I might actually enjoy it, being a bit of a melancholy sod, though even I couldn't stand it for too long. And standing there looking out made me remember those newish condos over on McDonald whose selling point was their Greenwood views. Who'd go for that? Even I couldn't take a daily dose of tombstones. I'm happy visiting the place, but I think I'd go crazy if it was my morning and my evening vision. It also made me think about the funeral home/bagel theme of yesterday's post, and why I seemed to be right back in the same weird area of thought. I needed to get out of this loop.
* I think the name might be a problem. There's already a Baked In Brooklyn pottery studio in Williamsburg, so there may be some conflict down the line.
I'd eaten enough by the time I got to Girasol, which is right on the corner of 25th. But I had to go in. A traditional Mexican bakery, it looks to the outsider like it might just be a cake shop, as the windows are full of frilly, multi-tiered confections, but inside you can also get a full menu of tacos, tortas & the like. It's the same thing with a lot of the grocery stores around here. There's more than meets the eye. This makes me realise (yet again) that a) I think I'm observant but half the time I'm walking blind and b) that these hidden worlds, casually out of reach to outsiders, are actually a good thing, and keep the unnecessary visitor (me) out. But I want to know them anyway.
Girasol has a nice L-shaped counter, and a big display case of pastries. The menu on the wall has no prices. There was a TV show that featured a lot of sobbing women, and a couple of guys sat silently watching.
A pair of dust-coated workmen came in to order & paced around the store while the food was prepared, talking of strip clubs and what flavor soda to order. They each ordered two slender bottles of strawberry & pineapple. I was on to my third coffee now & didn't even really want it. So I ordered without thinking & it came out sugary the way I'd expected, & didn't like. It cost 75c and I sat at the counter and took photographs of cakes. The coffee was good and sweet.