My favorite thing to do on free days is get out and and explore new neighborhoods, eats, drinks, or just really great views. NYC Spotlight highlights some of my favorite finds playing tourist in my own city.
One of the things I’ve been incredibly thankful for this winter is how mild it’s been compared to the polar vortex of last year. This has given me more motivation to get out and just walk for the entire day. My most recent exploration was the picturesque DUMBO nestled on the Brooklyn waterfront. I ended up walking from my apartment in Park Slope after noticing that walking would only take me about 15 more minutes than the subway. This also meant I could spend ample time drooling over all the gorgeous brownstones in the area. I walked up to Brooklyn Heights, which needs a post by itself, and through Brooklyn Bridge Pier Park, which got me so excited for warmer weather.
I met up with two friends at the Brooklyn Bridge and we made our way through the neighborhood.
I wanted to see the stained glass house installation by Tom Fruin, having always loved his water tower that I had seen going over the Manhattan Bridge.
The better part of the day was spent walking around and going into shops. I’ve always been intrigued with DUMBO because of how hip & industrial it is while still feeling like such a sleepy town. There were quite a few people on the streets but it was still incredibly quiet. Everything seems to be tucked away, hidden, and unlabeled as we had some difficulty finding a few of the places we were looking for. We also didn’t see one grocery store or even a bodega our entire journey, which I found a bit strange.
When the cold had finally settled into our skin, we headed inside to eat. I’ve kept a notebook of all the places I need to go to in NYC arranged by neighborhood so I picked out a restaurant that was known for it’s cocktails and tacos called Gran Electrica, which is nestled right under the Brooklyn Bridge next to Grimaldi’s Pizza.
As soon as we walked in, I knew it would be a place I’d enjoy. The restaurant is adorned with really funky skull wallpaper from the talented folks at Flavor Paper in Cobble Hill. We ordered a pitcher of Sangria, which yielded about 2.5 glasses each and was by far some of the better Sangria I’ve had in my life. It was filled with fruit, not too sweet, and perfectly strong. They also add jalepenos, which gave it a much appreciated kick. I will definitely be back to try some of their margaritas.
We started off with some guacamole and chips. They do offer a salsa & guacomole combo for $15, which I wanted to try having seen it on a few other tables but I was outvoted. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get chips and salsa for free but the guac. serving was really generous so I happily filled myself up.
For an entreé I got the fish tacos, having heard great reviews about them. For $11 you get two fish tacos topped with cabbage, crema, and avocado salsa. The tacos don’t come with any sides but for $5 each you can order rice and beans. Coming from Colorado & having spent a lot of time in California, this girl has really missed her good Mexican & Latin restaurants. Gran Electrica definitely delivered with their fish tacos. I happily scarfed down my tacos and wished for more. Two tacos for $11 is pretty common for NYC prices but these tacos were so delicious that I didn’t even mind. I’d highly recommend getting an appetizer if you are on the hungrier side. My friend who ordered the Chile Relleno was also satisfied with her dish, although she ate it all before I could steal a bite. I will be returning in the future to eat my way through the rest of their menu and I’d highly recommend it to others. It’d be a great date spot or just pop up at their bar and enjoy some you time. The bathroom walls are also hot pink, so that’s a big plus for me.
While there were some great looking desserts at Gran Electrica, we had already decided to stop by the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory afterwards because ice cream in the winter makes perfect sense. The factory is a pretty simple shop, serving around 8 flavors made from natural ingredients. I added caramel and hot fudge to my flavors of chocolate chip & strawberry. I’d describe their ice cream as being a better version of Haagen Dazs, really thick and satisfying. The way ice cream should be.
Belly full and happy, I made my way back to Park Slope knowing I’ll be spending a lot of time coming back to DUMBO once the sun warms up this city.