Pokebab

We recently hosted a meet up at Pokebab, a bright and quaint Poke (pronounced Poh-Kay) Bar in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Poke, which is native to Hawaii, is a dressed raw tuna salad with fresh toppings such as scallion, cucumber, and seaweed salad. This restaurant had more of a Japanese influence so ingredients such as edamame, masago, oshinko and ponzo are available.

As I entered, I immediately felt a warm and inviting environment. The restaurant was brightly lit with earth toned decor. The relaxing ambiance and neutral decor allowed all of the vibrant colors of the fresh toppings to stand out. This enabled me to build a Poke Bowl based off of how the options looked rather than the taste. I haven’t had many of the Hawaiian and Japanese vegetables and flavor options before eating at Pokebab and I am excited that I was able to explore the diversity of Island flavors.

This restaurant offers a fast-casual dining experience (think Chipotle but with Poke) allowing customers to create their own unique Poke Bowls, Poke Burritos, and Poke Salads. Already being an extremely indecisive person, I did not know where to start. When it was my turn to order I froze and quickly chose the Classic Poke Bowl. The sweet counter person who made my bowl made many suggestions and gave me an array of sauces to sample. Their Ponzu sauce which looks similar to soy sauce is Amazing! Also their Pokebab Sauce had me licking the spoon. It’s super tasty. At one point i was just shaking my head yes to whatever she suggested for my bowl. The end result was a colorful and nutrient packed bowl with raw tuna, corn, cucumbers, radish sprouts, ginger, edamame, scallions, with their Sweet and Sour, Pokebab, and fresh Ponzu flavors on a bed of spring greens and white rice. If consuming raw tuna is not your thing, grilled chicken, seared tuna, shrimp and tofu are alternative protein options. They also have canned tropical juices available like Strawberry Guava. I sipped on an Island Iced Tea.

Pokebab

Upon first taste, I drew a similarity to Sushi. Poke reminded me of a deconstructed tuna roll. With my extra toppings added it was as if a tuna roll literally let loose and had a dance party. Poke was extremely fun for me to consume and I really enjoyed how all of the many flavors and textures were able to marry into pure deliciousness.

Although the dining area was limited, we were able to join tables and enjoy our Poke Bowls. Everyone had different bowls and most of us were able to agree that the Poke was fresh and delicious. All the flavors really stained my taste buds with a happy feeling which makes me want to go back and make endless Poke Bowl combinations. If you’re ever in Williamsburg, I totally recommend that you try Pokebab at 209 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11211.

Do not forget to add the Pokebab Flavor!

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Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Mullanes

Who knew that macaroni and cheese could be the topic for such a great debate? One that we would settle once and for all at Mullanes. For a group of people from a variety of backgrounds and palettes, there was a variety of preferences. At our first monthly #MacAndCheeseBeforeLove NYC Meetup, we gathered at Mullane’s in Fort Greene, Brooklyn to bond over their love of mac and cheese.

Mullanes
Photo by Alissa Nichole

From the beginning, we discovered who the purists were, those who preferred a classic and simple macaroni and cheese and have yet to venture out to any variations, and identified the more adventurous ones, who liked a variety of additions to their mac and cheese, from protein like chicken, shrimp and lobster to vegetables like tomatoes, spinach and jalapeno peppers. From the discussion, we realized just how many ways mac and cheese can be prepared and and which were among the group favorites, from cheese options to crunch and stovetop versus baked.

Calamari and Wings Mullanes
Photo by Alissa Nichole

After identifying that some of our favorites came from places including Max Brenner, Brooklyn Bazaar and Pret a Manger, we worked up enough of an appetite to order mac and cheese and beyond. To offer a variety that would satisfy everyone’s cravings, we went for a plain mac and cheese, one with chicken, one with shrimp and one with buffalo chicken and jalapenos for those who dared to try, and a few extra goodies: sesame ginger wings and calamari.

Sangria Mullanes
Photo by Alissa Nichole

It was a pleasant surprise that the purists braved to try the other options at Mullanes and enjoyed them. Although everyone didn’t love the buffalo chicken option, it was a hit amongst a select few. The wings were so nice we had to order them twice, and the calamari was a crowd pleaser as well. Sangria was a popular choice that didn’t disappoint, even for the woman who considers herself a sangria snob, so that’s saying a lot.

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Mullanes
Photo by Alissa Nichole

From travel to NYC neighborhoods, the conversation was rich and the connections were genuine. This casual gathering at Mullanes was a success, and we are looking forward to our next outing. We’d love you to join us. Come on over to our meetup to know when we we’ll be doing mac and cheese again and some of our other outings, like #cocktailsbeforelove, #burgersbeforelove and whatever else our hearts and bellies desire.

So we’d love to know!

  • How do you like your mac and cheese?
  • Where are your favorite places to indulge in delicious mac?

*Thank you Alissa Nichole for snapping such great shots.

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Picky's Speed Pie

Hailing from Brooklyn, Picky Eater’s NYC restaurant is quickly becoming a staple of the neighborhood. Most popularly visited for their Trini style barbecue lamb, Picky’s is a crowd favorite. If you don’t believe us, just ask Flatbush. Food Before Love was invited to the Picky’s Eater’s pizza party pop up at Sugarcane in Prospect Heights. Every now again, Picky’s will host a themed pop up event highlighting different foods with Caribbean flavors.

Picky's Pop up Restaurant

Sugarcane, another Caribbean restaurant, is extremely popular amongst the locals. No matter the day of the week. you’ll always find a line outside of Black professionals waiting for a table. However on this particular day, Picky’s pizza made the wait a bit more worthwhile. It became obvious to any bystander, that Picky’s Pop was going overwhelmingly well. We took it to the kitchen to find out what the chef was cooking up and how much pizza we could really bite into. 

Picky's Pop up

Picky’s Pizza Party menu was Island Flavored with choices like Sunday Lunch – callaloo base, topped with shredded saltfish, ricotta cheese and cherry tomatoes. There were options for Vegetarians like the vital Ital Veggie which consisted of pineapple, sweet peppers, onions and tomatoes. Being the jerk chicken lover that I am, Picky put together a speed pie for me. This personal pizza came with shredded jerk chicken, pineapples, and a drizzle of their signature sauce. Talk about hot!

Picky's Speed Pie

It’s not jerk chicken if there’s no heat. The key is to not let that heat overpower the flavor of the chicken. Picky’s made the perfect pizza when he combined these ingredients and he wasn’t stingy. Plenty of chicken adorned my plate and the sweetness of the pineapple helped combat the hotness. However, it was truly the jerk sauce that took the dish through the roof, making it juicy as it soaked into all parts of the pizza. For information more information on Picky’s next pop up, follow them on instagram @PickyEatersNYC and don’t hesitate to RSVP!

Picky's Speed Pie

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Randolph Beer Brooklyn Dish

Brunch is extremely popular at Randolph Beer in Brooklyn and I was ready to find out why. Getting an earlier reservation was the best idea I had all weekend because mid-meal, the line was out the door. The vibe at Randolph Beer is down to earth, a little eclectic, and fun. I’m here for fun vibes over brunch. Since it was only a party of two, we were seated at a high table which I hated. The table seemed far two small for us both and our food but now I know to come with a party of 3 or more. This wasn’t going to stop the fun, as I ordered a $25 pitcher of their Strawberry Cucumber Fizz.

Randolph Beer Brooklyn Guest

I was being ambitious for ordering this pitcher but it was refreshing and packed a punch. I loved that the restaurant wasn’t too loud and everyone seemed to be having their own things going on, despite how busy it was. Since I arrived with an appetite, I ordered the breakfast nachos. The nachos came with sharp cheddar & jack cheese, baked eggs, black beans, ranchero sauce and pulled pork. This meal was hearty and I was unprepared.

Randolph Beer Brooklyn Pitcher

Randolph Beer Brooklyn Breakfast Nacho

There’s nothing like picking up the perfect chip with all the toppings and taste that combination. It must have been what the chef intended when he created this dish and it was exactly what I got. The breakfast nachos are great for friends who want to share. It can overwhelming trying to tackle the meal alone and even more so if you’re making it through a pitcher. My friend ordered the pulled pork Benedict which was accompanied by a perfect batch of waffle fries. This should be the next brunch experience you put on your to eat list.

Randolph Beer Brooklyn Eggs Benedict

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Vegan Pancakes V spot

It’s unlikely for me to go to a Vegan restaurant especially for brunch, but when I heard the V spot was serving unlimited mimosas and focused on Latin cuisine, I was ready. Being that the V spot is not far from Barclay center in Brooklyn, it wasn’t a tough commute to make so I invited friends to meet me. Before I even get into the food, my waiter really made the experience what it was. He was not only attentive, but he also took the time to talk to us as he joined into our conversation about world issues (we invited him). He was so intelligent and knowledgeable so it was refreshing to meet someone so dope here, plus he filled the mimosas up right on time.

I started with the bean empanada, which I’ve never tried but was looking to eat something new. It tastes exactly how it sounds, no added wow but dipping into the sauce here really made a difference in flavors.

Bean empanadas V spot

I ordered the vegan pancakes as my friend ordered the tofu rancheros and we waited some time before it hit our table. The butter for the pancakes tasted like the butter I’m used to eating even though this didn’t have an ounce of dairy. I was really impressed at how good the butter was and lathered up my pancakes. I would have preferred more strawberries though, as they seem to be the ignored part of my dish, thrown on top of my pancakes for what seemed like no reason at all. I mean, I asked for them but they weren’t what I was expecting. Maybe I missed having whipped cream.

Vegan Pancakes V spot

I could tell something was off from the flavors that I’m used to but the pancakes were really good. The tofu rancheros however, took my soul. I reached in for a bite of my friend’s and ended up ordering my own. It really felt like they covered this in scrambled eggs and the flavors were popping out from left to right. I would order this a million times over and it really sealed the deal for me at the V spot. Go there and get this dish, you will not be disappointed.

Tofu Rancheros V spot

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Cherry Izakaya

Cherry Izakaya

It’s not often that I go to Brooklyn any more but when I do, it’s for the eats. As I got myself comfortable at Cherry Izakaya in Williamsburg, their Shiso Tipsy drink caught my eye. I ordered it immediately as I stared at all the menu options they had. The bartender, Jake, was filling me in on all the favorites and he was sharing a little history lesson on sake that added to my experiences. By the time I was ready, my Shiso Tipsy had came out which was rather strong but pretty sweet. Cucumber seemed to be a huge part of this drink so I looked at it as my healthy drink of the day, ha!

Cherry Izakaya

Though the Tuna Tarts seemed to be a crowd favorite, I couldn’t resist ordering the spicy tuna crispy rice. I am so glad I went with this decision because this starter dipped in the soy sauce was phenomenal. It really elevated the flavors I originally had without it. As expected, the outside of this dish is crunchy but the middle was surprisingly soft. The tuna also helped soften up the crunch but then again, the soy sauce took it through the roof. The Salt -n- Pepa shrimp was up next, which also had a crunch to it but needed an accompanying sauce. Though the shrimp was cooked well, I love a good dip and was searching for one to pair here.

Cherry Izakaya

Cherry Izakaya

I sat in front of the bar since it was a beautiful day and the doors are left wide open but the restaurant also has an upstairs area to accommodate other parties. I took a peek at this section, which was hosting larger groups, families and a great view of all the sake they offer. My waitress was also very attentive and knew a great deal about the menu. She’s the reason I tried the Izakaya Steak frites, which consisted of a dry ages rib eye, ponzu sesame dressing and Izakaya fries. The fries reminded me of yucca fries because they were very thick and similar in consistency. I didn’t prepare myself for the sriracha ketchup they paired them with and felt like I was going to turn into Shiso Tipsy myself because I needed a drink and bad. Yes there was water but, so what, you’re missing the point. Though the steak was cut into thin strips, there was plenty to fill you up and it was not only juicy but also well seasoned.

Cherry Izakaya

Cherry Izakaya

The experience couldn’t end here so I went for dessert. Jake had mentioned the cheesecake being deconstructed which had me curious. The blueberry delight was another amazing plate of perfection and it being deconstructed added to the experience considering you could try what you wanted whether together or apart. I was busy mixing all parts together and would come back plenty times over just for this.

Cherry Izakaya

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