destination: Red Hook, BK

A couple years ago the New York Times had an excellent article about day-tripping in Red Hook. The writer precisely summed up my thoughts, stating that Red Hook is a strange place to choose for a day trip…[b]ut for variety, charm, oddity and rugged urban beauty, there is nothing in the city like eating and drinking your way across this Brooklyn neighborhood.” This summer I visited Red Hook three times, drawn by the many culinary delights, lovely waterfront parks, and free Ikea ferry. Here are some highlights from my last trip:

There is very limited public transportation to Red Hook, so I took the Ikea water taxi ferry from Pier 11 (the Wall St. terminal) in Manhattan to the Fairway stop in Brooklyn. The ferry is free on weekends and the ride is about 15-20 minutes. My friend Monica biked and met me at the Fairway cafe.

Our first stop was for a tasting at the Red Hook Winery. We tried three different Long Island wines for only $8. I am not a wine connoisseur, but they were all pleasant and I was impressed with the sommelier’s knowledge of the wines and respective wineries.

Next we walked down Van Brunt Street, stopping at a couple cute boutiques, most notably Foxy & Winston. The charming owner, Jane Buck, is a designer who sells screen-printed textiles, stationary, and other gifts. We also passed a surprising number of green spaces.

Our ultimate destination on Van Brunt was the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Monica does not eat seafood so we went to the takeout window where I got the traditional Maine style lobster roll. It was delicious! 

For dessert, we visited Baked where Monica got one of the famous cookie bars. 

I love Baked, but there is a location in Tribeca, so instead I opted for something I can only get in Red Hook - a swingle at Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies (a swingle is a mini chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick). It was one of the best desserts ever!  

We also stopped at Cacao Prieto, a chocolate factory and distillery in an impressive Dutch-style brick building.  

While it seemed like we really ate and drank our way around Red Hook, what’s most impressive is that we barely made a dent.  Among other intriguing sights, we passed a colorful Mexican popsicle shop, a pop-up brunch restaurant in a warehouse, and the famous Red Hook Food Vendors. To be covered on a future trip…