Radio Bakery, Rolo's, Raising Canes, Summer Cocktails...
Welcome to The Lowdown, an all-new, expanded edition of what I’m drinking, eating, reading, writing, listening to, and watching. It is also a space to spotlight a few of my favorite things. This paid subscriber exclusive will send out on select Fridays. This inaugural dispatch is free to all readers.
Many of you know how much I enjoy Rolo’s in Ridgewood, Queens, and part of that love is devoted to the confections from Pastry Chef Kelly Mencin. Partnering with the Rolo’s team, Mencin recently opened Radio Bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Leading up to opening day she was popping up all over New York to offer a preview of her inventive pastries, croissants, and breads. I wasn’t able to make any of those because each one drew a line of eager fans down the block with items selling out within an hour. But, I’m happy to report I have made several trips to Radio Bakery since it opened and, after increasing production, most items (save for the popular Bolus, a Dutch sticky bun, which is the first thing to sell out each morning) have been available throughout the day. And the peach iced tea is worth your consideration.
So far I’ve sampled a few croissants (Strawberry Almond, Triple Chocolate, Twice-Baked Peanut) and always try to time my visit just as the focaccia and sandwiches drop at 11 a.m. (love the Spicy Muffuletta!). I hope to try the Croissant with Mascarpone Cream, Blackberries, and Blueberries (from Lancaster, PA) and the Peach & Cream Croissant before they disappear. The Cheesy Pretzel Bear Claw Is stellar, but my favorite item, by far, is the Brown Butter Corn Cake, an updated take on the Cornbread Muffin with Honey Butter at Rolo’s. On sight alone I bought two and after finishing one while waiting for my cappuccino I got back on line and bought two more. It’s sort of shaped like a Twinkie with a salty, crispy, cornmeal-rich exterior whose lava-cake like sunken center reveals a honey-sweet interior that comes on like a St. Louis gooey butter cake. I just can’t get enough…
Last Saturday I hopped on the B38 bus in Downtown Brooklyn for the 45-minute journey to Rolo’s for a solo dinner at the bar. It was around this time two years ago when I first visited Rolo’s and I have to say their summer offerings are some of my favorites. On deck: Watermelon Salad with Pickled Peppers and Thai Basil and a Heritage Pork T-Bone with Garlic Aioli and Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes. I showed restraint in not ordering one of my favorite dishes, the spicy Grilled Romano Beans Marco Polo, but I made short work of the Ricotta Cavatelli with Creamed Corn, Pecorino, and Black Pepper. I had this last summer during its short window of availability and I’m so glad it’s back. (My photo sort of looks like scrambled eggs but don’t let that fool you). I’m heading back as soon as I can to order it again, and hope the grilled Jimmy Nardello Peppers will be making an appearance on the menu soon.