Pros, Cons, Oyster-Bacon Pad Thai and Crullers15

Posted by Deirdre // 10-19-2011


We are constantly weighing the pros and cons of city life as I’m sure is the same for most of you. If you’re organized and serious enough about leaving, or have an idea of where you want to go (unlike us), you may even write them down. It occurred to me that maybe I should do a new series in which I attempt to list pluses and minuses, should-we-stay-or-should-we-go type issues. (They won’t all be as long as this, most likely – this one just happened to hit a nerve).

Yesterday was one of those days when the good and the bad butted right up against each other. I was walking my little one to school on a gorgeous Fall day. To set the scene – we live in dead-center Park Slope, off of dreaded 7th Avenue, and his school is in the beautiful and often way more peaceful South Slope. Sometimes we bus it, which is totally easy and fine, and sometimes we walk which on a nice day can be pretty pleasant – that is when you get past 9th street. 7th Avenue, specifically between 3rd and 9th streets – or my walk to the F train 4 days a week – is my nemesis. I hate it with a passion, so much so that I’ve created a Foursquare location called “7th Ave Stretch (of despair)” of which I am the Mayor, natch.

Que bueno Crespella (I don't speak Italian)

There are a few gems of course – Crespella is my savior, Zito’s is awesome and I’ve heard great things about Istanbul for Turkish food. I also love the guy at Brooklyn Pita and Mr. Falafel makes some great eggplant dip. Lion in the Sun and Butter Lane are nice neighborhoody places, and don’t forget the amazing 7th Ave Donuts, but more on that later. Otherwise the strip is filled with chains, about 25 cell phone stores (slight exaggeration) sucky unattractive restaurants, eyeglass stores and randomness. Not to mention garbage, lots and lots of garbage and noise.

It was the noise that was getting to me. There seemed to be more trucks than EV-er, so except for a lovely quick stop for delicious latte (me) and banana bread (him) at Crespella, I was ready to pull my hair out at 11th Street. And then…on his scooter, the boy zipped right by the new local celeb Dale Talde. If you’re not a Top Chef fan, well there’s something wrong with you. But seriously, Dale is an amazing chef from Season 4 and from Top Chef All-Stars and he’s opening a restaurant in Park Slope (which you may have seen on FIPS this week). Since learning this back in the Spring I’ve felt somewhat validated for living in the neighborhood by the fact that he chose it (yes I’m shallow and sad).

Dale Talde on Top Chef Season 8

So back to the scene…there was Dale, hanging out in front of the still under construction space, moving out-of-the-way so my little guy could scoot by (welcome to Park Slope, dude). He naturally looked up to see who was with the kid and I smiled and managed a, “We’re psyched for the restaurant!” and we had a brief exchange! It was totally thrilling. Sadly, this is my ‘pro’ for this post – that a celebrity chef is opening a restaurant in my neighborhood, and that I talked to him! I know, I already admitted that I’m pathetic. But really, it IS cool to be around good places to eat that aren’t in strip malls and that are, well, cool. Btw, Dale said they’d be open the first week of November – I’m just telling you what he told me when we chatted.

The final piece of the pro/con puzzle on this day came when I did a last check of twitter before getting on the subway to come home from work and saw this:

via Here's Park Slope, photo by Brooklynian

If you’re lucky enough to avoid the 7th Ave Stretch of Despair then you will not know that this is in fact on that stretch and happens to be less than a block from – you guessed it, 7th Avenue Donut Shop. You can see my rant on Here’s Park Slope in the comments on the post. Unfortunately the end of this story is kind of a pro and con – for brownstone Brooklyn that remains local (Cobble Hill? South Slope?) and against suburbs with nothing but sprawl and chains. Or for small towns that remain unique and against the noisy and increasingly homogenized city life.

The quest continues. Until then I’ll see you at TALDE when it opens, where I’ll be enjoying my Crispy Oyster-Bacon Pad Thai, probably at a VIP table.


5 Responses

  1. June 10th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    […] some of us choose the devil we know and the pro’s of things like Oyster-Bacon Pad Thai within walking distance. Just cuz we’re like that, and that’s the way it […]

  2. dave bry says:
    October 20th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    It’s good that kiddo #1 scooted by AFTER Dale completed his anger management course. If it had happened a few years back, he might have tripped him. (I am so glad Dale has mellowed out—he’s such a great chef. From what I’ve tasted through my TV screen, at least. And very psyched for the new place come November.) And this was a lovely post.

    • Deirdre says:
      October 21st, 2011 at 9:01 am

      Yeah, new Dale may be on some meds which I fully support/endorse. Or Yoga or something. He is amazing – or as you say, from what I’ve seen on TV. I also want to try Kiwiana which I just heard about this week from a friend. Top Chef alums all up in this place!

  3. slopette says:
    October 20th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I often take long walks down 7th avenue in the evenings just because I love it so much (of course, it’s a little less “bustly” at that time). But for every Dunkin that opens, think of how much we’ve gotten in the neighborhood recently — the aforementioned Talde and Zito’s, Coleur Cafe, Fleischer’s, Kiwiana, Surfish, and now a new cheese shop opening up 7th. And as soon as you turn off 7th, that noise just melts away. But I’m probably a couple years away from the Stretch of Despair 😉

    • Deirdre says:
      October 20th, 2011 at 10:47 am

      You’re right, there are a lot of great new places in the hood (tho only a small handful in said area). I’m kind of a glass-half-empty person most of the time. It’s all about my daily travels; if it were once a week I might not care as much.
      Today I had the genius idea of walking on 6th Ave to take the kiddo, since his school is btwn 6th & 7th. It was glorious! I was explaining to the little one (who’s 4) that it’s quieter because there are fewer stores, less people and cars and no buses; he said, “Yeah, it kind of feels like the country!”.