Lunchtime With Tillie: Brooklyn Flea

Hey everyone, it’s Team LWT back with another installment of Lunchtime With Tillie. Sorry we missed you last week: Yours truly was a little slack on getting Baby T out of the house to eat. (Don’t worry; we had food in the house for her!) But since we didn’t get out and about, we decided to make up for that with a trip that brought multiple food places together under one roof, the Brooklyn Flea at 1 Hanson Place. I’ve been trying to arrange a trip there for the family for weeks now, but I usually do some freelance work on Saturdays a million miles away in Westchester County and by the time I have to start my trip by plane, train and automobile to get to the job, Tillie’s just waking up from her nap. But I was off this past Saturday, and my flea market mission was not to be denied!

So as soon as T woke up from her midmorning nap, I loaded her up in her stroller to go there, where Tillie’s mom was waiting for us. Tillie’s mom had been out all morning looking at wedding dresses (she’s getting married to a really awesome dude, I hear) and beat us to the place. We talked on my way there and she volunteered to hop in the line where they were serving pupusas. Since I had been saying for months—since the outdoor Flea days—that I wanted to try a pupusa, this was greatly appreciated.

After finally arriving there, we were all set to head downstairs, but there was a slight snag. As I mentioned a few sentences ago, I threw Tillie in the stroller to take her to the Flea. We have an Ergo carrier, but I had only worn it once at that point and I had NO idea how to put it on by myself in backpack mode: Parents out there, I’m sure you understand. Anyway, back to the snag; there was no elevator to get down to the food. No worries as I just carried her down, but it was a lot of stairs to deal with and sometimes it could be said I might have a wee bit of a lazy side.

We got down there and quickly found Tillie’s mom standing in line. Tillie was kind of lethargic on our way down to the Flea, but perked up some when she saw mommy! I un-strollered her and off she went into TM’s waiting arms, joining her to get the much-awaited pupusas.

But …

There were so many other options around and the pupusas didn’t look like all they were cracked up to be, so I decided to make the rounds. I know, so close, yet so far away. Right next to the Red Hook vendors was The Good Fork stand, which had pork and vegetable dumplings as well as gumbo. I thought dumplings would make a good food choice for Tillie, even though she had pupusas in her immediate future. But I figured why not just let her have a taste of everything; I’ll get some dumplings, too. And since I was on this Brooklyn Flea-food-melange kick …

Why not get a grilled cheese sandwich at Milk Truck? Tillie has a grilled cheese sandwich almost every morning, but not like these, with the aged gruyere and crispy bread. If she likes my little cheddar sandwiches I make for her on my Foreman Grill, she’ll love these! So I went over to place the order for a grilled cheese classic, and since it takes a few minutes for those to be prepared, I sauntered back to Good Fork and got some pork dumplings. As soon as they were done, I made my way back to Milk Truck just in time to pick up that cheesy goodness for the fam. I went out to join T and TM, who were sitting on the floor next to Sigmund’s Pretzel Stand. Tillie’s mom had the pupusas, I had the grilled cheese sandwich and dumplings, and Tillie?

She had other plans.

Remember when I said she was kind of lethargic on the way down? Well, she snapped back to her usual playful personality and really had no interest in eating. She wanted to spend most of her time wandering a few feet away from us then coming back. I think she was entertained by seeing all the people in one place, and she also had fun dancing to the music playing.

In between her dancing and running, she did grab a bite of dumpling and pupusa, but had nothing to do with the grilled cheese. I guess my sandwiches are her favorite after all! But, if I’m to be honest about it, Milk Truck has me beat hands-down.

After Tillie’s mom and I finished eating, we packed up the leftover pupusas for Tillie (which proved to be a good move as she ate them while we were walking around later on). We got her back in the stroller then made our way out of the basement, back to street level and headed out—all of us satisfied with the trip.

If you haven’t been to the Flea yet, which I would be shocked about, then you should go soon, for sure. I think there’s something to eat for everyone at good prices. I would say, though, if you’re bringing the kid, take the carrier because it can get pretty tight there. I know we’ll be back soon, this time with Tillie ready to eat because we still have to try the Connecticut lobster roll and fish tacos and spinach pie and Asia Dogs and …

Fort Greene PUPS Calendars on Sale!

The 2009 Fort Greene PUPS calendar debuted at the Great PUPkin and was a huge success.  I'll say it's one of the best the organization has done (both because I worked on it, and because we accepted user submissions and collected a lot of amazing photos of local dogs!). As always, the calendars will be available locally and will also be sold at the Brooklyn Flea this Sunday:

We're excited to announce that the 2009 PUPS calendar will be on sale at the Flea this Sunday, November 9.  Come and get yours at the PUPS table that will be set up outside the Flea's main entrance beginning at 10 AM.  The calendar is also available at Who's Your Doggy on Willoughby and Adelphi and at Gnarly Vines on Myrtle Avenue.    This year's calendar is filled with more photos of our community canines then ever and makes a great holiday gift.  Plus, the money raised through calendar sales helps support our activities, which include donations to area shelters and to individuals who have rescued dogs in our neighborhood.
See you in the park (and hopefully at the Flea),
Nancy Peterson
President, PUPS
The calendar can also be purchased online here.

Flea Stuff

A commenter recently asked me why I haven't given any coverage to the flea controversies. Really, it's just because everyone else in NYC has already written about it. I'm not really interested in repeating stuff that's been posted in a zillion other places -- I'd rather observe quirky stuff and solve neighborhood mysteries -- but here is a link from the NY Times. When I first heard there would be a meeting to protest the flea, I assumed it would be an old-timer, new-timer thing. However, it sounds like the meeting was driven by the members of the church across the street. Some of their gripes sound legit -- having flea visitors use their restroom facilities and having parking taken up. Surely there could be a resolution there -- resident-only parking stickers (or not -- do the parishioners have the right to park over flea shoppers?), or welcome flea visitors into the church's facilities for a donation (hey, you have to pay in Coney Island to use most bathrooms! Why not raise some cash for the church?). One complaint is that church attendance has dropped since the flea began. Has the church polled it's non-attending members to see if this is the case? Perhaps it's due to the fact that people are out of town during the summer?

I wasn't at the meeting, but it does seem that the flea management has taken a lot of steps to accommodate feedback and complaints -- security, clean-up, an ATM, more food vendors. Plus, it seems like local businesses, especially restaurants, are benefiting from all the neighborhood visitors.

I'm not sure the chastisement of having the flea on the sabbath is all that valid. I mean, it's not the sabbath for everyone, and I'm just not cool with feeling like religious morales morals (whoops! sorry, multitasking at work! ) are being imposed on me outside of the church building.


The Flea: Diversifying!

I swung by the BK Flea two Sundays ago. It was my first trip back since opening day and I'm happy to say that stuff seemed nicely diversified. In terms of vendors anyway. I saw a lot more random bric-a-brac this time around and some second-hand furniture with $20 price tags! I picked up a cool print of an old subway map for just $4, as well as a new wallet on sale for 25 bucks from Aissatou at Tessan Boutique (who was at the flea for the first time). map.jpg

Anyone else have any feedback?