to eat / four & twenty blackbirds, torrisi, and cake man raven

My parents recently found out (through their college friends) that my brother has a blog. In the most noncompetitive spirit, I shared that I had one too, and that it was mostly about shopping. My mom didn’t hide her disappointment. A few weeks later, I sent her a link to a NYC food blog written in Chinese (to give her more incentive to visit me). Her response was that I should write about “interesting sights, not always shooooopping!”. I’m interpreting sights as food, so here is a food update. I haven’t been eating out/food adventuring much lately because I started cooking again, weekends are too short with other obligations, and it is cold outside!

Last weekend, C and I trekked out to Brooklyn for Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie (and to discuss our upcoming Barcelona trip). I’d been craving good pie for ages; the pumpkin stuff that Trader Joe’s calls pie was a huge disappointment, even with Cool Whip. Our trip there took much longer than expected. I’m used to getting on the subway and it taking me reasonably close to my intended destination. I didn’t do research on getting there like I usually do and relied on Google Maps transit. Big mistake. We were talking and didn’t know that the F line turned into the blue line. We ended up at a station with heavy police presence. After backtracking a bit, we took the G train for the first time and walked from the Fort Greene area (= CAKE MAN RAVEN).

Distance truly makes the heart grow fonder. Cake Man Raven‘s red velvet cake is to die for and a MUST for any red velvet fan. I grabbed two slices to go (pre-packaged) because we didn’t want to spoil our appetite for pie. One slice is currently sitting in my freezer. I’m so glad I don’t live closer.

Photos from October 2009.

After the CMR detour, we stumbled upon the Brooklyn Flea. It was the first time I’d visited the Flea at One Hanson. It looked larger than the outdoor Fleas. The hot food was tucked in the back of the basement and lines were minimal, which is a sharp contrast to the other times I’ve visited. We grabbed something to fill our stomachs and after walking through some desolate, industrial areas in Gowanus, we arrived at our destination.

It was an unusual place to open a pie shop, but it was bustling with girlfriends, moms, and their kids. There were five pies that day, as listed on their Facebook page, but they were out of buttermilk custard and black bottom oatmeal by the time we got there. We got a slice of the cranberry sage and salted caramel apple.

Both slices were fab, especially with the fresh whipped cream. I watched the owners make pie behind the counter and drizzle the caramel on to the pie crust. Delish! I later got a slice of the farmer’s cheese and salted caramel apple to go. The apple was still yummy and while the cheese was good, it was just too heavy for me and the rest is still sitting in my fridge. The consistency is similar to a light cheesecake (heavier than the Japanese water bath ones) and I am just not a fan of cheesecake…

Going home from the pie shop was MUCH easier.


Rewind to the beginning of January. I stopped by Uniqlo after a Bar Method class to pick up a few things and made the mistake of not bringing a snack. As much as I love Uniqlo, it is an energy-sucking vortex. I was starving by the time I stumbled out of the store. Torrisi‘s been on my radar for ages and I chose the wrong day to check out Torrisi. Their to-go lunch line snaked in the store and after waiting 10+ minutes to place an order, I had to wait outside for another 30 for my sandwich and two sides. Or maybe that is the norm. Next time, I need a seat and reading material.

Their roasted turkey was succulent and moist, but didn’t fully compensate for the long wait. I was a big fan of the beet salad, which had pistachios and pommelo (or grapefruit?). The brussel sprouts were soft and well seasoned. I really want to go back for their dinner menu one of these days.


And feel free to share any Barcelona to-do’s.

Cake Man Raven, Fort Greene,
Brooklyn Flea, Various,
Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Gowanus,
Torrisi Italian Specialities, Nolita,

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