There are still a few weeks left for you to have a Red Hook summer…
Start with free kayaking in Red Hook – Statue of Liberty to your right, Verrazano Bridge to your left. You can kayak for free from 1pm to 6pm off Louis Valentino Junior Park, right by Steve’s Key Lime Pies (obviously, you need to stop by for a slice, or take home a whole pie).
Then, do the one-hour tour at Cacao Prieto just one block away. This small chocolate factory/whiskey and rum distillery is producing some of the best chocolate and spirits to come out of the whole Made in Brooklyn renaissance.
The 72% dark chocolate, made from organic cacao beans direct from the owner’s family farm in the Dominican Republic, is buttery smooth, and yes, you get to dip a straw into that couverture chocolate machine. Their Widow Jane label offers some serious libations, from a rich 7-year bourbon whiskey that my whiskey snob husband had to take home, to an after-dinner cacao rum liqueur with completely seductive chocolate aromatics (that we also couldn’t leave without).
Afterwards, stop by for a refreshing cocktail at Cacao Prieto’s gorgeous, airy next-door bar Botanica (recommended: the Maori, with kiwi, vodka and lime).
Continue around the corner for your pick of Van Brunt restaurants: a lobster roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound, melt-in-the-mouth brisket at Hometown Bar-B-Que, or – my choice – cozy Korean-American fare at The Good Fork. If the weather is still pleasant, relax in the tranquil garden with a pre-dinner Negroni.
Sautéed calamari with crunchy pistachios is a perfect summer appetizer, big enough for two to share. The skirt steak in their signature steak and eggs, Korean style, is tender and softly sweet, sitting atop kimchi rice, and big enough to satiate a post-kayak hunger. Equally fork-tender, the lamb osso buco comes with a tiny spoon to scoop out that luscious marrow.
There’s so much more to explore in Red Hook – from the must-eat Red Hook ballpark food vendors, to volunteering at the wonderful Added Value farm. As long as you don’t get sucked into the Ikea vortex, you’ll enjoy a perfect Red Hook summer.