Friday, April 03, 2009

Hey Neighbor! Pardon Me For Asking, But...

Pardon Me for asking

Dear Reader,
Last week's start of the 'Pardon me Question Of The Week' feature was such a success, that I am continuing this week with a new question. So....

Won't you please, please, please answer this question?

I would so like to hear your answer.


Here it is:


Though Carroll Gardens is home to quite a few great bakeries, which one bakes the very best and which particular bread can't you live without?


Just because its Friday and because it's rather dreary outside, I invite you to come up with an answer to a question pertaining to Carroll Gardens or Brooklyn at large.

Previous Question of the week
Hey, Neighbors! Pardon Me For Asking, But...

For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking


Anonymous said...

They say man cannot live on bread alone. Sometimes I think I can, plus a little butter a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Here are my favorites: Caputo's Old Fashion loaf, Caputos Paesi or peaseant bread, Caputo's cabatta (the big loaf, more airy not the rolls), Mazzola's semolina WITH SEEDS. Did you know they have something called "daimond loaf"? ask for it and you will see why.

Do you remeber Near east backery on Atlanitic Ave, their brick oven was in the basement, as was the whole shop, when it would snow, as the oven extended under the sidewalk on Atlantic Ave it would melt all the snow to the shape of the oven on the street and sidewalk. This was generally at night and when you would see the snow melted you knew the bread was very fresh. In the summer no matter how hot the side walk was because of the sun the oven would raise the sidewalk tempeture many degrees. They had treriffic SYRIAN flat bread thinner and way more delicate than normal pita and also about 15 inches in diameter. It was meant to be used to scoop up foods of all kind with out using utentils, great for homuos, baba, tabouili but also grilled shish kaba with juicy lamb soaking into the bread, fantastic. It was also the bread of choice to eat raw, heavily spiced lamb (similar to steak tartar)with drizzeled olive oil called kibbe. There absolute best item though were pipinig hot meat or spinach pies fresh from the oven. The stuffing included pine nuts.Then there was zatar a pita coated and glazed with spices and olive oil befopre backing, no butter need (not unlike a good foccacia). Did I get to the question? I forgot exactly but am real hungry now!


Anonymous said...

Sorry I wanted to add: Did you know there are good bread days and bad bread days? It's the same concept as good and bad hair days. No matter how good the baker he is subject to climatic conditions. Check this out, when the weather is rainey, humid or damp you do not find that wonderfull cruchy dry, toasty crust that contrast with the soft moist inside. A lot of the experience is in the texture too. I also believe and some day will seriously check it out, that the SHAPE of the loaf even if the same ingreience will effect the taste/style of the bread. Big fat and round is very different than long bagette like bread. It may be the tempature at which the insides bake or the crust to inside ratio. I am not one at all that likes "conceptual" or "art as a project" (ala the Christo fence or the waterfalls, I actually oppose those)but have considered the aesthetics of bread often (not to mention it's religious significance) and thought about a show of bread as shape and meaning and how that relates to flavor and enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

You really started something, Vince! Yes, I agree with your choices and would add the country sourdough at Mazzola's on Union. I also miss the crispy crunchy cinnamon toast from the tiny bakery on Union at Columbia.
I am reminded of an incident not too long ago- a guy jumped out of his car as I was walking on Court one Sunday and ran right towards me. He said something like "Quick! I need to know where I can buy the best bread on Court St!". I stopped, looked at him and started laughing. "No way, I said- I won't be responsible for your choice! Here are three great bread bakeries right near here. Ask for samples and decide for yourself." He laughed and said "You're right".
We are not alone.


Kelly said...

I could not envision a life without bread. Or cheese for that matter.
Vince, I am with you on all of the Caputo breads, especially the pan de Paesi. I could eat a whole loaf of it in one sitting.
Mazzola's regular Italian bread always reminds me a bit of wonder bread, though it is good. It just doesn't have enough of a crust. Have to try the diamond loaf.
Our first apartment in the neighborhood was down the block from Mazzola's. Waking up to the smell of freshly backed bread evy morning was AMAZING.

I don't seem to remember the Near East bakery, but your description of the baked goods is mouth watering.
Love the bit about the snow melting in the shape of the oven.

Brooklyn Mom,
That was very diplomatic of you to not answer the question.
Sourdough from Mazzola's: Have to add that one to the list as well.

I think my all time favorite bread was the one at the old Cammareri bakery on Henry Street.
The 'new' Cammareri bread one finds around the neighborhood just isn't the same...

Anonymous said...

Cammareri for sandwiches and Mazzola with Sunday pasta.

Anonymous said...

What - no one mentioned the lard bread at Caputo ???
I can hardly get the loaf home without eating half !

Anonymous said...

oh the lard bread.... yummmm. newcomers seem to be put off by the name, but then when they taste are instantly in love.

i miss the bakery on henry between carroll and 1st place.... great rolls.

the old cammareri was also much much better.

Anyone else miss the cakes from college bakery???

Anonymous said...

Yes Mazzola

One thing though I very annoyed with:

the wheat prices went down a lot since the bakeries/pizza joints posted their justification for their steep price increases (in 2008), and curiously now the prices are not coming down...Not fair, especially in this difficult economy.

I am not naive but a price decrease would be a friendly signal to their faithful customers!

Oh well, it is business after all...

Kelly said...

Oh, I am so glad you brought this up. It makes me angry every time I buy pizza and bread.
Wish I had the nerve to ask the merchant to adjust pricing.

Maybe we could start asking for an explanation....

Anonymous said...

I vote for lard bread or Frank Sinatra bread at Caputos.
Different neighborhood... but the baguette at Almondine in DUMBO are excellent too.
I do indeed miss College Bakery and the crumb cake , brownies, the ambiance and prices!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

For overall excellence, I say Caputo. Most every loaf there is good. I particularly like the ciabatta and the long, thin "Sinatras." Mazzola's lard bread is very addictive. I liked Cammerari when they were on Henry; not so much their new incarnation on Court.

Anonymous said...

Hi Katia

Yes I am almost at that point also (asking for price adjsutment), but I am somewhat a regular at those places, so I don't want them to take it the wrong way, but yes I agree we should raise awarness of this non sense.

Maybe a coalition of locals blog could do it!

Will be there,

All the best.

Anonymous said...

I'm on for a effort to lower bread prices. I gringe at the cost of some of the loaves I have been buying for years. Way too much. A very good pizza palor near my office in Manhattan that makes excellent "grandma" slices has reduced all pizza slice prices $.50 since the middle of March. They have the old prices up and a big sign saying, Prices are down and with the recession take $.50 off any slice anytime. I try to go there more frequently. The grandma slice is $2.00 as are most slices. It kills me to come back to Brookln and pay minimum $2.50 per slice but up to $3.75 for some of the better offerings. Way too high, especially for these times. Publicizing it would be good.


Jacqueline said...

Wow, all of these comments have me smiling and hungry too. Katia, this is an outstanding question. Great stories.

Caputo's is my favorite for bread. Paesi is best because is basic and inexpensive and all you need is some butter or olive oil. Their olive bread is fantastic and also makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever. Basic bread is reasonably priced but the additional ingredients make it cost more. Yes I agree pizza is too expensive, but save pizza for another week and celebrate! When I'm shopping on Court Street, going from store to store and get hungry, sometimes for a treat will buy some soppressata (lots of good places for that) then walk down to Caputo's for an onion roll and make a quick sandwich standing in front of the bakery and eat the whole thing. Now have to try Mazzola's lard bread. Who has good cinnamon bread? That makes great french toast. Such wonderful gluttony and we are so lucky and blessed.

Every time I see Bruegel The Elder's painting "The Harvesters" at the Met (it lives there) am positive they need a show that revels in bread. Google has almost one-hundred-million listings for bread. So if you're up to a campaign about prices go ahead but please include energy about some kind of a celebration cause can't think of any other topic that has inspired such happiness. This would make a great neighborhood party!