Repasts Past: Lokal

March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

It was late in August. It was hot. Hotter even than when I left behind the Alabama humidity for my first trip to New York. They were in the middle of the worst heat wave in years everyone kept telling me once I arrived. And, I had hoped going north would bring me some relief! I soldiered on in spite of it and in spite of my uneasy status as a first-timer, I set out to explore as much of the city I could in three days.

For my first outing, I attempted a solo expedition to find Baked, a bakery in Red Hook that I had read about and drooled over online before I even knew I’d be making this trip to NYC for the magazine I edited. It all began simply enough: the friend I was staying with pointed me in the direction of the subway and gave me her metro card. I, never more thankful for my brother’s hand-me-down iPhone than at that moment, embarked with an address in hand.

Somewhere between the subways and the buses, I ended up going north when I should have been on the southbound line. Or, was it I was going south and should have been headed north? The details are fuzzy, but the realization of this fact after several hot hours of traveling are etched in my mind. It was well into the afternoon and I was starving, hot, and all discombobulated. Then, an oasis appeared.

After the wrong bus I’d been blissfully riding on pulled away, Lokal revealed itself. The doors and windows were all thrown open, and I caught glimpses of Mediterranean blue walls and ceiling fans and a menu hastily written on a chalkboard on the sidewalk. I knew nothing about this inviting bistro, but I ran to it like I would a light in the darkness.

As I staggered in off the street and fell into a seat at a tall table, a friendly waitress approached with a menu and a smile. Their offerings were perfect for this, the hottest day ever. Grilled vegetables with spritzes of lemon and lime and juicy fresh fruit smoothies sounded like manna to me, and I was rewarded amply for that decision.

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Getting lost in transit turned out to be the best way to find something I’d never known to look for. And, I eventually did make it to Baked, whose sweet and salty brownie made my 8-hour tour of Brooklyn even more worthwhile.

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