There's kurma, and there's kurma. To find the freshly made "soft" style of this Trinidadian confection, often heavy with condensed milk, a dedicated sweets shop would be your best bet. (Perhaps EIT readers can also suggest South Asian analogues.) M&M&M brand kurma (2.5 oz. bag, $1.25) represent the "hard" style; they're made from dough that has been spiced (most notably with ginger, in this case) fried (or twice-fried, some recipes insist), and glazed. Yes, these crunchy strips are commercially bagged, but they also strike a great balance between spicy and sweet. And, in snack foods, portability is a great virtue.
Continuing confirmation that meat is chic: Like scores of restaurants that have appropriated the premises and sometimes the fittings of bygone nonfood businesses, this clothing shop and event space has retained the illuminated exterior sign of the old L&G butcher. The meat hooks and the scale might well be original equipment, too, but I imagine that the stylized goat's head mannikin was purpose-made for the current shop.
This egg 'n' pesto sandwich (as served, $7) also boasts chunks of bacon, adds an optional smear of cheese, and swaddles the lot in a cushy housemade flatbread. The pesto, made not from pine nuts but from kale and, occasionally, dandelion greens, gets second billing for good reason: It's one potent pesto, perhaps best paired with strong coffee.
Count on taking your order to go, since Scratchbread offers no indoor seats, just a narrow ledge on one outside wall.
In the second photo, it's at bottom right, beside the takeout window.
Once home to Lincoln Credit, whose surviving sign was made around 1950, according to Thomas Rinaldi, author of New York Neon. Ten years later the manufacturer, Salzman Sign, designed the series of neon signs for the fascia — the horizontal band that girds the building — for the flagship location of Nathan's Famous in Coney Island.
Granted, my "marinaio" ($11) didn't have quite the mass of the fried calamari hero at the former Cono and Sons, even allowing for the effects of the panino press and the addition of a side salad. Yet the scales tip in favor of Saraghina's sandwich thanks to freshly fried squid, just enough tomato and frisee, and a slather of very spicy mayo. Excellent.
Inside, a newish placard designates a "tea room," perhaps a gathering place during off-hours of the barber shop next door. Outside, blacked-out bas reliefs for Pepsi ("please"), Sugar-Free Diet Pepsi, and Diet-Rite Cola accompany the throwback logo shown here. Myself, I've never managed a catnap in the company of Mountain Dew.
Former deli-grocery 414 Marcus Garvey Blvd. (Halsey-Macon Sts.), Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
(This venue is closed.) The green, gold, and red banner and the depiction of Kaieteur Falls (both at the extreme left of the awning) telegraph a connection with Guyana. The louvered blinds, twisted in open air, signal distress, or departure.
Linbert's International Restaurant 1562 Fulton Ave. (Throop-Albany Aves.), Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
(This venue is closed.) This long-lost West Indian storefront has been sealed off with cinderblocks. Given the scarcity of food markets in the immediate neighborhood, the bottle-return business is also more surface than reality.
(This is what happens when you have your blinkers up against the winter wind. The commenter below points out two nearby supermarkets that didn't even register during my walk-through, and a few smaller greengrocers as well. The most attractive prospect is a farmer's market, worth a look come summer. Thanks for the word, Yvette!)
M&M Grocery & Fruit Fulton St. near Marcus Garvey Blvd., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
(This venue is closed.) In small type on the awning: "Specializing in fresh meats, country hams, sausages, and bacon." In type that's even smaller but more pertinent to the current state of affairs: "Long-distance moving."
Davis Bros. Country Store 1518 Fulton St. (Throop-Albany Aves.), Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn