In many countries where Spanish is widely spoken, the meaning of "quesillo" (keh-See-yo), or "little cheese," is fairly straightforward; often it refers to a fresh cheese. In Nicaragua, or Nica' for short, the word has taken on the extended meaning of a particular street food with cheese at its core. (Likewise, in Venezuela, "patacón" can refer literally to twice-fried plantain or figuratively to a sandwich in which slices of plantain are employed like slices of bread.)
Pickled onions and crema, a runny sour cream, accompany soft cheese atop the quesillo's thick, stiff corn tortilla. In their native land, where the crema might be poured on with abandon, quesillos are reportedly sold in individual plastic bags to help contain drips. At this summertime popup — to my knowledge, the only spot selling prepared Nicaraguan chow in the New York area — the crema spigot is turned way down, but heftier, on-demand add-ins are added generously. Shown: a quesillo de lengua ($7), featuring beef tongue.
Little Nica' 145 Front St. (Jay-Pearl Sts.), Dumbo, Brooklyn 646-499-4331 Open for lunch, weekdays only, through the end of September 2014 www.LittleMuenster.com/little-nica
"The strawberry is awesome," she said. Sitting on top, in the first photo, that's a good version of maple — a flavor I seek out whenever possible every autumn — but as my server made clear, the pure, slightly sour strawberry is an ice cream for all seasons. Also shown, seeking shelter under a shade tree: a precariously perched scoop of root beer ($5).
Often you'll see the name of this flatbread given as "paratha" rather than "parantha." There are multiple ways to spell it, and many more ways to prepare it, as this husband-and-wife team — his heritage is North Indian, hers, South Indian — can attest. Accompanied by chutney, raita, and mango pickle, one parantha in this split order ($8) is Indo-Chinese, with a paneer Manchurian filling. The other marries goat cheese, pecans, dates, and honey; to my knowledge, it's a parantha unique to Brooklyn.
Parantha Alley www.ParanthaAlley.com At Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave. (North 7th-North 8th Sts.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn Also at Smorgasburg Dumbo, 26 New Dock St. (at Water St.) Saturdays and Sundays, respectively, during the warmer months
The railroad and its accompanying Jay Street Terminal primarily served the Arbuckle Brothers coffee refinery and warehouses in what's now Dumbo and Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. Founded in Pennsylvania in the mid-1800s, the Arbuckle company was already well-known for its Ariosa blend of roasted beans — especially, so goes the tale, among cowboys in Dodge City, Tombstone, and throughout the American West — when it moved to Brooklyn late in the 19th century. There Arbuckle Brothers introduced an arabica roast called Yuban; though the company didn't outlast the 1930s, Yuban survives as a brand line produced by Kraft.
As for Ariosa, that famed brand has been resurrected by a company called Arbuckle Coffee Roasters, established in 1974 in Tucson, Arizona. If you're behind the wheel rather than up in the saddle, it's just an hour's ride out of Tombstone.
Jay Street Connecting Railroad Surviving tracks in various locations, Vinegar Hill and Dumbo, Brooklyn
The ground floor of this two-story brick structure has lately been occupied by a nondescript deli-grocery. The legend inscribed at the roofline belongs to a much older business; the Martens Cafe may have opened its doors early in the 20th century. More, I don't know. A 2007 report on the designation of a Dumbo Historic District didn't pin down the date or offer further details.
Martens Cafe Surviving signage at 52 Jay St. (Plymouth-Water Sts.), Dumbo, Brooklyn
This "sweet onion" chicken schnitzel sandwich ($10) was felicitously furnished with Tom Cat pretzel bread, roasted beet tzatziki sauce, pickled red cabbage, jicama, radish, and cilantro. The fried cutlet itself, thanks to thorough breading with panko and sweet onion flakes, was moist as well as thick.
Schnitz Shown at the Grub Street Food Festival, near Hester and Essex Sts., Manhattan (The 2012 festival was held October 21) Also at Smorgasburg, in Williamsburg (Saturdays) and Dumbo (Sundays), Brooklyn www.SchnitzNYC.com