Storefronts open their doors, restaurants sprawl out onto the patio, New Yorker’s swap the blacks for pastels, and everyone walks around with an extra pep in their step and an appreciation for being able to leave the apartment with less than 20 articles of clothing.
Spring in New York means rooftop happy hours, picnics in the park, afternoon strolls and cherry blossoms. Hayley and I set off for a couple of those things Sunday. Like many Sunday’s in the city, we headed for Brooklyn. We landed at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (aka cherry blossom heaven).
We were hoping for the full bloom of cherry blossoms, but discovered we were a bit too late in the season. That disappointment turned out to be good news when we realized the warm weather had caused the trees to shed a few blossoms and create a pink carpet of flowers fit for frolicking. We’ve only seen photos of the full bloom, but we quickly decided we prefer this…
… but ended up in a flower fight instead (my allergies loved this!!!).
Once I couldn’t breathe, we moved on to stroll around the rest of the gardens.
We had ventured to the gardens unaware they had so much more to offer than just cherry blossoms. They’re a lot larger than we imagined and have lots of nooks and hills for lounging. It’s all very Secret Garden and we could have spent much more time wandering around.
Dinosaur BBQ actually started in 1983 as a mobile concession stand that moved around Albany, NY. For five years, Dinosaur remained on the road until they opened a permanent restaurant in Albany. Since then, Dinosaur has opened 7 locations across NY and CT. It’s widely regarded as one of the front runners for BBQ in the city, and (having worked up an appetite) we were excited to put it to the test.
We started it off with a drink (surprise, surprise). Keeping with the theme of our New York-y day, we settled on the NY Represents flight (Dino Ape Hangar, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Empire IPA, and Syracuse Pale Ale). Definitely couldn’t tell you which is which (may or may not have had a couple beers at the bar before we sat down) but they were all excellent.
We kicked it off with the original fried green tomatoes (my second time having these – they are SO good, very similar to my beloved fried pickles).
Then waited not-so-impatiently (more beers?) for the main event…
We plumped for the *low-cal option*… St. Louis ribs, pulled pork and BBQ brisket rounded out with a parade of sides (mac and cheese, BBQ beans with pork, cole slaw, potato salad, and corn bread).
The verdict (drum roll please)… the place lives up to the hype. The pulled pork and mac and cheese stole the show. Everything else was great, though I can’t speak on behalf of the brisket as I’m not a brisket fan in general (I know, very un-Texan of me). Only complaint is that the service was mediocre at best. An overall excellent pregame for an evening of watching Game of Thrones snuggled up on the couch.
If you’re looking to catch the cherry blossoms, go NOW. I’m not positive how much longer they’ll be around with these 88 degree days. Either way, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is worth the trip. It’s a great mini-escape from the city and it’s rather inexpensive. Adults are $12, students/seniors are $6, and kids under 12 get in free. Fuel up with smoothies for the train and wear your walking shoes – there are a few entry gates closed for construction so you have an extra-long stroll to get in. And if your anything like me during spring, bring an arsenal of allergy meds/eye drops.
Dinosaur BBQ can be found in Brooklyn and Harlem. We’ve also had them cater a couple office lunches, which is a fun option if you have a big enough group.
DO expect to wait for a good amount. Hayley and I had no problem passing the time with (did we mention) beers at the bar.
DO get the chicken wings – I’ve been told by several people we made a huge mistake. Guess we’ll just have to go back for round two!
DO eat outside (at least while it’s <100 degrees).
DON’T expect to be doing anything active afterwards, the food coma is real.