Second Food Tour: A Movie, Cookies and A Lot of Toddlers
I led my second tour last week and it was a lot different than my first. This time around, there were 7 Moms (including myself) and 8 kids (one 5-week old, six 2-year olds and a 6-month old). I expected a bit of chaos, but got a lot more than that.
Since the majority of the kids were toddlers, we started off at the Big Movies for Little Kids film series at Cobble Hill Cinemas. It was the first movie experience for many of the children, and surprisingly, they all sat fairly still throughout the two short films, happily munching on popcorn.
Afterward, we walked over to One Girl Cookies, on Dean Street. Before moving to Park Slope a few years ago, I lived right across the street. I still miss that block, the neighborhood, and my proximity to some of Brooklyn's best sweets, a lot.
From the first time I stepped inside One Girl Cookies, it's been one of my favorite places in all of Brooklyn. First, I love the decor: blue walls, swirly chocolate brown and cream wallpaper, white subway tiles, and butcher block counters. It's hip, cozy and cheerful with an old-fashioned feel. I actually thought a lot about One Girl Cookies while coming up with ideas for my own kitchen (if you click, scroll down to see the one I'm referring to).
Cookies are the main attraction and I love One Girl's approach. About the size of a silver dollar, they can all be eaten in one or two bites. They're fun to order, too. Named after members of the owner's Italian family, they offer great ideas for baby names (think Lucia, Penelope, Cecilia, and Juliette) and you can't help but wonder about the women that inspired these dainty treats.
They're all addictive, although if I had to choose, I'd say the Olga (mint ganache sandwiched between two sugar cookies) and Lucia (a shortbread, caramel, and chocolate layer bar) are the best. As if the cookies weren't enough, there are unbelievably moist cupcakes topped with a crown of icing, Il Laboratorio gelato, ice cream sandwiches, fudgy brownies, chocolate or pumpkin whoopie pies, and a rotating menu of cakes, too.
Originally a mail-order business that owner Dawn Casale started in her West Village apartment in 2000, One Girl Cookies moved to Boerum Hill in 2005. Dawn now runs the business with Dave Crofton. They first met when he applied for a job as a baker and are now married. Together, they've created one of the best bakeries in Brooklyn. It's a place where you want to linger and try every single sweet.
I had been in contact with Dawn about my food tours and arranged to have some sweets ready when we arrived. As expected, the kids devoured most of them. Quickly. See that hand with chocolate-covered fingers reaching for a cookie? That's my son, eating what was probably his tenth one. And this smiling little guy is Dash, another very happy customer.
After attacking the sweets, the kids were ready to run, climb, jump and turn the place into an indoor playground. There were kids running toy cars over what we soon found out was Dawn and David's family tree (displayed on a delicate material that could be easily damaged) and others trying to climb shelves in the store. Then there was my own son who was trying to swipe sweets from the window display.
Sitting in a movie theater for an hour and then gorging on sugar was clearly not the best combination for a pack of 2-year old boys. A better idea would have been to stop in the shop, pick up some sweets and head to a nearby park. Lesson learned!
To help me plan future tours, I asked all the Moms to send me feedback. The one who joined with her 5-week old (and who found me through This Little Piglet!) said how nice it was to get out and spend some time with other moms. She said she felt comforted by the fact that there was no reason to feel nervous if her son suddenly cried or freaked out. Her comments and the experience itself reinforced my original plan to focus on parents and babies. New parents are usually the most desperate to connect with people who are going through the same changes they are. And when your child mainly sleeps and eats, you can actually sit, talk and savor the food you're eating! Hopefully, I can find a way to include older children on future tours, but for now, I'm sticking to babies 12 months and under.
My next tour is on Tuesday along Atlantic Avenue and two Moms with newborns are already coming. Contact me if you're interested in joining, or spread the word to any new parents you know. I'll be posting more details soon.
One Girl Cookies
68 Dean Street