The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Greenpoint Coffee House, a TV Break, and Le Gamin

If you were trying to get to Williamsburg from Penn Station on February 2nd then you'll remember taking the A to 14th Street and 8th Ave, at which you were barred from boarding the L train because it only ran from Union Square, causing you to wait for the bus and slowly roll a few avenues over, then get on the L to Bedford Ave and arrive way later than you had expected to.

Weeeee. I love NYC Transit when it works. And I want to stab things when it doesn't.

Greenpoint Coffee House

When Tristan and I finally did get to Williamsburg to meet up with Nathan, we ended up taking a stroll through the backwoods of Brooklyn (except replacing the woods with abandoned-looking plastic bag importers and manufacturers) to eat brunch at Greenpoint Coffeehouse, a cozy restaurant with a warm copper-tiled ceiling and a refurbished-worn-in feel. The wooden furniture and leather booths looked like they had seen better days, but that's not a bad thing as long as that doesn't mean my chair will fall apart when I sit on it. It gives character, like an old home, but without the cobwebs or funny smell.

stroke ur chin I almost wish I had a beard
Tristan and Nathan ain't got nothing better to do.

We waited in the "big cushy chair" area near the entrance while hoping that another party would shovel their food down and relinquish a booth. This is when I discovered the fun pastime that is "stroking one's facial hair," as performed by Tristan and Nathan, only problem being that I don't have any. This might be why I have a tendency to bite my lips. And my fingers. If only I had a beard—then I'd have a way to distract myself without eating away at my skin.


We were moved from the waiting area to the bar. No solid food yet, but at least we were allowed liquids. Nathan ordered a coffee, the flavor of which I will assume was bitter and brown, like coffee tends to be.

bloody mary
Bloody Mary

Tristan also ordered a addition to a Bloody Mary. Like most alcoholic drinks, Bloody Marys are one of those things I've heard about for most of my life but has yet to travel through my digestive plumbing. So I took a sip, prompting my face to screw up into one of at least 50 different facial expressions that I pull out to connotate that my tongue has just sent waves of unhappiness to my brain.

What is a Bloody Mary? It's tomato juice, vodka, Tabasco, pepper, and other things I wouldn't normally think of drinking, all mixed together in one convenient vessel. One sip was all I needed to be overwhelmed by the burning of spicy alcoholic salsa traveling down my throat. Which I guess is the intended flavor. But I like salsa without alcohol, ideally with tortilla chips. Does anyone upon drinking a Bloody Mary for the first time react with happily widening eyes/dilated pupils and a request for more? If so, those people are crazy. I mean. ...Really. That is, unless you really like salsa, alcohol, and burningness, in which case I guess this drink was made for you.

When I insisted that I could taste the tingling remnants of vodka in my mouth, Tristan and Nathan said there was no way; the alcohol had been so diluted by the other ingredients that no trace of its flavor was supposed to be discernible. "Robyn, it's all in your head!" No, it was most definitely in my mouth, and it tasted like a soul devoid of love. And replaced with tomatoes.

...Trust me, I wouldn't mind liking alcohol. It would make my life easier.

veggie burger
Veggie burger

After moving to a booth, we were tortured by the passing waiters carrying plates piled high with food. Tristan's veggie burger topped with feta cheese and served on seven grain bread with avocado mayo and a side sprouts salad had that mountain-y look. He heartily approved of it.

cobb salad
Cobb salad

Nathan's cobb salad—mixed greens, grilled chicken chunks, avocado, bacon bits, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, crumbled blue cheese, and toast strips—also had a hefty look. A healthy, hefty look. I almost considered getting it upon Nathan's recommendation, but opted to order something more brunch-y instead.

french toast
French toast patties

And then my French toast came. As a tidy stack of two fat patties of egg-battered challah bread (the best bread for French toast!) rounds, it was far from mountainous. It was a bit dinky compared to the other plates, but as this was just the right amount of soft, sweetened, eggy carb, syrup-doused matter to satiate my appetite, a mountain of French toast would probably be too much for one belly to handle.

dried cranberry scone

Sensing that I wanted a scone (because I had vocalized such request a few times over the meal in an indecisive way; "I kind of want a scone, but I don't know if I really need it...but I have a craving...but it's not really necessary..."), Nathan ordered one near the end of the meal. The dried cranberry scone tipped my belly over into "too much carb" territory, but I kept eating it because, despite being on the dry side (as many scones tend to be), it filled my mouth with tender buttery goodness. This is gonna leaden your stomach if you eat it by yourself, so make sure to share.

bread and cheeeese!
Mm, bread.

After saying goodbye to Nathan and visiting the apartment Tristan will be living in come April, Tristan and I headed to Olivia's apartment in the East Village where she graciously let us dirty her bed with our Brooklyn-tainted bodies while watching her TV. Tuned in to Comedy Central, we caught the end of Spaceballs (it's a classic, you know it) and couldn't bear to pull ourselves away to go out to dinner when Scrubs graced the screen. SCRUBS! There's just no way. Olivia grabbed some rye bread and blue cheese to appease her gurgling belly as we watched J.D. act like a dumbass. It was one of the best ways to spend a Saturday night, really.

And here is a cute photo to document our good times:

my favorite photo!
I have barf bags ready if you need one.


Okay, moving on.

Le Gamin
Le Gamin

After Scrubs ended, thus giving us no reason to watch TV ever again, we headed out to the East Village location of Le Gamin, Robert Arbor's restaurant. The brick walls decorated with French sign-age and dim lighting gave a comfortable, laid-back feeling. We snuggled into one of the small rectangular tables by the right wall.

croque madame
Croque Madame

When given the choice of either duck confit or steak tartare at a French restaurant, I have to get one or the other. For better or worse, neither was on Le Gamin's menu (they're both heavy dishes I suppooose), so I went for my next favorite dish: croque madame, like a grilled cheese sandwich but filled with ham and additionally topped with cheese (aka a croque monsieur) and a fried egg. Although it seems to fit the name, regarding this as a "ham, egg and cheese sandwich" would be wrong. IT'S NOOOT. It's melty cheese and semi-runny egg and thick ham slices on crunchy white bread that may have been doused in butter. It's awesomer.

La Salade Gamin Tristan's crepe
Dim lighting = crappy photos

Olivia's la salad Gamin was a pyramidal pile of cold roasted chicken, grilled vegetables, potato, ratatouille, tomato, and mesclun. It was too much for her to finish, but it looked good. Tristan's ratatouille crepe was definitely not too much for him to eat; he was the first to polish off his plate.

tarte tatin
Tarte tatin

We finished off with a tarte tatin, a traditional French dessert comparable to apple pie but with half the crust and with loads more buttered caramelized apple action going on, making it...not very much like an apple pie, but they have more in common than, say, a jellyfish and saltine. I'd label this tarte tatin as just okay—I found the apple part a little too mushy and lacking in the sweet caramelization I love so much (it was probably the lack of caramel action that bothered me more; it's supposed to be somewhat mushy considering that's what heat does to apples). The crust was also mushier than I would've preferred. Admittedly, I've been spoiled after eating a few tarte tatins in Paris. o(>.<)o (If you're wondering, I think that's a little creature with squinty eyes making two balled up fists. This translates to, "Raawwrr." Or something.)

Next up, I have to find me some duck confit.


Greenpoint Coffeehouse
195 Franklin St
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Le Gamin
536 E 5th St
New York, NY 10009


Jeanne / February 19, 2008 12:09 AM

That croque looks fantastic. I don't know if I can just call it a croque without adding the monsieur or madame or whatever it is and I guess I could have just checked instead of rambling on but oh well.

Scrubswise, that's one of the reasons I'm happy the strike is over because they'll finish the season out!

Kathy / February 19, 2008 1:00 AM

hahah, you told me about the french toast...but neglected to throw in the fact that you topped it off with a scone!! o_O!

Julie / February 19, 2008 10:55 AM

You think you're bad--I can taste vodka when the person next to me drinks it. Bleh*shudder*.

I think Challah bread makes such great French toast because eggy bread + eggy batter = eggy yay.

I've always wanted to try a croque monsieur/madame! I've only eaten out at French restaurants a few times, and it was never on the menu. How hard could it be? I made tarte tatin once ... in a broken oven whose heating element was about to kick the bucket. Definitely not your French tarte tatin!

Also: Spaceballs!!!

roboppy / February 19, 2008 2:15 PM

Jeanne: It sounds weird to me as just CROQUE but that's an accepted name. CROQUE.

I haven't watched Scrubs in ages, I'm sad to admit. -__- Once I miss a few seasons of something it's hard for me to get back on track. Waah.



Scones don't seem to count as part of a meal. IT'S A SNACK.


I corrected it. ._.

Julie: Oh, I could probably smell that too. Damn our sensitive noses.

I guess croques are of the non-fancy French food so if you went to more upscale places they wouldn't have em? Hmmm. Probably not that hard to make though!

Once in my cooking class a group had to make a tarte tatin. It definitely...failed.

janet / February 19, 2008 2:30 PM

oh fond memories of the L never working on the weekends!

I'm a fan of the whole Croque famille. Monsieur, madame and... bébé. Uh hello, move over sliders, new NY trend.

yen / February 19, 2008 3:08 PM

Have you ever heard of a Bloody Caesar? It's like a bloody mary, only they use Clamato instead of tomato juice. Clamato=clam+tomato juice. It's the most heinous thing I can think of to drink. Especially in the morning.

wonders / February 19, 2008 3:44 PM

I hate when the L train is down or is only running one way or the other. People dont know how to act on the train when that happen. But its back to normal this weekend so if you want to come down to Williamsburg again, you wont have to take the bus! -=) Bedford is too trendy for me though lols -=X

Bloody Marys are blech -=X lols
tomato + juice/soup = barf

Danny / February 19, 2008 4:07 PM

"Brooklyn tainted bodies."

That's me! Everyday! But I am too uncool to step foot into Williamsburg.. You've been on a writing tear the last few days too, it's awesome. Can't wait til you find duck confit!

Tina / February 19, 2008 8:14 PM

Oooh...another post! :D

I love the croque monsieur/madame they're damn tasty sandwiches. Actually, I haven't met a sandwich I didn't like yet.

A quasi funny thing to add when Ariel asked me why the croque madame is called "madame?" I explained it because of the egg. He thought about it for a moment and remarked that that's disgusting. Gah. He needs to be food educated. :/

Lisa / February 19, 2008 9:26 PM

OMG, croque monsieur/madame!!! BEST SANDWICH EVER!

Ok, maybe not, but best French sandwich ever. I ate so many of those when I was in France, mmm.

Say, I just moved to NYC, where can a girl get a good croque monsieur/madame around these parts? Or macaroons, now I want some French food! Mmmm, French food...

roboppy / February 20, 2008 12:22 AM


Yen: I've heard of clamato (a name that amuses me because it sounds like a diseas) but have no intention of trying it (at least not without getting paid) because, as you said...heinous.

wonders: People were totally confused in Union Square when there was only one train going back and forth. SIGNS, NOT CLEAR. -__-

Danny: The writing ends NOOW; I just happened to have a three day weekend and i was at home the whole time. Haha!..Ha...sigh.

Where in Brooklyn do you live? I might move there soon!

Tina: Oh I've met sandwiches I didn't like. Mostly because I made them. :\

OH, ARIEL...sigh. He could've figured that out if he thought about it hard enough, heh.

Claudia: I need a scone replenishment.

Lisa: I don't know of all the places to get your fill of croque, but Le Gamin's was nice! I'd go back.

Christina / February 20, 2008 2:34 AM

Aww, that's such a great picture! Barf bag not necessary. ^.^

I don't drink either, but if I want a Bloody Mary I just drink a spicy V8 instead. I suppose it basically is pulverized salsa, come to think of it... I'll drink it with chips next time!

Trish / February 20, 2008 5:32 AM

Does bloody mary taste like salsa? Have you tried the v8 vegetable juice? It's the most horrible tasting and smelling food in the universe. Would you rather a) drink a can of v8 juice or b) drink a can of olive oil or lard(and hopefully don't die)

Mickjagger / February 20, 2008 7:58 PM

Hehe, Croque-Monsieur, my favorite "I have no time to cook" food!!

"Le Gamin" —in that picture— looks like a french-american mix to me (...bistrot-chairs and Michelin signs, yep très frenchy but the brick wall and 7-up vintage ad is so US)! Anyway it's seems laid-back and nice!

Mila / February 20, 2008 8:13 PM

Ok, I confess to liking bloody mary's (and I do drink tomato juice so maybe that's why I like BM's). For days when alcohol wouldn't be prudent, I get the Virgin Mary's - same stuff minus the vodka. It's got the spice from the tabasco along with the tanginess of the tomato, and a dash of black pepper that makes me want it. And the rim of salt.

I also confess to being a crazy nail biter, my finger nubbins are not pretty to look at, nosssireee.

N / February 20, 2008 11:12 PM

"I have barf bags ready if you need one."

You kick ass. This is the best blog, food or otherwise, on the Internet.

roboppy / February 21, 2008 12:29 AM

Christina: Good, cos I was lying about the barf bag. All I have is this bucket.

MM PULVERIZED SALSA AND CHIPS. ...That might not work for me.. ;)

Trish: Holy...I'd have to go with A there. I've never had V8 but I suspect it would be a little less traumatizing than a Bloody Mary because of the absence of alcohol and other random things. Maybe I'll try it someday just to make sure...

Danny: I think it's the eastern-most part of Williamsburg. Just a bit out of mega hipster-dom perhaps? ;)

Yann: Ah yeah, not the same laid back atmosphere like at a little cafe in Paris. OH GOD HOW I MISS THOSE!


Mila: RIM OF SALT? Oh lord. I didn't get the rim of salt. Probably for the best. ;) Well I'm glad to hear someone enjoys it!

My nubs aren't pretty either. (sob)


I won't totally pwn until I have my own wikipedia entry though.

ingrid / February 23, 2008 3:28 AM

i love love love your blog.

when i am in paris next month, i am going to look specifically for a soda there called "Pschitt" and take a picture of it for you (and also probably post it on my own blog, since i need to have a photo of me drinking pschitt.)

thanks for the joy of all your foodie adventures.

roboppy / February 23, 2008 2:21 PM

Ingrid: Thanks for reading, I'm glad you love my blog! Probably more than I do..(sigh)..

Wah, I never say that soda! I want one. Or a photo would do, yes. Gah, I'm jealous of you. PARIS = AWESOME. Every time I read about it my soul weeps.

Something random from the archives