The One With Arnold Palmer

When I was twelve, the food court in the local shopping mall was a magical place. My friends and I would get dropped off by a well-meaning parent, who couldn’t wait to have a few minutes alone to shop in peace. Armed with our allowance, we scoped out the dozen or so fast food vendors clustered around an army of tables and chairs. We’d wander from stall to stall, weighing all the possibilities. Pizza? Lo mein? French fries? We had our pick. No compromise needed. It’s not that the food was particularly tasty, and it definitely wasn’t healthy, but we had choices. So many choices! To a twelve year old, making a decision without any parental input was exciting, even on something as small as which fried, greasy, gooey item to have for lunch.

I rarely go to the food court anymore—there is no shopping mall near me, and I generally try to stay away from fried food. But recently I put on my stretchy pants and ventured to a food court, Brooklyn style. It’s called Smorgasburg, Every Sunday in the summer and early fall, more than 100 food vendors set up stalls at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. (On Saturdays, they’re in Williamsburg, if you’re in that hood.)

I had that familiar rush of excitement when I saw all the options, but this wasn’t the food court of my youth. The New York Times called it “the Woodstock of eating” and Time Out New York said it’s “a glutton’s paradise.” Yes, please.

First, let’s cruise the options. Are you hungry for a certain cuisine?


Bolivian food?



Burmese noodles?


If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there is also Malaysian street food, Mexican sandwiches, schnitzel, and Indian dosas. Oh, you’re looking for something refreshing? It is hot out here.



Blue Marble also has a shop in the Cobble Hill neighborhood. Started by socially- and environmentally-conscious friends Alexis Miesen and Jennie Dundas, Jennie and Alexis raised nearly $100,000 to help Rwandan women start their own ice cream shop in the city of Butare. Read more about their partnership. (A location in Haiti coming soon.)



A wave of nostalgia hit when I saw that Kelvin had a stall selling slushies, just like my old-time favorite Orange Julius. But Orange Julius never had Arnold Palmer. If you’re only familiar with Arnold Palmer, the golfer, Arnold Palmer, the flavor, is a tasty, but simple concoction of iced tea mixed with lemonade. Then, this fabulous barista (below) suggested that I drizzle in cherry syrup.

P.S. This slushie was so cold, I had brain freeze for ten minutes.

P.P.S. I was on a fantastic sugar rush.


Or maybe you want something off the beaten path. How about pickles? Or truffle-oil frites? Or Asia Dog (hot dogs with Asian spices)? Might I recommend these cornbread bites from Jack’s Chedbread, company motto: Cheesy and corny since 2012.



Okay, cheddar cornbread isn’t that unusual. How about the next food mash-up (a la the cronut) that will sweep the US? May I introduce the Bruffin.



I couldn’t leave you with only having a slushie. That’s amateur hour. As your faithful blogger on the street, I take my responsibility seriously. So, I went for this: an almond dulce de leche doughnut from Dough. It left me speechless. It looks like it would be heavy and overly sweet, but it was airy with lots of flakey goodness. I wish I had taken a picture of it cut in half to show you, but I was too busy inhaling it to take photos. Honestly I’d forgotten there was such a thing as photos.




In addition to all the delicious eats, Smorgasburg has something the old food court of my youth never had—a killer view:

Brooklyn Bridge Park


Brooklyn Bridge Park



Small announcement:

The Loft

This fall, I’m teaching a creative writing class through The Loft Literary Center. This class is one of my most popular. It’s called Back to Basics, and it begins September 22. Best of all, it’s online! You can sign on in your pajamas (Not that I’ve ever done that.)

Course description: If you have a great story idea but don’t know where to begin, Back to Basics will get you off on the right foot. This course will take you through each major element of creative writing to help you hone your skills in that area. Through structured writing exercises and analyzing master works, we’ll examine the key components of good creative writing. Whether you need some fixes for common plot problems or want to brush up on dialogue, these targeted classes will give you all the strategies you need to succeed at the craft of writing. This class is perfect for beginners who want to learn more about the mechanics of writing prose.

Registration is now open and if you sign up today, you’ll get an early bird discount.


Have a great weekend, everyone! 



  1. Bruffin? Oh my goodness. This is my kind of fun event, that is for sure. Thanks for sharing the loveliness of Smorgasburg—what a great idea and event. Something for everyone!


  2. We must be around the same age because I shared the exciting “food court experience” when I was in junior high. . I was always partial to the Gyro. =) I think the first half of the 80s was the apex of mall mania. Now I think of malls as being sad lonely places…at least the ones around here. They are definitely not the same teen hang outs they were back in my day.
    The Smorgasburg looks awesome. I want to try everything! It looks similar to the food truck rallies we have here that I can never seem to go to because I work weekends.
    I really love your blog, Jackie. SOMEDAY , my hubster and I are going to visit NYC and when we do, I’ve got a whole list of things to see thanks to your postings.


    1. Ah, the gyro. I’d forgotten about that — a staple item at most food courts in the 80s. The food trucks are popular here also. They often park outside my office building at lunch hour.
      I hope you do get to come to NYC someday and put Smorgasburg on your list of to-dos (but come hungry). 🙂


  3. That class sounds great. The crazy food event sounds just as good! We were at the Minnesota State Fair last night. Similar eating frenzy. More along the lines of fried candy bars and every form of fried cheese. Less of the organic, artisanal popsicles. 😉


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