Discovering a Good Thing
So, I was standing in line at Murray’s Bagels (TLD recommended by the way) waiting to pay, probably checking my watch because I tended to always be late back then…(a story for a later time), when I picked up a 2-pack of oatmeal raisin cookies. I could see the plump raisins bursting out of the cookie and the flecks of cinnamon were shimmering off the oats. On the front was a big bold “the GOOD batch.” Intrigued, I turned it over, read the ingredients. Two cookies wouldn’t hurt… I read the ingredients a few times. Eventually, I placed them back down. I was going to be quote on quote good.
Good Things Come In Twos
The second time I learned about The Good Batch, I was trying to track down an ice cream cookie sandwich. J and I were just beginning to date, and decided to make our way down to Williamsburg that weekend. We both have a deep appreciation of food, and grew up accustomed to home cooked meals filled with tender, love and care. We were heading to Smorgasburg, a weekend food market, in what is now one of Brooklyn’s hippest neighborhoods to bond over. (How could I not fall in love with him right?!)
It’s interesting to think about Williamsburg now, a hub for food and young creatives, when 1960s Williamsburg, was a predominately Black and Hispanic neighborhood seeing a rise in crime, drugs, gang activity and unemployment. That’s 56 years of small gradual changes that exploded into a huge cultural shift in a pocket of New York City. But I digress, the point is J and I were going to this food event that had New York City all a buzz. Gosh, it’s incredible to think about the way food has transformed in New York City (such as reading about 1930s New Yorkers buying their groceries from carts)!
“I want that!” I yelled back to J, pointing excitedly towards the massive chocolate chip chunks peeking out from the girl’s fierce manicured fingers.
It was hot and the line was long, but we waited for an ice cream cookie sandwich regardless. Once away from the crowd, I started to pull my Chocolate Nutella sandwich out if its delicate brown sleeve. I investigated the small ridges in the big chocolate cookies and zeroed in on my first bite. I tilted my head, gently placing the ice cram sandwich to the tip of my tongue and savoring those first few crumbs of rich velvety chocolate. I chomped down! I licked my lips in pleasure, savoring the roasted buttery undertones of the Nutella buttercream. I watched J bite into his Oat Chocolate Chunk ice cream cookie as we walked down Kent towards North 11th street. He was clearly delighted by his ice cream cookie sandwich, because he closed his eyes and I could see him analyzing the flavors on his tongue. He offered his ice cream sandwich up to me, and considering I’m a sucker for salted chocolate chip cookies, I conceded. The Oat Chocolate Chunk flavor was named “The Goodwich.”
And good it was.
Good Things Always Multiply
On a Sunday, I went for a run with one of my best friends–one of the many reasons I’m glad I’m in Brooklyn. (Love you girl!) We had originally agreed to meet up on Saturday but you know, life just happened. (And that’s okay! We both love and respect each other enough as friends that we know our relationship won’t suffer.) Entering the park I saw a large white “Smorgasburg banner,” illustrations of bread and honey and pizza lining the logo.
After our run, my friend and I scoped out some of the vendors at Smorgasburg and agreed to come back another day. A small little ice cream cookie sandwich pops up in the crowd and I have a vague feeling I’ve seen it before. On our way out, I see it again, the big bold logo. “the GOOD batch.” I whip my phone out of my running belt and type it in.
Home, I look it up and gasp. THE GOODWICH!
Good Things Become Intentional
On a separate occasion my best friend and I agree to meet up at Smorgasburg. We stop by the ATM, look at the buzzing crowd, and decide to walk once through to see all of the vendors. I catch sight of a Cranberry Maple Lemonade from Rockville Market Farm’s cute little stand. I ask the guy his preference: the Vermont Maple Lemonade or the Cranberry Maple Lemonade and he can’t make up his mind either. I can tell why it’s a hard decision. They both look equally refreshing. He eventually points to the Cranberry Maple Lemonade and makes it his top choice. I’m a sucker for cranberry juice so I go with his advice.
My best friend gets the same and we thank the guy for our lemonades. We continue a little further and I stop to take a picture in the colorful Smorgasburg cut out. My best friend decides on a lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound, (who’s tried Red Hook Lobster Pound? Better than Luke’s Lobster? Incredible Lobster Roll in your city? Tell me about it! Comment or tweet with #TLDLobsterSummer to let me know). I had a small-ish meal before meeting with her, so we circle back to The Good Batch because ice cream. (Duh!) It is a pretty stuffy 82 degrees, but we wait on line regardless (hmm… sounds familiar…).
I get the Birthday Cake, my best friend gets the Goodwich. I begin to examine the pink and blue sprinkles on my sugar cookie as we travel down a side path in search of a bench. I take a bite and pull another Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids. It’s ridiculously good. I decide I have to find out everything about them. I Google them literally the moment I’m home.
Good Things Expand
I miss my alarm, and wake up late. It’s Saturday but I bought a ticket to Brainfood 2016 and I promised myself I would go.
“Seriously Dro, don’t chicken out!”
I am practicing how to listen to my intuition. Whenever I am faced with a challenge–such as pushing myself to attend this event that really interests me– I take a second to ask myself what would be the best decision for my soul. I know I’m going because I’m going to make myself go, so I get ready. On the train into midtown I hear my stomach growling and curse myself for not packing an apple.
Note to self: Always pack an apple.
I didn’t think I would make it to breakfast. I pull out my current read, Jen A. Miller’s Running: A Love Story, and fuss over my clothes and hair the whole ride. It’s not an entirely great body image day. I’m still a work in progress.
Off the train, I rush down to 404 10th Avenue cursing myself for not wearing comfier clothes. I’m nervous about taking such a big step towards my dreams, and my gym schedule hasn’t been as consistent as I’d like just yet. I push all those thoughts to the back recesses of my brain and try to think about just being myself: cliché, yet something we rarely remind ourselves. I’m pleasantly surprised to find breakfast is not over, snag two of Dough‘s cute mini doughnuts!) and a free juice from Juice Press before settling in a back row to wait for the conference to start.
Lisa Mann, founder and CEO of Think Marketing, kicks off the panels with a story about the Tweet that garnered Oreo nearly 15,000 retweets during the 2013 Superbowl. I feel something in me shift. A speech bubble pops into my head:
Right now, I am exactly where I need to be.
Lisa’s words really inspire me to think about what food means to me and why I love talking food (especially after years of demonizing it). The panels include influential food professionals from part-time social media influencers to Chefs and Tech App CEOS. Discussion ranges from what it means to be healthy to inspirational stories about food entrepreneurship.
Invited to the event are also really delicious New York City vendors, including Dig Inn and Fatty Sundays. For lunch, I have a chicken, pineapple and quinoa dish from Inday (really good!), some roasted vegetables from Dig Inn and a lightly sweetened sparkling Blackberry pop from Spindrift.
While making my rounds on the upper level, I discover a visually appealing biannual publication, Cherry Bombe, that celebrates women and food. I purchase two issues, and tuck them in my backpack for home (their podcast Radio Cherry Bombe is phenomenal! Highly recommended).
I have to make it down to Clinton Hill before I lose the light, so I take it in for another hour and a half and then make my way out. The summer air smells different, honeyed in some way.
The Good Batch is a modern Dutch bakery nestled in Clinton Hill. Inspired by her husband’s family’s nostalgia for stroopwafels, Anna Gordon began selling the Dutch cookie at the Brooklyn flea market in the spring of 2010. This cute little artisanal bakery features brick lining the interior walls, pops of cool hues and marble tabletops. I decide on their Mini Caramel Brownie Crunch: vanilla ice cream, caramel and caramel sponge candy sandwiched between two soft brownie cookies.
Like the rest of their flavors, it does not disappoint. A local wine owner pops into the shop with a friend, and chats up the cashier who is incredibly friendly and personable. The couple lounging by the window, their plates still sitting before them from an earlier treat, stand to go. The cashier personalizes their departure and waves goodbye, smiles appearing on their faces as they step out the door. Founder and Head Pastry Chef Anna Gordon clearly has an idea of where The Good Batch stands: it’s welcoming and inviting, like the finest pint of ice cream. A quiet boy in the corner with headphones on closes his books and starts talking to the cashier about the latest Pokémon Go craze (90s nostalgia!).
The bakery provides a comfy little space for anyone looking to study, get some work done or just laze around on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re in the Clinton Hill area, pop in and try one of their delicious ice cream sandwiches, one of their classic stroopwafels or one of their other tasty cookies and cakes!