4 Out of 5: Japanster on Greenpoint

Japanster is a New York-based DJ living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He has been a regular fixture at Madame Wongs, Bowery Hotel, Beatrice Inn, Standard Hotel, Avenue, Tribeca Grand Hotel, and Mr. Black, just to name a few. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.


Raised by Wolves – "This is one of my favorite clothing stores on Franklin Street. You can find really good brands with a very coherent sense of style. As a Parisian, I would say it is like ‘APC meets Agnes B’ feeling in there, but it’s pretty affordable and there are always new items, so I check it out on a regular basis. Oh and their Tumblr is pretty cool too."

Le Gamin – "If you want good healthy food and French ‘normal’ portion, you definitely have to check out this place. Unlike lots of wannabe French places in New York where the only French touch is the décor, this one is owned by French people, so they really give you the feeling that you’re not in Greenpoint anymore even though you’re facing the lovely Franklin Street. Tres bonnes crepes inside!"

Champion Coffee – "My all-time favorite coffee shop in Greenpoint. It’s a little far away but it’s worth it — first of all because the walk on Manhattan Avenue is quite fun (you really feel like you’re stuck in the 80s), and the coffee and food are really good and have this great homemade feel that everyone is looking for. And of course if you go there when it’s warm outside, the backyard is the place to be!"

The Thing – "Okay, so this store is crazy. You can find the most random weird things there, which is great to start with — and what’s even cooler is the look you get when you’re asking how much you owe; they really make you feel like it depends on your face. But you’ll most likely get the usual: ‘Hmmm okay, just give me 2 dollars.’ Oh, and that’s not it, guess what? They have more records there than in any place in New York City in their basement. Two bucks each, I’m serious."


Garden Spot Cafe – "A new restaurant in the old Greenpoint Coffee House space. I wouldn’t mind it if they kept the lovely and beautiful interior, décor, bar, and comfy booths of the original place. But they didn’t. Now it looks like a highway fast food inside … what a shame."

New York: Top 10 Twittering Food Trucks

Like our pals on the West Coast, NYC has its own motorcade of fussy, high-end snack trucks, and if anything, we’re further along in grumbling about how they’re twee-ifying street food. Note that one trend’s strong here: it’s sugar fiends keeping these Twittering trucks in business. Locals may know enough to leave Magnolia to the tourists, but they still love their cupcakes and cookies. Mommy!

Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (@biggayicecream ) – Closed for the season, this newcomer won people over this summer with a body-fascism-defying menu that included a Choinkwich (an ice-cream sandwich with caramelized bacon) and the poignantly-named Salty Pimp (olive oil and sea salt forming an unholy foursome with dulcet de leche and vanilla soft-serve). ● Calexico (@CalexicoCart) – Given that the carts for this SoCal-via-Brooklyn restaurant never move from their two SoHo locations, following their tweets may be less essential than other sites. That doesn’t mean the carne asada’s any less awesome.

Cupcake Stop (@CupcakeStop) – Cupcakes! In all the modern urban flavors (red velvet, brownie cheesecake, coconut creme), in modern sizes (normal and freakishly wee). ● Le Gamin Truck (@legamintruck) – The long-running mini-chain of coffee-shops has been taking its crepes and sandwiches on the road for over a year. Faves include anything with merguez and cheese, and fries are on offer too. ● NYC Cravings (@nyccravings) – The homey Taiwanese dishes here may not stand out in one of New York’s Chinatown, but in midtown, the garlicky fried chicken and can seem like a godsend. Maybe it wouldn’t wow them in Flushing, but it definitely beats am $8 Pret sandwich. ● Schnitzel & Things (@schnitzeltruck) – Do you like fried, breaded meat with a side of tangy potato salad? I bet you do. This straightforwardly named place has your back — we just hope they avoid any fistfights with the fellow Teutons who sling the hash at the (Twitter-free but also delicious) Hallo Berlin cart. ● Street Sweets (@StreetSweets) – Be ready for a bake-sale flashback at this truck, where the brownie recipe could have come from a Betty Crocker cookbook (this is a compliment). Also on offer are croissants that can be enriched with various fillings (choosing anything other than Nutella would be hard, at least for me). ● Treats Truck (@thetreatstruck) – When one of the trucks is actually named Sugar, you know what you’re getting into. At this blessing for midtown’s probably jittery, possibly chubby cube jockeys, the treats come with slightly infantilizing names, but the prices are a bit better than nearby delis, and the freshness is a lot more assured. ● Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (@VLAIC) – The website recalls Daily Candy at its most overbearing and sweet, but that doesn’t make the ice cream any less addictive. For these chillier months, these merchants of butterfat also serve complicated brownies and other baked goods. ● Wafels and Dinges (@waffletruck) – Two years old, this waffle-n-toppings truck is now an old-timer on the scene. Keep the Twitter feed near at hand — it doles out occasional passwords and commands for customers, such as doing a “donkey impression,” that are good for free extra toppings and the like.