Monday 24 March 2014

Book tour day four - Brooklyn

Monday was the busiest day of the tour so far. Two radio interviews and an event.

Just as well, then, that we rose early again. The hotel did include breakfast, but just a buffet. I wanted something more substantial and luckily Dann and Martha agreed. Off we headed in their van into deepest Brooklyn. Through streets that had seen better days, clad in decayed and sometimes crumbling Victorian grandeur. I love old brownstones. They remind me of the buildings I see in my dreams.

Our destination is Tom's Diner (officially Tom's Restaurant), a renowned breakfast haunt, which, if the photos adorning the place are to be believed, has been frequented by movie stars and popular singers. I go for my usual egg and bacon combination. Can't go wrong with that. Especially when the day ahead is long and busy.

On the wall next to our table are the lyrics of Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner. Proof that at least one pop singer came here. To be honest, I'm more concerned by the quality of my fry up than which of the famous have eaten here before me. Luckily, it doesn't disappoint. My breakfast, I mean. It's soon safely curled up inside me, sleeping peacefully.

Fed, we need to scuttle quickly across Brooklyn to Roberta's, in a deceptively industrial-looking area of town. It's a pizza place with attached radio studio. I know, weird. But this is Brooklyn. The scavenged construction reminds me of squatted (or formerly squatted) venues in Amsterdam.

As we're still waiting for Jimmy to arrive, I stave off dehydration with a Bell's Two Hearted, a beer I've not tried before. It comes in what look like a jam jar. It's made out of glass - what do I care? It's full of than Americany IPA-style flavour. You know what I mean, the grapefruit thing. It's a pleasant enough breakfast beer.

We record three 15-minute segments with Jimmy. Dann and I are joined by John Holl, editor of All About Beer. It's quite a good laugh. Never much chance of the conversation lagging with Jimmy there.

Done and it's time to eat. In Roberta's, obviously, as we're already there. I have a pastrami sandwich. Just because it sounds so New York. It's rather good, but way too much for me. I've forgotten how much meat they stuff into sandwiches over here.

Fascinating for you, me describing my lunch. It came with some crisps, I almost forgot to tell you. I'm sure you needed to know that.

It's time for our next interview, this time with Chris and Mary of Heritage Radio's Fuhmentaboudit!. But we don't head back to the studio. That's been booked by someone else. We're off to Brouwerij Lane where we'll be interviewd using a little portable recorder.

It's still a little chilly in Brouwerij Lane, but there's beer to drink and the wood-burning stove at the back is gradually chewing awat at the cold. Chris and Mary are remarkably professional. They've clearly been at this radio thing for a while. Just two 15-minute chunks this time. They're done in a flash.

The main event is still to come. My book event in Brouwerij Lane. But before that Dann, Martha and I will eat a Polish meal. Try to contain your excitement.

The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer

Tom's Restaurant
782 Washington Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11238.
Phone:+1 718-636-9738

261 Moore St,
Brooklyn, NY 11206.
Phone:+1 718-417-1118

Brouwerij Lane
78 Greenpoint Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11222.
Tel:+1 347-529-6133

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