I've lived most of my adult life in ethnic neighborhoods because the cultures are interesting (i.e. good food, excellent music), the space is ample and the rent is cheap, though sadly all that is quickly changing in New York City. I can tell you where to get authentic West Indian goat roti and buss-up-shut, a.k.a. busted up shirt, a shredded Indian bread (Gloria's in Crown Heights) or the best cheese babka (that little Polish bakery near St. Stan's in Greenpoint) or even the best Salvadoran pupusas, those yummy, thick, cheese- or meat-filled tortillas (at the soccer fields in Red Hook on game days). It's no coincidence that they're all in Brooklyn—MY Brooklyn—where nearly every culture lives cheek by jowl. Mostly happily.
Here's just how diverse it is. Most city schools have ice cream trucks parked just outside the entrances—a lovely convenience for harried parents and sitters—but not my kids'. Just outside their playground, a cute little old lady pushing a granny cart (probably the most recognizable Brooklyn object) sells churros: crispy, fried Mexican doughnut sticks. Three for a dollar! And boy are they good—they're the next best thing to fresh, hot-from-the-fryer churros.
Check out the Last Bite column in the February issue of Food & Wine to find a recipe for Warm Churros & Hot Chocolate, from Andrew Zimmerman. Though these aren't quite authentic (they're made with a very buttery choux pastry), they are mouthwateringly delicious—and totally addictive.