Smith Street (Mocha) Bagels, Brooklyn

The two guys behind the counter laughed when I commented on Mocha Bagels' overwhelming offerings. They playfully bantered with me while I pondered the possibilities. I expected coffee. I expected bagels. The pancakes and extensive assortment of prepared meats and cold salads came as a surprise.
Mocha Bagels

Before reading their labels, I mistook mounds of cream cheese for gelato. Everywhere I turned, a new group of items jumped out.


Call it a convenience store, coffee bar, bakery, bagel shop or deli. Regardless of how you categorize Mocha Bagels, it has options even for picky eaters like me.


I passed over a muffin and croissant since they weren't house made. Then, after extensive deliberation, decided to order a Mocha Special Bagel. I'd read online that it was a top seller. I chose a pumpernickel bagel but did not otherwise alter the Special's makeup. The slightly chewy bread provided a balanced base for ripe tomatoes, pleasingly plump capers, lox, and ultra-creamy cream cheese. Although I finished eating it nearly two hours later, this sandwich remained fresh and flavorful.
NYC Bagels


la Madeleine French Cafe Freebie

Today only, la Madeline French Cafe is giving away a free dessert in honor of Bastille Day:

"for a FREE mini dessert in celebration of bastille day. tell our associate at the register “happy bastille day” to receive your choice of a FREE mini pastry, parfait or tart."

la Madeline Happy Bastille Day


3B Bed and Breakfast, Brooklyn

Home away from home. That's the sentiment Matt at 3B Bed and Breakfast expressed he hoped guests felt. Judging from thank you notes left by previous and often repeat travelers, 3B's staff has consistently delivered on creating homey experiences. Most guests, surprisingly, visit from Europe. My first bunk mate, of all places, lived in the same county where I reside.

Sharing a room isn't ideal for all. In an effort to save money and to embrace an attitude of adventure, I gambled on trying these unconventional accommodations. Friends cringed at the idea. After lodging at 3B, the stay ranks in my top three.

The staff resides within the brownstone on another floor. Someone was always available. I consider the high level of cleanliness and 3B's commitment to being green major pluses. Wind power, eco-friendly supplies, salvaged decor, an emphasis on locally-grown and organic foods, composting for a rooftop garden: My kind of place!

Families, singles and couples stay at 3B, which offers various room choices. If complete privacy isn't an issue, try out the bunk option. And if traveling with no more than three others, you could all sleep in the same room if each guest booked a bunk. I chatted with two sisters from Japan who did that.

I spent more time on site than any other guest because I was apartment hunting and taking full advantage of the complimentary computers. Allison and others gave me advice on navigating New York City as well as dining suggestions. The hearty yet healthy breakfast offerings kept me fueled until I recharged with my next meal. Between indulging in breakfast, tea and coffee at 3B and using Scoutmob, I spent less than $40 on meals over four days.

3B lies in the heart of downtown. Use the earplugs supplied or bring your own pair to block out noise from street level and the subway. Some nights were quiet. One opportunity for improvement at 3B would be adding additional towel hooks in the bathroom. Otherwise, these guys have nearly perfected creating a peaceful oasis in a fast-paced city.

coffee and tea bar

dining table

computer desk

common area


bunk beds



Cereal and fruit bar



Homemade Granola

Check out http://3bbrooklyn.com/ for more details.

Click to follow on: