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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A & A Bake & Doubles Shop

I heard A & A Bake & Doubles Shop was good; royally good. Or so hinted all the “Doubles King” signs outside this tiny Nostrand storefront. The King, eh? Well crown me curious.

Alas, on first visit we arrived to an empty store. A & A was without food, having sold out of everything before 5 pm. “Come back earlier,” suggested an apologetic employee. So I did, at around 4 pm on another day... to similar results. And my first weekend visit? Locked doors and lights shut, an impromptu holiday.

You know the old dilemma, friend... Rejection stokes desire. At this point there wasn't a food on earth more tempting than the doubles and bakes of A & A Bake & Doubles. I wasn't even sure what a “bake” was, but I knew I wanted one. So I did the unthinkable: one Saturday morning I set my alarm to radio and buzzer, hauled out of bed, and headed down to see what the King had in store for this hungry vassal.
King At Work: Doubles at the speed of light

Let's start with A & A's specialty, doubles: two fried pieces of chickpea-flour flatbread, stuffed with curried chickpeas, sweet tamarind and hot chili sauce. The net effect is a tangy, spicy, messy mini-pancake of love. A & A's curry is solid, thick and mildly seasoned. And unless warned, they go a bit heavy with the tamarind. But all this is secondary; these doubles are defined by their shells, thin, chewy, and extremely toothsome. The taste and texture imparts a uniquely homemade flavor, and probably explains why people seem to order by the half-dozen; it's a satisfying eat, and one just isn't enough.
Bake with salmon & cabbage

The other half of A&A's menu is dedicated to bake: puffy, golden, fried dough sandwiches stuffed with your choice of goodness. Consider the addictive chopped smoked herring. It tastes like BBQ, chews like jerky, and comes studded with spicy onions. The salmon (above) presents a light, moist alternative, especially good with a dollop of sauteed cabbage. So experiment and enjoy. No matter the combo, each ingredient – from pureed pumpkin to salt cod – proved fresh and tasty. And at $2.00 (50 cents more per add-on), you'd have to be pretty grouchy not to appreciate this for what it is: a great Flavor Deal.
A & A Royalty: Noel & Geeta rule, benevolently!

A & A's owner Noel was an architect in Trinidad, which is ironic. Not because I doubt his design skills, but only because his store is comically cramped, maybe 1/3 the size of the kitchen itself. Which speaks to his priorities: good fresh food made daily, and sold at cheap prices to a loyal clientèle. So if you plan on paying the king a visit, expect to order take-away. Don't let the long, snaking line deter you (it moves fast)... and make sure you arrive while they still have some food.
Strictly Business: No Smoking, Just Ordering

By Noel's description, the doubles scene in Trinidad is extremely competitive. But Brooklyn isn't lacking in Caribbean options, and A & A has carved a serious rep in 5 years of operations. As to what sets them apart, I'd have to go with their dough. They sell 100s of bakes and “a lot more” doubles each day, largely on the strength of its fresh-made flavor. Thus goes the royal style; anyone looking for that authentic Trinidadian flavor best bow down.

A & A Bake & Doubles Shop
a/k/a “The Doubles King”
481 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn
(718) 230-0753

The pricing encourages overeating. Doubles go for $1, bake is $2.

Open daily except Sundays, from very early 'til they run out of food (3-ish on weekdays, later on Saturdays; but call ahead to be sure)



Blogger adaminbrooklyn said...

A & A's doubles were terrible. The worst I've had in fact. It tasted like they use ingredients from the can. Definitely wouldn't reccomend this place.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

No way! I'm a loyal customer and everyone I've ever recommended it to has raved about it. I'm there at least twice a week, every single week.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I loveee their doubles. Irresitable. They've even added spicy mango to it which is awesome. I buy at least 4 lol everytime just for myself. Delicious! Oh and no longer are the doubles $1.00, now $ 1.25.

12:54 PM  
OpenID carareny1 said...

I just moved to the neighborhood three weeks ago and was curious by the heavy traffic this place gets. I recently tried their aloo pie and I am hooked!!! This place is amazing. I can't wait to try their other options.

12:51 PM  
Blogger ranjeev said...

thats my uncle

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Susie from Brooklyn said...

I had the misfortune to find a fingernail in my doubles last week. I called the store and left a message but I never got a call back apologizing for the mishap. I'm off doubles for life and would never go back there again!!

8:56 AM  

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