Eating Rockaway Beach: Sand, Sun, Savories, and Sweets

This past Friday, Noah and I packed our day packs with various beach-going paraphernalia: tapestry, sunscreen, sunglasses, Nalgene water bottle… We were headed out for a day at Rockaway beach. But we left the cooler and cold-cuts at home in favor of the pop-up food shops along the Rockaway boardwalk.

$2.25 and an hour later, we found that we had escaped the exhaust fumes and car horns of our Brooklyn apartment, and were staring straight into the endless Atlantic ocean. Bliss.

As if the prospect of baking in the sun and sand of this urban beach oasis wasn’t enough, the boardwalk boasts some of the city’s best finger foods.

So what did we eat? We began with Caracas at Beach 106th Street, easily one of our favorite restaurants – visit the original storefront in the East Village, or check out their relatively new location in Willy’burg. We had the traditional arepas, which are kind of like spongy, corn pita pockets. I had mine filled with shredded salty cheese, tomato and avocado, Noah had his with salty cheese and sweet plantains. And don’t forget the fried green plantains topped with a mojito mayo and shredded salty cheese. Yup, it’s as devastatingly delicious as it sounds. And no, Noah and I are not worried about arteries…at least not on our days off.

After an hour baking in the sun, I headed back to the food outpost at Beach 106th to freshen up with a New Orleans style iced coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee – cold brewed, with chicory and milk. Perfect beach pick-me-up.

Finally, we ended our day over at Beach 96th Street with the ever twee Babycakes – the beloved Lower East Side vegan and gluten-free bakery. We shared a vanilla-frosted mini doughnut and a chocolate chip with vanilla ice cream cookie sandwich. Sugary, sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth (and hands! it’s hot outside!) goodness.

The best part of this food tour of Rockaway? It doesn’t end here! Check out this quick bite in NYMag for some other pop-ups, and this piece in NonaBrooklyn for a complete list of the food options for your next Rockaway getaway.

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