Q&A With Jen Balisi of Indulgent Eats
Food and community go hand in hand at Common. Our Sunday potlucks are a staple gathering, and we even get creative- themes have ranged from “favorite foods” to “Seamless potluck” to “cheesey.” And when it’s time to dine out, Crown Heights is filled with amazing options which our members take advantage of in duos and groups.
Last weekend we brought in Jen, known to many NYC foodies as @IndulgentEats, to Common Pacific as a blogger in residence, to provide her knowledge of food and her excellent #foodporn photography skills to the Common community and to Crown Heights. We couldn’t believe how much ground she covered in just a weekend- that girl can really eat!
I caught up with Jen after her weekend at Common. See below to hear her shared living myths debunked, her thoughts on the community, and, most importantly, her favorite Crown Heights eats.
Danny: How was the overall vibe and community at Common?
Jen: Common felt like the apartment I wish I had, with a spacious, well-decorated and open living area. This connected to a fully equipped kitchen with an island (I’ve always wanted a kitchen island). The bedrooms were sizeable with huge closets, and serious bonus points for the mattresses and bedding – I honestly felt like I could be in a hotel! And the fact that all of this is already there, no buying or moving of furniture, and more importantly, no trips to Ikea, is a huge plus.
But accommodations mean nothing unless you like the people that you live with, and I found that the community at Common was nothing but friendly and gracious.
D: So, how would you describe co-living after experiencing it firsthand?
J: Prior to my weekend at Common, I hadn’t heard too much about co-living spaces. And while I initially had hesitations around the concept, those quickly went away. At first the living situation at Common seemed comparable to finding a sublet in a 5 bedroom apartment on Craigslist, but then I found some very key differences: 1) no psychos, 2) a much nicer apartment 3) a community of people you actually want to be friends with.
D: Did you find there to be a connection between food and community throughout the weekend?
J: Definitely – I was surprised to find how much activity went on in Slack, from building announcements to members opening up their own suite to the rest of the building to invite them for dinner.
Many of the conversations on Slack were centered around where members were going for their next meal or asking if someone wanted to join them for dinner. I also discovered that Common held a weekly Sunday potluck, which I got to attend and contributed a few items from my exploration of the neighborhood, including incredible pork buns from Bunsmith and the jerk chicken from Glady’s, both located right on Franklin Ave. The potluck provided a great way to bond with other members while grubbing on good eats.
D: How was Crown Heights as a neighborhood, especially the food?
J: I was delightfully surprised to find a wealth of places that I wanted to try. I’d say Caribbean food dominates the area, which was a welcome find as there aren’t as many stellar Caribbean places near me in Manhattan. Glady’s on Franklin Ave. was one highlight, as the vibe of the restaurant itself, with bright colors and tropical drinks is sure to transport you right to the Caribbean. Add their jerk chicken or jerk pulled pork hash that’s served for brunch and you’ve got a perfect meal. Other standouts included Puerto Viejo, a fun Dominican restaurant, as well as Berg’n, which is the food & beer hall that features a rotating list of 4 different food vendors.
I ate incredibly well the entire weekend, and honestly can’t wait to come back and try more of the places I had on my list!
To see highlights from Jen’s weekend, check out @hi.common for the @indulgenteats Common Instagram takeover. And stay tuned for a full neighborhood eats guide, coming soon!
Want to join in the fun? Learn more about Common and apply here.
Danielle Robin is a community leader at Common.