For the first time since being on Instagram, I was actually influenced to make a purchase. When I saw a jar of cardamom-saffron marmalade on General Irving’s page, I told myself that I absolutely needed a jar of it—and I don’t even like jam or preserves! So I took a long walk on the warmest day we’ve had so far this year and went to the store to get this marmalade and explore all of the other great things General Irving has to offer.
The general store is located right across the street from Irving Square Park. In front of the store are a half a dozen tables set up for those who want to sit and enjoy a coffee or baked goods, and on warm and sunny days the retractable doors on the side of the building are raised to let the sunlight and breeze in. For me, it felt open and inviting, and I love that this let me see all of the things available in the store at one glance.
This store really has all kinds of stuff! They have mugs, potted plants, mesh drawstring bags, some local produce items, and enough jarred and canned goods to take you six months just to try them all. They also have pastries from Gertie and coffee in the cafe area at the front of the store. They even have kombucha vinegar, which I have never seen before and could be of interest if you happen to be a kombucha fan. I was tempted to grab a bag of nuts and a couple of potatoes, but decided to stick to what I came for: the marmalade. If you remember my post on The Seneca, you might also remember that I tend to make impulsive purchases when it comes to foodstuffs.
But you know what? I got sidetracked even though I stopped myself from getting those potatoes and nuts. The checkout counter for the grocery items is in the cafe area, and after seeing the pastries on display and smelling the food from the kitchen in the back, I decided to just eat lunch at General Irving. The staff member at the counter said all the sandwiches were great, so while I had a hard time choosing, I went with the Spicy Broccolini sandwich. This was mostly due to curiosity—they also had a Tuna Melt, which I am typically a sucker for—because how good could the vegetable I hated so much growing up be between bread?
I won’t lie; I didn’t have much in terms of expectations around this sandwich. But it absolutely blew my mind. It starts with freshly baked focaccia like all of their sandwiches, and then it is layered with charred broccolini, house-made romesco, and manchego cheese. It’s delicious and I think what really makes it is the sauce. The romesco has a great balance of brightness and savoriness that goes very well with buttery focaccia. The sandwich was so good that I raved about it over text to a couple of people before I even got through the first half. This was my first time having romesco (and to be frank, I didn’t know what it was until I received the sandwich), but I really hope that all romesco is as good as this one. I think the Spicy Broccolini sandwich is worth a try whether you eat meat or not, and I guarantee that you won’t regret it. I really enjoyed my lunch, mostly because the sandwich was so amazing, but also because of the sunlight that was hitting the tables in front of the shop.
And the marmalade? I’ve had it at home and it’s just as good as I imagined it would be. It’s well-balanced and not too sweet with a big citrus flavor. I’ve actually decided it’s too good for my toast and can’t wait to have it with cheese and crackers!
If you live in or around Bushwick and you’re looking for somewhere to get lunch or find a new food item to try (or if you want a new cactus plant), then General Irving is a great place to visit. Spring is fast approaching, so if you grab a sandwich, pastry, or coffee and head across the street to Irving Square Park, it could make for a perfect socially-distant day!
Visit General Irving at 1210 Halsey St., Brooklyn