Best Brooklyn Gift Ever

March 8, 2011

Know how to make a proper egg cream? Fear not. Junior’s has glasses with the recipe inscribed right on them. And they are cu-ute!

The glasses have been around forever, but I just noticed them last weekend when I went for my latkes. Unfortunately, they are not on the Junior’s website. You can find the glasses or an egg cream kit (as above) online, but if you’re in Brooklyn, pick them up directly from Junior’s for 5 bucks.

Yes, 5 bucks. They each come in their own Junior’s box too. Can’t beat that!

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Breukelen in da Hizzouse!

March 2, 2011

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Who needs to go to Clinton Hill or Stuyvesant Heights for a decent bottle of wine? Not those of us here in southwest Bed Stuy! As of tomorrow at 12:30pm, Breukelen Cellars will be open for business!

Owner John Samuel was kind enough to let me in for some snappies and a chat today. I even got to taste some Riesling, suckas!

John and his business partner Andre are both Bed Stuy natives. Since they decided to open the shop, they’ve been going to shows and tasting like mad. Every bottle on the shelf has been given their personal seal of approval.

Opening Day Tasting!
Thursday, March 3 @ 6pm
504 Nostrand Avenue

Art exhibit by Joseph Bolton

Some of the wines they’ll be tasting are Altadonna Nero D’Avola, Pas si Petit, Petit Chablis and Saint-Bris Sauvignon.

See you there!

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Offensive NYC Veg Restaurant Guide

February 28, 2011

One day last year while I was in the Brooklyn Museum bookshop, I picked up a copy of “Veg Out, Vegetarian Guide to New York City“. I forgot I had it until yesterday. Is it a good guide? Well, it’s not bad, although the second edition I bought is slightly outdated.

But the problem isn’t the restaurant listings. Author Justin Schwartz’s comments on certain neighborhoods made my jaw drop. He speaks of Crown Heights and Flatbush as if it’s 1980…and even back then those areas were not as bad as he makes them out to be.

From a paragraph on Street Smarts… “A word of caution: If you’re a vegetarian freshman college student just off the bus from a farm in rural PA or a tourist visiting from Kansas, please don’t hop on a the subway alone at night to get some great Caribbean food in Crown Heights or Flatbush. Seriously, don’t.

Ok, maybe he’s more insulting to out-of-towners than the residents of Crown Heights or Flatbush. The book is probably geared towards tourists as it’s a guide book. But he doesn’t stop there…

Street-smart Manhattanites and residents of trendy neighborhoods like Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights may think I’m exaggerating. Let’s put it this way: if Crown Heights is so safe, why is the chef at the Caribbean Delicacy working behind bulletproof Plexiglas?

Hmm. Plexi is old school. Hello, there were still some plexi places in “trendy” Park Slope up until the early 2000′s! Maybe the Plexi was installed back when the neighborhood was rough and they just never got around to taking it out? Yes, there are plenty of places with Plexi still around, but as shops renovate and as new businesses come in, the Plexi is becoming a thing of the past.

And why would only street smart residents of trendy neighborhoods think it’s an exaggeration? How about us folks living in these untrendy neighborhoods? Exaggerating? Yes. Insulting? Uh, ya-ah!

I figured I’d cut the guy some slack. The guide was written in 2006. Maybe it was ever so slightly grittier back then. So, I visited his website. From a 2009 blog post: “Crown Heights isn’t for everybody. Frankly, if I was a young woman alone after dark, I wouldn’t even think about going there. in fact, I wouldn’t even think about going there alone after dark myself, being a 6-foot tall guy. You definitely have to know your way around — you don’t want to look lost in Crown Heights.

Wow. Am I overreacting? I mean, can’t the guy warn people it ain’t the Upper East Side without magnifying the situation? He makes it sound like a friggin’ war zone. A word of caution is fine, but dude…people live in these neighborhoods and walk around after dark all-the-time.

FYI, Mr. Schwartz, even white people.

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No, Kush Didn’t Shut Down.

November 22, 2010

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One of our favorite restaurants in Brooklyn is Kush Cafe. We are regulars there, but admittedly, it’s been at least a month since we last ate there. So when we decided to go for brunch yesterday and saw that the gate and sign were down and paper covered the window, we freaked out.

The last few times we had eaten there, it seemed slow. My husband was all like “They didn’t survive the recession.” and “It’s our fault. They closed because we haven’t eaten there in a while.”

But don’t worry Kush fans, that’s not the case! After some extensive detective work (facebooking the hostess), I found out that Kush is closed for renovations and will reopen at the end of the month.

So, this is really a non-story. But just in case you were nervous like we were, now you know. And if you’ve never been, you should go so they do stay in business forever.

PS: While I was looking for images for this post, I came across Kush Chef Sammy’s private cooking website. “Moveable Chef” is his business outside of the restaurant. He will come to your home and cook for you or provide personalized menu prepared meals. Kewl.

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Vegetarian Thanksgiving, NYC

November 12, 2010

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If you’re anything like me, chances are you are making family or friends do all the work for Thanksgiving. You show up with 2 bottles of wine and some dessert. Know what I’m sayin’?

If you ARE that sucker who has chosen to do the entertaining and you want to save the turkeys this year, check out the NY Times Vegetarian Thanksgiving section. Loads of wonderful recipes. You may invite me over for leftovers, I’ll critique your cooking. Free consultation.

For those of you who prefer restaurants to a home cooked meal, here are a few places doing the veg thang.

Braeburn is doing a “Very Veggie Thanksgiving” as part of Zagat Presents. The dates are Nov. 16th and Nov. 25th. Looks like you should make reservations ASAP and specify the veg meal for the 25th. I don’t think that’s totally vegetarian. Dishes include herb gnocchi with roasted squash sauce and chestnut stuffing with slow poached egg and creamless trumpet royal soup with celery leaf. $70 includes wine pairing.

Counter in the East Village is serving maple herb roasted seitan with wild mushroom and sage gravy. They have a selection of organic wines. $50 per person, $75 with wine pairing. Seatings are 1-9pm.

Chelsea’s vegan Blossom Restaurant is charging $68 per person. Main course choices include phyllo-wrapped vegetables with traditional Thanksgiving sides or Seitan Kiev with brussels sprout cake and sauteed greens. Yeah, I want that NOW!

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RIP KPD. :(

October 12, 2010

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The NY Post reports that Brooklyn’s Kings Plaza Diner will close it’s doors after 35 years. There have been rumors going around, but it seems that this is for real as the land has already been sold to a developer.

KPD has been a beloved spot to many Brooklynites, not just those in southern Brooklyn. It took me 2 buses to get to Mill Basin when I was growing up, yet I found myself in that diner many times.

My high school BFF lived in the neighborhood. KPD stayed open late night (maybe 24 hours?) and there quite a few after club meals consumed there. Each booth had a personal jukebox, so we just hung out for hours. Who needed Starbucks back then?

My fondest memory is the night BFF crashed into the parking lot fence. No, we weren’t drunk. There was a snow storm and she had just gotten her permit but still was unsure of her driving skills. We were in another friend’s car and couldn’t get out of the spot because of the ice, so he got out and pushed while she steered. Well, we went screeching down the street and while we were swerving around, my life actually flashed before my eyes. (It really did!) When we were stopped by the fence after missing the telephone pole by about an inch, I was so happy to be alive that I wanted to do it again.

So, I’ll always remember Kings Plaza Diner for surviving my first brush with death.

I had since lost touch with HS BFF. She resurfaced about a month ago and we went to pop in on her in the old neighborhood. Guess where we had lunch before stalking her? We were so excited to be at KPD that I snapped the above photo of L at the booth. Who knew it would be our last time at the diner?

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Ben and Jerry’s Green Factory Tour

August 25, 2010

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Last Sunday we got to visit the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT since we totally got rained out from doing any outdoor activities.

The first place I hit was the restroom. There I noticed a poem on the wall of the stall that had something to do with the “blue loo”. If I understood correctly, the waste water in the toilet was being composted and recycled. Sorry, I should have taken a snappy with my iphone, but I was in there to do my business if ya know what I mean. There’s something on their website about waste, but it’s not the kind that I’m talking about.

Next, whilst sampling the latest flavor (something with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate cows) I spotted the “cleaner greener freezer” over in the corner. The new hydrocarbon technology supposedly has zero impact on ozone depletion.

Yes, it’s true that Ben and Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever, so they’re not the same 2 guys from Long Island we’ve grown to love. But they ain’t Walmart either. Check out some of their other  environmental causes.

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Organic Bed Stuy

June 17, 2010

The long awaited Bed Stuy organic grocery will finally be opening in the fall. Location is to be announced. Alls I can say is that it better be within walking distance of me.

The owners are currently trying to raise funds for the renovation of the store.

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Bed Stuy Delivery Options

May 17, 2010

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During our first temporary/renovation move to Bed Stuy back in 2005, the food delivery options were slim. 2010 is a whole new world, baby! Now all we have to make for dinner is a phone call.

This may be common knowledge, but since we’re just reacquainting ourselves with the area, it’s all new to us. We googled food delivery in Bed Stuy and found Seamless Web. (Are we the last to know?)  Just type in your address, any neighborhood, and see which restaurants deliver to your house. You can order online. No phone call is needed. Obviously, not all restaurants are there, just the ones set up with that service.

So, what restaurants deliver to 11216? BTW, these are the vegetarian friendly options. You’re on your own for cooked flesh.

We have been relying on Sushi Tatsu for a couple of years now and they have never let us down. (ie: no meat in our vegetarian dishes) They have a Japanese/Chinese mix and now feature an entire Thai menu. Also, a third location on Bedford.

Amin, Indian on Dekalb

Deniz, Turkish on Fulton

Food for Thought, veg friendly on Marcus Garvey

La Stalla, Mexican/Italian on Myrtle

Tiny Cup, cafe and lunch on Nostrand

Folukie, Caribbean on Bedford

Brooks Valley, Caribbean Southern on Tompkins (They were closed for awhile, but a neighbor said he saw that it had reopened.)

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