Friday, April 13, 2007

Local resources

Since g-pup and I went on the low carbon diet it has been a lot of work finding foodstuff and recipes to support all the winter veg. So, in light of that, I have put together a bulletin board for people to share information on local resources. Check it out here: and participate! Let me know if you have ideas for other topic areas.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Worth waking the dead for?

In a word, YES.

You have to figure that something pretty spectacular would have to happen in order for me to take time out of my other projects (make that project) in order to write up a little review here on my beloved eating clinton hill (I do miss it!).

Well, how about not just one but TWO spectacular things. Since it would be hard to put them in order of greatness, I will just talk about them chronologically.

On Friday, lesterhead of the inimitable Clinton Hill Blog posted about a brewery on Waverly between Fulton and Atlantic (see I always said the odd piece of the world between Fulton & Atlantic was actually a diamond in the rough), called oddly enough, Greenpoint Beer Works. Skip over to CHB for the downlow, but suffice it to say I happily passed this info onto G-pup (the extreme beer fan in our house). There house brew is called Kelso, and later that evening, G-Pup and I found ourselves in a position to enjoy many pints of their Chocolate Lager - boy was that delicious beer!

Friday night we decided to traipse across the intimidating border of Atlantic avenue to Crown Heights where I had heard there was a lot going on food wise. On Franklin there's Sushi Tatsu II (good size deck for the upcoming summer months) and the new and lovely Saje - getting a lot of talk on Brooklynian. But our destination was on Classon Ave, not known for its culinary destinations - at least not yet! We were going to Chavella's which has also gotten some write ups on Brooklynian. Here's my bottom line, I would come out to Classon from Manhattan for this food. It is easily the best Mexican I have had in all of NYC. Believe me I have tried a lot of places, in Brooklyn and Manhattan and there is nowhere better.

We started with the trio of salsas and some guacamole. The salsas were a fresh pico de gallo, a rich smoky chipotle that g-pup thought was divine, and a salsa verde that while a bit salty was perfectly piquant and my easy runaway favorite. The chips that came with it were small round fried corn chips, fresh from the oil. There was still some oil on the chips which although generally a turnoff, does go to prove how fresh they were (you would understand if you ever made your own corn chips at home). The guacamole was also incredibly fresh (despite it not exactly being the season -ever- for avocados around here). I good amount of guac that let a little spice come through in the flavor. This was served with a pile of warmed soft corn tortillas - we enjoyed that touch, giving our palates a variety of flavors and textures.

On the entree side, I went for the chile relleno, which I always see as a good judge of a mexican restaurants capabilities. It would seem an easy enough dish - but it is actually difficult to balance all those flavors and textures. Chavella's does a great job! The relleno flavor was fresh, the breading still had some crunch in it, and the red sauce was smoky and complex. It was sided by a fluffy spanish rice and some black beans. The serving was just the right size too. G-pup went for an aguacate taco (black beans, avocado & queso fresco) and a quesadilla de hongo (mushrooms). He enjoyed both immensely and loved that his quesadilla had more of the chipotle salsa on the side. The decor was simple and cute, warm dark colored walls. Hopefully they will get a sidewalk permit so that we can enjoy our meals outside as it gets warmer. The service was unbelievably friendly, nice and prompt. Just what you would expect from a neighborhood joint. They are also awaiting their liqour license, so take your beer or sangria with you.

We could easily stop by there at least once a week. If Kelso opens a beer garden too, well then we would never leave the neighborhood!

732 Classon at Prospect Place
(718) 622-3100
Tue–Thu 11am–10pm; Fri, Sat 11am–11pm; Sun 11am–9pm.
Cash only.
(no liquor license - yet!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

happy holidays

cross posting from my other blog...

this year i tried to give mostly non-object things - memberships, food, experiences, and succeeded quite well.

i had wanted to get the solio solar charger as a gift for my family (hey if i am going to be out drawing a chalk line - it will be a good way to power the gadgets!) but decided instead to put the money towards bigger things.

i first read about kiva in good magazine, then I was reminded of it while visiting the red lipstick blog.
here's the deal, Kiva brings together small dollar lenders in the US (or other "developed" [i am not a fan of that term] countries) to lend money to individuals around the world - it gives the money through micro lenders around the world. Since American dollars go pretty far in other parts of the world, even a little bit can make a big difference. Once the load is fully funded, the money is distributed to the individual for their business. As they are succesful, they pay back the loan (100% of microloans are repaid) and the money gets put back into your kiva account. You can withdraw the funds, or you can use it to refund new projects. Pretty cool little money cycle there.
So go online at, and pick out some loans that are of interest to you - maybe give someone the last $25 they need to complete the loan - or start someone off who doesn't have the money yet. Or give the entire amount of money to one person to fully fund their project. Think of it as a nice holiday gift to the world. (Does that sound sappy? - I don't care - just do it.)
I am helping to fund Kossi (making shoes), Cecilia (a pub - thats for g-pup!), Ana (food market), and Komi (decorations).

and happy holidays to all!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Important issue - take action today

I know I'm not around much now, but this is an important issue - the Atlantic Yards development really needs to be fixed - there will be a vote on it next week by the Public Authorities Control Board. Make sure your voice is heard - sign on and send a letter at

And you can call Assembly Speaker Silver's office at 518-455-3791 and ask that the vote be delayed until the plan is fixed. (i.e. the plan takes into account the surrounding area and the voice of the people in the neighborhoods nearby).

It is possible to create a plan that has a lower impact, provides truly affordable housing, provides lots of jobs, is green and transit centric. Lets hold them accountable for helping to meet the goals set forth in Bloomies 2030 initiative.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Speak out about Atlantic Yards

Just a quick post - whatever your thoughts on Atlantic Yards, make sure you are heard...
The entire plan was developed without community input, but it's still not too late, send a letter with some of your own comments at

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

taking a hiatus

I figure the holidays are as good as time as any....

I have come to the realization that I do a lot more eating, drinking and playing around Clinton Hill thank I actually write about. I took a whole bunch of pictures of buildings I wanted to see renovated, and never posted them. I have shopped at Who's Your Doggy, Natural Heights, Cloth and the Habana Outpost Market, eaten meals from Choice, Fulton Thai, Kush, Urban Spring, Brown Betty, Black Iris, Outpost and Smooch. And I never wrote about them (much less photo'd them).

So while its been fun, and hopefully helpful to anyone who has come across this site, I am going to take an extended hiatus. I might check back in and leave a note now and then, but considering what an incredibly great job Lesterhead and Brooklyn Jay are doing covering the Clinton Hill scene (inside and out!) with ClintonHillBlog, then I will bow out gracefully.

I am looking forward to upcoming meals at Ici, Bonitas, Pillow Cafe and Burger 67. And if I ever get around to the project where I sample every one of the sinfully yummy treats at Choice Market, I will let you know about that too!

I will also keep the map updated with new (and old) restaurants and shops.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bloging live from Green Brooklyn, part 2
Panel 2, The Natural Environment with Brooklyn Botanic Garden, ConEdison Solutions, Gaia Institute, Lower East Side Ecology Center, Slow Food USA, Solar Energy Systems, and Sustainable Table (the meatrix guys). Right now we are listening to the story of compost, I take my compost to the Farmer's market in Fort Greene, this part weekend I got a nice little container of it back. San Francisco, as part of their efforts to divert 75% of its waste from the dump, a large scale residential compost pick up program was enacted. The compost was resold to farmers in the surrounding areas. After about a year, the compost was a highly sought item. It seems to me that New York is an ideal place to create an extensive composting project. Apparently we already have a large compost center on Riker's Island.
Now we are listening to a discussion on the damon value of the urban jungle (my term), including street trees which save the city $3000 each year from their carbon sequestering and capturing rainwater runoff.
We just heard about the slow food movement and are now hearing about the perils of factory farming (antibiotics, manure lagoons, i will add a link because they are enormous). Next up, my dream city presented by Gaia. Green roofs, green streets, living edges and blue waters, creating a sustainable New York City. Storm water capture, permeable surfaces, urban wetlands, retring brownfields. Living edges means getting natural filters (like mussels). It's an incredibly nice day for sitting inside, but if we can make even half these ideas work we could have a lot more beautiful days.
The hardest part of these conferences are the question periods. I often think it would be more interesting to have the panelists discuss amongst themselves.
Final presentation for the day, the architects, Workshop/APD, who won the Global Green competition to design a green low income complex in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward.
Following that was a "workshop" on transportation that because of time was focused on bicycling (which is fine with me). The presenter was really rushed and anxious to get across to the audience some points about which she was clearly passionate, all of which made for a rather frantic presentation. She did have some salient points to pass on including the idea that all a biker really wants is safe space (thats why they/we sit in crosswalks instead of squeezed between traffic and parked cars, its why a biker might jump a light - to get ahead of the traffic that is going to squeeze him out when passing the double parked car). She also talked about the idea that if bikers were better respected, then bikers will be more respectful (of traffic laws). As it is, bikers and pedestrians are forced to share precious little space while automobiles (and the 10% of new yorkers who drive them) take up the lion's share of the road. It would be nice to have a more car-free city - have you ever noticed how different the city looks when viewed from the middle of the street - its really cool! (You can stop on some streets in SoHo and look around - but most of the streets are too traffic-ridden to even try). For more information on livable streets - check out and Transportation Alternatives (who could just as easily rename themselves traffic alternatives).

Cross-posted from "works in progress."

Bloging live from Green Brooklyn!
Marty Markowitz started us of with the typically ebulliant Marty style. One thing he talked about was understanding global issues at the local level. That's a key part of Sea Change, so you can bet I will be trying to get a little face time with him!
He was followed by Jeffrey Hollender, President/CEO of Seventh Generation who gave an extemporaneous talk on business and sustainability. Although he was hesitant to use the term "sustainable" because he thought it was too vague. I have to agree, I also want to know just what it is that we are sustaining. We can't really sustain the current patterns (of population, lifestyle, business, etc).
We are now in the first panel "The Built Environment" with a somewhat diverse panel, including Bettencourt Green Building Supplies, Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, Conservation Services Group, Earth Pledge, Green Maps and Jonathon Rose Companies. Earth Pledge is doing some really great projects including the green roofs initiative, waste to fuel initiative and future fashion initiative. Their efforts are to promote new technologies in sustainable efforts.

The question session, I am having a little difficulty figuring out just who the audience is for this conference. I am guessing businesses, educators, city officials (at least I hope some of those people are in the audience). More later.

As a side note, check out the original Jonathan Rose Atlantic Center Design. Wouldn't that be a nice alternative?

Cross-posted from "works in progress"