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 kiva.org, 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 brooklynspeaks.net

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 Brooklynspeaks.net.

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 StreetsBlog.org 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"

Monday, November 06, 2006

food, food, food & GO VOTE

Here's the latest mass download food roundup...

In the category of third times the charm, our once beloved Olea had a stupendously bad showing. We popped in for brunch after deciding that as much as we wanted to go to Luz, their seating wasn't appropriate to our easily spooked puppy. The service at Olea, usually so friendly and welcoming seemed a bit, well, annoyed to be serving us. Their espresso machine was on the fritz so we opted for the less than stellar regular coffee. They use Dean's Beans, which I have tried to like, and maybe it's the blends, but it's just not good. Can I make a blanket recommendation? All people serving coffee on the east coast should just use Jim's (west coast, y'all should be serving Blue Bottle). They are excellent beans that make complex and varied coffees pleasing to the most discerning palate. Anyway back to Olea, this was the second time we also had to stir our coffees with spoons (spoons?!? oh no! -- I meant to write "knives" that's what I get for writing it on my phone on the train). On to the highly anticipated food! I so enjoyed g-pups savory french toast from the first visit that I ordered that while he had the omelet with salmon. It took quite a long time for the food to arrive, which was fine, as we were busy reviewing grant applications. Unfortunately when it did arrive it tasted like it had spent some rather serious time under the heat lamps. My meal, previously so bright and fresh, tasted old, dry a little stale and extraordinarily lacking in flavor. The eggs were over cooked for this dish and it tasted like the savory french toast had been replaced by the sweet. If this had been our first visit I would have a hard time justifying a return. As it is now we have to see if it was a fluke.

More in the category of shame on us... We finally got over to Habana Outpost for brunch (our excuse has been that the patio, while inviting, isn't super dog-friendly). It's kinda pathetic since, as an ardent greenie, this ALL solar powered restaurant - complete with bike powered blender - should be a frequent haunt for me. Sadly they are closing down on Halloween, but based on the straight forward no fuss tastiness encountered in the huevos rancheros, we'll be back to sample quesadillas, sandwiches and veggie dogs. (or not, since I am completing this post now on 11/6 & I didn't get back to habana - blame the travel and the cold.)

We continue to spend a lot of time eating Choice Market food because it is right on the dog path. We had a tartine one day and then went for full blown egg & bleu cheese on croissant (only to repeat it a week later). We grabbed some take away from them (carrot ginger soup, quiche and mac&cheese) and topped it off with an awesomely complex chocolate fudge chipotle cake. Get one of those before they are gone!

We recently went back to Brown Betty for a little brunch - the really beautifully simple breakfast pizza. It is the kind of thing that is artfully done and really lets the flavors come through. Grabbed an empanada stuffed with papaya and queso blanco (one of the dessert options on the dinner menu) - ho-my yumminess! We also kept pushing the lovely Cynthia to put together an email list so that she can send out the weekend menu - I want to try that jerk tofu sometime!

By the way, don't forget to vote tomorrow! (If you need to find your polling place check here: http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Too busy saving the world to blog...

Well, not really. But I have been really really hard at work on writing grant proposals for a public art project called "Sea Change" which addresses global warming.

What this has meant for general eating and playing in Clinton Hill is that it has been pretty functional, not so much frivolous. I have some pictures and thoughts on the two times we got take away from Graziella's, the yummy dinner at Pequena, the new pet store with the awesomest name in the world, Who's Your Doggy and our potentially life changing-ly (at least as far as brunch is concerned) awful brunch at Olea.

In the meantime the awesome folks at ClintonHillBlog and CintonCentric have been providing lots of great information about the nabe.

Speaking of which, does anyone know which neighborhood has the most bloggers blogging about it? I have a feeling CH might be somewhere near the top of the list.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Brooklyn as a Vacation Destination?

Our friend Rocket is one of the few people we know who live in Manhattan still, when she comes out to visit, she always comments on how nice and quiet it is out in Brooklyn (duh). She also is fascinated by the houses around here (she had never been out to Bklyn until recently). All of this prompted us to invite her out for a "Brooklyn Vacation." Come spend a weekend with us, you will love it - we won't get on a train or go into the city once! We can go to parks, ride bikes, eat delish food, shop in cool stores and go to the farmer's markets - you will love it!

It also made us realized what a lovely "charmed life" we have out here as we went about our weekend activites. We started out with a walk of the puppy to Fort Greene park. Passed a bunch of stoop sales getting set up and along the way we stopped for the "most delicious in the world" muffin and cappucino at Smooch. I got an acai-banana smoothie at the new juice shop - Urban Spring. Then we dropped off our compost at the farmer's market before playing in the park for a little while.

Smooch (and many of the other cafe's in the nabe - Outpost, Brown Betty's, Choice) has such a nice laid back feeling. People lounging around enjoying the day both inside and out, very neighborly too. They (Smooch) has also started a new 'addicted to coffee' card thing-y (you know, frequent buyer stuff).

Urban Spring whips up some yummy juices and smoothies for a reasonable price (for organic) and the shop is built from recycled architectural scraps, the drinks are served in corn-based plastic, which means they will just dissolve after a couple of weeks in the trash. They are still working out service kinks, it was a little scattered, but they have some delicious offerings, more of which I look forward to trying!

Last night G-pup and I went on a 'date,' which meant no puppy and no cell phone (so no pictures). We took a pleasant walk over to Los Pollitos III for some sneak up on you margaritas and mexican food. I had read a lot about Pollitos in comments on this blog, on chowhound and CitySearch. That unfortunately put my expectations a bit unrealistically high. The outdoor seating, while ample is less than ideal on that particular stretch of Myrtle Avenue. The music was some radio station which meant we had to listen to ads ?!? during our dinner - at least until the, we'll call them 'young men,' pulled up and had radio wars with their cars, which drowned out all radio and conversation for about 20 minutes. Ambience aside, the staff was very courteous and attentive (although confusing since we had no less than 4 different people taking orders, delivering food and checking on us). The margaritas are generous if a little lacking in flavor. It reminded me of a college bar, didn't taste that good but had a little bit of a kick (especially if you drink it rapidly through a straw because it is really full and the table is slanting so it is dripping out of the glass).

We ordered the guacamole, which had been raved about on other sites, my take? Should have gotten the nachos. The guac was alright, and clearly freshly made, but it didn't have the kick of some or the super fresh taste of others (usually has to be organic for that). The chips were of the thick kind - we prefer thin, and the salsa tasted a little water-y and definitely lacking in spice. (It was more like eating a agri-business tomato - tastes like a watery tomato). Finally on to the mains, I had the vegetarian enchilada (a spinach and cheese ench with tomatillo sauce) which more than made up for the previously missing spices. The tomatillo sauce was bright and sassy. The refried beans and spanish rice were stunningly good - g-pup declared them "perfect!" - better than I have had any where else around. G-pup went for what he is calling "a NYC burrito" (since they won't ever be the "mission burrito" that he longs for). He got some shrimp in his burrito, and here is his take on it...
"A shrimp burrito? Aside from the fact I really should cut the seafood cord, this non-SF style burrito had a pretty snaz presentation, a nicely folded almost square appearance alongside a bit of vinegar-y onion-ish mixture - a salad of somekind? The inside mix was actually very tasty, the ratios of the guac to the sour cream, the beans to the shrimp were well balanced and the size of it wasn't insanely tooo much. We were outside and it was kinda dark so no insight on the appearance of the interior. I'd have it again for sure (prob skip the shrimp tho) and it really beats the pants off the 'rito at neighbouring Castros."
Hmm, I kinda liked Castro's better - but mostly for the salsa. Still we both prefer Pequena's over either of the Myrtle Ave. establishments, but are both interested in going back to try more things off of their extensive menu.

Urban Spring
185 DeKalb (at Carlton)

Other reviews: Clinton Hill Blog

Los Pollitos
495 Myrtle Avenue
(718) 636-6125
Mon-Sun 11am - 11:30pm

Other reviews: CitySearch, Brooklyn Record, Yelp, Go Brooklyn, Brownstoner, Add Your Own

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oh boy oh boy oh boy

I wanted to do a dumb title for this post too, something like Oh-lea! or Ole-yea! But I wouldn't want to put y'all through that again.

Last weekend on our way back from the beach, we took the puppies to dinner in the neighborhood, we were thinking Olea, but a glance at the prices on the menu made us shy away. (We dined again at Sushi D, and had pretty much the same thing as before). This Sunday however, we were out on the troll for new brunch, and since we pass by Olea pretty much every single day on our way to the park, we finally caved. And are we glad of that!!

Olea has easily the best brunch we have had in CH/FG. I would even put them in the top 3 spots for dining, based solely on the brunch. The food was overall super fresh, and really filling. The setting is beautiful. Even though we ate outside (puppy you know), we did go in for hand washing and the restaurant is so cooling and relaxing (exposed beam ceiling, white plaster walls) you really do feel like you are in the Mediterranean - definitely not on a street corner in Brooklyn.

G-pup went for the Parmesan French Toast, which was a savory French toast with peas, avgolemono sauces (hollandaise) and, I think, pea shoots. The flavor was one of rich, lemony springtime (I love peas, but don't eat them nearly enough). I went for the big plate - Turkish Breakfast. I loved it, simply loved it. I rarely eat eggs anymore (vegan of convenience) but do splurge on brunch. The eggs were so completely mixed with cilantro that they looked like guacamole (yes that appeals to me). I also got on my heaping plate of delicious food, some zesty eggplant, some fattoush (a Mediterranean bread salad) some tzatziki (yogurt) and hot pita bread. It was such a wonderful combination of flavors, zesty, cooling, hearty, refreshing. The food tasted as though they were using quality ingredients too, if you know what I mean (like if you go to a cheap place it all tastes a bit flavorless because it comes from factory farms). The flavor of each ingredient really stood out, and it blended beautifully with the others. At the same time.

In the continuing take out nights (down to one, two was just too many) we had a fun Red Bamboo dinner of Salt and Pepper Chicken with honey mustard (think tinier crispier nuggets). [Does anyone remember the advert about nuggets where they go on about 'parts is parts, pieces parts'?] Barbecue 'Beef' with some kind of glaze I can't remember and Sizzling Tofu with Teriyaki sauce. A previous take out consisted of Chicken 'n Fries, and Coconut Salmon. I consider Red Bamboo food more 'fun' than 'delicious.' Don't get me wrong, it's good, just not great. It is definitely better when you can eat on their large patio, listening to the live jazz music and drinking their fun and delicious drinks. We also ordered in from Fulton Thai (I think the only place other than Mojito's that will deliver to us), and their food seems to be getting better.

The CSA continues to grace us with a large bounty, especially with 8 ears of corn (we are running out of things to do with it!). Quite honestly the corn is so delicious I tend to nibble on the raw pieces while cooking. We did oven roasted corn, with a salsa that I made from all the tomatoes we have accumulated. I did corn patties, and something else which for the life of me I can't remember. G-pups parents are coming in town soon and they love our sweet American corn, so they should be in heaven with all of this!

171 Lafayette Avenue
Hours: Sun-Thu 10am-4:30pm, 5pm-11pm
Fri & Sat 10am-4:30pm, 5pm-12am
All major credit cards accepted

Other reviews: Go Brooklyn, New York Magazine, Citysearch, Chowhound, Chowhound Again, And Chowhound Again

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Let me count the ways...

Oh, there are so many reasons to love the Clinton Hill / Fort Greene area (mostly food related I admit). And we found a few more of late.

The past few weeks have been big ol' eating Clinton hill (and fort Greene) weeks. G-pup and I were planning to have a puppy-less dinner date, and were planning to do so in man-ha-ttan. The puppy park walk though took longer than expected so I proposed that we have a date in the neighborhood. I was craving Mexican food and suggested Pequena. G-pup, never one to turn down chips, salsa and a Negro Modelo was all up for it. I have to admit this was damn good food. (Anyone know how to say that in Spanish?) The tiny little place churns out quick, fresh and relatively healthy mex food (a little too fast, since our appies and main meals arrived within about 5 minutes of each other - making us feel a little rushed, and crowding the table tremendously). Turns out the front seating may even be dog friendly. My favorite part was the daily flavors available for the margarita (which you can mix and match), our choices were kiwi, coconut, raspberry and mango. I mixed kiwi and coconut (and then it had the lime-y-ness of a marg!) YUM! The guacamole was fresh, spicy and enormous. Yummy pico and crisp chips too. G-pup gorged on the quesadilla and I ate as much as I could of the veggie fajitas before having to hand it over. Yes, our eyes were awfully big for that meal, and its a good thing I forgot my metro card so that we would have to walk some of it off on our way home.

Saturday morning we made our way over to Smooch (on Adelphi and DeKalb). I had been reading on the new and super improved chowhound boards that Smooch was being touted as the best coffee in the nabe. That always sounds like a challenge to me. I have to admit that they were pretty right about that. I still agree with Mr Minerva that ici has the best going, but its a bit more of a hassle than the walk up coffee shops (although they have recently added some tables out front, so maybe we can take the pup!). Smooch's coffee was really dark, syruppy and yummy, and no scalded milk. Also had one of their stunningly moist muffins that are so full of yummy flavor. And might even be vegan (a lot of their stuff is). On a subsequent visit I had another yummy muffin and G-pup had some deliciously hearty bread with vegemite spread on it. (yeh, he's an ex-pat - did I not mention that before?)

On Sunday for a break from the laundry and the heat, we stopped in to check out the new girl on the block - Cynthia, who opened up the Brown Betty Cafe on Grand at Fulton. She has put together a friendly, homey place, where she does a lot of baking herself. She had a friend teach her how to make a mean cappucino (and she's doing a great job at it - so make sure you stop in and give her some practice). G-pup was hungry and had a creamy, toothsome quiche (oh yum!) with a baby greens salad that had this funky zesty mango spice dressing on it. It was surprising and refreshing. I had an enormous oatmeal cookie, and yes I ate the whole thing (even Cynthia mentioned she was surprised I ate the whole thing!)

We also decided to do two take out nights a week to allow me more time to work (I am working a new job now, trying to finish up some of my large scale drawing series, and put together some community art grant proposals, so that means I need more time!) Our first take away was a meal from Red Bamboo (I was craving vegan having spent a week eating white starchy food upstate for a week). They seem to have really hit a good stride, with a jumping patio complete with jazz band on the weekend, and a more distinctly flavorsome menu. Our second meal was last night from Choice. We got stuck in the huge downpour so came home soaking wet with our food. We had their green gazpacho which was creamy, bright and a bit spicy; a special salad with spinach, arugula, avocados and grilled red peppers with feta stuffed inside. It was a yummy complex (and surprisingly really spicy!) salad, unfortunately it got a little oily in the croutons and towards the bottom, and that, combined with the mac n cheese - which I found to be overpoweringly rich this time - was a little too much for my tastebuds. (G-pup thought the mac was perfect). It also meant that the rich looking raspberry cake is waiting for us to eat tonight.

We have a great menu coming up this week thanks to a rich abundance at the CSA. We will be using the corn, potatoes, peppers and onions to make a piquant corn chowder. The basil and tomatoes will provide us with a delicious (and different) pesto pizza (doing the pesto with basil and pecans). We can round it all out with corn risotto with a side of beets and greens. (And yes I can make it all vegan and stunningly yummy!)

Somewhere in the mix we stopped in at june. for brunch. I had the croissant French toast, which sounded deliciously decadent - but wasn't. It didn't quite work, it was part burnt and didn't provide the creaminess which one would like from their French toasted anything. I can't remember what G-pup had. I will check in with him and let you know.

Hope everyone out there is enjoying the fabulous weather we are finally having - and I hope to see you all at the 'Only in Brooklyn' street party hosted by Le Grand Dakar. No, I won't be one of the wrestlers!

86 S. Portland at
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am - 11pm
Fri-Sun 10:30am - 12am
All major credit cards accepted

Other reviews: Citysearch, Go Brooklyn, Yelp, Add Your Own, New York Daily News, Chowhound 1, Chowhound 2, Chowhound 3

264 Carlton at DeKalb
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu 8am - 8pm
Tue 8am-12pm
Fri & Sat 8am-12am
Cash only

Other reviews: Eating for Brooklyn, a mention in Chowhound, SuperVegan, Brooklynian, Set Speed AKA One Hanson Place

Brown Betty Cafe
466 Grand Ave at Fulton

Cash only

Other reviews: Clinton Hill Blog I, Clinton Hill Blog II, Brooklyn Record I, Brooklyn Record II, Brooklynian

229 DeKalb at Clermont
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu 8am - 8pm
Tue 8am-12pm
Fri & Sat 8am-12am
All Major Credit Cards

Other reviews: CitySearch, Go Brooklyn

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Manifest this!

I love New York, I think it is a fabulous, diverse, vibrant place. It has it's problems, but mostly it is a fascinating, pulsating organism.

Summers though, can be a little harsh. It is hot, humid, and mostly smelly. So how do I best deal with them?

I love to walk down the street imagining an altogether more utopian New York. I think of a city with virtually no cars, and even those low or no emission. There are trees and flowerboxes lining the sidewalks. The streets are now walkways and bikeways. The air is fresher, cooler, cleaner. The buildings are all topped with gardens- all those green roofs helping to reduce the urban heat. A lot of the iconic New York sights sounds and smells still exist- the rumble of the subway, the smells wafting from the street food vendors, floods of tourists gawking at our city. The buildings are cleaner (no more smog to blacken their facades), the inhabitants are healthier and happier (no longer the worst air in the country). Everyone is better off, and this radical city extends into the outer boroughs so everyone benefits.

Is this an unrealistic utopian dream? Definitely utopian, but I don't really think it is unrealistic. It just takes a radical governing body to make it happen. It may be a slow process (it doesn't have to be). We can start with a few things, enact the congestion fee (a study showed that 90% of car trips in the city could be done on transit). Increase bike initiative - protected bike lanes, traffic reduction and abatement projects. Improve pedestrian access, wider sidewalks (narrower streets), pedestrian only areas (delivery trucks allowed in during specific hours, improved transit in areas). Be generous in creating a world class (beyond) transit system - clean fuel vehicles, rapid dedicated lanes. And that's just the short term work, after that start enacting more people friendly laws - require greener buildings, solar power, green roofs, pedestrian access and space, greener automotive technology on all vehicles in city. Just keep on going from there!

Yeh, I may be idealistic, and commenters may have diverse opinions, but just thinking about that world when I walk down Broadway in the insufferable heat and humidity, well, it brings a smile to my face.

For more information:
Top photo courtesy of MPMB, second courtesy of Michael L, photo of "Joey" courtesy of Irena Kittenclaw, all on Flickr.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Oh la la!

Yes, we love Choice Market. Not only are they open early (before 6:45) and late-ish (about 9am). They are perfectly located along a convenient dog walk path. They have lovely benches outside and the staff and clientele are always wonderful. We spent a pleasant morning there having a cappucino, chocy croissant and lemon poppyseed scone while the pups (we are babysitting the sister right now) hung out under the benches and greeted all the kids and people and dogs who came by.

Having a dog certainly gets you out into the world a bit more. Before pup came along we weren't really noticed on the street except by our immediate neighbors and the really nice group of gentlemen who sit out down near the el tracks. Now, we have regular people that we see and talk to, and are constantly meeting new people. (Including the neighbor down the way that really hates us, but that's another story). Pre-pup, we were pretty invisible, post-pup we talk to loads of people and know more neighbors, and neighbors dogs and kids. Its pretty impressive and I enjoy feeling part of the community.

As for food, the wonderful Farmer Ted provided the CSA this week with Kohlrabi, beautiful rainbow radishes, kale, mixed greens (with more romaine this time) a cucumber and more of those delish zucchini. The fruit share people continue to gorge on strawberries and cherries. Yum yum yum. Also of note to those who are interested, the CSA will take compost from its members. Just bring it when you pick up and dump it in the bin... (I don't know their specific rules, but as a general guideline never include anything other than veg and coffee grinds - even egg shells can be problematic).

Should be popping out for another brunch and park day tomorrow with the pups, think we will try June this time, I am thinking ricotta pancakes...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Choice Market, Sushi D and Chez Oskar...

We have had a big 'eating out' weekend. Usually I do shopping every couple of days, but due to the long holiday and a number of last minute schedule changes, we have found ourselves eating out a lot this weekend. Some planned, some not.

Thursday night I put in my time volunteering with the CSA. It was an enjoyable evening, and while a big storm raged outside, we were all enjoying the company of other people interested in yummy veg, sustainable living and a greener lifestyle. We traded recipes and gardening tips and learned a little about each other. At the end of the night we took home a few of the extras (a well guarded secret about working the late shift - oops its out now!) I came home with vitamin greens (somewhere between a choi and kale), more hakurei turnips (which I used to try the newsletter recipe and made seitan fricasse), French radishes, mixed greens, broccoli, zucchini, cherries and strawberries. The mixed greens will make a nice bed for some baked chevre, and the strawberries are resting in a port wine sauce for a more modern strawberry shortcake dessert.

Friday night as a big big storm moved in, we raced with the pup up to Choice Market to get some vittles for dinner. We grabbed a macaroni and cheese, pasta salad (orzo with sun dried toms, basil and olives), a portabello panini and a brownie. It was absolutely delicious! The mac had a deep rich cheesiness without being too mushy. I am usually good at figuring out the cheese, but I couldn't guess this one. The pasta salad was tasty without heaviness and easily held up to the complexities of the flavors within. The sandwich was woodsy and meaty - just like a portabello should be! It was offset by sweet creamy goat cheese and baby arugula. Although that's a pretty typical veg sandwich, this one surpassed most with a bread that didn't get soggy and the flavors didn't run together as they often do in veg sandwiches. Even the brownie was excellent. It was dark and complex without being too rich. It was a good level of density and not too sweet. An absolutely fabulous meal, one of my favorite so far especially for take out. The shop itself is really beautiful, with a huge array of baked goods, and an open kitchen. On the night of the storm it was warm and inviting, the staff was friendly and helpful. It takes a little bit of time for the food to be prepared (so don't get all in a huff if you are in a hurry - like one customer did), it just means everything is freshly prepared. They have a small community table for eating in, and dog friendly benches out front. Don't be surprised if you see us there more often. The pup led us there this morning but we forgot money! There we are out front drooling at the windows. At least there was a nice woman who bought a dog biscuit for pup.

Sunday was G-pup and my anniversary. We planned a lovely day. We slept in a bit with pup and then headed off to brunch with pup in tow. We wanted to get over to Luz, but that was going to be pretty far for the pup. We made it to DeKalb sooner than we thought, so we stopped in for some coffee at Tillies (unfortunately Ici, which we adore isn't dog friendly since their patio - while beautiful is out back). The coffee was, as always, too hot, but it tasted good after cooling a bit. We then wandered past June - which looked to have a delish brunch which we will try soon - to Chez Oskar. Feeling a little French, I ordered the mushroom and onion omelet with French fries and mustard. It's one of my favorite breakfasts, and though I don't indulge that way too often, it was nice to do so. G-pup had the very yummy eggs benedict with spinach. We also indulged in a mojito and caipirinha. The drinks were a bit strong for brunch drinks, and the food while good wasn't anything out of the ordinary. (Are omelets ever?) The hollandaise on the eggs bene was quite good - had a little bit of spice in it, and the French fries were near perfect for me (thin and crunchy).

Last night (Monday) we had a friend over, and had planned on ordering in so we could play with the puppy and share vacation photos. After negs from a number of places (see previous post), we gave up and went out for a late dinner at Sushi D. I don't eat fish, so I am always looking for a sushi place that is willing to put some effort into interesting veg rolls. Sushi D offered the standards (kappa, avocado, oshinko) but they also had a Greene roll (asparagus, sweet tofu, watercress and cucumber) and Jade (green seaweed, asparagus, avocado and cucumber), which while both big, fresh and tasty were nothing compared with the sushi we could get at Moki's Sushi in Bernal Heights, SF. (It's a bit unfair to compare sushi in NY with SF - oh how I love the Hawaiian influence). I will let G-pup chime in here with a more balance review of the fish based sushi:
Sushi D - the best thing about this place is the prompt, no-nonsense service, and the fact you can blunder in at 10:45 at night and have some kick ass sushi n' beer. Decor wise, it's fine, the tables are generous in size (inside, outside is perforce a little bit pokier). Complimentary edamame (did we just get lucky? Let us know) was a nice touch. Taste wise, I enjoyed the Caterpillar (spicy tuna topped with avocado and spicy masago), Crystal (a seasonal special with mango, avocado and yellowtail) and Spider (soft shell crab, avocado and masago) - they were tasty, but not out of this world. One of our party enjoyed a roll with jalapenos on it - that was novel, but good... although, it's not the kinda spice I go for in sushi. wasabi, yes. Spicy Mexican? Not so much.
In between all that we actually made it into the city for a dinner at Dos Caminos, which I won't go into detail on (hey, its not in Clinton Hill/Fort Greene!), but it was really great - possibly the best cocktail in New York - the Cosmo Diablo - a super spicy take on the traditional.

We've been having fun with the new found freedom that pup's latest shots have given us. You'll probably see us at Choice Market for breakfast on the weekends more...

Choice Market
318 Lafayette Avenue (at Grand)

Chez Oskar
211 DeKalb Avenue
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am - 5:30pm (lunch)
Sat & Sun 11am - 4:30pm (brunch)
Sun - Thu 5:30pm-midnight (dinner)
Fri & Sat 5:30pm - 1am (dinner)
All major credit cards accepted

Other reviews: Go Brooklyn, New York Metro, Citysearch, Newsday, Yelp, Village Voice - Best of, Citimaps.com, BrooklynNow.com, Village Voice

Sushi D
207 DeKalb Avenue (at Adelphi)
Hours: Mon-Thu 4:30pm - 11pm
Fri & Sat 12pm - 11:30pm
Sun 12pm - 11pm
All major credit cards accepted

Other reviews: Menu Pages, Yelp, Add Your Own

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fed and happier now

Wow, I sure get cranky when I am hungry :). Thai 101 came through for us with yummy food late at night. Our usual favorites are the Pad Ke Mow and Cashew Nut n I, but we have been eating a lot of Thai lately and decided to try something new. We had a huge (I mean huge) Thai salad, which is the usual lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and peanut dressing. This dressing was a little lacking, I like it a little more peanutty and with a bit of a kick. We also tried the Rama (a peanut sauce) and the Jungle Curry. The two on their own were a bit lacking, the rama was a little peanutty, but not much else, and the curry was spicy, but not much else. So together they made for a spicy peanutty dish which was pretty good.

As for the other night's meal from Mojito's... Our downstairs neighbors had ordered it one night when they were locked out of their apartment. They looked like they were having such a great time eating the Cuban-influenced food out on the steps. They gave us the menu and we eagerly took it upstairs, but then waited a week before we ordered from them. When we did it was a late Friday, we were hungry and looking for a meal of munchies. When I called Mojito's they were clearly very busy, (the hostess kept putting me on hold, and I heard her repeatedly telling people that she was sorry about the wait), and yet they happily took my order - asking me to repeat things over their background din. We got quite a lot of food, the Veggie Cuban Quesadilla meal (white cheese and sweet plantain quesadilla with yellow rice and black beans), Yuca Frita, the Mazorca Asada (grilled corn on the cob with mayo, cotija cheese & chili powder), Moros & Cristianos (white rice & black beans mixed, with sweet plaintains and avocado), and Guava and Cheese Empanadas. The little tubs of refreshing and spicy green sauce was yummy on lots of things, and the combinations of flavors were really yummy. I am sure they would hold up even better if eaten in the restaurant - and it sounded like everyone in the background was having a great time. There was some flavor that seemed to permeate every dish that did get a little tiresome after a while, but the quesadilla and empanadas were a big hit. I also really liked the yellow rice, which was a creamy offset to the heartiness of the black beans. Definitely worth a visit so that we can try some of the great drinks too!

CSA this week saw some repeats from the previous week - the bok choy (this time smaller) and those delish french radishes (which I love on whole wheat bread with butter and salt - very decadent tasting). I have a great recipe for an almond, Asian chili, coconut sauce that we are going to try with the bok choy and some homemade seitan. After that, I may be done with bok choy for a while though. Also picked up some beautiful looking turnips, that will go nicely with a coriander, horseradish crusted tofu - I will carmelize the turnips which makes them savory, soft and sweet. The veg have all been wonderfully fresh tasting - better than anything you can get at the store that's been trucked and refrigerated and picked to early, etc. I am rapidly running out of room in my herb window boxes though! I also enjoy the updates from Farmer Ted. This week I will be volunteering at the CSA, so I will get a look at a little bit of the 'inner workings.'

I have gotten a couple more good recommendations on where to eat outside with your (well-behaved) pooch. I will try to figure out how to mark those places as special on the map...
Thanks to 'lesterhead' and "The Dog Lover's Companion to New York City" the list now includes, Madiba, Luz, Sushi D, Chez Oskar, and Loulou. (Does anyone know if Red Bamboo will let dogs into their enclosed patio?)

Don't forget to go play in the puddles... If the street water is too gross for you, there's big adult sized puddles out at PS 1 right now, part of their "Warm Up."

edited 7/2: Sorry I originally had "A Table" in the list of dog friendly places - had gotten it out of the guidebook (print material is so dated!) A commenter pointed out that what was A Table, is now Olea. Dog friendly?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

people who suck and people who rock

sorry, I try not to be negative, but...

we live in a funny area, and because of that get cut out of delivery maps frequently. Having a new puppy also means not being able to either go out for food, or spend much time cooking at home. So tonight, 9:30 on a Sunday, desperate for food I started calling around. Here's the people who suck most:
  • Famous Nicks (Not Ray's Pizza)- who are pathetically close and won't deliver
  • Rice - who just barely cut us out of the picture
  • Graziella's - whose menu says they deliver, but evidently they don't
  • Zaytoons - "that's too far, we have bicycles, not scooters" ?!?!
  • Thai 101 - after delivering no less than THREE times, it's now too far
  • Sushi D -it's too far

People who ROCK:
  • Mojito's (by a long shot!) they are waaaaay far away, and the food arrives piping hot even on a super busy Friday night!
  • Fulton Thai - okay its easy for them, but at least they do it!

Sorry, don't mean to be a downer, but we always seem to live in neighborhoods that get cut off... Will be more positive and post a Mojito's review soon! Also can't wait for pup to be big enough to go to outdoor cafe's - I hear Madiba is the BEST place to dine with pooch in tow!

(sorry will add links later, too hungry right now!)

additions 6/30

edited 7/4 - this is getting sad. the delivery options are getting smaller and smaller. having said that, this blog isn't so much about the delivery as eating out in the nabe, so I will update this list, but won't dwell on it. anyone tried indian palace? they have placed menus out and about.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Changing your point of view

You never really understand what something is like until you actually do it. Like shaving your head, skydiving, having a puppy, surviving a life threatening situation or having a baby. I can now lay claim to two of them, shaving my head (it looked unlike I could imagine, but it was cute! btw, its quite long now, that was years ago), and now, having a puppy.

You think you know what is coming - cute bundle of playfulness that chews and pees a lot. While that provides a general overview it doesn't really cover all of it. G-pup and I adopted a rescued Australian shepherd mix 3 month old little bundle of sweetness and joy. (Friends of ours adopted her sister.) So, if there's anyone out there thinking of getting a puppy, here's a reality check. We are both (our friends too) so unbelievably exhausted. The pup sleeps during the day, you don't. Therefore she's okay with staying up late and getting up early. She's also not quite figured a) what is okay to chew and what is not b) where exactly to go potty. So you are on all day, watching what she is chewing, taking her for walks alternating with cleaning up pee spots around the house.

Having said that, we are really lucky. She is a really smart dog and does mostly sleep through the night - so much so that we have to get her out of bed in the morning. She mostly goes outside and on the paper. She is really quite good on the leash, and good with kids and people. She is so sweet and filled with pure joy and cheekiness. So it is exhausting (and none of our friends have heard from us) but it is also filled with laughter.

It has also given us a glimpse into dog culture in the city. We had some experience having partnered with a group of dog owners in San Francisco in an effort to save a green space (park) from being developed, so we knew a little of what to expect. We were also made aware of dog advocacy groups (mostly maintaining off leash privileges), FIDO and Fort Greene PUPS. Having a dog is an extremely social exercise, we have met so many new people and are definitely more noticeable in our neighborhood. We have met many wonderful and friendly people on our walks - its been great! We will keep you up to date on her progress and the things we find of interest for dog owners. Certainly if anyone has any recommendations (good cafes that are dog friendly, best dog runs, best pet store or vet?) - I would love to hear about it!

In other CH news, the first distribution of the CSA happened at Lattimer School last night. It was lots of fun. Everyone is super friendly and the veg look awesome! (Apparently it was a little thin, but it seemed like a TON of veg to me!) Here's what we got:
1/2 pound salad mix (that's a lot - but I love salads)
1 bok choy (huge huge huge)
1 bunch Tokyo bekana (a flowering cabbage) (pictured above)
1 bunch tiny scallions (tiny because it is spring & they are organic, however smaller scallions tend to be sweeter and taste really good raw)
1 bunch French breakfast radishes (so yummy) (pictured above)
1 potted thyme

It was so exciting to be a part of this and to see everyone coming together to enjoy vegetables and support local farmers! The fruit people also got a delish looking basket of strawberries. Next time I will see if we can buy some fruit onsite. I also picked up "the Beet" which is the CSA newsletter with information from the farmer (Ted) and recipes. I am all over that radish parmesan salad. (yummy salad pictured above with radishes and scallions from CSA, lettuce, pine nuts, dried cranberries from other sources)

Remember how I was complaining about the poor planning of the Grand Army Plaza? Well it looks like something is being done about it Transit Alternatives has joined forces with Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPCo). They commissioned Jan Gehl, of Gehl Architects to present a plan of revision. The PDF is here. It is a wonderful visual analysis of the existing mess that is GAP (it is referred to as Eskimos jumping from ice floe to ice floe). The review provides a glimpse into the car heavy (and completely irrational) design that is endemic to NYC. The cars are given priority - they have more access to the park than pedestrians, and the best available traffic flow. Pedestrians are given small and often dangerous refuge from the traffic, the environment is cramped, loud and difficult to navigate as a pedestrian, and is marked by "a sense of danger."

The proposed revision is a beautiful redesign of the area (in the European fashion) which gives increased priority and safety to pedestrians and bikers while still meeting needs of traffic. I have never understood why a city like New York, with its great transit infrastructure, doesn't act more progressively and proactively regarding the design of public space, giving priority to pedestrians and bicycles. It doesn't strike me as a political or classist strategy. People of all ages, races, wealth and political affiliation walk/bike/ride transit. Why not make our city a more livable city...

I would like to grab some images from the pdf because it is really compelling (I can't figure out how) and certainly makes me want to move to Copenhagen where people and bikes are given priority over cars. The killing devices killed 4,598 people (2004) and 21 bikers (2005)) - excuse the language, but are you fucking kidding me? Don't get me wrong, you do sometimes need a car, but mostly you don't. And for when you do, there's ZipCar. (which came through in spades once again when we needed a car at a moment's notice).

Brownstoner launched an extensive new guide to Brooklyn, called "Brooklyn Record" I will try and keep up with what is going on, but for the full scoop make sure you subscribe to their feed (but expect around 10 posts a day - there's a lot happening in Brooklyn!) I don't have any updates on what might be happening this weekend since I have been busy scheduling playdates for the puppy.

Breaking news: Just added to the map, Natural Heights at 688 Washington (in P Heights) a store which will feature natural and organic products for you, your house and your pets. Just like the website says. Coming "May 2006," um, or sometime thereabouts. (Via set-speed, via the forum).

Friday, June 02, 2006

Been away from the hill

G-pup and I have been having fun in Puerto Rico, so we missed out on some excitement in the Hill while we were away, including:
The weathers been a bit, well weird, around here, and there is rain expected for the Tour de Brooklyn this weekend. If you don't want to do the ride, you can meet us all at (aforementioned) Cafe Habana for the after party!

There are some important meetings coming up too, including a candidate's forum, the first pickup for the Clinton Hill CSA, and something else I just totally forgot. (Hmm, if I remember I will update the post - until then you can look at my PR pictures.)

Oh! If anyone knows anyone traveling to Houston within the next week or so, who might be willing to transport a puppy with them (by car or in the airplane cabin) we are trying to get our new puppy up here, but are running into a few obstacles. Let me know if you might be able to help out! (Yes we will pay additional pet fees levied by the airline, and will provide a carrier, meet you at the airport and pay you a "courier fee").

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Just what il dottore ordered...

Thursday night, our friend La Dolce Vita flew in from San Francisco. We set our sights on Locanda Vini e Olii for a few reasons: a) its close by b) La Dolce Vita loves Italian food & culture (so do I) c) we would be eating late, and Italians are good at the eating late thing.

Locanda is a wonderful outpost on this side of DeKalb. It sits on a quiet dark corner, beckoning you to come into its warmth and friendliness. A round of heartfelt "Bouna Sera!"'s greeted us as we entered. There was a festive group in the front, enjoying a long meal with lots of wine. We were seated near the tempting desserts towards the back of the renovated pharmacy. It is a beautiful space with dark woods, shining pieces in the polished cases, warm lights and wonderful aromas from the kitchen which mingle with the smells of the fresh made espressos at the bar.

The menu changes according to the fresh ingredients available. It also states right up front that one is expected to eat a "typical" Italian meal (of antipasti, secondi and primi piatti), and the servings for each round were therefore compensated to allow one to enjoy all of the courses. For me, the cost of the dishes (and the vegetarianism) would give me pause in ordering that much food. Luckily having attempted the typical Italian meal on more than a few occasions while in Italy, I knew that I wouldn't need that much food even if the portions were smaller. (I love to eat food, just not in mass quantities - ask me about Vegas and my tasting menu experiences some time).

La Dolce Vita, G-pup and I shared the fresh bruschetta platter for our antipasti (one of tomato & basil, one of eggplant, one mushroom puree and one chicken liver which none of us would eat). They were all fresh and full of the flavors of the vegetables presented upon each of them.

We followed the antipasti with a round of salads, Dolce had the Beets and Young Pecorino Salad: a scrumptious mix of beets, pecorino, baby spinach and pears. I went for the Dried Sicilian Figs and Gorgonzola (of course I would) which was a taste party of figs, gorgonzola, baby lettuce and walnuts. With an ample handful of figs and large gorgeous slabs of gorgonzola, this was a dreamy salad. G-pup went for the Farro di San Giovani, a grain salad of yellow fin tuna, black olives, tomato, basil and farro. (He seemed to like it, cleared the plate and I couldn't get more of a description from him, maybe I can get him to comment).

For the main part of the meal we all opted for pastas - Dolce and I took the suggestion of the waitress (with the impeccable Italian accent) and had the Maltagliate (badly cut) L'Erbette. They were large sheets of pasta playing around (not swimming - a more perfect amount) in an olive oil and fresh herb sauce (I am forgetting the ingredients here). It was quite a different flavor - green and fresh and very tasty. A truly unique pasta dish (which is what the waitress had promised). G-pup had fresh and fluffy gnocchi with tomato and basil.

Having sat next to the desserts, we were tempted enough to leave some room in our tummies for a sampler of flourless chocolate cake (a little too crumbly for our tastes) and lemon pie (which wasn't remarkable in any way), but the fantastic grappa that I had for dessert more than made up for what was missing in the dishes.

Locanda is a real treat to have in the neighborhood, if I had loads of money (which I don't) I think I would split my time between there and Ici. It felt distinctly and beautifully Italian, and the food was interesting, fresh, and flavorsome.

Locanda Vini e Olii
129 Gates Avenue at Cambridge Place
Hours: Tue-Thu 6-10 pm
Fri-Sat 6-11 pm;
Sun: 6-10 pm
(Closed Sunday)
All major credit cards

Other reviews: New York Magazine, NYC Pulse, Village Voice, CitySearch, MenuPages, EatingForBrooklyn, New York Times, New York Eating, L Magazine, Chowhound, Dodgeball, Village Voice Best Of, New York Magazine Brooklyn Episode

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I love making up crap titles for these posts. (see here, and here).

I kept my promise to myself and my blog and made it out for some delish Clinton Hill food, and boy was it worth it. We took the C train home from 'the city' and got off at Lafayette for a nice evening's walk through the neighborhood. We were headed to the other side so we got to walk through all the beautiful brownstones and townhouses in the area. Lot's of green on the trees and those crazy purple flowered trees (anyone know what they are?) are in full bloom. (We have one right outside our window too). G-pup and I were hungry, so it was hard to walk past all the delicious smelling restaurants we are so lucky to have in this neighborhood. Graziella's almost sucked us in with their rooftop dining, but we were almost at our destination and good things were promised ahead.

This evening we were headed to Luz. I didn't entirely know what to expect, I had heard 'nuevo latino' 'pan latin' and 'south american' bandied about but wasn't entirely sure what that would mean. What we found was a lovely demure restaurant bustling with loud music and a beautiful and diverse crowd enjoying eclectic drinks and fresh flavorful food carefully crafted. I loved the ambiance, it was something that I just couldn't picture finding in Manhattan any longer, it was a beautiful Brooklyn evening.

We were seated immediately found the whole staff to be friendly, attentive and helpful. You get a lovely serving of plantain chips and spicy sauce when you are seated, we ate those up right away and ordered a beer for G-pup and a Cava Guava for me. The drinks menu was full of lovely tropical fruity drinks and I had trouble choosing between the Melontini, a Caipirinha (love those) the Cava Guava - the lychee juice in the Cava Guava was the deciding factor.

We decided to try the arepas for appetizer - they were perfectly made, crisp and crunchy on the outside and tender and sweet on the inside, not at all oily, mushy or greasy. Lovely melted cheese oozing out from within, and paired with a tangy watercress salad on the side.

We had thought about ordering antojitos and ceviche for the dinner, but G-pup was really intrigued by the Salmon al Pimenton (tender, pan seared with cilantro mashed potatoes, a spicy cress salad and crunchy baby shrimps) and I couldn't get my mind off the Palmito, a salad of hearts of palm, grilled mango and a ginger-orange dressing.

So I chose that for my dinner. It worked out perfectly, the meal was filling, but I didn't feel heavy. We thought long and hard about the incredibly rich sounding desserts, but decided to pass this time, promising next time to save room for them. (And I can't wait to go to brunch - mmm, guayaba pancakes, coconut french toast and tortillas espanol).

It was a really lovely evening and I truly doubt that one could find such a great mix of ambiance, great food and friendly service in Manhattan any longer. It may be true that Brooklyn is now a much cooler place to be than 'the city' but then, I always thought that.

177 Vanderbilt at Myrtle
(718) 246-4000
Hours: Sun-Wed 5:30-11 pm
Thur-Sat 5:30 pm-12 am;
Sat-Sun: 11 am-3:30 pm (brunch)
All major credit cards

Other reviews: Citysearch, New York Magazine, New York Times, Go Brooklyn, Eating for Brooklyn, Latina.com

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pulled in lots of directions

Sorry I haven't had any updates, we've been pulled in a lot of directions and haven't been able to spend as much time eating Clinton Hill as we would like :) Hope to change that (a little) this weekend.
I did get out to the BBG Plant sale member's preview. That was hoot. Long line of people waiting for the gates to open, and when they did people ran, literally RAN into the sale to grab mostly wagons but a lot of plants too. I got a couple of lovely bromeliads, and a bunch of yummy herbs. They have filled my windows, but we haven't had sun since I have put them there! We are hoping to take out a ZipCar from the PHeights garage and head over to Gowanus Nursery this weekend for a unique tree. BTW, Peonies (pictured), Azaleas and Bluebells are in full bloom at the BBG right now, and while it won't be sunny for a while, cloudy days are good for color photograph taking.

June 4 is the Tour de Brooklyn. We live in a great borough for biking (although drivers are awfully dumb about bikers, and some bikers are awfully dumb about drivers). This will be a fun group tour of parts of Brooklyn (Bed Stuy, not CH). It looks like it will be a lot of fun, look out for G-pup and I. It is also a great way to see the borough if you live in another one. If you can't make it out, I will try to remember to take pictures to blog the thing for y'all.

And if you haven't already, join Transportation Alternatives as they strive to create more livable streets in NYC - I don't know why we don't have them already, this is a perfect place to be radical about urban development. (Maybe the AY development should be working with TA to create a more open, permeable and friendly development. Right now it presents a wall of harsh buildings to the outside world, tiny sidewalks and little in the way of plazas or sidewalk cafe space).

That's me for today. Looks like a cloudy weekend and I don't see any sun in the current forecast...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Here and now...

(It's a dumb reference to Ici, we'll just let it slide okay?)

Sometimes my mind doesn't work so well... Before we even moved to CH, one of the places I was really really (really) excited about visiting was Ici. I had read about it, and drooled over their beautiful website. But all memories of that version of Ici went out the window when Mr. Minerva commented that I should go there for my breakfast yummies. Suddenly in my head, Ici was a cute little coffee shop. But oh no, it is much more than that, so much more. We did go (with the croissant and coffee in mind) last week. G-pup had the veggie frittata and I had a chocolate croissant and cappucino (I needed the consolation of chocolate).

Holy moley! If that wasn't the best veggie frittata I have ever had. It was dense and full of fresh flavors from the veg and herbs. (Of course I had a taste). It was served with the traditional Frenchie breakfast tartine, which I also helped eat. The bread tasted so French, and with fresh creamy butter and flavor packed jam... yummy. I eat tartine a lot when we are in France (oh, which by the way, is all the time*) and this one was straight from a little cafe in the Marais complete with wicker chairs and all. And as for that choco croissant and the capps - as good as they should be! Buttery layers of croissant with dark rich choco, and a well made (no overcooked milk here!) capp. Thanks for making me do it Mr. Minerva! I can't wait to go back and have another brunch in the lovely back garden (a peaceful retreat - impeccably turned out), or -ooooh - dinner with candles in the warm summer.

Later that day we headed back to DeKalb for a lovely sunset meal at Red Bamboo. So, Isa, you should go back to being jealous of 'us lucky bastards.' Although it got off to a bumpy start, it does seem that Red Bamboo is getting its Brooklyn legs under it. I ate the Carribean Jerk Chicken (fakey) and G-pup enjoyed a faux fish dish (sorry the delay in posting means I forget what it actually was). I also imbibed a 'Not your Mama's Fruit Punch.' The drink was tasty - couldn't taste the alcohol (just the way I like my drunkeness, thank you!) The food was quite good (I wouldn't say stunning - but I never thought the West 4th Red Bamboo was stunning), but it was satisfying, tasty, fresh and well made.

My jerk chix had a nice flavor, I would have liked it spicier, but the honey mustard was a nice dipping sauce. G-pups fish dish was quite tasty. More spicy than mine. The sides of mash and steamed veggies were all tasty and filling. We didn't get apps or dessert, sorry, maybe next time. We also had a nice walk home, and lots of neighborhood cats came out to see us.

*No, not really.

246 DeKalb Avenue
Hours: Sun, Tues-Thurs 8 am - 10 pm
Fri & Sat 8 am - 11 pm
All major credit cards

Other reviews: Citysearch, New York Magazine, IgoUgo, Go Brooklyn, Travel Channel, Eat Drink One Woman, Village Voice, New York Times, Cititour, The Brooklyn Rail, NYC Eats, Yelp,

Red Bamboo
271 Adelphi Street at DeKalb
does anyone know their hours yet?
cash only (right now)

Other reviews: Go Brooklyn, Brooklynian.com Clinton Hill/Fort Greene board,