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").