Archive | December, 2012

Support Red Hook this New Year’s Eve and Day

28 Dec
Rebuilding at The Good Fork (photo by Nona Brooklyn)

Rebuilding at The Good Fork (photo by Nona Brooklyn)

Clearly 2012 was a tough year for New York City restaurants, particularly some of my favorite places in Red Hook, Brooklyn. This New Year’s Eve and Day show your support for the neighb by attending a couple opening celebrations.

So here’s the plan.

On New Year’s Eve, head over to The Good Fork for their grand reopening. For $90 per person, you’ll get a four course meal– a couple menu items include scallop crudo with picked apples and fennel, green sauce and sunflower seeds and a lobster ravioli with uni sauce and crispy shallots. And please make sure to take advantage of the cocktails here. Not only will you get to drink and dine, but you’ll also help the restaurant get back to its always-buzzing self.

On New Year’s Day, you’re obviously going to need a hearty brunch. Go to one of my absolute favorite Brooklyn brunch spots– home/made. They’re taking reservations for five or more if you have a big group crashing with you. They’ve been rebuilding and need your support. I promise they have good hangover food.

Have a happy 2013!

Thanks, Secret Santa.

27 Dec

My Secret Santa did a nice job at finding me a fun Brooklyn-themed gift. What do you think of my new poster? Now I just need a frame.

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Where to Brunch Right Now: Calyer

26 Dec

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I’ve talked to a few Brooklynites who have told me they “hate brunch.” You can imagine my shock and awe, since brunching is one of my hobbies, but in some way, I can understand what they mean. Brunch can be a scene; long waits, crowded tables, rushed service… I hear you. If you’ve lost faith in Brooklyn brunch, I suggest you visit Calyer.

This Greenpoint spot is unpretentious, comfortable, and when I visited, there was no wait. I started at the bar; the friendly bartender offered me the brunch cocktail list, and I started with a frothy Snap Sour, that was a sweet way to start the day– almost like a liquid gingersnap cookie.

As a Bloody Mary enthusiast, I couldn’t leave without trying the house bloody mary with gin, which had a good balance of tomato and spice, and garnished with a celery stick, an olive, and a pickle. I paired it with a kale salad– tossed with almonds, clothbound cheddar cheese, lemon vinaigrette, and topped with two baked eggs.

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If kale salads don’t excite you, the bartender recommends his favorite, the corned beef hash (with confit potato, melted onions, and two poached eggs, and the new sausage and egg sandwich. Calyer also just added nitrate-free bacon to the menu if that’s your thing.

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If brunch was this fabulous, I’ll have to go in for dinner. Calyer, I’ll be back in for dinner soon.

Top 10 Brooklyn Dining Experiences of 2012

21 Dec
The whole fish at Talde

The whole fish at Talde

In the spirit of the end of 2012, I think it’s only appropriate to make some sort of end of the year “best of” list. Naturally, I’m going to do what I know best– Brooklyn restaurants. Here are my top 10 favorite Brooklyn dining experiences of 2012. In  no particular order, here it goes…

1. The Saint Austere

A seriously awesome prix fixe menu– 4 courses for $35, or make it a wine pairing with each course for $55. If it’s on the menu, get the broccoli rabe. And please don’t skip the wine.

2. Talde

Dale Talde stole my heart in 2012 with his new Park Slope joint. I highly suggest the Whole Roasted Branzino. If you ask me about it, expect some raving.

3. Allswell

Basically one of my new favorite brunch spots. The menu changes frequently, but the butternut squash frittata was the perfect way to start the day, especially paired with a spicy bloody mary.

4. Gwynnett Street 

A comfortable relaxed spot with some of the most unique flavor combos, like Mussels, cucumber, green strawberries and watercress. It’s super seasonal, so expect to try new things when you visit.

5. Pok Pok Ny

Yes, ok, I agree. The wait is a little nutty, but not if you go hang out at Alma for a drink while you wait. My fave was the Cha-ca “La Vong,” a catfish dish marinated in tumeric with sour sticky rice, scallions, dill, and vermicelli.

6. Brooklyn Sandwich Society

With unique, farm-to-table sandwiches, this place is a fabulous success story for supper club turned restaurant. Get “The Grand,” a sandwich of pan-fried squid.

Japanese Eggplant at Zenkichi

Japanese Eggplant at Zenkichi

7. Zenkichi

One of the most romantic restaurants in the city, for sure. Pair your dinner with sake and order the Grilled Miso Oysters and Japanese Eggplant if they are available.

8. Chuko

Sometimes veggie ramen can be very dis-satisfying and not so flavorful, but not at Chuko. But before you eat a single noodle, be sure to  try the crispy brussels with fish sauce and peanuts.

9. Sottocasa

This pizza joint offers pies with the right balance of crispy-ness and chewy-ness. The wood stove and exposed brick also make for a cozy pizza date.

10. Court Street Grocers

If you don’t know yet, the little grocery store on Court Street now serves Friday dinner in their side dining room. The menu changes weekly with a new seasonal prix fixe. And bonus, it’s BYOB.

To more amazing dining experiences in 2013!

Veggie Ramen at Chuko

Veggie Ramen at Chuko

Learn to Make a Gingerbread Brownstone

18 Dec

gingerbread

Making gingerbread houses is a crucial part of the holiday season. So tomorrow on December 19th from 6:30-8:30pm at the West Elm Marketplace in Dumbo, you can learn to make your very own gingerbread brownstone.

Renee Baumann, a cook and blogger will teach the class. She also created an awesome gingerbread block at 61Local, so make sure to stop by and check that out too!  Class  tickets are $60 and include everything you need to make your own beautiful gingerbread brownstone (icing, gingerbread, design templates, special secret gingerbread tools, moral support, etc.).

Sign up here! 

For the Brooklyn Chocoholic

16 Dec

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Have a friend with such a deep chocolate obsession that she wants to marry a Mast Brother? Here’s the perfect holiday gift: the Chocolate Lover’s Gift Box from By Brooklyn. The box is filled with goodies like a Cocoa Stroopwafel, a Vanilla Rooibos nibbler, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels from Liddabit Sweets, and more. Of course, everything is made right here in BK. Grab yours for $50 here or at the By Brooklyn shop on Smith Street.

Get In On a Holiday CSA

14 Dec

Local-Roots-Holiday-Share4-e1355465805848 (1)Staying in Brooklyn this holiday? Or traveling to see the family? Either way, you should get in on the latest offering from Local Roots CSA. It’s a holiday gift share with items from all of your favorite local artisans. I’m talking goods from Sigmund’s Pretzels, Mike’s Hot Honey, Granola Lab, Cafe Grumpy, Anarchy in a Jar, and lots more. Plus, there’s three different share options– a stocking stuffer, carry-on for the travelers, and a bag for those staying local.

One thing; you have to hurry. Place your orders by Monday, December 17th at 2pm and a gift bag will be ready for you to pick up at 61 Local at 61 Bergen Street in Brooklyn on Friday, December 21st between 6pm – 7:30pm.

Get more info about the holiday share here. 

Finish (Or Start) Your Holiday Shopping at 3rdWard

13 Dec

CRAFTFAIRIf you’re like me and still have lots of holiday shopping to do, make sure to stop by the 3rdWard Holiday Craft Fair this Saturday December 15th from 12 to 6pm. You’ll be able to pick out lots of unique handmade gifts, including furniture created out of reclaimed wood, New York-centric jewelry, and fun prints to improve your friends’ walls.

After all the shopping, you’re going to need some snacks to keep you going. Luckily, Boerum Hill restaurant Rucola will offer sustenance. My friend Sara will offer her creamy handmade caramels too– and I’ve tried them, they’re amazing.

Head over early, the first 200 people will score a limited-edition 3rd Ward tote bag filled to the brim with good stuff from all of the vendors. Learn more about the fair here, and stop by on Saturday to support some local crafters.

The Stocking Stuffer for the Brooklyn Beer Drinker

9 Dec

Have a Brooklyn beer drinker on your shopping list? Pick up this set of four beer cap magnets featuring Brooklyn Brewery‘s logo. They’re only $12 and available on Etsy here. 

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Homebrewin’ With New Clarendon Brewing Co.

8 Dec
Catching some of the brewing process with Geordie (left) and Stone.

Catching some of the brewing process with Geordie (left) and Stone.

One of my favorite bars and public houses, 61Local is putting the spotlight on some of the innovative beer artisans of the borough, allowing home-brewers to serve up their beers to the rest of the community. And tomorrow, December 9th at 6pm, The New Clarendon Brewing Co. will introduce a new brew to the patrons of the bar. Home-brewers Stone Dow and Geordie Wood, based in my own neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, created “The Bangasser Stout,” named after their pal James Bangasser.

The supplies

The supplies

I was lucky enough to witness the step by step process of the brewing process (as you can see in the photos), and while I won’t give out Stone and Geordie’s recipe, I can tell you a little bit about their brew. It’s a Russian Imperial Stout, with notes of coffee, chocolate, and oak, and with a higher alcohol content of 8 percent, it’s the perfect winter beer to keep you toasty.

Adding the hops.

Adding the hops

“This recipe comes from a group of our close friends brewing in 2006. We try our best to have fun with our brews and not take ourselves too seriously. That said, the best brews are like jazz, inspired and improvised,” Geordie said.

Brew teamwork

Brew teamwork

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If you’re looking for a unique brew for a special occasion or party, the New Clarendon Brewing Company is available for events. So join me tomorrow evening for a little taste of the Bangasser, and come by to meet the local brewers behind the beer.

Completed Bangasser Stout

Completed Bangasser Stout