Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the beginning of March

Biodynamic wine…and cheese…and beer, always beer • food shopping renewals • talks about dinners and sports books • the original New Orleans Jazz Band
Themed merch at Brooklyn Museum's store. (Photograph by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

Themed merch display at Brooklyn Museum’s store. (Photograph by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

Supermarket News

fairwayFriday, March 1 Fairway Red Hook re-opening! “We love this neighborhood,” says Fairway’s website. The feeling is quite mutual…and we can all celebrate starting at 8am as this foundation of the Red Hook community opens for business after four months of renovations and restoration after Sandy. Of course Marty is going to show up, along with performances by Brooklyn Dodger Symphony Band and an appearance by Brooklyn-based Miss America, Mallory Hytes Hagan. Fairway has partnered with Restore Red Hook to continue supporting those hit by Sandy—the small businesses, residents, employees—and will match donations up to $20,000. PLUS: Red Hook Lobster Pound and Red Hook Winery will reopen on Friday too.

We Were Heard Windsor Terrace Green Beans. Back in June 2012, Key Food, the only viable, non-bodega supermarket in Windsor Terrace, suddenly closed, leaving residents without a full-service place to shop for food. Worse, the landlord then leased the space to pharmacy-giant Walgreens creating a dearth of local food shopping choices, along with potentially jeopardizing business at two well-liked local pharmacies. Both the landlord and Walgreens representatives refused to discuss the neighborhood’s desire to include a grocery store in any of the plans.

Summer, 2012 protest. (Photograph, DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht)

Summer, 2012 protest. (Photograph, DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht)

This story is being tagged co-working, grassroots, citizen advocacy, sustainable markets, neighborhood-supported small business.

While the Windsor Terrace Key Food was bona fide awful to many, it was still important to this community of 12,000—enough, so that neighbors banded together to form Green Beans Not Walgreens, a grassroots resistance organization with the message that any Walgreens would be boycotted unless a sustainable fresh food market was worked into the plans. Citizen advocates, community leaders and local elected officials were initially rebuffed by corporate Walgreens, but pressure intensified to get the message heard. On February 21, the community received more positive news from Walgreen officials and Key Food corporate representatives that a hybrid space would be developed to include a “state-of-the-art” Key Food as part of the Prospect Avenue space. Next up: many residents have the means to shop at more upscale food businesses (Fairway, Union Market, Park Slope Food Coop, Fresh Direct, Trader Joe’s, an impending Whole Foods, even Costco) so Key Food will need to earn its reputation to be taken seriously. In this neighborhood that values shopping locally, especially the Prospect Park West shopping strip, there is still a lot of concern that small-town friendly Ballard Pharmacy and Oak Park Pharmacy will be priced out of business by the Walgreens pharmacy. The fight continues on.

globes

What a difference it makes to the neighborhood when a shop owner cares about their place!

Elsewhere…

< Friday, March 1 Open House/Cocktail Party at Windsor Place Antiques & Ephemera. Owner Rebecca Rubel is a Brooklyn Flea regular and has had an Etsy store since 2009. Her first brick-and-mortar shop is located on a corner site that was for decades an eyesore of a legal office, but now showcases her love of maps, especially large school maps, globes, and all other sorts of well-loved stuff, displayed in eye-catching, clever groupings. Windsor Terrace. 6pm-8pm.

preservationJazz

Rolling Stone calls Brooklyn Bowl “…one of the most incredible places on Earth.”

Friday, March 1 Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at Brooklyn Bowl. Don’t miss the one-and-only from New Orleans. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, dating to 1961, has a mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. PHJB Creative director Ben Jaffe is the son of the original founders, Allan and Sandra Jaffe, and has spearheaded programs such as the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund. Sound familiar? At Brooklyn Bowl’s performance space, in the former Hecla Iron Works (circa 1882), you’ll hear great music, enjoy food from Blue Ribbon, and can even get in a round of bowling at one of the 16 LEED-certified lanes. Advanced tickets for PHJB are sold out, but limited admission for $20 will be available at the box office at 6pm for the 8pm show. Williamsburg.

DinnerLoveStorySaturday, March 2 Dinner, A Love Story, a cookbook tasting event at powerHouse in Park Slope. Melissa Vaughan (The New Brooklyn Cookbook) moderates this sampling of dishes from Jenny Rosenstrach’s Dinner, A Love Story. Jenny notes that she’s kept a diary of every single thing she’s eaten for dinner since 1998; Dinner A Love Story is her website devoted to helping parents figure out how to get family dinner on the table. Park Slope. 4pm-5pm.

Pouring at Littlefield.

Pouring at Littlefield on Saturday.

Saturday, March 2 Urban Brew Fest and Craft Beer Festival at Littlefield. More than 50 craft and specialty brewers will be pouring at Littlefield’s sustainably-renovated warehouse. Food and music will keep you on your toes. Advanced ticket purchase recommended. Gowanus. 12pm-9pm.
Suggested reading: New York’s Ale Awakening: How a Cocktail City Learned to Love Beer

Saturday, March 2 Intro to Cheese Making at 3rd Ward. This class will demystify the steps of cheese making from milk to cream to curd and will teach you how to make creme fraiche, cultured butter, mascarpone and cream cheese. You’ll also take home a cheese-draining basket, and recipes using the freshly-made products and other creamery ideas. Williamsburg. 1:30pm-4:30pm.

catSunday, March 3 Community Bookstore and PS 321 host Writers Series #2: Influential contemporary books about sports. A discussion by sports journalists (and PS 321 parents): Steve Busfield, sports editor of Guardian US; Howie Rumberg, sportswriter at The Associated Press; Ralph Russo, national college football writer at The Associated Press. Moderated by Ezra Goldstein, co-owner of Community Bookstore (and originator of the unofficial Brooklyn Artisan mascot cat chalkboard). This event is geared toward adults, although children are welcome. At Community Bookstore, Park Slope. 2pm.

(Photograph from Jenny & François Selections.)

Domaine Binner Winery, Alsace. (Photographs from Jenny & François Selections.)

Natural Winemakers’ Week,
February 28-March 6

Organic, natural and biodynamic winemakers from France, Italy and Oregon will be in NYC for a week of wine dinners, classes and tastings. Here’s what’s featured in Brooklyn:
Saturday, March 2 Natural Wine 101 at Brooklyn Wine Exchange. Louis/Dressner Selections will introduce some of their favorite producers of small, family-owned wineries. Cobble Hill. 4pm.
Tuesday, March 5 Ides Bar at Wythe Hotel will throw a party featuring all the winemakers, 20 wines by the glass, a DJ, and a great view of Outer Brooklyn’s skyline. If you need an excuse to visit this cool hotel, this could be it. Williamsburg. 8pm-12am.

Loup Blanc Winery, Bize-Minervois.

Loup Blanc Winery, Bize-Minervois.

Wednesday, March 6 stop by Fermented Grapes for a free wine tasting with winemaker Loup Blanc. Prospect Heights.
Wednesday, March 6 winemaker dinner at The Farm on Adderley. Four course dinner paired with wines from Les Chemins de Bassac from Languedoc, France, and Pogiosecco from Tuscany, Italy. Reservations essential—the wine dinners hosted in the back room at The Farm are rumored to be delicious and a lot of fun. Ditmas Park. 8pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

The Red Terroir

Day Four 12 Sips of Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Oenology tasting room.

The Brooklyn Oenology tasting room.

dec9HERE IN CONCRETE-LANDSCAPED NEW YORK, we tend to think of wine as a product of elsewhere;  foreign lands with exotic cultures and languages, like California or France. But in the past four years, two wineries have sprung up in Brooklyn alone: Red Hook Winery (established 2008) and Brooklyn Winery (2010), committed to actual production within the borough limits. Another approach is that taken by Brooklyn Oenology, which focuses on regional grapes and produces its wines outside the city. But it has set up a tasting room in Williamsburg to help promote its production.

Wine has a long history of being made in one place and consumed in anotherremember all those ancient amphorae dredged up from the bottom of the Mediterranean? But local production has its merits. It is one of those tropes of the wine culture that to be in the know, one has to taste those wines that “never get shipped outside the little town in [insert name of region here] where they are made,” with the implication that the locals snare the best for themselves, leaving the rest of us to sip the leavings from the barrels. As well, in our increasingly environmentally aware culture, many question whether it is a good idea to be shipping quite so many goods, including wine bottles, thousands of miles, burning fossil fuels and polluting the planet.

When the French use the term terroir to refer to the effect of a geographical region on its agricultural products, they sometimes elevate that to a mythical level. But they are on to something. The number of steps in getting a wine from a little vineyard in Europe to our dinner table can appear daunting. Very different from the winemaker leaning over and drawing off a bottle for you from the barrel.

Cheese pairing at Brooklyn Oenology

Cheese pairing at Brooklyn Oenology

A good place to begin to sample the local terroir is the Brooklyn Oenology tasting room. They have a nice selection of wines they are making from New York State grapes. They have three reds currently, with two 2006 vintages (unlike the other Brooklyn wineries, which haven’t been around long enough to actually have wines more than a couple of years old).

  • 2006 Merlot: 93% Merlot with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot (all grapes from Long Island’s North Fork).
  • 2008 Motley Cru: 40% Petit Verdot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon,18% Syrah, and 5% Merlot (all North Fork grapes, as well).
  • 2006 Social Club Red: a blend of 62% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Syrah. I would categorize this last as outside the terroir as 2/3 of the grapes are from the Finger Lakes region and hence had to cross bridges to get here.

The staff at the tasting room are helpful and friendly, there is a variety of regionally sourced cheeses and charcuterie on the menu, and the facility hosts a number of events including movie nights and a happy hour on weeknights before 7 pm that offers two glasses of wine for the price of one.

We’ve talked about Brooklyn Winery elsewhere, and they have a nice selection of reds, including the 2010 North Fork Blend (81% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc), which we’ll be saving for our Christmas table. The winery encourages you to bring your own growler so you can enjoy that “out-of-barrel” experience directly.

These Red Hook Winery bottles at the Brooklyn Wine Exchange survived Sandy. Collector's items?

These Red Hook Winery bottles at the Brooklyn Wine Exchange survived Sandy. Collector’s items?

The Red Hook winery was badly damaged during Sandy and is currently offering “survival packs” of their wine in an effort to rebuild. Their wines are also available at the Brooklyn Wine Exchange on Court Street.

And some time soon, perhaps some wine connoisseur will lean over his dinner table to whisper of a wine bottle he snagged “that, you know, never even gets across the BQE.”

Postscript: Noticed on an old Brooklyn Historical Society blog post that December 7 th was the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. That reminded me that although we now welcome the new winemakers to Brooklyn, we are probably far from the high point of Brooklyn winemaking. Many immigrant families, particularly from Italy, were used to making wines. During Prohibition, thousands of personal winemaking operations went on in the borough, taking advantage of a loophole that allowed manufacture for personal or religious consumption. The grape consumption in the borough must have been truly spectacular through the 1920s and early 1930s.

Brooklyn Oenology
209 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
718-599-1259

Brooklyn Winery
213 North 8th Street, Williamsburg
347-763-1506

Red Hook Winery
175 – 204 Van Dyke Street, Red Hook
347-689-2432

Brooklyn Wine Exchange
138 Court Street, Cobble Hill
718-855-9463

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Cochin, by Georges Peignot, Linotype, 1912.

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