Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, December 28, 29, 30

PART TWO
The Team at Brooklyn Artisan is thankful for:

Here’s Part Two of our list. What are you thankful for? We’d love to know. Share with us on Facebook, email, or leave a comment.

Getting to see and play around Natural History, the amazing stick sculpture by Patrick Doherty, at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. By the end of December it will be taken down, because it was not built to last forever. Wear-and-tear and Sandy have done it in. (Photograph, taken in February 2011 is courtesy of One Little Star.)^ Getting to see and play around Natural History, the complex, visually striking stick sculpture by Patrick Doherty, at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Created to be temporary, yet having lasted well over a year, it will be dismantled on December 31 because wear-and-tear and numerous storms have finally broken it down. (Photograph, taken in February 2011 is courtesy of One Little Star.)

Families who’ve donated tons of toddler toys to the Underhill Playground in Prospect Heights

The passing stranger who saw our keys hanging in the lock and kindly put them through the mail slot.

allhandsondeck_coverSeemingly unlimited energy and creativity in fundraising for Sandy restoration efforts.
restoreReStore Red Hook is one such effort, formed to raise at least $5,000 for neighborhood small businesses still reeling from Sandy. Their cookbook, All Hands On Deck, a $15 e-book download, is a collection of well-loved recipes selected from the tightly-knit community. Recipes include home/made’s Flourless Chocolate Torte, Pumpkin Almond Cake from Baked and Lobster Mac & Cheese from Red Hook Lobster Pound. “People put everything they had into their restaurants,” said Monica Byrne, a ReStore Red Hook co-founder whose restaurant home/made and its basement storage was flooded during the storm. This project gives a glimpse into what makes the businesses and the people running them so special. Purchase and download here.

Bergen Bagel for what they do best: bagels.

^ ^ ^ ^ Bagel fight! Terrace Bagels for what they do best: cinnamon-raisin bagels.

Pete Hamill, the former Shabbos goy at Park Slope Jewish Center in the 1940’s, for reading “The Gift of the Magi” at the Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair at Old Stone House.

chemexOur Chemex coffeemaker for its timeless design. No other carafe or coffeemaker matches the elegance of pouring coffee from this glass spout. Ours is circa 1980; the rawhide tie gets replaced every few years.

MTA.info/nyct for keeping us up to date after Sandy flooded the subway tunnels.

Neighbors who’ve turned sidewalks and stoops into free libraries.

NYE_ProspectPark_PaulMartinka

December 31 at 11:59:59pm. (Photograph: Prospect Park Alliance/Paul Martinka.)

New Years celebrations in the nabe:
* Fort Defiance. EVE: an evening with Master of Mixology Charles H. Baker, Jr.  DAY: Southern brunch with Coca-Cola ham, biscuits, lots more. Yes, reserve. Red Hook.
* Fireworks in Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. Thank you Marty.
* Run. EVE: Brooklyn Road Runners sponsors a 5K in Prospect Park at 11:15, complete with glow necklaces and fleece hats for registrants. DAY: Prospect Park Track Club’s 20th annual Harry’s Handicap Race at 10am. One loop of Prospect Park, followed by potluck brunch, coffee, bagels with a great group of runners and friends. It’s been awhile, but we’ve run this one at least ten times, and it’s always a hoot.
* Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge with Dr. Phil. Philip E. Schoenberg, Ph.D., that is. His annual walk is a chance to party and play on the Bridge, complete with fireworks viewings, refreshments, prizes, and lots of chances to pick up little-known facts from one of NYC’s best tour guides.

smilingCat_NYFoodTruckAssnrussia-mccurryThis kitty via NYC Food Truck Association
and This > “A home without a cat—and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat—may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”—Mark Twain. Quote and photograph from Home Again, a series of global photographs defining the idea of home, from the blog of photographer Steve McCurry.

Kings County Hospital ER for taking care of 140,000 of our sick and injured every year.

Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church for their remembrance of World Aids Day.

Everyone in the surf, on January 1, 2013. (Photograph by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.)

Everyone in the surf, on January 1, 2013. (Photograph from the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.)

Coney Island for an amazing summer with beach walks, Nathan’s, Grimaldi’s pizza, and Tom’s. We’ll be back next summer no matter what. And come January 1 at 1pm, we will be (only) observing the annual New Year’s Day Swim by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. Happy Happy Joy Joy—so glad to hear the swim is on!

Sally Gil's work FW1, part of 440 Gallery Small Works show.

Sally Gil’s work FW1, part of 440 Gallery Small Works Show.

Gorilla Coffee for even a stroll-by creates a caffeine high.

Ella Yang for allowing us to showcase her Brooklyn-without-irony paintings: see Day Four from our 12 Days of Brooklyn posts. Ella is a member and exhibitor at the artist collective 440 Gallery where the 8th annual Small Works Show is currently on. Juried artwork is no larger than 12” and represents a strong Brooklyn artistic presence. Great things come in small packages indeed. Park Slope. Through January 6, 2013.

Holidays at Fort Defiance. (Photograph by Basia Hellwig/Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

Holidays at Fort Defiance. (Photograph by
Basia Hellwig/Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.
)

3rd Ward and all the other co-working spaces that help give cred and shelter to the artisanal work being done here.

Mixologist and Fort Defiance owner
St. John Frizell for sticking it out.

*

*

*

2todoNOTE
If you missed Part One, catch up here.

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

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, December 21, 22, 23

PERHAPS WE’RE STARTING A NEW TRADITION FOR BROOKLYN ARTISAN, a review of all that’s been good and interesting in the past few months for our fledgling blog. At the least, this is a Best of Brooklyn listing of what we’ve been thankful for—the people, places and events that have made us stop and think, smile, and go wow, look at that. So for the next two weeks, the team will be sharing their thanks for the things that make small-town Brooklyn, as my neighbor Helen calls it, so great. In the mix, we’ll post some timely end-of-year events. If Outer Brooklyn creeps in, we’ll understand too. What are you thankful for? We’d love to know. Share with us on Facebook, email, or leave a comment.

PART ONE
The Team at Brooklyn Artisan is thankful for:
The lights in Dyker Heights. Say what you will, but the lights stop traffic and stop us in place too. Shorewalkers, a group dedicated to seeing the world at 3 miles per hour, is having a free meetup on Saturday at 5:30 to view the lights. This is a 4 mile walk, and they'll be eating dinner in the neighborhood afterwards. Check website for details.

The lights in Dyker Heights. Say what you will, but the lights stop traffic
and stop us in place too. Shorewalkers, a group dedicated to seeing the world
at 3 miles per hour, is having a free meetup on Saturday at 5:30 to view the lights.
A 4 mile route is planned, but you can always do a shorter distance.
You’ll probably be on sensory overload anyway. Check the website for details.
(photograph: nycgo.com/Marley White)

Sahadi’s for renovating and reopening and turning us on to cumin once again.

Stroller Moms and Dads of Park Slope for their work and donations to help Sandy victims.

Landlines and Rotary Dials. Don’t misunderstand, we ♥ our twee iDevice. Sometimes we enjoy picking up a receiver and hearing the other person.

Saturday: Holiday Artisans Fair at The Monro (Liverpool in Brooklyn). Park Slope. 2pm-7pm.

More Brits in Brooklyn on Saturday: Holiday Artisans Fair at The Monro.
Park Slope. 2pm-7pm.

Fleisher’s Meats for letting us taste real beef.

The G train for coming back so we can get to BAM easily again.

← The footie in Bklyn → The Tottenham Hotspurs have a home in Kings County at Black Horse Pub. Oh when the Spurs go marching in!

Egg creams, panettone, black-and-white cookies for the 5 lb weight gain. NOT. (Better: our thanks to the staff and volunteers at the Park Slope Armory for running the emergency shelter for Sandy evacuees. We’re glad, too, that the Armory YMCA has reopened and we can work off the holiday excess.)

The Double Windsor, a "newish" neighborhood fixture.

In our opinion, we are thankful that The Double Windsor has surpassed Farrell’s as the neighborhood fixture.

The small businesses on our stretch of Prospect Park West that have made our life sane: Argyle Yarn Shop (new, filled with gorgeous yarn, yum!); DUB Pies (where the Paul Auster movie “Smoke” with Harvey Keitel and William Hurt was filmed); The Double Windsor (no Farrell’s competition here); Windsor Shoes (the best little shoe store nobody knows about); United Meat Market (for showing us what a butcher shop is all about and for keeping up with the changing neighborhood demographics); and even the sometimes unpredictable Enzo’s (brickoven pizza and a drink is always fine by us.)

Our generousity. Photographs and ephemera from The Santa Claus Association, circa 1913, is on display at The City Reliquary.For 14 years, this NYC-based philanthropic group answered letters to Santa and distributed gifts to over 28,000 children. Williamsburg. Through February, 2013.

Our generousity. Photographs and ephemera from The Santa Claus Association,
circa 1913, is on display at The City Reliquary. For 14 years, this NYC-based philanthropic
group answered letters to Santa and distributed gifts to over 28,000 children.
Williamsburg. Through February, 2013.

American Express for promoting Small Business Saturday. (Kudos to NYC Dept. of Small Business Services for their campaign too.)

bitter&estersLearning how to brew our own beer. Bitter & Esters will teach all the basics on Saturday at their Brewshop 101: Home Brewing Essentials class. Prospect Heights. 4pm-6pm.

Barclays Center (grudgingly) because the the traffic’s not as bad as we feared.

Brad Lander because he’s such an involved and innovative Councilmember.

Lisa Jenks for designing her coveted jewelry collection in Brooklyn!

THIS: Weigh Your Priorities. Most startups are focused on growing faster. That alone would not make us a great company. We realized we had to focus on three things: love, growth, and foundation. —Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb (as quoted in Fast Company)

mileend_xmasAn upgrade to our Jewish Christmas celebration of Chinese food and a movie. Mile End’s menu of DanDan Noodles with Spicy Lamb, Dry Rubbed Chicken Wings, Smoked Bluefish Toast, and more, plus BAM or Cobble Hill Cinema nearby practically makes us giddy. If only Schmulka Bernstein was still around.

Park Slope Gallery for encouraging Eric March’s beautiful artwork of Brooklyn cityscapes.

Gingerbread-FlierAll-natural Gingerbread House Making. No corn syrup for us, only dried fruit and natural candy, as guided by the team from The Farm on Adderley. This Sunday, build your brownstone at Hootenanny Art House in Park Slope. Next Thursday, have lunch and build a manse at The Farm in Ditmas Park.

The return of Patsy Grimaldi. The king of coal-fired, NY-sired pizza is back with Juliana’s Pizza and is better than ever. We went opening day, and will go again!

Brooklyn is practically a brand name. We were well-represented at the Grand Central Holiday Fair in Outer Brooklyn.

The fact that Brooklyn is practically a brand name. We are well-represented at the
Grand Central Holiday Fair
in Outer Brooklyn.

Stay tuned for Part Two next week.

Joy 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 Comforts of Tea

Day Nine 12 Sips of Brooklyn
Michael Shannon of Bellocq Tea Atelier

Michael Shannon of Bellocq Tea Atelier brewing tea so visitors can taste.

dec14TAXONOMY, CLADISTICS, SYSTEMATICS, PHYLOGENETICS—so many ways to group and divide living things. Darwin famously sundered the world into “lumpers and splitters”: those who are happy with the general gist, and those who are obsessed with specifics.

The tea trade is one where splitters can run riot: green or black, white or yellow, oolong or pu-erh—all the varieties of Camellia sinensis that have descended through 3,000 years of recorded history. But even within those broad categories, there are nuances piled on subtleties, geography and climate, blends and additives, methods and styles of preparation. Japan and China have elaborate and precise rituals of preparing and serving tea that can last for hours. Even the pragmatic English have woven the drink into their culture and mythology.

bellocq-christmas-1422

Bellocq Christmas blend in its silver plate caddy

Visit Bellocq in Greenpoint during their limited shop hours and you immediately recognize that here be tea splitters. The neat rows of silver containers with the bold yellow and white labels signal that tea is taken very seriously in these precincts. Yes, you think, this is what a tea shop should be. It is a transport to a quiet and calm that seems centuries and leagues away from the busy streets of North Brooklyn 2012.

It can be a bit daunting. I admit I remain a bit of a lumper and my knowledge of tea is an inch deep and an inch wide, but I stand in awe of the level of awareness and sophistication about the product that is evident at an emporium like Bellocq.

On the day we visited, co-owner Michael Shannon presided in an unhurried manner that was helpful and deeply informative. He brewed tea and explored the intricacies of sourcing teas to avoid the hucksters and scams that abound in that market. He methodically poured samples while revealing a refined sense of the aesthetics of his product. He cracked open canisters to appreciate the aromas while speaking in the same calm fashion about the frenzy the business endured when it was recently cited in O, The Oprah Magazine as one of Oprah’s favorite things. An hour at Bellocq is as warming and refreshing to the spirit as the product they sell.

P-and-S-Teas-1197PS Coffee Tea N Spices in Park Slope is a different cup of tea. This store might appeal more to the lumpers among us. Stacks of boxes, cans and jars filled with teas and tisanes and infusions jostle for attention with spices and coffees. Here you feel awed less by the depth of tea esoterica and more by the breadth of stock in a little space. When asked how many teas the store carries, the manager responds, “Two hundred”, which I suspect is a conservative guesstimate. This is a diverse collection, with the old-fashioned packaging of Ty-phoo hard by the elegant boxes of Republic of Tea.tea-pot-p-and-s-1201 I am certain you can find your heart’s desire, a tea for every condition of the spirit. But I like it because most of the time I remain a lumper: “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”

Bellocq Tea Atelier
104 West Street, Greenpoint

800-495-5416

PS Coffee Tea N Spices
368 5th Avenue, Park Slope
718-768-5561

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Rockwell, by Morris Fuller Benton and Frank Pierpont, Monotype, 1934.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, December 14, 15, 16

caption goes here

The bakers at famed breakfast haunt Norma’s, of Le Parker Meridien in
Outer Brooklyn, created the Hurri-Crane for the Gingerbread Extragavanza.
See Play With Your Food, below. (photograph by the Brooklyn Artisan photo pool.)

Shopping Opps Play With Your Food The Gift of Classes

bizmapSIX SHOPPING OPPS
1. Shop at a business struggling since Sandy. With the launch of the Support NYC Small Business campaign, New Yorkers and visitors can easily find ways to support places impacted by Sandy. At the campaign’s website, businesses that have reopened are indicated on the interactive map and include restaurants and bars, food and drink purveyors, shops, companies, as well as services. Just pick a neighborhood and go.

Two weekends worth of goods at Brooklyn Craft Central include Noble Goods wood and resin housewares, MissWit ironic tees, Sour Puss Pickles, and SweaterToys animals.

Two weekends worth of goods at Brooklyn Craft Central include Noble Goods wood and
resin housewares, MissWit ironic tees, Sour Puss Pickles, and SweaterToys animals.

2. Saturday and Sunday (and next weekend too): Brooklyn Craft Central Annual Holiday Market at Littlefield Performance & Art Space. Interesting roster of vendors include: Sour Puss Pickles, a small-batch pickling company; SweaterToys, stuffed animals made from recycled sweaters; MissWit, whimsical, satirical tees; Noble Goods, home objects created from solid wood and cast resin. Beware the drink specials: Woolly Knit (hot cider with bourbon), Hot Glue (coffee and Kahlua), and Shopaholic (gin, lemon, simple syrup, grenadine). Park Slope. 11am-5pm.

Barney3. Saturday: South Slope Holiday Craft Fair, benefiting art, music and science programs at PS10. The PTA fair has come a long way. PS10’s selection of upmarket, original art, jewelry, clothing and more makes this event a worthwhile stop. >>At right, one-of-a-kind sculpture Barney, from exhibitor What the Folk Art. Free workshops for kids from Brooklyn Craft Workshop, a raffle and Kimchi Taco Truck snacks complete the afternoon. Park Slope. 11am-5pm.

4. Saturday and Sunday: The Degenerate Craft Fair, created for artists, by artists, as a sort of anti-art fair. Over 50 artists and designers have work for sale, most costing less than $50. On Sunday, the first 50 guests receive a tote bag of goodies. At The DUMBO Loft, DUMBO. Saturday, 12pm-9pm. Sunday, 11am-6pm.

3W_CRAFTFAIR5. Saturday: 6th annual 3rd Ward Handmade Holiday Craft Fair. Over 100 Bklyn-based vendors will offer handmade gifts to customize one’s iPad, along with kitchenwares, food and other interesting stuff. First 200 visitors will receive a 3rd Ward tote bag filled with goodies. Boerum Hill Northern Italian restaurant Rucola will offer up drinks and snacks. Williamsburg. 12pm-6pm.

robot_shopping26. Sunday: Kids Play, You Shop at Brooklyn Robot Foundry. Register, and drop off your 5 to 10 year old for three hours of open play time. They will be guided by Robot Foundry staffers and will get to design and build robotic projects using educational materials and toys. In return, parents will get a 10% discount on neighboring shops and cafes and a chance to have some grown-up time while the kids are entertained. Gowanus. Two sessions at 11am-2pm and 2:30pm-5:30pm.


PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD

gingerShip_92Saturday: Gingerbread Ships! A very tasty Tools & Talent workshop at BLDG92, Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Brooklyn-built USS Monitor will be recreated in gingerbread by model shipwright Dan Pariser and the bakers from Fort Greene’s Le Petit Bakery. Participants will help assemble, decorate and “commission” in the atrium, and all kids will receive a gingerbread ship cookie to decorate. Bound to be popular, so advanced ticket purchase is advised, via website. Vinegar Hill. 1pm.

nationaltourlogoSunday: 2nd annual Food Experiments National Championship presented by Brooklyn Brewery. Touted on the website as “The World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup of amateur cooking competitions,” this event is the finale of 12 months of national food competitions in search of the ultimate home chef. Judges include Noah Bermanoff, owner Mile End Delicatessen and Coleman Andrews, editorial director, The Daily Meal. Advanced ticket purchase advised; admission includes food samplings and unlimited Brooklyn Brewery beer. At The Brooklyn Brewery, Williamsburg. 1pm-4pm.

On display through January 3, Le Parker Meridien’s Gingerbread Extravaganza in the 56th Street atrium. These are no ordinary gingerbread houses, as the theme of Landmarks Around the World inspired NYC-based bakers to erect monuments to Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle, Chichen Itza, Toji Tower, The Lincoln Memorial, The Sphinx, and my favorite, Hurri-Crane [Le Parker Meridien is located across the street from the infamous 57th Street Sandy-damaged crane and was closed until the crane could be secured.] Vote for your favorite by purchasing a ballot for $1 with proceeds benefitting City Harvest. Outer Brooklyn, Manhattan.

More from the Gingerbread Extravaganza: Toji Tower, created by Kyotofu, a Hell's KitchenJapanese dessert bar; The Lincoln Memorial, crafted by Baked Ideas, a custom baker.

More from the Gingerbread Extravaganza: Toji Tower, created by Kyotofu, a Hell’s Kitchen
Japanese dessert bar; The Lincoln Memorial, keeping Abe warm with baby-blue mittens,
earmuffs (or Beats?) and bowtie, created by Baked Ideas, a custom baker.

GIVE THE GIFT OF CLASSES
Many businesses share their love of community and technique through classes. A gift certificate for a single or group of sessions would make a unique gift. Act soon, as classes often sell out quickly, and space is limited at most events. Four suggestions to get you thinking:

• Brooklyn Homebrew, Gowanus
A retailer devoted to all things necessary to produce and learn about making beer.
Discovering Yeast, a hands-on 2-hour session on the basics of brewing with yeast. Starting January 8.
Homebrew 101: A Beginner’s Class, will guide students through all the steps to making beer at home. January 10.

174x148xsinger_model_30_sewing_machine_sewalot_alex_askaroff-174x148.jpeg.pagespeed.ic.KzaDkX-6H3• Owl and Thistle General Store, Crown Heights
This urban mercantile specializes in local, sustainable and fair trade items and is run by Keri Cavanaugh, an independent clothing designer and former Peace Corps volunteer.
Meet Your Sewing Machine, a 2-hour introductory class. Starting January 5.
Introduction to Home Sewing, 3 sessions concentrated on working with patterns to create a tote bag, drawstring skirt or pajama pant. Starting January 7.

• Gowanus Furniture, Gowanus
A producer of well-designed, locally-made innovative products.
Custom Cutting Board Class, during 2 evenings, students will make a wood cutting board and enjoy wine and local snacks. Starting January 18.

• SideTour, various locations in Brooklyn and Outer Brooklyn
An online marketplace of classes and events that are hosted by locals experienced in topics ranging from individualized tours, chef techniques, wine tastings, and other unique opportunities—all vetted by the SideTour team. Gift certificates can be used toward any class or event on the site.
DIY Jewelry Making Session, 2-hours, 3 bracelets. DUMBO location. January 20.
Create Your Own Handmade Soda at Brooklyn Soda Works, January 16.

FOR YOUR SPRING LINE?
pantoneEMERALD. Pantone 17-5641 has been designated as the color of the year for 2013, allowing Tangerine Tango, Pantone 17-1463 to retire as 2012’s color. “The most abundant hue in nature, the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®.

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

Sufganiyot: Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah

Day Three 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Ostrovitsky-sufganiyot1581

Sufganiyot in the window of Ostrovitsky Bakery in Midwood.

dec8POTATO LATKES FRIED IN HOT OIL may be the iconic dish to eat at Hanukkah, but we hold a special place in our heart for sufganiyot, the deep-fried jelly-filled donut that Israelis go crazy about during this holiday. In The Book of Jewish Food, author and food scholar Claudia Roden tells us that the “Austro-Hungarian peasant carnival doughnut, which became a “royal” delicacy at the French court of Marie Antoinette has been adopted in Israel to celebrate Hanukkah because it is fried in oil”—oil to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple alight for eight days. Like many famous dishes, though, its origins are the subject of Talmudic debate. 

But never mind about that. How do I get my hands on some? The answer you’ll hear from Brooklyn connoisseurs will more likely than not be Ostrovitsky Bakery in Midwood. “We make thousands of them at Hanukkah,” the bakery owner tells me when I pay a visit, “thousands. We’ve been doing it every Hanukkah for 18 years.” To get a jump on the lines that will later form out the door, I bring home a supply to do a little early taste-testing with my friends. Our verdict: Maybe you could almost feed a family with one of them…but Hanukkah only comes once a year. Sweet, scrumptious.

Mile-End-Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot, in The Mile End Cookbook: Redefining Jewish Comfort Food from Hash to Hamantaschen. (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill has developed quite a fan club, too, for its sufganiyot, but sadly there will be none this year, co-owner Rae Bernamoff tells us. Sad for us, maybe; she certainly has bigger problems: Mile End’s central commissary kitchen, where it does all its baking (and curing and smoking and pickling) was flooded during Sandy. It’s in a Civil War era building on Pier 41 in Red Hook and “as with most of the waterfront,” she said, “the high tide surge pushed about four feet of water into our space. We’re still rebuilding.”

mile-end-book-coverAs a consolation, and to show solidarity, head to the deli itself for what sounds like a gut-busting $16 “surf and turf” latke special:  two open-faced latkes—potato, celery root and parsnip pancakes—one topped with chopped liver, pickled eggs and gribenes (chicken or goose skin cracklings), the other with creamy whitefish salad with trout roe.

And if your heart is really set on some Mile End sufganiyot, then you’ll have to make them yourself. You’ll find the recipe in the very appetizing The Mile End Cookbook, by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. Latkes, too, and a lot more dishes “redefining Jewish comfort food.”

One more stop: Brooklyn Larder in Park Slope also has tasty jelly donuts (along with a full Hanukkah catering menu) but shhh, don’t tell anyone, they’re baked not fried.

Ostrovitsky Bakery
1124 Avenue J, Midwood
718-951-7924
The bakery is Shomer Shabbos: closes before sundown on Friday, reopens on Sunday. 

Mile End Delicatessen 
97A Hoyt St, Boerum Hill
718-852-7510 

Brooklyn Larder 
228 Flatbush Avenue, Park Slope 
718-783-1250

Photograph (top) by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Bauhaus, by Ed Benguiat and Victor Caruso, ITC, 1975.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, December 7, 8, 9, 10

Festival of Lights, photography by Brooklyn Artisan.

Festival of Lights, 2012, photography from the Brooklyn Artisan photo pool.

Eclectic edition, shopping roundup included.
PS: When’s Festivus?

200px-Radio_free_albemuthFriday, Saturday, Sunday: The inaugural weekend of the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival. Hollywood’s love affair with sci-fi author Philip K. Dick is well represented by hits such as Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall. This weekend’s festival of screenings, speakers and panel discussions covers some of the best and newest in science fiction, science and the supernatural. Watch documentaries on A.I., virtual reality, galactic superwaves. Observe scientist Ronald Mallett Ph.D. who is working on a real-life time travel machine. The festival opens Friday with an adaptation of Dick’s last novel, Radio Free Albemuth. At indieScreen, Williamsburg. Check the website for schedule.

picklesSaturday, Sunday: Whiskey, Pickles and Jerky Pairing Weekend at Brooklyn Oenology. Pickles + New York State Whiskey = Picklebacks, the now-classic Brooklyn chaser. Composed of 1oz whiskey chased with 1oz pickle brine with jerky garnish for additional oomph. Williamsburg. Saturday, 3pm-midnight. Sunday, 12pm-10pm.

Etsy crafter Jessica Marquez, author of
Stitched Gifts (Chronicle Books), will share her
techniques this weekend at Textile Arts Center.

Saturday, Sunday: Make your own Fabric Books: Hand Bound, Dyed and Stitched, a two-day class at Textile Arts Center. Taught by Etsy member and maker behind Miniature Rhino, Jessica Marquez, and visual artist Rebecca Kelly. Book binding, sewing, embroidery, dyeing and image transfer techniques will be taught and students will make three simple practice books. Park Slope. 11am-5pm each day.

Saturday: Downtown Brooklyn Holiday Trolley. Relive a bit of Brooklyn history by taking a free ride on the hop-on/hop-off old-fashioned trolley as it makes eight stops along a mile-long circular route covering interesting architecture and local lore. Warm up with hot chocolate as guides share stories about Brooklyn’s past and present history. This would be a novel way to get from Brooklyn Heights to BAM or the Brooklyn Flea. Every Saturday through December 22. Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene. 1pm-7pm.

Saturday: The Art of the Tequila Cocktail, presented by Sycamore. The Cocktail Weenies Mike Mikos and Wil Petre, who also happen to be the expert barmen at Sycamore, will host an evening devoted to everything about tequila cocktails. Demonstrations, recipe booklets, snacks will be part of improving one’s mixology skills. Advance ticket purchase advised. Ditmas Park. 5pm.

beardAllianceSaturday: 3rd annual NYC Beard & Mustache Competition, produced by Gotham City Beard Alliance, an organization to promote tolerance and acceptance of all facial hair. Proceeds of the evening, being held at Warsaw, will go to the NYC chapter of the MS Society. Judging categories include, but are not limited to: Full Beard Styled Moustache–heavy use of styling aids on your moustache permitted; College–18-22 year old competitors or baby faces; Freestyle–anything goes, styling aids ok; Women’s Most Fantastic–creativity. Greenpoint. Registration starts at 6:30pm, doors open at 7pm.

FiveBucksFinal01Sunday: unwind and have a cozy dinner somewhere in the nabe. Try Fort Defiance: Saxelby Cheesemonger Plate, Pickled Beet Salad, Prescription Julep (circa 1857). Red Hook. Dinner 5pm-11pm. Also check out their Buy Now Drink Later Junk Bonds to help them rebuild post-Sandy.

Sunday: Concert & Comedy for Sandy Animals, a benefit for Sean Casey Animal Rescue. Live music, videos, art, raffle and giftbags. Littlefield, Gowanus. 7pm.

Monday, aka third Hanukkah candle: Fourth Annual Latke Festival, sponsored by Great Performances and Edible Brooklyn. Sample creations by notable Brooklyn chefs from BAMcafe, Blue Ribbon Brooklyn, The Farm on Adderley (Spud Maccabee with pickled fennel jam, butternut squash, and crème fraîche), Stone Park Cafe, Berlyn, The Vanderbilt, The Sussman Brothers (latkes with lots of sauces), along with other Outer Brooklyn chefs. Enter your own recipe ahead of time to be part of the latke cook off. Tickets are limited and must be pre-purchased by Monday via the festival website. At BAM, Fort Greene. 6:30pm.

SHOPPING ROUNDUP:

Saturday, Sunday:

  • Housing Works Buy the Bag. Housing Works provides housing resources for New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Their thrift shops are a staple among savvy NYC hunter-gatherer types. What began as an event is now a free-standing store and works like this: spend $25 and receive a bag to fill up with gently-used menswear, womenswear and accessories. Purchase as many bags to fill as you like. Sunset Park. Saturday 12pm-6pm. Sunday 12pm-5pm.

stuff_masthead2012Saturday:

Festivus is celebrated on December 23. There’s plenty of time to prepare.

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

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, November 29, 30, December 1, 2

The presents come early and often at Prospect Park Zoo on Saturday and Sunday. (photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS)

Twelve reasons to keep it local this weekend.

Thursday: The Brooklyn Cheese CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) begins this Thursday and runs for 6 weeks until January 3, 2013. On Thursdays, Cricket Creek Farm, a small, grass-based dairy from Williamstown, MA, will distribute their cheese at Picada y Vino in Park Slope. Regular shares of 2 lbs and half shares of 1 lb per week are available. Four cheeses made from raw and pasteurized cow’s milk are featured, and described on Cricket Creek Farm’s lovely website.

Thursday through Sunday: Holiday Art Sale at 440 Gallery. This artist-run collective offers affordable, original works of art, as well as reproductions, during their 2nd annual holiday sale. Prices range from $4.40 to $440. Ask about Philomena Marano’s $25 prints to benefit Coney Island relief funds. Park Slope. Thursday and Friday, 4pm-7pm. Saturday and Sunday, 11am-7pm.

Friday: Winter Art Sale at Trestle Gallery. A one-night-only reception of paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media from 46 artists. Proceeds benefit the participating artists as well as Trestle Gallery and Brooklyn Art Space programs for emerging and mid-career artists and curators. Gowanus. 8pm-10pm.

Saturday and Sunday: Presents to the Animals, Prospect Park Zoo. To a meerkat, mealworms are artisanal; otters consider capelin (smelt) and eggs a delicacy. Starting this weekend through December 30, watch Hamadryas baboons, Pallas’s cats, red pandas, mongoose, and other zoo critters have the most delightful and comical time tearing into gift-wrapped bags and boxes of treats. The Zoo provides these presents as a form of enrichment to keep the animals’ minds and bodies healthy and active. All I know is that last year we split our sides laughing. 11am and 3:30pm. [Read more…]

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, November 23, 24, 25

Happy holidaze! We will take some time out for ourselves, right?

Vintage from Kasbah, top, and serious treats from DUB Pies, at Brooklyn Night Bazaar.

Friday: Green Friday Gowanus. Don’t Buy It, Build It. Film Biz Recycling, Build It Green! NYC and the Lower East Side Ecology Centers E-Waste Warehouse are hosting a Black Friday alternative with the goal of inspiring creative gift-giving through reuse. DIY terrariums, jewelry, ornaments to make or purchase using recycled electronics, salvaged wood, vintage post cards, more. Gowanus. 10am-5pm.

Friday: Great for Families: Brooklyn Bowl presents Family Bowl. Work it off at one of the 16 QubicaAMF bowling lanes featuring an automatic scoring system and energy-efficient pin spotters. Enjoy food from Blue Ribbon (a Sloppy Joey!) along with local brews. Williamsburg. 12pm-6pm.

Friday and Saturday through December 22: Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Inspired by night markets across Asia, this venue, located in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse, brings together more than 100 indie vendors, musicians, artists, chefs and breweries. Williamsburg. 6pm-12am.

Saturday and Sunday: Gifted, a holiday market, produced by Brooklyn Flea. Vintage, handmade, art, food at the former Williamsburg Savings Bank building. While browsing, check out the original bank vault doors still present in the lower level, as well as the amazing ceiling tiling and detail on the ground floor. Five weekends, beginning November 24 & 25. Fort Greene. 10am-6pm.

Saturday: Small Business Saturday. A one-day shopping event dedicated to supporting all the small businesses that Brooklyn Artisan followers know and love. Examples of some special services and offers, including fundraising for Sandy relief:  [Read more…]

A Tale of Two Libraries

The Kensington Library opened November 15, 2012.

After a nearly three-year renovation, the Park Slope Library reopened in September.

INSPIRED BY A NEWLY ISSUED LIBRARY CARD from the Brooklyn Public Library and by a tip from Madeleine Appell, an instructor at Kingsborough Community College, I went to visit two branch libraries to look at the architecture and design of the buildings.

As new as it gets

The Kensington Library branch opened on November 15 in a newly built, LEED-certified green, sustainable and fully ADA-compliant building. The new building replaces an older location that was a few blocks away in a former catering hall from the 1960s. This light-filled open space is cool as can be, yet warm and appealing, even as it stands out from the surrounding residential neighborhood of traditional-looking low-rise homes and mish-mash storefronts. I love the daylight that streams in from the glass walls and skylit atrium, along with the arty Calder-like mobiles suspended from the second floor. This would be a fun, cheery place to spend a few hours reading or surfing the web.

Sustainable features of lighting, heating and cooling systems, and thoughtfully-selected materials and finishes are invisible in such a well-designed and people-friendly space. The Kensington branch has been one of Brooklyn’s most active library locations with over 100,000 items in circulation. It’s hoped that this beautiful new space will provide an energy-efficient and healthier environment for users and staff. Unfortunately, according to the Daily News, this may be the last branch built from scratch. Due to budget realities, the Brooklyn Public Library is considering preexisting storefront locations for new branches.

Retrofit plus

Back in Brownstone Brooklyn, the Park Slope Library, known as “Prospect Branch,” reopened in September after nearly three years of renovations. As befits the neighborhood, this building is replete with the columns, paned-glass, and details found in the landmarked homes surrounding it. Renovation has brought new lighting, technology, climate control, and accessibility to this 1906 building that was part of Andrew Carnegie’s legacy. It was all in use when I visited this afternoon—kids, parents, caretakers, and the occasional grown-up, all gently engaged with books and computers, in comfy, well-lit spaces. A row of strollers were parked neatly by the entrance.

City Councilman Brad Lander notes that libraries routinely provide internet access and computers to the 50% of New York households without high-speed internet, as duly noted by the activity I observed in both branches today.

Kensington Library. F train to 18th Avenue. Kensington/Boro Park
<< Nearby: Korn’s Bakery and Cafe K

Park Slope Library. F/G train to 7th Avenue; R train to 9th Street. Park Slope
Nearby: Colson Patisserie >>

Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekend to-do lists.

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