For Swedish espresso aficionados, or the merely curious, Konditori in Prospect Heights is on Washington Avenue between St. Marks and Prospect, where it projects a friendly attitude. “Keep calm and stay Swedish” is the message of the day. Cardomom Brod is a featured menu item. Or you could choose the hairy calorie bomb, aka the CocoBall. Other Konditori locations are in Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Williamsburg and Greenpoint (plus one on the Lower East Side in Outer Brooklyn). (Photos: Brooklyn Artisan)
SO SAYS INFORMATIONWEEK. In the 2015 InformationWeek “Elite 100” listings of top business-technology innovators, the Brooklyn Public Library not only makes the list – the only library to do so – but it’s no. 25, rubbing shoulders in the top quarter with UPS and FedEx, NASA, Boeing, Biogen, PayPal, TIAA-CREF and Merck. Why? “As a result of our partnership with Tableau,” says the library’s President and CEO Linda Johnson, “BPL’s 60 branches are more responsive than ever to the needs of the communities they serve.” The library’s eResources – meaning eBooks and eVideos, catalog info, even homework help – serve Brooklyn’s 2.5 million residents 24/7 at www.bklynlibrary.org. See ya’ at the libe — online.
Biodynamic wine…and cheese…and beer, always beer • food shopping renewals • talks about dinners and sports books • the original New Orleans Jazz Band
Friday, 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.
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.
< 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.
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.
Saturday, 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.
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.
Sunday, 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.
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.
• 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.
Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to firstname.lastname@example.org
Too beautiful to pass by: Paulette Tavormina Natura Morta, a solo exhibition of photographs at Robert Mann Gallery. In the manner of Irving Penn and Edward Weston, Tavormina’s work depicts intensely personal images that recall old-master still-life paintings depicting edible objects. Her bio notes that she is an avid collector of butterflies and insects, shells, dried flowers and ceramics, and has worked as a food stylist in Hollywood. Outer Brooklyn—Chelsea, Manhattan. through March 9.
Friday: The next in a series of Friday Night Dinner at Court Street Grocers. According to Serious Eats, this larder-cum-sandwich place is run by “three dudes [who] just want to sell all the seriously good stuff they can find across the country.” And present a monthly BYOB dinner in their side dining room. Friday’s menu of five courses features ingredients such as octopus with caesar vinaigrette, crispy chicken skin and maytag blue cheese, bone marrow and bbq sunchokes. Court Street Grocers’s Red Hook annex was severely damaged by Sandy and owners Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross are depending on crowdsourced fund-raising through Smallknot to help restore. Carroll Gardens. Reserve—two seatings at 7pm and 9:30pm are sure to fill up fast.
Saturday: Winter Cheese Party at The JakeWalk. Under the auspices of Stinky Bklyn, brush up on your knowledge of cheese pairings with wine, beer and cocktails during the cold days of January. After this week’s bitter temps, The JakeWalk’s comfy neighborhood vibe will keep things upbeat and toasty. Carroll Gardens. 1pm.
great for families Saturday and Sunday: Illuminated at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A series of winter pop-up events done Swedish-style. Featured on Saturday: a handstand class for adults, where lack of coordination is a plus (sign up begins at 10:30am for noon class). Moonlight Lantern Walk with giant puppets and stilt dancers celebrating the full moon at the Cherry Esplanade (6pm-8pm). On Sunday, the Mitten Lounge becomes a clubhouse for 9- to 15-year-olds complete with human pyramids, crafts, an acrobatic mandala and a flashlight tour. (12pm-5pm)
Another reason to keep your library card active: More exciting than the discussions about branding and the new logo is the opening of the Information Commons space at the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. The Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons, located on the first floor, consists of public meeting rooms, a training lab and an open workspace. The workspace is equipped with ten iMacs and two HP design stations for general public use; each is equipped with Adobe CS6 Creative Suite, Audacity, Pro Tools, Office, Final Cut Pro X, and more creative and production software. One of seven meeting rooms—that can be reserved online—doubles as an amateur recording studio for audio and video projects. The room offers a video DSLR camera, microphones, and an iMac editing workstation. It’s wonderful that the Library is encouraging multi-media creativity, as well as being a local workstation source in case your Mac has a kernel panic or otherwise misbehaves.
But it’s worth it: I have to thank fellow bloggers at Brooklyn Based for turning me on to a topic that is only slightly less talked about than Michelle’s bangs: Elbow Room’s mac and cheese menu. Located at the Barclays Center, the diet-wrecking selections start with Chef Luis Ulloa’s excellent mac-and-cheese base and add creative toppings. Poutine Mac (short rib gravy, yukon french fries, fresh cheese curds), Brats and Beer (Esposito’s sausage, Bronx Brewery Ale, caramelized onion), Mushroom Mac (crimini mushroom, spinach, Vermont gruyère, crispy shallots) are tempting…even if Lobster Macaroni Salad is more commonplace now. Elbow Room is open during Barclays Center events and to the public during non-event times. To do: bank the points, slip on the Fuel Band, promise to repent and report back. Prospect Heights.
Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to email@example.com
The Team at Brooklyn Artisan is thankful for:
^ 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.
Seemingly unlimited energy and creativity in fundraising for Sandy restoration efforts.
ReStore 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.
Our 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.
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.
This 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.
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!
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.
Mixologist and Fort Defiance owner
St. John Frizell for sticking it out.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Day Three • 12 Sips of Brooklyn
THE SCENE: A QUIET NIGHT ON A BATTLEFIELD half a globe away, a harmonica warbles mournfully. The hard-bitten combat veteran turns to the embedded reporter: “What do you miss most from home, Brooklyn?” “Sarge, when I get stateside, I’m gonna grab me a girl and my dog and get the biggest egg cream in town.” Well, maybe it didn’t go quite like that, but Phil Scott’s essay of return from Afghanistan nails that sense of longing for a Brooklyn of dream and legend. The boisterous city of today jostles with an older Brooklyn of memory that breaks through when you least expect.
A fair chunk of my childhood was spent as an urchin roaming the city on 15 cent subway tokens bought with nickels scrounged from pay phones. I often sojourned in Brooklyn, so when I started to work and play here as an adult, eventually came a hunt for the drink of my childhood, the ambrosia, the very essence of Kings County—the chocolate egg cream.
Craft beers and pour-over coffees are fine beverages but are essentially imports and upstarts; for artisanal beverages, the granddaddy has to be the egg cream. Its origin is shrouded in legend and many lay claim to patrimony, but no one doubts its Brooklyn DNA (a straightforward description is found in Fix the Pumps by Darcy O’Neil, a history of the soda fountain). A simple drink which contains neither egg nor cream, it is long on seltzer (cheap) and parsimonious in milk and chocolate syrup (costly), suited to the working class city of the early 20th century. The craft is in the construction, detailed in this post by Jay Keller. Making an egg cream is testimony to a time when soda jerk was a job and required more skill than pushing a button to dispense prepackaged milk shake. The foamy head that is the glory of the egg cream is achieved with application of technique with spigot and spoon.
So, this fall I took up the hunt to find my dream egg cream. First stop was Brooklyn Farmacy, a gem of an eating place at the corner of Henry and Sackett in Carroll Gardens. The tin ceiling and the wooden cabinetry are straight from the early 20th century. The store, an old pharmacy, was closed and left virtually untouched for decades until reopened in 2010 by Peter Freeman and Gia Giasullo, a brother-sister team that like to wear T-shirts proudly proclaiming themselves as “Jerk.” Such chutzpah!
Brooklyn Farmacy has taken a stand for authenticity, with fine attention to details. They use a carbonator and spigot to dispense the soda water and their chocolate syrup is the quintessential Fox’s U-bet. The store demonstrates a commitment to locally sourced and artisanal foods with a strong showing in Brooklyn products, including serving Brooklyn Cured ham in their grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and stocking many other small-batch products for sale.
My childhood obsession drove me to the chocolate egg cream, while my companions chose vanilla and maple (both were excellent, and the last appealed to my Canadian roots, despite its sacrilegious blend). Gia talked to us knowledgeably about the drink, noting that the egg cream must be made with a carbonator and served quickly, as the foam starts to disappear rapidly when the drink sits on the counter. She also eschews the drinking straw: “The straw pulls up the material at the bottom. It is better to drink it straight down so you taste each layer starting with the foam.” She also touted the obvious health benefits: “An egg cream has the same number of calories as a slice of buttered toast” with far less sugar than a similarly sized cola drink. Of note, the Farmacy charged the least for their egg cream: $2.50. As I remember it, the price of the egg creams I used to drink were about equal in cost to the subway ride to get to them, so the Farmacy’s price appears historically accurate.
Next up was Tom’s Restaurant, the friendly anti-slick breakfast palace on Washington Avenue. Tom’s has an authentic feel of continuity with the past. And the egg cream was near-classic (they also use U-bet, for one) in taste and texture. The real problem, Tom… Tom… why the whipped cream on top? It killed the start of the egg cream experience—nose to foam spray. Are you doing it to justify the $3.50 price (nearly 3 times the inflation-adjusted price from 1962)? Tom’s: great for breakfast, ditch the whipped cream.
Finally, an R train ride away (what I knew as the RR on the BMT line, children, for historical accuracy) in Bay Ridge, we tested the egg cream at Hinsch’s. I have to say I loved Hinsch’s the place; it really kicked up the nostalgia meter recreating the early ’60s of my first Brooklyn experience. On that, Hinsch’s scored; its egg cream was less than it could have been. The counterman was deft and skilled, but the soda issued from the standard soda gun seen in every bar and lunch counter these days and it felt wrong. I had planned my journey for what I hoped was to be the Mecca of fountains and was underwhelmed. Ah well, I will return to Hinsch’s, but will stick with the milk shakes.
Brooklyn Farmacy, I salute you. May your egg cream reign in the Brooklyn of dream and memory. For now, I gotta go grab Phil—there have to be more memorable Brooklyn egg creams out there and I must find them.
513 Henry Street, Carroll Gardens
782 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights
8518 5th Avenue, Bay Ridge
Photos by Basia Hellwig; Bruce Campbell (Tom’s, window menu, recipe). Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Bauhaus, by Ed Benguiat and Victor Caruso, ITC, 1975.
Learn to sew, work with glass, get your bike repaired and sample homebrews
Saturday and Sunday: Food Trucks at Prospect Park’s Parade Grounds. A rotating selection from Gorilla Cheese NYC, Kimchi Taco Truck, Mud Truck, Snap Truck, Toum Truck. “Reward your kid for a soccer game well played with an artisanal grilled cheese.” Ok. Through November 17. 8am-5pm.
Saturday and Sunday: Stained Glass Weekend at UrbanGlass, Brooklyn’s resource for aspiring and established artists to create with glass. This is a two-day beginner’s class to explore the fundamentals of cutting, copper foiling and soldering. Park Slope. 12pm-5pm, both days.
Outer Brooklyn Friday: Rubin Museum of Art. New and ongoing exhibitions of art of Himalayan Asia in a beautiful space. Friday events include: the K2 Lounge—light dining, drinks and entertainment by music stylist Kamala, and a screening of classic The 400 Blows by François Truffaut, introduced by author Annette Insdorf. At least one Brooklyn Artisan’s spouse is going to this one. Chelsea, Manhattan. Free admission 6pm-10 pm.
Saturday: Brooklyn Wort—Brooklyn’s Homebrew Competition. 25 brewers, one location, the public decides. Sponsored by Park Slope’s Brooklyn Homebrew, and Ditmas Park’s Sycamore. Event is held at Public Assembly, a former mayonnaise factory in Williamsburg. Tastings at 2pm and 4pm.
Saturday: The Art of Fashion Illustration: Antonio Lopez. A talk and exhibit about the 70s and 80s fashion illustrator. Guaranteed to contain fashion, art, sex and disco. The Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, Dweck Center. 4pm
Saturday: Sew Your Own Burlesque Dancer Halloween Costume. A class to learn how to use a sewing machine, hand sew, and “vamp up”. At Film Biz Recycling & Prop Shop, Gowanus. Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery. 2:30pm-5:30pm.
Good for Families Sunday: Young Artists @ 440: Coney Island Amusements. A free, hands-on art workshop for children ages 4 to 12. Inspired by the current exhibition at 440 Gallery Art of the Coney Island Hysterical Society featuring work by Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano. Park Slope. 4:40pm-6:00pm.
Sunday: The Annual Late October Walking Tour, Green-Wood Cemetery. Tales of murder, mayhem, spirits and ghosts led by Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman. Very popular, purchase tickets in advance. Two tours: 1pm and 3pm.
Sunday: Made in DUMBO Walking Tour. Given by Made in Brooklyn Tours—guided walking tours that tell the story of Brooklyn’s industrial revolution and revival through the creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of Brooklynites past and present. 1:30pm.
Laugh: The Hipster Song. Maybe it applies to you, maybe it doesn’t. We hope it makes you smile.
Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekend to-do lists.
Send items for listings to email@example.com