Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I remember actually liking Foxy B at one point

Just came across something about Foxy Brown on MTV News about a press conference she held at her local Brooklyn church on Monday, protesting her innocence over her arrest last week on battery charges.

Seriously, that is some PR work right there but come on, it's all too transparent. Sadly, I used to really like Foxy Brown, well one of her albums at least. I even saw her in concert and was very disappointed when I realized she couldn't sing for her life. Oh the power of electronic distortion and beats.

And then in a related search I came across this blog post that talks about the demise of Brooklyn's hold over the hip hop community.
There was Foxy, Lil Kim, Mos Def, Fabolous, Talib Kweli, Memphis Bleek, and a few others putting in work for the rap game. But now? Most are sitting on the sidelines and, try as they might, are failing to catch a rebound.
It's kind of interesting to think about. And isn't Mos Def living in DUMBO or something? Anyone know where?

Bridge Apothecary Coming Soon

Super duper cool news for DUMBO residents. Just read on my pal dumbonyc's blog that we're indeed getting a pharmacy in the near future. The pharmacy will be called Bridge Apothecary, located mid-block on Jay Street.

No more treks to Duane Reade or CVS, which is closer. Seriously, I know it's not far but I'm lazy and like the convenience of having something closer. I like Peas & Pickles but it's overpriced for certain things. I'd like to be able to pick up my perscriptions in the hood.

I feel like so much is going to change when everyone moves into JCondo. And yes, I know, I am not the original DUMBO crew, but all I know is how the neighborhood is now and I hope it doesn't change too much as I really like it and the quietness of the streets.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Great Recipe

I love Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network. I recently tried a new recipe for Sicilian Penne with Swordfish and Eggplant that I saw her make on her show Everyday Italian.

I halved the recipe and there was still plenty for four people. If you don't like swordfish, you could probably substitute chicken or even a less expensive fish like tilapia. But with the recipe in half, the fish wasn't expensive at all.

It was really delicious and worked well as lunch leftovers the next day. In fact, everything she makes from this episode looked really good.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fairway too, becoming a mob scene

I usually do my grocery shopping on Sunday if I go to the store. Most of the time I try to use FreshDirect instead. But in recent weeks Fairway has just become a mob scene.

Yesterday, the word of the day was patience. I don't have a lot myself but it was horrendous.

First off, there isn't enough parking. People who do drive there can't drive, excluding myself of course. I waited forever for this woman to load up her car and pull out and finally when she did, she started making scary faces at me through her window as she wanted me to back up more for her to get back. The reality is that someone could have parked a yacht in between me and the back of her car. NY State needs to get her license revoked.

The place is designed to force traffic to move in one direction, moving from produce, to cheese/deli, to seafood, to organics to dairy and bakery, and then at last to frozen foods before check out. But what if you are like one woman I saw on Sunday who is at frozen and realizes she forgot something in produce. You're basically screwed and you might as well go somewhere else on your way home to avoid pissing off everyone else. Not to mention the fact the isles are too narrow so you have to go almost single file. God forbid you have to pass someone... it's really tight.

Then on the way to and from the grocery store, you're lucky if you don't lose a tire or a bumper. The roads are so horrible with major potholes everywhere. It's just a disaster. Then there is a detour on the way back.

Luckily, I like the quality of the product, which is what keeps me coming back.

Friday, February 23, 2007

F Train Makes Me Want to Say "F$%&@"!!!

I could not agree more with this Gothamist post about the recent delays and overcrowding on the F Train. I usually catch one shortly after 8 am and while the frequency isn't so much a problem, it's getting so crowded. Earlier in the year I always got a seat. It's not like I am lazy, I sit all day long it's more that I have totally noticed this as well.

Then on the way home ... please don't get me started on this topic. Going home on the F is a nightmare after work. It's usually super backed up. You end up waiting forever and then when the train finally comes along it's fully packed. You squeeze on, looking over your shoulder to plot your escape route for when your stop finally does come along and then ... the worst news ever: "THIS TRAIN IS RUNNING EXPRESS....." right past my stop. Sucks for me! That means I have to get off the train at the next stop, wait for another 20 minutes for the F Train that is supposedly right behind the one I just got off, delaying my commute by another 30 minutes.

The best part is that the V trains are just hanging out, all empty across the track. They fly by with no passengers. I totally agree with the proposal to extend the V into BK. It would be great.
I am just so worried that when the extra 500 people move into DUMBO at the end of 2007 that this will just get more out of control.

Plus, on the weekends my friends get totally stranded on the way. The F is usually not running or running on a different track entirely. Most of my friends live on the East Side in Manhattan so treking over to the ACE is out of the question. I wonder why no one comes to visit us!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I really, really like this place. That is Rebar, in Retreat on Front Street. We went yesterday to check it out on the way home from work and ended up staying for two drinks and some appetizers. The bar was full, always a good sign.

It has a lot of seating at both the bar and at tables for more privacy. The bartender Luke was incredibly knowledgeable about the beers on tap and the wines they were serving, which is not always the case these days. He even bought us a round!

We ordered the small cheese plate and small mixed olives, and received a very generous portion of both for less than $10 together. My husband liked it so much he wants to go back tonight for dinner. I am looking forward to trying some of the other tapas selections soon.

My new favorite beer is ST. Bernardus Witbier. Really good and it comes in a cool glass. They also have live music on Thursdays. If you haven't already, definitely check it out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Brooklyn Brews

Also, forgot to mention we went to Brooklyn Brewery for a long overdue tour on Saturday. It was so informative, fun and worth it, considering you can sample a wide choice of their brews for 2.50 each. Great deal and a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nothin Like a Long Weekend

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have today off from work. I feel bad because I know some of my friends are at work right now. Sorry! Anyway, I am staying warm inside and catching up on Anthony Bourdain's travels.

Yesterday, my husband and I were out in the city for most of the afternoon and decided to go for an early dinner at Al Di La, one of our, if not our, favorite places in Brooklyn. We figured we had some time until they opened so we went to a bar across the street. It was pretty cool. The Lighthouse Tavern had some regulars there watching basketball and the game, and they had a pool table in the back. We had a few pints and then headed over to Al Di La thinking we would be so early. We get there at 5:30 and the place is packed. Like super packed, so much so there was only one table left in the wine bar. We gladly took it.

I can fully understand why this place is always packed. I have waited 2 hours for a table on the weekend and it's 100 % worth it every time. In fact, for comparison, we ate at the new trendy STK Steakhouse in Meatpacking on Saturday. The atmosphere was cool, trendy, upscale. But the main course - steak - just wasn't great. The appetizers were great and the dessert was good but you would just think that the steak would be amazing considering the whole restaurant is built around the concept. So our dinner at STK with drinks was nearly double our dinner at Al Di La (that included a bottle of wine) and it was 100 times better.

If you haven't been yet, you have to go... but go early. My favorite is the pasta with meat ragu, but the specials are always amazing. They have a winter white salad on the menu right now that is shaved raw vegetables and it's really good. My husband even liked it. Just remember, no reservations and get there early.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"Brooklyn: no longer Manhattan's poorer cousin"

An article by AFP compares Brooklyn to Manhattan noting that "average price of an apartment in Manhattan now stands at 749,000 dollars, the equivalent in Brooklyn is 491,000."

The story also highlights the development of the Williamsburg Savings Bank by Magic Johnson (a little fact I was not previously aware of) into luxury apartments. Some are on the market for up to 3 Mill.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snowy Bridge Shot

Originally uploaded by kenpete.
This is not from the most recent storm, but I just love this photo.

Jonathan Adler Sale

My friend just sent me a link to a sale going on at Jonathan Adler. If you're not familiar with the store, they have really nice apartment things -- very similar feel to West Elm but more upscale.

Worth Every Penny

The River Cafe was amazing. The service was excellent, the food amazing and the atmosphere couldn't be more romantic. I was really expecting to see some couples get engaged.

I know we only live a few blocks from the restaurant but I didn't want to walk in my heels all dressed up so my husband was going to pick me up. Then our stupid car got stuck outside on Washington Street!!! A nice couple helped push it off to the side and we left it and walked there.

It was freezing but memorable. We took some pictures along the way and they definitely captured the moment.

In the restaurant itself, there were lovely flowers in the entrance. So many that it looked like a flower shop. That's a picture of it above. All the ladies got a goodie bag upon exiting, which included a potted plant, a pansy. It was a sweet touch because in the restaurant all the tables were adorned with pansies so it was a memorable gift to take home.

Onto the food... I had the BeeGee Shrimp (roasted shrimp stuffed with crab meat) and the Lobster Tail (poached and the claw meat was used to make a lobster cake, like a crab cake). It was prix fix so you have to get the good stuff :-)

Then, incredibly full I managed to eat most of my chocolate Brooklyn bridge cake. It was really pretty and I felt bad eating it, well, sort of... they had sugared rose petals on the plate with a strawberry sorbet and some sort of custard. Delicious.

It was also really nice because we were there for a good two hours. We didn't feel rushed and it was an experience I'll never forget.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Romantic Date Tonight

My husband is taking me to the River Cafe. I know, super fancy, but hey I deserve it ;-)

I am really excited. It's such an incredible experience dining at the River Cafe and they have a special menu tonight for the holiday. We ate there with his parents during the summer and being on the water was so tranquil. As the lights go down, you're floating on the water enjoying a fine dining experience. The Brooklyn Bridge dessert is a work of art!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And one last picture for today

Ocean View Panorama HDR #1
Originally uploaded by Fraggle Red.
Uploading from Flickr is just so easy. I love sharing photos and looking at other people's photos. We're headed to Miami next month for our annual trip to Florida and with the snow/slush coming tonight, March 16th couldn't come quickly enough. Oh I can just picture stepping onto the beach it looks fantastic.

Downtown at Dusk

Downtown at Dusk
Originally uploaded by miguelkeenanan.
I love this photo from Flickr as well. The sun setting over Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty are just amazing. The colors are crisp and bright against the silouhette of the buildings/

Coney Island Fog

Coney Island Fog
Originally uploaded by mkaggen.
This is an eery, lovely photo.

Get Baked!

A story in The Brooklyn Paper offers a round-up of Brooklyn businesses where you can buy sweet treats for Vday. I forgot to mention that we recently got some desserts from Baked in Red Hook. They were incredibly decadent and delicious.

My husbund picked out some assorted mini dessert "bars," which in reality were enough for 3 people each. They were about 3x3 in and came in flavors like Rocky Road, Peanut Butter & Jelly and Pecan Pie. All amazingly rich. I think Forragers carries their cookies.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Article from NYT

Brooklyn Record points to a story from the NYTimes about experiences in finding roommates in the city. The article specifically examines how CraigsList has changed this process, focusing on Williamsburg as a key location where "coolness" is a factor in selection.

I remember college dwelling. Then, with my husband I remember when we first moved in together. It was in his studio when we were dating and I would go home on occasion to get clothing from my apt, which had essentially become an expensive closet. I just got sick of traveling back and forth (it was a whole 3 blocks). Luckily, we get along really well and he's not female. I find that living with other woman is challenging. Too much estrogen.

Sharing space is hard -- especially when it's an incredibly small space. It's just unnatural to share living space with other people - whether it's your friend or a stranger. Living space is so personal and sometimes you just want some alone time. Unfortunately, living solo in the city is muchos expensive and unrealistic for most everyone without a trust fund.

Jacques Torres in V-Day Mode

After my burger yesterday, we stopped into Jacques Torres. I mean, how could you not? The smell of chocolate is intoxicating -- in a good way of course -- and they are doing some special things for the upcoming holiday of love.

They have these cute pre-picked truffle combinations that include two of my favorite flavors: menage-a-trois and love bug, which is key-lime pie flavored. It's really good. The other is a chocolate liqour flavoring. Either way, both are delcious.

But above that, the chocolatiers were busy making these extraodinary chocolate heart boxes that were beautifully designed and filled with what else... more chocolate!!

If you get a chance, you should go check them out. They are pricy but would make a really special, memorable out of the ordinary gift for someone you love. I couldn't find a picture online, so you'll have to see for yourself.

Oh my, can I talk about anything but food?

Five Front in NY Daily News

Five Front was highlighted in a Valentine's Day round-up today. The menu looks really nice and well priced. I do like that restaurant.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hangover Cure

After our wine party last night I wasn't feeling so hot today. We were craving a burger from J.G. Melon, which has the best burger. Period.

We've been to Corner Bistro too and I just don't think it's as good as Melons. Anyway, the effort needed to get to the UES was non-existent so we mustered up the energy to get off the couch and go to Water Street Restaurant.

We've been here a handful of times and there are some things they do really well and others they don't. Two of the things they do well are burgers (not like Melons, but definitely good) and they have a crispy (read=fried) sandwich. It was actually pretty busy, but they had one poor guy taking orders for the entire restaurant.

They had some nice live music too, but of course we got the last table right next to the stage so we couldn't hear each other, which was actually OK too because we were useless and considered getting newspapers so we didn't have to talk to each other. NOT because anything is going wrong, but just because we were shot and it was hard to hold an interesting conversation. Luckily, the girls next to us were having a pretty spicy conversation that was fun to listen to and the singer from the band was hitting on all of them.

So the conclusion is that burgers are great for hangovers and if you're in DUMBO, try the one from Water Street Restaurant. And if you're up for a little mission, go to Melons.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Testing: Posting YouTube Videos to my blog

Trying out how to post a video from YouTube. There are actually quite a few videos tagged DUMBO and Brooklyn. Anyway, here's one someone took at 45 Main St.

Friday, February 09, 2007

TGIF! DUMBO as a destination

So my friend from Manhattan, who doesn't venture to Brooklyn on many occasions, is coming to my house this weekend for a little soiree we're having. She was telling me how her friend was having his birthday party at a bar near my house, which was strange given all the bars in Brooklyn. In any case, her friend who lives in Cobble Hill is having his birthday at Rebar, the new bar in Retreat. That link goes to a review on DumboNYC's blog.

It's just interesting to think of it as a destination bar and I wonder if it will increasingly become so? I mean it's a great space in a prime location -- right next to the F and a little bit more of a hop, skip and a jump from the A, C trains. The beers and wine list are reasonably priced too. Mmmm, Tapas is available too.

I haven't actually been to Rebar yet but I have been to Retreat many times for coffee and shopping. I love that place. The people who work there are super nice and I especially like this one picture on the wall near the Coffee Box where one guy is "crushing" the other guy's head, which is from an SNL skit I believe. Anyhoo... I may go this weekend and check it out. It is open until 4, which is way past my bedtime and still something I can't quite grasp after living in Boston for several years.

Has anyone been?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Red Hook" Barbie Doll Web Spoof

My close friend alerted me to a spoof on the Web that features Barbie Dolls designed for different neighborhoods, some of which are Brooklyn neighborhoods, and another embarrassingly accurate portrayal of Greenwich CT barbie, where I went to high school.

While the "Red Hook" and "Park Slope" Barbies are probably the most amusing, I don't know if I agree they are accurate portrayals.

For example, I didn't realize that Park Slope was perceived as a largely gay area? Not that there is anything wrong with this but it's not like the obvious thought when thinking about an area like Chelsea.

The Red Hook Barbie is really funny, but living so close to the area and seeing how far it's come, makes me sad that this is how the doll turned out. Maybe I am naive. I remember the reaction I got from my parents when I told them about how I go grocery shopping in Red Hook and how there are some really great restaurants. When they lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Red Hook was just not a safe area. I don't know if I'd want to live in Red Hook, mainly because it's still largely in transition mode, it's inaccessible (I have a hard enough time getting ppl to come visit me in DUMBO) and the roads are terrible. I do have a soft spot in my heart for Alma and Baked, which I adore. The views from Fairway are beautiful too.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Restaurant Search Engine

What a great topic: food + technology!

In my other life I work in technology. I came across a new search engine that was launched at DEMO, a long-running conference that happens twice a year where many companies launch a technology for the first time with the hopes of making a splash and getting some VC cash.

One company that was highlighted in coverage of the most recent DEMO Conference was Boorah. It's referred to as "Zagat's on steriods."

A search for restaurants in zip code 11201 returns no results, but if you type in "Brooklyn" you'll get a drop down menu for Brooklyn or "Brooklyn Heights,Brooklyn,NY." I picked the latter and up came a bunch of choices for restaurants. There is a social aspect in that you can review the restaurants. They each have a buzz factor (Noodle Pudding is at the top) and then you can click around to see the reviews, get directions, see a map, etc.

Not so sure whether I would say this is better than CitySearch, which I love. Especially since it's still in beta form and only focuses on venues in SF, NY and LA. What do you think?

Is this for real?

"A state senator from Brooklyn said on Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would ban people from using an MP3 player, cell phone, Blackberry or any other electronic device while crossing the street in either New York City or Buffalo."
I still use my phone when driving... I can't get into those headsets. Come on, arrest me. But now I can't listen to my freaking iPod while walking to the F Train in the morning? This is ridiculous. I mean, if this is the plan to reduce traffic accidents involving New Yorkers J-walking, this is not a solution.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

MTV Just Makes Me Feel All Warm Inside

Seriously, I am like obsessed with MTV. Not the videos... I like the cheesy programming. I can watch the same episode over and over again. My latest obsession is Dance Life and I still kinda like the new season of the Hills. The show that is an off-shoot of the Laguna Beach show, with the former main character Lauren working in the big-girl world.

So, what does this have to do with Brooklyn you ask? Well, much to my delight, I just read that MTV will be filming a pilot about Brooklyn. Unfortunately, I totally don't qualify... not that I would really want to be on MTV. It's open to Brooklyn Tech Sophomores and Juniors.

Here's the D.L. from
MTV's newest soon-to-be hit show is Brooklyn. The premise is to paint an accurate picture for America of what life is like for the average Brooklyn high school student. Brooklyn, New York is made up of the Caribbean Americans of Flatbush, the Hasidic Jews of Crown Heights, the hipsters of Williamsburg and the peacenik families of Park Slope. The infamous Fort Greene projects, artsy DUMBO...[I guess that makes me artsy DUMBO. I don't think that's what the real artists in DUMBO would call me]... upscale Brooklyn Heights and the soon-to-be arriving NBA Brooklyn Nets. With 2.6 million people packed in Brownstones, tenements and multi-unit apartment complexes, Brooklyn is a jumble of cultures, creeds and economic strata. A cross between Harlem in its heyday and Paris, Brooklyn is the ultimate city within a city. In fact, if it weren't already incorporated into New York City, Brooklyn would be the third biggest city in the country. It's said that one out of every six Americans has had a parent or grandparent who lived in Brooklyn at some point. With that said, there is only one school in all of Brooklyn that represents all of those people, and that is Brooklyn Tech High School.

The last sentence sums it all up. It's acutally not suprising that MTV would focus on Brooklyn for a new show. Brooklyn has been in the media spotlight for sometime now. They probably have a Real World back to NY "again" slated for production in the near future. I'll totally watch this Brooklyn show when/if it comes out.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Foodies on the Web

NYTimes offers a list of top food blogs, including the blog eater, which I frequently read. Missing among those was chowhound, another site I enjoy. Here's the message board on chowhound for the boroughs.

How I Survived Being Offline for 25 Hours

I didn't realize just how attached I am to my TV and laptop until we lost cable and Internet on Saturday afternoon around 4 pm. Time Warner told us it was a planned outtage in DUMBO and the Heights and that it would be back later that night, not to worry.

So we watched a movie and went out for dinner, and when we came home, the TV was still black. We thought about watching another movie, but we ended up laying on the couch in our apartment enjoying the blackness and silence that surrounded us.

When we awoke on Sunday, we expected the TV to work and unfortunately it was still off. We called Time Warner again (this was like our 8th time) to ask if they understood just what day it was and how important it was for us to have TV today. My husbund opened up his call to Time Warner by saying, "I'm nervous...," which was totally understandable given that it was Superbowl Sunday, one of the most important days of the year to have cable. We were told that the planned outtage was now an unplanned outtage but no one had any status updates, but they were doing everything possible to get it back up. They just told us that they were located in Flushing and they too, had no cable service.

We came back from breakfast at Bubby's, which was packed (hard to tell if more than usual). We talked to the bartender, who had only agreed to work that day cause he figured at least he could watch the game on the TV at the bar. After we got home, it was still out. We retreated to the bed where we listened to music and read the paper. It was really relaxing and nice for a change.

But then, around 3 pm, when the cable hadn't returned, we started to get really nervous. What if it wouldn't come back in time for the game? I had tracked down one of the TWC workers on the street in my hood who had promised it would be back but it was coming down to the wire. Plus, I am not a huge sports fan but we were having people over and needed to make a call.

Finally, around 4:45 we had made a call to go to our friend's apt on the UES. I forced my husband to watch an episide of Dance Life, my new obsession on MTV. At exactly 5:01, the TV came back. We literally jumped up and down in the living room. It was kind of sad that the TV affected us so much and we didn't know what to do with ourselves. Maybe the cable should go offline more often...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Late Winter and Early Spring... Love it

Phil the groundhog emerged from his little hole in Pennsylvania and did not see his shadow. Apparently this means Spring will come early this year. Hey, I'm all for it!!!

The itneresting thing is that hil had seen his shadow every year since 1999 before today. Read more here.

According to Wikipedia, "Groundhog Day is a traditional festival celebrated in the United States and Canada on February 2. It is a cross-quarter day, midway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox.

In traditional weather lore, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks."