Friday, August 31, 2007

DUMBO Block Party - Saturday, September 8

Halcyon is promoting the upcoming DUMBO Block Party on Saturday, September 8 from 1-7 pm @ Pearl Street Triangle right in front of their store.

So what's a block party you ask? It's a FREE family friendly event loaded with activities for kids of all ages - but don't be fooled - this is also a party with DJs and Live bands presented by halcyon and dubspot, and, erm... sanctioned mid-afternoon boozing and dancing on the streets of the city. And all in the cozy confines of the brand new quasi-park that used to be the local illegal dumping area!




Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mural vs. Condo - New BK Blog

Thanks to Gowanus Lounge for flagging this new Brooklyn blog Mural vs. Condo, a "personal account of development and gentrification issues in Sunset Park, Brooklyn."

Welcome, Amina!

Brooklyn Waterfront "Endangered"

A new report issued by nonprofit organization National Trust for Historic Preservation highlights 11 endangered places in the U.S. that are "being disturbed or damaged."
"The 2007 list includes historic motels on Route 66 that are losing out to chain hotels and travelers who rarely slow down along the newer interstates. They are listed alongside the industrial waterfront of Brooklyn that is increasingly being bulldozed to make way for multimillion-dollar condos, and a World War II-era internment camp that once held Japanese-Americans that is slipping into decrepitude ...

... The historic dockyards and factories are being replaced by acres of condominiums in suddenly hip areas with new acronyms like DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). The trust wants to preserve at least a portion of the borough's 19th-century industrial heart."
From the Salt Lake Tribune.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Recipe: Za'atar Chicken

One of my favorite recipes of all time is from Nigella Lawson, the lovely British cook that has finally joined the Food Network with her own show. At my house, we call it "dirty finger chicken" and after making it you'll know why!

It's very simple and comes from her cookbook, Forever Summer, which is all around a great cookbook. I got it several years ago when I was still living in Boston and it was challenging to find Za'atar (thyme, sumac & sesame seeds), the key ingredient. You can find this spice in most Middle Eastern grocery stores, or in the spice section of Fairway, right before the coffee area.

It's so easy to make and is very cost effective. You buy a chicken, cut up into pieces, and then marinate them in ziploc bags overnight with olive oil, a generous amount of Za'atar, salt and pepper. Basically you put the chicken pieces in first (you probably need two large freezer Ziploc bags), add the oil to coat, and then the Za'atar to coat. You can also marinate for a few hours, but the longer the better!

Afterwards, dump the bags of chicken out into a baking dish and make sure to squeeze out the seeds and oil on top. You can add some more seasoning if some sides of the chicken pieces are bare. Pop the dish into pre-heated oven and roast at 425 degrees for 40 minutes or so, and the outside will be crispy delicious while the meat tender and tasty.

As a side, Nigella serves up fattoush salad, which I highly recommend. It's a blend of chopped ripe tomato, cucumber, scallion and toasted pita that has been broken up to absorb a basic dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and a squeeze or two of lemon.


Can You O.D. on Vitamins?

I finally picked up some Diet Coke Plus this weekend and just sat down to have my first sip. As a Vitamin Water fan, I was excited to try a new take on my daily diet coke habit that offered an added bonus -- without the sugar.

The lovely rainbow and aqua blue branding on the outside of the can is so much nicer that the original can decor. Of course, it tastes the same but it's nice to know I am getting my vitamins and minerals.

According to Wikipedia, each "8-ounce serving of Diet Coke Plus provides 15 percent of the daily value for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 10 percent for zinc and magnesium. In fact the second main ingredient in diet coke plus is magnesium sulfate."

The question I have is with all these new vitamin and mineral enriched foods/drinks, do I need to rethink my daily vitamin? I mean, I know too much Iron is not a good thing, and I think I remember reading that too much Vitamin A isn't good for you.

So, the question is: Can you overdose on the good stuff?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Flickr: Car Fire Brooklyn Bridge

Talk about being in the right place at the right time to get this kind of photo.

Reality Check: Brooklyn Apt Rental Round-up

Yesterday on the F Train, I overheard a man complaining about real estate prices in New York. He was also commenting on the planned conversion of the Peter Cooper Villages/Stuy Town buildings to condos. He said, "You know, the ones that look like projects?" I would have to agree with him on that one, at least from the outside.

Downtown Brooklyn
: 1 Bdrm in 110 Livingston ($3,490/month)

Vinegar Hill: 1 Bdrm/Conv 2Bdrm, Duplex Loft on Gold Street (1 month free rent $3,208/month)

Carroll Gardens: 2 Bdrm 1 bath, elevator building, v. close to BQE ($2,800/month)

DUMBO: 2 Bdrm, 1 bath @ York & Adams ($4,700/month)

DUMBO Fights Back

The Brooklyn Paper reports on the opposition to the proposed Walentas building near the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO.
But Walentas’s Two Trees Management plan still doesn’t cut it: “We do need a middle school, but this need … should not be used to leverage an out-of-scale development,” Karen Johnson, president of the DUMBO group told The Brooklyn Paper.
I fully agree ... but ...

"Walentas told reporters this week that the reappearance of his old foes wouldn’t stop him from continuing to seek support from the city on his plan."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Brooklyn Enthusiast's Sushi Picks Map

This is a work in progress, but I am creating a map with Google Maps that offers a short review on all my favorite sushi places in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I will try to post when new places are added. See the map to the right.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Great Image: Coney Island

run baby run
Originally uploaded by pixietart

Monday Recipe: Perfect Pancakes From Scratch

I am going to start a new thing where I offer a recipe every Monday. When we woke up the other morning, my husband was craving pancakes so I decided to make some. I usually make South Beach pancakes because they are healthier, but we opted for the real stuff this time around and it was totally worth the calories.

I found a great recipe for "instant pancake mix" that allows you to make up a supply of the dry in advance and store to which you can add the wet ingredients. I love Alton Brown on the Food Network, although I can understand why some people may not. He mixes science and food, and his recipes offer the way to approach the basics.

If you don't feel like making a batch of the dry to keep on hand, use this recipe but only use 1/3 of the dry ingredients and combine with the wet ingredients as stated. This will give you enough pancakes for 4-6 people, depending on how big or little your appetite is.

Also, you can add some blueberries or bananas or sliced strawberries to each cake once you have spooned them out onto the griddle. And please, no Aunt Jemima!

"Instant" Pancake Mix
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.

Use the mix within 3 months.

2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above
1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)
OR just use PAM cooking spray (I prefer this).

Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 pancakes


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mmmm is for Mercadito, and Mexican

Sorry folks, this gem is in Alphabet City, but the reason we went tonight is because I am still on strike about Alma changing its menu.

I actually called and asked if they had the shrimp tacos on their menu and they said no, just the coconut shrimp, which is fried and gross, IMO. You can get that stuff frozen at Trader Joe's, but the shrimp tacos are delicious. I told the guy on the phone that he should get them put back on and that I wasn't coming back until they were back on the menu. I don't know how much that will actually do, but it was worth a shot.

Anyway, Mercadito ("little market") is a very small Mexican restaurant on Avenue B and 11th. It's a great place to go and share a bunch of dishes - if you do that sort of thing. We don't really like to share but we did tonight. They have amazing guacamole, but with twists like mango and chile, or other great combinations. Their house margarita has pineapple juice, lime and just enough chile to give it the right kick in the back of your throat. Amazing!

For dinner, they have like 10+ kinds of tacos, which come as four bite-sized tacos to an order. We had the baja ones, which are classic fish tacos - delicious. They had a comment card with the bill so I put a suggestion to open in Brooklyn, DUMBO preferably.

They do specials on Monday-Thursday from 4-7 pm with a $5 menu (margaritas, quesadillas, flautas, mexican wings) and then they have all you can eat tacos for $20 on Friday and Saturday night after 10 pm.

This place kicks Alma's butt, but I would say the best Mexican is still El Parador on 34th Street between First and Second.

Time Out Kids' Edition Features DUMBO, Brooklyn

Time Out Kids features places to see and things to do in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

I just love the subtitle of the article, "We hate gentrification, too—but you have to admit, Dumbo is pretty darn cool." So perfect, right?

The article highlights all our favorites like Bubby's, the playground at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Possum Paint Studio (new to me?), Five Front, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Modern Tots, Half Pint, P.S. Bookshop, Pomme and Grimaldi's.

The Smoke Joint Opens Sister Cafe in Ft. Greene

Fort Greene’s The Smoke Joint opens a sister cafe, serving up all things yummy like cheesy grits, artisanal hams and handmade sweets.

64 Lafayette Ave., at S. Elliott Pl., Fort Greene (718-797-1011)

(source: dailycandy)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brooklyn "Bloggiest" Neighborhood

New Data from rates top cities in terms of blogging activity. They used a super scientific mathematic formula that factored in population and number of blog posts tied to a specific locations.

According to a write up on
Boston is actually the "bloggiest city" in America for the two-month period of March and April, but Brooklyn, N.Y., was the bloggiest neighborhood - indeed, if Brooklyn were regarded as a separate city, it might have eclipsed the Hub as the bloggiest city ...

Brooklyn Heights Building to Grow 6 Stories

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
"The addition of six stories atop the nine-story building at 75 Clinton St. (aka 168 Montague St.) in Brooklyn Heights is a strong possibility, according to a Department of Buildings (DOB) document ... Also as previously reported, the building falls outside the Brooklyn Heights Historic District and is outside the special height district’s 50-foot height limit.

The conversion to condominium plan was learned from a spokesman for the building owner, who spoke with the Eagle in February, but who did not have approval to discuss specific details."

Sushi Inspired Dog Toys, Oh My!

Don't get too hungry ... yet. As the biggest sushi fan ever (I like to think so), I was naturally intrigued by these new sushi-inspired toys from a company called Sushi Pups ( that I came across in NY Press. They are so cute!

Check these out - there are a bunch of different sushi pieces, including uni and egg, and even a spicy tuna hand roll!

But wouldn't it make more sense to have the sushi toys for cats? You know, cats like fish? I guess I am just biased.

Future of McCarren Pool Uncertain as Concert Venue

New reports indicate that McCarren Pool, the cool non-traditional concert venue for Indie and mainstream musicians may have had its last hurr-ah. The news comes as the Open Space Alliance surveyed concert goers and the space achieves landmark status. (source: Gothamist)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Growing Up: Brooklyn Enthusiast Almost One Year Old

I just realized that Brooklyn Enthusiast will turn 1 year old on August 22. I can't believe how time has flown!!!

Thank you to EVERYONE who reads my blog. Nothing makes me happier than reading all your comments and keeping up with all things Brooklyn through my fellow Brooklyn bloggers. Keep 'em coming!

Homer, maybe we can have a joint birthday party next year? I'll make the cake ;-)

Rice Crispy Treats @ Rice in DUMBO

If you haven't tried these yet, you have to. I am a huge fan of Rice in DUMBO, especially the apricot and cranberry rice crispy treats. They always taste fresh, not like the hard squares at Starbucks.

If you go to pick up your order, the usually have a nice pile on the counter for people to have a taste. The best part: no one gives you dirty looks when you take three pieces! You can also order them with delivery orders and they come in a cute little canister with three treats. Yum!

Also, if you haven't tried Rice yet, I especially like their Chicken Kabob, Edamame Hummus with pita bread, Pad Thai and the absolute best is the vegetarian meatballs with spicy sauce (on the side), which I realize may not appeal to everyone. They also have really nice Thai Coconut Curry as well and I suggest getting it with the Thai black rice (so delicious!).

You all must think I eat all day 24/7 (which is partly true).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Outside of Brooklyn: Try Prune in Manhattan

As fans of Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations on Travel Channel, we had to try one of his latest recommendations: Prune.

Located on 1st Street between First and Second, the restaurant is small and open, consistent with the "east village" vibe. We sat at a small table in the front and the wall was open to the street, so you felt like you were eating outside, which was really nice given the weather last weekend. The menu is small and not exactly cheap, but the food is simple and tasty (the important thing IMHO).

Instead of bread, they start you off with some fried chickpeas, which were a delightful alternative. We then shared an appetizer of braised escarole and salt cod, which wasn't salty at all. Both of us got the soupy rice as a main course, which was the perfect serving of risotto style rice cooked in lobster stock, with lobster meat and squid on top. For once in NY, the lobster was ample with a claw and a half tail.

We ended with mini home made ice cream sandwiches all marvelous flavors: mint ice cream with chocolate cookie outside, sweet cream with coconut cookie outside, and finally rhubarb ice cream with oatmeal cookie outside.

Mmmm... can't wait to go back and I hear brunch is also fantastic (i.e. hamburgers and bloody mary's).

Reservations a must. Ask to sit in the front.
Prune: Tony and well-known chefs Eric Ripert and Scott Bryan retreat to one of their favorite dining spots, Prune. They indulge in radishes and butter, along with roasted bone marrow and prawns in anchovy butter.
Address: 54 East 1st Street, New York, NY
Phone: 1-212-677-6221
Web site:

Gothamist: State of Red Hook

One of our close friends lives in Red Hook and thanks to her we have learned about some great things the neighborhood has to offer. In no particular oder: Alma (which may not technically be in Red Hook), Moonshine, Baked, The Good Fork and Fairway.

Gothamist offers a solid update on the state of Red Hook, which has been positioned as the next area for a big makeover in recent years. The post notes that local businesses which showed promise are now closing.

I also came across an article in the New York Times from Saturday that focuses on the soon to be closed local liquor store LeNell's. And in June, the NYT Real Estate section also featured a couple who had renovated a house in Red Hook that made me very jealous. I guess we'll have to just wait and see.

On a final note, I am very disappointed that Alma took the Shrimp Tacos off the regular dinner menu. I can't be the only one eating those?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Craigslist Rental Apt Round-up: DUMBO, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens and Williamsburg

Red Hook: No fee garden apartment with hardwood floors and new bathroom and kitchen. It is a nice area near Fairway and my friend Lisa, an obvious bonus ($1500/month). This looks like it may be a similar listing, if not the same one.

DUMBO: Private house 2 bdrm/2 bth w/stainless steel appliances. Not sure if this is technically DUMBO given the photos, but looks nice ($6,000/month).

Carroll Gardens: 3 bdrm/2 bth w/private terrace off master. Skylights, w/d and nice appliances ($3,500/month).

Red Hook
: This place is gorgeous, although can't picture the location off the top of my head. 1 bdrm totally redone on 2nd floor with shiny new hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances.

Williamsburg: Nice renovated 2 bdrm with central air and heating. Close to the L (Grand) and has stainless steel appliances - great kitchen ($2,200).

DUMBO: Looks like J Condo units are up for rent already. This is a 1 bdrm on the 4th floor -- totally new building and modern design ($3,000).

DUMBO: Rental on 4 Water st for only $8900/month! It does have a really nice private deck, but still.

New Lamp - Gotta Love West Elm

I am a huge fan of West Elm. Possibly it's due to the fact there aren't too many other options in DUMBO, but I really do like there stuff. It's a bit more contemporary and colorful than Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn (which is great about catalog returns at the store), and I think it's a bit less money as well. Our house is furnished with a mix of hand-me-downs from mom and dad, and new purchases we've made since our move to NYC in 2004 when we had our first grown-up apartment.

You know, the kind where things actually match and nothing in your living room was found in the alley and people like to sit on your couch. I remember my first college apartment and on the day we moved out, my parents came up to Boston from CT and helped me. I recall offering my dad a seat on our couch and he said "no thanks." Still makes me laugh!

Trust me, I am all about finding things and rehabbing them like on my favorite HGTV show Decorating Cents (I like House Hunters too), but I have no skills. I can't even use a drill. I am trying to find someone in my building to help us hang this mirror that needs anchors because I can't do it myself and my husband is not any better.

Anyway, we had two lamps in our living room - one from my mom and one from Home Goods. We just got a new one today from West Elm and it is so nice. Our kitty Lucy likes it as well.

Beautiful Brooklyn Day!

Today is simply gorgeous. I went up to the roof to try and even out my halter top tan and took some lovely pictures. Even downtown Brooklyn looks beautiful on a day like today.

I wasn't able to stay up there too long because it is just too hot in the direct sun. Man, would the Floating Pool be nice right about now! Next Friday I have a summer friday so am going to try again and maybe also do a drive by of the Red Hook pool.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My Real Life "Office" Booze Cruise

On the worst, hottest day ever (this past Wednesday) our office had planned our summer outing. We were set to hop on a boat at 3:00 pm that was docked and head into the lovely East River for a scenic tour with open bar. Last time I checked, heat+boats+booze = disaster.

A handful of people were so sea sick that they ended up sleeping most of the way. Our finance team forced everyone to play flip cup on our boat that was traveling at about 2 miles an hour. Boats were flying by us left and right and kicking up the wake so we would wobble back and forth to the point where you felt like you would fall off. After the booze cruise, they had a bus to take us all to an open bar downtown, but luckily a few of us escaped and headed home.

The only upside to the three hour tour a la The Office booze cruise was the fact we went by DUMBO and I showed everyone my fantastic little hood and then we wrapped around Governor's Island and went by Lady Liberty up close and personal.

Here are some pics.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

2007 DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival

This totally rocked last year. Looks like this year's event is scheduled for September 28-30 and they are accepting proposals for different types of exhibits and tours. Wish I was more crafty and could contribute, but I will definitely walk around and take pictures again to share with you all.

F the F!

It took more than a hour and a half to get home today after work -- and I only work in Union Sq. After work, we went to Whole Foods to pick up dinner and hopped on the 6 train to switch to the F. It was like 5 billion degrees in the subway and it took forever. Finally we got on the 6 and the air conditioning was temporary relief. While it's never really a smooth transfer from the 6 to the F, warning signals went off as soon as we got down the stairs.

First of all, it was packed, which meant people had been waiting for some time. After about 10 minutes, an F finally comes but it is filled to the brim with people all smushed inside. Then a bunch of people tried to shove themselves on and of course someone was keeping the train from closing so the doors kept opening and closing (4 times!). Needless to say, we didn't make it on that train. So another V comes. And then another V. And then an F and that one is packed too. So we wait for another and nothing comes.

Finally we took the B (which was cool because I had never taken the subway across the Manhattan Bridge) and then we we walked back to DUMBO. Anyway, longest commute ever!!! I don't understand why they can't run extra trains, for example let some of the Vs run on the F line during rush hour. It's so frustrating when you're waiting for the F and these empty V trains go by you with 3 people inside lounging and smiling while you're sweating your @#$ off on the platform.

Here's a rather cool picture of the F train wizzing by taken by brothergrimm on flickr.

F Train Back in Business, For the Most Part

Yesterday was a complete mess for anyone that has to ride the subway to get to work. Living in DUMBO, we have a variety of options but in yesterday's situation, three out of three options (F, A/C/E, 2/3) were all out of service. We were going to walk across the bridge to take the 4/5/6 but found out that it was also out of service. People were fighting over taxis and we even were going to take a town car into the city, but no cars were available because people couldn't get to work from the outer boroughs.

But the reality is that this isn't the last time it will rain heavily. From a FOX News article:

MTA Executive Director Elliot G. Sander said the intensity of the rain was simply overwhelming. The subway's drainage system can generally handle a maximum of 1.5 inches of rainfall per hour; on an average day, hundreds of MTA pumps remove 13 million gallons of water from the system, which includes several tunnels and stations below sea level.

That's pretty incredible...also considering a tornado touched down in Brooklyn and Staten Island. In terms of a solution that will work, only time will tell. But NY
Governor Eliot Spitzer ...
... ordered a 30-day review of the New York City subway system after flooding from a rain storm shut down almost every line during yesterday's morning rush hour ...

Yesterday's subway suspensions and delays marked the third system-wide disruptions in seven months, said Spitzer. They came 18 months after the MTA's Inspector General released a report criticizing the agency's handling of flooding that paralyzed the system in September 2004 and made recommendations on how to prevent future failures.

Monday, August 06, 2007


If you haven't already, please read dumbonyc's lastest post on the latest in terms of the proposed building in the Novo Clutch lot near the BK Bridge. He notes a NYT article from yesterday's paper that included a letter from council member David Yassky opposing the construction.

I didn't realize it but a Web site has been established,, to help raise awareness for this issue. The Web site cites its mission as follows:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Failed Trip to the Floating Pool

Today the weather was absolutely perfect and we decided to head down to the floating pool near One Brooklyn Bridge Park. I was all ready to go with my towel and bathing suit but then the reality quickly set in that I wasn't the only person in Brooklyn with that idea.

I got to the pool and when I saw how long the line was to get a bracelet, we left. There was no way even if we got into line that we would make the next swim time of 5:00 pm and it was only 3:10 at that point.

I love that it's free and has become an accessible getaway on hot days like today for the many children in the city. It's such a great idea and I would totally pay to go if there was another less crowded location.

Anyone been to the BK floating pool and gone swimming? It looks like so much fun, although I will have to plan better next time!