Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saturday: DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival

Sorry there haven't been any recent posts, but I was away on a business trip the whole week in San Diego and I don't think it would have been of much interest to you anyway. Luckily, I got back in time for the DUMBO Art Festival.

There were a lot of great things I didn't get to see yet so I am going to walk around again today and go into the galleries. We had a lot of people with us in a large group, which made it hard to see everything. There was a lot of great performance art, including music and some more "out there" art, which I will try to get a picture of from my friend. The shaving cream cave was very cool and my husband especially liked the blond in the bathtub.

I got some nice new earrings from the sample sales going on in ReBar. They are from a designer named Nicole Gagne of I got them at 40% off, which was a great find. OK, more to come later today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This Sunday: Brooklyn Bourbon Festival

LeNell's brings out open bottles of bourbon (corn, wheat, and rye, too) from its tasting cabinet. Choose up to three different bottles to sample or buy six bottles of American Wiskey for 10 percent off.

@ LeNell's
Sunday, September 23, 2007
12 Noon-9 pm
416 Van Brunt Street b/t Coffey & Van Dyke
Red Hook, Brooklyn

Beacon Retail Space

A team of people have been working on the retail space for lease in the Beacon Tower on the intersection of Adams and York Street.

I have been so curious what is going in there, so this morning on the way to the subway I asked one of the contractors and he said they are in final negotiations but that the space will either be turned into a day care center or a hair salon. He proudly told me he would be doing the interior once a decision had been made.

Anyone hear different? I wonder what Beacon residents would think of having a daycare center in their building.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Round-up: Links from BK Blogosphere

BK Links for Tuesday, September 18:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Recipe: Spinach Cheese Poofs

This simple recipe is sure to impress your guests. You can make them a few hours ahead and then warm them up just before guests arrive.

What you need:
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (I use the light version)
  • 1 small package of soft, herb goat cheese (any pre-packed cheese in the dairy isle of supermarket will do)

What to do:
  • Preheat oven according to directions on Crescent Rolls container
  • Defrost the spinach in the microwave and drain the excess water. To get it completely dry, one trick is to use a kitchen towel. Just put the spinach in the kitchen towel and wring it out over the sink. You will get every last drop.
  • Flour a hard, cool surface -- either a baking sheet or counter top
  • Carefully pop and unwrap the dough from the packaging, unrolling it lengthwise and laying it out horizontally or "landscape" direction
  • Using the tips of your fingers, gently push together the dotted edges so that it forms a uniform sheet of dough. You can use a floured rolling pin to help this process, but it doesn't have to be perfect.
  • Take the cheese and spread it out on the dough.
  • Sprinkle spinach all over the top.
  • Layer a handful of the grated cheese on top.
  • Roll the dough lengthwise into a long log. Roll the log out a bit skinnier with your fingertips and then slice into even pieces, about a half inch thick.
  • Lay each little circle pinwheel on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle the rest of your cheese on top.
  • Bake according to package directions or until light, golden brown.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cranberry Street Fair: September 29

From Mr. Fink at BHB:
The Cranberry Street Fair is set for September 29 from 11AM - 3PM on Cranberry Street between Hicks and Columbia Heights. Stop by for food and drink, books for sale, dancing, games, live music, raffle, flea market as well as "treasures." Proceeds of the Fair go to the beautification of the neighborhood.
The Cranberry Street fair coincides with this year's DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival, so it will be great weekend to experience South Brooklyn and offer an opportunity to check out what's going on nearby in Brooklyn Heights.

DUMBO on Food Network

In one of her most recent getaways, Giada DiLaurentiis takes her "Weekend Getaway" show to New York City where she spends her first night in DUMBO. She hits the usual spots: Jacques Torres, River Cafe and Grimaldi's pizza.

Giada lets viewers in on little secrets, for example that you can taste test the chocolates at Jacques Torres before buying (she grabs a love bug, my favorite), something I was totally unaware of and plan to try out this week. She also has a cocktail and appetizer on the terrace at River Cafe, a great way to experience the menu and beautiful view -- all without the price and complicated procedure to book a reservation (involves faxing your credit card).

She smoothly sails into Grimaldi's for a pizza, offering narrative on the benefit of their coal ovens and "no slice" policy. It's unclear if she had to wait in line.

It's nice to see DUMBO tourist spots featured on shows like Giada's but the only unrealistic piece was when she hailed a taxi, announced her destination of "66 Water Street" and he then happily drove her to DUMBO. Tourists should know that NYC cab drivers won't be smiling when you say your destination is Brooklyn and that you should be prepared to have turn-by-turn directions as they often don't know the street names.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pretty Inside Spa

I finally had a chance to go to Pretty Inside, the spa in DUMBO that recently opened a sister salon. For my service, I had the basic 70-minute facial.

The Good: I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the reception area as I immediately felt transported into a calm atmosphere. The receptionist was friendly and walked me into the locker room, where I changed into my robe and went to wait in the lounge area. The lounge was nicely decorated with ample magazine selection. Little snacks of brownie bites, cheese, cookies and cucumbers (the same fare as Bliss) awaited, as well as water and red wine, which was a nice touch but seemed counter intuitive... but what do I know... it was still a nice option.

A very pretty, friendly woman named Kelly Anne came to get me after a few minutes -- she wasn't late, just enough time to allow me to read a bit of the magazine and have a snack. It was nice not to feel rushed. I had a really nice facial and she was very attentive to my sensitive skin. She was also a massage therapist, which came in handy during the massage portion of my service. She also wasn't pushy about the product; more informative.

They use various product lines, but mainly Decleor. They also carried some Strivectin, Peter Thomas Roth and Bliss product from what I could glean from a distance. I didn't get to see the hair salon, but I was offered a free consultation and scalp therapy after my facial, but had to turn down the offer because I didn't have time.

The extractions also didn't make me look like an alien, which is sometimes how you feel leaving to walk home in public after getting a facial. This can be a problem living in NY when you can't just duck into your car and hide.

The Bad (although nothing really that bad): They don't have separate locker rooms for men and women so when I went to go change after my service, the receptionist had to come grab me and prevent me from going inside.

Also, I think $150 for the basic facial is a bit much, considering that the basic facial at Bliss is $100 (60 minutes). Although I guess I should consider that it's a fair price because I got two masks and at Bliss they try to up sell you a bit when you're in the chair by suggesting different masks, which is frustrating when you are trying to relax.

Pretty Inside
has a lot of potential and is somewhere I would recommend to friends and family. I had a great experience. The spa was new, clean, the staff was friendly and my skin looks great! I would certainly go back.

Friday, September 14, 2007

TGIF Must Read: My Empire of Dirt - NYMag

If you haven't already, pick up a copy of New York Magazine with the cover story, "My Empire of Dirt," or read it online if you prefer.

It is one of the most well written, interesting articles I have read in long time. It offers first-hand perspective from a Brooklyn "farmer" on the locavore moment, a mantra where people should endeavor to eat food grown within 100 miles of where you live.

They sent Fox's "Anne About Town" to his farm this morning, but the segment doesn't do it justice. You have to read the article.

(Photo: Andrew Eccles)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

DUMBO Fight Night Next Week

Next Thursday, September 20 is DUMBO Fight Night at St. Ann's Warehouse. It's a fundraiser event to help preserve DUMBO and features entertainment such as dance and boxing, a silent auction, art, food and fun for everyone! Tickets are $50 per/person and there is a $100 family rate. For more information, visit the above link.

The proceeds will go to a maintenance fund to restore the history of DUMBO, including its trademark Belgian block streets. Trust me, these are in desperate need of repair!

Sunday is International Pickle Day VII

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Brooklyn Bowling...I'm so There

Gothamist has a post on the soon-to-be-opened bowling alley, The Gutter. It's apparently the first bowling alley to open in Brooklyn in a long, long time. I have had a bowling craving for the past few months so this is great timing!

WHO: The Gutter

WHAT: Bowling, Beers & Embarrassing Shoes

WHEN: "Soon" Mon.-Thurs. 4pm to 4am; Fri.-Sun. noon to 4am

WHERE: Greenpoint -- 200 North 14th St

WHY: It's fun, silly!

According to Gothamist, for a group of 4 (or more) it will cost you $48 per hour during the week; $56 per hour on weekends. Bring cash to pay for the game, but your card will work at the bar for drinks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tidbits From the Brooklyn Blogosphere

F Express Update ... (Gowanus Lounge)
Incredibly Touching Reader Comments about 9/11 ... (Brooklyn Heights Blog)
New Blog: Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn ... (Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn)
Oktoberfest in BK ... (Clinton Hill Blog)
JCondo Video Walkthrough ... (DumboNYC)
Worst or Artist Expression ... (Kensington Blog)

Best Burger in NYC

Gridskipper posts a round-up of the best burgers in the city, including a lovely map to help negotiate your way to the meaty goodness. While many of the top picks are located in Manhattan, the article highlights some burger hot spots in Brooklyn too.

In order: Blue 9 Burger, Shake Shack, Peter Luger, Better Burger, Chez Oskar, Dumont, Corner Bistro, Burger Joint, Good Burger and Royale.

I can't say that I have had burgers at all of these places, in fact only three, but notably missing is J.G. Melon -- my pick for top burger in NYC. It's cash only and no one cuts the line, but it's worth it. I mean what can be better than a burger cooked next to (or right in) the bacon? I pride myself on being a health enthusiast, but when you're having a burger you might as well get it done right!

Corner Bistro ain't bad either, but the crowd well, let's say "interesting" ...

What are your favorite picks?

Online Comic Channels Adventures in Brooklyn

Check out this article from the NY Daily News that profiles online comic writer Meredith Gran.

According to the article, Gran's online comic strip, titled "Octopus Pie," follows the adventures of Eve and her roommate through Brooklyn.

For more information, click here.

West Nile Case Reported in Brooklyn

A Canadian publication reports that a 41-year-old woman from Brooklyn has been confirmed as the first human case of West Nile virus by the New York City Health Department.

"The 41-year-old woman though became sick in the middle of August. She had a headache, fever, felt tired and weak, and also had muscle pain. She was put in the hospital on August 25th and is now back home recovering. She has now been confirmed as the first human West Nile case of the season for New York CIty."

West Elm Customer Service Lacking Luster Lately

Normally I have fantastic things to say about West Elm, but recently their customer service has sucked of late.

On the floor, there are an infinite number of people trying to help you but unfortunately people go to the register first to ask questions. Rather than referring them to someone on the floor, they end up helping with the request, which in turn, backs up the register line.

The time they are taking to walk a customer through the catalog or answer questions could be deferred to an open sales person on the floor so they could instead concentrate on closing the sale.

I cannot tell you how many times I have abandoned purchases because I have been left to wait too long (more than 15 minutes) at the register. Anyone else have similar experiences?

On a more positive note, they are having a great in-store sale on accessories, which sounds like a broad category but is more limited to organizational items, and other select items.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Would You Like Flies With That? Thanks, Nobu!

I had the pleasure of nearly eating a little something extra while dining at Nobu Tribeca on Wednesday night. I took some photos with my cell phone, but it was so dark in there they didn't come out well. If you don't believe me, I can send them to your phone.

We went for a special dinner with my mother-in-law, aunt-in-law and my husband. We sat up front at a nice table and prepared for a delicious sushi experience. My mother-in-law has recently come to appreciate the deliciousness that is sake and ordered a container of both hot and cold for the table.

We poured rounds of sake out of the hot caraffe most quickly and received a little surprise with the last pour, a dead fly. He lay still in my husband's cup. We called the waiter quietly to take it away as we didn't want to make a big deal. Hey, these things happen, right? The host came over and apologized and kindly ordered us another caraffe of hot saki.

My aunt-in-law continued to make headway on the cold saki and on her last pour, she too received a token fly in her cup, this one much bigger like a traditional house fly. We all burst out laughing... I mean what are the chances? But at the same time, we were pretty grossed out.

Nobu is considered one of the nicest places to eat in Manhattan for sushi and here we had been served two flies in less than two hours.

I must say that the staff was very accommodating. We didn't eat for free, but our bill was substantially reduced. I am sure that there will be a new procedure for cleaning and storing the saki containers -- upside down and triple rinsed.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

BK Industries Hosting 4 Contests

Brooklyn Industries is offering 4 different ways to win something cool.

2 Tickets to see Common on October 7th at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, an autographed copy of his latest album "Finding Forever" and a limited edition lithograph.

2 Brooklyn Industries Messenger Bags filled with CDs from Barsuk Records. It also includes the Sept 2007 release: Kurt Cobain About A Son: Music From The Motion Picture CD.

2 Tickets to each Aesop Rock East Coast show of None Shall Pass tour. Three runners-up will win autographed copies of Aesop Rock’s new album None Shall Pass.

1 Signed copy of The Brooklynites, a book that offers a collection of images, interviews, and essays about the charismatic characters of Brooklyn. For over three years LaSala and Kushner trekked tirelessly across the borough, documenting the famous and the nameless, current residents and former inhabitants from Brooklyn Heights to Brownsville, Bensonhurst to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bay Ridge and beyond. The Brooklynites is published by powerHouse Books and will be available September 20, 2007.

For details on how to enter.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sinkhole in Manhattan: If Only it Was a Few Blocks Closer

I saw the helicopters after lunch today but couldn't pinpoint what was happening. I work in Union Square and the helicopters are usually a good indication of something gone wrong -- something good enough for broadcast news.

I had forgotten about it this afternoon while I worked away in my little cube, but my friend just sent me a link to the news on Gawker about a sink hole that emerged on 17th between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.

Why couldn't my work building be sinking instead?! That would have been much more interesting and possibly could have led to an early closing.

More on the news from Gothamist.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Waiting on Whole Foods Brooklyn

I was just thinking about the Brooklyn Whole Foods today as I had gone into the Bowery Store today for the first time. The place is massive, but it wasn't even 1/100th as busy as the Union Square location usually is. Maybe that's because of the holiday?

So I set out to see if the Web site had an update, but it just says TBA. Looks like there have been reports about delays on the store, according to A Brooklyn Life back in '06. Probably best just to do a drive by to see what it looks like now, which is usually a good indication of how close it is to being completed.

From around the blogosphere, there seem so be some more recent issues about the new location:
Poll: People Generally Psyched For Whole Foods ... Brownstoner
Whole Foods: The Petition ... Daily Slope
Do you want lies with that? Whole Food’s answers ain’t kosher ... Brooklyn Paper

Pinkberry, Part Deux

After my first Pinkberry experience, I didn't think I'd be back. I thought it was really sour ... way too sour. But since that initial taste test, I have found the right topping combination (regular + rice cakes (these are fantastic) + chocolate chips + blueberries). There needs to be enough of a sweet blend or the sour of the yogurt is overpowering. Plus, I love mochi ice cream and the rice cakes taste like the outside of the mochi pod.

I took my husband today for the first time (Spring St. location). It was much less crowded than the Upper East Side location, but still hot inside -- likely due to the door opening and closing every two seconds. I think I would go crazy working there. I hope they pay those people well.

He liked it too (regular + fruity pebbles + banana + rice cakes), which totally suprised me because he hates fake versions of real things (frozen yogurt vs. ice cream). But today he also ate half my veggie burger so I must be rubbing off a bit in the right way.

According to their Web site, there are only 25 calories in 1 oz (no fat, only 5 grams of sugar). That's really good considering a big one plus toppings probably nets out to less than 200 calories assuming you likely won't be able to finish it since it's ginormous.

Wonder when Pinkberry will come to Brooklyn?