Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hood Updates - 2 Court Street Closings

- Jill's on Smith Street is now closed, leaving an empty storefront right next to the empty Miriam spot. The sign said that it closed Dec 29th and that the owner decided to focus on a "new venture while continuing cleanses and other products in 2009."

- The new wine bar on Court, where the old video store use to be, still has no sign but revealed its name on a neighborhood association sign, it will be Calpurnia. No opening date yet.

- Rumor is that the owners of Bar Great Harry have put in papers to secure the spot across from the old Trout on Smith Street (which use to be an optometrist) for a new bar (thanks for the tip!).

- The Brooklyn Paper reported that Margaret Palca Bakes on Court Street will be closing. They were never able to make it profitable in that spot. Full story here.

- They also said that a new wine bar on Henry and Cranberry, called Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar will open soon. Wine and tapas to be served.

- A new sushi spot (they also have one in the Slope), Kiku will be opening soon on Smith Street.

- Picture of inside the new Frankie's extension, really charming, it will add a lot to the space. I was there for a lovely Bday party:


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foodie Updates

- Red Hook's much anticipated, Grindhaus will open in March on Van Brunt. According to the Brooklyn Paper, "The offerings will consist of five or six sausage varities made on the premises, plus classics from around the world and newfangled concoctions that will rotate daily."

- Bon Appetit has pulled together a list of their favorite food blogs.

- It's Wednesday and that means the NYT's Dining Section - they have a yummy sounding Pureed White Bean and Winter Squash Soup I will defintiely be trying. They also have an interesting recipe for Currant-Ginger shortbread, good for the holiday season.

- I usually contain my brunch posts to Brooklyn but I just got word there are brand new brunch menus for 10 Downing (10 Downing St, NYC 212-255-0300), Irving Mill (116 E 16th St, NYC 212-254-1600), Opus (1574 Second Ave, NYC 212-722-2220) and Bloomingdale Road (2398 Broadway, NYC 212-874-7400). All look yummy!


Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis (& Jon Hamm)


Monday, December 15, 2008

Hood Ongoings

- Reginella, is the new Italian restaurant set to open on Atlantic Avenue. It is from the same owners of the Yemeni restaurant (Sanaa) that previously occupied the space but apparently "some folks over at Smith Street’s Savoia have a large hand in the restaurant" (Cobble Hill)

- That random Irish Bar, Ceol has been closed, supposedly just for the weekend, by New York State Workers' Compensation Board (Grub Street).

- Now that Jim Mammary's dream of an oyster bar is dead, BK looks for a new methadone clinic (Brownstoner). My friend who lives nearby is just going to love that.

- Frankies 457's expansion is nearly complete. The new half, which connects through the back, will be open for private parties thru the holidays and will open officially as part of the restaurant in Janaury. I will be able to check out the place this Friday at a bday party :) The owners of Frankies are also expanding their Clinton location.

- The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory was denied a liquor license but the owner vows to fight the decision (Brooklyn Paper)

- The Vinegar Hill restaurant in well, Vinegar Hill is now open.

-Hanco's (Vietnamese Sandwich Place) is taking over Tea Lounge space in Park Slope.


Best Books of 2008

The Best of Lists are rolling in... I am far behind on my reading for this year and am hoping to do some catching up over the holiday break. Here are links to some of the more reliable opinions that will be helpful for me and maybe you too, click on each name to take you to the full top ten.
Salon- Didn't Rank
Time- #1 2666 (Tobert Bolano)
Good Reads- #1 The Host- A Novel (Stephanie Meyer)
NPR- Didn't Rank
NY Times- Didn't Rank
Amazon- The Northen Clemency (Philip Hensher)


I have been anticipating this movie since the day I heard it was being made and after seeing the trailers, I was even more excited so it was much to my delight that I was able to attend an early screening of Revolutionary Road last week. The film follows the suburban discontent of a young married couple, played Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio. Based on a book of the same name by Richard Yates and directed by Sam Mendes, the film has the strong vibe of being staged as a play with its limited characters and largely static sets. But with Roger Deakins cinematography, every shot is rendered beautifully. Beyond, its stunning visuals, the acting is top notch (especially supporting actor, Michael Shannon) and overall, this movie stands out above the rest of Oscar bait this season.

I also saw Doubt this past week - I thought I was completely not interested in this movie but decided to go anyways as it seemed like a movie I should see and much to my surprise, I was blown away. Directed and written by John Patrick Shanley, the completely engrossing movie follows the suspicions and potential fallout from one nun's (Meryl Streep) suspicions of the priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who heads up their church. I don't want to give too much away as the ambiguity of the story is its beauty along with the tour de force acting by Hoffman and particularly Streep. She definitely acts her way to another Oscar nomination, if not, a win.


I tried a couple new recipes this weekend to varying results. I had never made candy before and decided to try making these Ginger- Cinnamon Caramels that I saw on The Kitchn. It's quite a process to make these and you have to make sure you get the mixture boiling just right and at just the right temperature. In the end, I made a cookie sheet of caramel but once I tried it, I threw the whole thing out. It was buttery, sugary, yummy caramel alright but the cinnamon completely overpowered and ruined the candy. I might try again minus the cinnamon or at the very least, with about half the cinnamon.

I also tried a Chocolate Layer Cake with Peppermint Frosting to better results. It's a bit of a two day process to make this cake but its worth it as the white chocolate cream in between the layers makes the entire cake. I omitted the chocolate ganache layer since many of the reviews on the recipe complained of difficulty and since I already had the chocolate cake, I thought that would suffice. Also the peppermint frosting recipe (as many of the reviews said) didn't ever thicken so I tried another marshmallow like frosting recipe and added peppermint extract. Although I think I would have added a little less in retrospect. All in all though, most of the cake was gone by the time I left the holiday party :)


Denis Darzacq is a French photographer who works with street dancers and performers to create the illusion of people flying or falling through space. (Via


Monday, December 8, 2008

File this under "???" A hospital in Taiwan has created a Hello Kitty themed maternity ward in the hopes that "the white, mouthless cat, one of the world's most recognizable characters, will ease the pain and fear associated with childbirth and being admitted into the hospital." Yes, here's to hoping...


Sunday, December 7, 2008

My friend and I recently went to Buttermilk Channel, the new restaurant in Carroll Gardens on Court Street. It has a pretty varied seasonal American menu and a great simple but rustic dining room. My friend had a starter kale salad and a squash tart. The latter was the better of the two but neither was plated particularly well. I had a simple arugula salad to start and the bratwurst but the sausage was sadly, not cooked in the middle but that was easily fixed. We finished with what was the highlight of the dinner, a dessert of apple cider donuts. I will definitely go back to try more dishes (looking forward to the fried chicken and cheddar waffles) but I think the restaurant needs a bit more time to find its footing.


Slumdog Millionaire was fantastic. It had all the elements of a modern fairy tale. It was shot in India which peppered the film with amazing swirling colors and vivid street scenes. I don't want to give too much away but this film totally enchanted me (also the little boys in the movie were pretty much the cutest).

I wanted The Reader to be fantastic but it just wasn't. It felt like it was made purely as Oscar bait and for that reason, it just seemed to be trying too hard. Not to mention the love story between the two main characters, played by Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes- which happens over one summer and then supposedly haunts them for the rest of their lives- completely fell flat with me. Also without giving anything away, I was bothered that the horror of the Holocaust, which is a main facet to the story, is largely glossed over. Although with that said, Roger Deakins' cinematography made it beautiful to watch but overall I walked away from this film completely disappointed.

I saw Milk this weekend and while I really liked it, it did feel slightly too long at times but then again to do the real Harvey Milk justice it was probably necessary. The performances were outstanding, namely Sean Penn but James Franco and Emilie Hirsch were also very notable. Van Sant did an amazing directing job and it will definitely be an Oscar contender for 08.


Friday, December 5, 2008

One of the most interesting and tragic stories I have ever read in Vanity Fair was that of the famed artist Jeremy Blake and his love, Theresa Duncan (article here). Together for many years living a bi coastal bohemian lifestyle, Duncan unexpectedly took her own life in July 2007 and soon thereafter, Blake went missing and was presumed to have committed suicide as well by walking into the ocean. Now comes word that Brett Easton Ellis (American Psycho) will be writing a screenplay on the doomed couple and the film will be produced by Lionsgate. As the writer of the article describes to VF (for which Ellis will base the screenplay off of), "It’s a kind of modern Romeo and Juliet story, set in the East Village, with the addition of anti-Bush conspiracy theories and Scientologists, They continue to be the subject of fascination precisely because no one knows exactly why they did it. We only know that they were deeply in love, which makes their suicides all the more mysterious. Because of their great talent and beauty, they’ve become a sort of cult couple. There couldn't be a more perfect writer for this story than Bret Easton Ellis because he is such a great chronicler of the modern macabre.”


Sofia Coppola Directed Dior Commercial

I love me some Sofia Coppola. Apparently she directed this new Dior fragrance commercial set to Moi, Je Joue, by Brigitte Bardot (via /Film)


Boerum Hill Food Company Closes

While still mourning the loss of Miriam's on Court Street, now comes word that the Boerum Hill Food Company has shuttered its doors as well. Always neighborhood and family friendly, its sad to see another one bite the dust. Brunch options just got slimmer. UPDATE: Rumor is that an Atomic Wings will open up in the Boerum Hill Food Company spot (they just opened one in the Slope).


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The use of Arcade Fire's "My Body Is A Cage" works pretty damn perfect for the The Curious Case of Benjamin Button trailer.



Best Pickles Ever

I know some will argue that Rick's Picks are better but I cast my vote for McClure's Pickles and not just because they hail from Detroit to Brooklyn (like me). They are super crisp, garlicky and delicious. They are a bit on the pricey side ($8 direct, anyway from $10-12 retail) but well worth it.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weddings and Family Fun in One Weekend.

My dear friend getting married in NY and spending Thanksgiving in the D.


Hood Restaurant News

- Looks like Cobble Hill's outpost of the restaurant, Miriam is now closed. The service was always bad at that location but sad to see it go as it was a good brunch go-to spot.
- The new restaurant, Buttermilk Channel is now open (and I might go check it out tonight!). So far, reviews have been quite good.
- Playa in Park Slope is now open, from the same owners as Barrio.
- Jim Mammary's controversy proposal to build an Oyster Bar behind Black Mountain Wine Bar is not happening. And his outpost, Trout now sits empty but Pacifico will remain open.
- The owners of our favorite Ted & Honey's is profiled in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.


Another great movie to watch out for.

Trailer of Mammoth from Swedish filmmaker, Lukas Moodysson and starring two of my favorite actors, Michelle Williams and Gael Garcia Benal. First Showing describes it as "Similar to Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel, Mammoth explores the connection between three people in three different places. Tom (Bernal) heads on a business trip to Thailand where he tries to radically change his life; Allison (Williams), his wife, lives in New York and struggles to spend time with their daughter and deal with their live-in Filipino maid; and lastly, their maid's family and her two kids struggle with her absence in the Philippines." Apparently it doesn't have a distributor yet but there is talk it will premiere at Sundance.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

photo by Frank Lynch (via Brownstoner)


Paper Hearts <3

Oh how I heart Michael Cera. I even tolerated (read: enjoyed) his precious tweeness in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Now comes word that him and his real life girlfriend, Charlene Yi will star in a movie together to be shown at Sundance called Paper Hearts. Reuters described it as "part documentary, part scripted comedy, centering on the real-life relationship between Cera and his girlfriend, Charlyne Yi, another member of the Apatow acting crew (she played the pigtailed stoner in Knocked Up. As in Cera's recent Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, music is a key element." Looking forward to this one.


Monday, November 24, 2008

photograph by Holly Andres


Holiday Shopping fun

In my current hunt for holiday gifts, I came across these way cute cards at There is actually a ton of cute stuff on here. Kind of like a smaller Etsy with the same reasonable prices.


Weekend Report

I finally saw Synecdoche this weekend- I was really happy to see it having read the script some months back and while I did enjoy it, I think this is a case where the parts are better than the whole. There are some really poignant moments throughout the film and the cast is fantastic but by the end, it just doesn't feel like the emotional weight adds up. On the same night, we hit The Smoke Joint in Fort Greene but we sat in a new section of the restaurant since apparently they closed down Little Piggy Market (news to me) that use to be one of their off shoots. It was good BBQ but obviously way filling. Almost too much so. On Saturday, I saw the warm up at Union Hall to the Stella comedy troupe's upcoming tour. David Wain, Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black have a such a great ease with each other - some of my favorites parts were them just riffing off each other or on people from the audience. They were still VERY much in warm up mode, still working out technical kinks, music cues and they were reading off script the whole time but overall, it was pretty funny. It was cool to see what worked and what didn't as they tried to refine the act. (On a David Wain tangent, I also saw Role Models that same week and I have to say, I surprised how much I enjoyed it. I mean its basically an Apatow-bromance ripoff but charming nonetheless.) Anyways, I leave you with this clip from Paul Rudd on Conan promoting Role Models with his ode to Mac and Me.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Netflix- Watch Instantly

Not that I need anymore reason to stay in and watch movies but netflix- watch instantly for macs just added another one to the list. Here is a link to opt into the beta version. Not all movies are available to watch instantly but there are plenty to choose from and its free. Have at it.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Guilty Pleasures of a Bygone Era: Teen Witch & Back to the Beach

A friend just reminded me of the movie Teen Witch. I think I watched that movie about 50xs. I use to love this movie totally unabashedly. This was a great scene, actually it IS a great scene. "Take That"

I also really liked Back to the Beach, I think I knew every word. Now I watch it and it is beyond ridiculous. Although the Pee Wee scene is still awesome. "Bird is the word"


Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Life's Just Not Fair"

The new Kanye West album, 808's and Heartbreaks is fantastic. I have been listening to it a lot lately and I think Streetlights and Robocop are my favorites right now. Out 11/24.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Emmy the Great is well, GREAT!

Emma Lee Moss aka Emmy the Great is a London based singer/songwriter who writes for any girl who ever has been in love and/or fallen out of love. Her truthful lyrics are heartbreaking but beautiful. It will probably be a bit twee for some but just right for others, like, me.

You can check her music out here or the new album is out in early 09.


Restaurant- Braeburn

I had the pleasure of visiting the new restaurant, Braeburn in the West Village this past weekend and can't say enough "delightful" things about the experience. We were seated promptly, the staff was attentive and the well, the food was delicious. They start with miniature biscuits that you definitely shouldn't pass up. We also got the Fall bibb salad and one friend, got the a fantastic crab salad that hints of passion fruit. For entrees, we got the trout, the skate and the scallops with walnut puree and a side of brussel sprouts. Everything was well plated, tasted great and was a decent size. Finally for dessert, we indulged in the banana cream pie and the apple cider donut holes. All three of us, left very happy. Definitely worth repeat visits. Menu here.


Revolutionary Road

I pretty much cannot wait for this movie. Sam Mendes is amazing and the cinematographer, Roger Deakins is a genius. The trailer alone is visually stunning and it doesn't hurt that it has Catpower's Sea of Love in the background. Sigh.


I really wish this wasn't sold out

Zach Galifianakis is hilarious and well, who doesn't love to laugh so it saddens me to see the 15th night of the 18 Nights Of Inspiration at the 92nd Y is sold out. In the meantime, here is his bio for the event which makes me smile.

"My name is Zach (ZAK) Galifianakis (GAL IF a nakis).I am from the foothills of North Carolina. I like teeth. I like croissants. I like when old men at picnics say "pull my finger." I like when ivy overtakes trees. I like watching people miscommunicate. I like how America used to be, before it got crazy with false pride.I dislike guys who wear two cell phones. I dislike fake Christmas trees. I don't understand those who read People magazine. Nor do I understand 0% financing.I do understand the attraction to corn-dogs."


Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach directed a short film on Saturday Night Live this weekend.


Where The Wild Whings Are? Yes, Where is that movie?

Spike Jonze granted Ain't It Cool News the most recent interview and update on his long delayed pet project, Where The Wild Things Are? Having read one version of the script by Dave Eggers and having seen stills, I think we will all be in for a treat, albeit a dark one, when the film is finally released. I mean, who didn't love this book as a kid.


Spam, it's all the rage

So with the economical downturn apparently comes an increased intake in Spam or so says, the NY Times. Or something like that. Anyways, completely unrelated to the economy, my friend and I made Spam sushi, musubi to be exact. It was actually pretty good, nothing I think I will be making on a regular basis but it fit the theme of the dinner party we brought it to. If you dare try it yourself, here is the recipe.



I have no idea who this person is, I found it on a random blog and crossed out the eyes to protect the innocent but please don't let this ever be me on any bday of mine in my 30s. (just to clarify, she was celebrating HER bday).


Friday, November 14, 2008

David Chang is a Genius

There is no other way to say it, David Chang is flat out, Willy Wonka. I have no idea how he comes up with the amazingly delicious concoctions he does. He is at it again with the opening of Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar. Blue cheese polenta bread, coca cola cherries, salty pistachio caramel soft serve, brown butter solids... Check this menu. Seriously mind boggling and going to be worth repeats visits just so I can try everything. Serious Eats got a sneak preview and has a rundown with images of what you are in store for.


CC Sale!!!

Anyone who reads this blog knows I pretty much heart all things Criterion Collection so I thought I should pass on word that they are having a big sale on their entire inventory. 40% off everything thru Nov 24. Get it while its hot.


Chauncey for Iverson

I'm not really a sports girl but I have deep childhood love for the Detroit Pistons. Things just haven't been the same since the era of Wallace (Ben) on Wallace (Rashad) ended but so it goes. Recently, the team traded Chauncey for Iverson and a new era began (Iverson even got his number). Here is a great article from the Detroit News with Chauncey's reaction.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Movies this weekend - Tit for Tat

I saw Zidane and I've Loved You So Long this weekend. One so boring we took the time to sort out the peanut m&m's that fell into the popcorn bag mid-movie and the other so enthralling, I haven't stopped thinking about it.

Despite being completely excited to see a movie on the amazing football player, Zinedine Yazid Zidane aka Zizou, all excitement soon dissolved after the first 15 minutes of the movie when we realized that there would be no dialogue for the entire 95 min film. It was literally one ordinary football match played from beginning to end interspersed with Mogwai songs and closeups of Zindane's feet, wrists and sweaty brow. A missed opportunity on a player whose career has been so marred in controversy and is ripe for a documentary but apparently not this one since it was ultimately a total bore.

I've Loved You So Long was fantastic and I have not stopped thinking about it since I left the theatre. This is writer/director Philippe Claudel's film debut and the lyrical tones and pace of the movie can clearly be attributed to his first career as a novelist. The film tells the tale of two sisters reuniting after the older sister has been in prison for the last 15 years. Both actresses are amazing (in fact the whole cast is incredible) and it would be a shame if Kirstin Scott Thomas was not nominated for an Oscar. The movie does an incredible job of showing the bond between siblings in a devastating and breathtaking way. Every detail, from the ambers in a bonfire to the shadows running across Scott's face are entrancing, beautiful and make the film that more rich. Highly recommended.


Kind of Explains How I Feel About Halloween

Photo courtesy of JA


Monday, October 20, 2008

Vendy Awards

I hit the Vendy Awards on Saturday in Dumbo courtesy of a very generous friend. The field had been narrowed down to the Top 5 street vendors and the Top 3 Dessert Trucks. We hit all 5 vendors with the exceptions of the Pupusas (which I love but have had many times) and the Calexico truck (again, I love but have had many times and the line was loooong). We didn't try the ice cream truck and we both have had the Dessert Truck so we went for the Treats truck instead. It was a bit chilly by the water that evening but all the food was tasty and I am defintely going to have to start seeking out the Kwik Meal cart in Midtown now. Nominees and Winner after the jump.

Winners in bold!
Food: Heavenly Delights, Biryani Cart, Kwik Meal, Soler Dominican, and Calexico.
Dessert: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Dessert Truck, Treats Truck


Weekend Fall Fun- Wineries, Orchards, Art and Foliage Abound


Friday, October 17, 2008

This says it all.


MGMT- The Youth Video

One of my favorite songs on MGMT's album now has a pretty cute, sequined video.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

File This Under- Must See

La Belle Personne - Directed by Christophe Honore, it follows a sixteen-year-old girl who joins a new school and falls in love with a professor - romantic agony ensues. It also features songs by Nick Drake. You can watch the french trailer here.



I know people hate on a changed/Auto Tuned Kanye West but I for one am open and dare I say, excited to check out his new album, 808's & Heartbreak. The Fader has a rundown of the LA listening party here.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Recent Restaurant Visits

I have hit a bunch of new restaurants lately or rather new-to-me places.

General Greene (Fort Greene) - I have been wanting to try this place since it got across the board positive reviews and while I didn't hit the dinner menu which has has been much talked- about, I did try the brunch. And it was okay. If I was in the neighborhood and was meeting someone, I would try it again. Not bad but nothing great. The brunch menu is somewhat limited with largely just variations on baked eggs.
Five Leaves (Greenpoint) - After giving it a big thumbs down on my first visit I was persuaded by a friend to try it again for brunch and I am glad I did. The food and service was far better. I went with the Big Breakkie (eggs, toasts, potatoes and two sides of your choice: Avocado & sausage were mine). I would definitely return for brunch, dinner might still give me pause.

Char 4 (Cobble Hill) - This one of my favorite new spots in the hood. I have been here three times since it opened. They have great cocktails and the staff is extremely helpful and friendly. While it might not be the best BBQ you have ever had, it's tasteful upscale BBQ that doesn't disappoint. The scallops were particularly good.

Chavelas (Prospect Heights) - This is another favorite find. Extremely small and quick to fill up, but worth the often short wait. This authentic Mexican restaurant does a great brunch with lots of options, I will definitely be coming back for dinner.

AQ Cafe (Midtown) - I went here with a couple friends last night and it was decent. There isn't much in that area that isn't insanely expensive or just plain bad so it was a nice, quick haven for the in between. An off shoot of Aquavit, the cafe also specializes in Swedish cuisines but sticks closer to sandwiches, soups and salads. The hot meatball sandwich was great.

(Photo courtesy of NY Mag)


Greenwood Cemetary Tour

Some friends and I hit the Greenwood Cemetery for an evening walking tour. It was fun to see some of the amazing structures but the tour guide was a bit long winded and had us running for an early exit (until we were told the patrol dogs were out!)


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