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.