The Greenpoint To Do List: Vol I

One of the incredible things about living where I do is that it can be hard to keep up with so many shops and restaurants. Therefore I thought I’d take a minute to write down some of the places I really want to try, right here in my own neighborhood of Greenpoint.

Milk and Roses

This place just looks to be too cute for words.

  

Scalino

I need more Italian comfort food in my life stat.

 

River Styx

looks adorable and purports to do “Irreverent American” cooking.

 

Charlotte Patisserie

An awesome bakery with an inviting back patio? Yes, please.

 

Le Fond

“Serving seasonal French fare in cozy surrounds with wood communal tables & a small bar area.”

 

And those are just the five I came up with off the top of my head. Given some time, I think I’ll be adding considerably more to my Greenpoint To Do list.

– L

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

This morning A and I tried a new brunch spot. I’d taken him to The Randolph a few days prior and we’d been impressed by the cocktails and intrigued by the menu.

randolphbrooklynexterior2-thumb-540x338

randolph-brooklyn-3 randolph-brooklyn-1

A got the breakfast nachos and I got cheese grits, which I’m delighted to say may be the best I’ve had in New York.

IMG_6873

After brunch we went home to relax for a spell. I started reading Casino Royale, my first Bond book.

yay for blatant misogyny! But otherwise it seems fun. It had started to snow while we were at brunch and by 2:30 it was getting pretty wet out there, so we decided to uber our way across Williamsburg. Destination: The Gutter.

TheGutter_V3_460x285 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt was pretty packed so A and I settled in to grab numbers and day drink while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Eventually we made a full party of 8 and signed up for 2 hours on the lanes. Fun was had.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After such active ball touching, we were in need of burgers so it was off to Kent Ale House where I was quite excited to finally try the food, in particular their fried pickles.

photo kentalehouse_inside_inthecut_itsjeffyoungblog kent-ale-house IMG_6874

Everything was delicious and nothing was bad. We parted ways, now fully content and I trudged home in a cold rain.

– L

the author, day of
the author, day of

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

This morning got off to an excellent start with my epic return to making french toast after a far too long hiatus.

P1160191

Thanks to my roommate, there were also some truly special cookies just begging to be eaten.

IMG_6861

It was a beautiful, though very cold day so we decided to take a walk down through East Williamsburg and check out a bit of graffiti.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES  

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

vIMG_6863  IMG_6867 IMG_6864

While our eyes had feasted, our stomach’s had not so we stopped into Tutu’s on Bogart. Sadly, the service was terrible and the food was over priced and underwhelming. A got the mac and cheese and I got what could be considered the worst grits I’ve ever had. All that said, the place is cute.

tutus.4 tutus.6 tutus.7 static.squarespace

It was then that the past day caught up with us and we succumbed to tiredness so we took the L home for some down time. Once back in Williamsburg, we had to make a few stops to prep for dinner.

I’d never actually been in the Bedford Whisk but it’s A’s favorite store so I was fully stoked to venture in.

Le-Creuset-cookware-display-for-Le-Chef-Complet whisk-le-creuset-partial-display

It was exactly as luxuriously quaint as I imagined it would be. Whisk-kitchen-shop-New-York-04

A picked up a few ramekins and we then we walked to food town for ingredients. Once home, A took a nap and I managed to re-read the entirety of Sandman, Vol 1. That book really does have some beautiful moments. I received the second volume for Christmas so I was happy to brush up on the story.

sandman1

GalleryGraphicNovels_V_1900x900_Sandman_v1_52afa1c6179ff4.20839951

sandman1

When A woke up he jumped into the kitchen to make Chicken Pot Pie. He mostly followed Laura in the Kitchen’s recipe and they turned out incredibly.

IMG_6870

After dining to our heart’s desire, we settled in for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which I had not seen before.

x_men_days_of_future_past_banner-wide

I thought it was quite good and I loved that it ended happily because on that high note, we finally got some sleep.

– L

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
the author, day of

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

This morning began with orange juice, coffee, and a hearty omelet with A at his favorite local brunch spot Lodge, which does a bang-up job of recreating the Poconos/Catskills vibe with typical Williamsburg flair.

ph_lrg_outside  Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 12.00.31 AMScreen Shot 2015-01-02 at 12.01.57 AM

Then, after a brief pit stop at home, we set off on an aimless wander that eventually ended up being about 6 miles long and ended in Brooklyn Heights.

10898288_663691894324_7716498878301772159_n

Let the record state that I did that walk in 2 and a half inch heels. My feet are not happy with me. We did spot a few good graffiti pieces in our wandering.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

IMG_6856

We stopped for respite at Heights Cafe where A got the butternut squash and sweet potato soup, and I got granola with greek yogurt.

heights-cafe-brooklyn-heights-montague-street

IMG_6859

We left the restaurant as the sun was setting so we hopped a few blocks down to the Brooklyn Promenade to see the skyline.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Then it was back inland a few blocks to check out A’s alma mater, Polytech (now owned by NYU). The central square was all done up for the holidays and we saw some art instillations including a huge wind chime and a piece by Tom Otterness whose Life Underground is a permanent installation at the 8th street ACE and L station.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After a quick stop at starbucks and a fruitless hunt for a White Castle, we Ubered home, footsore and content. We didn’t rest overly long, however, before heading back out to Skinny Dennis for a pair of enormous Texas Teas.

skinny-dennis

Then it was next door to Nitehawk Cinema, a dinner movie theater and local landmark that I had regrettably never been to.

5928672104_bc4caa52bf a-place-to-eat-watch-movies-and-make-tom-waits-jokes 1317225555-nitehawk-cinema-ty-cole-009-1000x649

I got tater tots with queso  and A got steak skewers and a Catcher in the Rye. On the screen was The Imitation Game, which both A and I thought was pretty spectacular. Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing and we were both teary-eyed by the end of the film.

benedict-cumberbenedict-the-imitation-game-movie-poster

After the movie, a long walk in the cold (but made lively with movie-inspired chatter) took us across town to Greenpoint Heights, my local joint, where I got satisfactory wings and A got a delicious fried chicken sandwich.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 11.57.43 PM

Then, finally, home. Where A passed out before I could even get the freshly laundered duvet cover on.

-L

the author, day of
the author, day of

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

My morning began at Exhibit with a long-overdue haircut.

20130421_Exhibit-126

20130421_Exhibit-121 20130421_Exhibit-007Exhibit is a little place about 8 blocks from where I live in Greenpoint. I followed a stylist from Hair Metal there and love the results I get–though the price is high.

After my cut, I headed over to Williamsburg to meet A. On the way, I spotted some great paste-ups and a really lovely stencil.

IMG_6806 IMG_6805 IMG_6803 IMG_6802 IMG_6798 IMG_6797  IMG_6793 IMG_6791 IMG_6792

I particularly liked this piece which inspired me to look up the artist, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and learn more about her Stop Telling Women to Smile project.

IMG_6795

Our plan was to go to Peter Luger’s, the famous steak restaurant, for their lunch special.

peter-luger-steakhouse

But it wasn’t to be: the place was packed and not taking any more walk-ins. So we wandered for a ways, and managed to spot some really fantastic murals, including two pieces by Zed1.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

IMG_6820 

 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

IMG_6825 IMG_6827

Our hunt for food took us by several places we wanted to try, and some really lovely vistas…

The Woods
Isa

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

But eventually ended at a favorite of ours: Croxley’s Abbey. We usually go for their wing deal but this time we branched out: I got the French onion soup, A got their pot of muscles; I got a “Black and Blue” (a mix of Bluepoint Blueberry and Guinness) and A got a Green Flash Road Warrior Imperial Rye IPA.

tumblr_inline_n3puhxvcm31qzwy03

After all that it was back to A’s for some down time accompanied by Anthony Bourdain. Particularly, his visit to the Ozarks.

Eventually A made me dinner because he is a gem of man. On the menu was turkey meatballs baked with mozzarella over spaghetti. There was even a little appetizer of fried mini-meatballs.

IMG_6836 10363605_663517413984_2952551985107653157_n

To finish off the lovely day, we unwound to a Coen Brothers movie that I had never seen but is one of A’s favorite films ever: The Man Who Wasn’t There.

I don’t usually go in for noir or black and white but I found this one quite engaging and gripping. This brings the number of Coen Brothers movies I’ve seen up to 6: The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, and True Grit. All in all: still a big fan.

– L

December 23rd to December 28th, 2014

I went home for the holidays this year and had a wonderfully festive and cozy time, full of friends, family, and cats.

IMG_6554

Home to me is Northern Virginia. Note I said “Northern” because it should generally be considered a different state from the rest of Virginia.

And being home, to me, means cats. Lots of cats. As in my parents have four cats. So the night I got in was not complete until I was cozy in front of the TV with a furry leg warmer.

IMG_6572

Christmas Eve dawned bright and beautiful and I spent the day enjoying the house in all its festive glory.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There were, of course, cookies to make. Chocolate roll-away balls, to be exact.

IMG_6555 

Now, Christmas Eve is our big feast for the holiday and it traditionally consists of my mother’s legendary leg of lamb which she roasts with a ton of garlic. The meal begins with vichyssoise (a cold potato soup, the recipe for which was passed down from my father’s mother), and a family favorite salad with hearts of palm, red onion, and avocado. Side dishes generally include rice, gravy, green beans with bacon, and corn bread pudding.

IMG_6576

IMG_6584

My parents, sister, and I were joined by a close family friend and his sister. This made it all the more comical when, after coffee was served, my sister surprised me with matching pajamas (a traditional gift for Christmas Eve in my family, but not one we’d practiced giving in some time).

So just imagine two adult women wearing that while drinking heavily and lounging in a festive but nevertheless formal sitting room.

The next morning came soon enough and Christmas was upon us!

IMG_6601

Our family’s christmas tradition follows a pretty simple pattern: a hearty breakfast including Jesus Muffins (over which we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus), present opening, lounging in front of the fire, and eventually, a movie. I’m happy to report that this year was no different.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES   SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The movie chosen for the family viewing was a classic none of us had watched in 20 years: The Swiss Family Robinson. It was…quaint. The tree house is still pretty awesome, at least…

IMG_6655

And such was my lovely Christmas at home.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The rest of the vacation had it’s own small joys. To start, I watched both Father of the Brides with my sister.

  

And I had a lovely brunch with five of my best friends.

IMG_6657

I went through some of my old books from childhood.

IMG_6692

And I snuggled with cats.

IMG_6648 IMG_6685

I also went to a mall (Tyson’s Corner) and enjoyed some classic suburban retail therapy.

We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and I got their California Club Pizza, one of my favorite pizzas in the worlds.

To round things out, I took in two new movies: Mockingjay Part 1, and The Interview.

  

I thought both were pretty friggen awesome. Mockingjay was exactly what I wanted, with great performances from all. The Interview was hilarious and worth the hype (in my humble opinion).

After all that excitement, I caught my train back to New York on Sunday feeling content and tired. I loved my holiday vacation, but it’s still good to be home.

– L

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The author, on Christmas Day

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

This morning took an unexpected turn when I woke up and while lazily checking the facebooks and instagrams, discovered that today was the last day Phumplings would be at Shwick Market, a pop-up holiday shop in Bushwick. I had been longing for the soup dumplings filled with pho since I’d stumbled upon them in my interneting a couple months ago.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 9.25.47 PM

So it was that I jumped out of bed, into a shower, and out into the cold within an hour to get my ass to Bushwick. And it was dramatically  cold today. One might even say grimly so.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I took the M to Myrte and was delighted to discover a new graffiti spot! I gather its been collected as @JMZWalls.

  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES     SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

From there, i just had to follow the signs…

IMG_6477

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Shwick Market was considerably smaller than I had expected, with only 15-20 vendors tightly packed in a garage space. But it had charm (which can be found on good display in their instagram). I beelined for the Phumplings booth.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I am delighted to say that that little pocket of deliciousness was absolutely worth $3, braving the cold for over an hour, traveling to bushwick, and spilling dumpling juice all over my coat. Hashtag no regrets.

Wanting to get home, I didn’t stick around. But I did spot a few more nice street art specimens.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

On my journey back I determined to make one of my family’s traditional christmas dishes: Jesus Muffins. While we do a big traditional leg of lamb feast on Christmas Eve, we save something special for Christmas Day. Jesus Muffins are also known as French Breakfast Puffs; or the best goddamn muffins rolled in sugar and cinnamon ever. Every Christmas morning in memory, my family has woken up, opened presents, and eventually settled at the table to put candles in muffins and sing Happy Birthday. I wanted to make a batch early to share this bit of christmas cheer with my friends and roommates.

Jesus Muffins (French Breakfast Puffs)

1/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking power

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Cream shorting; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy. add egg, and mix well.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Spoon batter in greased muffin pans, filling two thirds full. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; stir well. Remove muffins from pans while still warm; roll each in melted butter, and then in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Cool. Yield: about 1 dozen.

(Note: My one edit to this recipe is to say that I usually need at least another 1/2 cup of milk to make the consistency right. )

And now for some progress pics:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Awwwww yeaaaaah.

Can’t live off dumplings and sugar muffins though, so I eventually met A at Raizes in Greenpoint. It’s a Portuguese churrascaria place that I’ve been eyeing for over a year. The interior is pretty lovely and they were in full festive mode:

IMG_6491

Normally, and with better lighting, it looks like this:

landing-bg

We both ordered the Rodizio Portuguese Style, a pretty grand selection of meats brought out on skewers: chicken, turkey wrapped in bacon, chorizo, lamb, and 3 different cuts of steak. It also came with a salad, olives + bread, rice, beans, and mashed potatoes or fries. It was admittedly rather excessive, but definitely delicious.

As I walked home, I ran into one of my roommates and convinced him to take a quick jaunt down the block with me to look at christmas lights.

IMG_6506 IMG_6504 IMG_6502 IMG_6503  IMG_6500 IMG_6498 IMG_6497 IMG_6496 IMG_6494 IMG_6493 IMG_6489

Morgan street be festive as fuck. P and I even managed to have two pleasant encounters with passing neighbors whilst out on our light tour which basically proves the christmas spirit is still alive and well.

A day as busy as this calls for a chill night. Which, in this instance, means Lord of the Rings. Because it’s pretty.

1461530

lord_of_the_rings_widescreen_312200523212pm251

– L