Monday, April 30, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Neighborhood Hot Spots

Since we know most of you will choose to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this Saturday rather than Kentucky Derby Day, here are a few hot spots to hit up around the neighborhood during your day long fiesta.

Alma - Rise and shine for brunch at Alma,  This thoughtful Mexican inspired eatery (with American and Asian infusions) will satisfy any Cinco de Mayo cravings and offers one of the best views in Brooklyn on their year round roof top terrace.  The restaurant will provide special margaritas and menu options for the big day.  They take reservations for parties up to 12 people, but roof top seating is first come first serve so get there early. 

Calexico - We can attest to the addictiveness of their "crack sauce".  This Columbia Waterfront tex-mex spot is all about deliciousness serving up everything from burritos to margaritas.  They will be open from 11:30am - 11pm on Saturday, so come early and leave late. 

Micro Museum - Once you've had your fill of food, head over to Smith Street for a cocktail and chance to win a raffle.  The tiny art center offers a big dose of interactive, media, visual and performing arts.  Micro Museum is partying down next Saturday with their Cocktail and Raffle party, so why not soak in a little culture with your tequilla?

Lobo - It's always a party at Lobo on Cinco de Mayo.  A casual laid back atmosphere on Court street with killer drinks and tex-mex style food.  There will be special appetizers and entrees added to the menu to help you celebrate and of course the drinks will be flowing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kentucky Derby or Cinco de Mayo?

This year the Kentucky Derby falls on Cinco de Mayo. So many will have a very hard decision to make that day. Margaritas or Juleps? Well, we're guessing most of you will pick margaritas and celebrate Cinco de Mayo. For those who are craving a minty julep, however, there is only one place to go, The Bell House. Every year they hold a big party for the Derby and it's always awesome. Their schedule for the day is below. I'm sure the bartender would make you a margarita too if need be.

Colonel Boyd presents THE 138TH KENTUCKY DERBY ALL DAY
Plates by Urban Rustic
Ice Cream by Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
$6 Maker's Mark Mint Juleps

1pm to 5pm
Hats available from Brooklyn milliner La China Loca.

3pm to 5pm
Square dancing led by David Harvey & NYC Barn Dance.
No experience required: all dances taught on the spot!

5pm to 6pm
Call to the Post by bugler Ryan Resky leads to the main room.
The singing of My Old Kentucky Home by The Secret History.
Prizes for Best Formal Hat, Best Informal Hat and runners up
Plus: Sharp Dressed Man and runners up. Hosted by Michael Andrews Bespoke.

POST TIME -- and they're off!

Live Band Karaoke with Bunnie England and the New Originals on the big stage.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Plan for Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is right around the corner, May 13th this year. It's always a little hard to get reservations so it's definitely a good idea to plan ahead. Consider this a friendly reminder from us to do just that. There are plenty of great brunch spots in the neighborhood. Buttermilk Channel, Fort Defiance, and Prime Meats are among our favorites. Many restaurants will have prix fixe menus. We've copy and pasted the Prime Meats and Frankies menus for the day below. Brunch is from 10-4:30 and is $35 per person.

Prime Meats Prix Fixe

Asparagus Soup
Crab Salad
Bibb Lettuce Salad
Ice Burg Wedge
Mushroom Salad
Kohlrabi Salad
Smoked Salmon with Polenta and Two Poached Eggs
Farmers Breakfast
Grilled Chicken with Garden Greens
Creekstone Beef Pastrami Hash with Two Poached Eggs Russian Dressing
Steak and Eggs
French Toast
Grilled Market Fish with Grilled Asparagus
Ribeye for Two
Rhubarb and Mint Cheese Cake
with Pistachio
Chocolate Mousse
Bavarian Cream with Fresh Berries

Frankie's Mother's Day Specials

1st course
Fluke Crudo with Sette Anni Peppers
Asparagus and Rice Soup
Dandelion Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette and Egg

2nd course
Lobster and Fava Bean Pasta
Fregola Sarde

3rd course dessert
Strawberries and Mascarpone with Aged Balsamic
Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Brittle

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Farewell Quercy.

April 28th will mark the last day the French restaurant, Quercy at 242 Court, will be open. We learned this from reading Carroll Gardens Patch, particularly this comment:
Jean Francois Fraysse, owner of Quercy writes:
1:40 pm on Wednesday, April 4, 2012
"Unfortunately Quercy Restaurant on 242 Court Street will be closing soon. We would like to thank the Brooklyn community and all our customers who have been faithful to us for the past nine years, Come by and visit us, our last business day will be on Saturday April 28."

We are so sad to hear this news. Quercy has been around for a while. The only consolation is that in it's place, an Ethiopian restaurant will be opening. This is something new for the neighborhood. The new owner has two restaurants in Manhattan that are pretty popular. We'll definitely check this place out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

PortSide NewYork, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and Red Hook Initiative are of the five non-profits eligible to benefit from the Realty Collective's pledge.

PortSide NewYork, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and Red Hook Initiative are of the five non-profits eligible to benefit from the Realty Collective's pledge to donate 10% of broker fees in May.

Brooklyn Brokerage Realty Collective to Sponsor ethikus “Shop Your Values Week”
May 3-10th NYC-Wide Event Connects Committed Consumers with Sustainable Business
NEW YORK – April 18, 2012 – Realty Collective announced it will be sponsoring ethikus “Shop Your Values Week,” offering sustainable-dedicated consumers the opportunity to support charity with the Brooklyn-based real estate brokerage’s pledge to donate 10% of their broker fees. Spanning New York City, the “do good” event will connect thousands of conscientious consumers with hundreds of ethical and sustainable businesses in the five boroughs from May 3rd - 10th, 2012, by offering free samples, discounts, and special events to promote a healthier, happier NYC. Participants and sustainable businesses can visit for learn more to get involved.
After Realty Collective wrote about ethikus’ work on its Brooklyn lifestyle blog, ethikus checked out the brokerage’s efforts to share space, compost, hire from within and “every day commitment” to donate 10% of profits to charity, and, finding them in sync with “Shop Your Values Week” mission of engaging with the community, supporting employees, addressing environmental impact and responsible sourcing of products/services, asked RC to participate as one of the 2012 sponsors.
“Realty Collective believes strongly in building a sustainable community, within an ethical world, and we understand better than anyone how this idea extends into the real estate market. We see our business as an opportunity to help people build communities from their ideals - from placing tenants in happy homes to finding the right spaces for small businesses to flourish. Our team strives to live our beliefs and ethikus ‘Shop Your Values Week,’ is one important step to raise awareness. We hope this business style becomes the norm,” said Victoria Hagman, Founder, Realty Collective.
To show the strength of Realty Collective’s support, the brokerage will extend the time period of the charitable contribution of 10% of broker fees generated through “Shop Your Values Week” clients beyond May 3-10th, throughout the entire month of May. Clients who qualify can select which charity they wish their participation to benefit, from a pre-approved and thoroughly vetted list.
In order to participate, individuals will sign an online pledge at to support businesses that “do good” with their everyday practices. By signing the pledge, participants agree to the following:
  1. Pledge to shop locally, ethically, & sustainably from May 3rd - 10th in NYC
  2. Search our database of participating businesses and their incentives
  3. Feel good about contributing to a NYC economy that you believe in!
Shop Your Values Week is a city-wide event created by a collaboration of local non-profits, community organizers, small business groups and business improvement districts brought together by the Silicon Alley startup ethikus, which connects people with ethical and sustainable businesses across New York City. The ultimate mission for Shop Your Values Week is to create support for ethical, local, and sustainable economies in NYC.
About Realty Collective
Brooklyn-based real estate brokerage Realty Collective,, was founded in 2005 by agents who believed that dedicated professionals can have a creative life outside of their residential and commercial real estate careers, and that brokers with this kind of connection to their own creativity can, in turn, better serve their clientele. Like many Brooklynites, Realty Collective's agents are sculptors, dancers, producers, photographers, musicians, filmmakers, writers, and so much more. The business strategy for major firms has for too long been that of transactional volume. At Realty Collective, the strategy is different. The RC team passionately strives to maintain a hands-on approach, and to create a successful - but personal - atmosphere, not to attempt to achieve an ever-increasing sales goal, but instead, a consistent 100% rate of satisfaction. And in fact, many of the Realty Collective clients arrive through referrals from past customers.
About ethikus
Ethikus surveys and maintains a database of local NYC establishments based on their day-to-day practices in community engagement, employee care, product sourcing and environmental mitigation. With ethikus, conscientious consumers can find and choose local businesses that share their values, from composting to energy efficiency, employee healthcare to community donations, and more. The intention of ethikus is to inspire a movement towards sustainable consumption on a large scale by removing the primary barriers to better purchasing decisions, lack of information, perceived higher prices and complacency.

Join the Green Team!

(Photo by jeanacosta)

If you have a green thumb, or even if you don't but would like to help out beautifying Brooklyn Bridge Park, you have many opportunities to join what the Conservancy calls "The Green Team". Twice a week volunteers meet up to work on different projects around the park and river areas. You can join whenever and need no experience at all. Here's some more info:

Join us every Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Get outside, enjoy nature, have fun! Meet at the Main Street section of the park in the DUMBO neighborhood, entrance at Main and Plymouth Streets. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Sarah Ward.

Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Saturdays, 10:00-noon
Main Street Section of Brooklyn Bridge Park
(Main and Plymouth Streets)

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Art Installation on Bergen.

The huge raised bed on Bergen and Smith has been transformed yet again. This time displaying a pole, inspired by "Liberty Pole", which was s ship's mast planted in the ground during the Revolutionary War as a symbol of protest. It was also inspired by Walt Whitman's poem "The Centenarian's Story". The piece, by Sasha Chavchavadze, is called "Battle Pass-Revolution II". It was getting dark when we took these pictures so they are a little hard to read. Here are the quotes on the sides. "Do you hear the clank of the muskets?", "The years recede", and "In the midst of you". Check it out for yourself though. It's pretty cool.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Starbucks calls for volunteers

We were walking by the Starbucks on Court Street last week and discovered this sign. We looked it up to see what it was all about, as it doesn't explain on the sign exactly what you'd be volunteering to do. Here's some more info though from their website.

Description of volunteer effort:
Please join us on Saturday, April 28th, 2012 as we kick-off a day of service dedicated to beautification and revitalization projects in parks throughout New York City. Working with the City Parks Foundation, Columbus Park has been identified as a park where Starbucks NY Metro partners and customers volunteering together have the potential to make the greatest impact by painting playground equipment, benches and fences, weeding, spreading wood chips, planting flowers, trees and shrubs, cleaning benches, etc. The day will kick-off at Columbus Park (Court Street & Montague) at 9am where volunteers will register and receive their assignment for a day of service that is scheduled to last until 2pm.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Goodbye Chestnut.

We learned last week from reading Eater NY, one of our favorite foodie/restaurant blogs, that one of our fairly longtime local restaurants was closing. Chestnut, at 271 Smith street has been around just under a decade, and is no longer. Here's their goodbye to the neighborhood:

Dear Friends,

The owners and employees of Chestnut would like to express its gratitude to all of the wonderful patrons of the last nine years. This has been a great community to be a part of. As we move towards brighter futures we'll always be reminded that what we built was a true mom and pop and not a theme or franchise. It took an army of hungry food loving people to raise this house and an economic disaster to bring it down. We survived three hurricanes and one tornado. Six couples married here, we hosted countless baby showers, wedding receptions, birthday parties, engagements all of which brought so much joy to the job. We'll miss this neighborhood that has been so good to us and for that would like to simply say...

Thank you.

Daniel Eardley
Michael Connolly
Susan Daily

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

16 Handles

The Frozen Yogurt chain 16 Handles is coming to Smith street. And if you've been anywhere in that vicinity lately you'd know because how could you miss that sign. Bright and giant. People in the neighborhood are none too pleased. A friend of ours just said "aren't there laws about this?". Well, giant sign or not, it's coming. We hear the yogurt's actually pretty tasty. Maybe we'll try it when it opens...if we aren't blinded by the approach towards the door.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New French Bistro on Atlantic.

We weren't even aware that La Mancha, a Spanish restaurant on Atlantic near Henry that had been in the neighborhood for a while, was closed until we walked by the other day to find a whole new restaurant already up and ready for business. It's called Chez Moi and from what we read on Bococaland, it's a casual French bistro serving typical items like steak frites and escargot. Similar to Bar Tabac we're guessing and that place is always packed so this place will hopefully do well too. We know we'll be checking it out!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Old Thai New Thai.

It seems like whenever there's a new Thai restaurant in the neighborhood it often turns out it's replacing an old Thai restaurant or it is the same restaurant that has just changed their name. See U Thai, at 160 Smith Street, used to be Thai Sesame. We haven't heard anything about this place except that it did get 4 stars on menu pages. If you'd like to try it out, now would be a good time. For their grand opening they're offering a 10% discount to all dine-in customers between 5pm and 9pm through April 22nd. If you try it let us know what you think.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Party next week at Abilene.

On Sunday, April 22nd between 5 and 11pm, Abilene will be having a blog launch party for something called One Chord Progression. This is what we found out about them on their twitter page.
Brooklyn couple whose goal in life is to be the next Lux & Ivy. We interview rock n rollers, funny people and awesome human beings.
The party will have DJ Mr. Lee, DJ Jo Murray, and DJ C'mon! It's free and sure to be a fun time so...hit it. Abilene is located at 442 Court Street.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Job Hunting?

Are you looking for a job and interested in working in the food industry? Here are a couple places in the neighborhood that are hiring.

Pok Pok, at 127 Columbia Street, is a Portland, Oregon transplant that's getting a lot of buzz. They're known for their Thai style wings and spare ribs and have already opened another location in Manhattan. They're sure to do well. Currently hiring for all positions just stop by and drop off your resume if you're interested.

Treats Truck, currently a food truck but soon to be a storefront at 521 Court Street, is also hiring. They need cafe personnel, bakers, and delivery people. Email resume to

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Carroll Park Volunteer Reception.

The Friends of Carroll Park are throwing a party for all their volunteers "past, present, and future!" So, if you are a volunteer, have been one or want to be one you can meet up at the Robert Acito Park House in Carroll Park for food, drinks and hanging out with all the other volunteers. We're guessing they'll also have information if you'd like to join their forces to keep the park clean and beautiful! Start time is 6pm on Saturday April 14th and will run until about 8pm.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

May classes at the Brainery.

As we had done in March, Realty Collective is teaching 2 classes at the Brooklyn Brainery in May and are very excited to be back. Like the classes in March, though, the spots filled up very quickly and both classes are unfortunately full. 8( We do hope that they are able to expand their space and hold larger classes in the future. In the meantime, sign up for the wait list! Simply go on their website and check out the two courses we're offering, "How to Find the Perfect Rental" on May 2nd and "First Time Home Buying" on May 9th. We hope to see you there!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sewing Workshop.

Brooklyn Collective, on Columbia Street right across from our office between Union and Sackett, is holding a sewing workshop for beginners ages 12 and up. The focus of the class will be on machine use, seaming, pressing, patterning, and foundation in fabrics. If you're interested act quickly because they don't have very many spots available. Call David Aloia at 917-664-4125 or Brooklyn Collective at 718-596-6231. Date and times are below.

Part 1 is Sunday April 15th 3pm-5:30pm
Part 2 is Sunday April 22nd 3pm-5:30pm

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Children's Programs at Library.

We blogged earlier this week about a Hula Hoop class at the Carroll Gardens Public Library, whihc was for adults only. Well, they've got a few things coming up for kids as well. Starting April 17th is a month and a half long series of workshops for children in both English and Spanish. It's every Tuesday from 4-5pm until May 29th with stories, art, and other learning activities. Meant for ages 3-8. Also at the library on Friday April 19th at 4pm is "Well, what about whales?". For children ages 6 and up this program teaches about the science of whales and at the end they'll give away books. Put these great events on your calendar!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Think Tank taking over Sweet Melissa's

Well, that didn't take long. Already a sign is up at the space that used to be Sweet Melissa's and the grand opening will be next weekend, April 14th and 15th. The new business is called Cobble Hill Think Tank. They'll have classes and individual tutoring for elementary, middle and high schoolers. They'll also have test preps, such as SAT prep. We haven't been able to find anything online about this new venture and from the looks of the place it seems like it's going to be very difficult to have up and ready in less than 2 weeeks. Also, is it going to be affordable? We have an awful lot of pricey tutoring businesses in the neighborhood. I guess all our questions will be answered soon enough. For now, we are just a little cranky perhaps because we miss Sweet Melissa's caramel banana cream pie tarts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

166 Smith Street under construction.

Blogs and residents around the neighborhood have always called the building at 166 Smith Street, formerly owned by the MTA, a huge "eyesore". Well, scaffolding is up and the space is ready to be transformed from the nearly windowless concrete cube to a mixed use building designed by Grasso-Menziuso Architects. People seem to have mixed feelings about their work but agree it will be an improvement no matter what. We took the picture above weeks ago and the new one below only days ago. Work has begun!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Exciting News!

The design proposal, "Food Fence" lead by architects Carolina Cineros and Mateo Pinto, for the Red Hook Vendors Marketplace has gotten funding! The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) has awarded the project a grant of $10,750. A while back there were several designs to choose from for making this market a more welcoming space and to meet the demands of the expanding marketplace. "Food Fence" was the one that was chosen. You can check it out here. This is what Architecture for Humanity had to say about it:

"Food Fence" will capture the market’s 36 year tradition of bringing together neighbors and visitors alike through the celebration of food and community in Red Hook Park. The main goal of the project is to reinforce the economic and cultural impact of the market and the value of the park as a public space at the heart of the neighborhood. Within the next year, the NYSCA grant will be used to further develop the design and to engage the community in the process. Upcoming opportunities to volunteer with the project team will be posted to the Architecture for Humanity New York website.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Learn to Hula!

Need a good workout? If you're tired of the boring old treadmill or your usual gym routine the Carroll Gardens library is offering a fun class tomorrow night in Hula Hooping! It's April 3rd at 6pm at 396 Clinton Street and will be taught by certified hula hoop instructor, Celia Kutcher. They will provide hoops so all you have to do is show up and get ready to work those hips. All levels are welcome and don't worry about a 7 year old showing you up because this class is for adults only. 18 years and older. As usual, this program is free to the public.