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July 16th, 2012

Will Pinkberry Advertise on a Local Park Slope Blog: It Remains To Be Seen

The following is an exchange that went on between me and Team Pinkberry. I noticed that someone from the new Park Slope Pinkberry was reading my blog posts and even chiming in about dates and times for their opening.

It occurred to me that it would be nice for them to advertise on OTBKB. So I sent them a message on Facebook. There is no Facebook page for the local Brooklyn business so I guess it went into some national Pinkberry message space.

Yesterday, I spoke with Ryan, the owner of Park Slope’s Pinkberry. He lives in Long Island and is very excited about opening a business here. I asked him directly if he’d like to advertise on OTBKB and he told me that he’d have to speak with the national office about advertising.

Today, I got this email from the national office. I think it’s a form letter response. I feel a little bit dissed, I have to admit.


Louise Crawford

July 12

Louse Crawford

  • Dear Team Pinkberry: Thanks for the comment on my blog and I will let the readers of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn (a popular Park Slope blog since 2004) know that there will be an opening celebration on July 19th. Yay.

    I’d like to offer you an inexpensive banner ad. If you send me a banner jpeg or gif, you can have the top banner spot on my blog.

    Let me know if you’re interested and I will quote you a low price for 6 months!!!

    People know and trust OTBKB and an ad here will speak volumes about our delight in the addition of Pinkberry to the Seventh Avenue landscape.

    Best, Louise

  • Pinkberry
    about an hour ago


    • We are pleased to learn of your interest in partnering with the one-of-a-kind brand that is Pinkberry. We will be sure to share your contact information with the marketing team for further review and follow up. Thank you.

  • Louise Crawford
    a few seconds ago

    Louise Crawford
    • Thanks. Advertising with a local blog would show a real commitment to the community. And Brooklyn LOVES neighborhood-invested businesses. It must go both ways.

    • Park Slope’s Barnes & Noble got a lot of flack for not, initially, doing things in conjunction with local schools, etc. They changed their ways big-time and now are, I think, considered a part of the neighborhood when they do the gift wrap fundraisers and poetry readings for local schools. It is especially important for chains and franchises to show their love for where they are.

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July 13th, 2012

Coffee at Forty Weight, Lunch at Sweet Wolf’s in Without Moving

Forty Weight Cafe is fast becoming my favorite Park Slope cafe. What’s cool is that it’s also a restaurant called Sweet Wolf’s and the smells from the kitchen as they prep food for lunch and dinner are positively sumptuous.

The Forty Weight/Sweet Wolf’s double name thing is a tad confusing. But no biggy. The double duty of cafe by day, restaurant by afternoon and evening makes a ton of sense.

The Forty Weight cafe and wi-fi crowd has to clear out at 3:30. That is when the cafe closes AND the restaurant closes for a couple of hours to make way for the evening to prepare for the dinner crowd. Sweet Wolf reopens at 5PM with a dinner menu.

I’ve been here since 8:45 or so. I ordered an iced coffee and a muffin and plugged in my computer. Yes, plugged in my computer. The outlet is a lovely thing.

I met a friend for coffee and we talked and talked…Now it’s lunch time and the waitress just showed me the menu. There’s no pressure to stop using the space at the cafe, but the menu looks great. Vegetarian french onion soup, borscht, veggie chili, roasted cauliflower, hummus and olives, crab cake sandwich, pulled pork on brioche, shrimp with piquante sauce, BBQ pulled tempeh…

I ordered the cold borscht because I am a HUGE fan of cold borscht.

I’m eating the borscht now. It’s a classic Jewish/Eastern European borscht with sour cream. Perfect summer soup. Brings me back. The soup is $7. They also have burgers for the whopping price of $18.

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July 12th, 2012

Free Frozen Yogurt at Pinkberry Opening Celebration on July 19

A representative from Team Pinkberry wrote in to OTBKB to say that there will be FREE frozen yogurt at Pinkberry during the Opening Celebration of the first Brooklyn store which happens to be in Park Slope on Seventh Avenue and Garfield Place. The festivities begin at 6PM on July 19th.

I’m not saying you’re gonna get BIG free sundaes and stuff. It might just be little taster cups. Maybe a rep from Team Pinkberry can chime on in.

But you don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth.

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July 10th, 2012

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt Coming to Park Slope on July 20th

Pinkberry has chosen Park Slope as the location of its first Brooklyn shop. An honor, I’m sure. The official opening day is July 20th. Shhhh, I  think there’s going to be a grand opening event on July 19th. Keep your eyes open, there  just might be frozen yogurt coming out of those spigots.

Pinkberry isn’t just a national yogurt chain, it’s global with outposts in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Russia, Turkey and Bahrain among others. On their website they say they originated the tart frozen yogurt that everyone serves now. They also serve smoothies, fruit parfaits, waffle cookies, cones and fruit bowls with a wide variety of toppings.

The new Park Slope location is 161  Seventh Avenue on the corner of Garfield Place. For many years, there were various Japanese restaurants in that spot. Most recently there was the Seventh Avenue Wine Bar. Upstairs is Rancho Alegre, the Mexican restaurant I’ve only been to once many years ago.

Nuff said.

Park Slope is becoming something of a frozen yogurt mecca. There’s the very popular Culture: An American Yogurt Company on Fifth Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets. This company, which originated in Park Slope, makes their yogurt in-house from live probiotic cultures. Toppings like key lime and blackberry pie are pretty wonderful.

There’s also Yogo Monster, now a serve-it-yourself establishment on Seventh Avenue near Union Street with a “salad bar” of  fruit, nut and candy toppings. The make-it-yourself aspect is really fun and easy.

So get ready for the frozen yogurt Olympics. Pinkberry, Culture, Yogo Monster. Let’s see who wins our vote.

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July 6th, 2012

Forty Weight Coffee Roasters & Cafe

Forty Weight Coffee Roasters & Cafe is that cafe on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 12th Street. By day it’s Forty Weight, by noon it’s also a restaurant called Sweet Wolf’s. 

Maybe you’ve wondered about it; maybe you’ve been there.

Forty Weight and Sweet Wolf’s have lovely front area that has a very elegant and inviting look. High gate, brick posts, gargoyles, black metal tables and chairs. Inside it’s air conditioned, there’s free wifi and the coffee is good, very good. It’s roasted by Forty Weight Coffee Roasters.

Here’s what Forty Weight has to say on their website.

“Forty Weight Coffee Roasters is the product of many years spent daydreaming over hot cups of coffee in breakfast spots and cafes around the world. Owner/Operator Andrew Ballard built Forty Weight on his passion/skill for sourcing, roasting and drinking the finest coffees on earth. The genesis of Forty Weight Coffee Roasters was long and hard, but it led us to be the strong uncompromising company that we are today. Forty Weight Coffee Roasters is on the front lines of third wave coffee; educating, inspiring – leading the movement to evolve our industry.”

Here at FW, the baristas are very nice, very conversational, fun. The place has a very neighborhoody feel. Best of all, the flat screen TV is set to Wimbledon.

I like it here.

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June 27th, 2012

Retrieve the Missed Last Call at O’Connor’s on July 11

On July 11th from 8pm until closing at Freddy’s Bar, you will have a chance to say a formal good bye to a Park Slope institution. It seems that there was no Last Call at O’Connor’s Bar. There was only a subtle warning of an impending closure of the historic bar at 39 5th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

But now the bar has shut its doors for “re-modeling,” and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that it will never be the same.

Freddy’s Bar, however, is doing the right thing, the prudent thing. They are offering O’Connor’s “post mortem rectification” (that is, indeed, a mouthful).

 On July 11th, all are invited to celebrate the bar’s history and retrieve that “Missed” Last Call, one last time, from O’Connor’s bartenders– the proper sendoff this neighborhood institution deserves. Long-time O.C. barmen, Thomas and Matty the Kid, will grace the rails and serve patrons of both bars for this one special night.

And now a little history (not sure who wrote this amazing press release):

Since Prohibition Freddy’s and O’Connor’s have shared a rich history, a neighborhood, and a sense of defiance. More recently, in the 90′s, both bars waged a war on who could stay open later (Usually a tie since neither seemed to ever close.) A softball league, comprised of only the 2 Bars… Freddy’s and O’Connor’s. Plus, for years, particular Objects would disappear from one bar only to appear in the other, and vice verse. The legend grew such that even the NY Times covered the story. O’Connor’s vs Freddy’s– NY Times

Freddy’s recently re-located to escape the Barclay Center, while O’Connor’s weathered the passing of it’s beloved and iconic patriarch Pat O’Connor in 2006, and a consequential change in ownership. The Gothamist says the bar is closed for “ Evisceration,” but Freddy’s is offering one last round for OLD TIMES SAKE. Loyal regulars and ir-regulars who darkened the door at the now defunct bar can be served by O’Connor’s bartenders for one last time. Here is the final chance for regulars, ir-regulars, and first timers to pay respect to a historic bar, a legacy and to the man Pat O’Connor himself.

The photograph is from Eater where there’s an interesting piece about O’Connor’s by Robert Simonson


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June 22nd, 2012

Calcutta Kitchens at Park Slope Farmer’s Market Sunday

I often buy an Indian simmer sauce from this lovely woman at the Park Slope Farmer’s Market (Fifth Avenue between 3rd and 5th Streets). It’s so delicious and it taste great with sauteed chicken or vegetables.

She also has summer soups: Chilled Zucchini, Potato & Cilantro Soup. And of course that old stand-by: Green Mango Chutney, which is a must have at any barbeque.

This week, she will also be selling refreshing Nimboo Pani – Fresh Squeezed Indian Limeade, which sounds refreshing and delicious.

Her name is Aditi and her company is called Calcutta Kitchens. She’s been selling at the Park Slope Farmer’s Market for quite a few years now. Her sauces are reasonably priced and she offers tastes at her Farmer’s Market table.

It seems that there’s a lot more to Aditi than just selling sauces at the Market. She received an MBA and her transition from corporate career to entrepreneur was fueled by a true passion for food, cooking and entertaining. She also teaches Indian cooking.

I am such a fan that I go out of my way to pick up the sauce because it makes making dinner so easy and delicious. And she’s is most definitely not paying me in money or sauce to say this.

I’m just saying.

I see that she’s introducing some new products, including: Aditi’s Spice Blends: Bengali Five Spice Mix for sautes, soups and stews (“all aroma and no heat!”).

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June 20th, 2012

Of L Magazine’s Top Ten New Restaurants: Two in Slope

8. Culture
331 Fifth Ave, Park Slope
Culture’s sublimely nourishing frozen yogurt—made from low-fat, hormone- and antibiotic-free milk from Upstate New York—is technically very healthy but sure to ignite many dangerously passionate addictions. With an eclectic smattering of topping choices, there might not be a limit to this love.

10. Littleneck
288 Third Ave, Gowanus
None of the seafood at Littleneck disappoints. The clams are as juicy as if they’d been lifted from the sea and placed directly into the fryer; the oyster selection is equally compelling. The sides are pitch-perfect—complexly flavored pickles, mignonette and tangy cocktail sauce. With a well-curated tap list and a charming nautical interior, Littleneck is a delightfully unsuspecting spot just off the banks of the Gowanus Canal.

Note: The L Magazine currently has The Brooklyn Food Power Rankings, a best-of of various food items.

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June 20th, 2012

Two Bloggers Meet at Cafe Dada

Liena Zigara (of Park Slope Stoop) and I met for coffee at Cafe Dada. We sat for two hours in that lovely new space. Now that I’ve actually been there I can report that the former Ozzie’s has been renovated with skill and taste.

The owners repurposed the old pharmacy cabinets, glass and signage. A nice touch was the old prescriptions sign above the kitchen area. One of the owners, whose name is Gabor, said that he’d spent the last six months in the storefront renovating and getting the space ready.

I had two iced coffees served in a tall glass. Liena had coffee, served in a pretty coffee cup. She also had a fruit salad. I took a free taste of a delicious apple streudel.


Gabor said that the shop will soon be serving beer and wine, which I think will only enhance the offerings of this new cafe.

In case you need reminding: Dada wan an avant-garde art movement developed in Europe in the early 20th century. Think Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Tristan Tzara, Andre Breton, Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning. Wouldn’t it be cool to run into one of them at the Dada?

A lovely place to sit, sip, and converse with a friend on a great corner (Lincoln and Seventh Avenue).

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June 6th, 2012

Celebrate the New Herring Catch in Park Slope

A few years ago, I had the privilege of celebrating the new herring catch with Pastor Daniel Meeter of Old First Dutch Reformed Church at Two Boots. Well, he’s doing it again on June 14th.

As Meeter explained, herring was a diet staple in the Netherlands for hundreds of years. It was always plentiful in the North Sea and Dutch fishing boats didn’t have far to go for those little fish. But the tastiest herring were the newly matured fish caught in late spring: the green, new herring.

The problem was figuring out how to preserve the new herring once the fishermen made their catch: Cleaning the fish on board ship and salting it was the way to go. You can read more about it here.

It’s really such a fun event because Meeter eats them the way the Dutch do: he eats them whole. It’s quite a sight (see picture above from 2009). And you can learn how to do it (and taste some delicious herring) on June 14th from 6-8 PM.

Herring is a really big deal in Holland, you see. Once a year, the herring in the North Sea reach their optimal condition during a four to five week season. In Holland, the start of this season is a national holiday.

A national holiday, eh. Well, in Park Slope, it seems, that tradition is being honored.

According to Meeter, “The New Catch Holland Herring is eaten by holding the whole herring by the tail and dropping it into your mouth. At Two Boots, Meeter likes to chase the herring down with ice cold Dutch Genever Gin.”

Come celebrate Breuklyn’s founding fathers at Two Boots Brooklyn at 6pm with our very own Gwynneth Bensen behind the bar.

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March 5th, 2011

Park Slope Eatery Declares Bankruptcy

According to Crains New York, Park Slope Eatery, a deli-style restaurant on Seventh Avenue and Fourth Street in Park Slope, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. They’re still open but the clock is ticking.

I was aware that there were problems with the investors in the venture. I knew the place was struggling and it was just a matter of when they were going to pull the plug.

According to Crains, Ataka Taka Taka Inc., the company that owns the eatery owes nearly $95,000 to 18 creditors. They also received a number of sanitary violations from the Department of Health. The restaurant’s letter grade is still pending but that’s a moot point now.

Yet another business on Seventh Avenue bites the dust.

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March 4th, 2011

Park Slope Eatery Closing

If you blinked you might have missed it.  Park Slope Eatery, a deli-style restaurant on Seventh Avenue at the corner of Fifth Street, is closing. They were in the space vacated by the enormously successful La Bagel Delight, which moved two blocks south.

In case you missed it, PS Eatery had steam table fare, breakfast in the morning, bagels, deli sandwiches, salads with your choice of toppings, rotisserie chicken, daily entrees, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and the like.

I got wind of the fact that their business was terrible a few months ago. Apparently it was owned by a group of investors and many of them walked away quite early on. Some of the remaining investors tried to keep it going.

Look, they had a decent location, decent food (basics, nothing fancy) and nice people working there —  but no atmosphere or character at all.

No surprise.

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March 4th, 2011

Report From Cheeburger Cheeburger

This is a report, not a review.

Yesterday for lunch Hepcat and I went to Cheeburger Cheeburger, the new franchise on Seventh Avenue and Third Street in Park Slope. Just open for two days, I was dying to try it. Hepcat was resistant to the bright pink interior but that wasn’t a problem for me. He liked the big windows facing Seventh Avenue, which are good for taking pictures of the street.

The waiter was very friendly, very nice. He brought us our drinks in jam jars that said Cheeburger Cheeburger on them. After studying the menu for well over 10 minutes — there’s a lot to look at, lots of choices, and toppings and ways that you can customize your hamburger (peanut butter?) — we ordered.

The calories are listed next to the items on the menu so I decided against the hamburger and ordered a turkey burger instead. Hepcat ordered a blue cheeseburger with onions.

While we waited some of the staff presented a customer with a cloth sculpture of a cheeseburger because he finished a One Pounder, their 20 ounce burger. In the menu it says, “If you can finish this monster, we’ll take a picture of you and put it on the wall with the other Wall of Famers.”

You’ve been warned: if you ever eat one of those the staff will come out and embarrass you.

While we waited Hepcat wondered about the music, all fifties, sixties and seventies.

“It sounds like everything is speeded up. It’s weird.”

“The place has a real American Graffiti vibe,” I said.

We then tried to remember all the restaurants that have been in that spot. Rex, Nam, Miracle Grill…many escape my memory.

We waited for our food for quite awhile. Hepcat noticed a neon sign that said Same Day Service and kept joking about it.

“It says same day service…”

Our burgers arrived in those plastic baskets they used to have at diners. My turkey burger was very tasty. Hepcat seemed to enjoy his blue cheese burger.

Chee Chee seems to be attracting a big lunchtime crowd. Doctors and nurses from Methodist Hospital were definitely in attendance.

We’ll be going back to try other items on the menu for sure.

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February 26th, 2011

Cheeburger Cheeburger Reveals Sign

No picture yet. But reports from various friends do not bode well for the nabe opinion of their new, “garish” sign.

I saw the Cheeburger Cheeburger sign and it’s not so bad. Sure, it’s big with a red background and white letters. And I saw inside the place, too. Very retro. The walls are painted pink with 1950’s style diner tables and chairs. There are neon signs on the walls. The counter looks fun. All very Grease, like the waitresses should be wearing poodle skirts and singing, “Summer loving had me a blast.”

I think kids, especially teenagers, are going to like it.

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February 19th, 2011

Park Slope Italian Eatery Seized

Scalino, a well-regarded Italian eatery on Seventh Avenue and 10th Street, was seized by the New York State Department of Taxation  According to Park Slope Patch, they received four separate warrants for unpaid taxes.

The largest of the warrants is for $112,840 and it dates back to 2008, a year after the restaurant opened. No wonder the prices were so good. They weren’t paying taxes!

The owner told Patch and locals that he’s just sorting things out with New York State. Apparently, he reopened the restaurant last night. If he can’t pay the taxes they can seize the restaurant’s chairs, tables, kitchen equipment and other property.

Better get a payment plan, Scalino. New York  State is very nasty. The Feds are warm and fuzzy compared to them. They can lien all over you and it isn’t pretty.

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February 17th, 2011

Here’s Park Slope: Interview with a Timboo’s Bartender

This week on Here’s Park Slope, there’s an interview with a bartender at the South Slope bar, Timboos, located on Fifth Avenue and 11th Street. Now that’s a place that’s been in the neighborhood forever. A friend of mine who grew up on Fifth Avenue in the fifties and sixties used to tell me about that place. Great stories.

Here’s Park Slope’s Dan runs a great series called Know Your Bartender and he does great interviews. In fact he interviewed me for an upcoming piece on his blog (know your bloggers?). Here’s an excerpt from his interview with bartender Betty Collins.

When it comes to South Slope bars, there are two categories: those that draw a younger crowd and those that cater to a slightly older demographic. For the former category, Ellis Bar and Black Horse Tavern come to mind. Bars in the latter category also share the trait of having been in the neighborhood the longest, though, and they include Smith’s, Jackie’s Fifth Amendment, and Timboo’s. These old-school bars open earlier, stay open later, draw a fiercely loyal clientele, and are throwbacks to an earlier Brooklyn.

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February 9th, 2011

Bklyn Bloggage: food & drink

Egytptian cake: A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn

Oeufs la cocotte: 2 Cooks in the Kitchen

Valentine’s Day cookies: Eating the Beats

Chicken parmy: Learning as I Chop

Developing Mile End wholesale brand: Eater

Review of Mile End: NY Times

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February 9th, 2011

Behind the Scenes at Al Di La

2 Minutes to Dinner provides a behind-the-scenes look at Park Slope’s acclaimed Al Di La. In the blog post, Chef Anna Klinger reveals the secrets behind the restaurant’s delicious Anchovy Vinaigrette. 2 Minutes to Dinner is designed to help the home cook “put high quality dishes on the table in minutes, without shortcuts or convenience foods, all while encouraging frugality and improvisation.”

Given Al Di La‘s reputation for doing no wrong–ask anyone who eats out in my neighborhood–it’s funny that Anna Klinger, its chef/co-owner, would caution that her Anchovy Vinaigrette might be too simple for a Behind the Scenes entry.  It is, in fact, a perfect example of a basic, versatile, but hardly understated pantry item that we like to champion at Purple Kale Kitchenworks.  And, of course, it is Anna’s unflashy but keenly finessed cooking that keeps Al Di La’s Italian food on point.

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February 7th, 2011

PS Brooklyn Opening Friday

It’s there for all to see: PS Brooklyn, the cute name (and double entrendre) of the new restaurant in what was the Bussaco space on Union Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Park Slope, is etched on the door.

The new eatery will serve American comfort fare like burgers, pizza and that sort of thing. According to Brownstoner, a pizza oven has been installed.

The challenge of that location is that it’s off the Avenue. That said, Union Street is a major “side” street and there’s loads of pedestrian traffic because of all the stores over there including, Food Co-op, Ellie Herman, yoga classes, and, of course, the Tea Lounge.

Quite a few good restaurants have occupied that space  (Lentos, Bussaco, and others) and it’s a lovely, large interior space.

The PS Brooklyn decor space looks very attractive. Bright white walls with  blue accents, nice light fixtures, black tables and chairs. PS Brooklyn  is set to open on Friday. See you there.

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January 31st, 2011

Freddy’s Bar to Reopen on Feb 4th

Freddy’s Bar is rising from the ashes.

The bar, which was demolished to make way for the Atlantic Yards project and was a central meeting place in the battle against eminent domain abuse, is set to reopen on Friday, February 4th.

Clear your calendar, folks. This is going to be a raucous good time. The fun starts at 5PM and the bar will stay open until 4AM! The new owners want you to know that the entire bar has been created almost exclusively out of re-cycled, found or hand made objects, with next to nothing being purchased “New,”

“The creation of this bar is owed to the hard work of the new owners (all previous staff members), and especially to the generous efforts of other staff members and many a bar regular, who all pitched in,” the new owners write in a press release.

The new Freddy’s, located in the South Park Slope at 5th Ave between 17th and 18th Street, is just one block from the Prospect stop on the R train, and 8 blocks from the 4th Ave and 9th Street stop on multiple trains.

Many items from the old Freddy’s have been transported to the new,  including the original prohibition era red mahogany bar and the old booths and tables. The “Chains of Justice” will still grace the bar as a reminder of their  fight against eminent domain abuse and the power of the community bond.

Also on display: The video art of Donald O’Finn will still be prominently featured. According to the press release, “the decor is unique and vibrant, a mixture of old and new, antique Hollywood Regency chandeliers, steam punk accents, vintage wallpaper as well as handmade erotic wall-paper and permanent art installations from local art stars like Nancy Drew and Steve Pauley. The stamp of co-owner/artist Donald O’Finn is evident almost everywhere you look, from the fish tank sunk into a wall with giant albino frogs to the barn wood wall constructions and oversized gothic frame mounted to a flatscreen TV.”

They’ve got lots planned for the opening. Les Sans Culottes are the headliners and they will go on at midnight. Opening acts include Apple recording artist Brute Force and eclectic world roots band The Magpie kicking things off.

Also on display, an exhibition of glitter and flock paintings by NYC artist Nancy Drew.

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January 28th, 2011

Crop to Cup Opens in Gowanus

There’s a really interesting new cafe in the neighborhood. And it opens today.

On their blog, the folks at Crop to Cup say that they’ve been “sandblasting, knocking down walls, building, sanding, painting, sealing, plumbing, electrical-ing (?) for about 3 months now.  So what do we have to show for it?  An awesome cafe for y’all, if we may say so ourselves.”

The brand new Crop to Cup Cafe, which serves family farmed coffee from Uganda and Burundi, opened today (Friday) at 7:30 AM and they’re selling the coffee for half price. They’ve also convinced Four and Twenty Blackbirds to make baked goods for them, making Crop to Cup Four and Twenty’s first wholesale client.

What is Crop to Cup?

Crop to Cup is an espresso bar, a pourover/brew bar (choose between Hario, Clever, Beehouse or French Press). The location also houses C2C’s importing operations, their wholesale operations, a garden (all hail Spring) and baked goods from our neighbors at Four & Twenty Blackbirds who are right down the street.

The location is 541A Third Avenue in Brooklyn, not far from the G/R/F stop at 4th Ave/9th St. Right next to Lowlands Bar.

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January 26th, 2011

Bklyn Bloggage: food & drink

Superbowl special: turkey chili: A Kitchen in Brooklyn

Hot cross buns…in January?: A Cakes Bakes in Brooklyn

Simple winter breakfast pleasures: 2 Cooks in the Kitchen

Mable’s Smokehouse & Banquet Hall: NY Times

Upcoming restaurant events: All About Fifth

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January 24th, 2011

Health Tips: IntenSati and Weight Watchers

Since December I’ve been taking IntenSati at at Ellie Herman’s 4th Street Annex (Wednesdays at 7:15, Friday at 6:45AM and Saturday at 2:30PM).

I am now, officially, really hooked. Taught by Chantall Brachmann-Scott, it’s one hell of a workout and worth its weight in therapy. I mean, I walk out of there feeling like a million bucks. $20 bucks a class – no problem.

IntenSati is a fairly new exercise method that combines yoga, martial arts, aerobics and new-age affirmations. A high-energy cardio workout created by Patricia Moreno, author of “The intenSati Method, 7 Principles to Thinner Peace,” the technique is based on “mindfulness, positive psychology and the law of attraction.”

The vocal affirmations required of the participants, is, in my experience, what gives intenSati its added kick.

A year ago, Chantall Brachman-Scott, a popular local Pilates instructor at Ellie Herman, completed the intenSati leader training with its founder and decided to bring this body sculpting workout and method of creating awareness and intention to Park Slope.

The music, a key element of the experience, included vintage hits like Queen’s, “We are the Champions” and Olivia Newton John’s “Xanadu” with more contemporary sounds from the South African inflected soundtrack of “Invictus.”

“I like bringing awareness to my clients, students,” Brachmann-Scott told me.  “Awareness of how wonderful our bodies are, how they function and that we can truly be in control of this body physically and mentally.”

Every month the routine changes. January’s was called Champion and it consisted of a kick-boxing inspired routine. We shout out phrases like:  “Yes, this I must achieve. And I will not rest until I succeed” as we jump kick dance and sweat. Lots of sweat. February’s will be based on the serenity prayer ( I can’t wait).

About the affirmations, apparently that turns people off when they hear about it but it actually helps you remember the routines and helps with the breathing. So bite the bullet folks and come on down.

Weight Watchers: I’ve been doing Weight Watchers since just after Thanksgiving and going to meetings at the Montauk Club on Sundays at 9AM and 10:30AM.

So far I’m 5 pounds down. Yay me.

Melanie, the leader, is one of the most empathic, friendly, smart and FUNNY leaders I’ve ever had at Weight Watchers. She is seriously gifted at public speaking, teaching the program to newcomers, and keeping the crowd motivated to keep going. The day I restarted Weight Watchers was the day they switched to the new points plus system, which is a much improved approach to weight loss with a long list of healthy, fresh power foods that are encouraged over all. I have NEVER heard Melanie even mention the Weight Watchers frozen and packaged products (though they do sell some interesting WW snacks at the meetings).

Melanie lost something like 65 pounds on the program but it’s hard to imagine her with all that weight. But that’s the point. She continues on the program to maintain her weight loss and to inspire others.

And boy does she inspire me. Yay Melanie.

Melanie and Chantall: It’s a power punch.

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January 24th, 2011

New on Seventh: Bagel Market & Da Nonna Rosa

Bagel Market, on Seventh Avenue near Union Street in Park Slope, first. They really know what they’re doing over there and their instant popularity is a testament to that. The service is friendly and fast. The bagels are good—though not as good as La Bagel Delight IMHO. I’ve had the corned beef on rye, the egg whites and cheese on a roll, a biali with cream cheese and coffees and it’s all good.

I love to sit in there. I think it has a cozy atmosphere with its nice lighting and brick walls, and nice tables by the windows (windows on Seventh).

I find myself going in a lot and knowing that the service will be fast and the quality high. What more can you ask for?My only complaint: too many strollers and sometimes there’s nowhere to sit. A good problem to have—if you’re the owner.

Da Nonna Rosa on Seventh between Carroll and President: I went in on Saturday to order Baked Ziti for my daughter. We’ve tried that dish, her favorite dish, all over the neighborhood (La Villa, Pino’s, the pizza place across from Washington Park on 3rd Street) and it’s good at best, serviceable at worst. I mean it’s pasta, sauce and a ton of mozzarella cheese. Sometimes there’s a sprig of basil thrown in for good measure.

I thought the Baked Ziti at Da Nonna Rosa was delicious and very fresh tasting. The take-out service up front was extremely friendly and fast.

I checked out the back dining room. It’s got a really authentic, “we’ve been in the neighborhood forever” kind of look. Nothing fussy, not even that pretty. But it looks like a pleasant place to sit, especially in one of the booths. And I’m guessing the service is friendly. One of the waiters, an extremely nice, enthusiastic man, took me upstairs to see the bar/lounge and the party room.

I have to say: It’s such a great space up there and a PERFECT place for a party. My sister and I were going to do our birthday party there a few years ago when it was Elementi but had to cancel. One third of the floor is a very comfortable bar/lounge area, an excellent spot for drinks and appetizers before dinner, and the other two thirds is a party space that can fit 75-100 people at tables.

The upstairs bar/lounge is open to the public when there’s no party in there.

Posted in Food and Drink | 1 Comment »

January 19th, 2011

Fast Growing Franchise: Cheeburger Cheeburger Coming to Seventh Ave.

Their motto is big is better and truth be told, Cheeburger Cheeburger is a fast growing franchise with branches in New Jersey, Staten Island, Queens, as well as Pensacola, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Houston area, College Station, San Antonio, Austin, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, North & South Carolina, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Boston and all of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut…

So what is Cheeburger Cheeburger, other than a reference to the John Belushi skit on early SNL?

Well, judging by the national website, it’s cheeburgers, cheeburgers and more cheeburgers. The 20-pounder is what they’re famous for and if you actually finish the thing they’ll take a picture of you.

Say cheese.

They’ll also have a classic burger which is 5.5 ounces. You can also invent your own cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, and grilled cheese sandwich and choose from a huge list of toppings, including peanut butter, horseradish sauce, artichoke hearts, chopped olives and more.

Making it your own seems to be the thing at Cheeburger Cheeburger because they also have a make your own salad AND a make your own shake or malt with a huge list of toppings and ingredients to select.

They’ve been voted best burger in numerous cities so I’m guessing their burgers have something to offer. It all remains to be seen…

But the big question: do they serve coke or pepsi?

Posted in Food and Drink | 4 Comments »

January 19th, 2011

Good Bye Willie’s Dawgs

It happens every year. Struggling businesses hang in there through the holiday season and then call it quits in January. So far this year we’ve lost La Taqueria, Hog Mountain, Naidres in Carroll Gardens and now Willie’s Dawgs, the stylish hot dog place on Fifth Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets.

I for one am sorry to hear because we loved their hot dogs, loved their decor and loved their dedication to dog adoption.

Everything about the place was creative, including the names of the hot dogs (mutt, pedigree, best in show, bird dawg, downward facing dawg with tofu), the huge mural on the wall, the dog adoption photographs, and their commitment to raising money for Sean Casey Animal Rescue.

Willie’s garnered fantastic reviews from the New York Times, Time Out, Yelp, New York, where they were selected for best cheap eats.

So what gives?

Sounds like the owner, Tom Anderson, after four years just got doggone tired of running a business around here. “It was a great four-year run and it’s time to move on,” Anderson wrote in a statement.

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January 17th, 2011

Freddy’s Bar to Re-Open on Feb 4th in South Slope

Who says there isn’t life after eminent domain?

Sounds like Freddy’s Bar will re-open with great fanfare at their new location on Fifth Avenue  between 17th and 18th Street in the South Slope. The big date and time: February 4th at 4PM.

As part of the opening festivities, Les Sans Culottes will go on at midnight, with opening acts of Brute Force and The Magpie kicking things off. An exhibition of glitter and flock paintings by artist Nancy Drew will be on display.

Apparently, many items from the old Freddy’s will decorate the new place, including the prohibition era red mahogany bar, the old booths and tables.

According to Donald O’Finn, one of the owners of the new Freddy’s, “The “Chains of Justice” will still grace our bar as a reminder of our fight against eminent domain abuse and the power of the community bond.”

According to a press release from O’Finn: tthere will be a vibrant mix of the old and new with steam punk accents, vintage wall paper and permanent art installations from local art stars like Nancy Drew and Steve Pauley.

The new place has been created almost exclusively out of re-cycled, found or hand made objects, with almost no new materials purchased.

Posted in Food and Drink | 3 Comments »

January 17th, 2011

Naidres in Carroll Gardens Closes, Park Slope Remains Open

I just heard that Naidres, the cafe/eatery that served delicious sandwiches, soups, treats and coffees in Carroll Gardens, is closing. The one in Park Slope, however, will remain open.

The current owner, Janice Pullcino took over both cafes from the original owner 4 years ago, Recently she had to make what she calls “a very difficult and bittersweet decision ” to shut down the Carroll Gardens location, which officially closed on Wednesday, January 12th. Pullcino found that running two restaurants has bee one of the most “exhausting, endeavors in my life, yet as hard as it was, I have loved every minute of serving the Carroll Gardens community.”

“I  am so grateful for all of the community support over the past few years, especially through some difficult economic times!” she writes in an email. “We hope to see our Carroll Gardens friends when you’re in the Park Slope area.”

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January 13th, 2011

Vegan Eatery: A Place in the Sun in Bloom

Here’s an excerpt from my latest column for Park Slope Patch, the new hyper-local news source for Park Slope.

Thinking of starting a new venture, a business or career? Forget the how-to-books and the idiot’s guides says Park Slope vegan restaurateur, Aimee Follette.

“If I’d read one of those books that say you’ll work 16-20 hours every day without a day off for a year I never would have opened Sun in Bloom,” she told me recently over a delicious lunch at the sun-filled Bergen Street eatery, which she opened in January of 2010. But she’s glad she did even if she has worked 16-20 hours for a year without a day off.

“It was crazy and I felt overwhelmed by this project but it has pushed me in all areas of who I am and challenged me physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Sun in Bloom, Follette’s labor of time—and love—is located on that groovy stretch of Bergen Street betweeen Fifth Avenue and Flatbush, that includes Babeland, Bark, Lulu Lemon and Bergen Street Comics. In the light filled space where colorful abstract paintings decorate the walls, Follette’s aim is to serve “nourishing, clean and delicious food to the people of Park Slope.”

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January 5th, 2011

Bklyn Bloggage: food & drink

How to cook collard greens: Stay at Stove Dad

Been there, baked that: A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn

December wines, a laundry list: Brooklynguy

Baking a la Francaise: 2 Cooks in the Kitchen

PS Brooklyn: Eater NY

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