Spend a Couple Minutes »Norman Dental Center

98 Norman Avenue, Greenpoint Brooklyn

Weary of local dentists (and with good reason it would seem based on the yelp reviews of Manhattan Ave Dental Associates and especially Greenpoint Dental Center, yikes!) I was thrilled to get a glowing recommendation from a trusted friend for Norman Dental Center.

After a clean, courteous, informative visit there myself after a filling mishap, I am passing the recommendation on to you!

Rarely do you leave a dentist excited to tell people about it, but Dr. Teague was fantastic and the nurse and receptionist were incredibly polite (something I find strangely lacking in most Doctor’s offices).

If you’re in the area and in need of nearby dental care, look no further.

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Posted on August 26, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Braids of Paradise

Awesome Hairdos

If I were rich, like really really rich where money was just there to be spent, I’d pay someone to brush and braid my hair every day. Ever since I was a kid, with hair as long as it is now, I was designated as the girl who’s hair was played with – and I loved it!

Well, I’ve not suddenly come into wealth, but for an afternoon I did get to pay someone to play with my hair again.

Megan Pflug is a RISD chum and her side project, Braids of Paradise offers awesome braids (as you can plainly see). I felt like a science fiction queen for a couple days.

You can find her at the Backyard Bazaar at the great local shop In God We Trust (where I found a travel razor kit that could be hand engraved for a wonderful birthday gift). I believe it is held every Saturday and features many vendors of cool stuff.

Speaking of cool stuff, she and friend Katie Wright will have their lovely Cairo hand painted silk scarves for sale there as well.

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Posted on July 25, 2011

Drinks »Upright Coffee

860 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

I know Greenpoint doesn’t need another great place to buy coffee, but we’ve got it with the Manhattan Avenue sliver of a spot Upright Coffee.

The lattes are great and they sell their own beans as well as various baked goods.

A stroll down nearby lovely Milton, Greenpoint’s loveliest street is a nice accompaniment to an eye opening treat.

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Posted on July 16, 2011

Desserts »Baskin Robbins Icecream Cake

643 Manhattan Ave,and a Million Other Locations

Father’s Day afternoon: Van is sacked out in my arms, so (best daddy ever) Jim has to go down to the land of I-forgot-to-get-a-cake, the Baskin Robbins attanched to the Dunkin Donuts for his own Father’s Day Cake.

As someone familiar with Carvel and Hersheys cakes in the past, I expected that strange sugary plastic icing and ultra sweetness. To my surprise, Baskin does things a little classier. The icing is more like whipped cream and doesn’t even coat your mouth with oddness.

It does, of course, still end up looking like some crazy clown nightmare by the time you’re nearly done though (see photo), as all ice cream cakes should.

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Posted on June 19, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Renegade Craft Fair

in McCarren Park June 11-12

It’s been a few years since I’ve attended the Renegade Craft Fair and I must say it has grown.

Even if some things can be repetitive (how many silkscreened tees with silly octopus on it does one person need?), the wares have gotten much better and varied too.

We found lots of things we liked and even walked away with a couple things: an awesome cheeseburger onesie for Van and a tiger embroidery from Coral and Tusk that will make a lovely gift for someone special (who will remain unnamed in case s/he’s ready this).

But whether it’s adorable ceramics, impressive original art, or one incredible necklace with a beaded antique crest (which was outside my meager budget) there’s likely something here for everybody.

It’s a nice way to spend the afternoon and will be up tomorrow from 11-7.

Be sure to stop by the free photo both!

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Posted on June 11, 2011

Restaurants »Lobster Joint

1073 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint

North Greenpoint is home to all sorts of new goodness including the recently opened Lobster Joint that has taken over the previous Lamb and Jaffy space (which really went down hill).

Airy and casual, it seemed like the perfect place to pop in during the hot weather.

After a sweaty walk, I honestly was just not in the mood to fork over $17 for a sandwich, so I opted for the slightly cheaper crab roll because I really do love me some crab.

It was creamy but not over powered by the mayonnaise and was filled with good lumps of crab, not filler. Super yummy.

It came with a bag of chips and slaw, which was eh, but I am not a slaw lover so I couldn’t really say how it fares in comparison to others.

The menu features all sorts of stuff I’d like to try eventually: lobster bisque, fish and chips, and a raw bar.

Inevitably with lobster rolls and the like, the question of cost comes up – and I don’t know yet how to answer it. I can’t expect the incredible value of the Connecticut shore in NYC (a foot long lobster roll for about $13) but is the price we pay really reasonable?

Well, I’ll let that arguement sit for now and not let it cloud judgement on this particular restaurant since the price of lobster is what it is. At the same time, I can’t afford to come here as often as I’d like and get my usual overdose of Summer lobster.

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Posted on June 8, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Eastern District

1053 Manhattan Ave

I’ve been meaning to make it up to the new cheese and beer shop, Eastern District in the northern part of the neighborhood for some time now. A recent “au revoir” party gave us the prefect excuse to head up there and buy some fancy cheeses.

The friendly staff helped me pick some greats: an aged gouda, a raclette, and a lovely goat button called Sweet Emotions. Jim and I also indulged in pricey bottles of Hitachino White Ale, a favorite I haven’t had since getting knocked up (it still tastes delicious!) and were intrigued by their entire selection of canned and bottled beers (including a whole shelf of Saisons and Six Point–now in cans!).

The brightly lit, easily maneuverable shop also offers a rotating assortment of beers available in growlers sans snarky drunk beer snobs (unlike Brouwerij Lane) as well as a wall of local and otherwise tasty treats. Can’t wait to come again for lunch–their sandwich list was making me drool (turkey with bacon marmalade mmmmmm).

A great addition to the neighborhood when you need some specialty foods.

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Posted on June 5, 2011

Drinks »Spritzenhaus

33 Nassau Ave, Greenpoint

The highly anticipated, absolutely humongous Greenpoint beer garden, Spritzenhaus opened the end of last week and I expected crazy drunken crowds Saturday but to many people’s possible horror, but my delight, at 1:00 it was over run with toddlers and there were plenty of tables to choose from. Despite its size, it still started getting crowded around 3:00.

There are 25 beers on tap (as well as bottles, wine and a full bar) including three Six Points, Mother’s Milk Stout, and a great dark Schwarzbier – just don’t expect help in your selection from the bar tenders. Young and bright eyed, they’re as cute as can be but completely clueless about beer. But I can’t complain about the friendly smiles.

I was happy to hear that a food menu is coming, but for now just order some classic greasy pizza from nearby Carmine’s. A perfect accompaniment to afternoon brew.

Airy and rustic, the space is inviting and distinctly new New York with lots of exposed brick and beams, copper, and worn wood. There  are plenty of stool at the bars, individual tables and a long line of communal style ones that ingeniously roll on tracks allowing people to walk between them or join them together.

This is such a welcome addition and so close to my place that we will no doubt become enthusiastic regulars – especially in the coming warmer months when the floor to ceiling windows are all open, allowing for sunshine and people watching.

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Posted on May 2, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Hair

1008 Manhattan Ave. Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Hair is truly a neighborhood gem. Kim has earned a great reputation and devoted clients based on word of mouth. I, myself made an appointment after seeing her handiwork with a friend’s mane.

I only got a trim (so now my hair goes to my waist rather than past my butt) and it looks much healthier. I beat her record for longest hair she’s cut – but honestly I don’t even remember when it grew so much.

She was reminded of her own business card (pictured) which features an old photo she uncovered in an old apartment. At the time, she didn’t see hairdressing in her future but it must have been a pretty strong portent.

While my trim was a relatively simple task, it was done with care and precision. Plus, I’ve seen her work wonders with more complex layered cuts and color.

Unlike many salons that treat you like you’re butting in on their hanging out looking cool time, Hair is intimate, friendly and inviting.

She only takes customers over the phone via voice mail, which may sound old school, but adds to that local charm.

She does men’s and women’s and is more affordable than many places I have tried in the past.

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Posted on April 6, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »GoGo Babies

at Caribou Baby, 272 Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint

As you can see Van gets very excited on days we go to Go Go Babies, a weekly class at Caribou Baby taught by Ellynne Skove that encourages babies as they meet developmental milestones. I love it because it’s a great break up to the week and a much needed one for a stay and work at home mom like myself. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and it’s adorable to see lots of babies. Van is far more interested in their pretty moms though, the flirt.

You can pay class by class or enroll in the series which runs through May. Either can be done on the Caribou Baby website. I encourage parents and caregivers to come! It’s a great time to bond with your baby while also getting out of the house and meeting other neighborhood parents.

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Posted on March 23, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Caribou Baby

272 Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

When we first took Van home, neighbors Adriane and Greg were awesome. They brought up home cooked lasagna, took our trash out, and offered helpful encouragement on our new adventure. As Van’s gotten older, Adriane has become my first and best source for all things baby.

She took a master course in baby wearing and can weigh the pros and cons of all carriers (saving my back from Baby Bjorn pains) and is up on the most organic and baby safe products on the market. Who better then to open a baby store in our neighborhood than she?

I am so excited for her new Greenpoint boutique and activity spot, Caribou Baby. The space is beautiful and evokes the feel of a lived in ski lodge – featuring vintage plaid wallpaper, rustic wooden floors, antler chandeliers (that Van took a shine to) and the best looking bathroom changing table you coudl find.

From a vast option of carriers, adorable toys (including those oh so cute rabbits pictured), bottles, vintage clothes, and health and beauty products, anything you could need for mom, dad, and baby is found inside. One of my favorites that I couldn’t leave the opening without purchasing? Baby friendly nail polish – which will put my worries of chemicals to rest.

Aside from the store, there are two activity spaces that will hold classes and events. Some that are upcoming are Birth Education, Infant CPR, and Breastfeeding. The clubhouse back room was home to a dance party opening night where some good tunes were spinning, including some sweet disco era Cookie Monster.

Whether you’re a parent or a friend of a parent to be, this is an amazing resource that’s come to Greenpoint. Congrats Adriane and Greg!

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Posted on March 6, 2011

Drinks »Veronica People’s Club

105 Franklin St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

In this day in age, in this neighborhood, you can’t turn a corner without running into a good cup of (usually) Intelligentsia coffee. (You can still get a really bad cup, but the place is so tiny, cute and friendly, I’ll just leave it unnamed, but it’s bright green FYI).

So, as a late comer to the good coffee party, Veronica People’s Club is probably most exciting to those who live closest to it.

While I wholeheartedly welcome it to the neighborhood, it only garners major enthusiasm from me for two reasons:

1. the Ovenly baked goods. A small but dizzying display of goodies great you with tiny hand written placards reading such intriguing words as “blue cheese, pistachio, cinnamon, fig…”

As it was morning time, I went without the chocolate chip cookies and chose the equally delectable but slated for breakfast treat of a fig and thyme scone. yum.

2. During the day the place is empty, as in I startled the sole employee when I walked in, empty.

If you’ve ever been to Cafe Grumpy at the height of I-am-writing-my-first-novel-but-actually-just-checking-facebook-over-and-over hour or are smacked in the face with the reality that you are far from being the only unemployed person who thought they could just waltz into Five Leaves, you know how appealing a quiet, easy going spot with a decent i-pod selection playing can be.

Now I just need to find people who are either willing to trek to my area or want to quit their jobs to hang out over a long, scone filled coffee break with me and Van…

While I am writing up the coffee bar, I am lead to believe that VPC, opened by the people from Heather’s (the bar, not the movie, though the movie inspired both bar names) functions primarily as a bar bar.

And by light of day, I can see how it could be a nice place to drink. Just the right amount of nonchalance in the decor and a sign listing house cocktails let me know it’s heart is in the right place.

While I am not able to bar hop at the moment with little one in tow, you might want to check it out. Or maybe I’ll head back on the early side (unlike many places, they start serving around 3 on weekdays, 1 on weekends) some day soon for an afternoon beer before the hip young things who (understandably) don’t want to be drinking with a baby in the room invade.

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Posted on February 17, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Cato’s Army Navy

654 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint

Out west, where I grew up, Army Navy stores were ominous places. No matter how close to town they were, they seemed to be off a dirt road where no one would hear you scream and in the days of grunge, venturing in for a flannel meant coming face to face with local yokels that could cause such screaming – at least in the mind of a fairly privileged teenage girl. Cato’s Army Navy in my new hometown couldn’t be further from that experience.

It’s one of the hood’s most friendly stores, and while we’re at it, possibly one of the nicest in the whole city. Family run since 1975, you will be helped with courtesy and find everything you need. Since it stocks utilitarian goods, we always find something useful – Jim usually gets a new set of winter gear every season. This season? They have  great looking heathered sweater trooper hats, nice wool scarves and simple military gloves. (He models all three below).

From well made pea coats to great plaid jacket shirts, from adorable yellow galoshes to a wide variety of Levi’s – you’ll find stuff here that is on trend for far less than “hipper” shops would make you pay for it. Be sure to follow their website and twitter for specials.

Click here for the rest of Cato’s Army Navy

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Posted on December 21, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Getting and Decorating a Tree

For The Holidays

It just doesn’t feel like the holidays without one!!

In the neighborhood, Jim prefers the tree spot on McGuinness and Greenpoint Ave where there are Germans and hippies to help you as opposed to the “vagabonds” on Manhattan and Calyer. We went all out at the Big D (one of the largest local dime stores) for decorations on the cheap.

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Posted on December 19, 2010

Restaurants »Brooklyn Mac

77 Norman Ave, Greenpoint

When Jim and I were faced with the new Brooklyn Mac sign, he hoped it stood for mac and cheese as opposed to daddy mac – a store that, I supposed would sell Chess King suits, condoms and bongs maybe?

Well, fortunately for him – he was in luck. Just as the hardly-ever-open catering and take out nook moved out, a tiny mac and cheese shop moved in. Unfortunately, they haven’t quite gotten the comfort food dish down pat, at least to my liking.

Don’t get me wrong, the cheese was good and gooey in the Kings County and the smoked gouda and bacon melded perfectly on the second one we tried (can’t recall the name). However, the dense meal – we could collectively only make a dent in half of each size small in one sitting – is kind of like eating a plate of yummy but health destroying cheese.

The mac to cheese ratio needs to be sorted out a bit to make it less intense and easier to go down. But they are brand new and offer so many menu options, I could probably even customize with more pasta and less cheese next time.

I will definitely not loose anymore baby weight if I make it part of my weekly routine, but it is tempting with it opening so close by and offering one of life’s best cold weather remedies.

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Posted on December 14, 2010

Drinks »Milk and Roses

1110 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint Brooklyn

Greenpoint boasts plenty of good places to grab some coffee (with Grumpy and Five Leaves, one might even say it’s the best neighborhood to grab some coffee), but another spot that’s as relaxed and lovely as Milk and Roses is always welcome. Located in the upper Acapulco regions of the neighborhood, it stands apart with it’s impressive and unique food menu that includes my obvious pick – an anchovy and cheese sandwich. Breakfast staples and desserts are also available. Coming from the manager of the yummy Cacio e Pepe, I shouldn’t be surprised that the food is great (coffee’s very nice too).

A wall of colorful hardbound books, a piano, and dark aged wood floors make for an elegant atmosphere supported by an easy sound track of jazz which makes lounging with a book quite pleasant. There’s a nice backyard while the good weather lasts. For all you winos, most importantly, it will soon also be a wine bar (license pending).

Click here for the rest of Milk and Roses

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Posted on September 12, 2010

Restaurants »Le Gamin

108 Franklin St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

We used to love Le Gamin in Soho, it was perfectly situated between our jobs and when we could, we’d meet there for delicious ratatouille crepes in a Parisienne setting. It was very sad when it closed so when it reopened just around the corner it was a delightful day. Our first visit was iffy – the crepe was a bit dry and not the perfected dish I had come to enjoy in their old location. I’ve been back several times since though, and have become enamored of the new location for new reasons.

The cold soups (carrot and celery, potatoes and leeks) have been the best summer treat and paired with their baguette and homemade jam – smack! Bon Apetit! Their dinner specials have also proven to be well worth the few extra dollars – a lobster fettuccine and a garlicky chicken pasta a few weeks back were noteworthy. Recently, Jim devoured a dish of fried meatballs which were very good. The quiche is always excellent with a puffy pastry crust that is deliriously buttery. Wash it all down with their fresh squeezed lemonade.

Aside from the excellent food, Le Gamin, in a very short amount of time has made itself feel right at home, feeling as though it’s been a local favorite for years and years. It’s comfortably chic in a effortless way with fresh picked flowers, mixed farmhouse tables and an airy simple atmosphere.

We’re so happy to have it as our neighbor!

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Posted on August 1, 2010