Drinks »Trix

145 Bedford Ave

For months, nay years, we’ve been walking past the work in progress that has become Trix – deriding and speculating about what looked to be a most bizarre labor of love.

We’d spy an old guy hammering tin for weeks at a time, witnessed the sidewalk get caged in by bars, saw a stained glass window go in touting the words “go go”?

One day, sometime in year two, a small hand written sign appeared on store front eliciting help in typing a short story and we couldn’t help but wonder, what was going on with this place?

We saw innumerable places open, some even open and close by the time Trix was ready for the public and when that day finally came, we knew we had to stop in during a recent date night.

We were expecting it to be weird and it is – really weird. Like, can’t really be described weird.

It looks like an unfinished set inspired by cinema of the late 80’s and early 90’s (Beetlejuice and Cool World perhaps). There’s a mixture of the building’s history as a go-go club (hence the sign and stripper murals), art nouveau, and folksy crafts, all conjured up by the mind and artisan-ship of one particular and peculiar vision.

From a spider web sculpture above the bar to a creepy portrait of a woman that reminds me of the portrait of a dead wife one might find in a haunted house movie from the 70’s (see yawning Jim photo below), the decor is confused and bizarre.

We were thoroughly expecting to hate the place, honestly. I thought we’d share a joke about “Trix” and call it a night, but as strange as the place is, it’s also incredibly inviting, mellow, got an interesting cocktail (I had something with bison vodka and blackberries) and beer menu, and serves some of the finest, biggest oysters I’ve had in a while. Even our friends, Mike and Shaun, far harsher critics than we are enjoyed their visit.

Word is that all the food is good, and they serve brunch every single day – which is pretty genius in a neighborhood of the willfully unemployed.

The staff genuinely seems happy to be there and happy you’ve come in. To my utter surprise, I am looking forward to going back and maybe getting brunch next time.

Long live Trix! It took so long to come to the neighborhood, I hope more people discover it like I have so it sticks around. It’s not “cool” but it’s also not obnoxious like some “cool” places can get.

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Posted on June 25, 2011

Drinks »Mommy’s Spritzer

Summery and Light

We call this drink the Mommy Spritzer because I can have one while I am over at Mike and Shaun’s and be fine to breast feed by the time we get home.

It consists of one part campari to 2.5 parts club soda with a huge squeeze of lemon juice and a  lemon slice on top (which I forgot to include in the photo) all over ice.

I am sure there’s a real name for it, but I haven’t been able to find it online, so I am sticking with the Mommy Spritzer.

It’s light, low on alcohol, and refreshing; but unlike many summery cocktails, Campari’s bitterness stops it from being too sweet.

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Posted on June 10, 2011

Drinks »Dry Lavender Soda

Soda Re-Imagined

Innovation in American companies belongs to the little guys. While Pepsi and Coke are fighting the fact that soda is bad for us with lobbyists, rather than offering alternatives, Dry has re-imagined soda and made it better for you, better tasting, and all natural.

Like many of you, cutting soda out of my life  was an easy healthy step but if I were to indulge in a bubbly drink – and now that summer’s almost here, it does sound enticing – this low calorie Lavender Soda is perfect.

I’d love to try their other flavors as well: Lemongrass, Blood Orange, Rhubarb, Juniper Berry, Vanilla Bean and Cucumber. I can only imagine that these also make incredible cocktails.

I tried a bottle in Colorado but found that you can purchase several places in NY including Marlow and Sons, Fairway and Whole Foods.

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Posted on May 11, 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

Drinks »One Cup Ozeki

from Mitsuwa Marketplace

One of our funnest purchases during a recent Mitsuwa Market trip was the One Cup Ozeki Sake. Created in 1964 so that Japanese spectators could enjoy sake in the stands of the Summer Olympics, this is somewhat of a cultural icon but totally new to Jim and I.

It comes in a five pack and is pretty cheap at about $3 per can but unlike lots of cheap sake I have tried, it’s surprisingly good. A little harsher than the oh so smooth Wakatake, but considering that comes in at about $45 a bottle, the comparison is unfair.

Not sure how available these are closer to home, though it’s worth checking Sunrise Markets in the city. Fresh Direct also has a similar one cup type available called Chiyomusubi Kitaro but it’s 9.99 per one cup serving, which seems high to me (but doesn’t mean one of these days I won’t cave and try it out).

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Posted on April 4, 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

Drinks »Bourbon Smash Jelly Shots

from Michelle Palm

Thank you, thank you, Jessica. If any broad can class up a Jello Shot, it’s her and she did so with these Birthday Bourbon Smash Jelly Shots.

The recipe comes from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, an entire site dedicated to boozing up the jiggly dessert by Michelle Palm – who has a book coming out soon. (Note that Jessica substituted strawberry juice for the cranberry.)

Shaun claimed he tasted peanut butter, and before we could roll our eyes at him, I realized he was right! They are like pb&j for adults… or at least adults that partake in jello shots.

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Posted on February 14, 2011

Drinks,Restaurants »The Counting Room

44 Berry Street, Williamsburg

I have to preface that my experience of The Counting Room may be very different from yours, unless you too go to bars in the early afternoon when the neighborhood babies along with their booze starved parents take over. So don’t blame me if it’s full of techno and 19 year old jerks at midnight.

During this time, it’s a bright, lovely space with soaring ceilings, picnic tables, and chic barn light fixtures.

I was itching for a cocktail – but those don’t make their appearance until after 6pm, so I went for the Bloody Wilbur, a bacon infused (what isn’t bacon infused at this point) bloody mary that was pretty good, but not mind blowing and very weak as far as the vodka goes.

Much more impressive was the beer list which included the incredibly tasty and surprisingly American Domaine DuPage French Style Country Ale, a brew I will be keeping my out for from now on. It won over everyone at our table.

The food was also a pleasant surprise. Going far beyond expected bar food that can taste like an after thought, everything we tried was excellent: a well adorned sopressata sandwich on criso French bread, and yummy, slightly lemony deviled eggs.

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Posted on January 30, 2011

Drinks »Little Italy

Whiskey Cocktail

After months on the wagon, I dove right into the alcohol pool deep end by allowing Shaun to mix me one of his infamously potent drinks. Called The Little Italy, it consists of whiskey, sweet vermouth, Cynar (an aperitif derived from artichokes), and orange zest.

It packs a wollop and I have to admit I am the former shell of my old self drinking wise. I managed to only drink about a third of the glass, but it was enough to know this is one very fine cocktail.

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Posted on January 9, 2011

Drinks »Best of 2010 Drinks Round Up

Great Bevvies

Talk about going out with a bang. One of my last alcoholic drinks before ten months of pregnant sobriety was the best (I looked forward to having it again all ten months but have yet to). The rest of the year found me taking in my fair share of decaf lattes and iced coffees – fortunately I live in one of the best neighborhoods for coffee. Rounding out the short list is low brow strip mall sweetness and high brow Upper East Side daintiness.

1. Nama Sake

2. Blue Bottle

3. Coke Slurpee

4. Five Leaves

5. Cafe Grumpy

6. High Tea at Kings Carriage House

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Posted on January 3, 2011

Desserts,Drinks »Xocolata a la Pedra

from Spain

This thick hunk of Xocolata a la Pedra came home with us from Spain. We doled out chunks to eat like candy bars and I was instantly in love with the grainy rich deliciousness. We both agreed it tasted like hot cocoa powder condensed into a block, but not any old, bland Swiss Miss kind.

Well, after a little bit of research, I found out it tasted like that because that’s exactly what it is – condensed hot chocolate. Oh, turistas idiotas!

So, I tried it the correct way – as a hot beverage: Simply heat a block in a sauce pan with a little milk and add more milk as it melts. Without more precise instructions, I just eyeballed the amount of milk and under did it a bit but am happy to have a rich hot cocoa for the winter season that tastes this good.

Though, to be honest, I actually most prefer it the way I first tried it – nibbled raw – incorrectly or not. Wish I had grabbed a few more bars because it sadly doesn’t seem to be something I can purchase easily in the states.

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Posted on December 15, 2010

Drinks »La Venencia

Sherry Bar, Madrid

Thanks to Astrid and Marcus for sharing their fabulous Spain travels with us:

“We spent a little while looking for this place since it came up a lot in our Madrid research.  It was well worth it.  La Venencia is definitely a taste of old-world Madrid.  They only server sherry on draft from large wood casks.  The decor is authentically rustic with dusty old bottles and a chalkboard to tally up your orders.

It’s a great place to explore sherry while you eat olives near their fireplace and get closely monitored by the resident black cat.

One of our favorites was the dry Oloroso, which had a smoky vanilla flavor.  We wish there was a place like it in New York, but for now it’s one of the many places we’ll want to go back to Madrid for.”

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Posted on December 6, 2010

Drinks »Young’s Chocolate Stout

Luxury Beer

“Pure Luxury” it reads on the can of Young’s Chocolate Stout and while that would usually seem like a bold and 1980’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous type boast, I have to agree. As half a can has been my only foray into alcohol these days, the rich, slightly sweet and rich brew is pure luxury – especially when the foam fizzles on my top lip – yum.

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Posted on November 24, 2010

Drinks »Blue Bottle Coffee

160 Berry Street, Brooklyn, NY

I’ve been hearing raves about the California transplant, Blue Bottle Coffee for some time, so it seemed like the perfect destination for baby’s first stroller outing. Being prematurely judgemental, I was expecting a staff of snobs, maybe because the coffee is taken so seriously here (they have several preparations and types which can be read about in great detail at their website), but was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by very chipper, courteous people who didn’t even scoff when I tried to order an iced tea for Jim (which they don’t serve FYI).

We both tried the New Orleans, a light, sweetened iced coffee that still has me majorly buzzing hours later (a very strange feeling after being strictly decaf for months and months). This beverage is way strong and way delicious but if you don’t want the jolt that hard core coffee can give you, you might want to opt for a weaker neighborhood option. However, if you long for the kind of coffee that coffee lovers rave about, this is your place. It’s super pet friendly too, so you can sit with lots of local dogs as you take advantage of the outdoor benches while the weather continues to please us.

There are several locations in San Francisco, but so far, Berry Street is the first in New York.

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Posted on November 13, 2010

Drinks »Red Jacket Orchards Apple Cider

At Your Local Farmers Market

Apple cider is the unofficial taste of Autumn and until recently it was one I was never able to appreciate as much as others. Our weekly stop by the Farmer’s Market Saturday changed all that when I suddenly felt the urge to buy a 1/2 gallon from the ever popular Red Jacket Orchards booth. Red Jacket is a Finger Lakes Region orchard that should be very familiar to anyone that buys at local farmers markets. Freshly pressed whole fruit without added sugars, coloring, water or flavoring, there’s is the most natural and refreshing. They also sell seasonal fruit juices that I assume are equally tasty.

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Posted on October 11, 2010

Drinks »Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

For Ladies

While the benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for pregnant women is not necessarily proven, both my sister and cousin swear by it and most midwives believe that while it may not bring on labor, it does prepare the uterus may shorten the second stage of labor. Guess we’ll see. I was told by my doctor not to partake until full term, just because some herbs can have unexpected effects and now I’ve been brewing up a cup for myself semi daily. It’s an herbal fruity tea that is calming like chamomile.

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Posted on October 9, 2010

Drinks »Banana Smoothie

Simple And Yummy

Smoothies are great. You get your creamy, your protein (we add vanilla protein powder) and your fruits with little effort. This week we’ve been enjoying a simple Banana Smoothie. The key is one banana to one cup of milk, no more, no less.

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Posted on October 4, 2010