Drinks »The Shanty

photo-2At the corner of Leonard and Richardson Streets in Brooklyn

An upscale cocktail bar with signature concoctions isn’t exactly what Williamsburg is hurting for, but when it’s as inviting and delicious as The Shanty, it’s more than welcome.

The menu demands tough choices (it all sounds tempting) but so far, everything friends and I have tried has been good enough to recommend. There’s a new seasonal menu already up on their site since my last visit, though,  so I can’t direct you to the exact wonderful concoction I enjoyed.

The main reason the drinks here are special is that the bar is actually secondary to the attached distillery run by a team of booze experts. It churns out the Perry’s Tot and Dorothy Parker gins used in the drinks which are also available at local shops.

While your likely to rub shoulders with more than one spirits snob, at least you know your in the right place to get a fantastic cocktail, possibly the best in the area.

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Posted on January 22, 2013

Restaurants »Qi Thai Grill

qi176 N. 9th

After just dipping our toe the rental world (good god) its naive to pretend the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, where I’ve lived over a decade, haven’t changed. It’s also, I have to remember, grumpy to resent it. After all, I was part of the beginning of these changes and I sure didn’t like being resented for it, but all that knowledge doesn’t make a mammoth, hologram-bedazzled, meat packing restaurant with a kama sutra bathroom (that surely made the copywriters of Thrillest faint with the innuendo opportunities), any less unnerving… After all, the conversion of this part of Brooklyn to an extension of pricey Manhattan has actually driven us out of the city (we move West in three weeks).

Fortunately for you all we leave behind, Qi Thai Grill also has good food. It reminds me a lot of the late Planet Thai: A place for new Brooklynites to take their parents (who are helping with the astronomical rents) to show off what a cool place they are moving to. Yet, it’s also a place that locals can get a decent meal (good Thai in the area is a rarity) including some cheap lunch deals.

One big positive about the menu, which is already drawing crowds because of the chefs who hail from Pong and (the ever awesome and considerably less glamorous) Sripraphai, is that it’s not afraid to go spicy and as much as possible features traditional, even challenging ingredients: beef tendon, pork trotters and jaws sit next to Pad Thai (for the less adventurous). Even with that dish, though, you’re encouraged to try the traditional way – with dried shrimp (which does sound great).

I opted for a very filling Chicken Chiang Mai Noodle that had a flavorful curry broth and was perfect for the chilly weather. Of all our appetizers, the spicy wings were the biggest hit but the papaya salad and curry puffs are also worth a taste.

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Posted on January 20, 2013

Restaurants »Ramen Yebisu

126 N 6th, Brooklyn

Finally, finally, finally..

After the false hope brought to us by this mysterious and never opened Ichiran, ramen has come to the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area.

I’ve enjoyed Yebisu at the smorgasburg events, but am thrilled to have a brick a mortar location – albeit a tiny, stools only one – to warm chilled bones with (quite possibly) the worlds greatest dish.

Is it perfect? No. Most notably the pork is a bit dry and tough where it should but tender. The noodles, though were perfectly toothsome. I tried the shoyu and while it was good the one that will have me running back as soon as I can book a sitter, is the miso ramen. Its broth had flavor and depth and even though I only had a few sips of my friends – its taste lingers in my mind.

The staff is friendly, the house sake above average, and the price is right. While it may not be Ippudo (but that’s an unfair comparison) I am very happy to welcome the long awaited Yebisu to the neighborhood.

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Posted on December 28, 2012

Restaurants »Sips and Bites

178 N.10th Street, Brooklyn

Sips and Bites may be a wee sliver of a shop (I’d passed by it a few times without noticing) but it’s big on charm and boasts a great menu of sandwiches. While I look forward to trying most once I am no longer pregnant (darn that no deli meat rule!), the tuna sandwich I’ve had is excellent. It doesn’t try too hard, but the flavors and mix of ingredients (black olive tapanade, anchovies and haricot vert to name a few) is far from boring.

The baked goods are rotating and always great (we all enjoyed the homemade lemon curd pop tarts) and the tea and lemonades have been ideal thirst quenchers more than once during all this crazy heat.

The staff is exceptionally nice – which is always a welcome and happy thing and there’s a great deal of charm and style to the interior.

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Posted on July 28, 2012

Restaurants »Yebisu Ramen

at Smorgasburg

The brick and mortar ramen shop Yebisu has been eagerly awaited and delayed but if their cold ramen dish at Smorgasburg is any indication, it will be worth it.

Toothsome noodles, with a delicate and refreshing splash of sauce, a perfectly semi cooked egg, and flavorful pork.

This is a dynamite dish. I could eat it everyday.

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Posted on July 10, 2012

Restaurants »Red Hook Lobster Pound

at Smorgasburg and 284 Van Brunt Street

The Red Hook Lobster Pound lobster roll is gauaranteed to be one of the best bites at smorgasburg but it’s also one of, if not the priciest at $16. Makes it hard to accept if you want to sample lots of goodies.

So here’s a tip. For a mere (ha!) $10 you can enjoy their tarragon tinged shrimp roll which is arguably as good as their name sake sandwich.

It’s a refreshing summer bite on these record breaking hot days.

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Posted on June 28, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »East River State Park

Kent Ave. between N. 7th and N. 10th

Not everyone will agree with me because it’s over grown, is adjacent to construction, and frankly, rather odd, but I find the playground at the East River State Park charming and strangely dreamy.

It’s like a faraway, mixed up childhood memory: abandoned tracks lead to a wooden child sized train, ancient looking ruins from jut up beside pint sized hidden bridges.

It’s especially special on overcast mornings when no one else is around and as for the construction, well, nothing could make a playground visit cooler to Van than the view of a real live digger.

As it’s nestled among a larger park, I didn’t even know about it until fairly recently. It’s a neighborhood gem and, selfishly, one I hope stays a bit hidden.

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Posted on June 13, 2012

Restaurants »Bon Chovie

At Smorgasburg

Oh, Bon Chovie, how I love thee. If I had to pick just one bite at Smorgasburg this would be it. But how to decide between fried (always opt for heads on) and the fresh boquerones? Well, usually only one or the other is available so the choice is made for you.

If I was ever called upon to brag about my life as it stands, I think the fact that I can walk down to the waterfront with my awesome baby and husband and eat up fresh anchovies would be a major talking point.

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Posted on May 22, 2012

Desserts »Homemade Pop Tarts from Anarchy in a Jar

at Smorgasburg

Jim and I aren’t the only ones that look forward to our Smorgasburg Saturdays.

When I ask Van if he’s ready to eat a pop tart by the water his eyes light up and he shakes his head yes vigorously.

The pop tarts in question are not those grocery store guilty pleasures though. No, Van loves the homemade ones from Anarchy in a Jar.

They have mixed berry, blueberry and strawberry and all are delicious. I know because I usually manage to get a bite in before he’s wolfed them down.

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Posted on May 7, 2012

Restaurants »Lonestar Empire

at Smorgasburg

Last week we tried and loved Mighty Quinn’s but they’re not the only brisket party in town. Lonestar Empire boasts a juicy meaty sandwich themselves with excellent toppings like pickled onions and jalapeño (both optional but a great idea).

More than worth the few extra bucks? The mustardy smashed potatoes that taste like summer barbecues.

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Posted on May 5, 2012

Restaurants »Mozz Shop

20120429-103808.jpgat Smorgasburg

Another Smorgasburg down another great small dish to rave about. This week I give you a vendor newbie: Mozz Shop.

It’s one of the more intriguing additions to the fair – I could watch them churning those big globs of fresh mozzarella all day- but eating it is even sweeter.

We split the bocconcini – small marinated mozzarella balls with herbs and spices.

Easily, these were everyone’s favorite of the day: decadent but simple.

Can’t wait to try more of their delectable menu like the “Italian Corn Dogs” made with sausage and mozzarella deep fried in polenta batter.


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Posted on April 29, 2012

Drinks »Beaner Bar

20120421-084715.jpg447 Graham Ave

Do you miss the mid 1990’s? Like really, really miss them? If so, there is a home for you and you don’t even have to travel to Austin Texas to find it.

Beaner Bar will welcome you with Beck and Nirvana blasting and dia de los muertos murals, but most importantly you’ll be welcomed with friendly service. It is forgotten so often, but really kind and warm service is golden.

The few times I’ve been I found a host of regulars called out by name, smiles that greet everyone, and I know it may not seem like much, but there’s even a ramp to make getting a stroller in easy.

Plus, the iced lattes are good.

Word has it that the mochas are made with ground Mexican chocolate and that the tamales are incredible – will have to try both next time.

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Posted on April 27, 2012

Restaurants »Cafe Mogador

133 Wythe Ave

Cafe Mogador in the city has been a long time favorite, always packed, always teaming with famouses like Jake Gyllenhaal and Chloe Sevigny.

It owes its popularity not just to it’s scene, however, but to flavorful, unique Moroccan food.

I was happy to hear it was opening a Williamsburg branch but feared it would be overcrowded. While a steady stream of eaters came and went, it’s not crazy though (at least not yet) and a large back patio and a bright airy space makes it more accommodating than I expected from the somewhat cavernous Manhattan spot.

The food hasn’t suffered from the move either. It’s great to have alternatives to the usual Benedict’s and French toasts. In my case, I opted for a flavorful but light halumi tomato and egg dish.

Sides are great to share. Spicy carrots, yogurt sauce and hummus were all hits at the table.

Service is friendly and efficient and even welcoming to toddlers (which can make it break a meal for us). We will be back to try the dinner menu soon.

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Posted on April 22, 2012

Restaurants »Waffle and Wolf

20120325-100428.jpg413 Graham St, Brooklyn

Well, this was a surprise. I’m not much of a waffle fan and I worried instantly that I ordered a too heath food sandwich but Waffle and Wolf was very tasty.

The waffle is soft and pliable, made to perfection to hold your sandwich innards and the ingredients were fresh.

It’s a small space and signs warned of a long wait for food when crowded but off hours it was a wonderful, speedy lunch to grab and eat in the park (while squirrel watching – our new favorite park activity).

Sweet options are also available and though the cost is higher than expected, it’s cheaper at lunch and a filling meal.

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Posted on March 27, 2012

Drinks »Caffe Capri

427 Graham Ave

Imagine this: iced coffee, filled with crushed iced coffee that’s been run through a gelato maker, topped with milk. Mmmmmmmmm… Sounds delicious and it is.

Caffe Capri has been boasting about their coffee since 1974 and it’s truly excellent.

Caffe Capri is one of those old school neighborhood gems that make you happy to live in Brooklyn and that you just couldn’t find anywhere else.

I am just kicking myself that it took so long for me to come here.


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Posted on March 18, 2012

Desserts »Dumont Donuts

314 Bedford Avenue

Fresh hot donuts made right in front of your eyes? Welcome to happy morning deliciousness.

These fluffy, sugar dusted treats from Dumont Burger are worth the trip even if you’re not nearby, just be sure to get there before 11am.

At $3 for four and $6 for nine, they’re also a steal for a breakfast so fresh and tasty.

There are several sugar flavor options. We tried lemon which was lovely and subtle.

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Posted on March 14, 2012

Drinks »Konditori

167 N 7th St, Brooklyn

Konditori, the new spare but inviting coffee shop just outside the Bedford L makes one nice latte. Less intense than other local favorites, it’s also incredibly frothy and creamy.

Not sure if ingredients, the machine, or the dude working the latte are to praise, but it was very satisfying on a dreary day. Even if it was decaf.

Swedish sweets can also be found here as well as tea.

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Posted on February 17, 2012