Tag Archives: Brooklyn

My Weekend According to Instagram

6 May

This past weekend Jim and I enjoyed an extended one, getting to show my college bestie Gina and her boyfriend Mark around town. We covered a lot of ground in three days, and I’m still getting through the few hundred photos I took over the course of the weekend.  Next time I need to learn to stick to one camera and not three!

Here’s some of my favorites I managed to snap on my iPhone and post to Instagram as we were out in about.

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We enjoyed coffee from Caffe Capri EVERY morning.  They seriously have the BEST coffee in Brooklyn // Stopped for brunch at Champs Diner

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We did some serious art gawking, especially at MOMA // Spotted this book at Poseman’s Books in the Chelsea Market and am convinced I need a vegan version of this Mondrian inspired cake for my upcoming birthday this July

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Enjoyed beyond fantastic weather this entire weekend, especially during our visit to the High Line, where I spotted this fantastic mural // There were some new installations along the park that weren’t there during my last visit.  This one in particular was stunning, the mirrored glass made the side of the building blend into the sky

Are you on Instagram?  Hit me up!  My Instagram handle is @BrooklynBliss.

Three Day Weekend

3 May

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After the insane work week I’ve had, I’m super stoked to have a three day weekend effective immediately. One of my best friends from college is passing through NYC with her boyfriend, so Jim and I get to play host and show them around our amazing city.

So far we’re keeping our plans pretty casual, but know for sure we’ll being doing a museum hop and shopping. Based on the forecast, we should have perfect weather.

Have a great weekend!

Gwynnett Street

16 Nov

Gwynnett Street

Last Thursday evening, Jim and I participated in Dine Out Williamsburg for Sandy Relief. Gwynnett Street was a participating restaurant, and we’ve been dying to try it out for a while. What better way to try out a fancy new bistro than a night when 20% of their gross profits are going to provide relief to Sandy victims?

Gwynnett Street

This meal totally impressed me.  Gwynnett Street is very vegan friendly.  So much so, they always have a vegan appetizer, entrée and dessert on their menu at any given time.

Jim started out with their Whiskey Bread, which wasn’t vegan but vegetarian.  It came with cultured butter and looked delicious.  I wish it was vegan, it looked so yummy it was torture looking at it.

Gwynnett Street

For my appetizer I had the winter squash with bell pepper, szechuan pepper and peppercress.  Holy moly this was delicious.  Textures were great.  The squash had a nice bite to it, the herbs were flash fried, and it also had what I believe were pepitas throughout it which gave it additional crunch against the soft vermicelli noodles.  The sauce was delicately sweet and had a hint of citrus.  It was also probably one of the most gorgeously plated vegan dishes I think I’ve ever had.

Gwynnett Street

For my entrée, I finally got to try their tofu.  This restaurant like Roberta’s was awarded a two star review by the New York Times, and the reviewer raved about their house made tofu.

This night it was prepared crusted in pistachio with avocado, celery and celtuce.  The texture was more reminiscent of a pate to me, and it had a great pistachio crust.  Very light and tasty, perfectly paired with the raw avocado, celery and celtuce (which I think is a combination between celery and lettuce?).

Gwynnett Street

What absolutely made my night is when the waitress told me the chef was going to come up with a specialty vegan dessert for me.  She later came back out with what I believe was a sorbet with poached pears, fall spices (lots of cinnamon), a nut cream sauce, and fresh berries.  This was as delicious and seasonal as it sounds.  Isn’t the plating beautiful?

Gwynnett Street

I was extremely pleased with my meal at Gwynett Street and will for sure be back.  It’s now one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood.

Have you tried the vegan options at Gwynett Street?  What did you think?

Robertas Pizza

9 Nov

Roberta's

Last Saturday, Jim and I dropped off a load of Sandy Relief donations at Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick. We had never eaten there, and figured we’d stay for lunch. That’s not to say we haven’t tried to eat there before. Last time we tried it was closed down due to these folks eating there.

If you’re unfamiliar with Roberta’s, the restaurant somewhat pioneered the Brooklyn food scene and has given Brooklyn a rep for having restaurants just as good as Manhattan, if not better. In fact, the New York Times awarded them a two star review.  I don’t know they’re entire history and story but do know that they actually grow a lot of the produce they use on site.

Roberta's

There was of course a wait when we arrived.  They have an additional bar outdoors in a heated tent, so we sat out there for a bit while we waited for our table.

Roberta's

Roberta's

Roberta's

All the seating is pretty much shared.  So we were sat with another couple on one side and a family of four on the other, all at the same table.

Roberta's

I informed the waitress I was vegan and asked what she recommended, and she was very accommodating. I was recommended the Delicata Salad minus the cheese, which was roasted delicata squash with pea shoots and what I’m guessing was a pumpkin seed dressing.  It was absolutely phenomenal.  After the first bite I understood why Roberta’s was awarded those two stars.

Roberta's

They also made their hash brown potatoes minus the pork hash for Jim.  It wasn’t vegan due to butter, so I couldn’t have it.  He ate the entire thing so I know it must have been delicious.

Roberta's

Can’t go to Roberta’s without trying the pizza.  The Rosso pie is on their standard menu and is  vegan.  It’s very simple with a flavorful garlic tomato sauce.  This pizza was by far the best pizza I’ve ever had in New York.  The crust was perfection, light and crunchy, not too heavy.  I wouldn’t even think of bastardizing this with a layer of daiya.  And I LOVE daiya.  It was that good without it.

The food is just too good not to go again and again.  I’m really looking forward to my next visit.

Roberta's

Roberta's

Surviving Sandy

5 Nov

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A dark, downtown Manhattan.

What a week.

Immediately following Sandy on Tuesday last week, I was pretty optimistic. My 7 mile drive to work was really quick, and aside from a few downed trees there was not much damage between my neighborhood of Williamsburg and where my office is in Canarsie. A few of our employees had no power or issues with trees falling through windows there were dealing with, but more the most part everyone was fine and made it to work okay. Despite having no power, my friends in downtown Manhattan all kept in touch via Facebook when they were able to charge their cellphones, and everything seemed on the up and up. Sure, it was going to take the city a bit to get mass transit back up and running, as well as the power, but that was to be expected.

So in my mind, I continued as if it was business as usual.

Jim and I don’t have live TV and tend to get most of our information on the internet. Since most of my friends are either in Williamsburg or downtown Manhattan, I knew besides not having power that everything for the most part was okay. It wasn’t until we had the news on during lunch at work on Wednesday that I really saw what was actually going on in in the city and the absolute devastation of the Rockaways, Coney Island, Red Hook and most memorably Breezy Point.

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The Rockaway boardwalk, misplaced by the floodwaters from the beach to the streets of the neighborhood.

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A firefighter comes home to his home in Breezy Point to find it burned to the ground.

After seeing the smoldering remains of that small community not minutes from where I go to the beach in the summer, I lost my shit. It took me every ounce of effort not to bawl my eyes out the rest of the day and make it through work and get home.

Starting around Thursday, things got progressively worse. Now there was (and still is) a gas shortage and it affects everyone in the New York City area, including Long Island. Thank goodness Jim topped off my tank Sunday night and my car is very gas efficient. Traffic getting anywhere was (and still is) horrendous. My ride home from work, which usually takes me 20 minutes took me over 90, and it was due to gas lines blocking intersections along with congestion at what few mass transit lines were running. I tweeted this frustration without batting an eye as a selfish means to make myself feel better about this slight inconvenience.

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Gas lines form as gas is rationed here.

Friday, I was a bit more optimistic. I took a different route to work which I sailed through easily, and immediately after work we met up with friends for drinks, which was extremely healing. Everyone, especially in our neighborhood has a certain sense of survivors guilt. Though we’re right on the East River, for the most part our neighborhood was untouched. Getting to talk with friends about what we were seeing around us and in the media made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this guilt.

Feeling somewhat better Saturday morning, I made the big mistake of Googling how my hometown survived the storm. I grew up in a town called Massapequa on the south shore of Long Island. My parents moved further east right after I finished High School, and though they live literally directly on the water, since their home was new construction they accounted for high-tides and built their home up high and their home was totally unscathed. They lost about 20 feet of their backyard, but that’s peanuts compared to what I then learned via Google, and coincidentally on Facebook that morning.

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What’s left of a house in my hometown, not far from the house I grew up in.

My hometown, specifically right where the house I grew up in is, was completely and utterly devastated. I finally broke down and unleashed a week’s worth of pent-up tears, and it didn’t help me feel any better. I suddenly felt horrendously guilty, especially about my tweet on Thursday bitching about the traffic. I at least had a house, and a car. How could I be so insensitive?

Saturday was really the first chance many people had to start volunteering and putting together donations, and that’s when I started seeing messages from old friends from high school, asking for clothing, food, cleanup materials, and more for their themselves, family and friends who have completely lost their homes. I was also seeing posts from other friends in the city biking down to the Rockaways to help with the cleanup. All I wanted to do was get in my car and drive down there and do what I could to help make the situation better. However with the gas shortage, this wasn’t a possibility for me.

After bawling my eyes out and wasting so much time making myself feel even worse surfing the internet, I without thinking put down my iPad, ran to my cabinets and started pulling stuff out. Canned soup, soaps, bottled water, candles, pet food, tissues, pillows, blankets, coats, toiletries. Jim and I usually stock up at Costco, so we had a lot of stuff we could give to people who need it way more than we do.

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All the stuff we donated.

After putting together around 4 giant Ikea bags of donations, we looked up where we could drop them off and learned Roberta’s in Bushwick was taking donations. We drove on over (it was a super short ride, so we used barely any gas) and got there just as a volunteer was filling their car to drive down to the Rockaways. I really commend the volunteers making these delivery trips considering the gas shortage. I hope to be able to do the same thing once gas is easier to find. Having a car in NYC is a luxury and I want to help, but for now the best I could do was clean out my closets and give what I could. It’s starting to get really cold in NYC and I knew people needed those coats.

Jim and I stayed to have lunch at Roberta’s, and while we really enjoyed our meal it seemed so weird that we could easily enjoy this amazing meal while people not even 10 miles from us now are homeless. No matter how hard we’d try, the guilt kept coming back.

That night I made us a home-made comfort meal (my favorite soup, recipe here), and we tried to relax and watch movies. I chose Happy on Netflix, which seems kind of cheesy but seemed appropriate at the time considering I wasn’t very happy and wanted to change that. It actually helped tremendously. The documentary reminded me the path to happiness is not what we have, but how we handle and respond to issues, work as a community, and do what we love to do. This reminded me that I did do my part that morning, and I slept better that night knowing my old coats, pillows and blankets were keeping someone warm and allowing them to sleep comfortably that night.

As I write this now, I realize Sandy’s not going away any time soon. Life will not go back to the way it was before Sandy, ever. It’s going to take us a long time to rebuild, and I can be a part of that in the coming weeks. I can’t keep beating myself up over what I can’t do now. I can instead look and think of what I can do to help moving forward. Day by day, week by week.

Facebook has been pretty tough on me, because it’s a mix of crisis, disaster messages and photos mixed with a bunch of bullshit from friends in family in other parts of the country on them being pissed their team lost the game. Usually on Monday’s I usually try to do a fashion type tutorial post on this blog, but I felt it was more important to let everyone know things are not good over here. I’m not going to compare it to Katrina, because Katrina was worse but Sandy is not far behind it. New York and New Jersey need your help, and donating is the easiest way to do so.

I created a fundraising page to raise funds for the American Red Cross to aid Sandy victims.  Every little bit helps.  If you can find it in your heart and wallet to help and donate, it would mean the world to me.

And don’t you worry about me, I really have nothing to be upset about now. I’m safe, my family is safe, and that’s the most important thing. I’ll eventually get used to this new reality and it will probably happen sooner rather than later.

Image Credits: one | two | three | four | five |

Go Brooklyn Open Studios

14 Sep

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

Last weekend, my husband Jim participated in GO Brooklyn Open Studios. The event is organized by the Brooklyn Museum, and the way it works is local artists throughout the borough open up their studios for the public to tour and view their art.

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

I helped Jim man the studio both Saturday and Sunday and the turnout was awesome! Despite the horrendous down pour on Saturday, we were really surprised by how many people still came out to view everyone’s art. Jim also had lots of our friends come out to support him and see his art for the very first time as well.

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

As a fun project, Jim took polaroids of a lot of the people who came through with plans to post them on the wall in his studio. It was a big hit. Everyone loves having their photo taken, especially polaroids. He also provided refreshments and snacks, which I thought was a nice touch.

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

Jim's Brooklyn Open Studios 2012

Most importantly, his recent body of work is incredible, and I am so excited he finally had an opportunity to share it with the public. He’s so talented, and I can’t wait to see where he takes some of his series and concepts.

NYC Color Run

31 Aug

NYC Color Run 2012

This past Saturday, I woke up ridiculously early to finally get to run the New York City Color Run.  I had been looking forward to this race forever, and was so stoked the day had finally arrived.

I’ve run a lot of races in the past, including several marathons and half marathons.  This one was only a 5k and considered more of a “fun” run, which is what I was most looking forward to.  No training needed in advance, no pressure to perform under a certain time.  It was super refreshing for me.

Despite running into a few hurdles getting to the race (which included missing the exit and ending up on the Verrazano in Staten Island AND having my EZ Pass confiscated!), I got there just in time to pick up my number and get to the starting line.

If you’re not familiar with the Color Run, here’s how it works.  You start off the race all fresh and clean, wearing all white.

And during the race, you get a ton of color powder thrown at you by volunteers, and wind up looking like this:

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

This is what I looked like just after crossing the finish line.

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

After the race, there was a post race party which included a DJ, water, food and goodies, and of course even more colored powder.

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

NYC Color Run 2012

The experience was so much fun, I’m already planning on running it again next year!

NYC Color Run 2012

Did you participate in the Color Run?  If so, what city?  I’d love to hear about it.

Summer Rooftops

17 Aug

This summer has flown by so fast and I feel like I’ve barely had any time to enjoy it.  While taking some time to finally go through the photos on my camera this weekend, I came across a bunch from the last few weeks and it’s obvious where we had the best time so far this summer: on the city rooftops.

Here are some photos I took while sunbathing on my friend Tracy’s roof in Brooklyn, and at another friend’s rooftop party in Manhattan.

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Summer Rooftops 2012

Time to Get Naked / At Bootcamp

31 May

My totes diesel friend Tracy of Tracy Helsing Fitness.

I love going to the gym as you may or may not know, and the women solely responsible for the shape I’m in is my BFF Tracy Helsing.  Tracy’s a personal trainer and fitness professional who really knows her stuff.  She very recently made her television debut as of the trainers on Food Network’s Fat Chef show.  She’s a total badass and will make you cry if you don’t do enough squats to make your ass perfect.

Tracy is teaming up with fellow trainers Faith Pilger and Dorian Cervantes to offer outdoor bootcamps 9 am each Saturday in June at Williamsburg’s McCarren Park.  Classes are an hour long and it’s $125 for the entire 5 week session, or $30 a class.

Visit their Facebook Page to sign up.  All you have to do is click “like”.

You can email Tracy at tracyhelsing@gmail.com with any other questions. Seriously, the more the merrier, so please pass the word on and bring your friends as there will be plenty of tag team, cooperative and group exercises.

If you are serious about getting in bikini shape for summer, or about looking good NAKED, make sure you visit their page today before it gets sold out.

Caracas Arepas Bar

29 May

Caracas Arepas Bar

Last week, Jim and I felt like going out to eat so we stopped by Caracas Arepas Bar. I had eaten there before and loved it, and Jim had never been.

Caracas Arepas Bar

It was a beautiful evening out so we opted for their outdoor seating area.

Caracas Arepas Bar

If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, they have lots of veg friendly options and are open to modifying. The arepas are crazy filling, inexpensive and delicious.

Caracas Arepas Bar

Caracas Arepas Bar

This summer we plan on trying as many new restaurants as we can. I love dining al fresco.