Archive for the klk Category

Brunch at Brooklyn Label

Posted in food, klk, restaurant with tags , , , , , on July 10, 2008 by criticalreviews

180 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

On Friday, July 4th, Tom and I visited Brooklyn Label for the first time. They don’t normally have brunch on Fridays; since it was a holiday, this was a special occasion for both them and us! Prior to visiting, we checked out the menu and reviews on Menupages and Yelp (as we usually do), and the reviews made us slightly hesitant. But then we said, “fuck it,” and went, because we were bound to go at some point anyway. What better time than a weekday off of work?

To say the least, we were pleasantly surprised. Actually, it was amazing. Since we were anticipating a wait, I went around the (long) block onto Manhattan Ave and picked up the Times, which made us more relaxed about the service. For drinks, Tom had an iced Americano, which he loved. Brooklyn Label is one of the only places in New York that serves Stumptown coffee out of Portland (please correct me if I’m wrong!). He has been really into that lately (over iced coffee), and this one was perfection for him. I ordered the Lavender Lemon Fizzy (basically a glorified lemonade with Monin syrup). When a random waitress brought our drinks, she said they were out of lavender syrup, so she substituted rose syrup. It was (I imagine) equally as delicious. Some people may have been annoyed by this substitution without customer verification, but I was cool with it. Like I said, we were trying to be super-relaxed about the service. That definitely worked to our advantage.

I had the Eggs Benedict, but with smoked salmon instead of bacon. Starting from the bottom, there were run-of-the-mill english muffins with deliciously fresh (read: non-fishy) smoked salmon above. The two poached eggs were so, so fluffy and perfect. On top of it all was a super salty (but that’s the way I like it) hollandaise sauce. OMG it was so good! I was worried the whole thing would be too heavy, but it wasn’t. I was able to eat 90% of it, which is surprising for my usually tiny stomach. There were some forgettable, yet decent, hashbrowns alongside. I ate about 1/3 of those, and Tom ate the rest. He had the vegetarian biscuits and gravy, with eggs on top. I had a couple of bites, and it was definitely delicious, but I didn’t focus too much on those since my entree was so fulfilling. The gravy was definitely vegetarian, with the primary flavor being flour, but it was super peppery and with mushrooms. I ain’t complaining, as it’s rare that a breakfast menu features a vegetarian version of this popular item. He said that he wants to order it again, so that’s definitely a good sign.

On the table, Brooklyn Label features their house-made hot sauces, which I definitely plan on making better use of in the future (perhaps on the huevos rancheros, which we didn’t order). One is a green, mild, salsa verde that had a slight spice and an overall delicious flavor. The other was a tongue-searing habanero sauce (and this is coming from a girl who LOVES spicy things. seriously. I love them). There was plentiful Heinz ketchup for the hashbrowns as well.

Overall, we were so, so pleased with the brunch at Brooklyn Label. We were also really glad that we didn’t let the negative reviews dissuade us from checking it out. I would give it five stars! But, that said, other reviewers might be more sensitive to the slow-ish service (I mean, it’s so busy!) and the hipster-ish waitstaff (some people have hipster-phobia, it seems). We loved every bit of it and we can’t wait to go back on a lazy weekend mid-morning with the paper or to bring friends visiting from outside of the neighborhood. Haters recognize!! Brooklyn Label’s brunch is where it’s at.

— klk, back in action!

(photo by American Barista and Coffee School on Flickr)

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choward’s scented gum

Posted in candy, food, klk on March 20, 2008 by criticalreviews

I should preface this review by saying that, in general, I am not a big gum person. I think it’s pretty gross when people smack it real loud with their mouths open, and I don’t like the taste of most gums, and it’s kind of expensive, and I’m sensitive to that aspartame crap that they put in most gums today. Tom used to be a big gum chewer when we first started dating, so I guess I chewed a little bit then (maybe for fresh kissing-breath after all of those vanilla soy lattes we were drinking – HA!). But, I never buy gum. UNTIL NOW!!

I saw this gum at my pharmacist, which is right around the corner from our building. It’s the best pharmacy I’ve ever used, and one of the reasons why I love my neighborhood. When I went in for the first time, the pharmacist himself came out from behind the counter to shake my hand and tell me how nice it was to meet me. I tell you what – I will NEVER go to a Rite Aid or Duane Reade or Eckerd or whatever after this great experience. They even have our toothpaste at a reasonable price, which is kind of hard to find in Inwood.

Choward’s Scented Gum initially looked interesting to me kind of from an aesthetic standpoint. I really liked the little purple cardboard box, and the writing on it and the weird name and everything. It looks really old-school, which always appeals to me. And here it was up at the counter of my little independently owned pharmacy (“the corner druggist”), so I was pretty sold from the beginning. Also, since when is gum called “scented?” The outside of the box says, “FRAGRANCE THAT REFRESHES.” Yum! But, shouldn’t it say “FLAVOR THAT REFRESHES?” It’s weird to think of something that you eat having a scent. Needless to say, I was intrigued. I finally bought it during my third visit to the pharmacy, and popped a piece immediately after going outside.

The flavor was so surprising! It has kind of a clove-y, herbal, not really minty flavor. There’s a little bit of cinnamon in there in the beginning, but that fades pretty quickly. Most of the flavor fades pretty quickly, actually, but in a very pleasant way. The gum is very small, so you aren’t forced to smack it around loudly with your mouth open like most people do with gum (totes annoying!). The aftertaste is perhaps the most surprising part….patchouli. Yes, patchouli. I must say I have a sweet spot inside for patchouli-scented things because of my hippie days in college. It smells delicious and earthy. I actually enjoy having that flavor in my mouth! Weird, right?

Choward’s gum is kind of expensive at the drugstore, at $0.79/pack. One pack contains eight pieces. I am seriously considering buying a case directly from the company, at only $13.50 for 24 packs, that’s a pretty sweet deal. Less than $0.60 a pack! Sounds like a great graduation gift to me…..

love, klk.

Paranoid Park

Posted in klk, movies on February 28, 2008 by criticalreviews

Leah and I saw this movie on Tuesday, at an IFC center advance screening open to members only. This was my first time attending such an event, and it was surprisingly not very crowded. Perhaps because the movie started right at 6 pm?

Anyway, Paranoid Park is the new film by Gus Van Sant. I really liked his last one (Last Days, starring Michael Pitt and about the days leading to the death of Kurt Cobain), but I think Elephant was pretty underwhelming. I guess Good Will Hunting is okay, and I actually just found out that he directed the film adaptation of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which is a Tom Robbins novel ( but not my favorite). I should probably watch that at some point.

Paranoid Park is about a teenager in Portland who, while hanging around a pretty rough skatepark, gets involved with a murder investigation. The movie does a good job of putting the audience right inside the head of this boy through his writing of the story of Paranoid Park in his (a little too chic?) Moleskine notebook. Not so surprisingly, being inside the young skater kid’s head isn’t the most dramatic place in the world, regardless of the events that unfold around him. The kid manages to keep his cool throughout most of the movie (with a couple of exceptions), and Van Sant conveys this feeling through slow and quiet shots of skaters doing their thing, or the main character walking through hallways, or taking a shower, or sitting on the beach, with kind of intense experiments in noise and static playing in the foreground. This is why I love ambient music! I really enjoyed how the music was in the foreground for these shots, and such a significant part of the film. Because of this, Paranoid Park definitely had an avant-garde feel to it, but not so much as to detract from the plot or the actors at all.

The main character, played by Gabe Nevins, just turned sixteen years old. For such a young actor, he was really powerful on the screen. This review by the Hollywood Reporter, is pretty accurate in saying that he wasn’t very expressive, but it did work super well for his character’s age, social situation, and reaction to the events unfolding around him. Maybe this is totally creepy, but he is also pretty hot. I didn’t think so at the beginning of the movie, but by the end of it I was pretty into him. I mean, look at him:

Totally dreamy, right? Anyway, some girl from Gossip Girl was also in the film as his totally annoying, but kind of hilarious, girlfriend. Her ridiculousness caused comic relief, for sure.

I also really liked that the movie was filmed in Portland; it provided a nice backdrop to the plot and the skateboarding. The laid-back, post-grunge atmosphere was appropriate for the overall tone of the movie. It made me want to go there again, for more than 24 hours!

Maybe some kind of rating system would be a good addition to this review. I give Paranoid Park **** ½ (out of *****)!

(stills from the film’s official website)

love, klk

barack obama is your new bicycle!

Posted in klk, website on February 15, 2008 by criticalreviews

barack obama is your new bicycle!

Awesome new website discovery part one! I don’t want to write too much about it, for fear that I might spoil the fun. Imagine that Barack Obama is your best bud. These are all of the things he would do! Maybe if he was elected, he would be our fine nation’s BFF. Is Barack Obama America’s NEW BICYCLE? Who knows at this point, but it will be fun to refresh this silly website 3948585 times a day until the November election.

love, klk.

2007, music heaven.

Posted in Best of..., klk, music on January 18, 2008 by criticalreviews

I had a great time with music last year, probably because of settling into in New York City, which is pretty much the focal point for amazing and free (!) concerts by new and exciting bands. Maybe it was also being back in school and spending a lot of time alone studying (and not studying), riding the train, reading, all the while listening to music. Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t give OiNK (RIP) some credit in my musical adventures this year. My little circa-2004 (2003?) iPod mini has had more excitement than it can handle (luckily I upgraded for Christmas this year). It’s been awesome, and I can only hope that 2008 is half as great!

Anyway, here’s my list of the best records of 2007. I guess the one thing these records all have in common is that I was pleasantly surprised by all of them, and that they were (to use a cliché) moving in some way.

I was especially moved by these records:

10. Mary Timony Band – The Shapes We Make

9. Deerhunter — Cryptograms

8. Sondre Lerche – Phantom Punch

7. Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam

6. Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings

5. Fiery Furnaces – Widow City

4. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala

3. St. Vincent – Marry Me

2. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

1. Scout Niblett – This Fool Can Die Now

It was really hard to pick only ten, but I figured that it would be best to narrow down the list to make it more “meaningful” or something. That said, here are some Honorable Mentions:

Radiohead – In Rainbows

The Shins – Wincing the Night Away

The Field – From Here We Go Sublime

Panda Bear – Person Pitch

Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline

Beirut – The Flying Cub Cup

Blonde Redhead – 23

Blitzen Trapper – Wild Mountain Nation

Boris with Michio Kurihara – Rainbow

Devendra Banhart – Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

Keren Ann – s/t

Weakerthans – Reunion Tour

!! klk.