Archive for Brooklyn

Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop

Posted in Best of..., food, restaurant, Tom with tags , , , , , , on November 13, 2008 by criticalreviews

Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop
727 Manhattan Ave
(between Norman and Meserole)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

This past summer while sitting at home on a depressing day (bad news the day before, good news later that night), we were looking at blogs and exciting things in our new neighborhood. We came across the the NYC Donut Reports‘ post about Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop. Being that Peter Pan was right around the corner the only option was to bury our sorrow in sugar. We walked around the corner, picked up a sampling and headed back to the house. My love affair with Peter Pan was born that day.

I am a really stubborn donut eater now. Peter Pan can’t be beat, and I will never go into a Dunkin Donuts ever again as long as I live in Greenpoint (when ever I want a donut I can always justify that I can wait til I get home to go to Peter Pan). We have tried a large variety of flavors over the past couple of months and so far this shop can’t be beat. My recommendations are the Sour Cream Glazed, the Chocolate Glazed with Coconut, any Jelly Donut, and the Chocolate Frosted French Cruller…but honestly you can’t go wrong. The texture is perfect whether it is a cake donut, a yeast donut, a cruller, jelly, cinnamon bun…it doesn’t matter. This place is top notch.

On top of the wonderful Donuts and Pastries Peter Pan has a wonderful diner feel…the inside gives me a bit of the Twin Peaks vibe (and that is something I can’t get enough of), and the ladies who work there have fabulous outfits (as Pipeline pointed out).

Peter Pan was even kind enough to be handing donut holes to the Marathon Runners the other week. This is fine Bakery and deserves support from everyone in Greenpoint, everyone in NYC, and all you you tourists that come to visit our little part of Brooklyn.

Greenpointers wrote a while back that Peter Pan was losing money due to the Dunkin Donuts down the block(both ways), and Starbucks…but if you care about quality you really should try the BEST DONUTS IN TOWN and that is at PETER PAN’S! NYC Donut Report even sites their Donuts as the Best in NYC (not to discount the wonderful Donut Plant, but those are a totally different beast).

Get over to Greenpoint if you are a pastry lover, and eat some donuts(or cream sticks, or cinnamon buns or what ever sweet you love)…so I don’t eat them all…get there early if you plan to try my favorite Sour Cream Glazed, because those go quick.

Long Live Peter Pan!

Photo of Peter Pan and first Donut photo by One Sweet World (via flickr)

Peter Pan Staff by Pipeline

(Tom)

The Richardson

Posted in alcohol, bars, food, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by criticalreviews

The Richardson

451 Graham Avenue (the corner of Richardson and Graham) Williamsburg, Brooklyn
After last Sunday I was surprised to find myself walking around in Williamsburg again, and possibly headed to one of the same locations. We were on our way to check out Spuytin Duyvil’s No Joke Oktoberfest Celebration, but when we got there is was a little too crowded for our likings…and luckily had a back-up plan. This back-up plan involved heading back north. We walked down Havemeyer from Metropolitan to where it turns into Whithers, and then zig zagged a bit over to Graham Ave. I didn’t realize that there were so many Italian restaurants and delis in the area that is so close to my house…one of which we procured some delicious fresh cavatelli for dinner. The point is we ended up making our way to The Richardson. After the various write ups on Greenpointers (this is the most recent of the bunch), and the reviews on Yelp! (almost all 5 stars) how could we not try it out.

The Richardson is a big place with lots of tables, a huge bar, beautiful wallpaper, and a cozy feel (although it was a little cold with the doors open, it was still a really pleasant vibe). The first thing I noticed was the wallpaper, chandelier, and pumpkins (nice way to set the fall mood). We sat at the bar, and were the only people in the bar for a while but more patrons trickled in slowly. While at the bar klk tried one of their signature cocktails (and a couple fabulous drinks made with Hendricks Gin), while I was in the mood for beer (hence the Oktoberfest as the original plan) ordered a couple Troegs Hopback Ambers, and a Southern Tier IPA. The cocktails were made the old fashioned way, and I was really impressed by the well thought out beer list…this is sometimes a rarity at a cocktail bar (the only other thing I ask for is a stout or porter other than Guinness).

While the bar was pretty quiet we had the wonderful company of the barkeep. He was extremely friendly, and good for conversation…as well as makes excellent cocktails. Sometimes you go to a new hip bar, and kinda get the cold shoulder, but he was genuinely friendly…and this was more or less the icing on the cake. Leah stopped in to meet us for a drink, and had a Manhattan which was also delicious (I can’t pass up trying a whiskey drink when offered a sip).

We ordered some roasted nuts (part of their new menu), but were slightly underwhelmed. This might be because we are more or less experienced nut roasters ourselves. Some of their other food did sound quite tasty.

On top of the wonderful staff, and nice decor the bar keeps a consistent theme. The bartenders all have a loose rocker/greaser theme going on, and the music is all pre-1970 (if not older) rock n’ roll and r & b. A really nice touch that really ties the place together.

This place is perfect for a date or if you have a large group , and they have something to accommodate everyone. I’m adding this place to my regular rotation of drinking spots (and it doesn’t hurt that it is pretty close to my house).

Photos by Marcus in NY (via flickr)

(Tom)

Greenpoint Coffee House

Posted in food, restaurant, Tom with tags , , , , on September 26, 2008 by criticalreviews
195 Franklin St
(between Freeman St & Green St)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Greenpoint Coffee House is located where you would expect, in Greenpoint, not too far of a walk from the Greenpoint Ave G Train stop. It actually took us a while to make it to this spot, because while it has a vintage look the clientèle appeared to be pretty hip. I’m not afraid or intimidated of hip people by any means (maybe I’m hip who knows), but I don’t want to sacrifice service or quality for hipness. This is not the case a Greenpoint Coffee. Their wait staff is great! Really friendly and welcoming!

We have gone the past two Saturday morning, and been able to get a table immediately (even though it has been busy). The inside is a has cute decor, like I said with a vintage feel. There are some chairs up against the wall where the door is, small tables in the middle, booths on one side, and a long bar on the other.

We have only really tried two dishes: I have been obsessed with the Veggie Burger. It’s homemade, and served with your cheese of choice (if you want it to be…I have gotten it with the Goat Cheese once, and Blue cheese the other time), and avocado mayo…just wonderful. KLK has gotten the Eggs Acme…which is perfectly poached eggs on English muffins, with smoked salmon from Greenpoint’s own Acme Smoked Fish! Some of the best smoked fish I have ever tasted…and I don’t even like smoked fish other than sushi. Their breakfast potatos are delicious as well (and I usually find this type of thing bland).

They also have a nice tea list, and reasonably priced coffee drinks…highly recommended. Mimosas and Brooklyn beer on tap too (three different varieties) if you are in the mood If it’s nice, sit outside and enjoy beautiful Franklin Street. I can’t wait to eat there tomorrow (almost as excited about it as I am for Built to Spill tonight!), but I think we will dine inside (too bad it’s raining all weekend).

GCH by bitchcakesny (via flickr)

Veggie Burger at GCH by Roboppy (via flickr)

(Tom)

Todd P NYC

Posted in music, shows, Tom, website with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2008 by criticalreviews

I emailed Todd P NYC about the Mount Eerie show at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah this past Friday because there was some banter about advanced tickets between Phil (Mount Eerie) and the crowd at the Bowery Ballroom show the night before. And I got this response:

if you’re really worried, print this thread and bring it to the door.
we’ll make sure you and your date get in even if it’s tight.

I hear alot of people talk trash about Todd P, but I thought this was super nice. I enjoy going to his shows, and I’m just using this as a way to say thank you!

Although we got in without a problem the show did sell out really fast. Mount Eerie was amazing, as always.

(Tom)

Permanent Records

Posted in music, record stores, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2008 by criticalreviews
181 Franklin St
(between Green St & Huron St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-4083

Permanent Records is located in Greenpoint just a couple blocks north of Greenpoint Ave on Franklin Street (a very short walk from the Greenpoint Ave G Station, or a 20-25 minute walk from the Bedford L). In 2007 Permanent relocated from it’s original location on Long Island to Greenpoint. While this is a tragic loss for it’s former location, it was a great addition to Franklin Street.

While some of the record stores in the Bedford area have an air of pretension Permanent Records is friendly and welcoming! Marjorie, the owner of the shop, is typically behind the counter and is extremely friendly. I have been in several times, and have only had enjoyable experiences.

Permanent has more vinyl than CDs, and of course this is a plus for me. The store set up is records down the right side, and CDs down the left. There are a couple stand alone racks in the center of the floor: one for newly arrived used LPs, another for 7″s, and a third for DJ esque type LPs). They have a variety of record players in the windows, and lots of sun light. The store is not huge, but feels spacious, and comfortable.

Selection wise I always find more records than I need to be buying in my hands. I’m not quite sure how it is labeled, but they have one large section of LPs (that lives in the back right side corner of the store) that is comprised of a very eclectic selection of rock, noise, folk, electronic, and country of the modern varieties. Then they have some smaller section of things like reggae, soul, jazz, ect. The selection is really wonderful. They have your typical record bins, (by alphabet), and then they reserve space on the walls to display albums too (as pictured). They have pretty much something for everybody, and I find that you might end up with something you didn’t quite expect to find.

On my most recent visit I purchased Boris’ new effort Smile, the repress of Thurston Moore’s of Psychic Hearts, a used copy of the Grateful Dead’s Blues of Allah, as well as the reason for my visit… my special order of Eat Skull’s new album Sick to Death.

I have to thank Marjorie and Permanent Records for allowing people to do special orders. I had been looking all over to find that Eat Skull record, and had asked several places about ordering it for me…but no one would do it. I just kept hearing “Check back next week.” Marjorie ordered the record for me, and kept in touch with me until it came in stock. The LP I wanted was on back order, but the store followed up with me three times. Once to let me know that it didn’t come in, a second time letting me know the day it would be there, and finally a call to let me know that my record arrived. This is wonderful customer service, and they didn’t even make me put down a deposit (which I happily would have done).

They are also open until 9pm! Which means I still have time to make it to the store before they close after I’m done having happy hour (it is one of my favorite activities to record shop after a beer or two)! Permanent Records does instore performances too. To find out what is about upcoming events stop into the store, or email: marjorie@permanentrecords.info and ask to be added to the mailing list.

It may be that Greenpoint just has wonderful specialty shops…besides my consistently good experiences at Permanent, I was also recently surprised by the kindness of the young lady that was working at Dalaga (we didn’t catch her name, but she mentioned she was a new employee). KLK and I were in the store on Sunday, and she was just so genuinely nice that she really made us want to frequent their shop.

While I had never visited a lot of these shops before moving to Greenpoint, overall I am just pleasantly surprised with the shops in my new neighborhood. I am happy to live here and be supporting them. Permanent Records (and Dalaga) are both doing good things. They both have made some return customers out of us. I love the Franklin Street shopping district, and I can’t wait to explore it more.

If you are a record collector, or just in the mood for some new tunes stop by Permanent. If you can decide on something I’m sure that they are full of recommendations. One last thing I forgot….Permanent is typically a couple bucks cheaper on new LPs than Earwax and Soundfix!

Photos:

Greenpoint Store by JT (via Picasa)

Inside Greenpoint Store by Michael Kirby (via Time Out NY)

Old Store on Long Island by Seamus McGuire (via flickr)

More music news in Greenpoint this week…if you are a fan of punk rock or folk music… Defiance, Ohio is playing Club Europa this Thursday August 21st. If you don’t have anything going on, or are looking for something to do, I highly recommend going (I plan on being there)…it is not so often that you get to see a mostly acoustic punk band play. Good times.

(Tom)

Buying Beer in the ‘burg and the ‘point

Posted in alcohol, beer, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2008 by criticalreviews

Since I moved to Greenpoint I have struggled to find that decent priced case of beer. I tend to buy American craft beers, and I found myself in the land of $10-$12 sixpacks.

I sold beer for Whole Foods for quite a long time, and while I was there I always tried to have a good sixpack for $7.99 or cheaper ($6.99 was my ideal price point)…I did good stuff too like Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and Victory. But Lately it has been hard to find good deals on good beer. This is my guide to finding the deals on good beer in in Williamsburg and Greenpoint…if you have any favorite spots that I missed please let me know!

Buying a Case:

The $10-$12 sixpack was no shock, being that I had hung out in the neighborhood quite a bit before I moved here, but it was hard coming from upper Manhattan where I could go to my local beverage warehouse and pick up a case of Magic Hat or Brooklyn for around $28 (and some weird loop hole that let the Magic Hat 12 packs go for $11.99… I like Magic Hat when it’s cheap).

I started my quest for a decent priced case at Beverage World (408 Meeker Ave), and was honestly disappointed. They had your Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, Lagunitas, Oskar Blues, and Smuttynose, but the six packs of most of these things were as expensive or more expensive than bodegas. When I asked for a price on a case the only one the guy knew off hand was Brooklyn. He said that the others would be between $40-$50 a case (in other words I could get these just as cheap, or cheaper, at a bodega). Brooklyn came to about $35 (tax and deposit included). Which wasn’t bad?…I saved $5 off bodega prices, but still not great. They did let me mix my six packs though (1 brown, 2 IPA, and a pilsner). Although not the deal I was hoping for. These guys get extra credit for being friendly.

My next stab at getting a case was at Big Blue Beer Distribution (223 Greenpoint Avenue). The selection at Big Blue was a little larger than Beverage World. They had price stickers for sixpacks and cases next to almost every beer (which was helpful). Most cases were around $30.99-$32.99 (plus tax and deposit)…Brooklyn might have been $28.99 (again plus tax and deposit). Their six packs were in general about 50 cents to a $1.50 cheaper than your grocery store or bodega (but at the bodega the tax and deposit is included so it pretty much evens out). This might be a good stop for some single bottles, but then again there are better places in the neighborhood for that too. At Big Blue there was no customer service at all, and I fear that the beer might be kept in questionable conditions…it was as hot or hotter than it was outside in the room where they kept the beer (definitely not ideal).

Unless you need it delivered the savings, around $4 to $7 depending on the case (compared to bodega prices), from Big Blue and Beverage World are just too minimal to justify the trip.

Ok now who can be my reasonably priced beer savior? You guessed it…The Brooklyn Brewery! While I’ve known about their Friday Happpy Hour and weekend tours for quite a while, the brewery also sells cases! Although only open three days a week the Brooklyn Brewery is the most direct, and best priced location to buy a case of good beer in the area! While all of the cases are slightly different prices they always have a case on sale for $15! Right now the sale is the Brooklyn Weisse. I’m not such a fan of wheat beers so I didn’t get one, but I did buy a case of Brooklyn East India Pale Ale for $26 (which is a great deal considering this monster is at 6.9% abv! It’s super fresh too, good thru February 2009). These prices at the brewery include tax and deposit, so it is $26 flat. Definitely the best deal in the area. Thank you Steve Hindy and Garrett Oliver! I really love having the brewery so close to me, but I do hope that Hindy and Oliver can find a larger space…I’m with Greenpointers on this one…if you move Come to Greenpoint! The Brewery is currently located at 79 N 11th St (between Berry and Wythe). Cutting out the middle man is a good thing. Read my review of the Happy Hour here!

Sixpacks and Singles:

Spuyten Duyvil Grocery
218 Bedford Ave Brooklyn 11211 (btwn N 4rd and N 5th in the Mini Mall)

While the Spuyten Duyvil Grocery does not have the largest selection, but they definitely have the most obscure and highest quality selection in town. They cater to the beer geek very well, specializing in single bottles. I can’t say that I shop in this store all that often, but when ever I do I am always happy…this is my go to for Jolly Pumpkin, Regenboog, and De Dolle. While I do admit they are a little on the pricey side, I can guarantee that the beer has been properly taken care of and is of the highest quality. And if you want to talk beer the clerk is always up for it. I picked up a bottle of La Roja this week! Oh and they also have fancy pickles, mustards, spreads, glassware, shirts, and snacks too.

Forest Natural
120 Norman Ave. (between Leonard and Eckford)

Forest Natural really isn’t a “beer destination”, but it is close to my house. For a place that doesn’t carry a ton of beer they always have an obscure selection…six packs vary from about $9-$11, and you can mix and match (I have never had one come to more than $10.50…and my six pack of Avery IPA was only $9…great deal!). They always have a couple flavors of Weyerbacher, Avery (and these two are enough to make me happy), Goose Island, and Lake Front. It is pretty much my go to spot…whether I need some beer, or yummy kettle chips, a bagel, or a sandwich (oh the sandwiches are sooo good). I know that the beer can be about a dollar more expensive than the bodegas, but the guys that work there are really nice and I think it is important to support these people…this run a nice shop. And they deliver (even Beer) if you have an order over $10 (which is pretty easy to do).

**Revisited several times over the past couple months, and Forest Natural’s selection has gone down hill. While they still have great sandwiches…when I stop on for Beer I usually end up not buying beer, and head over to the Natural Garden to pick some up.

Tops on the Waterfront
89 N 6th St (between Berry & Wythe)

Tops on the Waterfront used to be my go to spot before I moved to the neighborhood. They used to have a great selection, as good as any Whole Foods Market, and comparable prices…but as of recently the selection has gone down hill and the prices have gone up. It sounds ridiculous, but I used to get excited to go beer shopping at this place…now I only go when I need groceries, when I am not going all the way to Whole Foods, and the beer is just an after thought (where it used to be the other way around). I wish I knew what happened…they still have a decent selection but not as good as it used to be. You can find some Troegs though…and they seem to be under represented in the neighborhood.

I know that these are just six places in two large neighborhoods that I chose to highlight. To sum it up…if you need a case, and you like Brooklyn, your decision is made…head straight to the Brewery. The beverage warehouses aren’t worth the time unless you live with within a block of them. The couple stores that I highlighted are the best that I have found, but if you know a place that isn’t totally ridiculously priced (or has a ridiculously good selection) let me know…I’ll check it out!

Photo Credits:

Brooklyn Cases by Jon Cronin (via flickr)

Brooklyn Brewery by Wally G (via flickr)

Spuyten Duyvil Grocery by Roboppy (via flickr)

Forest Natural by Neighborhood Threat

(Tom)

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)