Archive for Greenpoint

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)

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)

Brooklyn Record Riot. Sunday June 29th at the Warsaw.

Posted in music, record stores, Tom with tags , , , , , on June 30, 2008 by criticalreviews

The Brooklyn Record Riot was held at the Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave., Greenpoint, Brooklyn) this past Sunday. While I am a pretty big record dork this event fell pretty short of my expectations…and honestly my expectations were pretty low. While the short list of dealers that I read on Brooklyn Vegan looked pretty promising:

Denis from Le Pickup of Montreal
Josh Rock from Montreal
Bobby Soul from NYC
John from 21st Century Music
Billy and Miriam from Norton Records
Chris from Relative Action
Neil Drucker from Record Cellar of Philly
Marjorie from Permanent Records of Greenpoint
Malcolm from Trash American Style
Mike from Slipped Disc
John from Rockit Scientist NYC
Larry from ShoutShimmy Of Jersey City
Reggae Tim from Baltimore

Overall it just turned out to be overwhelming due to people and amount of merchandise, and underwhelming in terms of selection and/or price.

My first complaint off the bat is that it was a record riot, and not a CD or DVD riot. While I agree that these items do fit into the category of things a record buyer might purchase, I feel that too much space was given to them. While there were some really wonderful tables, KLK got some of the more obscure Pink Floyd LPs and Leah had some good cheap finds and a very special Nick Cave LP, I came up empty handed.

I felt like there was a lot of good stuff at the record fair, but that overall prices were high (on used LPs specifically). Personally I am always looking for Brian Eno and Frank Zappa but what I found, even records that I already own, were exponentially higher than what I paid for them or had seen them being sold for in Williamsburg or the East Village.

I almost felt like prices were jacked up due to it being a record fair. Possibly people thinking “Oh there will be record Geeks and DJ’s here.” This wasn’t all of the tables, but I did get this vibe from tables that didn’t have prices on anything (or that used a hand written pricing code: example A= $10 D=$40). I guess what I am getting at is that there was a serious lack of good things in the $10-$20 range, and even $20-$30. There were tons of cheap $1-$5, and plenty of collector-y $30-$200 things…but the median range was really weak.

While I will admit that every LP I looked at did appear to be in almost perfect condition, I don’t consider this too much of a luxury. I find that most used records, in stores, priced over $10 tend to be in excellent or at least very good condition.

Some tables were really organized…whether it was by alphabet, genre, or era, but others were just by price. And while this could be good for someone looking deal, it really is too much of a time investment with not enough results.

One of the highlights was the table of Permanent Records (of Greenpoint), which I didn’t shop at because I would rather support them in their very relaxed store. While their table consisted of mostly new records it was a nice change. They were organized, and friendly. Their store deserves a proper review of it’s own (and that should come sometime in the near future after a couple more visits).

I actually think it could have been better if there were more vendors selling new vinyl (like Permanent)…maybe by recruiting the likes of the recently closed Jammyland (because honestly from what I saw the reggae was particularly weak) or Hospital Productions, or other specialty shops.

Four things I would like to see that would have made the experience more enjoyable:

1. Organization (I don’t care how you do it…era, genre, alphabet…just not by price…unless it is a $1 bin).
2. Prices (post your prices on the records, or at the very least have a code that the customer can decode without asking you).
3. More specialty vendors.
4. Those portable record players are obnoxious…vendors should have them set up (if they want to), and customers should not be allowed to bring them.

Not being impressed might have been due to the fact that I didn’t get there til 2pm, but all of the bins looked full, and if it was in fact picked over I can’t imagine what it was like at 6 or 7pm. I can say the Brooklyn Record Riot was worth the $3 admission, and I’m not writing off record fairs completely (I’m looking forward to the next WFMU fair.)

(Tom)