time for a break

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hi all, hope you had a great weekend. ours was steamy and hot, hot, hot.  really i don’t mind all that much (i am definitely a summer girl) though i could use a few more swimming options (the public pools in nyc don’t open until june 29th — that’s crazy!).  in the midst of all this, i’ve decided to take a cherrypatter break. i love having this space to write, and comment, and talk about my favorite things, but lately it’s become a bit of a chore.  it’s also been a bit of a challenge  toensuriei have good quality content especially for brooklyn and queens which really require that i head far from home and at this point in my life that’s just tough to schedule.  so, i’m looking forward to reading (so many books piled up), lounging around on the weekends with absolutely no agenda and posting every now and then about some of my best finds. i also have some great interviews still to post so i will do those too and maybe i’ll think about retooling this place so it’s a bit easier for me and still fun for you.  have a great 4th of july.

snack: best lamb sandwich around

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i guess i’m on a bit of a sandwich phase right now — or maybe it is just this sweltering heat (and i love the heat so that’s saying something) but snack really has a great one, worth even going to soho for.  this tiny greek restaurant on a charming block of thompson street has just a few tables but some great dining. snack has a full greek menu, but i have to admit we have never been able to move beyond the braised lamb sandwich.  soft ciabatta bread, a savory tomato aioli combined with a little bit of bite from some arugula and the tenderest lamb around make this the perfect  filling meal.  snack also has a sibling snack taverna that i’ve never tried in the west village (corner of bedford and morton) which might be good for summer.  snack, 105 thompson street near prince street, manhattan, new york, 212.925.1040.

taco matamoros: taco delight

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sunset park spot tacos matamoros is nothing special from the inside or out.  a plain box, a t.v. on in the background, and a little bit dark.  but the tacos were excellent.   i got a few different kinds (sorry i’m not that adventuresome so i didn’t try all those stomach parts) and stuck to the various porks and chicken.  the corn tortillas were excellent. i have no idea how to get them so soft, warm and pliant (whenever i warm them up at home i can’t seem to match this technique), the fresh tomatillo sauce was spicy, the toppings of onions and greens added a nice brightness to the dish.  the ratio of meat to tortilla (two tortillas per taco) also seemed perfect.  we got a side of guacamole and for not being made that very instant (in that it was a little cool) it was still quite good and chunky.

we got a few other dishes including the flautas (not so great though they photographed better than the tacos which just looked like “mush”) and the enchiladas (maybe a wee bit heavy) but the price is right, and i think if you stick just to tacos you’ll be happy. and of course it is incredibly cheap.  so while the red hook trucks might have better overall tacos (and i have to go try them out again this year, especially the country boys/martinez taco truck), for speed (there was no wait here), and for satisfying a taco craving all year round, tacos matamoros is a very good option.  tacos matamoros, 4508 5th avenue between 45th and 46th streets, brooklyn, new york, 718.871.7627.

a fondant success

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just a few notes about our very busy weekend before i head back tomorrow to regular food and shop reports.   k’s birthday party  at construction kids was a success, with the kids going crazy with hammers and nails for two very loud hours (i did not think to “disinvite” parents to the  event but next time — if there is one — definitely).  i was very pleased with myself for as to how the “saw” cake turned out — my first ever experience with fondant.  two layers of brownies, covered with lots of super sweet buttercream frosting, and then the fondant for the silvery part looked pretty darn cool thanks to advice from here.  all those 7-year olds went wild. adults were warned to just eat the inner sections.

on the not so fun side of the weekend, this creature somehow ate a plate of 12 very chocolate cookies at her babysitters leading to hours at the vet hospital (chocolate can be very dangerous for dogs apparently).  she’s now home and seems completely fine, fortunately.  it just means our bank account is  much lighter and she of course is not starving.  despite all that, daddy day was fairly mellow, with brunch here, book shopping here, and lots of outdoor water action for the kids which was a good thing as it was one hot and humid sunday.

a short but perfect season

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hi all. we’re getting ready for a busy next few days with k’s 7th birthday party tomorrow which feels a little odd as we’re having it a month early so we can capture her friends before they begin their vacations.  my big goal for the weekend is to bake a cherry pie, hopefully with sour cherries but any will do.  i always seem to miss the one or two weeks that those cherries are available, but i’m determined not do to that this summer.  i really would like to go to brooklyn brainery’s pie crust workshop on monday — how fun would that be to get a super perfect crust.

and although i wasn’t able to get my great interview with kiosk up and running today, i was excited to do a guest post over at the great blog pretty mommy all about my everyday obsessions, and i also posted a short summary of all my favorite shops on the new fun and useful website brooklyn exposed.  hope you all have a super great weekend.   image via: ekelly80 via flickr.

brook farm general store: beloved necessities

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i think i might have found my new favorite go-to shop.  brook farm general store was filled with so many things that i love, and even better, can justify buying because you know you always need another notebook or two, that i will be back, and not just because it is dangerously close to fatty cue.  on the paper front, there were color pencils by palomino, plain but adorable prospector pencils and then really who could resist the little wood pencil sharpeners.  brook farm general store had these huge michael roger notebooks (i am a journal junky), as well as these great ones by miquelrius that came in various widths — one for every occasion.

while brook farm general store had a few adorable kids items — like these blocks above and a back-to-basics log cabin playset — they really shined in the kitchen/gardening department. first off, they had these incredible looking vintage iron skillets and rolling pins, as well as the very cutest vintage pie rack (would look so perfect here).  there were fantastic napkins in various muted stripes and hues, as well as some basic dishes and other super useful glass containers.   for the garden they had lightfoot soap, trowel sets, and just so you could look stylish out there in the dirt (or wherever) these appealing bensimon sneakers.

and then brook farm general store just had a host of other appealing home items like the stylish yet utilitarian toiletry and travel bags by beckel, white and khaki hammam and matteo towels, and the mellow matteo quilts in whites and greys.   there were also vintage embroidered and linen pillowcases in white.  for the dog, they had the simplest pure leather collars and leashes, and to spruce up  the closets there were original lavender sachets in creams or stripes.    nothing was outlandishly priced, and i think a quick stop now in then just to, you know, upgrade your keys with leather covers, or indulge in one of the anglepoise lamps in bold colors wouldn’t be such a bad thing.   brook farm general store, 75 s. 6th street between berry and wythe avenues, brooklyn, new york, 718.388.8642.

badichi: belts to suit

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a little bit gimmicky, but badichi is ultimately useful especially if you know almost exactly what you want.  this is a shop all about belts. you can put them together with a huge inventory of buckles and leather strips in all colors and designs.  badichi definitely has a tourist trap feel but i think the quality is decent and really sometimes i just can’t bear wading through the selection at a place like bloomingdales, or getting something that is so generic at a banana republic. so for those days, i might just head over to badichi’s for something that fits exactly what i want at an affordable price.    badichi, 159 prince street between west broadway and thompson, manhattan, new york 212.533.2107.

sub no. 7: sandwich delight

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i seem to keep passing by my old office haunt on broadway and 26th street, and it’s a good thing too since there a few very good reasons to hang out at the ace hotel including  the no. 7 sub.  and yes, this is no big news for those of you reading all the food news out there, but i had been worried that this teeny, tiny place would be mobbed and so i wouldn’t get to check it out.  fortunately, for some reason if you come super early (they open at 11:30 a.m.) or after the lunch crowds (2 p.m. and onwards should do it), then you will be in for a very very nice sandwich with no line at all.   so far, i’ve only test run two no. 7 options. while both were excellent combinations — amazing soft delicious rolls, very high quality ingredients and stand-out flavors — my favorite was the roast beef.   layered with pickled endive and raw horseradish giving the sandwich some zing, the beef was nice and pink (and so very tender), and the fried– still warm –  scallions made the whole thing pop.  the other one i tried was the salami with bok choy and rice krispies.  since i ate this about an hour later, it got a little bit squashed even though it was still pretty addictive (no more crackles though).

i am quite ready to hop by no. 7 sub very soon again.  they have some great, appealing, veggie options like the eggplant parm with fontina, yellow squash, barbecue sauce and pickled jalapenos, and also the general tso’s tofu with pickled rhubarb and roasted garlic.  and i think for the fall i might crave the  the lamb meatloaf with curried crema.  as a nice surprise, in addition to decent chips, no. 7 sub had a very addictive half moon cookie — basically a moon pie undone. it looks like a black and white but it was so much more delicate.   for my return visit, my only request is that  the shop offer a 1/2 size option — that full size sub, while not enormous, was too much for me.   no 7 sub, 1188 broadway between 28th and 29th streets, manhattan, new york, 212.532.1680.

brooklyn croissant taste off: an unexpected winner

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i’ve been wanting to do this for ages, and finally i did with much help from the hubby — a croissant taste test of the the best brooklyn bakeries/coffee shops that make their own.   i ruled out the spots that bring them in from elsewhere — like café regular du nord, cafe grumpy and gorilla coffee — to focus just on the “homemade” stuff.  contenders included sweet melissa’s ($2.50), colson patisserie ($2.25) almondine ($2.15), root hill ($2.25) and trois pommes (2.75).  j and i collected the goodies sunday morning and munched our way through a pile of dough.  for the most part, we were definitely underwhelmed, even with ones like almondine that we would have expected to have come out on top.  and while all of these happen to have locations in park slope, i do think that this list captures the best “french” bakeries in the borough (marquet patisserie, for example, didn’t make the cut).

to our great surprise, as we’re not such a fan of their baked goods (though i am addicted to the morning roll) and the croissant was huge, colson’s totally ruled.  their croissant was flaky, buttery, had that lovely chewy flavor and was by far our winner.  as an added bonus it was the middle of the pack pricewise.  next up, but probably a mile behind, was the root hill croissant, again another surprise.  root hill just started baking their own recently (they had been getting their goods from colson’s), and fresh out of the oven they’re pretty good, but an hour or so later they are still crispy but the underlying flavor has a slightly unpleasant taste.   the worst option for me sadly was from trois pommes. an unreasonable $2.75, these were virtually tasteless, seemed somewhat stale and had a spongy bland interior.  while i love some of trois pommes’ other goodies (the donuts especially), the croissants didn’t cut it.   sweet melissa’s was j’s starbuck’s nominee, though i liked it a little better than that.  and right in the middle of the pack was almondine.  light and fluffy, pretty decent texture but i at least thought it was too dense.

so if you, like us, are continually looking for that perfect combination of the croissant and coffee in brooklyn,  i would head first to colson’s (last year they improved their coffee tremendously) and then to root hill.

almondine bakery: 442 9th street, just west of 7th avenue, 718.797.5026.

colson patisserie: 374 9th street at 6th avenue, 718.965.6400.

root hill cafe, 262 fourth avenue at carroll street, 718.797.0100.

sweet melissa patisserie, 175 seventh avenue between 1st and 2nd streets, 718.788.2700.

trois pommes patisserie, 260 fifth avenue between garfield and carroll streets, 718.230.3119.

[photos above, croissants from left to right: colson's, almondine, root hill, sweet melissa and trois pommes.]

metal and thread: where local artists shine

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i can’t stay away from this awesome stretch of van brunt for long, and now with the weather getting warmer we’ll be out in this neck of the woods nearly every weekend we’re in town to take advantage of my very favorite pool once it opens.   while i’ve covered nearly every shop on these two short blocks, i had missed metal and thread, and although it has been around for nearly 2 years, i first stepped in this past christmas on a hunt for some excellent hubby stocking stuffers — and they delivered.

the collection at metal and thread is eclectic. the bulk of the shop is jewelry — some vintage but lots from local artists.  tons of affordable, and interesting rings  including pieces like a bold stainless steel dome for $55, stainless steel mesh designed by one of the owners derek dominy, wood grain rings by katrina balling for $60 to $120 or the more fun hand forged puzzle rings by blacksmith marsha trattnermetal and thread had tiny, simple cuff links made out of leather and little ball earrings. and for those who are more bold, there were large necklaces made out of wire mesh gloriously oversized turquoise nuggets.  vintage pieces included an arts and craft inspired bracelet copper from the 1940s for $185, and a hand carved bone fan.

i also really liked some of the metal furniture created by the owners of metal and thread denise carbonell and derek.   there was a vintage butcher block table with these curly iron legs for $625 or a smaller steel table with a customized patina top for $265.  and for decorating the walls, there were some art pieces scattered throughout including painted hands and black textiles by denise campbell.  metal and thread is a good very affordable destination for father’s day prezzies or just a little addition to the art collection.   metal and thread, 398 van brunt street between, brooklyn, new york, 718.414.9651.