After dark it turns discreetly into a pleasant wine bar.
Recently, the lure of both a new menu and a Saturday night Lambrusco Special gave me cause for a visit.
The deal: Buy two glasses of Lambrusco, get one free.
Accompanied by a writer friend, we were struck by the romantic atmosphere immediately upon stepping through the door. Low lighting, candles, exposed wood and bookshelves, like WORD with a speakeasy in the basement.
It’s not the best atmosphere for a platonic business discussion, but on vibe alone it’s instantly a great date spot.
Don’t be fooled by the scary vegan word, because food is food and we all love eating. Especially at a restaurant when someone else is doing the cooking. Being a health-conscious vegan eater with a boyfriend who will eat anything, going out and grubbing out is something we DO. I’ve gathered together the best vegan meals in Greenpoint; even though there are definitely more than just five.
1. Paulie Gee’s (60 Greenpoint Ave)
With a separate vegan menu, and one cozy dining space, you are sure to enjoy one of the most delicious pizza joints in all of New York City. Five white pies and a red pie with tons of toppings start at $10 and go up to $18. They even have homemade vegan sausage! I have to say the “Vegan Greenpointer” with the lemon juice is my personal favorite. Lemon on everything!
2. Spritzenhaus (33.33 Nassau Ave)
You can’t miss this giant beer garden featuring tons of beers on tap and a list of German bratwursts. The most unsuspecting thing on the menu is a vegan brat! A specialty locally sourced vegan brat with apple wood sage and a balsamic reduction on a pretzel bun topped with a heavy helping of peppers and onions, this brat will blow your mind, for only $11. In fact, my meat guru boyfriend prefers this vegan brat to some of the more game-y ones. Don’t forget to get a side of the Belgian fries and try the surplus of mustards they offer.
3. Greenpoint Heights (278 Nassau Ave)
The most talked about new hangout in “this side” of Greenpoint, you all know how awesome Greenpoint Heights is. The chill, unpretentious vibes, matched with the incredible food and drinks, this spot is my jam. Elizabeth is one amazing chef, concocting some serious tacos. The vegan options include a sweet plantain taco and a black bean taco. Mango salsa, guacamole, and fried shallots are a few of the yummy toppings. Other favorites include the banging chips & guac as well as the kale salad (without the cheese of course.) Tacos are $4 each but $3 on Thursdays!
4. Café Royal (195 Nassau Ave)
A coffee shop by day, and a gourmet kitchen by night! One vegan special this café features for dinner is the quinoa plate. Quinoa with sautéed tofu, kale, corn, and roasted tomatoes and pine nuts, topped with some pesto. This healthy dish is a hearty helping that includes a side salad and toast for only 11 bucks. It is one of those dishes that is so good (and easy) that when you try to do it yourself, you can’t even come close. Chef Juan is the master of this bad boy.
5. No Name Bar (597 Manhattan Ave)
No name, no website, no press. But, I couldn’t refuse. This hidden spot in the middle of everything is also featuring a secret Thai kitchen with a badass woman chef. The sprawling backyard is where the kitchen is tucked away and it features a couple vegan options. One is the homemade veggie dumpling noodle soup with bok choi for $9. Spruce that baby up with some chili paste, and this big serving of hot soup with scrumptious dumplings is the perfect soup for a cold day.
Haven’t got your bubbly for tonight? Meg at Dandelion (153 Franklin St) can help:
When I think of celebrations like New Year’s Eve, I think of sparkling wine and I’m in good company.
During WWII, Winston Churchill is famously quoted as saying “Remember, gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!”
And we can’t forget Brooklyn’s own Notorious B.I.G. lyrics in Juicy: “Birthdays was the worst days /Now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay”.
Here’s a crash course in sparkling wine to help you choose wisely:
But first! How can we avoid the champagne headache?!?
Meg says: “Hot Peppers!”
Cremant: Sparkling wines from regions in France outside of Champagne but made in the same method are called Cremant. Generally a better bargain than Champagne, many are made from the same varietals in the same way, but in regions less heralded. A versatile bunch, the sparkling Chenin Blancs from the Loire Valley are killer with oysters and the Cremant de Jura stands up with some of the richest Champagnes. $15-$32 - Magnums available!
Petillant Natural: A pet favorite of mine, “pet-nat’s” are sparkling wines fermented mostly in tank then bottled right before fermentation ends, creating a delightfully tiny bubble and often a fun, funky flavor commonly associated with natural winemaking. Ranging from bright white to cloudy red, pet-nats are often lower in alcohol and shorter in shelf life than other sparkling wines- so drink now, and drink often! $16-$24.
Italian Sparkling Wine: The generic name for sparklers from many regions in Italy is Spumante, and that generally refers to wines made in the traditional Champenoise method. Everyone is probably more familiar with the fun and easy Prosecco wines. Proseccos are made from the grape Giera in the Charmat method. It’s a less expensive, quicker way to make sparkling wine, which is why bottles of Prosecco are affordable options. Prosecco range from very dry to quite sweet, and can be found in both white and rose varieties. Some of the fruitier styles are amazing with spicy asian dishes, and rumor has it hot peppers help avoid a “champagne headache.” Our go-to, Beatrice, is one of the best selling bottles in the shop at $13!
Cava: Spanish sparkler hailing from the Catalan region, generally made from the grapes Macabeu, Perrellada, and Xarel-lo in the traditional champenoise method. Available in both white and rose varieties, Cava can be dry or sweet. Great with tapas, and a fraction of the price of Champagne. $13-$19.
Other: There are delicious sparkling wines from almost every wine-producing place in the world, but generally fewer rules and regulations organizing them into categories. In the US, bottles are generally labeled as “Sparkling Wine” and often denoted as being “Methode Traditional” if made in the style of Champagne or Cava, although I was recently served a bottle of “California Champagne” at a Korea-town Karaoke bar, a label that is actually illegal. We have bubbles from South Africa and New Mexico, two places you may not think to look to for your celebretory wine, but both are Champagne-style wines made with the same grapes, similar growing climates, and totally delicious, and both are under $20.
Champagne: A sparkling wine made in the small Champagne region of France following a specific set of guidelines set by the Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité. Champagne can be made from 100% Pinot Noir, 100% Pinot Meunier, or a mix of the two, known as a Blanc de Noirs, 100% Chardonnay, known as a Blanc de Blancs, or any combination of those three grapes resulting in both white and rose varieties. When any year’s grapes are especially good, Champagne will be made from a single harvest and labeled with the vintage. The best Champagnes have a persistent bubble and are the most well balanced- as “bready” as they are dry and citrusy. Champagne pairs with everything- the dryer styles are excellent with shellfish while some of the sweeter varieties, in my opinion, can’t be beat with cake. $40-$110
Whatever you choose this New Years Eve, I think the most important thing of all is who you’re drinking with. Cheers to good wine, good company, and a happy 2013!
I ran into Jen G on Saturday at the McCarren Park Farmer’s Market, when I was out Wigilia (Polish Christmas Eve) shopping with my brother and sister-in-law, who had stood in line for 45 minutes at Green Farms Supermarket (918 Manhattan Ave.) to buy sauerkraut fresh out of a barrel. I loved Jen’s post about Wigilia carp and she encouraged me share our own Wigilia.
Christmas season became a million times better when my sister-in-law, Magda (who grew up in Wrocław, Poland), came into my life. This was my third Wigilia and I was psyched. The fun (and work) began Saturday as we made and decorated gingerbread ornaments for the tree.
Sunday, Magda spent hours making barszcz (Christmas beet soup), kompot (a special digestive drink made from soaking dried fruit) and fillings for mushroom/sauerkraut and cheese/potato pierogi.
Monday afternoon was the final countdown to Wigilia that begins when the first star appears in the night sky. We made uzka “little ears” to go into the beet soup (like mini pierogi – the best!). We prepared halibut instead of carp, but I got to hear Magda’s childhood memories of housing a live carp in their bathtub for a few days before Christmas. We also served sauerkraut salad and celery root salad.
Before eating, we proclaimed good wishes as we fed each other pieces from the opłatek wafer. We also made sure to place an extra setting at the table for “the wanderer.”
We happily stuffed our faces, then followed the tradition of opening presents between dinner and dessert. The evening ended with three awesome sweets – pierniczki (gingerbread cookies), piernik (gingerbread layered with plum preserves and covered with chocolate) and makowiec (poppyseed roll) from my favorite Polish bakery in Greenpoint – Bakery Rzeszowska (on the corner of Manhattan Ave. and Java).
It was yet another delicious Wigilia. Please share your own Wigilia stories!
For corn-lovers, Greenpoint was the center of the known universe this Sunday, as TBD Bar hosted the first ever Kings County Corn Bowl. This fiercely contested cook-off settled a question as old as time itself: “what are the weirdest, wildest, and mother-shucking tastiestthings you can make with corn?”
Brooklyn Star previewed the main event with incredible Chicken and Waffle-Cones, topped with a tangy corn-slaw and lathered in syrup.
Then came the main event. Twelve culinary kooks brought incredible offerings, all crafted from freshly picked upstate corn. The dapper Kendall Holmes of Cloud Coffee Carts wowed with his corn soda (stop by his weekend pop-up outside the Artists and Flea Market to try his incredible coffee soda). Art of Eating Inauthor Carney Erway twisted a staple Asian congee porridge – ditching the rice and creating a “Corngee”, topped with succulent roast duck. Another honorable mention goes Julie Tanous and Ted Rosen to the Corn “Gaznacho”: a corn gazpacho with parsley oil, whimsically entering the Corn Bowl in… an edible corn nacho bowl. Continue reading →
Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint is coming up on September 9, 2012 from 1pm-5pm at CitiStorage. Erin took some drool-worthy photos from last year’s event to get your taste buds going. I got an email from the owner of Teddy’s Bar & Grill this morning which explained that aside from being the biggest and best North Brooklyn foodie mecca, the funds raised from this event go toward converting “the legendary, shuttered, ‘people’s firehouse,’” into a community and cultural center in Williamsburg called the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center. They have raised “$1.1M in government funds,” but additionally must raise the rest of the funds for this project to demonstrate wide support for the Town Hall and “trigger the funds.” Of course, Greenpoint-based Kickstarter is hosting an online fundraiser where they aim to raise $10,000! And you can buy tickets to the event to support this cause as well!