Greenpoint is blowin’ up, and we all know it. Case in point: Alameda (195 Franklin St,) opened by design gurus the Haslegrave brothers, is their first brick-and-mortar space. Evan and Oliver’s design company Home is responsible for the interiors of The Manhattan Inn and Paulie Gee’s, so we certainly expected the old-school charm of rustic wood accents and loads of exposed brick in this new space.
Upon first glance, Alameda pops in a way that other Greenpoint examples of the Haslegraves’ work doesn’t. Clean white walls adorned with glossy white tile open the space up infinitely, and are accompanied by nautical detailing in both the light fixtures and molding. In fact, a gentleman seated next to me at the bar remarked that the space felt like it should be on Tatooine. It felt like drinking in the below-deck bar of ship from the future that I was absolutely going to sail upon one day. I felt home.
The cocktail list at Alameda is perfectly curated, with several standouts utilizing different liquors in their most elevated incarnations. My personal favorite was the Roberto Burns, a smoky mezcal delight with a generous orange rind strip served over a single ice cube. This drink is like sex below deck.
A friend enjoyed the Pita Amour, a lovely tequila concoction served up with a lime wedge. Petite, clean, and delicious.
The Phil Collins, a gin and Lillet stunner, could’ve nearly been called a salad; it had so many fresh accoutrements, including mint, lemon, and lime. An ideal summertime cocktail, folks, and I trust you won’t forget the name.
The edibles menu pleased us very much, as did the prices. Though a $17 foie gras breakfast sandwich is on offer, most items are more moderately priced around $10. A standout item on the current menu is a roasted fruit and goat cheese sandwich on baguette, the perfect combination of tang, crunch, and tender fruit without the syrupy sweetness of most jams. Along with the $9 cheeseburger (which feels like a grown-up version of In-N-Out,) their killer cocktails, and the spacious bar area and actually comfortable booths we have a winner here. Or, as I have been describing it to all my girlfriends, “our new GPT go-to.”
Last night (out of nowhere!) I dreamt about the final scene in Slumdog Millionaire, when the entire cast breaks out into an amazing dance routine – and the best part – I was dancing with them. (I really dreamt this. I have no idea why.)
This morning I saw a new event on our Greenpointers calendar…
Himanshu Suri, of the late Das Racist, is spinning ’60s and ’70s Bollywood vinyl at Beloved (674 Manhattan Ave) tonight, Tuesday April 23, 2013 from 7-11pm!
On Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 6:30pm – a little bit of Cajun spice takes over Troost (1011 Manhattan Ave).
Come experience a traditional southwestern Lousiana Cajun gathering, complete with music, dancing, and authentic cuisine. Toby Rodriguez will be sharing his rich Cajun culture and savory creations. He will be preparing some of the most treasured dishes that come from a traditional pig boucherie, his specialty.
Jesse Lege, one of the fines Cajun singers and accordion players, will be playing tunes!
Tickets cost $50 – RSVP at rennie.freetown (AT) gmail.com
10% Off – Just mention Greenpointers when you RSVP
One of the many benefits of living in Greenpoint is the variety of delicious Polish vodkas and liqueurs available at most liquor stores. As everyone knows, vodka’s origins can be traced back to Poland (go ahead, look it up), and it’s nice to see that the strong tradition of soul-warming spirits continues here.
All this Greenpointers talk of hot toddies reminded me of one of my favorite ways to warm up during freezing Polish winters – krupnik na gorąco (KROOP-neek na go-RON-tso, or hot krupnik).
Krupnik is a traditional Polish drink that can be found in several formats: honey; lemon; and plain vodka. For this recipe, it is important to use the honey-hued old krupnik, which is clearly labeled “Polish Honey Liqueur” on the bottle.
Meg at Dandelion Wine (153 Franklin St) put together a Super Bowl Wine Guide:
Super Bowl Sunday is one of the booziest, most gluttonous American holidays. And we know the first instinct may be to reach for an ice cold brew, but I highly recommend considering wine! It’s less filling, so you can drink more of it! And we’ve got something for every minute of the game. Dandelion Wine delivers from 5-9 pm, so you won’t have to miss a single touchdown!
WINE FOR JUNK FOOD:
If you’re indulging in pizza, wings, and nachos, you’ll need some wine with a bit of acidity to balance out all that cheese and fat. With spicier foods, my go-to red is the Buchegger Zweigelt, a fresh, peppery Austrian red with a screw cap for easy access. The liter bottle of dry and zesty Gruner Veltliner from Mayr, from Austria, is a no-brainer for a party white. For something a little different, I recommend a lightly sparkling Italian red like the fruity Gragnano (made popular by our friend Paulie Gee) or the drier, earthier Lini “Labrusca” Lambrusco.
DRINK WITH BEYONCE
“What type of wine pairs with the greatest superstar in the universe?” That’s a question I’ve probably spent an excessive amount of time thinking about. And for me, a hesitant football fan from every city but the ones competing, she’s really what this Sunday is all about. Beyond being incredibly entertaining, half-time is a good time for you to cleanse your palate and take a dance break, and for that I suggest pink bubbles, like my good friend “Frankie Mo” (Francois Montand), a dry, pink, unserious sparkling blend of the serious grapes Grenache Noire and Cinsault from Gascogne in France, or the fuller-bodied, slightly fruitier staff favorite Le Colture Prosecco. Or, for the beer lover, try an all-natural, fruity, sour candied, and yeasty pink bubbly like the sparkling Monastrell from Spanish producer Vina Enebro.
A common conversation at the many holiday parties I’ve attended either merrily or obligingly regarded how the weeks leading up until Christmas are binge session after binge session. The stress of gift giving or holiday travel hardly came up. But I heard and shared many complaints like, “I just can’t drink anymore,” or “I’m seriously considering a dry January.”
Whether it’s peer pressure or the softening of awkward social situations with co-workers or distant relatives, holiday drinking certainly takes the edge off, and drains the wallet.
Late in December, before a holiday gathering that my boss promised to buy the first round, a co-worker complained that she’d already spent so much money and worn her liver out so much that she was considering not attending. We commiserated about the strong obligation we felt to show face. Just the very hint of “I have to go” sours the deal for me, alcohol or not.
Another coworker complained how dehydrated she felt and how her skin was so dry from all the boozing. I looked at my reflection in my laptop and saw a tired and blotchy face and just wanted go home, get on the couch and drink tea.
We agreed to go “just for one drink,” and miraculously stuck to our promise but I admit the dirty gin martini, just one, really made the experience more pleasant. Not that I dislike my co-workers, but a douchey midtown bar is just painful.
We small talked about the usual: holiday travel and last minute gifting and laughed about the strange feeling of being champagne buzzed at work after a recent midday office party. Ironically, we were surprised at how everyone seemed like they were getting sick.
I was out of it that evening. The weekend before I’d gone to a Vodka Latkes Hannukah celebration (which ruled!) and the next day I would host a Greenpointers Holiday Party for our writers in which I followed my boss’ example and bought the first round.
All that before Christmas and I’d already woken up groggy with a headache more than a few days this month. My body and my bank account will be depleted by New Year’s, so maybe an alcohol free January is the solution. Maybe an AA meeting would be a more permanent solution.
Drinking has become so deeply embedded in holiday merriment that it would seem foreign not to enjoy mulled wine, bourbon, or spiked egg nog. Moderation is definitely the key, but even when you promise the one drink, there are so many one drinks (and let’s face it more) that it amounts to a lot.
How do you “deal” with all the holiday drinking? Do you avoid work parties or say fuck it and get wasted and make a fool out of yourself? (We’ve all been there.) Will you have a dry January or do a juice cleanse? Or can you truly be moderate throughout the holidays?
A few years ago, a beer store quietly nestled into the space between the old Coco 66/68 and the corner delis. Ever since, Brouwerij Lane has managed to bring to the neighborhood access to and love for those beers that even the best-stocked specialty stores have trouble finding.
This month, on December 12, they participated in a sale that put even their exceptional tap list to shame: the one-time-only release of what many consider to be the world’s best beer, the Trappist abbey Westvleteren’s XII.
Long story short, this stuff is usually only available by making the trek to the abbey in Belgium. The monks needed a new roof for the abbey, and financed it with a one-time international sale of their already world-renowned beer.
Naturally, even before the beer was actually sold it was the subject of many a column-filling news piece. I was lucky enough to run into Erik Olsen, of Brouwerij Lane, at the Greenpointers Holiday Market this year and place an advance order for a gift set.
He told me what the process was like to distribute one of the world’s rarest beers.
Erik was contacted by one of his distributors a few weeks prior to the December 12th sale date and offered the chance to distribute the beer. Most interesting were the restrictions placed on the sale: although the beer could definitely have retailed for much more, distributors were prohibited from selling individual bottles and encouraged to only sell a single six-bottle gift set to each customer for $85.
While this might seem pricey, stores like Brouwerij Lane aren’t making a profit off this – they paid $82.50 for each box and were limited to between 16 and 80 gift sets. Of the 20 they ended up buying, they had pre-orders for every one of those before they released them on the 12th. That hasn’t stopped beer hunters from calling them non-stop about it – three calls just in the time it took to answer my questions. This has also fostered a thriving resale market in flagrant violation of the monks’ wishes for the sale. Sadly, none of the beer scalpers responded to my emails so I can’t say if people actually pay this much, but the asking price seems to be at least $400 for the set and as much as $1,000.
Even if you didn’t manage to get your paws on a Westy, Brouwerij Lane is a great spot to pick up bottles for your co-workers and a fresh pint for yourself. Many consider the Westvleteren to be highly regarded more for its rarity than flavor, so there’s plenty of other Trappist beers on their shelves if you’d like to see what all the fuss was about.
Greenpointers is extremely proud to be a sponsor for this Sunday’s (11/11; 12-8pm) Brooklyn Vintage Crawl, when you can shop and bar hop and get amazing deals on Brooklyn’s best vintage. Even better, while you shop you will have the opportunity to donate to Sandy Relief efforts in each store!
Check out all the local vintage shops and bars participating here.
For some reason this is cocktail week on Greenpointers. Just go with it. Tomorrow, author Peter Joseph will be presenting his new book Boozy Brunch at Word (126 Franklin St) from 2-3:30pm, Meet the author, buy the book, sample food and of course COCKTAILS! FREE! Don’t miss it.