Five Leaves

Spring Cocktails and Great New Eats at Five Leaves

Mahi Mahi Sandwich with Truffle Fries

There are loads of awesome local brunch spots, but in a game of quick-fire word association I’d automatically pair ‘Greenpoint Brunch‘ with ‘Five Leaves‘. Unfortunately, as the heavily populated corner of Bedford and Lorimer demonstrates, so would the rest of the neighborhood which means you have to get there bright and early on weekends to avoid a wait for a table. Continue reading

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Five Leaves Crate Opens at Rough Trade

Five Leaves Crate at Rough Trade

It’s been a busy year for Five Leaves owner Jud Mongell. In January his ever-popular Greenpoint eatery went bicoastal with the launch of L.A. Chapter, a Five Leaves-inspired restaurant at Ace Hotel LA.

Only three months later and another Five Leaves spin-off is already up and running, this time a little closer to home in the form of Five Leaves Crate, a pop-up cafe in collaboration with Rough Trade NYC (64 North 9th St). Continue reading

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Sage Music Opens in Greenpoint; Interview with Founder Jason Sagebiel

Jason Sagebiel

Sage Music is a music school that started in Long Island City and recently opened a second location in Greenpoint at 33 Nassau Avenue – in the same spot as PLAY.

The school’s founder, Jason Sagebiel, has a very unique backstory.

As a Marine serving in Iraq, he sustained a debilitating brain injury. With limited therapy available to him, he turned to intensive music practice as a way to regain his cognitive abilities. His success spurred him to create Sage Music.  Continue reading

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Lucky Luna, Konditori & Five Leaves Crate: A Glut of New Foody Openings

Konditori extends its Swedish Coffee Empire to Greenpoint

Food lovers of Greenpoint! Only three weeks in and 2014 is already looking to be the year of the eatery. A whole host of new cafes and restaurants are popping up on our fine, frosty streets and whilst some are still hanging their awnings and smoothing down the plasterwork, others have already flung open their doors to beckon us in. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday 5 Leaves! Cocktail Specials Today (9/17)

5 Leaves is five years old today. I remember the first time I ate there, probably that long ago, and was blown away by the food, atmosphere, cocktails and the location. A lot has changed in the neighborhood in 5 years, but 5 Leaves still has incredible service and food. I want the ricotta pancakes and the Bees Knees cocktail right now!

In honor of its birthday the bar will be creating new takes on old favorites. According to owner Kathy Mecham,  ”The Moscow Mule, Cuban Sidecar, Pomegranate Martini and Calvados Sidecar are all being taken apart and put back together in new ways … All Anniversary cocktails will be available for one night only for $10 each.”

Cheers! To many many more birthdays!

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Drinks! Drinks! Drinks! Summer Cocktails @ Five Leaves

Sometimes the only alternative to dealing with this heat is to drink it away. The talented folks at Five Leaves have come up with a refreshing summer cocktail menu with enough variety to satisfy all you sticky picky cocktails enthusiasts. And talk about cocktail porn!

Dan Sabo, the master cocktail engineer, along with his team, Calvin, Chris & Bobby introduced five new cocktails on the menu that fit the following criteria: 1. everything is made in-house 2. they are not expensive 3. they each take 1 min 15 sec to make: Continue reading

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Subway wandering into Greenpoint

Scoutmob is hosting my new Subway Wanderings series, a micro-travel guide of sorts, wherein I get on random MTA lines, get off random stops, and create a spontaneous visual itinerary of whatever happens to cross my path.  I have to admit, I broke my own rules this week since the G to Nassau Avenue wasn’t exactly a serendipitous trip.  But the G needs a ‘lil more lovin’ from the G-phobes and haters.

Good things can happen along the G! (Especially when you get off Greenpoint).

See the rest here – Nassau Ave: A Micro-Travel Guide!

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Brooklyn Staycation #1

We live in the best borough in the world! Instead of spending money on a plane ticket, we decided to take a much needed staycation in Brooklyn. Hotel Williamsburg was generous to sponsor Greenpointers for a two night stay, while we toured the area.
We were tempted to lock ourselves in the hotel room and listen to records all weekend. The gigantic plush king size bed was a main attraction and we found ourselves making giant Xs and saying, “I miss you, where are you?” The window from the bedroom into the bathroom made urinating very interesting and the view of McCarren Park’s red tailed hawk pair was a score!
We had an intinerary, not a very ambitious one. The beauty of the staycation is you don’t have to fit it all in because there is always next weekend.

Friday night we took the East River Ferry over to Dumbo for a nostalgic ride on Jane’s Carousel. There isn’t a better view of Brooklyn than from the ferry and there isn’t a better spot for an old timey carousel than under the Brooklyn Bridge, which is housed in a modern glass building. And $2 per ride makes this a great budget attraction. Continue reading

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I love meat and don’t feel guilty about eating it. I also love my body and the planet and know that too much of a delicious thing is never good, so I focus on the vegetables in my life. When I do cook meat, I know that the outrageously priced meat I can’t afford is raised ethically, sustainably and locally, and because it’s so pricey I don’t prepare it very often.
But when I go out to eat I feel like I have a deep obligation to order meat, rationalizing that I never make it at home. Why would I make a burger when I can get my favorite burger (with truffle fries) from Five Leaves? Or Chicken Fried Steak from Roebling? Or whatever they scribble down at Diner? The problem here is I usually miss out on fantastic vegetable dishes.
It would be nice to know that when I eat meat out (and veggies), they hold up to my own kitchen standards, especially since the prices always do! That is what I like about Clean Plates Brooklyn: A Guide to the Healthiest Tastiest and Most Sustainable Restaurants. It explicitly says “For Vegetarians and Carnivores” on the cover! Eating meat can be healthy and sustainable, even eating meat out, and now I have a decent pocket guide for Brooklyn.
I don’t know about you but I have eaten at some downright gross vegetarian restaurants, where it seems like they are playing food dress-up rather than serving me a wholesome meal. Just because it’s vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s good for you and Clean Plates recognizes this.
In order to pass the rigorous Clean Plates screening process too much soy or fake meat products are disqualifications. They won me over with that. Too much frying also gets penalized, (sad face) as well as too much dairy, veal and foie gras.
Flipping through I was happy to find that some of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn made the cut: Five Leaves, Eat, Roebling Tea Room, Urban Rustic, Rye, Diner, Egg, Farm on Adderley, Northeast Kingdom, Vinegar Hill House, Buttermilk Channel, Roberta’s, Best Pizza and Prime Meats. I cannot wait to try Beer Table, Momo Sushi Shack, Masten Lake, Al Di La and I am definitely ordering a meatball hero from Best Pizza next time I am all the way over in Williamsburg.
I was disappointed to see that only three of our Greenpoint restaurants made it: Eat, Five Leaves and Manhattan Inn (where I’ve only eaten grilled cheese late night with sloppy cocktails.) This is the first edition, so let’s hope we get a few more in there for 2013! Perhaps even some Polish restaurants will get reviewed.
I appreciate nutritionist/author Jared Koch’s passionate “how-to” approach to healthy eating, with the first 70 pages of his book dedicated to the subject. I learned so many interesting food facts, like lemons actually have an alkalizing effect on your body and vegetable raised without pesticides must develop their own defense systems which benefits our immune systems. I always thought juicing was a bad way to eat a good thing because so much seems lost in the process, but while you lose out on the fiber it’s a really efficient way of getting nutrients into our systems without our teeth and our digestive tracts doing a ton of work. Shame on me for not knowing that although al dente pasta is obviously tastier, it’s healthier because it doesn’t spike your blood sugar level. As far as meat goes, game meat is uber healthy since it eats a varied diet and is less likely to be diseased, while organ meat is the healthiest part of the animal, rather than a steak, which is a muscle. Go liver and hearts!
The second half of the book is dedicated to in-depth reviews from well established food critics (some Brooklyn food critics), all of whom must give each restaurant a thumbs up in order for it to pass the Clean Plates test. Here is where we get the mouthwatering descriptions and a good idea about the vibe of each place. These writers do a good job focusing not only on the taste but the experience, which is such a big part of any good meal, especially a restaurant experience. And while I disagree with the “spotty” service at Five Leaves (they can do no wrong in my eyes) I appreciate how honest and informed about food the reviews are. There is a lot of, “instead of this” it would have been better “like this,” which shows an intense understanding of food preparation and flavor combinations.
Where the reviews are most successful is encouraging me to eat my vegetables. For example, when eat at Egg (which raises money for the Soup Kitchen and the Automotive High School), I only order the heart attack on a plate breakfasts, “a side of bacon with my bacon, please,” but next time I will order the highly recommended “bountiful and tasty” simple salad or the “firm, juicy, flavorful” kale. Clean Plates opens up my eyes to the healthy and delicious vegetable dishes I normally gloss over because I am trying to do my eating meat out justice.
I am glad I have a copy of Clean Plate Brooklyn because when I am in that frustrating “where should we eat?” fog, I can flip through and find something healthy. While a lot of our great Greenpoint establishments aren’t featured, there are many recommended restaurants in Williamsburg and Bushwick, if I want to venture that far! And I suspect by next year, more Greenpoint spots will make the cut.

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Three Drink Escapes

With the hot days of summer slouching towards us, there will be nights when you’ll wish you were elsewhere, contrary to the spirit of this blog.  Here’s three liquid ways to get there.

The Pimm’s Cup for when it’s time to close your eyes and think of England.
A good Pimm’s cup should make you feel healthier for drinking it; it’s like a boozy fruit salad, with just enough savory elements to keep it interesting.

Where it takes you: It’s 3:42 p.m. at the summer “cottage” outside Bath, and the butler has just brought out a platter of sandwiches and drinks.  In doing so, he’s knocked over a potted topiary, thoroughly interrupting your game of croquet.  How Continental of him.

When & Where to have it: Five Leaves in the early afternoon, and never, ever indoors.
There are also various recipes available online, none of which I particularly like.   If you make it yourself, resist the urge to make it too boozy, which is what I tended to do, and never skip the cucumbers.  Consider adding rosemary as well.

The Negroni because I came to the bar for the air conditioning.
It’s about 11 on a weeknight and you decided to abandon your hopes of getting to sleep early.  The heat and humidity has conspired to make turning on your rumpled mattress begin to feel increasingly like a dispassionate tryst with a damp Spongebob, so just short of going completely nuts you find a dark, cold bar to hide in.  You need a drink that indulges your newly air-conditioned self in denying how hot it actually is elsewhere and hurts just a little.

Where it takes you: Your pick of bar scenes from the 40′s.  Combine it with a slick haircut, a pencil-thin mustache, and some serious delusions and you’ll have your pick of the dames.

When & Where to have it: Evening at The Manhattan Inn. It pairs well with piano music.

The Michelada because beer doesn’t count.
I have a newfound love for the michelada because it takes the already fantastic bloody mary and makes it a little more refreshing and a little less thick.  They’re a great anytime drink, are cheap to make at home (I contend they’re a bad deal at most bars) and are an excuse to incorporate clam juice into a drink.  If that grosses you out, stop now.

Where it takes you: Depending on your attitude towards clam juice and Old Bay, either a salty, windblown pier pierced with crying seagulls and the smell of fried clams, or a spot around back of the clam shack with a friend holding up your hair.

When & Where to have it:
My place around noonish.  Show up with something from The Lobster Joint and I’ll mix us up a couple. I’ll start with a pint glass full of ice, then add:
1/2 cup tomato juice, I use Knudsen’s organic.  Clamato isn’t nearly clammy enough.  Gross, I know.

Healthy splash clam juice   (I like Bar Harbor, pictured above.)
Juice from 1/8 each lime and lemon
Pinch of crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp. hot horseradish
Old Bay to taste (For me, I taste lots.)
I’ll fill the pint with beer, stir, enjoy, and repeat.

There’s great dissension concerning which beer to use, but I’ve had great success with The Crisp from Sixpoint since it became available in cans. Cheaper options work just fine as well and you could – I guess – forego the clam juice, but just don’t tell me about it.


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