Sidra Monreal is a Greenpoint resident, originally from snowy Syracuse, NY. She works for Condé Nast and is a former flight attendant. She is an avid traveler, photographer, animal lover, and classical pianist. Sidra enjoys fantasy novels, volleyball, cheese, craft beer, old movies, and anything charming, whimsical, or cozy.
Do you want to help every stray cat you see? Does the sight of whiskers make you go “awww?” Well, you’re not alone! The Greenpoint Cat Club meets once a month at Archestratus (160 Huron Street) to discuss issues and solve problems on behalf of the feral cats of our ‘hood. You already know that many local residents try to help the outdoor kitties. Bowls of cat food are tucked away in corners all around our neighborhood waiting to feed the hungry masses. We’re a sympathetic bunch!
There are over 50,000 stray cats in New York and hundreds in Greenpoint, presumably subsisting on kielbasa scraps and other fallen Polish delicacies. One of the major problems facing our community is that when people move, they sometimes sadly leave their house cats behind to fend for themselves. This is cruel behavior, as domesticated cats are not equipped to care for themselves in the wild. The streets are very dangerous for feral cats, and the best you can do if you find yourself in the sad situation of having to give up an animal is to find them a new home. Muddy Paws (447 Graham Ave) pet store has adoption events every Sunday from 2pm-5pm and you can find someone there who will help you find the resources you need. Continue reading →
A very warm Bienvenue, to The Gentry! This absolutely adorable French-Canadian inspired restaurant by Chef Gillian Clark is now open on Manhattan Avenue and we couldn’t be more excited. From the moment I stepped in, I realized that this is a place I will frequent often. The décor is a little Louis XIV, a little Lewis Carroll, and a dash of Brooklyn. Ornate gold mirrors of various shapes and sizes adorn the walls in a style that would make Pinterest users swoon and a cabinet is lined with a collection of teacups. The wooden tables are engraved with French scroll, adding a casual touch to the otherwise Baroque atmosphere. The sign out front proclaims that this is Montreal-style cuisine, and I smile with the knowledge that they have an entire menu page devoted to poutines. Continue reading →
As a foodie who is also a devoted animal lover, I found I was constantly at odds with myself. I had an intense love for charcuterie but also a deep admiration and respect for pigs. I started my journey by giving up pork products. After just a couple of weeks, I thought, gosh, cows are lovely too–if I’m so fond of cows, how can I justify eating them? I was well aware of the horrors of big agriculture in our country, so my postponement of this decision felt lazy and just plain wrong. Once I came to this realization, the rest fell into place effortlessly. At last, in my early 30s, my conscience won over my belly and I decided to give up meat for good. Thankfully, I live in Brooklyn and there is no place on earth where it is easier to go vegetarian. Let me start by saying that I’m not at all into meat substitutes. I find seitan disgusting and I’m firmly opposed to faux-sausages. Why fake it when there are so many delicious vegetable-forward dishes out there? Continue reading →
On a recent bitterly cold Sunday afternoon, I forced myself out of my toasty apartment, dressed my hound in his finest sweater and headed to New York Distilling Company in Williamsburg (79 Richardson St.), where they open their doors not only to people but to the dogs of North Brooklyn for an afternoon of spirits and fun. Fittingly enough, the distillery opened in 2011 on the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. We sure are grateful that we don’t have to hide our booze anymore and can openly imbibe in the comfort of their intimate attached bar, The Shanty.
Coziness is the ideal against which I tend to judge all establishments, and this bar definitely met my expectations. The dark wood is complimented by the glow of soft lighting, a wall of liquor bottles reflecting back the warmth. Although I didn’t receive a particularly warm greeting from the bartender, he did treat each cocktail with care. With hands still half-frozen from the early arrival of winter in New York, I was delighted to see a hot toddy on the menu. It was subtly satisfying, if lacking a bit in the honey department, and presented with star anise, just like I make it for guests. The Shanty boasts a full bar with reasonably priced cocktails, and are kind enough to include several craft beer options for the beer enthusiasts among us. There are plenty of comfortable seating options, all complete with a view into the distillery where the magic happens. Continue reading →
Fall has finally arrived in New York and as happy as I am to break out my own over-sized sweaters and leggings, my favorite part of this season is seeing the dogs out and about in their sweaters and winter gear. Of course, in North Brooklyn, our dogs are extraordinarily well-adorned. The smaller dogs are premiering the first of this season’s fashion and we are very excited by what we’re seeing so far. Whether rocking vintage sweaters or layering like professionals, these pooches have it all going on.
Autumn has arrived, my friends, and as the crisp, chilled air overtakes our fair city, there is nothing I look forward to more than a cheese night at home. We are undeniably fortunate here in North Brooklyn to have access to some seriously special cheese shops. This time of year, I begin favoring bolder, heartier cheeses over the more delicate varieties. I visited our three cheese shops and worked with the cheesemongers to discover some fun and funky cheeses that either just came into stock or are just exceptionally well suited to our autumnal cravings. Continue reading →
If this bar had a theme song, it would be The Doors’ inimitable anthem to the odd “People are Strange.” Beer Street at 413 Graham Avenue embraces the bizarre. Their ever present sidewalk sign reminds me as I walk home from the L to “drink weird beer.” It was no accident that they were twice selected as one of the top 100 craft beer bars in the country. The narrow, intimate bar’s tastefully simple white-washed brick walls contain an atmosphere gentle and welcoming in a way that New York bars often lack. Décor aside, the best part is that this expertly curated beer bar operates without a hint of pretension. The bartenders will happily advise, educate, and guide a neophyte but never condescend. This is a different, elevated kind of service than other craft beer spots are offering and you can enjoy it without the fuss of other places (because that’s just not how we do things on Graham!). Continue reading →
Walking into Cheeseboat, the new family-run Georgian restaurant at 80 Berry Street in Williamsburg, my aesthete’s heart is overjoyed. I am immediately put at ease by the soft, romantic lighting. The boldly-patterned table coverings are ornamented with tea lights that provide a lovely glow. A stunning piece of woodwork surrounds a table tucked into the wall, reminiscent of a hobbit hole and designed by the incredibly talented Charlie Baker of Baker Structures. We are warmly greeted by Shako, one of the family members who will be our server for the evening. I ordered the house red, which is a surprisingly good Malbec bursting with fruit. We start our meal with the vegetarian dip trio, which includes a smoky eggplant paste, a spinach and herb pesto, and a chargrilled onion hummus served with delicious bread. We enjoy our dips but are anxious to move onto the star of the show– the cheeseboat. Continue reading →
I should really get a pet. Surely the thought has crossed your mind. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to cuddle up and be lazy with? The dating scene in New York isn’t getting you anywhere. You’re tired of watching Stranger Things alone on the couch, curled up with a pint of Van Leeuwen. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone soft and furry to watch with you? Someone who returns your calls (meows)? Someone who doesn’t cancel dinner plans (the food dish is expected to be filled by 6pm sharp, or else)? Well, it’s time to give in to your urges and do some good. Consider adopting a kitty, many of whom have had rough starts in life and are all-too-ready to have a place to call home. Every Sunday from 2pm-6pm holistic pet store Muddy Paws (447 Graham Avenue) hosts a cat (and kitten!) adoption event.
If you haven’t been to vibrant Graham Avenue on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint yet, I present to you the perfect reason to explore this part of town. Named after a communal trout fishing lodge that her grandfather founded in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Emily Casey’s Bourbon Springs somehow captures the familiarity of a little restaurant in the south, but with the all the culinary chops necessary to survive New York’s competitive restaurant scene. The Cajun-inspired menu is sure to satisfy and the bar happens to make some of the best craft cocktails in the city. The interior is pleasant and charming; small enough to feel welcoming yet with table spacing optimized for conversation. Bourbon Springs also enjoys a quaint backyard complete with picnic tables surrounded by planters overflowing with herbs, tomatoes, and blueberries. On Sunday evenings, they offer seasonal all-you-can-eat seafood boils, currently featuring crab and shrimp.