Any beer geek is living in heaven right now. New York City is home to over 50 breweries, while the state has over 150 microbreweries and over 130 farm breweries. The vast majority of these breweries came into existence during the last decade. There’s now a LOT of beer being brewed pretty close to home, and many are widely available throughout the city. The year is filled with events to celebrate such bounty and one of the best festivals starts today with New York City Beer Week.
The nonprofit NYC Brewers Guild is behind the annual New York City Beer Week. The NYC Brewers Guild works as an advocate for its members, helps grow the craft beer industry, and throws events like this. They help with everything from needing niche ingredients or brewing help to getting involved with local, state, and federal policies. New York City Beer Week is their “8-day celebration of good beer” and more than a few events will be taking place in North Brooklyn and LIC, including NYC’s first Fermentation Festival ($20) tomorrow at the Brooklyn Expo Center on Noble St @ Franklin St. Here’s a rundown of everything going on close to home, and apparently, we can expect more than a few tipsy souls belting out ABBA. Continue reading →
“With this finger, I tasted the world.” Massimiliano Nanni raises his right pointer finger while recounting his childhood in Rimini, Italy, where his mother, Lella Alimentari’s namesake, ran a popular restaurant. “I would sit at the counter of the kitchen and I taste the papaya, I taste the kiwi—nobody have a kiwi in Italy, I come from a place with the truffle—I eat the frog, I eat the eel, I eat the snake. We want to try everything. This was my childhood.”
Nanni, known to friends as Chicco, met his wife, Paola Cittero while working on an Italian aquatic TV show. He was a diving assistant, she was the production designer. This is a funny detail given the strong Life Aquatic vibe in the café they’ve created. Between Nanni’s normally red cap (today it is pink) and quirky demeanor, Cittero’s blue jumpsuit and the vintage toys and uneven hand stamped signage, I can practically hear Seau Jorge strumming Bowie tunes.
Nanni’s been in the restaurant biz since 1995 when he opened Piadina in the West Village. In the intervening years, he’s opened many other restaurants, including the popular wood-fired pizza superstar Saraghina in Bed-Stuy, which Cittero designed and which feels like a big brother to the more intimate Lella (325 Manhattan Avenue). Nanni left Saraghina in 2011 and opened a now-shuttered seafood restaurant before hopping over to Williamsburg. The location was intentional, just across the street from PS 132 where Nanni and Cittero’s children go to school. After school, the kids hang out among the locals, many of whom are on laptops. “We don’t like to say we are chefs,” says Cittero, “we just cook. We’re cooking. We are both food lovers. I’m a production designer, an artist, we consider this our cafeteria. We are making food we usually make at home, that we give out to our kids.”
Lella’s specialty is the piadina, a sort of Italian quesadilla that’s popular in Nanni’s hometown. Every day he makes the piadina bread, then stuffs it with ingredients like roasted seasonal veggies and stracchino, a luscious unripened Italian cheese. Nothing is fussy, just fresh ingredients prepared beautifully; a poached egg over cauliflower, bacon, and chickpeas. Potato leek soup with speck. Burrata with roasted beets and carrots. They also have homemade pastries, quiche, and salads, most often topped with a poached egg.
Lella’s vibe is laid back cool and playful. It is European-feeling and whimsical without a hint of pretension. Toy trucks huddle near a vase of yellow tulips. A battered metal crock overflows with potatoes. The tin ceilings are whitewashed, walls are lined with Italian goods, books, an old scale. Art magazines and vintage action figures are scattered about. Lella is warm and chummy, just four sun-drenched booths and a communal table.
One of my favorite design elements is the handy takeaway window. “We sell the coffee by the window and we get all the people with dogs,” says Cittero. “Bike. Stroller. For me, it was like decoration, but we get the dog community.”
Nanni is already dreaming of his next venture: to host a program training former convicts as pizzaiolos. He’s eyeing a location in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. “The Pizzaiolo was teaching to the penitentiary in my town. These men, what they went through, most of the time it’s really traumatic. They need to be working, working, working. They will learn fast. It will help them.”
“Art, food and a lot of love,” Cittero says as she glances at Nanni who is in the kitchen dancing to The Human League. “We keep busy.” She smiles and looks out the window. “And just look at this beautiful light.”
The 2017 Academy Awards will kick off this Sunday at 8:30pm. If you have the urge to watch from anywhere but your couch, here’s where you can watch it on big screens in our ‘hood.
Northern Territory | 12 Franklin St.
Northern Territory is hosting an Oscars blowout in collaboration with the best Meryl Streep-themed Instagram account ever, Taste of Streep. The watch party starts with the live red carpet pre-show at 7:00 with the main show starting at 8:30. Admission is free and you have a chance to walk away with some rad Taste of Streep goodies.
As 2016 came to an end, Michelin-starred Luksus shut its doors in the back room of Tørst (615 Manhattan Ave), adding to the pile of restaurant closings in our area. For a moment it seemed that Tørst would revert entirely to a Nordic beer bar with a few bites. But all hope is not lost, Chef Jesus “Chuy” Cervantes, who worked at Cosme before spending two years under Chef Burns at Luksus, was ready to over the food program at Tørst and bring it to the next level. A recent lunch—yes, Tørst is open for lunch—showed there are still many Nordic influences on the expanded menu along with some quite delectable bread, but now they also have excellent takes on regular bar food.Continue reading →
This time last year, I was slathering on cortisol creams to battle my eczema and having heart palpitations. I almost always ate out or ordered in. I felt exhausted. Today my skin is glowing and I am full of energy without my usual caffeine fix. My day started with a tasty breakfast that I made, journaling, and setting an intention to meditate on. It’s part of the daily practices that I’ve been working on with holistic wellness coach Jaquy Yngvason to build healthy habits that are as routine as brushing my teeth in the morning. Gone are the days when I would pick up a can of tuna fish and potato chips on the go to save time. I now enjoy every meal. I love cooking and savor simple snacks like freshly roasted carrots in coconut oil. Discovering things like how black beans and dates can make up the most deliciously moist protein-packed brownie is as exciting to me as my new favorite local Greenpoint haunt. And after seeing a lifelong autoimmune skin disease go away, I’ve become a big believer in the power of food.
That’s why I am super thrilled that Jaquy will be coming to Greenpoint to host a workshop this Saturday (2/18) in one of my favorite neighborhood spots, Maha Rose (97 Green St). It’s still the start of 2017 and a good time to set the tone for the rest of the year with self care and love!
More about Conscious Consumption EATShop:
Do you struggle to feel confident in your own skin? Are you constantly dieting and want to ditch those extra pounds?
In attending this EATshop you will walk away with tangible tools so you can feel empowered and gain a new perspective on how to self heal through food. You will learn how to create a daily sacred practice on how to consume consciously, allowing you to eat every meal from a place of joy, love and presence. Continue reading →
It seems like all we’re doing these days is saying goodbye to our favorite barsand restaurants. Throw this one onto the pile and pour one out while drinking it all in at The Drink (228 Manhattan Ave.) this Saturday night from 5pm onward.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the very last party (and days) at The Drink.
For six-and-a-half years this bar has been a place where we celebrated, mourned, gathered in activism, and made friends and chosen family that will last a lifetime. But as the neighborhood changes, so do we, and so Saturday we’re having one last blowout to make (and forget) memories with our chosen community of very special weirdos ❤️
Conscious Consumption: Eating Practices for Soul Nourishment & Body Healing @Maha Rose (97 Green St),Saturday (2/18), 6pm, $35, Learn eating practices for nourishment that will positively impact all other areas of your life. Tune into your bodies true needs and abilities to self heal from emotional distress, mindless and stress eating, damage done from autoimmune disease and more, More info
♫ Benefit for Southern Poverty Law Center @The Park Church Co-Op (129 Russell St) 8pm, Benefit show featuring Dreamcrusher, M Lamar, Jono Mi Lo, Michael Hix, The Imaginary Orchestra, Visuals by Julieta Triangular, More info ♦ Black History (month) Movie Night @The Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Ave) 8pm, $5, Celebrate Black history every day of every month. Proceeds benefit Black Lives Matter, More info
♦ Aggie Pavlidis: Dream Lines Opening Reception @ The Yard (33 Nassau Ave) 6:00pm, FREE, Aggie Pavlidis’s work focuses on the ways in which we process and internalize our surroundings and experiences. She makes and creates as a means to better understand herself, and the world around her, More info ♦ Dames Who Give Damns @ Bar Matchless (557 Manhattan Ave) 7pm, $10, Benefit for the N Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence. Visuals by Screaming Horses, Art and Raffle prizes by Ella Desmond, eforeffort, Natalia Zamora / denimindenial, and photos by girls of the lower east side girls club, Buy tix * Speak Out! Rise Up! Podcast Workshop @ City Reliquary (370 Metropolitan Ave) 7pm, $10, Broadcast your message and get your voice heard! Keisha “TK” Dutes will show us how to create a podcast, from the required equipment to interview techniques. After learning the basics, you can tape your own live 30-minute podcast! Try engineering, hosting, producing, or whatever role suits you best, Buy tix ♫ A Valentine for the Cause @ Our Wicked Lady (153 Morgan Ave), 8pm, $5, Benefit for The Mount Sinai SAVI Program supports survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Featuring two melodic, guitar-based bands with DJing throughout the night, all acts hailing from Brooklyn’s indie rock community, More info Continue reading →
Pizzeria La Ferrera is an intimate and casual pizza supper club hosted by Molly Baker (a graphic designer) and Jason LaFerrera (a software developer) inside a Greenpoint apartment. If you’re one of the lucky few who’s attended, you chowed down on one or more of the 256 pizzas—weighing in at 292 pounds—that they made last year (the pies weren’t all different, but still that’s a LOT of pizza). About 4-6 people attend each supper club event, and 6-8 pizzas are served at each one—which is an average of 1.4 pizzas per person. Mmmmmmm. Pizza. To find out how more about Pizzeria LaFerrera and to snag an invite to their next event, sign up for the mailing list here. After the jump, read their Year In Review—fun stats about all the ‘za they made last year. Continue reading →