Valentine’s Date Guide: Jazz, Tapas, Rock Climbing, Painting, & LOTS of Groovy Vibes

What do Henna, Rock Climbing and eating Bibimbop have in common? They’re all ideal dates, and you can have them right here in North Brooklyn! Whether you’re looking for an elegant and lovely night out with your boo, or you’re celebrating Galentine’s with your favorite power women, here’s our roundup of places and activities that will get you out and about for the day of love.  💕

Where to eat / What to do

Valentine’s Dinners


This Italian eatery, known for their homemade pastas plus Neapolitan-style pies, has a special prix fixe on the night of Valentine’s. Their menu includes baby lamp chops, pink beet gnocchi, tiramisu, wood-fire pizzas, and inclusive glasses of wine! It’s a full course meal at $45 for one and $80 for two. To book a table, call or email them.
Highlights: Prix Fixe (wine included), Tiramisu, Homemade Pasta

Cost: $45 for one and $80 for two
Address: 102 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: (718) 599-5988
Email: Oregano

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It is possible to control yourself, make good choices and not feel like total crap after this year’s big Thanksgiving feast. Trust me! Follow these 5 steps and you will have room for dessert.

1. Eat Breakfast; Lose The Bloat

Don’t starve yourself in anticipation of the feast to come, otherwise you will overeat. If you eat a breakfast of protein and potassium, you will feel fuller longer and won’t eat as much.

2. Take Control Of Your Food & Your Attitude

I don’t do daily affirmations, I just watch Jessica’s Daily Affirmations, a 4 year old with the best attitude in the world. But I make the exception on turkey day. At my house, we eat lasagna before the main event, so I give myself a pep talk before the fight starts: “I love my body and I want to treat it with respect, therefore I will not overeat at this meal and take satisfaction in nourishing my body.” More affirmations to help you not overeat.

3. Size Up Yourself & Your Plate & Pack Leftovers Before You Eat

Look at your plate and size it up against your body. I often do this before I inhale a giant burrito. I pick up the burrito and hold it near my belly and think, “that sure doesn’t look like it’s all going to fit in there,” then I cut it in half and save the rest – usually. This techniques helps you think about portions in a visual way. Before you dig in – pack half the plate into a leftovers tin. Don’t worry, your boyfriend’s parents already think you are weird. Eating the meal on a smaller plate also helps. And serve yourself. My Nonna wants me to be fat and her lasagna squares prove that.

4. Spice it Up! 

While hot sauce and spicy foods may increase your metabolism only negligibly, they do increase your feeling of satiety. If you can handle the heat, kick up your Thanksgiving dinner with some hot sauce. Try Mike’s Hot Honey on your roasted veggies.

5. Eat Slowly & Quit The Clean Plate Club 

I am a fast eater. It’s probably a New York thing. When friends eat slowly around me I get anxious, “Come on already!” But I really should follow their example. Pace yourself. The slower you eat, the less you have eaten before you brain says, “okay I’m full.” This way you can enjoy and savor each bite. Many of us were taught to eat visually and you are full when your plate is empty. Rewire you brain to listen to your stomach for cues of satiety.

All this and I am still going to pack the antacid, just in case!

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Recipe: Braised Cabbage with Turkey

When the Sunday Farmers Market at McGolrick Park was proposed there was worry that it might compete with the Saturday McCarren Park Greenmarket. (Don’t we live in the USA?) I don’t know about you, but I hit up both every weekend and my weekly pie habit is becoming a problem.

We have a tendency to get the same old greens, like kale every week. But when I saw a beautiful napa cabbage, I asked Sam, who is the farmer from Great Road Farm if he had any recipes ideas.  He likes to simply sautee it with chopped meat. That sounded great, especially since we always pick up turkey meat from the McCarren Greenmarket. (Jon makes killer turkey burgers.)

See – the markets can all just get along!

I haven’t actually made this because Jon has been ruling at this recipe. From what I have observed, you can really play around with this dish. It’s fast and easy, just the way we like it. I can honestly say it’s awesome!

Braised Cabbage with Turkey

Sautee chopped garlic and onions or shallots with hot pepper flakes and cumin. (Not sure if you are aware that cumin and ground turkey are in love.) If you have tomatoes, chop them up and throw them in. Fresh peppers would be great, too. Then brown chopped turkey meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chopped pork or beef would also be fantastic.

Once browned add chopped napa cabbage on top and put on the lid so it steams in the delicious meat juice. A little soy sauce tops it off nicely. Over some rice, this is a complete, quick and delicious meal.

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Recipe: Jon’s Carbonara Pasta with Asparagus

Jon has become the master of pasta carbonara, which is simply (italian) bacon and egg pasta. He got the recipe out of a cook book his mom gave us for Christmas called Weeknight Fresh & Fast.

I was skeptical at first because of an incident I had when making carbonara using duck eggs, very raw duck eggs, but Jon’s is just right. And he wears a wife beater just for me!

He put his own spin on this recipe with the substitution of asparagus, instead of kale, but the green possibilities are endless, broccoli rabe or brussells sprouts. I can’t think of any more.

This dish takes literally 20 minutes to make and is so delicious. By the time the time I put the laptop aside and ask him if he needs help, he is already finished.

Cube 1/2 C. pancetta and pan fry it until brown. Add one chopped chopped shallot until softened, then 1 C. chopped asparagus. Add 1/2 C. of wine and reduce.

While all this is happening boil your spaghetti. Don’t ask how much. Just do what we do and make an entire pound for two people! I need to get one of those spaghetti measuring rings. Okay, like 1/2 lb?

In a separate bowl, beat two eggs. Add 3/4 C. grated cheese (pecorino romano and/or parmesan will do). Jon uses a 1/2 C. parmesan, 1/4 C. romano. Grind a lot of black pepper into it.

After the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back to the pot. Add everything else to it and let it all get happy in there. Serve and enjoy!

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I love go-to recipes that are as easy as cutting out them of the newspaper. Growing up we always ate NY Times Stew, which was a stew recipe my Grandfather found in the 60s, which is still a weekly Sunday dinner item my Mom makes. Recently I came across this NY Times Southwest Sweet Potato Salad recipe and it’s now in the weekly meal rotation.

Any great recipe can be made with substitutions. It would be too complicated explain why, but we had 50lb of brussels sprouts and carrots that we were inventing ways to eat before they rotted. Instead of using roasted sweet potatoes in this recipe, I substituted roasted brussels sprouts and carrots and it was just as good, if not better! This is a salad that is hearty and you don’t get bored in the middle of eating it. Plus it is so easy to make!

Southwest Carrot & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Roast a bunch of carrots & brussels sprouts (or peeled sweet potatoes) in a pan coated in olive oil, salt and pepper at 425 degrees until tender. Set aside to cool.

Chop a red onion, a red pepper and a bunch of cilantro.

In a blender combine a few jalapeños, 1-2 limes, a few garlic cloves, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a big bowl combine the chopped red onions, red peppers, cilantro and roasted brussels sprouts and carrots, along with a can of drained black beans.

Cover in the jalapeño, lime, garlic dressing.

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