The Brooklyn Salsa Company celebrated its three year anniversary this weekend, hosting a party that took the company back to its humble roots. This now up-and-running salsa business started when two friends, Rob and Matt, got tired of store-bought salsa and decided to fix their food dilemma. Originally, the pair just served their new salsa to friends, filling up their guests with their range of spicy sauces at parties they hosted much like the one this past weekend. Due to the positive feedback from these small circles, the two decided to expand their venture into a real business. The pitch was simple: five boroughs, five flavors. Ranging from the mild Staten Island to the super spicy Brooklyn, these salsas are all made from locally grown, organic tomatoes, and all of the other ingredients are seasonally sourced from small, organic farms in the area.
Event planner Andrew Smith threw the anniversary party. Friends, employees, musicians and curious guests cathered at the Tortilleria Chinantla in Bushwick. The factory setting provided an eerie industrial backdrop for the dancing, eating and socializing, as the night was spent winding in and out of large, silent and unidentifiable machinery draped in festive strings of multi-colored lights. Trash bags full of tortilla chips were scattered around the venue and tables of salsa were set up strategically so that no one had to walk too far to stop for a snack. In back, a small bar sold cheap beer and tequila, and of course, your choice of the Tokyo, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan or Staten Island flavors of salsa to take home for just $5.
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2 Comments | Posted on June 5, 2011 | Categories: Attractions, Brooklyn, Bushwick, Event-Related, From the Blog, Uncategorized
If you are not already tickled by the name, please read on and you’ll soon be convinced that a trip to Lovely Day is, well, quite lovely. Located on the fringes of SoHo’s frenzied streets in Nolita, the restaurant is a harbor in the storm of shoppers so ubiquitous to the area. Indeed, the mob scene was in full fury last Friday as I pushed my way through Topshop bags and past falafel carts to finally reach the more manageable Elizabeth Street, where I found Lovely Day.
From the outside, the restaurant is unimposing and easy to miss, with a small sign and little pomp to speak of—an unpretentious modesty that only adds to its charm.
It was around 6 p.m., and I was meeting a friend to celebrate the fact that she had recently (and successfully!) defended her senior thesis. I found my somewhat beleaguered pal standing outside, and looking in dire need of a drink. Luckily, they have an impressive cocktail menu with options ranging from Plum Fizzes to Old Fashioneds with which you can wet your whistle.
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No Comments | Posted on May 4, 2011 | Categories: Dining, From the Blog, SoHo, Uncategorized
Walking into Decibel sake bar I thought I had made a mistake. Above the dingy stairwell, there was an “ON AIR” sign. Two opaque metal doors after that, I walked into a tiny room filled only with a makeshift wall with a bench and, behind that, a bar. A lanky Asian man was seated on that bench, almost in a fetal position—with his knees in his face and his feet perched on the bar—hurriedly eating a bowl of noodles. Some questions immediately arose: did I actually just walk through some sort of worm-tunnel into Tokyo? And, perhaps even more pressing than that, where the heck are we going to sit?
We were graciously led back behind a fabric-covered doorway and through a corridor to a larger room with diffused red light filled with small tables and comfortable level of noise coming from the other patrons. The atmosphere in the room was buzzing, but still relaxed. My friend Maya—a Barnard graduate who works at Artists Wanted—and I perused the sake and shochu drinking options; sake is a fermented rice wine and shochu is a distilled spirit, similar to vodka—both Japanese in origin.
Our waitress, who was wearing a short kimono-like jacket, took our orders for a Lychee Martini and a Lyn cocktail, the latter made with shochu, pineapple juice, orange juice, and tonic. The Lychee Martini was GREAT—and I’ve had a fair share of them elsewhere, but this one elevated this drink to an art. It was a perfect balance of sweet and sharp. The Lyn was less impressive, but certainly exotic. To meet the $8 min per person, we each ordered another cocktail called Pink Rock, a shochu, cranberry, and lime concoction that delivered boozy tastiness quite effectively.
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1 Comment | Posted on April 8, 2011 | Categories: East Village, From the Blog, Manhattan, Nightlife, Uncategorized
Self-identifying “chocoholics” all agree on one thing: they love chocolate. Surprisingly, the correspondence ends here. Sweet or bitter, soft or hard, dark or light: these are just some of the many seeds of discord among chocolate-lovers. But while the cocoa-crazed are very particular about what chocolate they eat, few are brave or talented enough to make their own. Maha Alami, a first year student at Columbia University’s School of International and Political Affairs, is unique in this way.
Maha says it all began when she convinced her “dark-chocolate averse” friend to sample some homemade chocolate—a culinary tradition in Maha’s family. Her friend was so impressed with the chocolate that she insisted Maha share this treat with others. Soon after, making chocolate turned from a hobby to a small business for Maha.
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No Comments | Posted on April 5, 2011 | Categories: Attractions, From the Blog, Manhattan, Midtown West, Uncategorized
Have you heard about the alligators in the sewers? What about a Cheshire cats who thinks it is invisible, a cool caterpillar with a chorus of musical legs or a tardy rabbit with a magical watch that can propel you through time? These are just some of the mad, and yet, compassionate, creatures, Alice—a present day aspiring children’s book writer turned English teacher—meets with when she slips down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass into the upside-down world of Wonderland. The musical, now playing at the Marquis Theatre (1535 Broadway), gives Charles Lutwidge Dodge’s (aka Lewis Carroll) 1865 story entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a very special twist as Alice embarks on an journey below Queens, New York through a land ruled by the Queen of Hearts who delights in lobbing off her subjects’ heads. What is Alice’s goal? Not so simply, to recognize her inner child, and thereby answer the ultimate question, “who are you?”—all the while avoiding capture and rescuing her young daughter from a truly Mad Hatress, who seeks to take Wonderland for herself, of course.
Chug an elixir from the clear glass bottle with the note, “Drink Me… Responsibly” tied around its neck and through the door you go, greeted by a posse of demented classical Alices in blue and white frocks, leaping around the stage, singing. Find a White Knight and his posse in tightly fit polo shirts and riding pants who can not only save you from almost certain doom, but also serenade you with a smooth R&B song, and dance moves fresh from the 1990’s boy band era. Make a dramatic entrance into to the immortal Dodge’s otherworldly lair and allow him to help you solve the riddles of life. Such are the events that comprise Alice’s journey, weaved together by music and dialogue sprinkled with modern day jokes, puns, and references.
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1 Comment | Posted on April 3, 2011 | Categories: Attractions, From the Blog, Manhattan, Midtown West, Uncategorized
Begin with water, malt, hops and yeast. Add space and equipment and you have the beginnings of a brewery. But add the passions of founders Steve Hindy and Tom Potter, and the talents of brewmaster Garrett Oliver and you have The Brooklyn Brewery (79 N. 11th St.). The Brewery was founded in 1987 and moved to Williamsburg in 1996. The company started small, an idea sprung between two neighbors, Hindy– a former middle east correspondent for the Associated Press– and Potter, a former loan officer. Today the Brooklyn Brewery is recognized as being one of the top forty breweries in America and currently in the process of expanding its facilities.
Behold the Vats
The brewery’s history is rich, colorful and accessible via free-guided tours that take place every Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can wrangle beers, bought with wooden beer tokens, all while tasting varied brews, like Pennant Ale ’55 or a Brewmaster’s Reserve such as the unfiltered Main Engine Start. An enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide leads visitors into the actual brewing rooms. Learn about the brewing process, Brooklyn style, from concept to consumption, including where the brewery gets its ingredients and how brewers go about inventing new flavors, inspired by various foods. Catch a free beer token if you answer a tour guide’s questions correctly and keep a sharp eye out for brewers, working “in their natural habitat”. “Don’t startle him! Please, no pictures,” my tour guide yelled from atop his chair, holding a poster board that outlined the basic brewing process, after he spotted one such brewer sneaking through a side door. Read the complete post »
No Comments | Posted on March 29, 2011 | Categories: Attractions, Brooklyn, From the Blog, Neighborhoods, Uncategorized, Williamsburg
An opportunity to experience an often-misrepresented culture through a refreshing, original, informative and, above all, unique lens: this is the Iranian Theater Festival at the Brick. Running for a little over three weeks, the festival consists of ten plays and two films. The plays themselves are fresh creations, with some translated into and performed in English for the first time. The artists behind them are young and of Iranian descent, offering a unique insider’s perspective on a culture that often falls victim to generalizations and assumptions. The festival not only attempts to correct mistaken notions of Iran and its culture, but also to forge a new cultural identity for Iranians that balances tradition and Westernization. It also gives a voice to young, new playwrights who offer their own perspective on their heritage, using their plays as a medium to explore and rediscover it.
Silken Veils, the play we saw, was indicative of these general themes. By combining Rumi poetry with puppeteering, video, shadows, and more traditional acting, creator Leila Ghaznavi tells the story of her heroine’s desire to understand true love by looking into her own family and national past. Darya is getting married, an act she cannot bring herself to complete given the heartbreak and pain that was the end of her parents’ passionate marriage. At the risk of losing her fiancé, Darya is forced to look into her own family’s story, which is indivisible from the history of Iran. Ghaznavi’s was a tale of history Read the complete post »
No Comments | Posted on March 14, 2011 | Categories: Brooklyn, Event-Related, From the Blog, Uncategorized, Williamsburg
If Jay-Z has put you in an “Empire State of Mind,” look no further than the historic streets of Harlem for hip-hop’s scintillating chronicle. Ever since DJ Kool Herc of the Bronx spun life into the catchy rhythmic beats, the genre has absorbed jazz influences and given birth to rap, mushrooming into a multifaceted lifestyle. Today, hip-hop music continues to evolve as sensational new artists skyrocket to the top of Z100’s charts, following in the pioneering footsteps of Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.
Take the A/B/C to 135th St. Amble through St. Nicholas Park along 135th St until you hit Convent Ave. Located in the heart of this neighborhood’s flourishing performance arts scene, the gatehouse of Harlem Stage (150 Convent Ave, at 135th St) resembles a citadel with a striking octagonal tower and glass front doors. Promoting innovation while reflecting the artistic voices of the community, Harlem Stage showcases collaborations among musicians of different genres. Ella Fitzgerald, Celia Cruz, and Max Roach number among celebrated past performers. Read the complete post »
No Comments | Posted on March 5, 2011 | Categories: Attractions, From the Blog, Harlem, Uncategorized
Technical difficulties aside, Central Park was the place to be on August 1st. SummerStage had lined up three astounding female singer-songwriters—St Vincent headlining, Basia Bulat and tUne-yArDs opening. The evening game plan involved listening to enjoyable live music and rocking out—but no, waiting was going to be our, the audience’s, primary activity of the day. Monstrous lines along with an undeniable friction amongst the stage crew—resulting in delays—extended the already lengthy wait; the tension only escalated with the gloomy clouds, hanging heavy with water and threatening to end the show.
But the show went on. Canadian folk singer Basia Bulat was the first opener. Read the complete post »
2 Comments | Posted on August 12, 2010 | Categories: Central Park, Event-Related, From the Blog, Manhattan, Uncategorized
40OZ BOUNCE VI Due to popular demand, the infamous 40oz Bounce summer block party is back. Go to your local corner store and pick up a 40oz brew—a Budlight, Coors, or if your feeling like an O.G. pick up an Olde English—and then head out to Inwood Park for a day of madness. This public rager attracts thousands of people from all five boroughs so make sure to arrive early for FREE 40OZ’s. Enjoy an array of catered food, a live DJ set, and enough nutcrackers (alcoholic cocktail that combines Devil Springs and Bacardi 151) to get all of Uptown tipsy!
WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 1st 12:00pm – 7:00pm
WHERE: Inwood Park (Dyckman)
PRICE: Free Read the complete post »
2 Comments | Posted on July 30, 2010 | Categories: Event-Related, From the Blog, Uncategorized