I was excited but not surprised when I heard that Dawn and Dave of One Girl Cookies would be publishing their their first cookbook. Walking into their Cobble Hill cafe and bakery is something like walking into a story so it was only a matter of time before it was bound between two covers.
Shopping in Brooklyn can be a unique experience, each store its own world staffed by the designer/owner/manager who’s set up shop. Going into the final week before Christmas, I decided to do a quick tour of my favorites looking for housewares and kitchen gadgets, preferably utilitarian but with something more. After all, if they’re pouring out the same 1/2 cup of milk, why shouldn’t measuring cups come shaped like matryoshka nesting dolls or salt and pepper shakers as penguins for that matter? Here’s what I found:
Today marks a year since I put up my first post, I want to eat my Christmas tree, so I thought it would be appropriate to re-post now. When I started, I had a vague notion that I wanted to write food and that all my titles would end in ellipses. Since then, I’ve found my focus, spoken to hundreds of people willing to answer thousands of questions, and become the person at the restaurant who photographs her food. I was worried that I would run out of things to write but I’ve kept this site going and had the opportunity to write here, here and there. I must have really been hungry.
I’ve written before about how much I like sneaking into One Girl Cookies kitchen and saw that they just announced their upcoming apple pie class for October 27. They make incredible cookies and pies so f you sign up for one of their upcoming classes, they’ll show you how they do it. Unlike a lot of demonstration based classes in New York, you really get to pound the dough at One Girl so if any one is interested they should reserve a spot soon.
After writing about Calexico a few weeks ago, I learned that some friends from the neighborhood were about to open Oaxaca, their own taqueria on Smith Street. I’ve known the young owners for a long time since they grew up nearby and worked at Lobo, one of my favorite brunch spots. Though still in high school, they never scowled, even if I did something stupid like ask to split an order of french toast or substitute my home fries for fresh fruit. That’s why I was so excited to come across this mostly positive review in this weeks New York Times Dining & Wine section. Though it’s still coming together, they’re off to a good start.
Most weekends, when I’ve been to the farmer’s markets, had my brunch, and caught a matinee, I find myself at Rapisarda, the Cobble Hill store owned by Brazilian designer Claudia Rapisarda. I’m not alone. There’s always someone half-shopping, half-visiting Claudia. The store itself is hard to describe. A unique collection of pieces that she both designs and brings from Brazil, it vibrates with color.
It was during one of my visits that she tried to explain how to make farofa, a dish I had been reading about and wanted to try. Claudia can’t not help someone, so she agreed to come to my apartment and show me herself. In addition to the farofa, the menu grew to include: feijoada, a black bean stew with pork (using kielbasa as a substitute for Portuguese linguiça); couve, collard greens sauteed in olive oil and garlic; fluffy white rice cooked with more garlic; sliced oranges; and, of course caipirinhas. Read more
I live a few blocks away from Cobble Hill’s Smith Street where you can’t swing a baguette without hitting three French bistros. With my mother visiting and my blog in mind, we decided to try Coco Roco, a Peruvian restaurant, for lunch instead. After my last few deep fried days, I ordered the Peruvian paella with mixed seafood and chorizo although next time I will definitely have the arroz chaufa de puerco, a fried rice with shredded pork that was tender and well seasoned. Simple dishes, I loved the brightness the cilantro, fresh peppers and corn added to each. Read more
Given the dire state of our economy, it’s probably a mistake to take every business closing in my neighborhood to heart, but I can’t help it. When Café Nova on the corner of Warren St. & Court St. closed down, I was crushed. Naturally, I blamed myself. Was it because I regularly took up their tables for an hour and 15 minutes to nurse a single latte while I did my laundry? Was it because I refused to call it anything but Café Nova even though it had been Margaret Palca Bakes for a couple of years already? Was I too aggressive when I stared down that spoiled 8 year old girl for a table? Did I scare away the mommy money and help put them out of business? Mostly, I love my neighborhood and don’t want to see it suffer. Since my favorite coffee spot closed this January, my heart would sink a little every time I passed the shuttered corner. Read more
I’m not actually going to do it although my dog has already tried. I debated the practicality of putting up a tree I can only enjoy for a couple of weeks before I return to Miami for Christmas. I decided to be sensible and forgo it until the sweet Vermont hippie who sells trees at the end of my block offered me a little Charlie Browner as fat as it was tall. It just had to come home with me.
It was few years before it occurred to me that I could put up my own tree. Growing up, I’d always thought home would be my mother’s house in Miami until I started my own family. Eventually I sent myself to school in New York and stayed there. Still, the original concept I had as a child lingered, like an idea that only has its own word in a dead language. With every passing year in my Cobble Hill apartment, it felt less temporary and more like home. I stopped saving Christmas for a few days in Miami.
I only let myself buy ornaments after December 26th each year so I have a mix of overlooked but still very pretty decorations, like orphans from central casting. The tree itself is so chubby that I had to bury a lot of the figures just inside the branches so they peek out. I love everything about this tree. I love the floating mandarin in the mushroom hat, I love the mouse in snow boots, I love the polish black and white glass balls, I love the dancer en pointe, I love the peacock…
My tree is sweet just to the point before it becomes saccharine. So naturally, I now want to eat it. But since that would hurt, I’m having people over to enjoy it with me instead. Before everyone goes there separate ways for Christmas, I decided to have a few friends over for a buche de noel. I’ve been dying to make one and it is the traditional time for it. Not being french, it’s not my rule to break.