Monthly Archives: August 2007


Myrtle Minutes reports today that Walgreens will be coming to Fort Greene, at the corner of Myrtle and Clermont.

This is wonderful news, as Walgreens is generally cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing than Duane Reade.  Swoon – a place to buy toothpaste, cleaning supplies, a greeting card, prescriptions and probably a cheap lawn chair, all in one glorious locale.

(Maybe) Retail Space Available for Rent?


Nearly a year ago, reader Houseowax tipped me off to a potential new storefront renovation on St. James and Greene Gates. The building’s taken on some questionable window guards, but little has happened on the parlor floor level.

Until now.

There’s a “for rent” sign in the “window,” but I couldn’t find any info on the Brooklyn Properties website. What’s up here?

G Train Blog

The “Save the G Train” movement now has a blog, and they promise to update it regularly with G-related news and rider polls regarding service.

Check it out here, and let’s hope we can work towards making improvements. My latest gripe is service around 8pm. Mornings are just fine by me, but if I do something after work, forget it. I feel like every night I find myself waiting…and waiting… and waiting at Hoyt-Schermerhorn.

Tillie's September Events

September at Tillie’s


Ellie Balk

September 5th – October 7th, 2007
Between the Extremes

Ellie Balk lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and travels frequently to the Pacific Northwest. She oversees mural projects and other examples of “collaborative art” in both locations, with a keen eye towards local landscapes, both physical and social.

The paintings in this exhibition function as documents of process, created through layers of paint and imagery. The works are expressions of both tension and beauty, and the balance of the space that lives between the extremes. Color, line, expression, documentation, and fantasy all find common ground and harmony on found objects and canvases.

Balk has an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in Painting and Art History and a B.A. in Art History from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. She also studied painting in Florence, Italy. She has exhibited her work widely in New York, Portland, Oregon, and in the Midwest. She has been a Teaching Artist at the 92nd St. Y Art Center in Manhattan, as well as the Rotunda Gallery in Brooklyn, and has executed numerous mural projects in the New York City public schools and at street fairs and block parties.

Reception: Friday, September 7th from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.


8 p.m.
Andrew and Freddy, singing and songwriting brothers from Drogheda, Ireland, perform everything from melancholic ballads to love songs to rock and roll. Their debut CD, “Twinstate No. 1” was released last year. Distinct and original music with “Irish soul.”
Cover: $5; $3 with student ID

elastiCity festival
A new music series dedicated to showcasing Brooklyn-based composers with a common vision and a sense of reaching out for something new. Now in its second season, elastiCity, features up-and-coming composers the
last Friday of every month at Tillie’s.


Remy LeBeouf

Matthew Maley – saxophone
RJ Avallone – trumpet
David Moss – bass
Bryson Kern – drums
$5 suggested donation


Jacob Wick

Peter Van Huffel
Peter Van Huffel – saxophone
Samuel Blaser – trombone
Michael Bates – bass
Ziv Ravitz – drums

Lily Maase – guitarist.composer.creative director

Open Mic


Every other Thursday
Sign-up: 8:30 p.m.
Performances: 9:00 p.m.
Cover: $2
Come all you singers, rappers, poets and commentators – make a Fort Greene contribution. Host: To be announced.

For more information on any of the above, call Patricia Mulcahy at (718) 783-6140 or see

Tillie’s is located in Fort Greene at the corner of Vanderbilt and DeKalb. See “getting here” on the website for directions.

New Cafe on Atlantic at St. James

A reader just sent me this interesting tip:

as i was walking home last night, while crossing st. james at fulton, i picked up a flyer for a new cafe supposedly opening sometime next week.
here’s the info:

‘frank white’ – cafe/gallery/social

936 atlantic avenue @ st. james pl

– gourmet coffee
– tasty treats
– international news
– gallery space
– social lounge

‘frank white utilizes fair trade, organic, green, & natural products whenever possible’

their website url is, but it doesn’t appear to be up yet.

This is what I call a pioneer – opening on Atlantic! Must check it out.

'Cure BK

‘Cure is open on Fulton at Clinton!  All I can say is: WOW.  The interior is lovely — very West Elm-ish — and the setup unique.  Manicures are done at a long, tall table instead of the usual low desk setup, and pedis take place on plush chairs near the back, utilizing huge blue glass bowls instead of the standard vibrating salon chairs. They sell candles and jewelry (the latter displayed artfully in a fish tank) and also do massages, waxing and threading.

So far, I’ve been twice.  Hey, I need to check out the services so I can tell you about them, right?  On my first visit, a friendly, warm woman named Honey gave me a wonderfully indulgent pedicure.  She was even extra careful scrubbing my very ticklish feet.  Yesterday, I swung in at lunchtime to try the brow lady. Thumbs up.

Owner LaShunda has definitely incorporated the neighborhood into the spa’s services — the list of special pedicures includes a “Carol’s Daughter” pedi using all products produced by the famous Fort Greene shop.

The only drawback?  Manhattan prices.  Still, worth it for the upscale facilities, friendly staff and high-end services on a relaxing afternoon now and then.  I love that Fulton has such a pretty new storefront!

‘Cure Beauty Bar
921 Fulton St. (at Clinton)
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Il Torchio

Il Torchio

458 Myrtle Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11205

(718) 422-1122



“Hey.” I said back to the strange man with the baseball cap on, a t-shirt and a beer in hand. I’ve seen him sitting at the bar all evening. Why is he talking to me?

Long awkward pause. No one in my party of four knows what to do now.

“You don’t speak English?” said the strange man.

“Huh? Oh I speak English.” i replied now with a bewildered look. Is he drunk?

Another long awkward pause before the stranger walks away.

“Oh, don’t mind him. He’s one of the owners. I have to tell him to stop bothering the customers like that.” said the waitress.

“That was one of the owners?” We all looked at each other in amusement and laughed.

And that’s pretty much the only bump in an otherwise really nice dining experience at Il Torchio, a new Italian place on Myrtle. As a new place they are still experiencing “growing pains” – running out of items, timing, etc. – but nothing that couldn’t be corrected in the next few weeks.

The owners, as I understand it, are in the construction business and did a wonderful job of restoring the space. The bar area/dining room is very rustic looking yet airy.

It was a little dark for my taste but does create the mood of an “intimate dining experience” if that’s what you’re looking for. I was looking for a little more light so I could read the menu.

There’s also a garden but I didn’t go out back to check it out.

They offered a reasonably priced dinner menu with several salad, panini and pasta choices along with a couple of specials. They also have a huge tapas menu which I thought was a bit expensive at $8-$15 per plate. I always thought the idea of tapas were small, affordable dishes which you can make a meal of by ordering several plates. It’ll be expensive to do it here at these prices but it didn’t stop us from ordering a few as pseudo appetizers.

From top to bottom: The Tapas Special, the Dried Figs and the Artichoke & Parmigiano Dip.

The Special was nice – very garlicky.

The Dried Figs was interesting in terms of Sweet, Salty and Savory and might not be for everyone. Personally, I thought they were good but I’m gonna try something else on the tapas menu before ordering it again.

The Artichoke & Parmigiano Dip was very good, highly recommended, but you get this huge amount of dip and so little toast on the side! You’ll need, no you’ll WANT, a giant basket of toasts to scoop up all that yummy goodness! Now it could have been a bit thicker in consistency but in terms of taste…very good.

We then had the Insalata di Cesare to cleanse the palate.

Eh. I didn’t like it. I like my salads to come dressed unless I ask for dressing on the side. The dressing was also very strong on the anchovies too giving it a fishy taste.The croutons were also a bit bland – need to be more garlicky. Unless changes are made – pass on it.

For entrees we got Penne ala Vodka, Rigatoni Bologneses and the Saffron Linguine with Clams and Calamari.

The pictures may not show it but these are fairly large bowls of pasta. (Or maybe I ate too much toast and dip.)

The Penne ala Vodka was very good. It wasn’t too heavy on the cream sauce and had a very nice flavor to it. Very well done.

The Rigatoni Bolognese was good as well. It’s a mixture of meats making up the Bolognese sauce which made the dish slightly different than the ordinary. Again, very flavorful and well done.

The Saffron Linguine had a lot of flavor but finished with a bit of saltiness. I’m thinking it’s from the clams but I could be mistaken. It was still a very good dish that could’ve been better if it was slightly less salty.

We finished dinner with the Tiramisu which is not pictured because it didn’t last long enough to get photographed! Decent slice of Tiramisu covered in a chocolate sauce. Yummy.

Overall, I enjoyed my dinner at Il Torchio. It’s nice to have a reasonable priced (if you stay away from the tapas menu) Italian restaurant on Myrtle. The dishes are nice, familiar fare with a slight twist. The large selection of tapas gives it the ability to be a different dining experience every time you go – I’ll definitely be back.

Note: They do not currently have a liquor license but are in the process of getting one. There is a liquor store on the corner with a nice selection of wines. Il Torchio charges a $10 corking fee.

CH Comic in BK Heights Tonight

This just in – Pat O’Shea, CH resident and funnyman, is performing tonight.

Pant-Hoot is a night of excellent stand-up comedy and chimpanzee information from Charles Star and Monkeywire. This is going to be a monthly Tuesday night show. The comics I have this month are fantastic:

Pete Holmes (VH1’s Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend)
Dan Allen (Comedy Central’s Premium Blend)
Amy Crossfield (Comedy Central’s Open Mic Fight)
Pat O’Shea
Claudia Cogan
Hosted by Charles Star with an educational interlude from

Pant-Hoot at Magnetic Field
97 Atlantic Avenue (Hicks / Henry)
Brooklyn Heights

More on Little Piggy (Market)

BrooklynJay, who is just about moved back INTO the nabe, spent some time at Little Piggy (Market) this past weekend to chat up the owners and try some new food. Here’s what he said about it:

so we grabbed lunch at smoke joint yesterday and ben was nice enough to give us a little food preview of the little piggy market, i think that’s what it’s gonna be called – gotta check my timeout to verify, which is slated to open next door sometime next week.

ben made a black eye peas salad which had black eye peas obviously, corn and heirloom tomatoes. he also gave us a little taste of a macaroni salad too. both were outstanding. as one of my friends said “this tastes like summer. this is the stuff you’d love to bring with you on a picnic.” it was so fresh – those heirloom tomatoes…wow.

he also gave a little walk thru of the new space and it’s really cool. it’s going to sell items by weight, like the two salads above, so you can bring it home to accompany your own cooking. (They are some awesome sides that would go with just about anything.) It’s also gonna accommodate seating for 12 people (for now) and offer, along with food by weight, a blue plate special type deal – a protein or two, a couple of sides, etc. for one set price.

the cool thing is they’re gonna have good COFFEE and DESSERTS. Pastries! Pies! Oh My! Fresh baked in the morning! and the coffee’s gonna be the same as the coffee served at some of the finer gourmet restaurants in the city.

the menu’s gonna change according to what’s fresh. If, for instances, they can get nice peaches then they’ll not only have fresh peaches for sales – they’ll also possibly have peach cobbler available too.

I think it’s gonna be amazing. since the menus gonna change it’ll allow ben and craig to both experiment and be creative and offer some dishes that wouldn’t have fit at the smoke joint. (mention of fried chicken and meat loaf had my mouth watering.) i personally can’t wait for it to open.

oh and the smoked joint was awesome as always! lunch definitely is the way to go – nothing is sold out yet and plenty of seats available. (the food coma afterwards and napping in the early evening were the only side effects.)

Another friend who lives nearby and was kind enough to give me her own witty spin on the place:

I was headed to Smoke Joint for a bag of Brooklyn wings to celebrate my roommate having moved out when I noticed that Little Piggy Market was finally open. After several weeks shrouded in secrecy the owners of Smoke Joint had finally opened what they billed as a little sister to their successful BBQ joint.

More different siblings could not be. You will not find a drop of barbeque sauce at Little Piggy, instead what you will find is a changing roster of salads, sandwiches, entrees and sides that are determined by what’s in season at the moment. On my first visit they were out of the meatloaf sandwich but I was encouraged to sample the chicken salad sandwich which was billed as “awesome” by the cute cook. Although I hate chicken salad I like cute cooks so I obliged. The sandwich was in fact quite good and huge and the heirloom tomato salad I got as a side was quite tasty as well. In order to round out my meal I decided to get a cupcake, which kudos to Little Piggy was frosted with cream cheese icing instead of the typical butter cream that seems to be plaguing other cupcakes around this city. The cupcake was tasty and baked in a stiff foil cup which necessitated the use of a fork to eat it and made my cupcake into more of a cake in a cup.

On a return visit I finally got to try the meatloaf sandwich that had eluded me on my prior visit. One bite and I knew exactly why it had sold out the day before. It consisted of crusty bread surrounding a warm slice of meatloaf, heirloom tomatoes and caramelized onions. To round out my meal I decided to forgo any vegetables and got a s’mores cookie that was crispy on the outside and nice and chewy in the center. Everything was tasty and despite its large size and slight messy factor and I finished every bite with the reckless abandon that can only come with dining in the privacy of my newly empty apartment.

Much like The Smoke Joint next door Little Piggy and its sociable staff are a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Plus, here’s some info from Brooklyn Based. Man, I need to get over there now.

(Lafayette at S. Elliott)