Monthly Archives: July 2009

Help Find Laika This Weekend

The owners of Laika the dog (who was stolen from outside the Greene Grape) are arranging search parties this weekend, and are providing food and drink to those who want to help out.

Here is the info:

Many people have asked us what they can do to help find Laika. We would like to invite you to help search with us on Saturday. We plan to search at three different times of the day, with lots of flyers and asking lots of people on Fulton, Myrtle and Atlantic Ave Mall.

Beers, food and AC available all day at our house. We meet there first then go out in co-ordinated gangs.

Please let us know which search party you would like to join us on. Our aim is to have a little fun while we do this:


Bring bikes, scooters and roller-blades, we will have 100s of posters to distribute.

Thank you

Natalie Clark Barratt
t – 917 853 7830

For more info, visit the website that has been set up to document leads and information.

Lunch With Tillie: Mojito

I guess I should’ve realized a place named Mojito doesn’t exactly scream “family fun”!

Greetings, fellow Clinton Hillers and surrounding-area denizens. It’s Tillie’s sidekick Van (I guess she’s the star since her name is in the headline) documenting another one of our lunchtime expeditions. This time, we hit Mojito, the Cuban restaurant on Washington between Flushing and Park avenues. And it didn’t exactly work out to be the best of choices for me and the Tillster, but I’ll get into that. First, let me tell you how we ended up there.

On our previous trips, we had gone to a few spots on Myrtle Avenue and another on Vanderbilt. But when mapping out our next destination, I decided that Tillie should get in touch with her Brooklyn roots—particularly, that Wallabout, South of the Navy Yard side of her that comes from me. (Actually, I’m from Mobile, Alabama, but when I moved to BK a few years ago, I used to live directly across from the Navy Yard, next to the Sweet’N Low factory. Shout out to 38 Cumberland Street!)

Anyway, I know that area is starting to really take off with new restaurants, shops and a grocery store opening soon. I picked an old standby for us to go to, Mojito, which has been around for a few years. I had only been there a couple of times, but Tillie’s mom and I (and lil’ T) just popped in a couple of weeks ago one evening for some drinks and empanadas. I took a quick glance at the lunch menu, which I’m prone to do nowadays, and had it in the back of my mind to come back since we had such a pleasant experience.

So on this day, after doing some shoe shopping at the Fulton Street Mall (for Tillie, not me), we hopped on the B61 bus from downtown and made our way to the restaurant. Tillie and I had been out for a little while, and I almost thought of just heading home, but we stuck it out. I had food and a bottle for her, so how bad could things be?

We got in the restaurant and were told we could sit anywhere. The place was roomy enough, so we grabbed a little two-top with space around us and I asked for a high chair. I set Tillie up and while I was doing that, we received our cigar box with the toast and dipping sauce in it, along with the menu.

Let me interrupt myself here, because from this point on, my attitude shifts from optimistic to “ehh” about the place.

After getting the toast, it was at least five minutes or so before the waitress came back to our table. I saw her hitting other tables multiple times before coming to ours. When she did arrive, the first thing I ordered was a glass of water, which I needed after munching on dry toast! With that request made, I went for the pollo varadero—grilled chicken with onions and peppers with a citrus flavor, served with saffron rice and black beans. This lunch special also came with a soup (chicken potato) and a soda. Little did I know that it would be a while again before I saw the waitress!

Anyway, as I was waiting (mainly for that elusive glass of water), I prepared Tillie’s stash of goodies for her, led by the fresh cherries I sliced up for her. From the moment I gave her the first one, she developed this ravenous appetite for them the likes of which I hadn’t seen before! I didn’t want to dump them all out on a plate for her, so I was giving them to her a few at a time. I was afraid she was going to bite her hand off thinking it was a cherry!


My soup arrived, which at least had some moisture for me to partake of, then two bites in, the water—water, at last!—and the soda, then the main course. It was a lot to take in at once with trying to handle the cherry-eating machine that was Tillie, too. Then my waitress was off yet again, not to be seen or heard from until I asked to have my leftovers wrapped up and get the check.

But it wasn’t just our waitress, NO ONE in the restaurant ever came around to check on us: How’s everything? Anything to drink? Aww, what a cute baby! Nothing at all. We were pretty much ignored, which is pretty impressive because I’d think a guy with a baby would stand out among the other patrons!

I have to admit, though, that while the service and welcoming atmosphere was lacking, the food wasn’t: The flavors were exploding in my mouth! I mashed up some beans and rice for Tillie to take a bite of, in between her cherry scarfing, and she seemed to feel the same way, too. It might’ve been one of the best lunchtime meals I’ve eaten around the ‘hood.


But as great as the food was (and cheap, too: My mini-feast was only 10 bucks!), I wouldn’t recommend going there for lunch with a baby. It’s the first time I felt that “Oh great, a baby” vibe, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But don’t worry about us: Tillie and I will keep plugging away!

New Pequena Location to Open on Vanderbilt Ave


Pequena, the tiny (duh) but delicious Mexican eatery in Fort Greene will open a second location on Vanderbilt Avenue, just south of Atlantic!

The restaurant will open in place of the Barrette bar, which just closed recently on Vanderbilt (at Bergen) in Prospect Heights. The owners are behind the local empire responsible for the original Pequena, Maggie Brown, Olea and Moe’s.

Not sure when it will be opening (I actually called them to ask and the woman who answered said, “I have no idea!”), but they have already painted the outside yellow.  Here’s hoping they’ll be open before summer is over.

Technically Prospect Heights, but still walkable for the southern part of the neighborhood.

(Thanks, Russell, for this tip!)


Brooklyn Brew Shop


Recently, I spoke with Erica and Stephen, the insanely nice brain children behind Brooklyn Brew Shop – a do-it-yourself beer brewing operation. They are spreading the gospel of the home brew from right down the street in Prospect Heights, and I implore them to preach on.  They’re putting the craft back into craft beer, and the inspiration for their booze based endeavor is multi-faceted; Erica’s family tradition, a 7 week jaunt in Europe and a New Yorker article about Dog Fish Head helped them take the plunge towards experimentation with hops.

Their philosophy caters directly towards the modern day Brooklynite, or any other borough dweller for that matter.  BBS offers attractive 1 or 5 gallon kits that will enhance the decor of any corner in your apartment, and it will fit no matter the size of your domicile.  They provide detailed instructions with every kit that allow even first time brewers to approach the task with confidence.  Currently, they have a lineup of two beers to create: Grapefruit Honey Ale and Chocolate Maple Porter.  I was lucky enough to sample their Blueberry Red Ale, which is still in experimental stages of development, and I must say that if anyone could convert me to fruity beers it is this talented twosome.  For those who are more experienced with the art of libation making, BBS offers a plethora of special yeasts, grains and fermentables and hops to keep the creative process alive and well.

In terms of taste, they favor beers of the Belgium persuasion.  Ommegang, brewed in Cooperstown, NY, is a favorite of theirs.  Their current flavor offerings are a little off the beaten path, but Erica and Stephen have high hopes for much more unorthodox brews.  This includes a Lobster Beer, brewed with Lobster shells and inspried by an Irish Oyster Stout, and a Bourbon Dubbel that will be brewed in a bourbon barrel.  The excitement with which they told me about their beer hopes and dreams was contagoius and a real pleasure.

You will see this power couple at the Brooklyn Flea on both Saturdays and Sundays selling their goods; I suggest giving them a visit.  You can also place orders on their website for pick up at the Flea.

The Brooklyn Brew Shop deserves your attention.  They offer you an experience that others in the city do not and it is an experience that you can be proud of.  Also, lest we forget, good beer ain’t too shabby.

Making Sense of the New Parking Rules

I canvassed several streets Sunday morning on my way to the Y to see if there was a rhyme or reason to the new reduced parking regulations.

Thankfully, there does seem to be a logical system.  Based on my walking route, it seems that Lafayette and streets south will be cleaned on a Monday-Tuesday schedule, while north of Lafayette will be Thursday – Friday.  East of Cambridge gets cleaned earlier.

I haven’t canvassed the northern neighborhood yet – any idea what the divisions are there?

Capital One Opens on Fulton Street

Capital One Bank celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, last week.  Their press release stated that the area has been designated a Banking Development District by New York State:

Section 96-d of the Banking Law, entitled ‘Banking Development Districts’ is designed to encourage the establishment of bank branches in those areas where there is a demonstrated need for banking services. An aim of BDD’s is to enhance access by consumers, who may have no banking relationship, to become part of the financial mainstream and to promote local economic development. It is further anticipated that the establishment of a bank branch will provide a foundation to stimulate the local economy by enhancing access to capital for local businesses.

The Local was on the scene.  (The grand opening was held at 11am on a weekday, so CHB was unable to attend.)

Can someone please tell HSBC about this so-called banking district?

(ALSO- this new bank was allegedly robbed on Saturday.  So much for a welcome wagon!)

CHB Photo Contest!

CHB will be relaunching soon, with a new design and logo!

As part of our design, the new header will feature 10 rotating photos of the neighborhood taken by readers.

Interested in submitting a photo for the new site?  Header images will need to be cropped to 860 x 136 pixels, making it a bit more challenging.

Not sure what this means?  Just send us a favorite neighborhood photo and we’ll take it from there.  Artsy and know about cropping?  Send us the cropped and original version for consideration. (The logo will appear on the left side of the header)

If your photo is selected, you will be featured on the Contributors page, with a brief bio and link to your original photo.

Contest deadline is MONDAY, AUGUST 3.  Please submit your name, contact info and location of the photo to clintonhillblog-at-gmail-dot-com.  While this site sometimes covers Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy, all header photo submissions must be from Clinton Hill proper (borders are Clinton Ave, Park Ave, Classon Ave, Atlantic Ave).

Example (not to scale) of how photos will be cropped:


Umi Nom Grand Opening Scheduled for 7/29

Umi Nom, the long-awaited Kuma Inn outpost on DeKalb just past Classon, originally scheduled to open in May, will open its doors on Wednesday, July 29.

Per TimeOut:

Umi Nom Kuma Inn chef-owner King Phojanakong and co-chef Soulayphet Schwader branch out to Brooklyn with this 50-seat bamboo-and-brick-clad restaurant, expected to open July 28.* As at its LES counterpart, the menu consists of small plates based on Filipino and South Asian flavors. Tapas-size items like salt-and-pepper chicken wings and barbecued pork ribs make up most of the menu, along with Asian-American creations inspired by Phojanakong’s mother’s adaptive immigrant cooking, including a bunless burger with sticky rice. While the original restaurant’s name was a play on the Tagalog word kumain, meaning “to eat,” the moniker here is based on the verb for “to drink,” so expect food-friendly sakes once the liquor license clears. 433 DeKalb Ave between Classon Ave and Taaffe Pl, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (718-789-8806)

* TONY’s report lists the 28th, but I was told 7/29 when I called the restaurant directly Sunday afternoon.

Dog-Napping at Greene Grape – $200 Reward

A husky dog was stolen outside Green Grape last week, while tied up outside.  I noticed the signs posted around the neighborhood over the weekend, and the dog’s owner recently reached out to CHB in the hopes of getting her back:

Laika, our much loved Husky dog, was taken from outside The Greene Grape on Friday evening – where she was tied up outside.

It seems that Laika was taken by a man in a wheelchair, with long dark wavy hair, mid-forties, tanned or maybe hispanic. He was pushed by a white woman, possibly his nurse. They walked away from The Greene Grape towards Greene Avenue, up towards Clinton Hill.

He has not contacted our vet from her tag, and did not go back to the store. We are very afraid that he plans to keep her. Laika is old and takes medication on a daily basis. I am offering a reward of $200 for his address or name.  Please will you post to your blog?  I am sure he lives locally.


If you know of Laika’s whereabouts, please contact her owner:
t – 917 853 7830