FABfest Schedule for June 13

An awesome foodie-based lineup this wknd at FABfest!  My personal picks- the mozzarella and jam-making sessions. Cooking demos, food tastings, moonshine sipping and a chilled organic soup pureed making — with the aid of a human-powered bike-blender are all part of the line-up for second weekend of FABfest a month-long three-block street festival EVERY SUNDAY IN JUNE on Fulton Street between Lafayette Avenue and South Oxford Street, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

A schedule of demos and tastings is below.

Also at FABfest on Sunday June 13, from 12noon-6pm:

• 12noon-1:30pm:  Salsa Dance Party & Dance Lessons featuring Brooklyn Salsa Party (everyone is welcome to join in!)

• 1:30-2:00:  Live Gospel Concert featuring the Lafayette Inspirational Ensemble (performing as they make their way down Fulton Street to the stage!)

• 2:00-6:00:  Toasters Delight: a Reggae Party featuring DJs Geko Jones and Matt Shadetek of Dutty Artz, Jahdan Blakkamore, Cool Places Soundsystem, Gael Dubourg, DJ Gravy, and special guests. Toasters Delight celebrates the June 15th BAMcinemaFEST screening of the Brooklyn indie film Wah Do Dem.

http://www.duttyartz.com/2010/wah-do-dem-bam-block-party/ Visit BAM.org for screening info

Plus games, crafts, balloons and activities and.... 3-on-3 soccer on the street... all afternoon!

Schedule for 'A Taste of Fulton'… at FABfest 2010

12 noon - Louisa Shafia, author of LUCID FOODS shows how vegetarian food is both delicious and healthy - creating a chilled cucumber soup from organic produce from Fulton Street's MetFoods (985 Fulton @ St. James) with the aid of the Bike Blender from Habana Outpost (757 Fulton @ S. Portland), and powered by.... spectators at FABfest.

- Mozzarella-making at Greene Grape Provisions (753 Fulton @ S. Portland)

1:00 - Buka (946 Fulton @ Cambridge Place), Nigerian restaurant

2:00 - Jam-making by Anarchy in a Jar, available at Greene Grape Provisions

3:00 - Chef Michael Allen of Desserts by Michael Allen (1015 Fulton @ Grand) shares his secrets on sugar and decorating an elaborate cake - a demo you don't want to miss!

- Max Watman, the author of Chasing the White Dog will be in conversation with Gable Erenzo, son of the founder of Tuthilltown Distillery, the first (legal!) distillery in NY since Prohibition, at Greenlight Greenlight Bookstore (686 Fulton @ S. Portland). Tasting to follow at 4:00 at The Greene Grape

4:00 - Pickling by Rick's Picks, also available at Provisions

- Comparative tasting of white whiskies at The Greene Grape (765 Fulton @ S. Portland)

5:00 - Deniz (662 Fulton @ S. Elliott),Turkish cuisine

PLUS: In front of Bati Restaurant (747 Fulton @ S. Portland) samples and an introduction on Ethiopian food and Smoke Joint (87 S. Elliott Place @ Fulton) will be offering samples of house-made grilled sausages.

For updates on the list of activities and schedules visit faballiance.org or facebook at fab fulton

About The FAB Alliance The Fulton Area Business (FAB) Alliance is a newly formed Business Improvement District working on behalf of property owners, merchants, residents and stakeholders along Fulton Street in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill—from Rockwell Place to Classon Avenue (plus adjacent blocks of Lafayette, Greene and Putnam Avenues). Goals are to retain current businesses and improve the atmosphere to make this area of Fulton Street a clean, safe and retail diverse environment that is a destination for people work, shop, dine and play. For more information, visit: faballiance.org


FABfest is presented by the FAB Alliance, the newly formed Fulton Street Business Improvement District in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. FABfest is part of the Weekend Walks Program of the New York City Department of Transportation.

Gross Met Meat

Awhile back on CHB, we received several complaints about the state of fresh produce at the Met on Fulton Street (see here).  All's been quiet in the last 1.5 years until last week when I received a horror story about a meat purchase: After what happened at the Met on Fulton last weekend I felt obligated to send you a message as a warning to your other readers.  We all know how about the rotten produce and terrible service but they reached a new low last weekend.  I went to buy some chicken and as usual I bought the Murray's organic chicken.  It was 3 days before the use by date but when I brought it home it was completely spoiled.  It clearly had not been properly refrigerated.  There were also about 5 stickers on the back of the package which makes me think they knew it was spoiled and lowered the price accordingly, or perhaps they altered the sell by date and put it out there regardless.  Nothing would surprise me at that place.  The scariest part was when I brought it back nobody at the store was the slightest bit surprised.  Apparently it had happened before and they had done nothing about it.  They gave my money back but that's not really the point.  Bad produce is one thing but spoiled chicken is unsafe and unacceptable.

Anyone else have meat problems at the Met?  If many of you have, probably cause for alarm.  How prevalent is spoiled meat in the supermarket industry?

Fresh Fruit on Kent Ave.

fruit shack on kent In a most unlikely place for a fresh fruit stand, a small building on Kent Ave just south of Myrtle has been painted bright orange and transformed into a makeshift produce shop.

I stopped in to check it out and as promised, prices were good.  And I mean GOOD.  A selection:

potatoes: 35 cents / lb red onions: 49 cents / lb garlic bulbs: 5/$1


The folks running the place, who said they'd been open for four weeks now, were very friendly.  If you live nearby, it' definitely worth stopping by.

Fort Greene Food and Wine in the News

Nigerian Restaurant Reported to Open this Month in Fort GreeneAccording to NY Magazine, En of Africa will soon be opening at 120 Lafayette.

Greene Grape Wins Award The Brooklyn Paper reports that the Greene Grape, the wine shop on Fulton, was just named New York Wine and Spirit Retailer of the Year. (The secret: Selling a lot of NY wine.)

Fresh Fruit on Atlantic Ave!

A few days ago, a reader sent me this intriguing email: as bizarre as it is, i just noticed that a fresh fruit and vegetable market is opening on atlantic avenue right around grand (towards classon on the prospect heights/crown heights side of the street). it's the produce equivalent of frank white -- meaning, they're putting a lot of work into the space and it's going to be really nice, but it will probably ultimately suffer from its atlantic ave location (zero foot traffic).

i can't understand why they wouldn't choose fulton for this very necessary place, i guess the rents are a lot cheaper on atlantic.

Readers, this is why I love you. Because I would probably never, ever be walking around in that particular area and this is a very exciting tip!

It was not easy to find. I walked down a very desolate section of Atlantic, populated only by auto repair and restaurant equipment retailers, all completely shuttered on a Sunday afternoon. But then, I saw it: two gorgeous wooden planters with green fern spilling over at a storefront on the south side of the street.

new fruit store!

The beauty of the fruit (both standard and exotic), as well as the interior renovation was shockingly gorgeous. Where on earth did this place come from?!


The owner (whose name escapes me, since I didn't write it down), said he expects to be fully operational within the next few days. He is also open to suggestions on what people would like to see him carry!

People, check it out, NOW.

Atlantic Tropics Atlantic Ave. nr. Grand

Food Co-Op Meeting: TOMORROW

All, The next co-op meeting is coming right up on July 9th. As decided at the General Meeting on June 17, this meeting will not follow the General Meeting structure and instead will take the form of a general discussion about the work of the various committees, cross-cutting issues, and what decisions are on the horizon. The Governance Committee would like to suggest that special attention be given to the question of working v. non-working co-op (although since it's not a General Meeting, there will be no decision-making process).

In anticipation of this meeting, we'd like to ask each committee to prepare a summary of what you have been doing and what you have planned for the coming months. These summaries will be compiled and distributed prior to the meeting. This will give everyone a chance to update themselves on the work of each committee and will leave more time at the meeting for broader discussion and collaboration.

Please send your written summaries to Nick Collins (nickdcollins@gmail.com) by July 3rd. Committees may also send other agenda items to Nick for discussion.

Meeting details:

Wednesday, July 9th, 7-9pm

Queen of All Saints Church, Vanderbilt and Lafayette

See you then,

Clara Presler

Greene Hill Food Co-Op

Gluten-Free Suggestions Wanted

Received this email from a reader, who coincidentally went to the same high school as I did (small world!): I have a quick question to ask - I've been trying to read the blog for any suggestions on gluten-free food/ideas in the FG/CH area. I've been diagnosed with Celiacs for over four years now, and it's been really tough to find gluten-free products in the area. I know of the organic food store on Myrtle (Karrots), and the Met on Fulton is hit or miss (but they seem to have the GF beer), and the Associated on Myrtle carries a small selection. Any chance you could make a request/post about it in an upcoming blog entry?

Ideas? I'd also suggest:

  • Green Planet (Fulton at Washington)
  • Fresh Garden (Fulton and Lafayette)
  • Provisions (Fulton at S. Portland)

(More info on these places here.)

Rustik Tavern

Rustik Tavern 471 DeKalb Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11205


I needed a place to eat that was close by but I wanted someplace new too. I didn't want it to be too fancy either. I just wanted a nice, chill, relaxing place to grab a beer and some decent food. I saw a review of Rustik over on Clinton Hill Foodie which seem to fit the bill perfectly. (yeah, I've been slacking and they got to it before me) After checking out Rustik's very slick website and menu online I decided to give it a shot. I'm so glad I did.

The first thing I noticed was how...out of place Rustik seemed to be in where it's located. It's like bodega, bodega, take out, take out, bodega, Rustik.

Well at least you won't miss it walking by.

I was impressed with Rustik's interior decor. High ceilings and lots of lights, but not overly bright, gave it a very warm and inviting feeling and with that big sofa up front - definitely a place to chill.

First order of business: a beer. Rustik has a very decent selection of tap and bottled beers. (All of which is listed on their website.) I went with the Blue Moon which they had on tap - always an excellent choice.

Second order of business: FOOD.

Every item was named after something local or of significance. For example, the Willoughby Wings for Willoughby Avenue. It's kind of silly but nice at the same time. Adds a very "neighborhood" feel to it.

Prices were extremely reasonable. Lots of items under $10 and nothing over $15.

We decided on the following:

The Nostrand Nachos with the olives and the jalapenos on the side.

As a stand alone dish it's eh. I like the fact that it's cheese sauce rather than real cheese, real cheese has a tendency to clump up and get chewy as it cools, but other than that it was lacking something that made it great. Like...

The Clinton Hill Chili.

Now I know you can add the chili on top of the nachos for $2 but go with a whole order of chili along with the nachos and use the nachos to scoop up all that chili goodness.

The chili, by itself, is still was very good and, while still full of flavor, it was relatively tame and lacked heat and spiciness.

Mixing it with the nachos is really the way to go. It takes two "okay" dishes to 11.

We moved on to a small order of the Willoughby Wings with BBQ sauce. (That's where my olives and jalapenos went!)

I want to point out that these wings are breaded. Normally I hate breaded wings but these I didn't mind. It worked well with the BBQ sauce, giving the sauce something to stick to, as well as adding a bit of crispiness to the chicken.

What surprised me about this dish was that the BBQ sauce was actually spicy and had some heat to it. The heat was unexpected, I had to double check to make sure it was the wings and not the chili, but not overwhelming. It actually worked very well together as a sweet and spicy combination.

Finally, the Franklin Fish and Chips.

This was pretty good. The fish was lightly breaded, not battered, which kept the whole dish relatively "light". The fish was done well and was flaky and moist. The chips on the other hand...eh.

The chips were too big in size and I think that kept them from getting really crispy. The chips also had some old bay seasoning or something on them which was too over powering for the lighter tasting fish. I like the fish...the chips need work.

We wanted to try the Chambord Creme Brulee but they were out of it. (Doesn't it sound good though? Chambord Creme Brulee? Mmmm...)

Overall, it's a great place and I'm definitely going to be back. It's got a nice mellow vibe, serves good food and has good drinks. All at a very reasonable price. The entire meal was about $40. It's like the perfect little local neighborhood spot.

The service was good with the bartender being attentive without "hovering". (And he didn't once ask me if I spoke english! That's a plus right there!)

The one complaint I do have is the TV. There's a pretty big TV right in the middle of the room and when there's a TV on you're sort...of...forced...to...watch...it. I would have like it a lot better if it was off and a good selection of music was playing instead. (They have a very nice sound system.) The TV just seemed out of place and sort of broke up that "chill" feeling if you know what I mean.

Other than that it's a great place and a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Oh, and if you're lucky you'll catch a free show.

We were treated to piano renditions of Keane and Coldplay. Very very cool.

Take Out

From Clintoncentric: It takes so much more energy for me to cook in the wintertime. I'm bored by the fresh produce, too cold/lazy to trek to Fairway, and unless I spend my Sundays cooking for the week, I'm basically f*ed, and have to either make quick meals after work, or order take out. Problem is, there aren't that many good options that I'm aware of. These are my favorites though:

Luz (718-246-4000), for their $10 rotisserie chicken -- one of the best I've had! -- with extra pepper sauces (they've got a green one and a reddish-orange one), black beans and rice.

Mojito's (718-797-3100), for their chulettas, pernil, or churrasco chicken, smoky black beans and rice (with extra green sauce!)

Bombay Masala (718-230-7640), for classic anglo-saxon fare: Chicken Tikka Masala and the Mushroom Saag. Really, the best Indian take out in the hood in my opinion.

Yamashiro (718-230-3313), for their Jade Roll (like getting seaweed salad in a roll), Yellowtail roll, and their Wasabi Roll. Hubby always gets the Sashimi Deluxe. They're generally fresh, and tastier, I think, than Sushi Okdol, though I haven't given them enough play, I admit.

Sushi Okdol (718-789-1373), for their bi bim bop. They're really more Korean than Japanese, and they give you tons of sides, like mushrooms, tofu and seaweed salad, for free when you order an entree.

Where does everyone else order from, and what do you get?

A Bizarre Evening at Restaurant New Orleans

A few weeks ago, I had THE weirdest dining experience at Restaurant New Orleans on Fulton (nr. S. Portland). A friend I dined with took the time to summarize: Last weekend, though, we went out to dinner with some friends, R. and W., with the intention of grabbing dinner before seeing "There Will Be Blood". I suggested Restaurant New Orleans, a restaurant on Fulton not to far from BAM where were going to see the movie. I've passed by this place numerous times walking back from BAM and it always intrigues me. It is decorated like someone's parlor, but half the time its empty and sometimes we've passed by around 10pm and its been dark, with a woman sitting at a computer in the window.

Anyway, we decided to meet at 7, figuring it would leave us plenty of time to catch the 9pm movie. We sat down and browsed the menu while the man who sat us looked for a bottle opener and glasses for the bottle of wine we brought with us (byob). This took about 10 minutes, and the glasses we got were sherry glasses. When the waitress came to take our order, she nearly forgot to take W's order.

And then the fun started. R and W had ordered crab cakes and we had ordered shrimp cocktail as appetizers, but after about 20 minutes, only the crab cakes came out. After a few minutes, we tracked down our waitress (who was astonishingly hard to track down in a place that was also the size of a parlor), she said our appetizer was on its way. But then out came my catfish (which Sam and R had ordered as well), with a sweet potato on the side. I had ordered spinach and something else. The waitress said they were out of whatever sides I had ordered but they could make some nice garlic brussels sprouts. Sure, why not. About 5 minutes later, out came Sam and R's catfish as well. R's grilled catfish looked exactly the same as our blackened catfish. And they didn't have any sides. And there was no sign of W's gumbo. And it was about 8:30. The brussles sprouts never appeared.

We reminded our waitress about the appetizer, though we told her to just forget about it since we were already eating our main course. And then, about 5 minutes later, the reason for the missing shrimp cocktail became clear - they "were having a problem with the shrimp". And so they couldn't make the gumbo either. But they offered to make W a nice salmon fillet instead, on the house. She brought out a bowl of red beans and rice on the house too (we still never received any sides other than my sweet potato), so W ate those while waiting for the salmon, which came around 8:50. So we asked for the check too and paid that while W ate.

They felt so bad for all the trouble, so they comped us for two of the entrees and also offered us free brunch (though they didn't give us anything in writing indicating this). And they seemed so genuine that we weren't really upset about the service, mystified was the better word for our state. I mean, if they didn't have shrimp, they could have told us an hour earlier. Or the whole issue with the sides. W's dish came with collards, which both Sam and R had ordered but never came. How the place stays in business was the biggest question - its been there since we moved to the neighborhood I think. The food we did get was very good, but it just seemed like such a haphazard business that it was surprising that it was able to stay open.

I admit those crab cakes were delicious! Yet the dinner couldn't have been any more haphazard. Anyone have a similar experience?

Revisiting Autour du Monde

A reader emailed me an excellent review of Autour du Monde (Fulton at Clinton)!  If you haven't been, check it out.  Let's not forget the businesses on Fulton that are suffering from all that construction! It took us awhile to try the new restaurant on Clinton and Fulton, Autour du Monde, but I'm so glad we finally went. I had read the earlier comments here, including some snarky ones by people who hadn't even been there. And to be honest, those remarks, plus the smallish, eclectic menu posted by the door, didn't fill me with confidence. But I'm so glad we finally went.

The meal started with bread, oil, and balsamic vinegar placed on the table. The oil and vinegar together were weirdly scrumptious. I think it must have been very good balsamic to be that rich and smooth, the perfect salty-sweet balance.

When I studied the menu, I was surprised to realize that I could have ordered almost anything on the menu happily. That never happens to me: though I'm almost an omnivore, I won't order a dish if it has a side or a sauce I'm not crazy about. For some reason, 90% of the menu was right up my alley. (I know that's a subjective thing, but two of my three dinner companions felt the same way; the fourth is a chicken-and-fish-only-vore.)

The three appetizers we chose bode very well for the rest of the meal: the excellent, meaty crab cakes with a hint of curry and possibly red pepper sauce were light and large; the veggie-packed spring rolls were light and fresh and had an intriguing dipping sauce with flavors we couldn't quite place (tamarind? -- our server, also a co-owner, called it the chef's take on various east asian flavors), and the cheese-and-caramelized onion tart (more like a flatbread) with a small salad was mellow and outstanding, not to mention gratifyingly large (a generous four-way split). We agreed that the 'tart' would make great takeout all on its own -- something to pick up for dinner on the way home from the Clinton-Washington C train stop.

The four entrees we chose were equally eclectic: the baby chicken with almonds and broccoli was extremely moist and flavorful; the skirt steak got a yummy unexpected kick thanks to a light topping of chermoula (a basil and parsley blend); the spare ribs were out-of-this-world tender and complex without being heavy; and the salmon (also with the chermoula or something closely related) was cooked perfectly, very intensely flavored, with four adorable mini veggie-and-olive skewers. Each dish was familiar enough to feel like comfort food -- but also just-offbeat-enough to demand our attention.

Finally, two desserts: a gorgeous lightly "cardamomed" creme brulee with a perfect caramelized sugar crust (not a black edge anywhere) and one of those fairly ubiquitous but in this case extremely fresh-tasting molten chocolate cakes with a small spoonful of vanilla ice cream. The only off note was the biscotti that came with the creme brulee -- they had a pretty good texture but not enough flavor.

That plus a charming, personable host from Antibes, a full bar and (I'm told) a good wine list, and we have a real contender. Though it doesn't have the sophisticated outward appearance of an Ici or Olea (and I blame that mostly on the look of the menu alone), it is a very close competitor, I would say. And no, it really is not an 'around the world' joint, as some of the naysayers on this blog were complaining in an earlier post on CHB.

Fulton needs interesting, truly good-bang-for-the-buck places like this. And the endless street construction right out in front can't be helping. Apparently they do morning croissants and lunch/brunch, too. Would love to hear a fuller report on those offerings.

Is it perfect? Probably not. Is it a vegetarian's dream? No. But let's give Autour a fighting chance. I say it's definitely worth your time and money.

"The Bakery" is Open!

The bakery at 154 Vanderbilt (between Willoughby and Myrtle) is now open! The name's not yet official, since a bakery called "Crumbs" is protesting to the establishment's use of the name "Krumbs." (This explains the temporary spray paint job over the old "Frosted Moon" sign.) chb-4.jpg

Owner Adrienne Braxton has been a Clinton Hill resident for years. She's become famous for her peach cobbler, often sold on the street, but always longed for her own storefront.

I picked up some mini carrot cakes ($2.50 each) for a dinner party, and they were a huge hit. Braxton's goods are mostly of the dessert variety (ie. no fresh bread), but if you need a fox box of fresh, buttery goodness, this is your place.


Looks nice inside, and I'm looking forward to see how the place develops!

owner adrienne braxton

FG/CH Co-Op Meeting

The first organizing meeting on The Fort Greene Clinton Hill Food Co-op is January 23rd atLafayette Ave Presbyterian Church at 85 So Oxford (btwn Lafayette/Greene) 7-8:30PM. Get in on the ground floor!

Our big questions: Why we need/want a co-op? What it will take to start it? What support do we have now? What will the structure of the co-op be? What's on our wish list? How can other Co-ops help us?

Sign the petition, get involved, get updates: fortgreenecoop.wordpress.com

Also, here's a link to the petition.

Speakeasy Open for Brunch

Speakeasy is now doing brunch Saturdays and Sundays. Personally, I'm psyched. It's right down the street from me, and they're just in time for the winter weather. I fully expect to slither over most weekends for some coffee and french toast in sweats and a scarf! library-5913.jpg

So far, I've been twice.  On my first jaunt, I tried the Ackee & Salt Fish.  It was really tasty and unique, and service was friendly.  Yesterday, though, I had the omlette.  It was very good, but the service was atrocious.  The waiter wouldn't give me a mimosa as part of the brunch deal (and the omlette is marked as such), and then charged me extra for a coffee  (I had tea, but the menu clearly states you get coffee/tea AND a booze drink). Let's hope that guy was just a blip on the radar.

As I've said about the dinner menu, I kind of think everything should be $2-$3 cheaper.  But it's still tasty overall, and nice to have nearby.

(Speakeasy is located at the corner of Waverly and Greene.)

Props for Brown Betty

Received this amazing email about Brown Betty from a reader:I'm writing to you about Brown Betty, purely I admit, out of self interest. My boyfriend and I go there for dinner at least once a month, which is about as often as we can because we're poor. It is amazing every time and we love it, but half the time when we go, we are the only people there. I think a lot of people know that they do breakfast and lunch, and I know there are sometimes lines and reservations for weekend brunch, but I think people don't know that they do dinner every night (I think) except Sunday.

I've sort of hesitated about saying something on any of the forums or blogs because we certainly like the fact that it isn't crowded at dinner, but I'm afraid that Cynthia will stop doing dinner if business doesn't pick up.

So if you have the time or inclination, you really ought to go over there for dinner one night and when you love love love it, write it up again. They're byob, which I rather like. Last night we had the most amazing brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes, catfish, and now they do this jerk pork chop that is insane and yeah, yum - sorry, I get a little ridiculous when talking about food.

So again, sorry to shamelessly write your ear off, but I really think this is exactly the sort of business we need more of at this end of Clinton Hill and I adore her food, so I want Brown Betty to do well.

I had dinner there ages ago, and it was indeed wonderful. It's easy to forget it's there, as it's so small and just south of Fulton, but DO check it out!

(Brown Betty is located on Grand just south of Fulton)

NOW OPEN: Autour du Monde

With absolutely no fanfare or warning, Autour du Monde -- the new restaurant opening in the old Bodega's space -- is open! chb-02.jpg

Autout de Monde opened last Thursday. Jay and I checked it out Friday for lunch.

Inside, it still looks like Bodegas (RIP!!!!), aside from having painted the walls. I had the chicken panini, and Jay had the burger. Service was friendly, but SLOW (just like Bodegas). There were a few other diners inside, which surprised me since they don't have a sign and that huge construction arrow on Fulton is blocking much of the storefront.


They're serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and are cash only and BYOB for now.

Here are some menu shots:

autour du monde

autour du monde

autour du monde

I predict it'll be a good place to stop in for a croissant and coffee before hopping on the C! Autour du Monde SE corner of Clinton and Fulton

Turkey Feedback?

Did anyone stand in line for a Jive Turkey last week?  I was tempted to order the Jive / Greene Grape dinner and wine deal, but you could only get a dinner for a large amount of people (and I was only hosting 4).  When I called to simply order a turkey, they told me I had to wait on line for one.  This explains the long lines there every year on Thanksgiving. I'm kind of bummed that I wasn't able to try one.  Anyone have a fried turkey?