Move About Myrtle Returns!

Car-free Sundays are returning to Myrtle Avenue starting this weekend, as part of the DOT's Weekend Walks program.  Each of the four Sunday events will feature programming, art, fitness, activities for kids and more. The Myrtle Minutes blog has all the details for this Sunday, which will include mural-making with Ellie Balk (yay!), food prep classes, free yoga.  Come on out and enjoy streets as public space, hang out with neighbors, enjoy free stuff.

Food Access on Myrtle Avenue

Another great program from MARP!  Here's the press release: Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project Receives Community Experience Partnership Grant to Fund Food Access Initiative Weekly Thursday Farm Stand Kicks Off on July 8th from 4-7pm in Front of Ingersoll Community Center

FORT GREENE and CLINTON HILL, BROOKLYN, June 29, 2010—The Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC (MARP) received a three-year grant through the ‘Community Experience Partnership’ to support and expand its Food Access Initiative. The $210,000 grant over 3 years will support projects under MARP’s new Myrtle Eats Fresh program, which aims to engage community members of all ages in activities to improve access to healthy, affordable food on Myrtle Avenue, and in the surrounding neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Projects include a community-run farm stand, creating and expanding community gardens on public housing grounds, a community chef program, and the formation of a hyper-local food policy task force.

The Community Experience Partnership (CEP), a national initiative, aims to support projects that specifically engage the talents and energy of older adults for the benefit of their communities. In New York City, The Atlantic Philanthropies is partnering with the New York Community Trust and United Neighborhood Houses of New York (UNH) to develop new program models that engage older adults to increase access to healthy food in low-income communities.  “Over the last few years, older adults in Ingersoll and Whitman Houses have emerged as natural leaders in local efforts to get more fresh food in the neighborhood. We are thrilled to be able to support this trend by establishing community-based projects that address the serious need for more fresh food options on Myrtle Avenue,” commented Michael Blaise Backer, Executive Director of MARP.

With the CEP grant, MARP has hired Kassy Nystrom, formerly of GrowNYC, to manage and expand programs under its food access initiative, which started with seed funding from the Brooklyn Community Foundation in 2008 with the founding of the Fort Greene CSA, and grew to include the creation of the Ingersoll Garden of Eden in 2009. Myrtle Eats Fresh will expand that community garden, built in collaboration with Ingersoll residents, and start new gardens at both Whitman and Farragut in the following years.  A community-run farm stand will be held every Thursday in front of the Ingersoll Community Center (177 Myrtle Avenue) from 4pm-7pm from July 8th through October 28th, and will be staffed by three youth and two elders from the neighborhood. MARP has also launched a ‘Community Chef’ program, whereby several residents who have a passion for healthy cooking have been trained as certified Community Chefs and will now conduct cooking demonstrations at neighborhood events. In fall 2010, MARP will begin the process of forming a neighborhood ‘Healthy Food Task Force’, bringing together representatives from interested organizations and other groups to help synergize efforts around improving food access in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

A Bistro: YUM

Abistro on Carlton in Fort Greene is one of the tastiest restaurants in the area. a bistro

Hidden behind a simple white gate, you might have just passed by without noticing.  Don't let the exterior fool you.  This tiny, cozy space offers some of the most interesting food around, not to mention  some of the friendliest service. It's a family affair - chef and co-owner Abdoul Gueye mans the kitchen, while his wife serves patrons.  The couple's young daughter is often on hand, too.

It's also BYO, which helps save some cash, and communal table often spark discussion between diners who didn't arrive together.

I've recommended this place to many locals and people visiting from other neighborhoods who are looking for a unique dining experience. What's your favorite dish?

Abistro 154 Carlton at Myrtle

Local Muralist

lisak-150x150 After NYC Pet on Myrtle and Washington opened back in 2008, we wondered who painted the beautiful mural on the exterior of the building.  Now we know- it was Lisa K. Hokans, professional muralist and portrait painter.

Lisa was also the muralist at iStore Green, the green storage facility on Hall between Park and Flushing.


Where else could we use a mural in the neighborhood?

Make Music New York Comes to Clinton Hill!

Make Music New York is a live, free musical celebration across the city that takes place each June 21 — the longest day of the year. Today, hundreds of public spaces throughout the five boroughs — sidewalks, parks, community gardens, and more — become impromptu stages for over 1,000 free concerts. Eleven participating venues are located on Myrtle Avenue! PARTICIPATING BUSINESSES in Make Music New York: Anima Italian Bistro 458 Myrtle Avenue Anthony Cedras Global soul and R&B 1:00pm-8:00pm Brooklyn Junior 150 Clinton Avenue -PEMG, a community based program focused on teaching young people about Hip Hop from a cultural and Indie perspective. -Jesse Goldman (, Experimental / Swing / Americana 2:30-5:00 pm. Castro’s Mexican Cuisine 511 Myrtle Avenue 5:30p-10pm -DJ Fuerte Chez Lola 387 Myrtle Avenue 7:30p to 10:30 pm Sedric Choukroroun Brazilian Jazz Trio Shukroon, Smith & and Monaco are a joyous trio, playing their own blend of Samba-Jazz-Pop: acoustic harp-guitar, saxophones-flute and percussion Chez Oskar 211 DeKalb Avenue 7:30p to 10:30pm The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn consists of: Billy Nemec-guitar/lead vocals, Chris Pistorino-bass/vocals, David Langlois-washboard percussion/vocals, Sam Hoyt-Trumpet/vocals The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, an early jazz, swing, and blues band, composed of acoustic guitar/vocals, upright bass, homemade washboard percussion, trumpet and saxophone, plays its' repertoire of witty songs from 1920's and 30's, along with its' augmented original tunes and often bawdy lyrics sung in catchy 4 part vocal harmony. Fort Greene SNAP 324 Myrtle Avenue -Anisa Fujah from 3 to 5 (Jazz) -Soulfolk Experience 5 to 6 (also jazz) -Jesse Goldman from 6 to 7 (experimental jazz) Gnarly Vines 350 Myrtle Avenue -Carolyn Leonhart and Jay Leonhart (daughter and dad)—vocals and bass (jazz, soul, standards) 1:30pm-3:00pm and Claire “Raji” Rodriguez folk, indie, pop 5p-6p Green in BKLYN 432 Myrtle Avenue Carolyn Leonhart and Jay Leonhart (daughter and dad)—vocals and bass (jazz, soul, standards) 12p-1:15p and Claire “Raji” Rodriguez folk, indie, pop 4p-5p Los Pollitos III 499 Myrtle Avenue -5:30pm to 9pm Edwin Vasquez Band, Live Latin band Move with Grace Yoga, Dance & Pilates Studio 469 Myrtle Avenue -Nucomme - rock/soul artist 8pm -Cavalier - Hip Hop/Soul artist 8:30pm -The Outabodies - Hip Hop/Jazz/Rock artists 9pm Sans Souci Restaurant 330 Myrtle Avenue Metric Man aka The Freedom Fighter (reggae) 1pm-9pm Fort Greene Park (Myrtle Avenue entrance) All day Upright piano (Sing For Hope): all day (on-site) 12p-1pm WATCH High School 2p-3:00p JHS 185 Drumline [note: I wish this was after work! Damn.] 3:00pm-4:00pm Ronald Edmonds Middle School 113 Choir 6p-7p Maracatu New York (Brazilian Percussion)

Bird Town

On Saturday, I checked out the birdhouse-making event that was part of Myrtle Avenue Bird Town.  It was awesome!  The artists were on site constructing bird houses and feeders, and when I arrived around 11:30, the tables were packed with kids.

That didn't stop me, though, from sitting down myself to paint a house.  And a handful of adults followed once I started.


While there, I got to see some of the actual bird houses that are a part of the installation.

This (above) is a bat house!  Awesome.

Bird Town on Myrtle Avenue

(image from MARP's blog)

Now this is an awesome public art project- an eclectic collection of bird houses! The houses appear at Myrtle and Carlton (apparently that little traffic triangle is called Person Square Triangle), and at Myrtle and St. Edwards at the entrance to the park.  Plus, the artists will be doing an interactive workshop during the SONYA stroll next weekend!  Rad.

Here is the info from MARP (long, but worthwhile):

The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership and the New York City Parks Public Art Program present Myrtle Avenue Bird Town, a temporary installation by artists Daniel Goers and Jennifer Wong. From May 1st through December 2010, dozens of playful birdhouses will live in trees at the Person Square Triangle (Myrtle and Carlton Avenues) and the northwest corner of Fort Greene Park (Myrtle and St. Edwards). An opening reception for the installation will take place on Thursday, May 6th at Sans Souci Restaurant (330 Myrtle Avenue) from 6-8pm, and an open workshop with artists will take place on Saturday, May 15th from 10am-4pm.

Goers and Wong will use recycled materials and experimental building techniques to create a micro-community of birdhouses in two locations along Myrtle Avenue. This colorful and whimsical collection of birdhouses will be the site of an ongoing performance as birds feed, nest, build, and care for offspring in these spaces. This exhibition will attract and engage passers-by to observe Fort Greene’s local bird population and contemplate the ecological relationship between birds and the urban environment. “Bringing public sculpture to Myrtle Avenue is part of the Partnership’s larger public art initiative to invest in the creative capital of the neighborhood and rethink our public spaces with art” says Meredith Phillips Almeida, the Partnership’s Director of Community Development. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the Partnership will organize educational workshops in the community that will teach children and adults about local bird species and environment awareness. The artists will hold their first community workshop on May 15th from 10am-4pm as part of the South of the Navy Yard Artists Annual Studio Stroll. Participants of all ages can stop by at any point to build their own bird houses and meet the artists.

An opening reception will take place at Sans Souci (330 Myrtle between Carlton and Washington Park), a bar/restaurant featuring Caribbean cuisine, on Thursday, May 6th from 6pm-8pm, and is free and open to the public. Arrive early to take advantage of happy hour specials and light refreshments. The artists will be on hand to discuss their work, their process, and the environmental message behind the piece.  Throughout the duration of the 8-month installation, the artists are documenting the exhibition’s progress and activity on a dedicated website,

The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership’s Public Art Initiative represents a multi-faceted program to establish the avenue as an access point to cultural activities for community members of diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Through efforts to bring public sculpture, art installations, studio art, and creative street furniture elements to the public spaces and sidewalks of the 20-block retail district, the Initiative aims to increase access to art for the entire community, and to support small business by driving foot traffic to the commercial corridor. For more information about the Partnership, visit Parks & Recreation’s temporary public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in New York City parks. Committed to the exhibition of art by emerging and established artists, Parks & Recreation has supported projects ranging from international exhibitions in flagship parks to local, community works in neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and traffic islands.

Anniversary Events at Green in BKLYN Today

Please come out and help celebrate Green in BKLYN’s 1-year anniversary on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010. Activities will take place between 11:30a and 7:00p at the store, which is located at 432 Myrtle Avenue

between Clinton and Waverly Avenues in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

April 22, 2010 is Green in BKLYN’s 1st anniversary and also marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  Come out

and celebrate with jazz, book signings, wine and workshops, all day long.  (Refer to schedule of activities below)

Green in BKLYN is a one-stop eco-friendly shop where neighbors can find information and products they need

to easily and innovatively green their home and daily lives.  Green in BKLYN offers eco-friendly solutions for

everyday living.

EARTH DAY 2010  - April 22, 2010

First Year Anniversary of Green in BKLYN

40th Anniversary of Earth Day

Green in BKLYN

432 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11205


Shop Owner: Elissa Olin


11:30am – 1:00pm

Leda Meredith, Author of The Locavore Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget

These days, nearly everyone wants to eat green and local, but tight schedules and even tighter budgets can make it seem like an unattainable goal. The Locavore’s Handbook: A Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget is here to help!

With practical, down-to-earth advice, Brooklyn-based Leda Meredith guides readers through the process of incorporating locally grown foods into their meals. In a concise book designed for mainstream readers, she discusses budgeting; sourcing, growing, and preserving food; shopping efficiently; and supporting local merchants and planet Earth. Everyone, including time-pressed, cash-strapped urbanites with mini-refrigerators and zero storage space, will find inspiration and a host of helpful, surprising ideas.

1:30pm – 3:00pm

Vandra Thorburn, Vokashi Composting

Clinton Hill-based Vandra Thorburn is the founder & pioneer of Vokashi, a new local business providing buckets and bran to households, small businesses and catering companies for EM Bokashi composting.  The system has no smell, no bad odors, no bugs, flies or pests & it’s easy to manage in your own kitchen.  Plus, it works months faster than traditional composting.

Vandra will answer questions & speak about this unique composting alternative.

3:30pm – 5:00pm

Claudia Pearson, Illustrator of Tribal Alphabet

In Brooklyn artist Claudia Pearson’s debut creation for children, Tribal Alphabet, extraordinary illustrations come alive to celebrate the diversity of tribal communities and world's indigenous heritages.

A is for Australian Aborigine , B is for Basque, C is for Cherokee are some of the names of the different tribes from different parts of the world that go alphabetically from page to page all the way till Z is for Zulu. The stunning artwork coupled with the names of each tribe and simple, informative text set in rhyme to describe tribal lifestyle and culture equals enchanting learning galore!

5:30pm – 7:00pm

Organic Wine Reception with from Gnarly Vines, Myrtle Avenue Wine Shop

Additional events: May include live acoustic jazz, face painting, FreeCycle treasures from trash & more…

Coffee for Fulton; Fashion for Myrtle

The Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is working with FAB, Myrtle Ave BK Partnership and PACC to bring new businesses to Fulton and Myrtle.  They have asked that as many neighbors as possible take the following surveys to help better assess the needs and shopping habits of neighborhood residents.  Here's a chance to weigh in on new local services- jump on it! Dear Friends,

BEDC (Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation) along with Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, FAB (Fulton Area Business) Alliance, and PACC (Pratt Area Community Council) have partnered up to attract several new businesses to your area.

But we cannot do so alone - WE NEED YOUR HELP!

This week we have launched a survey of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill residents about their coffee drinking and clothes buying habits. We are committed to finding business that will complement the existing retail character and provide a much-needed amenity for the neighborhood.

It would be EXTREMELY helpful if you took 2 minutes to fill out the following surveys:

Coffee For Fulton:

Fashion for Myrtle:

Clinton Hill Psychic Coming to Myrtle

Thanks to the awesome reader who sent in this scoop!

A psychic will be opening shop in the former home of Sushi Okdol on Myrtle Ave!

Our tipster spoke to a contractor working there, who said that there would be a store on site "selling all sorts of books / posters / cards associated with the psychic lifestyle." Awesome.

I've always wondered how clairvoyants can afford to pay rent in NYC.  Do they have a regular customer base?  Also, there is a typo on this sign (unless "Taror" cards are different from Tarot cards).

I will gamely try this place out when it opens and assess for accuracy.

(Anyone sad about the departure of Sushi Odkol? I had always heard either really awesome or really bad reviews.)

Pratt Post Office: How's It Going?

I never thought I'd be glad to say that my post office is Adelphi Station, but it's true! So far, I've heard of some snafus up at Pratt.  A northside neighbor recently received a package slip notifying him that he had a package for pickup at Bushwick Station, and after spending a whole morning trekking out there and waiting in line, they told him his package was actually being held at the mobile van on Myrtle outside Pratt Station!

UG.  My suggestion - no matter what the slip says, just check the trailer first.

Official Post Office Announcement from CB2

This came yesterday from Community Board 2: PRATT STATION POST OFFICE CLOSING TEMPORARILY


Effective Monday, February 22, 2010, the carriers for Pratt Station Post Office have relocated to the Metro Station Post Office at 47 Debevoise St; 11206 until further notice.  Pratt Station Post Office needs to undergo emergency building repairs.  There is a building structural problem and it needs immediate attention.  Depending on the actual depth and severity of the problem, Pratt Station could be closed from 6 to 8 weeks, if not longer.

The retail windows may be kept open for a week or longer until Saturday, February 27, 2010.  However, there will be Mobile Units in front of Pratt Station to accomodate the community.

We will keep you posted as changes occur.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience during this transition.

USPS Brooklyn Post Office

Why is there no mention of actual stuff like where packages will be?

Update: I have just emailed Councilwoman James' office to ask about packages and getting news out to the community as to what will be changed during this time.

Valentine Happenings

It's that time of year once again to show your special someone how much you care.  If you're going to participate in the holiday, here are some options for keeping it local: FULTON

Greene Grape and GG Provisions: Fondue tastings and wine tastings, Friday and Saturday

Aqualis Grill 773 Fulton Street (between S. Portland and S. Oxford) $55/person four course and champagne and/or wine included

Dajeh Restaurant and Wine Bar 919 Fulton Street (between Clinton & Waverly) Caribbean-Influenced, Wine-Paired Tasting Menu for Valentine’s Day. 5-course tasting menu $129 per couple. Each of the five courses is paired perfectly with a different wine in collaboration with Wine Consultant Veronique Fitzgerald, DWS. (the price without wine: $105.00 per couple).

Stonehome Wine Bar 87 Lafayette (between S. Elliott and S. Portland) 4 courses for $65 per person, with wine pairings add $40 per person. Seatings at 6, 7, 9 and 10pm For Reservations, call 718-624-9443

Cure Beauty Bar: Valentine Special:  Basic Mani/Pedi/ 1 Dozen roses/glass of sparkling wine - $90 or for couples $165 (which can be friends/Spouses/sibling etc.) Runs from Feb. 12th -14th. Must make a appointment and pre-pay by Feb. 11th 2010

Social Therapy Group What’s Love Got to Do With It? Prepare for Valentine’s Day by getting better at loving.  Explore where you are with love and friendship and create more intimacy in your all your relationships. Come to a social therapy group and work at making your Valentine’s Day more loving.  Come alone or bring your loved one –whether it’s your friend, your partner, your mother or lover.  We will help you get better at creating loving conversations. Saturday, February 13, 2010, 11am – 1pm.  Fee: $30/person or $50/couple or twosome.  Contact:  Ann Green, 718-797-3220 ext. 319 or


iCi: Brunch from 9am to 4pm and a $45 5-course-prix-fix Menu for Dinner from 5.30 to 11pm

Chez Oskar: $36 Prix Fix menu Sunday evening


Tamboril: $25 Prix Fix 5:30-11 on Saturday Jazz music at 7 and 9pm on Sunday

Chez Lola: $32 Prix Fix menu Sunday evening

Designing the Myrtle Ave Pedestrian Plaza Gallery

As we've reported before, the service road on Hall Street near Bergen Bagel has been selected by the NYC Department of Transportation as a public plaza site.  While the city gears up to build out a permanent plaza, Myrtle Ave Brooklyn Partnership will host a pop-up workshop displaying the ideas submitted for the project so far.  There will be an opening reception on Friday night from 5-8, and gallery hours this weekend. It's a really cool way to get involved in an urban planning project that will actually come to life right here in our neighborhood.

Here's more info:

You are invited to view and comment on submissions received through our open call for ideas, along with best practices collected by our staff, at the upcoming “Designing the Myrtle Pedestrian Plaza – Pop Up Exhibition and Workshop” from February 5th – 13th.  Please come by to view and comment on the submissions, and contribute your own ideas on sustainable design elements, amenities (seating, public art, etc.), and programming for the Pedestrian Plaza that will be built on the Myrtle Avenue service road between Emerson and Grand.     Feel free to forward our invite (below) to your own email lists, friends, neighbors, etc.

CHB Interviews: Jess Liese, Host of Rope's Trivia Night

I'm a huge fan of LOST.  So when I heard that Rope's next monthly trivia night was going to be LOST-themed, I just had to know more.  I chatted with trivia host Jess Liese about her event, and what to expect on February 3.

1. How often does Rope hold trivia night?

Trivia happens once a month, usually on the first Tuesday. For February, though, we're postponing it until Wednesday so that it won't conflict with the Lost premiere. A good number of trivia regulars are avid fans, and I figured if President Obama can rearrange his schedule to accommodate Lost fans, so can I!

(...and okay, fine, I didn't want to miss it either.)

2. What are the rules?  How many people per team, and what's the prize?

Teams are typically 3-5 people, though we've had as few as 1 and as many as 8 playing on one team. Basically, there are four rounds of competition - two where I read the question and your team writes down the answer, a music round, and an "identify the pictures" round. After the second and fourth rounds, I tally up the correct answers and review the standings, share snarky wrong answers, and hand out a couple of prizes.

Prizes are many and varied. Everybody pays $2 each to play, and the winning team gets everybody's money, with shots or rounds of drinks going to the runners-up. I offer bonus questions occasionally, which earn teams the chance to spin our Bonus Prize Wheel. Most of the wheel prizes are either free booze or free candy, but there are a number of really oddball things (mostly junk I find at the dollar store near my office) up for grabs as well.

At the last trivia night, I found so much cool stuff at the dollar store that I wound up giving a prize to every team.  There were some very awesome plastic robots and I should have just bought the whole lot. But part of the fun is coming up with stuff to give out, so I'm sure I'll find something just as cool this time around. (I'm looking to stock up on Lost-themed stuff for February, so expect some polar bears, backgammon, and Virgin Mary statues.)

3. How did you end up running Trivia Night?  How long have you been at the helm?  What's your "day job?"

I've been hosting trivia at Rope for about five months now. Years ago, a bunch of coworkers and I regularly attended a weekly trivia night in the west village, and after awhile I started hosting that on occasion. Eventually the bar closed, I changed jobs, and I never did find new trivia as awesome as that had been. Fast forward a few years and one of my ex-coworkers, now tending bar at Rope, heard they wanted to re-establish a trivia night there. She immediately thought of me. I was excited to get back into it, especially as they've let me design my own game and bring in theme nights.

By day, I work for an educational publisher, developing content and features for online reference databases. My trivia credentials are many and varied, though. In addition to previous hosting experience and basically getting to absorb useless facts for a living, I competed on Jeopardy about four years ago. (Unfortunately, I didn't win, but I only missed one question!) I keep trying out for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and passing the test, but their contestant pool is a lot smaller. I guess I'll stick to this side of the trivia podium for the time being.

4. How do you pick your questions?  Is it difficult to bring fresh material to quiz night on a regular basis?

Initially, I thought it would be. But actually, coming up with questions is the most fun part of the whole experience. Usually I have a theme night, and if not a theme night then theme categories. In November, I hosted a night devoted to my favorite trivia category, U.S. presidents, which brought a huge crowd of history teachers and assorted pedantic trivia nerds. It was so much fun, and came so naturally to me, that I've been coming up with themes ever since. It is far easier to come up with, say, ten questions about medically-themed TV shows than it is to come up with ten questions about anything at all in the world.

5. Where do you live, and how did you come across Rope?

Technically, I don't live in the neighborhood. I'm a short G train ride away in Park Slope.  I've been hanging out at Rope on and off for about five years, though, and I love the area. I was coming to the neighborhood even way back when I had to take two trains and a bus to get there!

6.  Tell us a little more about Rope - the clientele, the vibe, etc.  What makes it a cool place to grab a drink?

Rope is exactly the kind of bar I have been wanting to hang out in since I was old enough to want to hang out in bars. Come to think of it, it's probably good that I don't live in the neighborhood, because I'd probably be an alcoholic if I did. It's cool but not elitist, the drinks are thoughtfully prepared but won't kill your budget, the music is listenable but not overwhelming. The crowd is basically a cross-section of local residents - not just hipsters and Pratties, but people who've lived in the area for decades, young professionals, regulars. It's really the kind of place you can visit once or visit daily and you won't feel out of place either way.

Also, they have DUB pies and there is nothing not awesome about that.

7. Give us the 411 on the LOST-themed trivia night in conjunction with the season premiere.  Can non-Losties participate?  And while we're at it, who is your favorite Other?

The great thing about LOST, and one reason I've been so addicted to it throughout its often-infuriating five seasons of "let's explain this one tiny thing you don't care about while introducing six other new questions" and "let's spend half a season focusing on characters that don't further the plot only to kill them off when we realize you're on to us" is that it pulls in so many elements of history, science, literature, philosophy, and pop culture in a way that adds to the suspense and mystery.  So if you're into any of those things, regardless of whether or not you're a Lostie, you'll probably get a few questions right, as I do plan on exploring that in at least one round. (Although it may benefit you to have a rabid fan on your team!)

And I don't know how anybody's favorite Other is NOT Ben Linus. That dude owns the entire show.

8. Favorite restaurant in the neighborhood?

Big fan of Graziella's and the General Greene (which I realize is about two blocks out of the neighborhood...hopefully it still counts!).

9. If you could change one thing about the nabe, what would it be?

It is perfect in all ways but one - it should be closer to a major train line. I'd move there in a heartbeat if I could be close to a number train or the Q.

10. If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?

Raspberry basil with a vanilla-mascarpone swirl.

A note to CHB readers from Lesterhead- Bring your A game to this event.  I have been watching LOST since it began and my knowledge is no joke.  See you there!

Lunchtime With Tillie: Kum Kau

Hey everyone, it’s Van and Tillie again, and making her first appearance of the new year, it’s Tillie’s mom, too! This time, we went out for a little family dining at Chinese restaurant Kum Kau on Myrtle Avenue.

Tillie and I were a little hard-pressed to make it out somewhere during the week as I picked up some freelance work out in the city for a few days. (LWT doesn’t pay all the bills!) Waiting for the weekend was good, though, as TM was able to come along. We all went out last Sunday afternoon, and as it was raining, we decided to find a place close to the homestead. That was really a necessity because we couldn’t find Tillie’s stroller cover to go traipsing around the neighborhood, so Kum Kau was duly elected!

Tillie’s mom packed up some blueberries and milk for the little one, whom we had to carry around in her backpack, and we were off. Kum Kau seemed to be a good choice as far as Tillie was concerned because greeting us in the entranceway was a huge tank of fish, just like at neighboring Sapolo. With that there we knew our entertainment options were in good hands – or fins, as the case may be!

Anyway, we were shown to the spacious dining room and were told we could sit anywhere as the waiter grabbed a high chair for Tillie.

The menu had more than enough to offer, but Tillie’s mom and I just ordered a few items that weren’t too out of the ordinary: She got the chicken with broccoli with brown rice and I ordered Singapore chow mai fun – rice noodles with curry, shrimp, chicken and pork – and fried chicken wings.

As we were waiting for the food to come out, we took turns walking Tillie around the place, especially as we couldn’t keep her pinned down in her high chair. I’m sure they weren’t made for standing in them! TM had her captivated by the walls with the water running down into what looked like a coin trough, while I took her back to her finny friends.

Shortly after we sat (or stood) back in our seats, our food arrived. I had a heaping helping of noodles I was almost anxious to dive into as I wanted to taste Kum Kau’s take on what has become my favorite Chinese dish. TM’s chicken and broccoli – which used to be my old fave – looked to be standard issue, as did the chicken wings. I didn’t try the chicken and broccoli, but I was quite pleased with my noodles: There were plenty of shrimp in it, plus it had a nice kick to it. The “kick” prevented me from giving Tillie much of it, but she did sample a noodle or two. Tillie’s mom always says I never share my food with T when we’re all out, but I couldn’t really this time: The noodles were too spicy. I promise I didn’t want it all for myself! (Pizza, on the other hand … )

Mainly, T was eating broccoli and brown rice with tiny pieces of chicken thrown in for good measure. Tillie’s mom was doing most of the feeding, but I did give Tillie some pilfered florets from mom’s plate every now and then.

After we finished eating, we got our leftovers wrapped up and asked for the check. We let Tillie walk around a little bit more and she made friends with some of the customers at other tables. The staff there was really nice to us – especially with chatting up Tillie and even bringing her her own fortune cookie! I recommend going by, especially if you have a hankering to get you and your baby some Chinese food.

Our bill was $27, which wasn’t bad for the two entrees, appetizer and a can of Diet Coke for Tillie’s mom, who didn’t get her morning fix and really needed it by lunchtime! Plenty of space, pretty decent food and good service earned it some good marks with the fam. Having built-in Tillie distractions doesn’t hurt the cause, either!

Lunchtime With Tillie: Thai 101

Now that award season is over, it’s time to get back to business!
Hey everyone and welcome back to your regular Lunchtime With Tillie presentation. This time, yours truly and Lil T went to Thai 101 on Myrtle Avenue.

Now as shown by them receiving the coveted “Best Bang for Your Buck” honor at last week’s LWT Awards, it’s obvious we’re fans of Myrtle Thai at our homestead. As a matter of fact, I had never even tried Thai 101 before. I was always kind of leery about it – with its name and signage, it just reminded me of a place you’d come across in a mall or something. And the eating’s never really that great in a mall.

Anyway, Tillie and I went there last Friday, you know, when there was that wintry mix thing going on throughout the day. That necessitated us finding a place within a two-block radius from home, and as we’ve hit nearly everywhere else around for LWT, Thai 101 was duly elected. I packed her up some shells and cheese, just in case, and we were off.

When we got there, the waiter told us feel free to sit anywhere. The aisle separating the restaurant was kind of narrow and I didn’t want Tillie’s stroller to get in his way. I ended up sitting kind of close to the front door and he suggested that it might be too cold there for the baby with people coming and going. So we ended up getting settled in closer to the back of the place.

The waiter brought Tillie and me glasses of water, and I started going over the menu. I had an idea already of what route I was going to take: red curry with chicken. You see, when I go to a place I hadn’t been before, I like to order a dish that is or is comparable to my favorite at a similar restaurant. I figure if they get your staple dish right, then you can feel free to explore other menu options. What can I say? I’m just a staples-comparing kind of guy!

With my plans mostly set and the lunchtime options so affordable, I decided to delve further into the menu and see if I can sneak something else in for me and T. In addition to the red curry with chicken lunch special, which I got with a bowl of soup, I ordered the chicken curry puffs for an appetizer. Granted, a good amount of food, but as always, Tillie and I were up for the challenge.

As we were waiting for our first courses to come out, Tillie was pretty chill. She was savoring her water, which to you and me might not seem such a great drink option, but to her it was quite refreshing!

The soup and the chicken curry puffs came out at the same time, and I took the obligatory first bite of puff to make sure it wouldn’t be too hot for Tillie to handle. I determined it was OK and gave her a little piece of the pastry filled with ground chicken and potatoes. That seemed to be a good enough combination for her and me too. The puffs were so tasty, in fact, I ordered another round! My soup, while not anything super-special – broth with carrots, cabbage and Thai basil – was also tasty.

Then the red curry came out, and if anything, I thought the presentation of it was very appealing: The curry sauce and chicken lined the bottom of the bowl, with a heaping mound of rice on one side and vegetables on the other. It was almost too pretty to eat – almost. It wouldn’t be LWT if I didn’t eat the food! I took a bite and thought it tasted good, but not great. It was a little spicy, but I went ahead and dished up some for Tillie: She likes food with some kick to it! Really, it ended up just being some rice with an essence of sauce on it, with a lot of carrots and green beans thrown in for good measure for her. She’s a growing girl after all!

After the food was all done we bundled back up and got the check. The tab was pretty decent as the lunch special is only $5.95 for an entrée and soup or salad. We probably would’ve stumbled upon the deal of the decade, but we got some food to go for Tillie’s mom and had the exorbitant amount of chicken curry puffs! I think those little pastries, combined with the good service and friendly vibe of the place, will bring us back again.

Nearby in the Blogosphere

I'm trying to come up with a catchy name for my recurrung series of checking up on other local blogs.  Anyhow, here's what else has been going on:

  • Myrtle Ave Holiday Window contest winners announced! [Myrtle Minutes] (My favorite window won second place!)
  • Red Bamboo to start serving meat, rename self Poppa's Place [The Local] (There are plenty of places for meat-eaters (me) in the 'hood, so this is neither here nor there for me.  But I will say that I am generally not a fan of non-meats overseasoned and masquerading as meats, so I will def be trying their new menu.)
  • Pratt Coffee Shop reno ongoing [Brownstoner] (Strangely, I had never been in the Pratt Coffee Shop.  Guess I always assumed Mike's was superior based on the lines out the door.)
  • Images for Life moves to Myrtle Ave [Myrtle Minutes] (CHB first wrote about them when they were on Franklin Ave)

Lunchtime With Tillie: Sapolo

Hello neighborhood, hope you’re enjoying your holiday season! Welcome back to Lunchtime With Tillie: We missed being around these parts! As Lesterhead mentioned last week, the family was felled by a stomach bug.  (Don’t worry, no local restaurants contributed to that!) Tillie and I are back now in fine eating form and would like to thank those who sent along get-well-soon thoughts. For our return, we decided to try and play it simple by going to the recently reopened Chinese and Spanish eatery Sapolo, located on Myrtle Avenue. I say “play it simple” because of the fact that it’s directly across the street from our house! And this was a good thing because the day we went was that brutally cold and windy one we experienced last week, so a trip with little travel time was definitely appealing.

After all this time in the area, I had never gone to Sapolo, primarily because of the whole “two separate cuisines” thing that I’m always leery about, which I mentioned when Tillie and I went to Mexican and Italian restaurant La Stalla. Why, oh why, can’t these places just do one or the other? Or maybe they could just go all out and do some kind of fusion thing, I don’t know: The separate menus always present a frightening prospect to me.

I put aside my concerns and rationalized Sapolo was our best bet, with the weather and all. We got in and the place had the feel of one of those big, modern-type diners, which I found comforting in a way. Tillie and I were shown to a booth and instead of strapping her into the high chair right away, I walked around with her some. I’m sure it’s just in my head, but whenever she’s all bundled up in her winter gear I think she must feel a little claustrophobic. But what do I know about little kids, winter clothes and what they think? I’m from Alabama!

Anyway, as we were walking around, I showed Tillie the aquarium at the front of the restaurant and the exotic fish inside, and she loved that! She was squealing with delight, tapping on the glass, you name it: If she could’ve gotten in there with the fish it would’ve made her day!


When we got back to the table, there were glasses of water waiting for us. I gave her a sip or two, but Tillie still had fish on the brain. She kept pointing toward the aquarium, but I had to tell her, “Tillie, this isn’t Sapolo Aquarium, it’s Sapolo Restaurant so let’s get ready to eat.” (Yeah, right, that really did the trick! I just had to ride out the “look-at-the-fish” wave.)

While Tillie was wishing she was anywhere but in that high chair, I took a look at the lunchtime menu. There was a number of options, all grouped by price. I decided to get the General Tso’s chicken with chicken-fried rice and wonton soup to start: decent options for Tillie to try, I thought. The soup arrived almost instantaneously and it was fine, nothing too special about it. I tried to get T to have a taste, but she was uninterested. I did manage to give her a couple of sips in between her yelling at me to bring her back to the fish tank.

Then the main course arrived: a heaping mound of rice with what appeared to be about a whole chicken. I mean, it was a lot of food – plenty enough for me and Tillie. The waiter brought out a small plate so I could dish her up some of it. I took a bite of the food first and it wasn’t worth writing home about. The rice was bland, and I don’t know if you’ve encountered this with General Tso’s chicken, where underneath all that sauce, the crust is pretty hard and the chicken is bone-dry. Well, that was the case here, totally overcooked.


I put some of the rice on the little plate for Tillie and she was barely going for it when I was using the plastic spoon to feed her. I switched from that to using my fork, which I guess makes her feel like she’s eating as the grown-ups do (a little trick I picked up from Tillie’s mom). I took my broccoli and cut it up into tiny pieces for her, which she enjoyed.

I was kind of “ehhh” about the meal myself. I kept trying to find a moist, tender piece of chicken – just one! – but couldn’t do it. I ate enough of it, though, to say I at least put something in my stomach!

When we were finally done eating, a waitress brought Tillie and me some fortune cookies. We had a bite, then I brought her back up to see her little finny friends, which she got a kick out of. I got the check, paid the bill, bundled Tillie back up (which isn’t really the most fun of tasks, for either of us!) and we were out.

Now about Sapolo: Would I go there again? Believe it or not, especially how I said I wasn’t enamored with the food, that’s a tough one. The service was excellent – I don’t even know if I give Tillie that much attention! And the prices were pretty good, except for the $1.75 for the canned Coke. Plus, there are those fish in that big tank up front. I guess I’ll have to find something on the menu that I like – or I could just take Tillie to the aquarium!

A Gym on Myrtle?

464_E The retail space on the ground floor of the Absolute on Myrtle is mighty large.  A source told me that a gym might be interested in the space.

Thoughts?  Do you want a chain gym, or a local gym?

Personally, I'm cool with the Bed-Stuy Y, although it's become about 100xs more crowded this year.  And I'm not surprised, given the affordable pricing and the nice facilities (although I do wish they would separate the cardio machines from the weight machines, which are cramped in so tightly that it's hard to move around when people are using the machines!).

I hope it's not a NYSC, which I found to be way overpriced (at least last time I was a member).  It would be nice to have an option closer than the Y or the Crunch (which I hear is also super crowded).