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Monday, July 30, 2012

Belleville 5 street and 5 ave bklyn

Ices and melon

Melon fennel

Komomoto oysters

Tapinade and peppers with hazel nuts and eggplant  and celery roumalade

Belleville on Urbanspoon

Come on back. Once it was Joe's  or Jerome's and then it was lost. Now there are new Parisian owners and Edith Piaf songs in the air and oysters and gnocchi with zucchini and fennel melon soup and home made lemon ices and reasonably priced French wine and the same wonderful decor that fits the food. Bryan is still there, and we pray he will provide the kind of continuity that a neighborhood restaurant requires and this one never had. Come back, little Sheba's; return Capistrano swallows; boomerang to Belleville where we were lost and now we are found. Rebirth .Phoenix rises. A biento.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

M.O.B. (maimonide of brooklyn) 525 atlantic ave

Belly Charmer

Music on the wall


We crossed the Atlantic last night to sample "avant garde" vegetarian food. Their flatbread sandwiches called mobs are flavorful and filled with likeable mixes of sauces and tapinades and vegi-mashes. Mine, the belly charmer, was excellent with its eggplant and mint and pistachio flavors. The mac and cheese(vegan) was well received by Jeanne. Wine and beer choices were good, and the garden seating or common table  and creative decor (once the lights were dimmed) was comfortable. This is a good concept...well executed and good for vegi-people any night or for omnivores on an occasional vacation from the world of flesh.     M.O.B. (Maimonide of Brooklyn) on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 27, 2012

Greenest Block Judges' 2012 Brooklyn Lunch Tour BY JEANNE ROSTAING

Summer is the time for gardens to shine and, in the Borough of Kings, gardeners have a special incentive... they can vie for cash and other prizes in the annual Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest.  Sponsored by GreenBridge, the community outreach program of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the contest got underway this year with 173 blocks entered in neighborhoods from Crown Heights to Red Hook.

Pastoral Brooklyn Garden

Judging starts off in June with a first round.  Two judges visit every block that has entered. The best  40 of those blocks go on to the second round of judging.  This year I was lucky enough to be one of the first round judges along with veteran judge Machina Ervin.  We spent two weeks being driven all over Brooklyn by Erik Rosenberg.

Machina and Erik in Ft. Green

It's steamy and gritty in Brooklyn in the summer. Walking 173 blocks while being broiled by the sun is hard work.  That's why the highlight of the judging day is lunch and here's where we went and what we had:

a croissant sandwich and fresh ice tea at Couleur Cafe

Couleur Cafe
Tangy gazpacho
Park Slope is well-known as a restaurant mecca.  The Couleur Cafe at 435 7th Avenue was our first stop.  It's French, fairly new (about a year old), and is a comfortable neighborhood place for light dining... also nice for coffee and dessert.
Fresh and tasty apple salad at Couleur Cafe

The next stop in Park Slope was another new comer... this one just off Flatbush in the shadow of the controversial new stadium.  Va Beh, at 446A Dean St. is a tiny and congenial spot for authentic Italian food. It prides itself on having high quality ingredients but no pretense.  In fact it is casual and very comfortable and the food is delicious.

Homemade squid ink pasta with clams
Roasted vegetable panini

"It's all good" at Va Beh

Diners can critique the new Barclays Arena

al di la

At 248 Fifth Ave. we visited a Park Slope foodie favorite, al di la, also Italian.
In the evening, diners line up outside to get a table at this no-reservations eatery.  Lunch is a bit less crowded.  We were seated immediately and got to enjoy housemade pasta, a squeaky-fresh market salad and the pork belly panini. 

crunchy veggies fresh from the garden in the market salad

a lunch time crowd at al di la

pasta with peas and a creamy sauce
pork belly panini on chewy whole wheat 

Erik had a torta.

In Ditmas Park we partook of some of the offerings on Cortelyou Road, which has become a kind of mini restaurant row.  Our first stop was a longtime neighborhood favorite: the humble and authentic Cinco de Mayo.  We arrived after noon so we couldn't order any of the Mexican breakfast specialties, but the lunch selections were inexpensive, generous and delicious.
1202 Cortelyou Rd., 718 693-1022
Veggie and bean burrito

Tacos for Machina

Down the street, Mimi's Hummus offers Israeli specialties.
 The place is tiny but there are 5 different types of hummus and the food that emerges from the phone booth size kitchen is delectable.
It's hard to imagine, but, if you are still hungry after your meal, Mimi's has an adjoining gourmet market.

1209 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY 11218 • 718-284-4444

Beet salad with onion and parsley

Stuffed grape leaves at Mimi's

Cauliflower with parsley and tahini at Mimi's

Who needs flower pots when you can raid the kitchen?

Picket Fence, at 1310 Cortelyou, specializes in American food.  We had a table in the garden which is very pleasant and nicely planted so we enjoyed our time there in spite of the rather unexciting fare.

clematis blooming at Picket Fence

Grilled cheese with salad
al fresco dining at Picket Fence

Chicken sandwich with tasty fries 

In Bedford Stuyvesant we stopped at Seraghina, famous for its pizza and quirky atmosphere.
435 Halsey Street

Erik ordered the prosciutto and funghi pizza

Machina had panini with speck,
brie, tomato and onion 

my farro salad was hearty and delicious
In Crown Heights we visited Chavela's in their new location at 736 Franklin Ave.  Sometimes restaurants lose their focus when they move to larger quarters, but this neighborhood favorite still has what it takes...  putting its special spin on crowd pleasing Mexican cuisine.

Camarones Ala Mexicana

cheese tamale and vegetarian taco with avocado

Lunchtime at Chavela'a is quieter than dinner which often feels like primetime at a fiesta 
Flatbush can be a challenge for foodies but we were lucky enough to find New Bombay Masala.  It was a hot day and the restaurant was stuffy and dark and empty.  But the genial host turned on the lights and the air conditioning and soothed us with his flavorful and satisfying Indian food.
1241 Flatbush Ave., 347 985-1134

Mango lassi, just the thing to beat the heat

Fresh and spicy vegetable curry

A vegetable box lunch  

Crab curry
Fort Green has a lot of dining options these days.  We visited one of its established eateries, the 14 year old Chez Oskar, which bills itself as "Le Funky French Bistro." When we were there the place was covered in scaffolding and the street out in front was a very dusty, noisy construction zone.  What a pleasant surprise it was to find such a quiet and cordial atmosphere inside (good food too!). 

211 Dekalb Ave. 718 852-6250
Crepes are a specialty of the house

A vegetarian salad nicoise... rare and delicious

Diners enjoy the unique decor

 The winner of the Greenest Block Contest will be announced on August 8.
Thanks to Robin Simmen and Nina Browne, the wonderful ladies of GreenBridge, who are adept at caring for both plants and people.