Monday, July 20, 2009
• Beer Wars premiere at the Bell House. $20 gets you a flight of four beers and a sample of Murray's Cheese. More information.
• That event is tempting, but I'm being a good girl and going to Punk Rope at the 14th Street Y because of a previous engagement on Wednesday, which will prevent me from attending class at the Greenpoint YMCA. The class is from seven o'clock to eight, and Punk Rope is as addicting as heroin because you'll be hooked after one try. For non-members the class will cost you about $15, but it's worth it -- you will never have so much fun sweating your ass off!
• Please trek to Greenpoint (Milton and Franklin Streets, to be precise) at 7:30 and attend "Wickedly Hot Plants: Botanical Book Night at WORD," during which Algonquin editor Andra Miller will moderate a discussion between Margot Berwin, author of the smart "chick lit" novel Hot House Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire, and Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and other Botanical Atrocities. Here's the Facebook invitation so you can let the wonderful ladies at Word know you're coming.
• So what's preventing me from going to the Y, gossiping with Bitchcakes, and jumping rope with punks? The Restless Legs Reading Series! The founder, David Farely, who will be reading from his recently published book, An Irreverent Curiosity, will join David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z. Though the series's niche is travel writing, I assure you as a non-traveler that Farley's readings are always filled with good literature, regardless of genre. Here's the Facebook invitation, and the event starts at seven o'clock in the basement of Lolita Bar.
• Greenpoint's awesome bookstore, Word, will be hosting another event, though I'm not quite sure what it's about. Two organizations, G-Train Salon and Hit Factorie [sic], have teamed up to make a cool window display. Please RSVP on Facebook and make art beginning at seven o'clock.
• Calling all Men! Please get your intelligent minds and Adonis-like figures to WORD quickly! Did you know about the store's matchmaking service, Between the Covers? I checked out the board yesterday, and all the sheets were filled out by women looking for their Mr. Darcy -- or, in my case, Augustine St. Claire. (Never read Uncle Tom's Cabin? Well, you should in order to meet that literary hunk!)
Wishing everyone a great week!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Disclaimer: Though the name of this blog is Bitchy Bluestocking, this week was relatively free of things to kvetch about: I made crepes and had a wonderful time at brunch at Word on Sunday; on Tuesday I saw Don Johanson -- the paleoanthropologist who found Lucy -- lecture in the Gowanus (pictures and reflection to come); on Friday Ashley and I caught a matinee of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, went shopping in SoHo, lunched at Lombardi's, and, failing to see a dress I liked in SoHo for my cousin's wedding, found one at Macy's; and this post is more or less a love letter to a few places that deserve your business.When I met up with ex-Random House intern Jonathan around the time of the BEA, we headed to Coco 68 for a few cocktails. The establishment is both a bar and a restaurant in one building on separate sides, instead of going to the bar, which was too loud, we sat at the bar of the restaurant. The stand-out drinks include the following: My drink of choice was the Dandy Andy (Bombay Sapphire gin muddled with fresh lavender and lemon juice), whereas Jonathan preferred the Basil Gimlet (Absolut, basil-infused simple syrup, and lime juice). I also had the French Kiss (amaretto, Bailey's Irish creme, coffee, and chocolate), because if I were stranded on a desert island, I'd have a crate of Bailey's flown in.
Coco 68 made such a positive impression on me -- a polite, personable bartender and good music at an acceptable volume -- that I suggested the place when corresponding with Guy from Enid's. I also mentioned the Richardson and wanted him to choose it because it's my favorite bar, made perfect by good-looking, talented bartenders and a top-class list of classic cocktails. Ultimately Coco 68 was the better choice, as we got lucky and sat outside on Greenpoint Avenue one of the few days it didn't rain in June.
The conversation consisted of comic books and hamburgers. His best burger in New York is Park Slope's Dram Shop, whereas I praised Donovan's in Woodside. The burger competition was on!
Dram Shop is a few blocks east of the Fourth Avenue stop on the F, and now the G stops there too. Though I had my camera with me on the outing, I failed to take any pictures of the place. It's a shame, because I've never seen such large banquette seating -- you could easily sit eight people per table and stay away from the crowd when the bar's full. When the burger arrived, two thin square patties with a slice of tomato, lettuce, and shoestring fries, I chowed down and sipped Guinness. It was a good meal and a good walk to the G at Carroll Street.
Last Thursday we made it to Donovan's, and I owed it to the institution to document the dinner. Thursday was a bit muggy, the first true day of summer this year, so when I got to Donovan's, I cooled off with a Blue Moon and snapped a few pictures.
I maintain this banner has the most truth in advertising since Don Draper stated "It's toasted" about a cigarette made by Lucky Strikes.
Right before I took this picture, two young gentlemen walked out. One, in white polo shirt, asked if he ruined the shot, and as I shook my head no, I recognized him but couldn't place him. Turns out he was Chris, Ashley's date at the prom! We caught up on life, and I returned inside to sip my brew.
This gentleman at the bar noticed my camera and asked me to take his picture. I obliged.
Here's a shot of the bartender in action. Though I didn't catch his name, he was a nice guy from upstate, and I told him that I used to annually dine at Donovan's when my parents celebrated their wedding anniversaries. (It was their go-to date spot.) With all this catching up and conversation, I knew a good night was in store.
Guy from Enid's soon texted me; he was outside. Chris's ride didn't show up yet, so I asked him to relate the Donovan's experience: "I've been coming here since my baptism party." Yup, sounds about right.
However, before we were seated in the dining room, the fellow from the bar demanded I take a picture of this gent, who's tended bar for thirty-five years. Tend on!
We sat in one of two alcoves in the dining room and ordered two burgers, served by a waitress whose Irish accent is right off the boat. Such a wonderful atmosphere cannot be replicated.
We dined on juicy half-pound hamburgers and hand-cut fries, finishing the meal with Bailey's coffee, and walked it off by trekking from Woodside to Greenpoint, almost winding up on the Queensboro Bridge but successfully making it to the great view of Midtown from the Pulaski.
Sometimes you want to go where people treat you as family, even if they don't know your name, and Donovan's is the place to be.
Take the front of the Flushing-bound 7 to 52nd Street. Don't take the express if it's rush hour! Donovan's is a few blocks east of the exit.
Here's a preview of the next cuisine challenge this summer: pizza! Again, he'll be introducing me to a place in his neck of the woods (can't recall the name), and I'll be taking him to Motorino. Lombardi's -- the pizza in the picture is from that legend -- would be my first choice, but he's been. All the better, as Motorino is a just a few blocks from the Richardson!