Archive for the ‘cafes’ Category

New York Adventure Day: Red Hook!

May 21, 2010

It’s Spring, people! But with this weather we’ve been having in New York (oy the heat!), you could easily trick me into believing it’s summer. Regardless. It’s warm. It’s lighter later. Let’s get on our bikes and find some ice cold beverages.

Welcome to one of my favorite new neighborhoods: Red Hook!

I feel like I’m telling the world about a great secret whenever I talk about Red Hook. Although many have explored and enjoyed the neighborhood before lil’ ol’ me came along, it still feels like uncharted territory. It has a small community feel and a very beachy vibe. And as a California girl, it really felt like home. It’s the type of place that makes me wanna listen to Jack Johnson and take a long nap. And maybe bring along a sketch book.

The first time I visited, I remember thinking, “This type of place exists in New York? And it’s a mere 20 minute bike ride from my apartment??”

I tell ya, it’s worth the trip.

Not only is Red Hook home to the only Ikea in New York, and the 2nd location of the huge amazing market, Fairway. But it also hosts a number of delightful small businesses (which is the more appealing aspect of Red Hook to me personally). You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a delicious bakery, or a homegrown nursery or flower shop, or a fresh lobster place. They have everything!

With a free Saturday and a loose gameplan, my boyfriend and I set out to do some Red Hook exploring last weekend. Here are the highlights.

Calexico. Holy moly. This is some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in New York. I felt like I was transported to San Francisco. They’ve been getting some crazy press (they used to be just a food cart, and now they have this store front! YAY Calexico!), so I was eager to see what all the buzz was about.

This food was outrageously good. It was the perfect fuel to keep us going for our bike ride. The atmosphere is not pretentious at all and the food is such good quality. Calexico gets an “A+” in my book. And David was very pleased as well.

Please allow me to recommend the Carne Asada Quesadillas. Promise me that you’ll get this when you go there. It was a recommendation from my friend Jessica, who said to me: “I know, I know, quesadilla?  What are you, 11?  I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed because it comes with the crackiest of crack sauces I’ve had in a long time”. She was right. The Crack Sauce. Mmm! Don’t even get me started. Here’s their website.

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Free kayaking! WHAT!? Yes. Red Hook is, apparently, just that cool.

As a totally unplanned unexpected bonus, David and I happened upon this amazing program sponsored by the volunteer organization called the Redhook Boaters. The kind and good-hearted people of Redhook Boaters set up shop at Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park (phew, what a mouthful!). And in exchange for helping them clean up the waterfront, they provide free kayaks to take out on the river. With gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty and the satisfaction of knowing that the Red Hook waterfront has a few less cigarette butts and bottle caps as a direct result of your help, an afternoon spent at the Pier is a win win!

It was a blast. And a pleasant little work out! When we got there, it wasn’t super crowded and we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes for a kayak. But I would recommend checking it out soon before word gets out that this is the best deal in the city. They’ll be at the Pier every Sunday, and during July and August they’ll be adding evening kayaking on Thursdays from 6-8pm! Checkemout.

Say hello to Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. If you’re a key lime pie person (which, why shouldn’t you be?), then fuggedaboutit. Yer done. This is all you need. These little treats are off the hook.

David and I kept things classic with their 4-Inch Key Lime Tart. But if you’re lookin’ to get crazy, try their Swingle: a key lime tart, on a stick, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. I have yet to sample one myself, but I hear good things.

I heart Red Hook. It’s so quiet and charming…in an abandoned-warehouse-beach-town-sorta-way. There are a few other wonderful little places that I love, but didn’t mention in this post.  They are definitely worth a visit:

*Baked – their Sweet & Salty Brownies make me weak. And check out Jen’s delicious blog post about her first time at Baked!

*Fort Defiance – order their Muffuletta and Ginger Soda, and you’re looking at a perfect lunch.

*Saipua – a flower and soap shoppe, this is the best-smelling storefront in Red Hook. The gorgeous bouquets that they post on their blog cheer me up daily. (Click here to check out my amateur, but beautiful, bouquet I assembled there!)

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A Getaway San Francisco Weekend

April 19, 2010

Before I get on with this post, I just have to state the following fact: I AM BLOGGING THIS FROM A PLANE. That above photo is my view RIGHT NOW. What!? I know! I’m just as shocked as you are. Is this the future? Where’s my hover car? Am I on some supremely boring candid camera show? Yet another reason why Virgin Airlines is my jam: they allow me to feel the exhilaration that comes with blogging at 35,000 feet.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I can get on with this post. Ladies and gentlemen, San Francisco!

So, the reason I’m on a plane in the first place is because I’m coming back from a weekend trip to San Francisco! That’s right. The home to Rice-a-roni, trolley cars, and the Tanner family.

Though the vacation was brief, I seemed to pack a lot into just a few days. Also, a trip like this reminds me how necessary it is to get out of New York, if even just for a little while. I feel like I say that every time I take a day or weekend trip out of NY, but you guys, it’s true! New York, I love you…as long as I can escape you every now and again. Don’t take it personally, New York. You’re still my favorite. You just better not be raining when I get back, or else we’re having words.

The fresh familiar air of California was the sweetest way for me to recharge my sun-craving batteries.

My trip to SF was grounded by one main event: my great friend, MacKenzie‘s, 100th birthday party. Well, “100” collectively: she turned 25 and her dad turned 75. So a group of us gals made the trek, 3 of us coming from Brooklyn and 1 from L.A., and we partied in her Bay area hometown. The party was a blast. It was hosted in the upstairs dining room of her family’s Hunan restaurant (I think every family should have a family-owned banquet hall, they come in handy!).

The soiree fit MacKenzie’s quirky, kitschy, foodie personality to a tee. There was plenty of pig to eat, a spirited “Oh Danny Boy” sing-a-long accompanied by her cousin on the accordion, your typical family life-sized cardboard cutouts, and custom-made pinatas of the evening’s honorees. MacKenzie going to town on her own paper-mached head with a baseball bat was incredibly bizarre. But then again, delicious butterscotch candy came out of her face, so who am I to complain!

Fortunately, our group of girl friends all had a similar agenda for the rest of the trip. Eat, shop, drink, sun, and more eat. Naturally our first stop was a little local food tour led by MacKenzie.

didn't get to go in, but gotta love the name

get in my belly

get in my belly

And the grand finale, a bakery that I absolutely fell in love with. The sweetest little pink and yellow bakery with a variety of handmade sweets. Miette is a sweet-toothed girl’s heaven. If you don’t “aww” over the adorably decorated cupcakes, then I guarantee you’ll at least love the cheerful wallpaper.  The pastries at Miette were a little more formal than the comfort sweets that we make for Fanny & Jane, but certainly got my bakery wheels a-turnin’!

And I couldn’t leave without trying one of these little guys:

a happy camper

And on the last day of my trip, my mom flew up from Los Angeles to spend some time in San Fran with me! She splurged on a super swanky hotel for us to stay the night! The kind of hotel that has random artsy chairs in the dimly-lit lobby and an iPod dock with speakers in each room. So we (I) jumped on the beds, played some backgammon, caught up over coffee, and took nice long sunny walks. It was, simply put, THE BEST.

family time with cousin Tony!

It was certainly a trip packed to the brim. I’m hoping to get in another visit to California this summer. But instead of NorCal, I’d go down to my hometown L.A., to visit my family and friends. And favorite restaurants. Naturally. But until then, I’ll be dreaming of the amazing Cali Mexican food that NY just can’t hold a candle to.

(p.s. Would you believe me if I told you that it took me the ENTIRE plane ride to put this post together? I guess in-the-sky-wifi isn’t as speedy as it’s on-the-ground counterpart.)

Our Greenpoint Food Market Debut

April 15, 2010

Greenpoint has been good to Fanny & Jane in 2010. The neighborhood has welcomed our sweets with open arms. And we are happy to provide.

If you’ve never been to Greenpoint in Brooklyn, it’s definitely a cool spot to visit. It’s not on the radar quite as much as it’s neighbor, Williamsburg, but I have a feeling that will be changing soon. As a matter of fact, Greenpoint was just ranked #5 in New York Magazine’s recent article about The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York! It’s a great mix of burgeoning brunch spots and cafes in the midst of a traditionally Polish neighborhood (you won’t find better Polish food anywhere in New York!).

Jen and I were proud to make our Brooklyn cafe debut at a wonderful happy little (bright green!) cafe owned by a husband and wife team in Greenpoint called CUP. Some Fanny & Jane favorites, Peanut Butter Buckeyes, Red Velvet Cake Bites, Classic Brownie Bites, and Mini Buttercream Sammies, are all featured at CUP alongside their other delectable treats (like croissants from Balthazar, yummm). You can stop by anytime for a cuppa coffee and a Fanny & Jane pick-me-up!

And this past weekend, we were delighted to participate in the monthly foodie event, Greenpoint Food Market.  Thanks to all the Fanny & Jane fans, new and old, for stopping by and introducing yourselves! It’s always fun to meet you and I hope to see more sweet-toothed faces as the season of food markets continues. I promise we won’t bite! Well, I won’t speak for Jen. I keed I keed Jen 🙂

Saturday was a particularly gorgeous day and the market was bustlin’! There was live music by The People’s Champs, delicious sodas and handmade cards from Pumpkin & Honeybunny, tahdiefor chocolate chip oreo cookies, and lots of kimchi. It was so inspiring to see the creativity and passion of all these other vendors. The theme was “Spring Awakening”, so flowers were plentiful and love was certainly in the air. I felt twitterpated. It was the perfect place to debut our brand new labels and packaging! You like? A huge thank you to our designer, Julien Fyhrie, who did an awesome job.

Looking forward to the next market on May 22nd. We’ll be sure to keep you posted with details!

photo via Greenpoint Food Market's flickr

our helpful hero boyfriends

photo via Greenpoint Food Market's flickr

our big F&J fans, Matt and Katie!

Fanny & Jane Buzz!

March 10, 2010

Our Mini Choco Buttercream Sammies have been getting some lovin’!

via blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com

The sweet ladies of the Blondie & Brownie blog enjoyed our bite-sized cookie sandwiches last week after discovering them at a coffee shop!   Several Fanny & Jane products are now being offered at the wonderful little coffee shop, Cup on Norman in Williamsburg.  The owners are lovely, and the coffee is delicious–stop in for a coffee and a bite!

Click here to read the full Fanny & Jane review!  And check out the Blondie & Brownie blog to follow “Two girls’ adventures in food”.  Glad you enjoyed the sammies!  Thanks for the review, girls!

And if you aren’t in the neighborhood to grab one of our treats at Cup, as always, all of our sweets are available to order on our website, Fanny and Jane dot com.  Check back often for new treats and sweet deals!

Saipua in Red Hook

October 7, 2009
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my autumn-inspired bouquet

No, I’m not speaking in code.  Saipua is the name of a soap and flower shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn (and I found out today from browsing their website that “Saipua” is actually derived from the Finnish word for soap. who knew!).  I’d heard of this sweet family-owned business from my friend Marina, a great blogger and lover of dresses, flowers, and cooking.  And whales.  She loves whales.  Marina ocassionally will mention Saipua’s bouquets and arrangements and feature gorgeous photos of them on her blog.  From following the endless web of links from her blog to others and beyond, I’ve caught wind of the fact that Saipua is fairly adored – it seems that they’ve become somewhat of a local celebrity, and a buzzword for Brooklyn brides on the search for the perfect flowers.

I know that Saipua’s been around for a little while, but now that I’ve been bitten by their bug, I am delighted to discover them for the first time.  To hear of their local and far-reaching success makes me incredibly happy, on two counts.  One, their flower arrangements suit my taste to a tee, and are so simple and gorgeous that I feel they deserve every bit of praise and success that comes their way.  Two, it warms my heart to hear of yet another successful family-owned small business with a solid fanbase and devoted customers.  And they have a boutique in Brooklyn!

So it seemed only fitting that my first trip to their store was with Marina.  This past Sunday was a gorgeous day and everyone was out and about (you would not believe the swarm of people that were at the Atlantic Antic Festival, the largest annual street fair in Brooklyn).  Marina and I met up for an impromptu day in Red Hook.  It was my first time in the neighborhood and I couldn’t get enough of it!  On bike, we explored some New Orleans cuisine at a yummy lunch spot, discovered the hidden waterfront gem that is Steve’s Key Lime Pies, and I spent the better part of my day tucked away, eating a perfect broccoli cheddar quiche followed by a delectable sea salt caramel cupcake (and I also took some scrumptious sweets home for later!) at Baked.  Guys, I could go on and on about this perfect bakery, but not now, another time.  I’ve gotten distracted.  This post is about Saipua!

Soo….we finished the day with a treat: the anticipated trip to the flower and soap shop, Saipua.

Their modestly-sized store is rustic and romantic.  It’s like a little hideaway, in every corner a little mason jar bursting with rich colors and textures that I’ve never seen in a flower.  And the incredible scent (fresh and earthy) seduces you in from the street.  Marina and I had the good fortune of having the store to ourselves for almost our entire visit!  And one of the owners, Eric, couldn’t have been more helpful and kind (if you’re reading this, Hi Eric!).  He was patient as I asked a million questions about typesofflowers and caringforflowers and howlonghaveyoubeenintoflowers, and then he even complimented the little arrangement I finally put together.  (I say “finally” because I was so thoughtfully and delicately selecting the few stems for my mini bouquet that I must have taken at least 15 minutes to pick 3 stems)!  Oh well, when in Rome.  Assembling and picking my own bouquet was highly satisfying.  I recommend it to anyone looking for a random pick-me-up.  It’s cheaper than a manicure and it looks so nice in your home!  You can check out Marina’s sweet bouquet and her photos from the day here.

I hope to go back and visit soon.  Hopefully I can make at least 1 more bicycle trip to magical Red Hook before the chilly weather gets the best of me.  And even when it does get a little too bitingly cold, there’s always the Spicy Brownie at Baked to warm me up.

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my handpicked bouquet from Saipua, freshening up my living room

my handpicked bouquet from Saipua, freshening up my living room

Sweet Revenge

July 15, 2009

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Look, I always love a little something sweet, but sometimes I crave sweets more than other times.  It’s funny, Jen and I decided to venture down the “let’s bake together…and make a business out of it!” path in the first place because of our mutual love and genuine appreciation of eating sweets.  But ever since we started Fanny & Jane, my appetite for sugary goodness has waned slightly.  Ironically, the one thing that might cure me of my insatiable cookie monster ways, is to start a business revolving around cookies and cakes and brownies and chocolate!  I’m just around it so much these days, that I find I’m more likely to reach for that bag of pita chips, whereas before it would have been a tub of Trader Joe’s sea salt brownies.  It’s an interesting lesson for me to learn, that once you decide to turn something you love into your work, it starts to resemble…work.  And it’s not that I’m necessarily harumph-ing my way through baking mini chipwiches, but when I’m staring down the nose of a long night of baking, I wouldn’t mind not seeing a chocolate bar for a few hours.

All that said, I still love me some scrumptious desserts.  Jen has often written about it on her blog (especially since she’s started her delicious Daily Dessert feature!), that one of the many great things about living in New York is that there are so many wonderful one-of-a-kind bakeries and cafes.  In my little pocket of Brooklyn alone, two brand new cafes have opened in the past couple of months!  It’s all so very exciting and inspiring.

One bakery on my long “to visit” list was Sweet Revenge.  My friend, Natalie, gushed about their to die for cupcakes a few months ago, and I’d been meaning to give them a taste.  On a recent sunny afternoon, I happened to be in the west village neighborhood running Fanny & Jane errands, and I had a sweet tooth and a few extra bucks, so I told my boyfriend to meet me and we made a thing of it.  Of their Signature Cupcakes, we decided to split the “Pure”: Mexican vanilla cake with mexican vanilla buttercream.  It was delish.  Moist and flavorful and somehow very light, despite all the frosting.  We enjoyed it sitting on bar stools at their big open window in the front of the shop.  There are many reasons I am itching to go back for more – the design of the place is super cute and I would love to spend some time there with a book (with all the free time I have), they do cupcake wine & beer pairings!, everyone working there was super friendly, and their namesake cupcake, the “Sweet Revenge” is peanutbutter cake, and ganache filling with peanutbutter buttercream.  Whoah now.

Glass Shop

June 25, 2009
photograph by: Roxana Marroquin

photograph by: Roxana Marroquin

On my way into the city this past Sunday afternoon, to catch a friend’s  first (yay!) improv show (really?? a live comedy show at 1:15 on a Sunday?), I decided to stop into yet another new cafe that just sprout up in my neighborhood.  I’d been wanting to try it ever since I read their little blurb in Time Out New York.  A mere block away, and started by the owner of favorite neighborhood speakeasy, Weather Up?  Why, I’m there faster than you can order an iced soy chai latte!  I don’t quite know what I was expecting, but once there, I was a little surprised by the bare set-up: some concrete and unfinished walls, exposed wires, dusty floors, looked like a cafe, mid-construction.  Maybe it is.  It is after all brand new.  But I did enjoy the fanciful pencil-sketched doodles of flowers and vines adorning one of the walls, and I’m always a sucker for white subway tile, which was outlining the barista counter, and the barista behind said counter had one of those European accents and scruffy beards, which was also quite enjoyable.  And despite the “raw” look of the place, it was packed with your usual crowd of Sunday cafe patrons, enjoying their paper and espresso.  I ordered an iced coffee and a croissant to go- which I found out, they get all their pastries from Joyce Bakeshop, another neighborhood favorite of mine! (are you sensing a theme?  To say I like neighborhood cafes is an understatement).  When I’ve got my next good book to read, or a few minutes to spare on a crossword, I plan to go back and spend some more time there soon.

By the way, the place is called Glass Shop.