Friday, May 29, 2009

Recycle Your Bicycle

It is no secret that Brooklynites are fanatical about cycling as the hordes of riders attest to every weekend in Prospect Park, ranging from avid riders to those seeking casual stroll. The Slope is also home to a number of cycle shops that cater to everybody's needs. This Sunday, come support everybody's new healthy habit at J.J. Byrne Park as they partner with the Old Stone House to launch the 1st Brooklyn Bicycle Jumble, the first and only outdoor venue for vendors to sell used and new equipment and gear. It is especially exciting that it is on Fifth Avenue because the BID has been dedicated to working on improving transportation to the avenue and facilitating easier access for visitors from all over Brooklyn. With news that a portion of Vanderbilt Avenue will close to motor vehicle traffic during part of the summer, more and more people are going to need alternative forms of transportation. Dedication to improving available bicycle access is a key issue and something the BID is working on for a growing contingent that rely on their two- or three-wheelers to shepherd them around the borough. Be sure to come support the merchants and fellow cyclists starting at 10 AM.

Where: JJ Byrne Park, 336 3rd Street, (5th Avenue Between 3rd Street and 4th Street)
Time: 10AM-2PM
Transportation: Bus: 63, Train: R, M to Union Street or 4th Avenue

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Avenue News Round-up

Saturday, May 31st: 1st Annual Brooklyn Bike Jumble, bike flea-market and celebration of bike culture [Brokelyn]

Playa Owner Ensuring Book Lovers Fine Dining with Their Renewal [Brooklyn Paper]

Fifth Avenue Record Center Facing Eviction [Brooklyn Paper]

Washington Park Turf Field Facing Criticism [OTBKB]

South Slope Public School in Danger of Demolition [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

Celebrity Spotting Outside Ozzies [Filming in Brooklyn]

Park Slope Civic Council Hoping to Enlarge Historic Zone [Brooklyn Paper]

Take Off! Flight 001 Shop Closed and Flew Off with Merch [Brownstoner]

Light Dims on Star of India [Brownstoner]

It's Lobster Time! [Brooklyn Paper]

Record Riot! Eviction Will End Four Decades of Selling LPs in Slope [Brooklyn Paper]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recipe Du Jour

Hi All,

When we go out to eat, we are looking to have a good time with friends and family, spill a little wine, receive great service, and most importantly partake in a great gastronomic experience. This week's recipe is borrowed from the wonderful people at We Are Never Full for a dish that has been featured at popular trattoria Al Di La on the corner Carroll Street. The rich, nuttiness of the sauce will really enhance the sweetness of the beet filling inside the ravioli. As always, please try this recipe and send us comments and feedback. Good cooking and good eating.

Casunziei-Beet Stuffed Ravioli with Brown Butter-Poppy Seed Sauce
Difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients for Ravioli:

1 batch of fresh ravioli OR (if easier, but I’ll shed a bit of a tear) wonton wrappers
2 beets, peeled and boiled till soft
1 large potato, peeled and boiled till soft
7 oz of ricotta
1/2 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano
3 tablespoons of milk
1/4 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg
pinch of salt to taste

Ingredients for Sauce:

4-6 tablespoons of unsalted butter (eyeball - you may want more sauce or less sauce so use whatever amount of butter you want!)
optional: 6 sage leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
(optional) pinch of salt
(optional garnish) chopped chives

Cooking and Preparation:

1) Boil your beets and potato until very soft. Remove and allow to cool for a bit. When cool, mash by hand or blitz in a food processor till pretty smooth. Add to a bowl.
2) Once the beet/potato mixture is cool, add your ricotta, cheese, nutmeg, salt and milk. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.
3) Using a glass or ravioli cutter with a 4-inch diameter, cut your ravioli circles. Fill the midde of each ravioli with about 1 teaspoon filling. Wet the outer diameter of the ravioli with water using your finger. Bring one side of the circle to meet the other and pinch all of the sides closed. Dust with a bit of flour and allow to await its fate in the boiling water. Note to self - start boiling your pasta water. Don’t forget to add some salt!
4) Continue making all your ravioli until you have enough.
5) Add your ravioli to the boiling water and allow to cook (about 2 to 3 minutes). They should raise to the top when they are done.
6) In a separate pan, heat up your butter on medium-low and allow to cook until butter begins to get a bit of color. Add your sage leaves and continue to get a bit more color. Add your poppy seeds and toss a bit. Add your ravioli’s to the pan and toss in the butter sauce.
7) Plate ravioli’s with some of the butter sauce on top along with a pinch of (optional) salt and a dusting of freshly ground parmigiano reggiano and chives (optional).

© We Are Never Full

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Photos of the Fabulous Fair

Well, The Fabulous Fifth Avenue Fair 2009 is over. We are already looking forward to next year!

In the meantime, enjoy some photos of the fair by photographer Erika Clark!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Interview with Baluchi's

All About Fifth interviews Arthur Pereira, General Manager at Baluchi’s, as part of our ongoing series that highlights local leaders in the business and nonprofit sector along the Avenue.

Where are you from originally? I grew up in Bombay—but from the southwest coast of India called Goa.

When did Baluchi’s open in Park Slope? We opened in December.

Baluchi’s has a number of restaurants throughout the city—what drew you to open a location in Park Slope? With the great support and positive feedback our customers have given us through the years we felt we needed to expand our geographical footprint to the Park Slope area.

The history of Indian food is fascinating and complex, with the intermingling of so many influences. On top of that, there are several regional differences within in Indian cuisine—what type does Baluchi’s favor? Our cuisine favors the northern Indian region.

What are the staple ingredients of northern Indian food and what distinguishes it from other regions? The cuisine of India is characterized by its use of locally available resources, including spices and vegetables. Each family of Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. Indians coming from different religions, regions, and castes do share a common ethos with each others’ cuisine in a limited way—a similar method of slow cooking, and a commonality of food materials, particularly spices. Indian cuisine has had a remarkable influence on cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia. Curry, for instance, is used to flavor food across Asia. And throughout India (north or south) spices are used generously. The use of tamarind to impart sourness distinguishes Indian food. In Andhra food, excessive amounts of chilies are used. Some popular dishes include the Biriyani, Ghee Rice with meat curry, sea-food which includes prawns, mussels, and mackerel.

Indian cuisines are one of the more popular across the globe—not only with the Indian Diaspora—but as common fair in Europe and North America. What do you think accounts for its popularity? The Indian cuisine is a diverse cuisine and satisfying to the pallet. It offers an array of meat and vegetable dishes with its full aromatic flavors and the feeling of contentment when you are done eating.

What does the name Baluchi refer to—a quick search suggests it is a northwestern Iranian language? It is a northwestern Iranian language but it also is a breed of sheep that originated in the area which is now southwest. They are a fat-tailed meat breed with carpet grade wool. Since we liked the sound of the name and Lamb is a large menu item for Indian cooking, it seemed very appropriate.

Are you a cook—and if so, what’s your favorite meal to make? I am not a cook but I am a great eater. Come and join me at Baluchi's and you will not be disappointed.

Interview conducted by Rebeccah Welch

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Avenue News Round-up

Sunday, May 17: Fabulous Fifth Fair [OTBKB]

Park Slope's District Would be Truly Historic Under Local Plan [Brooklyn Paper]

Council Members Say Higher Sales Tax Would Cost Retail Jobs [WNYC]

Slope Shop Started When Green Wasn't Yet Trendy [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

Door Jam! Baker Hit with Summons for Leaving her Entrance Open [Brooklyn Papers]

Another Fare Hike! Parking Meters go Sky High in Slope [Brooklyn Papers]

Brooklyn Food & Drink Round-Up [Brownstoner]

Between Courses: Attention to Detail: Kiku Restaurant [Between Courses]

Compiled by Rebeccah Welch

Recipe of the Week

The last decade has seen a dramatic growth of the avenue and spurring that growth have been the 70+ restaurants that currently exist. We will be bringing you recipes from your favorite restaurants in a new weekly installment, exclusive to All About Fifth.

The first recipe is a simple one from Aunt Suzies, so that all you amateur chefs can whip up a marinara just like grandma used to make.

Marinara Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil for sautŽing
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, cut in half of slightly mashed
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 can (2 lb., 1 1/2 oz.) imported Italian Style peeled plum tomatoes with basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black peeper
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes, if desired
Salt to taste (Many canned tomato products contain so much salt that none is required for the recipe. Taste first!)

Use a heavy 8 quart sauce pot. Heat pot for 1 minute, then add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom. SautŽ onions and garlic for a few minutes over medium heat. Watch the pot carefully. When onions are translucent, add the crushed tomatoes in puree. Put the Italian plum tomatoes in a bowl and crush them coarsely with a fork or potato masher. Don't use a blender or food processor because they do "too fine' a job. Add the plum tomatoes and juice to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add parsley, basil, oregano, black pepper and re pepper flakes and salt to taste, simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Makes 6 cups of sauce.

© 2009 Aunt Suzies Restaurant
Photo © Farm Girls Word

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fifth Ave Fair Text

That's right folks, the fabulous fifth avenue fair is upon us again. The excitement commences on Sunday, May 17th and lasts from 11AM-7PM with the action stretching from Sterling Place to 12th Street.

As you stroll the avenue enjoying sausage and peppers, and funnel cake, be sure to visit with Kym Hampton, of the WNBA, and the 501st & Rebel Legions Star Wars Costume Volunteers. In addition, local artists, photographers, and craftspeople will display the products of their incredible talents between 3rd Street and St. Johns Place.

This year should be especially exciting with an excellent line-up of events, with live music and performances at Southpaw (125 5th Ave @ Sterling Pl.) and The Gate (321 5th Ave @ 3rd Street) from local artists and young musicians, and special performances by legendary a capella group The Persuasions. If you've never heard them before (and some of our younger readers might be scratching their heads, as this young writer did), you can hear samples of their smooth, sultry sounds here.

There is something for everyone and the action will be lively all day long, so be sure to round up family and friends, and bike, walk or run to Fifth Avenue this Sunday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Interview with ZuZu's Petals

Here is the first in a regular series of interviews that will highlight local leaders in the business and nonprofit sector along the Avenue. This is an interview of Sara Fonda, owner of Zuzu's Petals.

Where are you from originally? I grew up by the ocean in Belle Harbor, New York. A year ago, I moved back to my childhood home full time.I spent the first half of my life running away from home and the second half finding my way back.

How long have you been on 5th Avenue and what made you chose the location? Zuzu's petals moved to 5th Avenue in November 2004 after a fire in the restaurant next door burned us out of our home of 33 years on 7th avenue. We chose this location because of the sunny outdoor space behind the shop, the proximity to our customer base, and the new residential development between 4th and 5th Avenues.

What, typically, is the most popular Mother's Day flower and has that changed over time? Hands down it's lilac and peonies for Mother's Day...both are in season and tap into some universal nostalgia for the gardens of our childhood.

Some people say that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and nature. Do you agree? There is no separation between human beings and nature. some of us are more attuned to the changing of the seasons and growing things, but all of us are connected to nature.

Are you a gardener yourself? Absolutely! I come from a long line of farmers/gardeners. I feel so fortunate to have inherited my Father's garden, I have trees that my dad planted from tiny slips that tower over the house, and much of my garden time is spent "renovating" his shrubs that have outgrown their place in the border. Gardening feeds me emotionally and spiritually.

There is movement afoot to fill urban gardens and green spaces with indigenous plants. What are the challenges of urban gardening and how do see your business as it relates to sustainability and the increased attention people are giving to local food and ecosystems? Brooklyn gardening is a challenge on so many fronts: from the potentially toxic mysteries buried in the soil to the deep shade cast by our neighbors' trees and houses. We have always focused on plants that thrive in small shady spaces, trying to provide the most 'bang for your gardening buck' by offering an unusual selection of non-invasive, well balanced companion plants. We are thrilled to offer an expanded line of vegetables plants this season and an extraordinary line of organic soils and fertilizers. Bat Guano, Feather Meal, Worm Castings...YUM!

What are the greatest challenges facing your business and what are its greatest rewards? Zuzu's petals has survived trial by fire. Having to re-locate and start over was our greatest challenge, far outweighing, rent increases, competition, recession, inflation...our greatest reward is the love and support of our customers. The shop's name is from the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." In the last scene, George Bailey is rescued from financial disaster by people he helped through his business over the years. Zuzu's customers came to our rescue after the fire, giving us seed money to start rebuilding...a mandate to return our shop to their lives.

Interview conducted by Rebeccah Welch

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mother's day on 5th Avenue

Okay, admit it, you forgot about Mother's Day again this year, didn't you! Hey, no need to panic, Park Slope's 5th Avenue has everything you need to make the day perfect for that mom in your life.

Buy her flowers from one of the avenue's beautiful flower shops, make reservations at one of the avenue's 70 restaurants or buy her a unique gift from one of the many amazing shops.

Mother's Day Offers and Special Events:

* 3r Living: Get 10% off of your Mother's day gifts when you mention this blog post;

* Pink Olive Boutique:Trunk Show/Akiko Mukae showcase- Enjoy a FUN day of shopping, pink olive mini cupcakes and FREE gift with purchase! Designer akiko mukae will be in store to showcase her new jewelry collection. The perfect gift for moms!

* Bob and Judi's Collectibles: Mention this blog and get 10% off any Vintage Jewelry purchase or Devlin Frame over $25.

* Old Stone House Thursday, May 14, 8 pm, Third Annual Edgy Mothers Day: Tales of Motherhood without Sanctimony, 7:30 p.m.: Open bar/Wine donated by Shawn Liquors
8:00 p.m.: Reading, Suggested contribution: $5 to benefit Old Stone House
Reading is open to all – not just mothers – though please leave children at home

Join acclaimed playwright Diana Son, journalist Beth Harpaz, novelist Mary Morris, and five other notable mother-writers for a fun reading over a much-needed glass of wine, just a few days after Mother’s Day.

*Baluchi's: Come in anytime all day to dine and be automatically entered into a raffle for a free meal for two.

*Aunt Suzies: Enjoy a three-course meal including salad, pasta, and entree with a choice of chicken, veal, pork, eggplant, steak, salmon, or shrimp all for between $20 and $25 dollars.  Seatings from 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 6:30 PM.  Reservations available.