Brooklyn in August: Birthday Trapeze Edition

Thank you everyone for all of the birthday wishes, and thank you especially for making my tribute post to my mom one of my most popular posts to date.  It figures, right?
I celebrated over the weekend in Brooklyn with Kayte and Melissa – my BFF’s that had the nerve to flee Boston for NYC within a year of each other and leave me behind.  Fortunately I manage regular visits.  Friday night we had a supper of takeout tacos, no bake cookies birthday “cake”, and my cocktail of choice (G&T, in case I need to say it). 

cookie birthday

After a lovely brunch on Saturday morning, we headed over to Pier 6 to take the ferry to Governors Island for… wait for it…TRAPEZE LESSONS from New York Trapeze School!  Roughly fifteen minutes after showing up and signing the waiver, I found myself standing at the edge of a platform, holding onto a bar, poised and ready to jump.  Flying through the air was like being a kid again on the monkey bars…only more thrilling, and with a snug harness.   

Here is a video of me doing a mid-air catch with Dave, one of the instructors.  The guy yelling instructions was Hal.  You can’t see him in the video, but you can see him with me in a picture below.  The last instructor on the platform was Eric.  They were all terrific.

It was an amazing two hours and I loved every second (except the part beforehand where we had to change into our trapeze workout clothes in port-a-potty’s).  I highly recommend that you put this on your NYC to-do list.  I am already itching to get back on the bar.

These girls made it all happen and I adore them.

Before heading back to the ferry we strolled around the island and came across a Civil War soldier’s camp reenactment.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to stand in my sports tank and talk hardtack with one very friendly Yankee.  History nerd alert.  My solider demonstrated how authentic his homemade hardtack was by firmly rapping it on his tin cup and then showing us how it was virtually unchanged.

Trapeze lessons and a Civil War reenactment camp all in one afternoon?  Does it get any better?  It did!

Back in Brooklyn, we picked up Italian Ices for the journey home (the creamsicle was superb), which also included a stop at the Zombie Hut for some kitschy tiki fruity bevvies.

Later that night we headed over to the Bell House for a 90’s dance night, featuring The Bayside Tigers – a live band with a vast and impressive set list.  When 3 dudes can pull off a cover of Madonna’s “Ray of Light” you have to give them their due credit.  We danced from the moment we entered the room until the wee hours of the morning, laughing nonstop. 
And of course, what trip to Brooklyn would be complete without a stop at Four and Twenty Blackbirds for pie?  I have mentioned it before here and here, but when we woke up Sunday morning to rain, it was the obvious choice.  My pie this time was a beautiful summer peach.  Part of this complete breakfast, also featuring coffee and a hot-sauce drizzled egg-in-a-nest:

I am so blessed to have friends that love me so much.  They made me feel like a million bucks, and I only hope I make them feel equally special, because they sure are.

Love you girls!  Thanks for a fun, hilarious, and delicious birthday weekend!  I’ll get you both back in a few years when you both get around to turning thirty…jerks!

Brooklyn in February

John and I traveled separately to Brooklyn last weekend so I could get there early to spend some QT Lady Time with Kayte and Melissa.  After I met up with Kayte on Saturday afternoon, we made the most of the winter sunshine by getting brunch and visiting some of Park Slope’s numerous little shops. 

Brunch was at the French bistro Belleville.  It turns out that the antidote to hours on a Peter Pan bus is a Bellini, coffee, butter, and laughter with one of your best friends.

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Brooklyn in October

Yes, I had a great time in Brooklyn last weekend. 

John’s friend Matt lives in Williamsburg, and my friends Kayte and Sam live on the edge of Park Slope.  John’s brother Matt and his girlfriend Melissa (who serves double duty as one of my best friends and former roommates) also just moved to Park Slope in August and we had yet to see their new place, so they were kind enough to put us up!

We took the bus down from Boston when John got out of work on Saturday, which was nice because it meant I got to spend the day cleaning and baking.  In addition to the Pop-Tarts I made a batch of gluten free cookies for Kayte using the King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Cookie Mix.  I added in chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and seasonal M&M’s.  I had never had a gluten free cookie before, but they were pretty good! 

One of my favorite parts of any journey is the “getting there” part…the car ride, bus ride, or plane ride.  I love planning my iPod playlists, reading material, and snacks.  This time I knew I wanted to make sandwiches, so I got some Iggy’s rolls at the farmer’s market in the morning and made veggie subs using fake turkey deli slices and sharp cheddar.  Yum.  I packed some back issues of Cooking Light and a Linwood Barclay mystery from the library and was good to go.

Matt and Melissa’s apartment was beautiful – very sunny and cozy with lots of historical detail and charm, which was enhanced by their mostly midcentury-inspired decor.  There is nothing more homey to me than tall bookshelves filled with volumes and mementos that actually represent the people living there.  Also, we got to sleep on their Amazing Aerobed.  It has a built-in inflatable headboard.  I don’t know how I missed getting a photo of it.

On Sunday I was delighted to make a return trip to Four and Twenty Blackbirds.  Kayte brought me there in July during my last visit, and I loved everything about it, from the décor to the pie to the friendly staff.  This time there were gourds on the table.  I am a sucker for gourds.

By the time we arrived it was late in the day and they only had one kind of pie left – Fresh Fig.  I enjoy fig, but this was some serious pie with large chunks of fruit.  I certainly loved the delicious crust and cinnamony, gooey filling around the figs, though…and I was glad to get any pie at all because 5 minutes after we sat down they were sold out!


How cute are Sam and Kayte?  Love them.

Matt and Melissa hosted a taco dinner on Sunday night, and we all caught up on some trash TV before heading out for the evening.  It just felt right…

We headed over to Williamsburg to meet up with Matt and our friend Mikey, who was also visiting.  Hours later at our final bar of the night there was a photobooth, and for $3 a strip and with many drinks behind us, we really went for it.

1.  Me & Melissa  2. John solo  3. John & his brother Matt  4.  Matty A, me & John

There were more, but these were the ones Melissa and I made it home with.  Just priceless.  I can’t wait to look at these when I am very old.

On Monday, Matt and Melissa brought John and I to check out Brooklyn Bridge park.  The city has done an amazing job renovating and landscaping the area (I didn’t see it before but it looks lovely now!) which gave us great views of the bridge, the Manhattan skyline, and the wee Statue of Liberty off in the distance.  I can’t believe I was in a tank top in mid-October!

Before heading back we stopped for a drink at the outdoor Brooklyn Bridge Wine Bar, then it was back on the bus, where John promptly fell asleep on me while I listened to 4 hours of RadioLab repeats (best podcast ever). 

I couldn’t have asked for a better time…and as usual, we are already planning our next visits!

That’s okay, right guys?

(Special thanks to Matt for providing me with a loaner camera for the weekend when I left mine in my apartment!  Yay Matt!)

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

This past weekend I went to Brooklyn (not NYC…Brooklyn) to visit my beloved Kayte (and Sam!) in their new place.  I had the best time.  We had no agenda and less than 48 hours together, but managed to accomplish an amazing amount of eating, drinking, and walking everywhere while sweating profusely…but it was a great time, and it was great to see Kayte.

I lied…there was actually one thing on our agenda.  PIE.  Kayte told me about a pie place in her neighborhood that had just opened up in April and had pie to die for.  That place was Four and Twenty Blackbirds.  Since I have been on a major pie kick lately I thought I thought it only fair that I share this latest chapter in ALL THINGS PIE 2010.  We stopped in on Saturday…and went back for breakfast on Sunday.  The bakery/cafe is beautiful, with tin-tiled walls and ceilings, hardwood floors and lots of sunshine.  The pies of the day are written on the chalkboard, along with drinks and some other traditional cafe fare like scones, sweet breads, and their unique spin on “Egg in a Nest”.  The shop is owned and operated by two South Dakota sisters, and I am a sucker for sister business ventures (especially bakery-themed ones) since Courtney and I often joke we should do the same thing.

Saturday’s pie slices were berry crumble and apple ginger.  Kayte was a good sport about all of my picture-taking…even when it meant she had to wait to eat.

Sunday’s slices were blueberry lavender and salted caramel apple (double blog reference there).

The Egg in a Nest was not the “toast with a hole with egg in it” that I was expecting.  Instead it was like a delicious sweet biscuit wrapped in a soufflé-like egg and cheese puff.  Delightful.

The crusts were buttery and flaky.  The fruits were flavorful and fresh.  The ginger had bite.  With teeth.  The girl behind the counter recognized us on Sunday and had great feather earrings.  I will absolutely go back here every time I visit going forward.  Their pies change with the seasons and I want to try them all.

For further reading visit their writeup on Serious Eats.

Or better yet, visit them and taste for yourself!  They are located at 439 3rd Ave in Brooklyn and they are doing it right.