North Brooklyn gets lots of love in Village Voice’s Best of 2014

Taqueria Izucar, credit Serious Eats

Village Voice’s best of New York issue is out and not surprisingly North Brooklyn has lots of bar and restaurant mentions — and oversights. (No love for Roberta’s?) Some of its choices we find a bit odd, but hey, we’re happy to see Peter Pan, St. Anselm and Taqueria Izucar get some love. Here’s their ‘bests’ from Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg:


Best Ethiopian Restaurant
Bunna Café

While Bunna Café might seem like a Brooklyn cliché (it serves vegan Ethiopian food next to a vacant lot in Bushwick, after all), Ethiopian cuisine has long held vegetarian and vegan dishes in its repertoire thanks to extended fasting periods imposed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Chef Kedija Srage cooks up a colorful array of meatless wots and tibs served alone or as part of combination platters arranged on top of injera. (Bunna’s take on the porous sourdough flatbread is fluffier and less sour than its peers’.) Ethiopian beers and honey wine are available, and cocktails — like the Pushkin, a White Russian made with Ethiopian coffee and toasted sunflower milk — are particularly inspired. The righteous brewed beans are roasted throughout the day and served espresso-style. Srage and café owners Sam Saverance and Liyuw Ayalew have also carved out time four nights a week to perform a traditional coffee ceremony, where an audience observes the roasting process and drinks the results.

Best Cuban Sandwich
Cafetería La Mejor

Find the intersection of Suydam and Wilson in Bushwick, and we guarantee you won’t miss Cafetería La Mejor — its façade is hued turquoise and magenta, so fluorescent we suspect you can see it from space. The place turns out a limited menu of Cuban coffees, a handful of sandwiches, and pastries; grab a counter seat or sashay up to the window and order the sandwich cubano. You’ll get a knock-out classic rendition: roasted pork, ham, swiss, and pickles stacked in generous — but not off-balance — quantities on that white Cuban bread slicked with grainy mustard. The whole thing goes into a press until the cheese is melted and the exterior toasted. We’ll admit we raised an eyebrow when we read the menu description declaring that our sandwich would arrive “eggshell crisp,” but that descriptor proved exactly right, providing an immensely satisfying crackly foil to the hearty filling within.

Best Vegetarian Deli
Hana Natural

Hana Natural is actually a grocery store, and its main purpose is to provide Bushwick with organic and natural products. But it also houses a deli, offering its customers a huge selection of sandwiches, including a list of vegetarian options so numerous, it puts other vegetarian restaurants to shame. Many of these are creative re-creations of popular carnivorous sammies, the meat swapped out for fake meat and then laden with fresh vegetables, cheese, and various condiments. In particular, the deli makes a mean veggie BLT, exchanging bacon for veggie bacon, which is made of soy. Or try the tofu Reuben, which uses grilled tofu in lieu of corned beef. [Read more…]

Brooklyn Pour: Then and Now

bkpour1One of my favorite events of the year, Village Voice’s Brooklyn Pour festival returned to the old savings bank at One Hanson Place in Fort Greene this past Saturday. More than one hundred and twenty beers were available for tasting between 2 and 6 PM, from the likes of Sixpoint, Kelso, Bronx Brewery and more. It was first time back at the fest since it’s first year back in 2011, and it’s grown up a bit since then. And so have I. I think. [Read more…]

4Knots Festival to Include Kurt Vile, Men, Parquet Courts, Marnie Stern and Many More

This is shaping up to be a great festival and now the Village Voice is adding to the already stellar line-up by adding local favorites The Babies, Heliotropes and more to the ticket. For more information check out their website.

4Knots Festival happened at South Street Seaport

Despite getting ‘slightly’ interrupted by a fire on Pier 17, last Saturday’s 4Knots Festival ran more or less smoothly. The show was stopped for about 40 minutes, causing set list cuts and delays for the remaining 3 bands on the main stage. At least it wasn’t cancelled altogether as the pier at one point was partially evacuated and the PA system taken down. Be that as it may, the delays in combination with prior obligations made us miss Archers of Loaf’s headlining set. However, we caught Crocodiles and The Drums. Both of which played to a large and very enthusiastic crowd. Videos are below.

A Play-By-Play Of Saturday’s Occupy Williamsburg Protest

Event Poster, via Buzzfeed

Details are just now emerging about Saturday night’s Occupy Williamsburg “Occu-Party.” According to NY Daily News, fifty protesters set up camp at The Bedford, a vacant residential building on N. 8th and Driggs, where they threw garbage cans and spray painted anti-police slogans. When police arrived at 11 p.m., one protester pepper-sprayed an officer, while others threw bottles that injured five other officers. Police arrested four protesters and charged them with obstructing government administration, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and inciting a riot.

Village Voice staff writer Nick Pinto was on the scene that night and tweeted continuously about the action as it unfolded. Here’s Pinto’s perspective of how things went down, in chronological order:

At 207 N 8th in Williamsburg, an “Occuparty” — squatting in a half-finished luxury apartment — is getting underway. #OWS

Maybe 50 people in the ground-floor apartment. Whole building seems vacant, 75% renovated. Many hope this lasts past tonight.

Police are here, with flashlights. “Guys drop all the beers, that’s it.” not clear they get the scope of the invasion.

Glass on the front door just got smashed. Cop has his nightstick out. “I swear to god, get out of here!”

First arrest, a young woman. Bottle thrown. Cops badly outnumbered. This is getting crazy fast.

Police calling in backup as they push the crowd down 8th. Two cruisers here now.

On Bedford, masked guy throws a trash bin in the middle of the street. Some of the crowd are marching in the street.

Scuffle on the middle of Bedford as plainclothes and uniformed cops get forceful with more arrests.

Another really rough arrest. Plainclothes with telescoping sticks. Police are on this now.

At 7th, a call to march down Bedford. More trash bins in the street.

Police have one woman up against a garage door. “I didn’t do anything!” “I saw you!

Consensus among the remaining ~40 is to head to the precinct. But many linger at the corner of 11th.

Time-out pending a phase two, waiting for things to cool down to maybe hit a second vacant spot.

OK. I think, for tonight at least, the Williamsburg front is quiet.

Village Voice Union Benefit Tonight at Public Assembly

Tonight Public Assembly will play host to the Village Voice’s Union Benefit— a concert geared toward raising money in the event that they go on strike this weekend.  According to the Voice:

“We have a union at the Village Voice that’s been around since the ’70s. Our three-year contract is up at the end of the month, June 30. After decimating the staff, management is trying to slash our healthcare and retirement benefits. We’re really hoping that it doesn’t come to a strike, but there’s a distinct possibility.”

Things will kick off tonight at 8pm with Alan Watts, an industrially noisey darkwave crew out of Brooklyn.  Local “no goodniks” (as the Voice aptly donned them) K-Holes will play as well followed by the Free Williamsburg approved Fort Lean. Also there will be a special PitchforkReviewsReviews DJ set– a great show for a great cause!  Suggested donation at the door is $10 and you can also donate via pay pal.  Get our there and support writers and print media!

Ted Leo announced as 4Knots headliner

Up until now, the lineup for 4Knots, the Village Voice’s South Street Seaport replacement for the Siren Fest, has seemed basically like a snooze-a-palooza. But today, The Voice announced that on July 9th, before the actual festival which is on July 16th, they will hold a kickoff show at the Seaport featuring Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

Leo is, of course, fresh off covering Minor Threat for the Our Band Could Be Your Life tribute concert over the weekend; he played the 4Knots predecessor Siren in 2003 and last year; and he and the Seaport have quite the history, weather-and-concert-wise.

We are in agreement with Gothamist on this one when they say, “Ted Leo is amazing, but he can’t be the only one holding up this mist tent.”