Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Giveaway Results

And the winner is....


Since no one properly entered the Book Giveaway for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, there was no winner. I got some tweets and a comment, but no one who tweeted AND commented. 

Maybe I should not be giving away books? Maybe no one following this blog likes to read as much as I do.

In any event, I am extending the giveaway until the end of April. Please click the above link for the rules.

Dine In Brooklyn - Lunetta

Where We Went: Lunetta on Smith Street in Boerum Hill

What We Ate: We ended up not ordering off the Dine In Brooklyn price fix menu as nothing really appealed to us except the fried calamari entree, which we ordered a la carte and enjoyed though I would have preferred the sauce on the side to dip in rather than on the bottom of the plate. We ordered the chicory tricolore salad which I found much too bitter, and usually tricolore salad is one of my favorites. For our entrees M ordered the grass fed steak which he found to be just average though it was cooked very well. I ordered the orechiette with broccoli rabe and Lunetta made sausage which I thought was delightful. This is one of my favorite dishes and have a difficult time not ordering it when it's available on the menu. I found their version to be one of the best I'd ever had. Overall it was good but not impressive, though I don't think we ordered right. Next time I want to order off the bruschetta menu and more off the antipasti menu.

What We Saw: Lunetta takes advantage of their small space by having seating at the bar which extends to overlook the open kitchen. Our banquette seating in the front of the dining room was perfect. I thought the red banquettes with the mirrored walls and sconce lighting gave a nice intimate vibe.

What We Thought: Like I said, I think Lunetta is better than we experienced probably because of our inexperience with their menu. Their array of bruschettas and antipastis make it seem like a good place for a small group of friends. The cocktail menu had some interesting concoctions which are begging to be tried. We will return, hopefully with more people in tow, and try other dishes from the menu.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

For the fourth year running, I have set a goal to read 10,000 book pages a year. The most recent book I read adding 288 pages bring my total for the year so far up to 3,563 pages was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (what a mouthful!). 

At first, I had a hard time getting into this book with it's epistolary style. There were a lot of characters with S names and new characters being introduced all the time. When I was about 1/3 of the way through, I couldn't put it down! I didn't even notice that I was reading a collection of letter correspondences anymore. The story is set in Post WWII England and follows the story of young authoress Juliet Ashton as she transitions from her book tour to a courtship in London to building friendships with people of Guernsey, an English Channel island, who share their experience of the German Occupation of the island during the war. This story will make you cry (I admit I cried while reading on the subway) and make you smile til your face hurts. The story of Juliet and those close to her in the aftermath of WWII will leave you wanting more, I promise. 

If you've read this book, what are your thoughts? What was the last great book you read?

Spring is in the Air

Happy first day of Spring! Wait, we had winter?

My favorite part of Spring is the flowers. Daffodils in particular. Today, as I was walking to school through St. Nicholas Park in Harlem, I was greeted by the most lovely hillside of daffodils I've seen in a long while.

I have always loved daffodils! They are such a happy flower. My favorite are the ones that have white petals with a peach center.

What's your favorite thing about spring? What is your favorite Spring flower?

Dine In Brooklyn - Bevacco

Dine In Brooklyn kicked off yesterday. 

Where We Went: Bevacco in Brooklyn Heights for their participating price fix dinner menu. 

What We Ate: M ordered the Arugula Salad, Short Rib, and Tortino al Cioccolato (chocolate cate) while I ordered the Mista Salad, Lasagna, and Il Bombolone (cream filled Italian doughnut) and a Smoked Salmon Carpaccio from the a la carte menu to share. The food was good but nothing special in my opinion. The salads were big, which is always nice, I love my greens. The Smoked Salmon Carpaccio had too much sauce and could have used some bruschetta toasts. The lasagna was very meaty and not very cheesy (some like lasagna like this, I prefer more cheese), but the noddles were perfect. The short rib was tasty, not tender enough in my opinion but flavored nicely, while the polenta that it was served on was creamy and delicious. The raspberry chocolate cake was probably the best thing we ate while the doughnut was tasty but had too much filling for me. 

What We Saw: The space is decorated with mirrors and Thomas Edison lights. Bistro tables with banquette seating line the perimeter of the dining room and there is a large bar on one side of the restaurant. We didn't dine until 9:30 so the place was not very busy for a Monday night, and for the last half hour we were the only people left in the dining room.

What We Thought: Reviews for the fairly new restaurant have been good. Unfortunately, as a self proclaimed Italian food snob, I do not feel the same way. The Dine In Brooklyn price fix was a great deal, though I won't be returning to Bevacco anytime soon. The quest for the best Italian restaurant in walking distance is still on! (Cafe Rosa is currently in the lead.)

How do you feel about "restaurant weeks"? Do you have a favorite Italian restaurant or meal?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Book Giveaway

One of my New Years Resolutions was to pass on 90% of the books I read this year either by swapping, giving to friends, or donating. This morning I decided it would be fun to give away a book to one of my readers! The copy I chose for "redistribution" is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, a fellow Brooklyn dweller! 

How to Enter:
1. Follow Mrs. Brooklyn Life on and @tomatosalty on twitter
2. Comment on this post
3. Tweet about the giveaway to @tomatosalty including a link to Mrs. Brooklyn Life
(e.g. #Book #giveaway from @tomatosalty! Enter to win a copy of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.   )

All entries must be received by 12:00AM on April 30, 2012. 
The winner will be drawn at random on April 30 at 12:00PM

Good luck!

Brooklyn Restaurant Week

It's my favorite time of year, Dine In Brooklyn, the most fabulous borough's version of restaurant week starts tomorrow! From March 19-29 over 195 Brooklyn restaurants will be participating by offering affordable price fix brunches, lunches, and dinners. $25 three course dinner? Yes please! $20.12 (clever) for lunch or for two brunches? Heck yes. I love restaurant week.

Participating Restaurants in Boerum Hill:
Apartment 138 (LD), Bacchus (LD), Lunetta (D), La Flor del Paraiso (LD for two)

Participating Restaurants in Cobble Hill: 
Bocca Lupo (D), Hibino (D), Strong Place (D)

Participating Restaurants in Carroll Gardens:
Casa Rosa (LD), Chestnut (D), Jolie Cantina (LD), Marco Polo Ristorante (LD), Palo Cortado (D), Provence en Boite (LD), Sue Parette (BD) 

Participating Restaurants in Brooklyn Heights:
Armando's (LD), Bevacco (LD), Caffe Buon Gusto (BLD), Eamonns (BLD), Heights Cafe (D), Oh My Pasta (LD), Queen Ristorante (LD), The Atlantic Chipshop (LD for two), Baluchi's (BLD for two)

B=Brunch, L=Lunch, D=Dinner, for two=one price for two meals

This year I want to try Lunetta in Boerum Hill, Chestnut in Carroll Gardens, and The River Cafe in DUMBO. 

Restaurant weeks are always a great excuse to try new restaurants. I set a goal to try 10 new restaurants within walking distance of our apartment this year and so far I've gone to three. Seven more to go!

See a complete list of participating restaurants here

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Floral and Green

In honor of St. Patrick's Day and the Spring weather here in Brooklyn, I was inspired to create a fashionable look using floral and green. Trends I'm really loving right now are floral prints, silk tops, and snakeskin. I think these trends go really well together if you can find the right color palette. 
Floral and Green

Floral and Green

Clockwise from top left
1. Essie Nail Polish Spring 2012 Collection Navigate Her $8
2. Otte Tank in Kelly Green $125
3. H&M Necklace $21
4. Daniblack Flats $140
5. H&M Pants $21
6. Dannijo Bracelet $320

What do you think of my look?

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Few of my Favorite Things - St. Patty's Green

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow and I am feeling inspired to find all my favorite green things to wear.

Weston Wear dress from Satori in Sag Harbor, American Graffiti recycle love tee, Hobo clutch, Brash nail polish, H&M bracelet, cocktail ring from Macy's, Swarovski crystal earrings

I purchased these earrings along with a matching necklace at Odyssey South in Southampton years ago. I acquired the cocktail ring from Macy's Herald Square a few years ago before a visit to the Metropolitan Opera.

The H&M bracelet was purchased a few years ago. The Brash nail polish can be found at Payless stores and is a lovely shade of shimmery greenish turquoise.

How will you be celebrating St. Patrick's day?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Perfect Italian Dinner

Unlike your everyday Brooklyn dweller, I love to cook! When my husband and I were apartment hunting I had three requirements for our future apartment: 

1) Laundry in the building,
2) Close to transportation and 
3) A kitchen I can cook in.

Luckily for me, I got all three and am happy as a clam (yum!). Our kitchen is put to good use. We cook dinner usually five times a week. For our wedding, my cousin's wife gave us a Giada de Laurentiis cookbook and the other day I decided to try one of her recipes. Of course I changed it a bit by using whole wheat pasta, turkey sausage, and changing some of the measurements. It was SO GOOD. In fact, I am still thinking about it days later! 

My recipe adaptation and picture below.

I usually take more than one photo, but I couldn't wait to eat this!

One large stainless steel pan
One pasta pot
Wooden spatula
Pasta Fork
Cutting board and knife

3/4 Cup drained oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, sliced (I bought mine fresh from the deli)
2 Tablespoons of oil reserved
3/4 to 1lb spicy turkey sausage, casings removed (I used Shadybrook farms - you will want to get a kind that is not precooked)
1 9oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted by placing in colander and running under cold water (it is very important that you use frozen and not fresh or marinated)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 Cups chicken broth
3/4 Cups dry white wine (I used a lovely Chardonnay)
8oz. whole wheat pasta (I like De Cecco)
1/2 Cup shredded Parmesean
1/3 Cup chopped fresh Basil leaves
1/4 Cup chopped fresh Italian Parsely leaves
8oz. fresh mozzarella cubed
Salt and Pepper

Put salted water on to boil for pasta
Heat oil in a large stainless steel skillet on med-hi heat
Add sausages and break up with a wooden spatula into small pieces while cooking until brown
Transfer sausages to a covered bowl
Add artichokes and garlic to the same pan on medium heat until garlic is tender
Add broth, wine, and sun dried tomatoes
Reduce over med-hi heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add pasta to water and cook al dente according to package directions
Drain pasta and add pasta, sausage, and herbs to the pan and toss until sauce is absorbed by pasta
Add mozzarella cubes if desired, season with S+P to taste
Serve and enjoy!
I found this made about three servings (two of which my husband ate)

The original recipe can be found here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Swiffer Dusting Product Review

I'm not a huge fan of housework (and I'm wary of anyone who is). I like to cook and laundry doesn't bother me, but when it comes to getting down and dirty with cleaning products, I am rarely inspired. When Mike and I were looking for media center and bookshelf combos, we found a unit we loved (and that fit PERFECTLY in our space) but it was in a dark colored wood, which I knew would show dust really easily. The deal on the Crate and Barrel unit was too much to pass up, so we purchased it, assembled it, and fell in love with it. 

(Ignore the bottom right messy shelf, that one is Mike's)

I, however, did not fall in love with dusting it. 

That is until I discovered Swiffer Dusters used with Swiffer Dust and Shine Spray.

This stuff works like a charm. I lightly spray the spray on the surface and then wipe dust away with the duster.

Here are my dark shelves two weeks after dusting! They still look great.

And after I swiped my finger on the surface I only picked up a small amount of dust.

I love a cleaning product that works so great that I can actually clean less! I recommend these to EVERYONE, especially those who hate dusting. 

What's your least favorite chore? Is these a cleaning product that you swear by?