Browsing Tag



Coney Island Brewing Company’s "Tunnel of Love Watermelon Wheat"

May 1, 2014

IN WATERMELON SUGAR the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar.Richard Brautigan, In Watermelon Sugar

The Tunnel of Love might amuse you….
Richard Thompson, “Wall of Death”

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was invited to a tasting of Coney Island Brewing Company’s summer seasonal brew, “Tunnel of Love Watermelon Wheat.” You can see it, freshly drawn, in the photo above, sitting on the bar of The Brazen Fox, where the event was held. Before I tasted it, I had Richard Brautigan’s words in mind, and feared I might be getting something akin to alcoholic Hawaiian Punch. I took a sniff–hop aroma prevailed, but with a little hint of fruit–then a swig. Like Richard Thompson said I might be, I was amused. Even pleased. This was beer, not melon juice, though the melon flavor was there, working well with the cascade and citra hops, and with the two row barley malt, malted and unmalted wheat, and dark crystal malt. It’s not something I’d make my everyday beer, but I’d be glad to take it to our roof deck or to a beach on a summer afternoon with some chips and salsa. At 4.8 percent ABV, you can have more than one without fear.

On the way in we were greeted by Sarina Appel, who encouraged me to try Mermaid Pilsner and Seas the Day IPL, both of which I’d previously tasted from bottles (see here and here), on draught. I did, and didn’t taste any major difference from my earlier impressions, other than that the Pilsner seemed a bit more assertively hoppy, and the India Pale Lager perhaps a bit less so, than I remembered.

My wife and I had a delightful and informative conversation with Coney Island’s brewmaster, Jon Carpenter. Actually, my wife got the conversation going, asking Jon about the varieties of yeast used in brewing. Jon is a native Californian and a graduate of U.C. Davis. He has previously worked for L.A.’s Golden Road and for Dogfish Head in Delaware, makers of 90 Minute Imperial IPA (I’ve yet to try their 120 Minute, but must soon; stay tuned). I also had the opportunity to meet Alan Newman, head of Alchemy & Science, Boston Brewing Company’s “craft beer incubator,” which now owns Coney Island Brewing. Alan told me a tale of how he and Steve Hindy, President and co-founder of the Brooklyn Brewery (see my reviews of their brews here and here and here) were at a convention in Las Vegas when the 9/11 attacks occurred and, because all air transport was grounded, bought a van and returned by highway to the East Coast.

Source: Self-Absorbed Boomer

From the Web


A Hibiscus Liqueur: From Barbados to Brooklyn

April 25, 2014

Much like any regular cocktail drinker, I love discovering new spirits from all over the world. But as of late, I’ve realized that it’s even more fun to discover liquors that come right from my own urban backyard.

You may have heard about Brooklyn’s burgeoning distillery scene, but whiskey, rye and bourbon aren’t the only things our borough is producing.

A few months ago we were introduced to a liqueur called Sorel, which is a Caribbean spirit made from hibiscus flowers. The producer of this spirit, Jack (pictured), is a New Yorker, born and raised, but has roots leading back to Barbados. His grandparents told him stories of sending the neighborhood children to pick the flowers, which, Jack says, “are as common as dandelions,” so that they could make hibiscus iced tea. Since Barbados was part of the spice route, they flavored the tea with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. When the kids were asleep, his grandparents would spike it with rum, making it a perfect nightcap.

For years, Jack made his own version of Sorel right here in New York, but never had aspirations to bottle or sell it. That changed when he was suddenly diagnosed with cancer and given a five percent survival rate. Jack quickly reassessed his goals and focused more intensely on what was important to him: enjoying time with friends and family while discovering and drinking spirits, especially Sorel. He applied himself fully to making a commercial version of the liqueur and officially launched his distillery in Red Hook in May of 2012. He beat the odds and is healthy today.

Jack only uses organic grain alcohol as his base of his Sorel, as well as pure cane sugar and imported spices. What really impresses us is the flexibility of this liqueur; it’s delicious straight up, hot or on ice, with mixers, in punch and the list goes on. When Jack visited our shop, he shared a recipe with us called “The Ariana” and this cocktail is our new go-to for every boozy brunch.

The Ariana

For one cocktail, you’ll need:
1 champagne flute
2 oz Sorel liqueur
3 oz Prosecco
Pour Prosecco into champagne flute and finish with Sorel.

Or, you could take after the founder himself, who likes to mix two parts Brenne Single Malt Whiskey with one part Sorel. This combination, he says, brings out the best qualities of each spirit. Now that’s a motto I’ll keep in mind the next time I’m mixing up a cocktail.

Selina Andersson heads up events and social media for Tipsy, a wine and spirits shop in Brooklyn. Tipsy hosts 3 or more free tasting events every week. Visit us at the corner of Myrtle and Classon or online at

From the Web

Life, Tech

Sudan Stories: The Story of M – Sell a Kidney or Make Bombs

April 22, 2014

Recorded in March 2014 as part of a media training by Small World News in Cairo, Egypt. 

Download Audio

sudan_thumbs_in_cairoM is a Sudanese activist living in Cairo. As a young man in Sudan M was kidnapped, forced to join the military, and punished for refusing to learn bomb-making tactics. Years later M was released and built a life in Sudan. Yet he was seized again and tortured by the government. He bribed his way to freedom, sold his house, and fled to Cairo. Now he’s running out of money. M faces a choice between selling a kidney and becoming a suicide bomber.

I was introduced to M by friends in our Sudanese training program. On the final day of training our translator tugged my sleeve while I was busy checking the encryption on a mobile device. M – shy, short, with a strong voice but sympathetic disposition and dressed in Western clothing – was was introduced as a Cairo resident friend of our group. M shared his story as we sat together on cracked brown couches in the bright, smoke-filled lobby of a small hotel in downtown Cairo.

The experiences shared by M are raw, unvettable, and sometimes shocking. Yet M’s experience is shared by thousands of Sudanese  refugees and internally displaced persons. To learn more about systemic marginalization and the wars in Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur please read Richard Cockett’s Sudan, Darfur, Islamism and the World.

Note: This interview was conducted with a local, untrained translator and recorded on the fly with a Marantz PMD620. I speak Arabic poorly and did my best to keep up with the narrative, but surely much nuance and context was lost in translation. Arabic clarification and edits are welcome.

Thanks for listening.


Learn More:

Filed under: Audio, Blog, Culture, Interviews, Media, News and Politics, News/Commentary, Podcast, Politics, Post Archive, Radio, Reporting Tagged: Audio, Egypt, Escape, Freedom, Interview, Kidney, Podcast, Sudan, Suicide Bomb

Source: Dan Patterson

From the Web


Tell the Bartender Episode 32: A Series Of Firsts

April 13, 2014

Listen to Episode 32: A Series Of Firsts

Download From iTunes Here

In this Episode:

Evan Davis recalls the first time he did comedy, had sex, and got drunk. This did not all happen in one night.

Coree Spencer tells us about the first time she moved out of her house due to impossible circumstances, and found herself homeless at 17.

PLUS, news about the LIVE show on May 8th with Wyatt Cenac and Mara Wilson, and listener shout outs! Like what you hear? Tip me! Or give the show 5 stars!

Evan Davis is a comedian, film buff and all around great guy.

Coree Spencer is a comedian, storyteller, filmmaker, and in her spare time rocks it on Twitter. Here she is emulating what my album cover would be if I had a band:



Music Credits:

“Setting Sun” by Chris Powers

“Ceremony” by New Order

“Is It Wicked Not To Care” by Belle & Sebastian

“Kiss Them For Me” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

“Predictable” by Bran Van 3000

“Bottled in Cork” by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists


Source: Tell The Bartender

From the Web

Existential Stuff

REMARKABLE INFORMATION! Baseball is Back, Staples an’ all!

April 9, 2014

Recently, a rather stunning headline in the sports pages caught my eye: “Aroldis Chapman Has a Head Full of Staples!” cried the scribe.  What a gorgeous sentence (though I will confess I have added the exclamation point, because it adds a certain visual beauty and aural panache to an already splendid phrase). Ah, such true poetry is so readily available to us in the most unlikely sectors!  We must only keep our eyes wide, my friends.

Now, the details behind the dazzling line of copy I recorded above hardly matters; suffice to see that Mr. Chapman, a left-handed pitcher of Cuban-Andorran descent who can throw a baseball at an almost supernatural speed, was quite recently on the receiving end of a batted line-drive to the forehead that nearly resulted in his premature defenestration from mortality (or, as they might say in Catalan, the native tongue of Andorra, esports induïda per decapitació); and the injury did, most indeed, leave our dear fast-balling friend with head full of staples.

What matters is this:  Baseball is back.

Baseball, which kept us company as a lonely child, and thrilled us when our middle school world was full of taunts and the snail-gray of boredom; baseball, which taught us math, patience, frustration, and loyalty to team and town; baseball, whose elegant pace reminded us of the need to breathe amidst the now-continuous distractions of the day, and whose green fields are full of space yet demand attention; baseball, whose radio and television announcers comforted us through long summer nights and shorter autumn days with tube-warmed voices as familiar as our mothers; baseball, which never changes yet is always in motion, and which continually promises us a spot under lights or sun in which to simultaneously richly relax and deeply focus; baseball, which allows us to have the heroes of every stage of our long lives immediately recalled simply by seeing the number on a uniform; baseball, which belongs to the sepia city and the sluicing subways and the green fields and the crystal blue country skies, all at the same time; baseball, which declines to grow old, even as we do; baseball, which refuses to be rushed in an era where now has already come and gone; baseball, my dear friends, which like the beautiful cream-colored bird glimpsed from the Brooklyn Bridge and silhouetted against the skyline, mysteriously vanishes with the chill and returns with the first rumor of spring; baseball is back.

And to honor the return of baseball, and inspired by the accidental poetry to be found in the headline about the fastballer felled by fickle flicks of ashen bat, I am going to present you with some baseball haikus, to remind us of the grace, simplicity, and poetry inherent in our greatest game.

Aroldis Chapman/Has a Head Full of Staples/A courageous Red.

Moe Berg, Atomic Spy/Heisenberg’s sworn enemy/Batted .243.

Third Base Coach Ed Yost/Relays signals in my dreams/Of Miracle Days.

All Hail Pumpsie Green/Who sought solace in Holy Lands/With pal Gene Conley.

They called him The Bird/He flew, he skipped, then flamed out/What a character.

Alex Rodriguez/Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame./Shame, shame, what a shame.

I have seen few sights/As disturbing and odd as/Davey Johnson’s neck.

On Montague Street/We stop and pause at a plague:/Jackie was signed here.


Tim Sommer has been employed to varying degrees of gainfulness as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive.   The first baseball game he ever attended was on July 8, 1969, at Shea Stadium.  The New York Mets scored three runs in the 9th to come from behind and beat the Chicago Cubs, 4 – 3, giving Jerry Koosman the win.  

From the Web

Arts and Entertainment, Sports

With Apologies to Walt Whitman, an Opening Day Poem for Derek Jeter [VIDEO]

April 7, 2014

Just in time for Opening Day, Yankee fans from Brooklyn Heights and beyond wax poetic about Captain Derek Jeter in a revamped version of Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” directed by BHB’s Heather Quinlan. (Who would like it to be known that she is a Mets fan.) Featuring scenes from Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grace Church, and Cobble Hill’s Henry Public. Watch and enjoy, and may the best team win.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Existential Stuff

REMARKABLE INFORMATION! Facts, facts, facts!!!

April 3, 2014

Hello, Princesses and Princes in this, the most Kingly of Counties! Ah, yes, if you were kind enough to visit me in this space last week you may have noticed that, ah, um, I went a little Margot Kidder on you all!  And if you were in the vicinity of Henry and Joralemon Streets last Tuesday at about 10 PM, that barking you heard was me (I am sad but compelled, as part of my therapy, to admit that)!  And it wasn’t actually random barking; it was my Asta imitation, the same one that won me a $10 gift certificate at the Abraham & Strauss Employee Talent Show in 1959! But a quick visit to Carrie Fisher Center for the Treatment of Percodan Addiction seems to have made me at least partially able to participate in (what they CFCTPA call) “life with the normals,” so my nurses have handed me a glass of Clamato, a Zagnut, a legal pad, and a pencil, and instructed me that it would be “good for my therapy” if I got back on the wagon and churned out another column!!!

Well, since I wasn’t exactly out and about this past week (unless you call confinement to a mattress in a 5’ by 7’ windowless room on Swinburne Island “going out”), Mr. Recoverin’ Remarkable is going to have to dig into his archives for this week’s column!  (Oh, by the way, dearest readers, The Carrie Fisher Center is on Swinburne Island, and Swinburne Island, for those who don’t know, is a man-made Island – built in 1873 – in the Lower Bay, not too far from Staten Island; it originally housed the doomed and quarantined sick who were pulled off of Ellis Island. Real estate is cheap there, and the CFCTPA knew a bargain when they saw one, so they snapped it up and put up a few sheds and a Quonset hut, and imported a couple of doctors from, as far as I can tell, the Philippines).

(Oh, by the way, the poor chap pictured below isn’t me, but the unfortunate Leon Czolgosz, who you, dear reader, shall learn a little more about shortly.)

Fortunately, I have a file set aside for precisely these occasions (I last utilized it in 1986, when my depression over the suicide of Queens borough President Donald Manes tipped me into a catatonic state for three weeks).  The file is labeled Remarkable Facts!, and it contains all sorts of Tantalizin’ Tidbits and Insanely Amazin’ Info I’ve collected over the years!  AND IT’S ALL TRUE!!!

  • Researchers at Duke University have determined that 8 out of 10 people will become sleepy if they stare a dog directly in the eye!
  •  In the Netherlands, it is considered exceedingly rude to touch a stranger’s bicycle tire!
  •   The reason we call a prostitutes’ client a “John” is because of a very public scandal involving Indianapolis mayor John O’Dwyer in 1904!
  •   When President Lyndon Johnson was depressed, he would have aides roll him inside a carpet and throw him down a flight of stairs!
  • The original name of IHOP (the International House of Pancakes) was IHOPWESOOT (The International House of People Who Eat Spaghetti Out of Troughs)! In 1955, brothers Jerry and Al Lapin opened two IHOPWESOOTS – one in Siler City, North Carolina, the other in Greeneville, South Carolina.  These eateries were great successes, so the brothers opened a third IHOPWESOOT in 1956 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Problems with the North Carolina health department forced the two N.C. IHOPWESOOT’s to close in 1958, so in 1959, Jerry and Al reconfigured these two locations around a breakfast and pancake friendly concept, shortened the name, and the rest is history!  Oh, the one remaining IHOPWESOOT (the South Carolina one) changed its’ name in 1962 to Ye Olde Spaghetti Feedbag, and remains open to this day!
  • Jared Folgle – whom the world knows as “the Subway guy” – is the grandson of atomic spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg!
  •  Before Merv Griffin created Jeopardy!, he created a less-successful game show called That’s No Lady, That’s My Chimp!
  • The Black and Tan, a libatious staple of every Irish pub, was invented in 1916 by a Dublin-based terrorist group working for Irish independence, The Blacken Ten!
  • The actual inventor of the recording process later known as the Edison Disk was Leon Czolgosz!  After Thomas Edison stole Czolgosz’s idea, the inventor descended into madness, culminating with his assassination of President William McKinley in 1901!
  •  Due to the fact that he was born in England, funnyman Bob Hope was briefly interred as a Suspicious Alien by the U.S. Government during the 1938 Cordell Hull Poisoning Crisis!
  • The dog breed name “Pit Bull” originated with legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill!  Churchill, who was notoriously cruel to animals, owned four Staffordshire Bull Terriers, whom he kept chained in a small cage behind his quarters in the War Office.  The Prime Minister took to feeding the dogs only peach pits, which he claimed kept them “hungry, healthy, and regular as a soldier,” further citing that when he had been a prisoner of war himself in a Boer prison camp, his captors had fed him only on peach pits, and he had “turned out fine.”  Before long, due to their simple and constant diets, people around the War Office began to refer to Churchill’s dogs simply as “Pit Bulls.”

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

Tim Sommer has been employed to varying degrees of gainfulness as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive.   He is currently working on Beame!, a musical about New York City’s much maligned elfin Mayor of the same name, and he recently testified before the veterans’ committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame that middle reliever Terry Leach was the best pitcher he ever saw.


From the Web


Tell the Bartender Episode 31: A 9/11 Story

March 30, 2014

Listen to Episode 31: A 9/11 Story

Download From iTunes Here

In this Episode:

Mark Duffy worked in the World Trade Center for 20 years until September 11th, 2001. His son Chris was in school, just a few miles away. The two talk about that day and how they finally found their way home.

PLUS, a new drink inspired by and named after Blair Koenig from STFU Parents and listener shout outs! Like what you hear? Tip me! Or give the show 5 stars!

Chris Duffy is the host of You’re The Expert, an awesome show. Mark Duffy is retired and is a master hiker. He plans to climb to the highest peak in all 50 states.


Music Credits:

“Setting Sun” by Chris Powers

“Happens All The Time” by Chris Powers

“Pink Moon” by Nick Drake

“Bottled in Cork” by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

Source: Tell The Bartender

From the Web

Celebrity Residents

Lena Dunham and Jack Antonoff – Brooklyn Heights Power Couple Team Up for Bleachers’ New Music Video

March 28, 2014

Brooklyn Heights resident/member of fun. Jack Antonoff’s side project, Bleachers, dropped a new music video this week. The clip for “I Wanna Get Better” was directed by his girlfriend and fellow Brooklyn Heights resident/former Mr. Video III staffer/’Girls’ star Lena Dunham. News: The clip has Antonoff showing off his acting chops (and his pjs) as he tries to get his girlfriend to stay. “I’ll make you an espresso,” he pleads. But alas, she’s not interested in caffeine.

The break-up leads us into Antonoff’s day, which follows him through coffee spills and therapy sessions with patients that include Retta from Parks and Recreation and the bleached blond girl on the single’s cover singing his lyrics back at him. And of course, talking about take your daughter to work day, power clashing and abortion dogs.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Arts and Entertainment

Omission Accomplished: Five People Left Off BKMag’s 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture List

March 15, 2014

BK Mag’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture should have just been called an Ode to Gatekeepers. Some felt it was a roll call of monied, privileged gate keepers summed up in two words: Mikhail Prokorov. Still others will claim it’s a tribute to gentrifiers, carpet baggers and outsiders.

But, hey, any and all lists like BK Mag’s are subjective. So why not pile on with our own completely subjective list of the 5 Brooklynites we felt should have been part of the 100.

Jake Dobkin, Gothamist: Everyone you know reads Gothamist. Dobkin and company have successfully recreated the water cooler for real New Yorkers (and the well assimilated) who want to share their irritation, bemusement and “outrage” over the daily grind that is living in this crazy city. You don’t get more “Brooklyn Culture” than that.

Otis Pearsall, Preservationist – Without Pearsall’s leadership in the landmarking of Brooklyn Heights 50 years ago, none of this “brownstoning” would have been possible. Much of Brooklyn would look a lot more like Queens by now.

Adam Suerte, Artist: A Cobble Hill native (pictured above), the tattoo artist and gallery owner is one of a small handful of folks who represent real Brooklyn Culture. And, he’s the designer of our “remixed” logo above too.

Jim Carden and Andy Templar co-owners, The Bell House, Floyd, Union Hall: Forget the fact that they created the most awesome idea ever – BOCCE IN A BAR at Floyd and later Union Hall. Carden and Templar opened the Bell House which is arguably the epicenter of the best of “Brooklyn Culture”. From DJ Steve Reynold’s Party Like It’s 1999, the annual Kentucky Derby Party (hosted by Michael Boyd), hosting many podcasts, the NPR show Ask Me Another, John Hodgman’s Ragnarok, and the list goes on. They have created a venue where the creative and unpretentious can thrive.

Jeff Strabone, New Brooklyn Theater, #SaveLICH : The educator and former president of the Cobble Hill Association has been a tenacious warrior in the effort to save Long Island College Hospital. At the same time as chairman of the New Brooklyn Theater, he staged a production of Edward Albee’s The Death of Bessie Smith INSIDE Interfaith Hospital.

Who else do you think should be on this list of The Omitted? We encourage you to add your own thoughts about who we missed in the comments below.

From the Web