Monthly Archives: February 2012

Eggs, toast, mimosa, perfection.

London has the infamous full english, Rome has espresso and a brioche, but New York has the ultimate, the king of all breakfasts: the brunch.

My travels have taken me far and wide, but never have I encountered a better brunch than in New York.  Many New Yorkers have “brunch pride,” and there’s a good reason for it, hence:

1. Brunch typically starts around 11am, and can go until 4:30pm!

2. Brunch is one meal that can take the place of three meals

3. Cocktails at brunch are not uncommon- mimosa’s and bloody mary’s are most popular

4. Brunch consists of the best food groups (eggs, toast, pastry, fruit, home fries, and sometimes whipped cream)

5. There’s nothing better to cure a hangover

Recently, I have brunched at three restaurants in Brooklyn; Roberta’s (Bushwick),  Fabiane’s (Williamsburg) and Chez Oskar (Fort Greene).  I loved the laid-back-french-bohemian atmosphere at Chez Oscar, thought the eggs were perfect at Roberta’s, but was a little disappointed with the lack of creativity at Fabiane’s.

Roberta’s is a haven in my neighborhood, as we have a severe lack of restaurants in general.  This Bushwick brunch spot is immensely popular, as the menu is tasty, organic, and inventive.  I enjoyed my meal complete with mimosa, and my only regret was that I didn’t take a box of their sticky buns home.

Chez Oskar is sunny, funny, and French.  Their eggs benedict did not disappoint- neither did the coffee.  My girlfriends and I had a fantastic time and would go back again soon (though a bit earlier, as it took awhile to be seated).

Fabiane’s had European style cappuccino, but their brunch menu was bland.  I had the baked eggs with feta cheese and tomato, which tasted ok, but lacked presentation.   Note to self: next time ditch the eggs, and go for the divine looking desserts in the gleaming case!

All in all, I always have a great time at brunch, and am happy to spend my dollars on delicious food, and a relaxing sunday afternoon experience.  After all, it’s much harder to go to work on Monday, if you haven’t had a proper brunch on Sunday 🙂

My roommates (foodies) have generously shared more places for a Sunday bite below:

Balthazar Restaurant

Walter Foods 

Spoon

Clinton Street Baking Company

Frankie’s

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On Reinvention.

Yes, I know, I’ve not been posting often.. but there’s a reason why.  Upon my return to NYC I’ve been faced with another set of challenges.  Where I want to go with this blog entirely depends on my interests and what I plan to focus on in this city.. and the options are overwhelming!

The funny thing about moving so often, is that in each new place, you are given the choice  to reinvent yourself.  When I lived in Milan, I reinvented myself as a socialite (and a gelato fanatic, but let’s not get into that)- I tried to meet many people, attend many parties (er, clubs), and travel to many places.  When I lived in Boston, I reinvented myself for the corporate world- I dyed my hair from blonde to brown, read the newspaper on the T, and worked 9-5.

When I resided in Amsterdam, I reinvented myself in many ways: as a sort of Mary Poppins (nanny, home maker, etc) music enthusiast, and frequent traveller.  Now in New York I’m given yet another opportunity to pursue other interests, such as fashion and art.  Gosh, I’m starting to think I have too. many. interests.

Anyways, in the beginning (about two weeks ago when I moved), I wanted to keep my Brooklyn life simple.  Work hard, enjoy the company of friends, live a well- balanced life, cook healthy meals and go to the gym.  That was all.

Now, after meeting new people, riding the subway, seeing and feeling the rhythm of the city, I want more.  I want to reinvent myself with salsa lessons, and writing courses, boutique shopping, and theatre nights.  Galleries and patisseries beckon me with every glance.   There are martinis to be drank, parks to be walked through, and jazz to be listened to.  I want to live and breath New York culture again, and nothing shall stop me!

And now I progress to the point of this post.

When you live in such a varied city, you have choices on where to spend your money, and often you are judged on those choices.  Call it materialistic, call it phony, call it whatever you like, but in the big apple, one’s purchasing choices are a major topic of conversation.

Every like and dislike of my New Yorker friends is filed away in a little library in my brain, and brought to the forefront during what I call, a “preference discussion.”

Do you like Billy’s or Magnolia’s cupcakes?

Do you prefer Moma or The Met?

Starbucks or the coffee shop around the corner?

Bloomingdales or Henri Bendel? (for me, it’s more like H&M or Zara..)

Brooklyn or Manhattan?

Japanese or Thai?

Opera or ballet?

The possibilities are endless.

In the big city, it’s all about the little choices.  We may not control how fast the subway goes, or the price of our deli sandwich, and we CERTAINLY cannot control the price of a cocktail ($12 for a vodka tonic last night- boy, I wish money grew on trees)– BUT, we can control our preferences and hold our opinions as high as the Brooklyn bridge.

This all came full circle to me the other night as I was sitting at my new desk, staring at the New York City skyline, and practically pulling out my hair trying to think about what to write.  In my new New York City life, I would like to focus on discovering and reviewing the best of what this city has to offer, therefore reinventing myself as a proper New Yorker with educated opinions.  Whether it’s a yoga class or a restaurant in Little Italy, a new exhibit at The Frick Collection, or a music venue, New York has it all, and it would be my honor to share “it” with you.   For myself, I hope to find some new classes and hobby’s to keep me thoughtful, feeling fit, and in-the-know (salsa is at the top of the list..)

Finally!  It feels so wonderful to have a purpose.  This weekend I’ll be reviewing brunch spots in Brooklyn; bring your coffee, and read up on the best eggs in town.  xx Helen Anne

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