Honey and
food and travel

Friday, 29 April 2016

5 Things & 3 More

5 happy moments from the last 5 days:

1. Baking and eating Ovenly's peanut butter cookies.
2. Editing endless photos of cherry blossom.
3. Running with friends for the first time in ages.
4. Jam on my oatmeal.
5. B's family's new puppy. I wish we weren't so far away so we could have many, many snuggles with the gorgeous little munchkin.

3 things to read this weekend:

1. GB's new Olympic kit. I think I'm going to buy it all.
2. Ab Fab the movie. Bloody exciting, darling.
3. Craving a return trip to Sicily. It's been too long since we had a proper holiday. Two years without a trip to a sun-drench beach is too long.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Silent Beauty of the Cherry Blossoms

Following up on the post below, I just wanted to share with you all this totally unprofessional video of the cherry blossom, in case you hadn't already seen it on Instagram, and needed this endless, pastel pink beauty to be vividly brought to life.

Brooklyn's Cherry Blossom

We'd been waiting for the perfect day to visit Brooklyn Botanical Garden's famous cherry blossoms for many, many weeks. Every day for at least a month we've been repeatedly checking the Cherrywatch map on the garden's website, wondering whether it was still to early, or if we were waiting too long, if maybe we were going to miss the blossom entirely. And then came the question of whether we should wait for a sunny day, or should we put up with going even when the skies are grey? Finally, a week before the real cherry blossom festival gets underway, there was a sunny Sunday morning, and the trees were almost all marked as as being in first or peak bloom. We rushed up Flatbush Avenue to the botanical gardens to spend a couple of hours admiring their bountiful beauty, dancing under the pale pink blossoms, and basking in the cherry-dappled sunlight. I'll let the (multiple) images do the rest of the talking for me.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Friday, 22 April 2016

5 Things

5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Sunny evenings in the backyard.
2. Many, many margaritas at Patron's #PerfectMargarita event.
3. Peppermint tea.
4. Pizza in the park.
5. Singing along to the oldest (and best) Taylor Swift songs.

3 things to read from around the web:

1. Trying to understand the Coachella way of life.
2. Congratulations to this principled restaurant critic. Seriously impressed.
3. This pencil shop is one of my favorite NYC places. Here you can begin to understand how it works.

Happy weekend y'all!


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie

We first walked past the big pink sign pointing to Steve’s Key Lime Pie last September. I (in my food-obsessed head) took note, but for some reason ignored the instruction to turn left. It may have been because I was carrying two huge blue Ikea bags, or because I was running at 6.30 in the morningm so the pie shop probably wasn’t open. But last weekend we were in Red Hook empty handed, and so we turned left at the pie sign.

Steve’s Key Lime Pie is a tiny little shop. You open the door to a small line of people who fill the room, leading up to a counter, behind which is a rickety fridge full of lime pies in varying sizes, a freezer filled with their frozen pie-on-a-stick vacation, and a chest freezer full of ice for the limonade. No money has been spent on fuss or design or aesthetic pleasure: This place feels more like the hallway of a village hall than a much-loved, Brooklyn-famous pie store.

There is, however, something wonderful about a shop or a business which specializes so resolutely on one item. Besides the classic key lime pie, Steve has only expanded his repertoire to a mini frozen take on the pie, and cups of limonade. The key lime theme prevails, and he is not moving far from it. Once you’ve tasted the pie and sipped on the limonade, you’ll understand why. And you'll forgive them for the lack of interior design.

The key lime pie - of which we shared one small one due to the copious amounts of barbecue that we’d just eaten - has a buttery graham cracker crust, and is simply filled with a zesty, citrusy, zingy lime curd. It’s like the classic lemon tart’s exotic cousin. Next time we won’t be so stupid as to buy just a small one, no matter how many spare ribs we’ve just consumed. I passed on the limonade, for fear that I honestly couldn’t fit anything else in my stomach, but I - typically - then proceeded to drink all of B’s. With just a hint of sweetness, and plenty of ice, this is my new summer drink of choice. Add I think it should always come served with a slice of Steve’s unbeatable key lime pie.

Steve’s Key Lime Pie, 185 Van Dyke Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Hometown Bar-B-Que

The best barbecue (by which I mean American barbecue - the smoky, slow-cooked, Southern kind, not the British word for any form of outdoor Summer eating) I've ever had is undoubtedly at Hometown. When we had just moved in to our Brooklyn apartment and were spending what felt like every weekend at Ikea, Hometown was the one thing that made those trips to the gigantic blue and yellow warehouse in Red Hook bearable.

I have now recovered from my Ikea-phobia. Not enough to return to Ikea but enough to fall in love with its surrounding neighbourhood.  A trip to Red Hook feels like a trip to some isolated little town which is a haven of food, sport, artists, and plants, far away from New York City.

This weekend, we were on a mission to buy a friend for the newest member of our family, a little green plant called Spike, and the nearest sizable and reasonably priced garden centers are in Red Hook. And no trip to Red Hook is complete without feasting on ribs and cornbread at Hometown.

We joined the already fairly long line, and watched it expand rapidly behind us as the late-Saturday-lunchtime crowds arrived. With plenty of time to make our decision as we waited, we had settled on the perfect combination by the time we got to the front: spare ribs, beef brisket, mac and cheese, slaw, and cornbread. We took two seats at the bar, and sat there silently enjoying the salty, smokey, fatty, deep flavors of the soft brisket and the melting ribs. The mac and cheese was classically American, the perfect balance of cream and salt, and the slaw was the ideal antidote to all the richness which made up the rest of our meal. Don't miss out on the cornbread either (you really do need to go hungry): its sweet, sticky, maple syrup crust is perhaps the most magical item on your metal tray.

How people eat more than this portion that was shared between the two of us (and we had both done silly amounts of exercise that morning, and were suitable starving), I have no idea. And yet they do. What we split was less than anybody else was eating on their own. We were full to the point of explosion, but we couldn't let just one piece of that creamy macaroni go to waste, and so devoured the whole plate. It was soon time to walk it all off on a long stroll around the sun-drenched streets of Red Hook, admiring the spectacular views of Lady Liberty and Manhattan as we went.

Hometown, 454 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Friday, 15 April 2016

5 Things & 3 More

5 happy moments from the last few days:

1. Catching the last of the sun's rays in our little garden after work
2. Broccoli and anchovy mac and cheese
3. Rhubarb
5. The West Wing podcast. My days mostly involve listening to and watching The West Wing.

3 things to read from around all these web pages:

2. Harry Potter is coming back! But without Harry.
3. I really need to do more stretching after running. The benefits of the cool-down.

Happy weekend y'all! Get out and enjoy the sunshine!


Monday, 11 April 2016

Two Hands

C and O came to visit us in NYC, so we obviously had to meet for brunch. C choose Two Hands from a sillily long list that I sent over, and so, after some confusion about which location we were meeting at (which led to some quick walking from Tribeca, through Chinatown, to Nolita), a table became free, and we sat down underneath the fluffy clouds hanging from the ceiling. 

This Antipodean cafe makes me want to flee the grey New York skies to sunny Australian beaches, with a surfboard, lots of coffee, and endless avocado on toast. It wraps up the relaxed, warm, sun-glazed Aussie atmosphere and brings it to us always-black-wearing New Yorkers. We sipped on our perfect coffees and ordered avocado toast for the girls and BLATs (bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato sandwiches) for the boys. Bright, fresh food, with the perfect amount of heat, and a spritz of citrus, all served on a pretty plate. Forcing ourselves to step back out into the rain, rather than ordering more coffee and a slice of the magical looking banana bread, was more than little challenging.

Two Hands, 264 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013 

Friday, 8 April 2016

5 Things

5 happy moments from the last 5 days:

1. My best friend came to visit. We managed not to cry. I'm not going to let her leave.
2. This song. On repeat. Permanently.
3. Evening reading.
4. Big cups of American coffee.
5. Writing silly articles at work. They made me laugh.

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Juliana's Pizza

For maman and papa's most recent visits, we had all managed to get tickets to watch Nice Fish at St Anne's Warehouse. News that Mark Rylance was in 1 mile proximity from  my parents temporary home meant that not going to this play was out of the question. So on Thursday night we were in need of an early dinner. I rushed out of work at 5.30pm, and crammed on to the usual F train, getting off a couple of stops early in Dumbo. After a brisk walk I found Juliana's, and maman and papa already standing in a line which was disturbingly long for 6pm on a weeknight. Half an hour later, with B still trying to find his way there, we were ushered inside to be seated at our table. 

Pre-theatre (I just typed theater naturally and now I'm sad about how American I've become) suppers are always a tricky thing. I'm rarely a fan of a pre-theatre (did it again) set menus, and don't particularly enjoy eating with the toddlers who are the other restaurant guests at 5.30pm on a weekday. However, in America, pre-theatre meals seem to be slightly less of a set-in-their-ways issue. This is mainly due to the fact that everyone eats at 6pm, no matter what age they are, or what their plans are for the rest of the evening.

The decor at Juliana's is pretty nonexistent, bar the striking, searing hot pizza oven at the back of the room. The service is friendly, and natural, in a classic American way. The customers are a mix of tourists, the obviously Italian owners, and all the locals. The pizzas are phenomenal. As in, possibly the best pizza I've ever had in my entire life.

We munched our way through some surprisingly perfect Romaine hearts with Caesar dressing. This simple salad was so tasty we ordered another. A good sign for a pizza restaurant. It's rarely worth ordering anything other than the doughy special. Apart from Pizza Express' dough balls with garlic butter, which will forever hold a special place in my heart, no matter how bad the indigestion I get from them is.

We had one large number 1 and one large number 4. Set on the metal pizza stands, we split these two gigantic pizzas between the four of us. B was very happy to be with three people who had already been out for lunch that day and who were therefore willing to give him more than his fair share of slices. Number 1 was rich, intense, and an explosion of flavor: on the crispy, perfectly charred dough, was melted mozzarella, topped with Scamorza affumicata (a smoked Italian cow's milk cheese), pancetta, scallions, and Oregon-grown white truffles. White pizza perfection. Number 4 (the more photogenic of the two), was the same delicate base, but this time topped with tomato, mozzarella, arugula, and prosciutto. The only way I can explain to you how good it was is to say that maman and papa, who had just spent several days eating pizza in Naples, declared this the best pizza they've ever tasted. If that's not a good enough reason to get yourself to Juliana's right now, then I don't know what is.

Juliana's, 19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Baked in Brooklyn

A sunny spring day was made up of a lot of walking as we led maman and papa across Gowanus, up through Park Slope (via Milk Bar for coffee), around Prospect Park, along Windsor Terrace (with a quick stop for lunch at Krupa Grocery - fab grilled cheese), and finally we followed our noses down to Greenwood cemetery.

When I say we followed our noses, I mean it quite literally. Before starting our sun-drenched explorations of Greenwood cemetery we were looking for a quick coffee and sugar stop at Baked in Brooklyn. Once you're about 10 blocks away from this bakery, you know it. The scent of cinnamon buns and freshly baked bread fills the air around Greenwood. I am honestly tempted to pick up my belongings and move to an apartment in this south Brooklyn neighborhood just so I can be surrounded by the smell of freshly baked treats all day, every day.

The factory-esque exterior of Baked in Brooklyn isn't a facade, as us New Yorkers have come to expect from most warehouse buildings in this city. Once inside, glass interior walls divide you from the real bread and bun making. Expert bakers plait 6-braided challah loaves in less than a minute (Great British Bake Off contestants could really learn something from their skills), perfect spheres of dough plop out from a loaf shaping machine, and freshly baked loaves run down the conveyor belt, to be collected and checked for quality by a trusted baker at the bottom of the run.

After I'd got over the excitement of watching the speed of the loaf-plaiting man, and debated for a while about whether I should quit my job and come and work in this bread-baking heaven, I returned to the important matters at hand, and set about deciding what we should eat. Iced coffees and cinnamon buns were the final decision, followed by the free butter 'cookies' filled with jam that they were offering around. The bun was fluffy, and light, and sweet, and as perfect as a sugar-filled American-style cinnamon bun should be. When every layer and scrap of icing had disappeared, we finally had the energy to tackle the roaming hills of Greenwood cemetery.

Baked in Brooklyn, 755 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Friday, 1 April 2016

5 Things

5 happy moments from the last few days:

1. Political TV shows. Watching multiple at once. Obsessed.
2. Easter cookies and Easter Peeps.
3. Having less hair to brush in the morning. It makes a significant difference to the time I have in the day.
4. Risotto. Always so dreamy.
5. Bumping into friends on morning runs.

Happy weekend!

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