Wondering what to do for Father’s Day?
Brooklyn’s Sip Fine Wine offers these words of wisdom.
The holidays are over. The winter feels as though it will last forever. You long for an escape from the cold but you can’t leave the city.
In Manhattan, City Bakery has the solution. Every February, when the weather is at its bleakest, they host a Hot Chocolate Festival. Now in its 21st year, the Festival celebrates the rich, creamy drink by featuring a different special flavor every day of the month. This year, the flavors range from Bourbon (February 8) to Vietnamese Cinnamon (February 10) to Creamy Stout (February 15th).
Today, I’m being a bit of a purist, with Darkest Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate (so thick you can eat it with a spoon) topped with one of City Bakery’s home made marshmallows. And suddenly, February doesn’t seem long enough.
FreshDirect, New York’s premiere online grocery service, made its first deliveries to Roosevelt Island in Manhattan in 2002. Over the years it has expanded into other sections of the city (even New Jersey) and has won legions of detractors and admirers.
While critics have blasted the company for “overpackaging” (FreshDirect responded by reducing the amount of packing materials they use) and branded those who use it as “lazy,” I’ve been a satisfied customer since first they began serving my neighborhood.
While I find myself in local grocery stores nearly every day, I’ve come to rely on the FreshDirect team to deliver those items that — while cost-effective — are simply too heavy to me to schlepp home: cases of beverages, bags of kitty litter and huge containers of laundry detergent. I also scan their weekly newsletter to check out the latest offerings and bargains.
This week, however, some of the items currently featured on their Web site under the heading “Healthy Living For Less” don’t seem like such a bargain to me.
All over America, at this very moment, people are peeling, chopping, roasting and baking, busily preparing traditional Thanksgiving meals. But one person in Brooklyn is seeking an alternative to expending all that time, effort and money via a Freecycle Thanksgiving.
Freecycle, if you are not familiar with it, is a simple, rather noble concept: those who have things they can’t use give them freely, as gifts, to those who need them. The object is to reduce waste, save valuable resources and ease the burden on landfills.
Freecycle members contact each other online using message boards operated by the Freecycle Network. While most members post messages describing the items they want to give away, a few request items they want but don’t have.
This “wanted” listing, posted the evening before Thanksgiving, struck me as particularly ambitious and audacious, and I can’t help wondering what type of response it will generate.
In any case, however you choose to celebrate the day, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving.
Western Beef is a New York-based chain of warehouse style supermarkets. Despite the word “Western” in the name, and the cactus in its logo, this store is very much Eastern and urban; the highest concentration of Western Beefs is in the Bronx, with Queens running a close second.
The company, whose origins go back to the early 1900s, uses the slogan “We Know the Neighborhood.” They explain that
Through diligent demographic research and paying close attention to our customers, we have determined each neighborhood’s specific needs, by learning about the local population’s ethnicity and product demands.
In other words, the stores, many of which are located in areas with sizable immigrant populations, sell merchandise selected to appeal to the nearby shoppers. I bought these unusual soup mixes, manufactured by Grace Foods, in the Western Beef store on Brooklyn’s East New York Avenue, a largely Caribbean neighborhood.
You know how they say, “If you see something, say something”? I did it.
Today I saw something – a sign – that made me very suspicious. So I walked over and looked closely at the notice that was posted outside an Au Bon Pain coffee shop. Then I went in and questioned the staff. Yep, they said, it was for real. Free iced coffee, no purchase required.
I poured a cup for myself and I walked out feeling a bit uneasy, even though the man at the cash register assured me that they wouldn’t have me arrested for stealing the drink.
I was enjoying the refreshing drink when I rounded the corner and saw a group of Homeland Security officers who were patrolling the area. I heard one man tell the others that he was about to take a break and go buy a cup of coffee. I had to say something! I ran over and told the Homeland Security officers about the deal.
He thanked me for the tip, entered the shop (without his bomb-sniffing dog) and got a free iced coffee, too.