Monday, May 26, 2008

Brooklyn! The West Coast Tour.

Springtime! Finally! After endless months of the passive-aggressive late onset winter that would not die, we are finally having some nice weather. Birds singing! Blue skies! Seasonal Affective Disorder subsiding! So on Sunday, my darling Jonathan and I decided to make the rounds along Brooklyn's East River banks. We were originally inspired by an art installation in the shadow of the far side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Since we hadn't done it yet, we decided that it was a good opportunity to walk the bridge... with all the other people who also thought that that would be a good idea. Regardless of the crowds, it was a lovely walk. The bridge is of course a striking feat of engineering, even if frighteningly old.

We made it to the far side and worked our way back to the waterfront to see the spectacle, which is part of the 125th Anniversary celebrations for the bridge that were happening this weekend. The particular item of interest, the Telectroscope, is a well executed Victorian / steampunk bit of techno-multimedia art that allowed us to wave hello to some people in London. Er, I mean, an amazing underground tunnel with an intricate mirror system that allowed us to wave hello to some people in London. Yeah. It was neat. And an entertaining footnote: there were at least three brides in full regalia with maids in tow having pictures taken.

From Brooklyn Heights, we made our way north through Dumbo. And I have to say, what the hell happened? I was over there just two years ago for an art show in some girl's illegal warehouse studio, and I definitely did NOT see the fancy furniture stores, or the sushi place, or the freaking Starbucks. Not that I think this gentrification started last week; I know it's been under way for well over a decade. But seriously? A Starbucks? Well, at least it gave us someplace to use the restroom.

After taking in the new Dumbo for the sights it had to offer and perusing a bookstore which inhabits a space that could easily be an amazing gallery, we were starving. It's a long walk over the bridge, you know. So we decided to partake in the gentrified meal offerings and stopped into Miso sushi restaurant. We were encouraged by the "vegetarian" section on the menu outside... and ended up ordering 5 out of the 6 veg rolls on offer. We also had their miso soup, which they swore did not contain any type of fish product.

For the most part it was standard fare as far as vegetable sushi goes, with exceptions in each direction. Exception #1: the bad - the avocado and sundried tomato roll. Good in concept, but you can't just slap a huge, inedible slab of sundried tomato into an avocado roll and expect it to suddenly be delish. slice it thin, chop it, or according to Jonathan-the-foodie rehydrate it at the very least. Exception #2: the good - the peanut avocado roll. Yes, yes, yes! My favorite sushi place in Midtown does a peanut roll, but it's just peanuts in rice and so it's a little dry. But throw a little avocado in there and... yes! Vegetable fat a-go-go - the perfect peanut roll. If Miso would work on the sundried tomato issue, and add a mango roll, their "vegetarian" roll section might approach perfect.

After our afternoon (sushi) delight, we jumped on the F train to get to the G train which took us up to good old Williamsburg... ish. We were on a mission: we'd heard tell that vegan ice cream cones, involving neither grocery store nor the frustrations of self scooping, were now within reach. Sure enough, at Penny Licks on the west side of Bedford between 8th and 9th streets, we found what we've been kvetching about not having for ages. A dainty ice cream parlor and pastry shop, Penny Licks offered us the options of scoops in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and cookie dough in sugar or cake cones. They also boasted several flavors of the now ubiquitous Vegan Treats cakes as well as some amazing looking vegan brownies, whoopie pies, and other tempting diabetic nightmares. While they do sell many non-vegan items, we couldn't help being tickled pick at the range of options on which to gorge ourselves. Jonathan and I each walked out with cones in hand, he with simple chocolate and I with chocolate and cookie dough, both content as can be at finally besting the snobs lined up at the Mr. Tastee truck.

We finished up the day with scotches and beers on the back deck of Union Pool - hey, we can play hipster with the best of them. Summer is in the air, I can feel it. Anyone up for tofurkey sausages on the BBQ? All in all, it was a good way to spend our first full day together being officially engaged, real ring and all... but that's a different blog entirely, now isn't it.

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