7 Things I’m Looking Forward to in the Bronx This Summer

Photowalk with Bronx Narratives and Dandy in the Bronx I’m really excited to partner up with these awesome Bronxites to explore Crotona Park.  Hopefully we’ll see you there!

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Boogie on the Boulevard the “largest Open Streets” festival in the Bronx is back, shutting down the center lane of Grand Concourse so people can bike, do yoga, read books, enjoy live music, create art, and so much more. I volunteered at the last one, but there are still two more left this summer!

Attending Sunset Wednesdays at Wave Hill – I’m going to put my new IDNYC membership to good use at this annual summer series.

Having a picnic while watching a movie outdoors

Lounging on Orchard Beach – I don’t care what anyone says, I love Orchard Beach and have always had a great time there. The key is to be in the right section (but you’re buggin’ if you think I’m going to reveal which one that is!)

Photograph by Shannon McGee

Sipping piña coladas on City Island – (usually after a trip to Orchard Beach.)

Going for a swim at the Floating Pool in Barretto Point Park – This one has been on my list for a while, but this year I’m making it my mission to get out to this unique pool at least once!

 

Savor the Bronx 2015: Bistro SK

I’ve wanted to go to Bistro SK, the Bronx’s sole French restaurant,  for a very long time, but something usually comes up (ok, it’s those City Island pina coladas. Such a distraction!)  This year for Bronx restaurant week, I was determined to make it.

When we first arrived, I quickly noticed that this place is the definition of a cute and cozy restaurant. We were greeted warmly by Stephane, the owner of Bistro SK. We sat down next to “the tree.” This is a real tree that has been boxed off to allow it to grow through the restaurant. Very cool.

I went to Paris maybe 5 years ago and I can’t remember if I had escargot, which is a sin, so I made sure to order them this time, just to make sure. By nature, I hate insects, but especially ones with no legs – worms, slugs, and of course, snails. So, I was a little wary if the texture would freak me out, but, I’m happy to report that it didn’t. The garlic butter sauce they were in was a delicious distraction.

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For my entree, I went with the bar raye roti (bass) which came with a side of basmati rice and vegetables. The portions were great – enough to fill me up without making me feel sluggish. Stephane was instrumental in helping my friend choose her entree, the fish special. Even though we were hesitant about the dish coming with a side of beets, Stephane assured us we would like them and he was right.

For dessert, we split what is known as the floating island, which is merengue with almonds on top, drizzled with caramel. It was interesting. To be honest, I can’t say I’d order it again, not that it was bad, but I didn’t love it.

Bistro SK also does brunch, so I’d be very curious to try that out, too. I’m certain I’ll be back in the near future.

Starving Artist Cafe Open Mic

Another one of my backlogged posts! But progress is progress. I’m on vacation this week so I hope to be all caught up.

So, I joined the Bronx Meetup group a little while back, but I never got around to attending any of the events. And technically, I got there too late to actually meet anyone without interrupting the performances, so I guess that defeats the purpose, um, but, yeah. I was there. This meetup was at the Starving Artist Cafe‘s Open Mic.

SA has this nice, cozy feel to it, almost as though you were in your living room, but cooler. And of course City Island has that small town feel to it to begin with. There are bookcases brimming with a wide variety of books and board games and a small area in the front for performers. There was actually a nice mix of performers- singers, comedians, poets.

I ate beforehand, so I only ordered a peppermint tea, but my friend ordered a brownie that looked like perfection (I wish I’d gotten a picture) with whipped cream and chocolate syrup drizzled on top. It was delicious. I’d definitely go back.

Mothers’ Day on City Island

I was totally off my game this Mothers’ Day. I don’t know what I was doing all last week, but before I knew it, it was Saturday at 7 pm, and I was like “Aaah, reservations!!!”

So, I called up Havana, only to find out that, of course, they were all booked for Mothers’ Day. (Dunkin Donuts had to substitute. *insert sad face*)

Luckily, my mother was already making dinner plans for my grandmother, so we headed over to the Lobster Box. This was my second time going there, you can actually read about my first by clicking here. [TL;DR I went for my Grandmother’s 90th birthday, it was fun. I liked it.]

This time, of course, we didn’t have a prix fixe menu, so I got to see the actual prices of everything. If this were Yelp, I’d give it two dollar signs. It was super crowded (did you hear about that traffic?! Two hours from Castle Hill to City Island. It’s like the whole borough was going out to CI), so our waiter wasn’t as attentive as he could have been. I got the filet of sole, which was okay. I thought it was a little bland, but everyone else at the table enjoyed their dishes. We also ordered a caraffe of white wine sangria that was very good.

Verdict: It’s a nice, spacious restaurant with decent food, just avoid high traffic days.

 

Friday Links

I was patrolling the inter-web this morning and came across a nice amount of really intriguing Bronx stories. We really could use some good news this week, right?

Famed City Island School-Turned-Condo Complex from 1890s Designated as City Landmark — NY Daily News

Bronx Variety Show Shines Light on Special Performers and Celebrates their Latin and Caribbean Heritage — NY Daily News

On the Beat: With a Gun and a Camera — NY Times ( I especially like when the Times does these sorts of slideshows. They’re always really stunning.)

What Would You Name Your Sandwich?

I came across this article while digging around the New York Times’ website that came out back in September. I often give the Times a lot of shit for a number of things, including: being overly verbose, getting to the party late (meaning: reporting on something that actual locals have known for ages and they just happened to find out 6 months later about), and letting the rest of the city know about the awesome places that I know about and don’t want to share (Taqueria Tlaxcalli!).

However, I can definitely give credit where it’s due. The profile of City Island spot, Papa John’s Deli, where sandwiches are named after loyal customers, paints a really great portrait of the place, filled with characters. My favorite quote  is from a customer named Martin Balassi, ” “The Carnegie Deli names their sandwiches after famous people — well, these people are famous to us.”

I definitely need to pay a visit to Papa John’s Deli. Have any of you been there? If you had a sandwich, what would be in it and what would you want it to be named? (For the record: The Bronx Socialite would have grilled chicken, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. And a deli pickle on the side.)

From City Island, With Love

I was worried that I wouldn’t get to go to City Island this summer, but today I finally got a chance to. I know many people consider the end of summer to be Labor Day, but I see no reason to cut the season short.

Today was the beginning of the City Island Arts and Crafts Fair where artisans from all over line the– I was going to say streets, but technically it’s just that one big road with booths and table of handmade goods.

I bought these gorgeous earrings from Tsanzi Kenya, the two ladies at the table were super nice and helpful.

I also stopped by a yard sale, there were a bunch of them going on, and bought a ring and a cup of lemonade from a little girl. I once tried to have a lemonade stand when I was younger, I think I literally had one customer, so hopefully she fared better.

Punky Glamour  also had a table with some very cool subway map themed lightswitch plates and coasters, but at that point I was low on cash, insert sad face.

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I couldn’t go to CI without making a stop at one of the fine dining options at the end of the island, Johnny’s Reef and Tony’s Pier. I’ll note that those italics are used in a completely sarcastic tone. Both have what my father refers to as “an element,” but I don’t go to either for the company the restaurants keep, it’s all about the food and the drinks. I had to get my obligatory pina colada and I was set.

But, I’m making a public plea for people to please stop feeding those nasty seagulls that hover around the outdoor dining spaces like a scene from The Birds.

Aside from that, the fair will be going on tomorrow as well from 11 a.m. –7 p.m., so you should stop by if you have a chance.