Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brooklyn , New York

I can't say that I know Brooklyn at all.  I have only been there once or twice and that was maybe 30 years ago.   Since Susan had a baby shower to go to in the afternoon, Dave and I headed out on our Sunday afternoon in New York to see the Botanical Garden that was founded in 1910.   As the brochure says, It features "more than 12,000 species and cultivars of plants from around the world".  But since it was lunch time we thought we would eat first.

So wandering down Washington Avenue with all it's "down at heel" ethnic restaurants  and laundromats, we happened upon the KIMCHI GRILL , a simple,  storefront eatery which looks like a modern, well conceived take-out "joint" more than a restaurant.

 The place was opened by Phillip Lee who also has a Kimchi Taco truck that he still runs.    The resident chef however is Michael Calderon who has an able international staff, seen cutting and dicing and cooking- up creative Korean dishes like kimchi quesadillas, ssam buns with spicy pork or beef and a barbecued diced beef which can be served as a dish over the rice or as a burrito.  

 We ordered the barbecue in the dish and with all its fresh relishes and accompanying salads it was a winner.  We sat at one of just a few tables but there was a brisk trade in take-out as well.   This little gem for meat-eaters can be found at 766Washington Ave ( Sterling place), Prospect Heights, Brooklyn  ( 718) 360-1839.  just minutes from the Brooklyn Art Museum.

  After that though,  I just had to have a soft ice cream from one of the trucks that abound in Manhattan and its surrounds.  It was on my innocent little list of American foods I wanted to eat again during the week.   This one wasn't as good as the Foster's Freeze I remember as a kid but it was good and much different from French soft ice cream which I believe uses more vanilla bean flavor.    I will never order a cone dipped in chocolate again.  After French chocolate, the brown stuff was terrible to taste and behold how it clung to the ice cream.   I should have known better. 

Next was the entry to the" Gardens" and quickly we were ducking into the Japanese Garden Koi house to dodge the beginning of rain.

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is peaceful and comprehensive ranging from a Shakespeare Garden and a Cherry Tree Esplanade to a large conservatory housing the Bonsai Museum and the Aquatic House,  two rooms of plants that live in or around water including tree ferns and carnivorous plants.   They have a desert and a tropical pavilion and a large room housing many plants I recognized from the Mediterranean called the Warm Temperature Pavilion.    In fact the Botanical Garden can not easily be seen in one visit and we didn't try.

A beauty from the bonsai house

  Tropical Pavilion:  Giant Lily pads

In the conservatory we came upon a gallery featuring artworks inspired by the natural world.  Here is a mobil that reminded me of Medusa, the little dreaded jelly fish we sometimes encounter on our beach in summer.  Only ours aren't neon pink!!  

Seeing the plants and pausing on the terrace cafe for an iced coffee was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday , especially one with intermittent showers. 

Next time I visit New York City I will make time for the Brooklyn Art Museum just around the corner from the Gardens and probably enjoy another Korean delicacy from the sleek KIMCHI GRILL.  

Brooklyn at a glance is a wonderful combination of yuppies and old-time residents who certainly wouldn't have the money to buy a place there now.... (or most likely even live there if it weren't for rent control.)   As in Manhattan, you see the rich and the poor... but this time, we saw them pretty much side by side...a wide variety of ethnicities in the streets and crowded restaurants.  

  I hope Brooklyn won't get too gentrified.  It would spoil the delicate balance that seems a part of it all. 

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