Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Over A Decade Later, I Finally Get My Wish: A Japanese Restaurant on Cortelyou!

Ever since I was 12 I'd been pining for a sushi joint/Japanese restaurant to come to Cortelyou Road. Well, as of May 16 at 5 pm, that wish has come true. Months ago Mega Hardware, sandwiched between San Remo and New Neighboor, closed its doors. Not so long after construction began, men worked behind covered windows, and it was uncertain as to what would be there. And, to my incredible delight, a red on white banner went up within a couple months saying "Japanese Restaurant coming soon!" And of course, perfect timing, the parental units arrived from the airport around 4:30 and they took The Boys and I out for the restaurant's opening night dinner. Decent prices, a large menu, lots of udon to choose from, and even two (TWO) vegetarian sushi platters. I am happy, even if it is a chain (cheaper than the one in Manhattan though!). We sat out in the garden, which needs a bit of work yet, and they need to improve their beer selection (NO Japanese beers on the menu!), but it was their first night, hopefully those things will change with time. We got there at around 5 after, and it was a good thing we did too, for when we left (some two and a half hours later mind you) it was positively packed, with a line going out the door. It was like the whole neighborhood came out to eat there, Missie and her father were eating in the front as we walked out, and Adam was waiting on line. We didn't have time to have dessert, as The Boys had to catch their bus down to DC, but what with it half a block away of course I'll be going again soon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cortelyou's Castello (and other things)

Jacques Cortelyou, hailing from Utrecht (and French Huguenots) came to Nieuw Netherlands, was appointed Surveyor General of the colony, and subsequently drew the first map of Nieuw Amsterdam (now more commonly known as New York City) in 1660. It is after him that Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park, part of Victorian Flatbush, is named. The name of this map, the Castello Plan, comes from the Villa di Castello in which it was found some two and a half centuries later in 1900 after having been sold to Cosimo III de’ Medici c. 1667.

On February 26th, the aptly named Castello Plan, a wine/tapas bar, and gourmet child of (the very Dutch named) owner Ben Heemskerk and chef Natasha Pogrebinsky, opened to the public. While I'd noticed it's opening in mid March, I had not yet had the chance to check it out. Well, I must say, I am in love with this little place after having had brunch there the other day. Quaint and cozy inside, with rustic wood paneling, wonderful heavy doors, and complete with terrace outside, this little place is an absolute win. And this is from the brunch alone. I cannot wait to try out their dinner and late night menus. They make their own bacon, their own fruit preserves, serve dangerously delicious bellinis and mimosas, and entire pots of tea. The food was out of this world, and the presentation was beautiful too. Regrettably I took no photos of our plates (The Boys and I having ordered the same thing), Allison took some of hers, but I'll be sure to take pictures the next time. We all sat around the table in silence for a good while just gobbling up every last morsel on our plates. And oh, the cheese selection! We had two rounds of the Blu di Bufala, a blue cheese made from the milk of Water Buffalo, and served with raspberry preserves, rustic bread, and walnuts. We are so lucky to have a place like this in the neighborhood, and luckier still that it's open late! Everything about this place is just adorable - the menus with an old map of the neighborhood on the backs, the bottle list especially with it's cork binding - the little terrace shaded by trees, and the service was impeccable to boot. Absolutely wonderful. The people who were waiting half an hour to brunch at The Farm on Adderley have NO idea what lies just across the street! Not to knock The Farm, I love their food, service not so much, waiting so long for brunch even less. But The Castello Plan is an absolute gem, and I can't believe it took me this long to eat there!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Me: 1 Leg Pain: None

HaHA, knee pain! I defeated you!

I took Thursday and Friday off, stairs still hurt on Friday but I took an easy walk and come Saturday I ran my farthest distance yet, with the least amount of stopping. Best part? Not sore at all. Not a bit. All that stretching I did before, during, and after surely helped. I'm also making a mental map of all the water fountains in the park, jotting down blue dots on a real map after I get home. Distances that used to seem so great before seem like nothing now. I'm going to push myself a little farther every time, run farther, run longer without stopping, just on running. I've already noticed my breathing is better, and it's only been a week! I haven't made the whole loop yet, I haven't wanted to risk killing my legs/knees before they're ready (especially after how they felt Thursday!), I also want to have a clearer map of the water fountains before I do so - hydration's important! But that is my personal goal, to do the loop. I'm gonna do baby loops till then, around the lake, the boat house, the Nethermead, etc. Funny part: the distance I run every time is roughly the same as doing the loop itself! I know I know, big deal, the loop, it's totally easy I'm sure, but it's important not to overextend yourself - this is how I hurt my knee to begin with, and I don't want any repeats.

It's a heady feeling, this running again. Also all the good food I've been eating. I was craving a bacon cheeseburger like mad on Saturday, but I opted for quinoa pasta, broccoli, and beets instead. I might have caved for bacon on Sunday morning though...naughty! But I want to be absolutely clear, I am not doing this to lose weight by any means. I am vehemently against my losing weight. I've always declared that if anything, I need to gain weight. This is just a means to be active again, to build muscle strength, and tone some body parts that could use some toning in the process... If I dip below a certain weight level, I'll eat a whole pizza to compensate. That sounds...really good right now. OK. Lunch time! And then to the park!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Operation: Healthy Hilary

My resolutions, it would appear, seem to come out for my birthday as opposed to new year's. I've decided to make some changes in my life, less takeout food (i.e. GREASE), more exercise (running), being outside more (running in the park, working outside more, etc.), and other things that I hope will make me a happier, healthier human being. I hadn't bought any chocolate in a week, I've replaced my traditional go-to snack with apples. I'm cooking a lot more, and not the fake cooking packaged things with pouches that miraculously turn into something edible. I've gotten Chinese once in the last two weeks. I haven't had pizza since April 14. I've been running every day since Sunday. My only exception is today, because I did something nasty to my knee and can't even walk up and down the stairs without grimacing. It's resting on top of Adam's giant bouncy ball, one of those Icy Hot bandages doin' it's thang on it. I guess I should have a) stretched more b) not sprinted so soon c) not pushed myself so hard so quickly? I don't know. If it still hurts in a few days I'm gonna get it checked out, but all my other aches and pains and sore body parts healed within a day or two, so I'm hoping this knee will follow suit.

Anyway. I'm frustrated with my knee and feel landlocked. I usually walk home on Thursdays from the Slope, but something told me I shouldn't when my legs cry from just sitting down and standing up. Sigh. I feel whiny. And antsy. And I really wanted to go running today. Stupid knee.