12/20/11 2:09pm
Brokelyn: Major League Dreidel, Knitting Factory

Major League Dreidel. Photo courtesy of Gabi Porter, Metromix New York.

Hanukah starts tonight and continues until Wednesday, Dec. 28 — which means it’s one of those rare years where it coincides with Christmas. Maybe that’s why there’s so much going on this year, starting with not-so-beardy-dude Matisyahu’s three-night gig for a not-so-Brokelyn $35 a ticket. (Better roll gimmel!) If your only coinage this year is the chocolate kind, you can still party like a Maccabee, from the lighting of Brooklyn’s largest menorah to a couple of indie rock shows to a night of bubbe jokes and free beer. So get out there and save Chinese food and a movie (“Jewish Christmas”) for some other time. (more…)

12/20/10 1:17am

Doomed QueensIf Kris Waldherr runs out of ideas for her next book, here’s one she should write: an artist’s guide to career success. Waldherr has parlayed her considerable illustration talents into a suite of books, iphone apps, card decks, prints and even an art licensing business that she runs out of her bright storefront workspace in Ditmas Park.

Her award-winning 2008 book DOOMED QUEENS: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di (Broadway Books, $16), is a brainy chick gift-closet staple, for teenage Tudors fans on up.

In time for the holidays, Waldherr has just come out with two accompanying card decks. (more…)

12/06/10 10:31am

Back in June, my best friend Laurel and I were talking with a visiting friend about our many goals for 2011. Among them: to move out of the country, one way or another. Our friend, an experienced globe-trotter from France, told us about something that seemed like our ticket out: Working Holiday Visas, visas where young people (usually between 18 and 30) can go live and work in another country for six months to a year. It’s a combo pass of sorts that gives you longer abroad than a tourist visa (which get you three to four months) and is a whole lot easier to get than a work visa. The point of the thing? To travel and experience life, earn a living and hang around long enough to pretend you’re a native. (more…)

12/02/10 10:30pm

bloody mary mixIf you’re a Bloody Mary lover, nothing offends your delicate Sunday morning sensibilities like a bad mix — and oh the myriad ways they err. Too much Worcestershire, too sweet, no heat, to the point that a poorly executed Bloody is more the norm than a good one. The locally-based McClure’s pickle purveyors solve that persistent woe with a Bloody Mary mix that’s as close to spicy-salty-tart tomatoey bliss as we’ve ever tasted. The secret mix: pickle brine and fresh-pressed cucumber juice. Oh. God. It’s. So. Good. $10 or thereabouts at BK Larder, Stinky, Greene Grape, Market, the BK FLea and more.

05/06/10 5:34pm
Wouldn't your mom lover her very own avatar?

Wouldn’t your mom love her very own avatar?

So it’s kind of a Hallmark holiday—you want a card with that perfect “thank you” that puts a tear in your mom’s eye and lets her know you love her, and you didn’t mean to not call her back for a month. Gifts are good too, and the show-your-love clock is ticking, so you need something good, fast. And not too expensive. We’ve all gone the last-minute, impersonal route—the candle, the soaps the Amazon gift card. But just because it’s, like Thursday, doesn’t mean it’s too late to do something more interesting. Here are 10 suggestions: (more…)

12/24/09 5:12pm

parmesanBKLYN Larder isn’t Brokelyn’s usual hang, but believe me, we get it. So what’s the most worthwhile splurge amid the $50 olive oils and $18 cookies at this Park Slope gourmet shop? We’re going with the $22-a-pound G. Cravero Parmigiano Reggiano because 1) there really is a difference between the supermarket kind and the good stuff and 2) the recipient will recall your generosity as he sprinkles and shaves his way through a season’s worth of wintry soups and pastas. Get there quick—the Larder, at 228 Flatbush Ave., is only open today until 6, and it’s closed tomorrow. Go for broke (literally) and buy a pound, or get half that and you’ll have enough left over for a sexy carbon steel picnic knife: (more…)

12/23/09 1:44pm
Smith & Vine in Carroll Gardens.

Smith & Vine in Carroll Gardens.

A holiday party without good wine is like… well… enough said. With the sheer number of get-togethers on most folks’ calendars this time of year, bringing a bottle to every gathering can get a little out of hand. But nobody wants to leave their celebrating cohorts dry either. We called up some of Brooklyn’s best sellers for their affordable holiday picks, and here’s what they recommend. All bottles are under $10 a pop and available at a wine shop near you. (more…)

12/23/09 2:02am

teaBrokelyn is officially in favor of splurgy little pick-me-ups (cause we can’t afford big ones), and a current addiction is stopping into Sacred Vibes Apothecary for a couple ounces of custom-blended tea. The chamomile/peppermint/licorice is a soothing balm for what ails us (being awake at 3 a.m.) and rest assured shop owner Karen Rose has a leafy blend for what afflicts anyone on your list too. Yes there are teas for eczema, arthritis and high blood pressure, but if you don’t think Constipation Relief Tea is an appealing stocking stuffer, how about one that promises beautiful skin? The cocktail of calendula, red clover, chickweed, burdock root and cleavers makes for pleasant winter sipping, and Karen says it’s like a facial in a teacup. Or maybe we said that. Beautiful Skin Tea is $10 a 2-ounce bag at Sacred Vibes, 376 Argyle Rd. between Cortelyou and Dorchester, 718-284-2890.

12/22/09 1:13pm

glovesWe’re gonna catch all kinds of crap for posting a gift from Target, since it isn’t exactly a homespun mom-and-pop enterprise, but here goes anyway. For at least the last couple of years, Target has been selling ladies mitts, two pairs for $1.50. That means you can put a pair in your pocket, on your nightstand, in your backpack, in your glove compartment (it’s called that for a reason) hanging from the mantle in place of a stocking, dangling from your belt for a chic winter look etc. etc. etc. You will never have cold hands, nor especially warm ones, but what do you want for less than a buck? We love them, evil retailer, one-ply acrylic and all. You probably already know this, but here are the Brooklyn Targets.