The arrival of spring is an exciting time for people who love good food: pea shoots, ramps, and asparagus abound; eggs and dairy products just taste fresher; and the good weather gets everyone’s creative juices going. The change in seasons helps inspire things like the new time-traveling dinner party series from Brooklyn Brewery and Humboldt & Jackson, BLAST! from the Past, which debuts on April 16. Immerse yourself in the 1650s and eat things like venison tartare and “hotchpots” just like the Dutch Colonists did at the first installment, Nieuw Amsterdam. Tickets are $65 each, include four courses with beer pairings, and will probably sell out, so we wanted to give you a heads up now. Another way to ring in spring with delicious food is the American Raw Milk Cheese Tasting happening on April 18 at 61 Local. For the price of a $39 ticket, you’ll learn about the raw milk cheese-making process and sample four cheese courses paired with seasonal produce, SCRATCH bread, and carefully selected wines.
Of course, you still need to fit into the spring clothes you’re currently pulling out of storage, so if you partake in either of these feasts or any of the food-centric events we’re recommending below for this week, you might want to make sure your trusty bike is tuned up and ready for some calorie-burning action. Williamsburg’s Time’s Up runs free Fix Your Own Bike Workshops every Wednesday and Sunday from 5:30-8:30pm, so be sure to drop by and make sure everything is in working order. And if you’d rather get your exercise with a healthy dose of cultural exposure, make a plan to take a long stroll around Storm King Art Center, which is now reopened for the season.
You don’t need to travel far to find fun ways to pass the time this week, though. Check out our picks below for all kinds of cool stuff to do just a hop, skip, and a subway ride away:
Thursday, April 9
Long before he was recognized as one of the nineteenth century’s greatest poets, Walt Whitman was just another struggling Brooklynite with a day job: editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. In honor of that and the 160th anniversary of Whitman’s his best-known poetry collection,, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Park Slope branch is hosting a special talk with the author of a new book called Collage of Myself: Walt Whitman and the Making of Leaves of Grass. Professor Matt Miller, who studied digital images of Whitman’s manuscripts, will give attendees an intimate glimpse into Whitman’s writing process—which relied on a primitive “cut-and-paste technique” and found materials—and share other recently uncovered insights on the poet. Admission is free and doors open at 6pm. –N.R.
Friday, April 10
This weekend, the Food Book Fair returns to The Wythe Hotel for three days of panels, films, book signings, and ample opportunities to eat amazing food. Friday night kicks off from 6-8pm with a special set of interactive readings and performances presented by the Heritage Radio Network, featuring popular HRN personalities, DJ sets, beer and snacks. Other highlights of the weekend include an indie food magazine festival, a Death & Co. cocktail party, a multi-course conceptual literary dinner inspired by The Member of the Wedding whipped up by the chefs at Egg Restaurant, and an oyster and beer hour brought to you by Island Creek Oysters. Check out the full lineup— tickets for individual events, as well as for single day and weekend passes, are available here. –K.H.
Saturday, April 11
Like Long Island City or the Lower East Side, some neighborhoods in other boroughs feel like they are part of Brooklyn based on proximity and similar vibes alone. Ridgewood, Queens, which borders the eastern side of Bushwick, earned the “Quooklyn” moniker from The New York Times way back in June, and this Saturday’s first-ever Night Bazaar at the Ridgewood Market presents the perfect opportunity to visit the area. Starting at 5pm, locals and visitors alike are invited to Gottscheer Hall for an evening of artisan shopping, raffles, music, dancing, drinking, and, we kid you not–nighttime brunch–all to celebrate the second anniversary of the market. Although the occasion warrants a dress code, which is “a little fancier than usual,” admission is totally free. And if you decide to make a day of it, be sure to check out our Ridgewood neighborhood guide for tips on how to get the most out of your visit. –N.R.
Sunday, April 12
If you’re in the midst of an ongoing love affair with cheese (aren’t we all?), then you might want to take note of the fact that this Sunday promises to be the most epic in all of cheesedom. For those traipsing around North Brooklyn, Noorman’s Kil and Brooklyn Brewery are teaming up for the Second Annual Grilled Cheese Cookoff, which starts at 2pm and features delicious bites from local grillers as well as Noorman’s legendary whisky selection. At the end of it all, one winning recipe will be chosen to grace the restaurant’s regular menu throughout the month of May. Meanwhile, those living a little further south will want to head to the outsized Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus for the Brooklyn Mac and Cheeze Takedown 2015. For $20, mac & cheese enthusiasts are invited to sample dozens of dishes from local cooks and vote on their favorites, crowning one lucky winner the borough’s King or Queen of Mac ‘N’ Cheese. Tickets for Takedowns never last long, so be sure to purchase yours here before doors open at 12pm. –-N.R.
Monday, April 13
Ahh, Monday night. Maybe you’re still hungover/exhausted from weekend activities, maybe you want to save up your energy for the long week ahead, or maybe everyone you know is holed up watching their DVR list from Sunday. Whatever the reason, Monday is the day of the week where we most often find ourselves with nothing to do, but the truth is restaurants all over Brooklyn have amazing specials going on and there’s no reason to resign yourself to pjs and takeout if you’re in the mood to hit the town. One of our fave cocktail spots, The Castello Plan in Ditmas Park, has $10 all-you-can-eat mussels in a wine and garlic broth every Monday night; Park Slope’s Cafe Steinhof has a Monday night economy dinner with $7 entrees (including their famous Austrian beef goulash); and Carroll Gardens’ Buttermilk Channel has a special, three-course Monday menu that includes three courses (fried chicken and cheddar waffles, anyone?) for $30. Happy dining!–K.H.
Tuesday, April 14
When it comes to comedy shows, what we have here in Brooklyn is a true embarrassment of riches. In any given week, there are so many improv, standup, and sketch performances going on that it can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have any basis upon which to separate the best from the rest. This Tuesday, though, Union Hall is hosting a double-header featuring two majorly talented comedians who are both on the brink of superstardom, so you can be sure your night will be full of laughs. First up, Brooklyn’s own Jo Firestone, the subject of a recent Vulture profile, is emceeing one of a long list of innovative shows she’s created, Your Fantastic Life, at 7:30pm. The premise behind this one is that audience members who self-identify as “sad and miserable” sign up to have their lives improved by notable comedians. Stick around for the 9:30 show featuring Griffin Newman and Chris Gethard, both UCB-trained comics with impressive IMDB pages. Gethard’s long-running Manhattan cable access show, The Chris Gethard Show, is set to air on cable’s Fusion channel next month, and you’ll see Newman in Martin Scorcese’s untitled new HBO series. Tickets to both shows– a night of top-notch comedy– will run you less than $20 total.–K.H.
Wednesday, April 15
Here’s a new way to banish the hump day blues: waking up extra early to go to a 6:30am booze-free rave! OK, so you probably have to be somewhat of a morning person to get into this, but maybe the coffee, massage stations, fresh pressed juice, gluten-free breakfast snacks, yoga, DJs, and inspirational dance team will be enough to lessen the sting of your alarm clock’s blare and get you sufficiently energized to charge through the tail end of the week. At the very least, you’ll be awake for your commute for once. Tickets to Morning Gloryville NYC, which takes place at Brooklyn Boulders, are $20. If you don’t have to rush off to work and want to hang around and get some climbing in, that will cost you $11 extra. Rave appropriate costumes encouraged! –K.H.
Tips this week by Kate Hooker and Nikita Richardson.