Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day weekend in town

Having dinner at Deb's is like giving up in the very best way. Surrendering. Like slipping your clean, washed self between cool white sheets after a long day. Or skiing down a snowy slope, or diving into clear water where you are quite sure there are no sharks. Or perhaps a mountain stream in Lesotho is a better choice. Absolutely positively no sharks, plus flowers. She knows how to do it (so does Lily). A sense of occasion, of fun, of place, of beauty, of taste...blablabla. An elusive and rare combination. Jim made us prosecco cocktails with a splash of St Germain (I have to say, it's funny - I love the stuff, and own a bottle -  but what a superb advertising campaign they have run. It is everywhere. Elderflower cordial with a kick).

We sat on their back porch and looked at the roses, strawberries, peonies in the landlord's verboten garden, soft Englishy lawn (I think I may start campaign for lawns! But only in the subculture that eschews them. I still hate golf courses and Roundup), and listened to stories about Illinois and lake salmon and Greenpoint nip (Jim is Estorbo's dealer). Later we moved indoors for a Moroccan-inspired supper of chicken with hazelnuts, and the last ramps and the first asparagus. I had to eat my own rose petals (above, in goody bag) for dessert! Traumatic. Cats, blogs, books, Airstreams, grants and how to keep one's head above water. And with cheese we made quick work of the beautiful Cape Point Noble Late Harvest 2002 that Lyn gave us in Cape Town before our Last Lunch, there.

It may have been the accumulated effect of the alcohol, the balmy Greenpoint night or the long wait for the G, but I saw no reason why this could not be Cy Twombley in Brooklyn. Sort of.

Back in the hood, the roses on the corner of Congress and Henry are doing their thing. David Austins, one and all, and utterly neglected and thriving. And it shows how big they can get. I have said it before, but what a mystery this garden is. No one is ever, ever, ever in it. The holly has been dying and this weekend it was chopped in half. I think it was poisoned. I nearly stepped on a newly dead juvenile robin on the sidewalk, which was what made me look up, to see the truncated tree. It must have fallen from the branches. Now the old Japanese maple is dying. I wonder if it is a plot. Weird.

Simple. Pacific Street below Smith. Behind a shop, photographed through the chainlink. The tree is an amelanchier. Speaking of which. Edible Brooklyn is about to hit the stands and my Brooklyn amelanchier story is in it. And I am on the cover (Vincent's picture)! I should give the owners a copy so that they know what to do with the berries in a few week's time. Last year, this time (to the day!), I was baking with them after picking in Dumbo.

I looked in at GRDN on Hoyt Street. I left with a Wisteria frutescens (native to North America, with shorter, bluer flowers) and an Alpine strawberry, as an experiment. And possibly some parsley. There was an excellent shade perennial selection, but I have no more space.

Central Park, Great Lawn, picnic. Ja. I didn't know that I was catering for a vegetarian. I did ask. Before I made the picnic, I mean. So the poor vegetarian was met with pig rillettes, duck rillettes, duck pate, and lamb meatballs. I had a little Emily Post moment. Asparagus, cheese (sheep, which didn't help) and vichyssoise. If you don't have any in the fridge, make some. It is divine when ice cold. Midnight snack. Breakfast. Anytime. Drink it from a tea cup.

There was also prosecco. I may have drunk it all. And a very charming little girl who raced all over the lawn, sang us a song (It's a beautiful world), played soccer with some strangers and who requested Yellow Submarine from the kids singing Beatles song near us (who obliged). She really, really liked asparagus.

Early evening, dead center in the green city.

So. It is summer. The air conditioner is on.  Also on its last legs. Everything will grow faster. Things will happen. If we keep our wits, we might survive.


  1. I bought some alpine strawberries last year at the Union square Greenmarket (Silver Heights Farms was the vendor, I think) I am happy to report that they survived the winter and are bearing fruit in my Earthboxes on my urban terrace. The kind I have are low growing and don't seem to send out tons of runners as tristars do. I love that I can nibble as I garden.

  2. Sounds like the perfect holiday weekend to me and best of all no sharks. GRDN looks as beautiful as I remember it. Glad that they are still around.

  3. What a lovely weekend. I keep thinking of ways for you to meet - heck, identify! - the mystery gardener. I wonder if you could write messages on rocks and toss them over the wall?

    Save a taste of prosecco for us, tho.

  4. I'm with you on the lawn promotion. I have eradicated all grass from my yard but sometime a really miss a nice carpet of grass. Especially in early spring when brown is the dominate colour around here.

  5. Greenpoint nip???? St. Germain?

    When I was a kid, the prettiest street gardens were on Oak St. and on Milton St....down from St. Johns Lutheran...

    Who knew what was in the back.

    Thank you for the photos...

  6. Have you checked the Amelanchier in BBPark yet?

  7. Marie--I'm sorry I am so late to see this. I am so flattered at your beautiful description. we love having you...looking forward to more summertime dinners with no sharks...


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