On Saturday Jess and I headed to Crown Heights in Brooklyn to visit Shannan and Tien at their new(ish) house. They bought it in the fall (I think) and have been doing a lot of work, so we wanted to check it out. I had never been to Crown Heights and it was cool to check out a new neighborhood too.
Shannan and Tien’s place is on a quiet street in a long row of houses. They have 2 floors, plus a basement. When we arrived they were doing a lot of back-breaking work in the front of the house, transferring dirt and planting. We visited for a bit, then got a tour of the house, which was amazing. Shannan and Tien are doing so much work. I can’t even imagine taking on a project like this myself. It’s not really structural things or major renovations, but still, a lot can go into cosmetics. There is gorgeous wood everywhere, but through out the years people have painted 8 layers on top of it. So they are doing things like stripping down to the original wood. I can’t wait to go back for a visit next year and see all the progress they have made!
Jess and I had tickets to a festival in Prospect Park called Googamooga, so after visiting for a while, we headed over there. The park is not too far of a walk from Shannan & Tien’s, but it was quite a hike to get to the right part of the park…. there were no signs for the festival and the security staff was telling us opposite directions to get to the entrance. So frustrating. By the time we got there almost an hour of walking had past.
Then, when we finally got in? It was chaos. We bypassed the line that you had to stand in to get IDed and get a wristband to drink. The line was probably 100-200 people long. And then you had to stand in another long, long line to get your drinks. We were so hungry by then (it was about 4pm and we’d only had a bagel each early that morning) that we just picked a line we thought looked not too crazy. Wrong. We waited 40 more minutes to pay $8 for a hot dog!
When Jess first mentioned the festival it seemed like an awesome way to sample food from all different well-known restaurants in New York. I envisioned us going from stand to stand and sampling all kinds of different things. Obviously this was not happening. As for the music, the stage by us was on a break for the entire time we were in line. So, we only got a few minutes sampling of a Van Halen cover band at another stage as we were quickly exiting the fest. What a bust!
By then we were so tired from walking around and standing in lines. We were supposed to meet Tien and Shannan back in the city for dinner reservations, but the thought of going back and getting ready was exhausting us. Not to mention that we were extremely short on time, since getting to the fest and standing in lines took so much longer than we’d estimated. We ended up walking back to Tien and Shannan’s house and chilling out in the backyard while they finished up their yard work.
Later on we headed to dinner at Chavela’s. There was a bit of a wait, so we left our number and went to a nearby bar called The Crown Inn. Shannan said that this is a somewhat new place. Actually, she said that the neighborhood has changed so much since they moved in. Definitely seems like an “up and coming” place to be. We didn’t even have one drink before our table was ready, so we hustled back to Chavela’s.
I liked this Mexican restaurant a lot. It kind of had a Día de los Muertos theme going on. We started out with guacamole, some elotes (grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayonnaise and cojita cheese) and a seafood empanada special. Shannan was raving about the tortilla soup, so we also gave that a try. It was so good. More of a green tomatillo base than any other tortilla soup I’ve ever had.
For dinner we decided to split two large platters. The plato don had chipotle chicken and grilled steak and the plato don pescado had shrimp and tilapia.. and then both plates had rice, beans, guacamole, queso fresco, pico de gallo and corn tortillas. This was all great and we were so hungry so we totally gorged.
The thing I will remember from Chavela’s, though, is the drinks. When we sat down we decided to get a pitcher of drinks and Tien asked if we wanted sangria or margaritas. We didn’t really decide and when the waitress came, he told her we’d have a half of sangria and half of margaritas. Problem solved. Well, here’s the thing: It was a pitcher of sangria and margarita mixed together! And it was SO good. It looked just like sangria with the red wine and diced fruit, but it was extra tangy from the margarita mixed in. We ended up getting a second pitcher even. That was definitely the most I have had to drink in months but it was so worth it.
Jess and I headed back for our train ride to her place in the Village. Overall a great, long day in Brooklyn. It was fun to see a neighborhood I’ve never been to and to hang out at Tien and Shannan’s awesome house.