Archive for the 'Brooklyn' Category


A Community Tzedaka Affair – This Evening

We first posted about this event, on June 1st. Gentle reader, the event is happening this evening… now in fact!. They need all the help they can get. Yidn, rachmanim bney rachmanim, could you find it in your heart to help out? $20 gives you three tickets, $50 gets you 10 tickets and for $100 you get 25 tickets. You can call in your contribution to: 718.290.0233 or better yet come in look at the prizes, enjoy the refreshments, and be entertained. Yes, there is live entertainment ladies!

Prize package #14

There are 14 prize packages ranging from educational toys (12 items), to sports equipment for children (8 items); from 7 restaurant certificates (in Manhattan and Brooklyn) ranging in value from $18.00 to $100.00 (Prime Ko),  to an electronic package which includes a digital camera, digital frames and more (8 items);

Detail from Prize Package #13

from a Hostess with the Mostest package including a 45 piece silverware set (12 items), to a Simchas Shabbos Package including a mayim acharonim silver set, a crystal and silver wine decanter and cups and much more (13 items), from a Bed, Bath and Beautiful package which includes among other things: 2 twin sheets and comforter sets and far more (7 items), to a Pamper Yourself – Ladies Package which includes a lips to lashes makeup application, a $62 certificate to Renaissance Cafe and more (15 items);

Prize Package #2

from a $180.00 gift certificate to Pomegranate Supermarket (1 item), to a Glatt Mart and Ocean Fruit Supermarket Spree with a $100 gift certificate from each (2 items); from a Hi Tech Judaica Learning Package, including tapes by Rabbi Resisman, assorted Seforim , a rocking chair and more (11 items), to a Pack ‘n Go Barbeque Package with a Portable Blue Rhino BBQ Propane Grill and Canisters, cases of franks, french fries and soda (7 items); from Bejeweled and Bedazzled Precious Jewelry Package including a choice of rings and a ladies’ watch (3 items), to the final package of Oven to Table unusual and artistically shaped porcelain serving dishes in various shapes and sizes by Carmona NY.

The prizes are definitely worth the entrance fee, but if you can’t come in person, you may call in your contribution to: 718.290.0233. If you care to come in the address is: Merkaz Hatefilla 1898 Bay Avenue, Brooklyn 11230 – it’s a small diagonal block running between Avenue M and 19th Street – on June 20th (this very evening!) at 7:30 pm.

Please, help a family keep a healthy roof over their head!



A Community Tzedaka Affair

This is not the usual The Kosher Scene post, but, since we know the people personally and are fully aware of their plight, we felt it necessary to publicize this.

There is a family in Flatbush, Brooklyn, living in untenable circumstances including serious health issues. The community is banding together to help them find a new place to live.  Come enjoy the evening and help us with this worthy cause.

Could you find it in your heart to help out? By attending? By contributing? By sponsoring a prize for the Chinese auction? By sponsoring the family? If so please call either 718.290.0233 or 718.415.5992. Make out your check to Merkaz Hatefilla Tzedaka Fund and mail it or join there at the Merkaz Hatefilla 1898 Bay Avenue, Brooklyn 11230 on June 20th at 7:30 pm.

Hope to hear from you,



Blizzard of the Heart

New Yorkers are a funny bunch. We can get impatient, short-tempered; we often appear callous or indifferent as we rush into the routines and responsibilities dictating our lives. But hit us with a crisis, and the vast majority of our ethnically rich mosaic rises to the occasion like a collective consciousness of transcendent higher-selves, who when awakened, mobilize will, wit, limb and spirit admirably, to meet the challenges of the moment.

This blizzard appears to have caught not just the city short in resources and manpower, but somehow managed to plow right past that special NY spiritedness that historically carries us through such crises. The impediments seemed to get the best of us this time around. Perhaps we were self-involved with holiday vacation with family and friends… let’s hope so… Or maybe it was the Bloombergian wheels on the trucks pulling the tale spin round and round, or the peculiar molecular weighted heaviness of this particular snowfall that made this accumulation harder to bear.

In this Great Blizzard of 2010, it seems the collective response of our good citizens was a discordant tonal series of anger, frustration, malarkey, saturation and abandonment. Maybe we’re just tired of being tall-talked, clinging to endless loops of recorded messages that never answer the question, of new and improved stream-lined services that have composted public service into rotted marquis and escalating monthly fees.

Brooklyn, Wednesday noon, two days after the snow stopped...

As I navigated through the everestian snow peaks of my Brooklyn neighborhood in new water-resistant boots and smart REI like layers, I couldn’t recall a time when I’d seen our streets left so desolate in a snowstorm. Not a plow truck in sight or ear-shot, no heroic bus drivers braving the inclement weather to get the stranded to safety, no policeman-momentarily ticketing quota free, offering pedestrians a helping hand.

Wednesday afternoon, stuck tractor trailer blocking traffic both ways on Avenue J...

The few drivers I saw would rather impatiently honk their profanities from the safety of their heated vehicles than lend a helping hand. Bundled neighbors fended for themselves-unless they were lucky enough to land illegals to shovel the drive and sidewalks. (What a great time for a snow border round-up. Oh, that’s right, we’re naturalizing them all now, well thank goodness for that, or we’d never shovel out of this mess!). I didn’t see one car stop to give a cold-wet-tired citizen trudging through the mountainous sludge a lift, not even for a couple of blocks. Actually, most were lucky not to get run over by the zealot kings of the four wheel drive. Where were we?!?

Cars couldn't always stop on time...

I’m hoping I just caught some random off-moments, in my new water-resistant boots, (that, by the way absorb about an hour’s worth of wetness before becoming totally saturated. Hey, the label never promised water-proof, some truth in advertising, though made in China I concede), and that somewhere out there in our great metropolis, people were doing what New Yorkers are known for; riding the storm, answering calls of distress with aplomb, clearing the way and moving on with our lives. The rest, G-d’s sunshine will dissolve in time… until next time.

Thursday morning and another Brooklyn side-street... Didn't the snowfall stop three days ago?!?

The sinking feeling that perhaps we had devolved into “its every man for himself” – or that we’d collectively frozen others out of our hearts – left me icy and apprehensive and in a contemplative funk. G-d knows, we’d be justified. Our lives are really challenged these days. Take your pick: whole governments caving to terrorist demands, America losing it’s once lustrous stars of glory, freedom and the democratic way, economic pillars plummeting like Hollywood back-lots – swept away by winds of deceit and greed – a collapsing health care system where doctors’ Hippocratic oath has been Obamacized with a new. improved, hypocritic oath. (A preamble to future, real life, versions of Soilent Green?). Trust your doctor to help you find pathways to death in a time frame that works for the greater good of all! Or is it our jeopardized jobs that keep us feeling flighty and on edge- jobs that grow more mechanical and disinterested as we learn the more jolting personal side-effects of obsolescence, or is it the dissolution of social norms that are seriously compromising our families and values. Take your pick…we’re an American avalanche waiting to happen.

Though vulnerable and porous, we are a good people who need each other now more than ever. The power of who we are and what we can accomplish together is stronger than any challenges that present themselves. Our compassion will speak the loudest in the tales that our children and children’s children will retell till the end of time. Our humanity is our biggest asset as humans, and without it, we are but Babelian beasts uttering meaningless speech signifying nothing…



The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts

CKCA, The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, (1407 Coney Island Avenue,, Brooklyn, NY 11230; 718.758.1339) is right in the heart of the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Flatbush community. It is the only kosher cooking school in the US to offer professional level training in both Culinary and Baking and Pastry Arts.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a session of their Baking and Pastry Arts course, taught by Pastry Chef Mark Hellermann. Though I’m not part of the student body, I was enthralled by the instructors explanation and his easy, friendly style of teaching. His 20 years of experience as a Pastry Chef and teacher served him well.

Pastry Chef Mark Hellermann

Without exception the students seemed passionate about their interest in the subject matter. Without exception, each one strove to produce the best, visually enticing, delicious Bavarian pastries.

...listening raptly

As soon as the pastries were ready, I could hear them calling out my name and my notorious sweet tooth knew just what to do about the situation. I started with the Pyramid Bavarian, a two toned combination of pureed fruits consisting, in this case, of mango and strawberry. It had just the right combination of tartness and sweetness, its texture was very smooth. Loved it! Actually… I had no choice but to devour the three that distinctly and pleadingly, called out to me. I segued with a Crème Caramel, very sweet but not overbearing, smooth… It too was delicious.

Pyramid Bavarian and Crème Caramel

Pyramid Bavarian and Crème Caramel

I followed with a rounded Strawberry Bavarian and a  rounded Mango Bavarian. These Bavarians consist of three parts each, a thin sponge cake bottom, pureed fruit and the glaçage or mirroir top. This a jellied mirror like covering in the color of the particular fruit used in the puree.

Mango Bavarian

The garnished Bavarians showed creativity, the very thin twill cookies adorning many of these came in all shapes and the cookie’s crispness and pureed fruit combined to give each Bavarian a pleasant, inviting appearance.

This course is given four times a week, in four hour sessions for 10 weeks. Having obverved the students during the preparation, their passion and dedication to their tasks were palpable, I have no doubt they all have a bright future ahead!

The next course will start shortly after Pessach and run through June, don’t forget to sign up by calling Jesse Blonder at:718.758.1339.



I Ate… Fish

Whoever knows me in person, whoever has been reading this blog, knows I used to intensely dislike fish. In spite of my Mother’s best efforts, it wasn’t until I got to mesivta that I learned to tolerate gefilte fish on Shabbos eve. But, it never went beyond that! And yet in spite of that dislike, I’ve described – on these very pages – instances where I’ve eaten fish and… like them! One specific restaurant taught me to enjoy what I previously disliked…

Towards the end of May past, SYR and I found our way to Borough Park’s Avenue Plaza Dining (4626 13th Ave; Brooklyn, NY 1121; Telephone: 718.552.3222). The restaurant is located one floor below the Avenue Plaza Hotel‘s main lounge

One of the frescoes in the dining room of Avenue Plaza Dining

It’s a cozy, comfortable place; the dishes are unusual and delicious. Knowing full well that fish are not something everybody likes, Chezky Klein and his staff strive to have their creations look and taste very different from what one would expect. They are known throughout for what they do with fish, for what they do with pasta.

We started the meal with their most popular dish, “Buffalo Wings” Style Tilapia. Soft and tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, then smothered with lightly spicy sauce. Delectable!

SYR followed it with a Tilapia in Plum Sauce

Tilapia in Plum Sauce

The grilled Tilapia was glazed with plum sauce. The plum got rid of any “fishy” taste! The result was a tender, fruity, but meat like taste.

I had their “Spare Rib” Style Fillet of Salmon

"Spare Rib" Style Fillet of Salmon

It came grilled to perfection and had been basted in a delicious sauce that indeed made it taste like a very delicious “spare rib.” SYR and I, then split their Orange Scented Tilapia

Orange Scented Tilapia

Tender strips of tilapia, slightly coated with a subtle, fragrant, orange sauce.

Yes mommy, I know you won’t believe this, but I finally ate fish and… loved it! As Chezky Klein puts it, “This is not your grandma’s gefilte” and he’s absolutely right.


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