BKTX

BKTX BACK FROM HIATUSTX

Brooklyn TexasComment

Why has BKTX been so delinquent?

O: Hi! Hi! Howdy!  It is my fault — I decided to apply to graduate school.

I have been talking about whether or not to apply to graduate school for years. Do I need it? Is it worth it? One of the hardest parts about deciding if I should apply or not was coming to the realization that if I decided to go, I will have to leave New York and all the people/places/food/life that I love here for a solid two years. Without being overly sentimental (I have not been accepted to any schools yet!), New York has been my home for nearly 8 years and it is really the only place I have lived in my adult life. So, this decision to even apply was a really big deal for me.

I spent the last 6 months documenting my work, making a website, visiting grad schools, and writing my essays. It was way more work then I ever imagined and because of the deadline crunch (combined with the holidays, which I spent in Texas) I single-handedly derailed BKTX and our nearly year-and-a-half’s worth of consistent posts. I am so sorry for the pause in content, but we’re excited to let you know that we are back and going strong!

E: *cough cough olivia*

Where have you been?

O: In the past few months I have been holed up in a few of my most beloved places: Houston, and my parents’ little blue house in the Catskills.

E: Since our last post, I have been to Houston, TX, Santa Clara, CA (for work), and San Francisco, CA (for fun).

Anything scary/sad/angry happen?

O: Our president.

E: Well, I never thought I’d have Ted Cruz’s phone number on speed dial and I’ve been to more protests this year than I have in my entire life, which is scary and sad, but also inspiring.

Anything funny/crazy/weird happen?

O: (see Emily’s story about Amy Schumer — she’s better at storytelling then I am)

E: A couple of weeks ago, Olivia convinced me to join her at the opening of Perpetual Revolution, an exhibition her company designed at the International Center for Photography. In turn, I convinced her to to go to Dirty French to try their famous chicken and crepes. The restaurant was closed for a fancy fashion party (it was pajama party-themed, so all the editors of Elle and Instyle and Refinery29 were walking around in their PJs), but there was a small courtyard open with around 10 tables for people who wanted to eat there still. The food was delicious (it reminded me of another favorite, Glasserie, and had some of the best table bread and butter I’ve ever had), and we were deciding whether or not we should get dessert when a boisterous group of people showed up. “You’re someone….” we heard the host (who, it should be noted, was wearing a giant black and white knitted poncho and a sombrero), and the person said “no I’m no one.” I looked up, and then I grabbed Olivia’s hand, and asked, “Holy shit, is that Amy Schumer!?” It was!  We tried to play it cool and chatted with some of her friends when she went to order another drink at the bar, but we didn’t want to interrupt her night by being stupid crazy fans. So, we got dessert and a few more cocktails and basically didn’t talk to each other for the next 2 hours because we were alternating between gazing up at Amy in adoration and staring down at the table chanting “It’s Amy! It’s Amy! It’s Amy!” Not weird at all.

Best 3 things you’ve bought?

O: This, this, and this to take these.

E: This t-shirt that’s proceeds go to Planned Parenthood; the best yarn to knit the best blanket out of (you knit with your arms!); a new tweed coat to make winter a little more bearable

Best things you’ve eaten?

O: The chicken and crepes at Dirty French were pretty excellent and so was the burger Emily got from Diner when we went a couple of weeks ago. My friend Travis got a sous vide and he made me a pretty mean steak. Also, a few mornings ago, I ate the most delicious avocado toast from Bluestone Lane. I don’t if it was so good because: (1) I never ever eat breakfast, (2) It was only 9 am but I had already had a full morning with hot yoga and saunas , or (3) it was actually a really really good avocado toast.

E: Chicken and crepes at Dirty French, the Trust Me at Sugarfish, the desserts at Wildair, this stew that Olivia made

Best 3 things you’ve watched/read/listened to?

O: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and all 7 seasons of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (for those moments when I need to be brainless and stop stressing about world).

E: So far this year, I’ve read How Should a Person Be by Sheila Heti, Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, Against Exercise by Mark Grief, Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, and the beginning of Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Next thing you’re excited for?

O: I am so excited for the next couple of months. I applied to four schools: Rhode Island School of Design, California Institute of the Arts, The Royal College of Art, and Yale. Now that the hard part is done, I am starting to get invitations to interview! I am so nervous but beyond excited to figure out where I might be spending the next two years! Fingers crossed that I get in!!

E: Knitting my giant blanket, watching the last episode of the latest season of Sherlock, and my trip to Europe next month!

BKTX Rage Party

Brooklyn TexasComment

With the president-elect's increasingly abysmal cabinet appointments and increasingly horrifying twitter spats (thanks, Alec Baldwin), BKTX still feels like throwing up and screaming every time we check the news. We're still angry and we're planning to stay angry for pretty much the next four years, but how do you stay angry without totally falling into a black hole of fear, despair, and hand wringing? We decided the best way for us to make a small change and not lose what's left of our minds was to throw a rage party.

We invited a ton of friends to come to our apartment and rage with us over dinner. The best food to facilitate raging is yummy comforting food, so we made this eggplant parmesan, this caesar salad, garlic bread, and chocolate chip cookies. We also stopped by Trader Joe's wine store, where we picked up 12 bottles of wine for $50 to temper/fuel the steam coming out of our ears — the deal was, we asked everyone who came to bring whatever cash they had to donate to a nonprofit of our choice. We chose ACLU Nationwide, because 'tis the season to protect civil liberties (and they promise to fight back against the incoming administration's threats to civil liberties, which will affect all of us).

We suggested bringing $50, but we didn't check, we just asked people to put whatever they could into a cowboy hat in our kitchen. We ended up making $425 for the ACLU, not to mention getting a lot of much-needed hugs and seeing our friends happy to get together and support a good cause. At the end of the night, someone made a joke that we were like Dumbledore's Army, a scrawny group of people getting together to do whatever we can to fight the bad scary things happening around us.

We're planning on continuing this event as a series every few months to benefit more nonprofits we care a lot about — next, we want to do a benefit for Planned Parenthood. If you live in New York and want to be included, please send us an email at bktxbktx@gmail.com.

The People’s Paper

Brooklyn TexasComment

One night a few weeks ago, Olivia and I (Emily) were at dinner with a friend post-happy hour. The subject of how we all knew each other came up, and Olivia explained that even though we did go to the same high school (the arts high school that Beyoncé went to, too), we didn’t really know each other and we became much closer our junior year of college. Our friend, of course, then asked what we thought of each other at the time. We never had a class together and really only knew of each other through mutual friends — but then I burst out laughing when I remembered the one single time Olivia and I ever saw each other outside of the hallways at school.

One Saturday in 11th grade, Olivia invited three friends over from her French class, one of whom was my closest friend in theater class who then invited me. I was extremely excited, because the whole purpose of the hangout was to talk about creating a school newspaper  — we didn’t have one, and as an overachieving creative writer, I was VERY on board with this. Amanda, my friend from theater, had sketched out some trippy OZ Magazine-inspired layouts; it had already been decided that the paper would be called The People’s Paper, and even though I don’t think we even began talking about what kind of content would be in the paper, it was definitely supposed to have a communist bent.

Most of us fawned over the sketches, but Olivia was languid. She was totally exhausted, because the night before she had thrown a little party, and a boy had stayed the whole night (scandalous!) without her parents noticing. I felt like I was thrown into a foreign country where no one spoke English. It wasn't even that what Olivia had done was so outrageous, it was that I was such a good kid that I could not comprehend how you’d even start thinking about getting away with any of that stuff. I didn’t know how to procure alcohol or throw a party or anything like that, and she was so casual about it like she did it all the time. It seemed too cool, and maybe would have felt a little like the movie “Thirteen” had Olivia not been so nice and chill in her rainbow tie dye shirt and ripped jeans. She had a little Goldshläger left, and let us all try some, no big deal. I remember thinking that I was a little bit of a badass for drinking booze in the middle of the day, even though I tried less than a tablespoon of the cinnamon schnapps.

It’s probably needless to say that The People’s Paper never got off the ground, even though I’m pretty sure I still have those original sketches at my parents’ house somewhere. But, when we were telling this whole story recently, we realized that even though we hadn’t really known each other back then our only connection in high school had been our 17-year-old dream to start a publication together. Almost ten years later, after actually becoming friends in a foreign country, we did make our own little People’s Paper with BKTX! Only with a little bit less scandal and a LOT less Goldshläger.

A Tiny Thanksgiving

Brooklyn TexasComment

HONEYNUT SQUASH WITH ROASTED PECANS 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Halve the honeynut squash and remove the seeds with a spoon. Place the squash face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven until the back of the squash is soft (about 40 minutes). While the squash is roasting brown some chopped pecans in a spall pan with a bit of butter. When the squash is done roasting top with butter and the roasted pecans. 

MAPLE-ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pull off any sad leaves and trim the bottoms of a handful of brussels sprouts. Halve them lengthwise and toss them in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Spread them out evenly on baking sheet line with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the spouts and toss with maple syrup. Put the sprouts back in the oven and roast for another 15 minutes until the sprouts are caramelized and browned. 

TRUFFLE MASHED POTATOES

Boil a salted pot of water. Once water has reached a boil, add a handful of potatoes and cook until a knife glides easily through. Strain the potatoes and return to the pot. Using a potato masher mash the potatoes in a pulp. Salt generously and mix in yogurt, (a ton of ) butter, and truffle oil to taste. 

ROASTED CORNISH GAME HEN

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub cornish game hen with 3 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 50 to 60 minutes until slightly crispy and golden brown. 

Easing into Red

Brooklyn TexasComment

It would be an understatement to call this week harrowing and full of disappointment. Now that we've finally stopped our Claire Danes ugly crying, it's time for a drink, one that's preferably really strong and slightly medicinal. This one is hearty, fruity, and comforting — perfect for a Thursday night of figuring out which causes to donate to and volunteer for (we're starting here). We highly recommend drinking this alongside lots of chocolate cookies, like these to start healing.

Muddle the lemon and pomegranate arils. Mix in the cassis liqueur and strain into two mugs. Top with black tea and enjoy!  Option to add honey or to garnish with a a lemon slice. 

2 cups brewed black tea
1/2 cup cassis liqueur
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 lemon

Barbecue Fever

Brooklyn Texas1 Comment

We've written about barbecue on this site before, but it's true that it's less prevalent on this site than other Texas food gems like queso and breakfast tacos. The truth is, NYC can hold its own with a smoker. There's no room for hemming and hawing about how impossible it is to find good brisket outside of Texas (or North Carolina or Alabama or Tennessee) because yes, now it is possible to revel in regional meat delights all over the city. It might hurt to admit, but even the barbecue editor (yes) at Texas Monthly has said that some of New York's barbecue rivals places in Texas. Our ultimate favorites for true Central Texas style barbecue? Hometown and Hill Country for the meat, Mighty Quinn's for the sides. But send us to any of places on our barbecue round up and we'll be in meat bliss.

1. Mighty Quinn's Barbeque
103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
75 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014
Brookfield Place, 225 Liberty St, New York, NY 10281
899 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

2. Blue Smoke
116 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016
255 Vesey St, New York, NY 10282

3. Hill Country Barbecue Market
345 Adams Street (on Willoughby Plaza), Brooklyn, NY 11201
30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010
Madison Square Garden, Level 6, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001

4. Hometown Bar–B–Que
454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

5. Pig Beach
480 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

6. Dinosaur Bar–B–Que
604 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

7. Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue
433 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

8. Morgan's Barbecue
267 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

9. Delaney Barbecue
359 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

10. Fette Sau
354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

11. Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall
44 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Good Gilmorning

Brooklyn TexasComment

One of BKTX’s favorite guilty pleasures is binge watching Gilmore Girls. We each have separate, very long (SO MANY EPISODES), and very emotional relationships with this overzealous early 2000s show. When Olivia started watching the show for the first time a few years ago, she spiraled into an 8 month obsession, and it's now her favorite show to watch whenever she has a bad day. Re-watching episodes is one of Emily’s favorite activities to share with her little brother. Yes, it’s stilted and girly and what is up with Michel’s accent, but it’s hands down the coziest, most comforting TV show that also happens to be extremely intelligent. It’s like being absorbed into an alternate universe where you actually think of every perfect comeback right when you need them most, and have the guts to say them, nonstop, every single time.

Even though the marketing efforts for Netflix’s upcoming revival of the show have been a little overwrought (“Luke’s Diner” pop ups all over the country?), it would be a lie to say we shed ZERO tears over the new trailer earlier this week. When we found out that Ample Hills, one of our favorite Brooklyn ice cream parlors with cult favorite flavors like the Munchies and plenty of current-event inspired flavors, was doing a contest to come up with a new Gilmore Girls themed ice cream flavor, BKTX obviously had some ideas to throw into the ring. Whether you are team Logan (like Olivia) or team Jess (Emily is team Kirk), we hope you enjoy these (imaginary) ice cream flavors as much as we think Rory and Lorelai would.

Al’s Pancake World

Sesame ice cream with fortune cookies, french fries, fried wontons, and maple syrup

Pregame for Dinner at Emily’s

Lemon Sorbet with vodka gummy bears

Harvard vs. Yale

Red velvet ice cream with strawberry cream cheese, blueberry jam, and blue sprinkles

Jackson’s Special Delivery

Beet and carrot ice cream with thyme, honey, and a mascarpone swirl

Norman Mailer, I’m Pregnant

Nothing but ice tea.

Good Gilmorning

Coffee ice cream with donuts, Pop Tarts, chocolate chip pancakes, Fruity Pebbles, Rice Krispies, and espresso beans

First Snow

Mint shaved ice covered in sweetened condensed milk, fresh mint leaves, and candy cane pop rocks (its a thing!)

A Film By Kirk

Cookie dough ice cream with potato chips, popcorn, chocolate stars, redvines, and mallowmars

Rough Week

Brooklyn TexasComment

Y’all, this week was rough. We don’t know about you, but we are struggling.

On Tuesday, Emily was recovering from her second trip (of three) to the west coast in 30 days. For some reason, the three hour time difference feels so much harder to switch between than longer ones to Europe; combined with the late-night landing time early-meeting combo, Tuesday was not a great look for Emily. Frankly it’s preposterous that it takes so long to get across the country. Anyways, after realizing that she’s been to every single airport in the NYC area multiple times in less than three weeks, Emily went over the edge. When Olivia came home and shouted “Welcome home!” she found Emily alone in her room, sitting on the floor on the far side of her bed, wearing old flannel pajamas and surrounded by heaps of laundry and overflowing suitcases. At that point, Emily was able only to utter caveman grunts in between giant bites of lamb shawarma sandwich (from Istanbul Park, of course). “How was your trip!?” Olivia asked. “Arrghfffnngnngoood,” croaked Emily, as she smooshed the giant sandwich to her face. Emily pressed play on the first episode of Divorce; Olivia slowly backed out of the room. After watching the same episode a second time in a row and unpacking, she became verbal again, but she was in a dark was a dark, dark place for a moment.

Then, on Wednesday, Olivia awoke to a scene she didn’t expect. One roommate was casually baking chicken tikka at 7am, and one roommate was attempting to snake our toilet with a clothes hanger he had unraveled, Lifetime Movie-style. Apparently, the toilet had overflowed so bad it was coming out of the ceiling lights of the apartment downstairs! Sorry neighbors (we’re never renting anything but the top floor again). What a mixture of aromas to experience first thing in the morning. When Olivia asked if she could go to the bathroom, all three roommates shouted, “NO!” So, she had to hop on her bike and race to the closest place of business, a dry cleaner, and beg to use their bathroom, which they let her(who knew they had bathrooms!), but it didn’t have a closing door. The good news was that Olivia got to pick up her dry cleaning, which was finally ready.

So, with clothes professionally cleaned and toilets professionally unclogged, Turkish food consumed like a maniac and early morning chicken still confusing everyone, our week has continued with a little less excitement. We’re still counting down the seconds until the weekend — only 87542 seconds left to go.

(Fancy) Purple Drank

Brooklyn TexasComment

Is there any flavor more divisive than grape? You’re either the kind of person who always goes for the grape lollipop or snatches all of the purple Skittles from the bag, or you avoid it all. It’s Olivia’s least favorite flavor and she will avoid purple popsicle mouth at all costs. Emily thinks grape flavor always tastes like cough medicine, and her life would not be affected if all grape flavored things disappeared overnight. When we both got bags of Concord grapes in our CSAs, we were stumped. While we generally like fresh grapes, Concord grapes are arguably the weirdest, worst grape species. This is because when you bite into them they’re gummy and unyielding, and prompt anyone attempting to chew them them to shout “SLUGS” or “EYEBALLS” compulsively. On top of that, they have seeds! What a nightmare. They’d be great for Haunted Houses....

At BKTX headquarters, we live by one rule and one rule only: when in doubt with your questionable CSA haul, make it into a cocktail!  

We’re no strangers to the Gin and Juice combo and were first thinking of going in that direction with our grapes, but juicing was not going to work with these gummy disasters. We decided to melt them down into a syrup and strain them to get a more highly concentrated flavor. Also, we took advantage of our genius roommate’s new Soda Stream to make fresh, highly palatable version of grape soda… which we promptly made into a (fancy) Purple Drank Cocktail by tossing in some gin and fresh lemon. Purple mouths: worth it.


Purple Drank Recipe 

1 cup Concord grapes
½ cup water
⅓ cup sugar (not packed)

1 oz gin
Squeeze of lemon
Seltzer to taste
Lemon peel for garnish

First, make the grape syrup: Bring the grapes, water, and sugar to boil saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved, and keep stirring until the mixture has boiled down a bit and has a sticky texture, about 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve to remove the grapes.

Mix 2 ½ tablespoons of grape syrup with 1 ounce of gin, and top with soda water to taste. Squeeze in a quarter of a lemon, and garnish with a nice long twirl of lemon zest. Drink up!

I Tried the Punk Diet

Brooklyn TexasComment

In early July, Olivia texted me (Emily) something that I didn’t expect:

Immediately I thought: this is going to be GREAT for BKTX.

At first, I was really surprised: was Olivia going through some kind of identity crisis? Her normal look — red lipstick, cat eye, ’50s style waist-defined dresses — is adorable and looks great on her, but it is the opposite of punk. Much more Kate Spade than Vivienne Westwood. She quickly assured me that she was fine, she was just really, really bored:

 

The way I draw, the way I dress, it’s all so “cute” and I’m so tired of it. It’s safe. I want to push myself to  be bolder… I want to be badass, hardcore, cool, dirty, rough, sexy, edgy and just not give a fuck about anything and be a little more punk about things. Not cute!

This has never been a problem for me. I normally keep my hair in its crazy curly natural state, I end up looking kind of rock n’ roll even when I don’t want to. In high school, even when I wore my daintiest, girliest dresses, my friends told me I looked like Robert Plant (though sometimes they said I looked like Lestat from Interview with a Vampire. Thanks Amanda and Cameron.) In light of this, I challenged her to a crash punk rock diet to try adding some edge to her life.

This was my original list:

  • Only listen to punk music (really, OG, ’70s punk music) for a day. Bonus points for not wearing headphones and forcing everyone around you to listen. 

  • Cut up an old t shirt, add some safety pins, wear it. Bonus points: wear something with spikes, grommets, or other hardware too.

  • Black lipstick. Bonus points: black eyeshadow, too.

  • For one day, do everything you fucking feel like doing. Deprive yourself of nothing. Bonus points: don’t do a single thing that you DON’T feel like doing

Olivia was super excited and added a ton of other challenges for herself:

  •  For every beer that I drink — I will take a shot of whiskey.
  • I will not make anything cute.

  • Break something and/or vandalize something

  • Avoid consumerism

  • And then, the list sat there. For three months…

  • Live for free

  • Don't shave

  • Spend no money

And then, the list sat there. For three months.

 

Each week I came up with some sort of excuse for us to not work on this post, all the way until mid-September. I was so concerned with understanding what it means to be "punk" and how to do the challenge without cheapening it that I started to forget what the whole purpose actually was: to have a little fun trying something new. Every time I thought about starting it, I kept thinking about why I wanted to do this at all. It didn't seem like a fun and playful challenge  — it was really overwhelming!

Finally, the night before we decided the blog post would be due, Olivia came home and decided to be punk. She destroyed a t-shirt and loved it. Black eyeliner gave her a sassy attitude, which only became more pronounced when she got wasted on PBR chased with shots of whiskey. She decided to break a dinner plate on purpose...but chickened out.

But it still wasn’t right. Olivia found herself researching punk music and punk clothing, and overall working really hard to do punk “right” — the hardest part was writing about doing what she felt like doing and not apologizing for it.

 

I felt like I struggled with a lot of the challenges. It still was really hard to think about why I wanted to be harder core at all, and while some things, like bad ass makeup and cut up t-shirts, were really fun, but I failed when it came to my punk attitude. I felt like I was playing dress up, which was fun, but it was basically the same idea on the inside: I was doing it in a cute way, and I was being a perfectionist about it. It wasn’t messy or edgy or bold in the way that this whole diet was supposed to be about.

Olivia decided to try again go an entire day, at work, on the punk diet:

 

I did what I wanted (closed the windows when I was cold!) instead of asking my coworkers what they wanted,  I did not responding to angry emails, I left when I felt like it, but I still didn’t feel like I was being very punk… and about halfway through the day I realized that was because I was still trying to “be punk,” instead of just unapologetically doing the shit I wanted to do the way I want to do it. Who cares if it looks “cute” or “punk,” it was supposed to be about doing whatever the fuck I felt like and not caring about what it should be or what it looked like! So, I ordered tacos, ate them on the floor, took a bath, and called it a day, feeling more punk rock than any amount of PBR + whiskey shots, hardcore eyeliner, or screaming ever could.

Thanks to our friend Ian for the raging playlist!