Tres Belle Spa: Staycation Summer 2014 Edition June 11 2014

Remember last year when noted writer and kick-tush Brooklynite, Joanna Prisco interviewed me for a Carroll Gardens Patch feature on Staycations? Contrary to popular belief I'm not always working at Tres Belle Spa. It was one year ago that I got to prove that I do infact get out, and while I still hold up the wall in many of the same haunts, I'm on to some new-new here ever glorious Brooklyn. Using the same interview as Summer '13, I'm going to do a THIS YEAR, LAST YEAR with all the excitement and panache I served up first time 'round. Grab your organic, homemade kombucha and your GF, sugar-free, dairy-free whatever and take a looksie.

There are so many great bakeries in South Brooklyn. What's your favorite place to pop in for something sweet? 

THIS YEAR: The Lassen and Hennigs Black and White Cookie still has my heart. I'm also REALLY excited that Van Leeuwen finally has vegan ice cream. I love chowing down at their Bergen street locale. The last 2 times I went they were playing Fleetwood Mac RECORDS. That's right, RECORDS.

LAST YEAR: Well, if we had a vegan bakery around here, I'd be eating WAY more sweets. Twice a year maybe, I pretend I eat dairy and go for the black and white at Lassen and Hennigs. It's SO good. Other than that, I'll walk down to Smorgasburg in DUMBO for some Alchemy "push up pops," it's vegan ice cream, layered with cake in a plastic push up thing. It's just nuts. 

Now's the time to create a summer reading list. Where do you tend to find your favorite books in the neighborhood? 

THIS YEAR: Book Court. I'm currently reading short stories by Truman Capote. 

LAST YEAR: I always try BookCourt first but, really, I order used copies online of The Paris Review. I'm growing a pretty good collection. Of course, Community Bookstore is a must. You just never know what they'll have. I tend to read the same books over and over. Weird? I've read Roots three times. Right now I'm reading Chang and Eng by my friend, Darin Strauss. I love his writing.

It's sweltering out, the AC is broken at home and you've got $40 in your pocket. Where do you go to cool down?

THIS YEAR: Brighton Beach. I have a HUGE umbrella and love to sit under it waiting for the guy who walks the beach screaming about his homemade potato knishes. Once the sun goes down I like to sit on the boardwalk at Volna and suck down a cold one. Brooklyn Bridge Park has made alot of progress in development and I love to sit in the cafe hidden under the trees with a sav blanc and read. If it's raining I'll hit Cobble Hill Cinema and sneak in a cupcake from The Chocolate Room next door. 

LAST YEAR: I have found that trying to fight the NYC summer only makes it worse. I just go with it. I would go right down to Brooklyn Bridge Park for an ice cold beer and veggie dog at Bark and then romp in the sprinkler. I've done this fully clothed mind you surrounded by mobs of screaming children. OR, I'd hop the ferry to Governors Island and plop myself down on a blanket under a tree.

On summer Fridays, what is your version of an ideal lunch in the 'hood? 

THIS YEAR: Ganso never fails. I also love the tacos from nearby taco stand, Don Nico's and eat my share of Middle Eastern food at Bedouin Tent.

LAST YEAR: You'd find me at M.O.B. on Atlantic and 3rd, eating some kale and yucca fries in the garden. They have the best veggie food I have ever had. The food is interesting, innovative, special. Most of my friends are non-veg and ALWAYS get psyched for a visit here. The staff are beyond kind and make you feel so appreciated and cared for. I have a crush on every single one of them. I would say Ganso 's veggie ramen would be neck and neck with M.O.B. Yes, hot soup in the summer. Plus, the owner tells me they'll have some cold noodle dishes coming up too, hopefully veggie. Another incredible Brooklyn staff here and the owner Harris really cares about bringing authentic, clean food to an area of Downtown Brooklyn often overlooked. 

What local summer event are you most looking forward to this year (i.e. Funday Sunday, Bastille Day, block party, Red Hook Jazz festival, etc)?

THIS YEAR: Any jazz festival at all. All I'm going to do is dance my sweaty buns off to the music of old jazz cats doing their thing. Already the Union Square Greenmarket hosted a jazz night and it was magical. Who doesn't love a xylophone? 

LAST YEAR: Bastille Day! I love hanging around Bar Tabac on Bastille Day! It's hot, it's sweaty, jazz is blowing through the streets, cold wine and beer, sexy people, smiles, it's just the best. I always run into people I haven't seen in a long time, it's just a big bad party. I'd say the Atlantic Antic is a close second.

So, what are you doin' this summah??
Peas and Love,
Allison Tray