La Sirena by Melissa Hunter Gurney and Zhenya Bernadskaya

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La Sirena: A collection of words and photos

July 7th – September 29th, 2014

Opening Reception July 7th, 7pm – 10pm

Lucky Luna Restaurant and Bar, 167 Nassau Ave., BK 11222

La Abuela was magnificently named. In many cultures the only women who aren’t identified as gifts of sensual pleasure and desire are the old ones, the ones who are no longer pleasing to the eye. Because of fallen skin covering once lush curves they resemble dried up flowers and no longer arouse us. We don’t want to smell the soft necks of wilted tulips or run our fingers over crispy hydrangeas – nothing about a wilted, dried up flower appeals to the senses but we still respect these flowers because they remind us of certain truths – their age and lack of moisture tells a story of a moment or an emotion we were unable to express.

La Abuela was different, she was an enigma, she was given the name “The Grandmother” inciting the idea that she was more than the wise, wilted, orchid storyteller but she was all the wise, wilted, orchid storyteller’s: the bird of paradise, the bougainvillea, the daffodil, the rose and the peony. She was given this name before her skin fell, before her hair greyed and before her walk lost the same flavor as her eyes – the flavor of desire, passion and the hunt. Men treated her as if she birthed them, pausing in her presence to ponder the confusion of lust and maternal love.

La Abuela was granted a passage in-between worlds.

La Abuela spoke to her sisters in metaphors and made the English language sound like a poem.

“You are 100 petals without a stem to hold you, without soil to keep you in place. The wind divides you and the sun changes the color of your complexion giving you a different name each day: begonia, carmelitilla, aguilena.” She whispered their names softly paying homage to a goddess.

“First you must trust the people. Their lives and their places will bring you pedals again. Then, you will go in search of a stem – you only find a stem by looking mi hermana.”  When she called me her sister I felt the pleasure of a little girl with fruit dripping from her mouth and hands.

“In some countries a woman who rebels is referred to as La Puta, in other countries she is called La Sirena – an individual, a rebel who cannot be chained by the shackles of tradition.”

“Do not misunderstand mi hermana. Not every woman is granted the freedom to use her talent as she pleases. A man knows a woman who chooses frivolity and insecurity over intellectuality and confidence – only one is called La Sirena because she is other worldly, a temptress made to breath in two lands – the air of tradition and the water of the wild. Every woman must know who they are before entering into a life of lust because if she is merely human she will be spit on for the choices she makes.” 
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Melissa Hunter Gurney is an independent writer and the founder of GAMBA Zine – a literary magazine dedicated to art and rooted in passion and thoughtfulness without the politics of publication. She is connected to the artist life as seen throughout South America and writes for La Gente Descalza (The Barefoot People).  You can follow M.H. Gurney’s work at www-brokenbraids.tumblr.com and gambazine.tumblr.com

 

Zhenya Bernadskaya is a Brooklyn based photographer from Ukraine. Zhenya combines her background as an Occupational Therapist, working with children, with her passion for photography and travel. She spends her time wandering the streets of NYC and beyond with her camera. Most of the images from this exhibition are from her travels in South America. You can follow Zhenya’s current work at travelallways.tumblr.com

Please join us at Lucky Luna (167 Nassau Ave., BK) on July 7th, 7 – 10pm, for the opening reception and artist salon where Melissa and Zhenya will be accompanied by other local artists sharing their work over wine and cocktails!

Say Hello to Summer!!!

As Lucky Luna bids adieu to spring, we wanted to share some of the activities and dishes we have enjoyed since our last update.

Negroni Week was a lot of fun as we celebrated this classic cocktail and did a slew of original variations (a new one each day) all in the name of charity. Check out our takes below:

Hop Fresh  House Hop-infused Gin, London Dry Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Branca Menta

The Rossellini Dry Sherry, Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Dry Vermouth

Rum and Rye Roni  Smith & Cross Jamaican Overproof Rum, Rye, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Chocolate Bitters

Agave Garden  Mezcal, Cocchi Americano, Cynar, Aperol, Campari and Angostura Bitters

Poblano Rojo  Gin, Campari, Ancho Chili Liquor, Cynar and Orange Bitters

The Managua  Rum, Dry Vermouth, Velvet Falernum, Campari

 

And in accordance to our philosophy of consistently finding ways to create and engage the community in arts and services, not just through delicious food and drink, Lucky Luna hosted its first Ladies Swap Meet!  Participants brought in choice items such as clothing, art, books, shoes and more to trade, swap and just give away to other attendees.  The only rule was that items could not be exchanged for money, only other goods or services.  New friendships were formed over piles of clothes, cocktails, and laughter.

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Lucky Luna also has been working diligently on setting up our Take-Out Window!

As summer has been approaching with her hot and sunny days and warm nights, we have been experimenting with some cool dishes, savoring spicy Micheladas and enjoying visits from our furry neighbors out for a stroll!

AND we got another slew of Kickstarter out in the mail with one round left!

And received our Best and Most Original Bloody Mary plaques!

Last but not least—- we FINALLY, after a year of requests, have a graffiti-free restaurant!!!!

And so we welcome summer with open arms and eagerly await new surprises, new guests, and new adventures! Happy Summer!!! 

Negroni Week!!

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In honor of one of the greatest classic cocktails, the Negroni, Imbibe and Campari have asked bars across the country and beyond to join forces celebrating this time-immortal libation and raise some dinero for the charitable cause of their choosing.

Lucky Luna is happy to jump on this bandwagon!

From June 3-8 (not the 2nd because we’re closed Mondays) we will be participating in #NegroniWeek by serving up a classic (equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) as well as an original variation each day.  For every one sold we will be donating $1 to Safe Horizon, an organization that provides shelter, support, counseling and legal services for victims of domestic abuse, violence, sexual assault and related crimes. 

Check out our Instagram and Twitter for pics and recipes of our Negroni inspired cocktails and stop by to try them while supporting a great cause!

#LuckyLunaNY 

#LuckyLuna

@LuckyLunaNY

 

 

Sunday Bloody Sunday

This past Sunday, Lucky Luna were proud participants in the 1st Annual Brooklyn Bloody Mary Festival!

We faced fierce competition from 9 other respected Brooklyn bars and restaurants, each pouring their bloody best concoctions to the masses.  The day consisted of three hours of tasting the most amazing and extravagant bloodies and noshing on Tacu Tacu treats. We brought our Kimchee and Nori Bloody and ended up taking the “Most Original” 1st place award!  The biggest shock came when the festival hosts, Evan and Yunna Weiss, announced the “Best Bloody Mary in Brooklyn” award-  it was Lucky Luna!!! 

In celebration of this prestigious award, we will be offering the winning bloody for $5 tonight!!! 

Bloodies aren’t just for brunch! 

The High Road and Other News

Well folks, Lucky Luna’s train has continued to pummel forth at high speed into out third month open.

A few weeks ago, a review about Lucky Luna appeared in a little newspaper called the New York Times—  and apparently, they have a pretty big readership base.  On the local level, we graced the front page of the Greenpoint Gazette!  We are overjoyed with the attention that these pieces have brought us, coming hand-in-hand with the increasingly warm and sunny days that every New Yorker desperately desired.  And while the cold and grey still make frequent visits, Lucky Luna feels like a spring breaker— ready for adventure.

On the 14th, we opened the show, “Creosote” by Tessa Estelle Kramer, a textile artist from Arizona and current Brooklyn denizen.  A humble but hearty turnout to the reception brought Ms. Kramer one sale and two commissions! Creosote will be hung at Lucky Luna til mid June, so there is plenty of time to check it out.

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Today, April 23rd, marks the first day of “High Road Restaurant Week” -  a week long celebration of restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are recognized for implementing fair labor practices in their establishments by paying higher wages, offering opportunities for advancement, complying and exceeding labor laws, and supporting positive and healthy work environments in addition to their dishes.  Lucky Luna is proud to be a participating member of this event, honoring not only amazing food and drinks, but the people who are the magic and the muscle behind providing these treats.

AND this Sunday, April 27th, from 1pm -4pm, we will be participating (and competing) in the THE 1ST ANNUAL BROOKLYN BLOODY MARY FESTIVAL !  The festival will be held at Tacu Tacu 134 N. 6th Street in Williamsburg.

The event will be 3 hours of unlimited Bloody tastes from 10 different Brooklyn restaurants/bars with brunch snacks and music! We will be serving up our Kimchee and Nori Bloody! 

Tickets include unlimited Bloody Marys and brunch snacks $35 – available April 12th and until the event sells out
Tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-1st-annual-brooklyn-bloody-mary-festival-tickets-10925487427

 

Creosote by Tessa Estelle Kramer

Creosote

April 14th – June 15th, 2014

Opening Reception April 14th, 7 – 10pm

Lucky Luna Restaurant and Bar, 167 Nassau Ave, BK 11222

From a young age I was drawn to textiles and fabric.  My Grandmother taught me how to hand-sew when I was a child and since then I have always gravitated towards fabric, the more textural and vibrant the better.  When I was introduced to weaving, something clicked – I can make my own cloth- my own fabric!  Using natural fiber yarns, raw wool, found and up-cycled pieces of fabric and paper I create ‘landscapes’ and textural planes on a turn-of-the-century, four-harness table loom.  The pieces in this exhibit are all pieces I have made in New York since I moved here eight months ago from Tucson, Arizona.  The colors, plants, and sunsets of the Southwest are all strong influences and let me explore my roots, while also helping me process and embrace my new home in Brooklyn.

This exhibit is named Creosote after one of the most prominent plants in Southern Arizona, Mexico and Texas.  The Creosote bush has many indigenous uses and reigns most prominent in people’s minds for the lovely scent that it brings the desert during the summer monsoon season.

-Tessa Kramer April 2014, Brooklyn, New York

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    Lucky Luna’s inaugural show,”New New Yorkers”, responded to the journey that every non-native New Yorker experiences when acclimating to this great city, manifested through sometimes extreme existential, emotional and physical metamorphosis.    Tessa Estelle Kramer’s “Creosote” reflects the delicate balance of sweet nostalgia for the ethereal desert and magical sunsets of the southwest, and the energy and fire that fuels life in New York.   Tessa’s works weave together a melange of textures and colors, much like the city.  Unlike New York, however, which can sometimes have a dark edge, Creosote is a series of pieces that reflect a lightness that Tessa has brought with her from Arizona and cultivated in this city.  

Please join us for an opening reception April 14th from 7pm – 10pm at Lucky Luna Restaurant and Bar, 167 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222

 

Adios Winter, Bienvenida Spring!!!

Lucky Luna celebrated its one month anniversary not too long ago and what a month it was!!

We rode into the Year of the Horse with utter enthusiasm. Zagat did a sweet little shout-out listing us among the 12 Must Try Chinese Restaurants to ring in the new year and packed the house!

Rolling into February, Lucky Luna was the home for celebrating new and old friendships, current and prospective lovers, and a birthday or two…..

Lucky Chef Howard Jang and his “Peking” Duck Confit Bao recipe were featured by Brooklyn Cooking.  And the Lucky Luna team served up the rising star bao for a fundraiser benefitting the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, a fantastic high school full of brilliant young people and dedicated teachers.  Needless to say, word quickly spread throughout the event and a consistent line of bao fans graced our table, with many repeat eaters.

We’ve also enjoyed a month of gastronomic and cocktail experiments that have resulted in a few staples.

One of these such experiments that had slowly been cultivated over some serious home brunching and perfected at Lucky Luna, is our Kimchee and Nori Bloody Mary, which Libby VanderPloeg highlights in her “Recipes Gone Wild” section of Greenpointers.com. 

In the process of making all of these delicious drinks, we managed to break three hand-held juicers in less than two weeks on what may be the toughest limes known to humankind, that, or we just have some seriously strong grips.  So we upgraded to the mega model.

Last but not least, the Lucky Luna crew enjoyed their first family field trip to see our very own Meg V Snead sing her heart out at the Legion last week.  A “Jill” of all trades, Meg sings, plays the ukulele, is a cinematographer, steadicam operator and photographer in addition to being a kickass server! Her folky rendition of “Gangsta’s Paradise” on the uke complemented by her bf David’s master beat boxing, is simply delightful.

And so now, as we all patiently await a sunny spring that sticks, Lucky Luna is preparing to add to the lunch AND brunch offerings on “This Side of McGuinness”!!!!!!!!!!!! Check us out next week to see what we came up with– but don’t worry, this weekend we are still serving up our Kimchee and Nori Bloody Mary AND our Tequila Maria.

This Side of McGuinness

So I guess it’s really happening…..

It’s been a whirlwind week for the Lucky Luna team.

To the moon and back with emotions, ideas, revampings, panic, and elation.  Exactly one week ago we invited a troop of friends and family to give us their constructive criticisms on the whole package of what is Lucky Luna— and they did.  And we listened.

Thursday afternoon we unlocked the door, lit a couple of candles and flipped that open sign.  In an increasingly solid trickle, neighbors and friends and random passerby-ers graced the tables and barstools of our beloved restaurant.  We learned stories and gossip about the neighborhood, the people, and Greenpoint history from the local denizens. Tales of old school mob allegiances, oil companies and waterfront conspiracies, aspirations for community gardens, and memories of someone’s first (and best) job at the former “Frozen Fantasies” just up the street— which was an ice cream shop in case it wasn’t clear ;)

We solidified our understanding of, and reverence for, “this side of McGuinness”, as repeatedly uttered by our neighbors.  And while we hold no ill will or distaste for “the other side of McGuinness” or as Rosie of Greenpointers says, “OSOM”— we are proud members of “this side.”

The eye-opening realization that this is really actually happening has been seeing our name, our food, our story, on the pages of a spattering of media outlets. We had been trying to get Google to acknowledge our existence on the map, unsuccessfully so for months.  And wham! one Yelp review (which was awesome!) and we are legitimized by Google so that Iphones and Androids alike can plan routes from their front door to ours. And with that one Yelp,  the reviews and articles have been rolling.  It’s surreal.  I must admit though, it’s a terrifying feeling, too.  To be judged doesn’t feel so fantastic…… but watching a neighbor’s face light up after one bite of a steamed bun, or slowly close their eyes, savoring that first sip of their cocktail, or the belly laughs had by two neighbors becoming instant friends from sitting side-by-side at our bar— are priceless and make the whole experience worth it.

Thanks for an incredible week and here’s to a million more!

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Almost

The open sign is almost visible.  

The soft hum of a crowded restaurant is almost audible.

The waft of Howard’s delicious steamed Peking duck confit bao almost tickles my nose.

And the sweet nectar of Ken’s Mezcal “In Fashion” cocktail almost warms my mouth.

Almost.

December started off with the long-awaited arrival of our t-shirts, hoodies, and tote bags.  Below the crew models the goods joined by our dear Ashley Mellinger, showing off her Lucky Luna bag on the way to grocery shop. 

We finished sealing the bar and the tables, not without a few hiccups, of course. 

We also enjoyed what some may consider the most enjoyable aspect of opening a restaurant— the samples!!!! 

Our mascot, Drake, has kept us entertained and offered comic relief from the stresses. He also made an excellent nap buddy for the times when exhaustion takes over.

The most enjoyable part we must say, has been putting the finishing touches on Lucky Luna, a place that at times seemed to exist only in our minds and through our descriptions that may have been incoherent to anyone but us.  

We are in the final stretch to prying open Lucky Luna’s doors to the world.  Keep your eyes and ears perked for the grand announcement!!! And don’t forget to follow us @LuckyLunaNY on Twitter and Instagram for updates and current happenings. 

Lucky Luna presents:

New New Yorkers

with

 Amina Lei,  Emily Fjaellen Thompson,

Julie Paveglio and Queena Ko

January 1 – March 30 2014

Lucky Luna Restaurant and Bar, 167 Nassau Ave, BK 11222

   As part of Lucky Luna’s mission, we wanted our space to be utilized for others to showcase their talents, both edible and visual. Our inaugural art show highlights 4 local female artists who are either not originally from New York (like the Lucky Luna crew) or who have lived a great deal of their lives outside of the city, but who have chosen to set roots here (at least temporarily so).  The show is intended to deconstruct the personal relationships that everyone has with the iconic city of New York.  Known world-wide, the name alone conjures up very specific images, emotions and ideas for people from all walks of life— some who only know it as portrayed on the television, radio and cinema, or perhaps only from stories told by family about a distant cousin who once made his way to the big apple.  New York is the place where people come to make their dreams come true, with varying degrees of success.  Everyone carries with them their  cultures, experiences and diverse world-views.  They crash and collide, share and rejoice,  juxtapose and intermingle on the streets of this mega metropolis.

    The works featured at Lucky Luna and here on the blog, are the artists’ response to this: their  journey, discovery, and perspective as a New New Yorker (or New Yorker rediscovered), about their chosen city.  Each artist took a different approach, from the self-reflective to the observational, the ethereal to the matter-of-fact.  The collective show is also a response on behalf of Lucky Luna that acknowledges our position as newcomers to the city.  We have landed in a neighborhood built upon  years of dreams and desires of predominantly Polish immigrants.  While we celebrate and honor our cultures and our beginnings, Lucky Luna is excited to see what the future holds for us,  influenced by the relationships with our new neighbors and home.   Continue reading