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

tessaestellekramer.com

    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

 

Brunch is HERE!!!!!

Sample Brunch Menu (subject to change)

Chips and Salsa $6
corn chips* with red or green salsa ^‡‡

Bok Choy Bowl $6
sauteed in garlic, ginger, shallots

Congee $10
Hong Kong style jasmine rice porridge, sesame, ginger, scallions, braised peanuts and shredded duck^

Pozole $10
Oaxacan style rich red stew, heritage pork, hominy,* cabbage, onions, radish, cilantro ^ (extra spicy by request)

Vegan Pozole $10
Dashi base broth, tomato, hominy,* cabbage, onions, radish, cilantro ^‡‡ (extra spicy by request)

Chilaquiles $10
crisp corn tortilla* quarters, house-made salsa, onions, cilantro, queso fresco, crema fresca and poached egg ^‡
_Add house-made beer and tequila braised chorizo $4

Duck Confit Hash $13
“Peking” spiced duck confit, potatoes, egg, scallions and tangy sauce ^

The Gran Torta $12
house-made beer and tequila braised chorizo, heirloom bean spread, tomatoes, pickled vegetables and Marisa’s spicy sauce on pretzel bun.
_Add queso fresco $0.50

SIDES/EXTRA

House-made Chorizo $4
Duck-fat Roasted Potatoes ^ $5
Poached Egg ^‡ $2
Tortilla* ^‡‡ $0.50 (each)
Queso Fresco ^‡ $0.50
Extra Salsa ^‡‡ $1
House-made Hot Sauce ^‡‡ $0.50
Pickled Mexican Vegetables ^‡‡ $1
Sweet Ginger Cucumbers ^‡‡ $1

Brunch Cocktails

Kimchee and Nori Bloody Mary
spicy bloody mary, vodka, house-made kimchee, nori

Tequila Maria
spicy bloody mary, tequila, guajillo chili, ancho chili liquor, pickled vegetables

Mango and Pineapple Mimosa
pineapple and mango juice, sparkling wine

Margarita
classic, hibiscus, or pineapple

Oaxacan Old Fashioned
mezcal, tequila, spicy chocolate mole, bitters, sugar

So Berry Sour
rye, berries and lemon

Michelada
Oaxacan style spicy beer cocktail

^Gluten-free ‡vegetarian ‡‡ vegan
*Tortilleria Nixtamal uses 100% non-genetically modified and non-transgenetic corn in their tortillas, chips and hominy. Made in Corona, NY.

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

The tunnel is beginning to see more light

What a busy few weeks the LL crew has had! In our absentia from the blog world, we have been continuing our journey building and branding Lucky Luna, balancing extreme productivity with extreme patience.  Timelines are strange creatures when it comes to opening a restaurant— twisting and turning and folding back on themselves.  The pace is good, however.  Now it appears that every two steps forward are indeed two steps forward, with perhaps only a slight slip back, or just to the side rather.

Since our last post, the bar and backbar have been put together, wallpaper has been painted, the benches built and tables refinished.  With the leftover wood and scraps from all of the major construction, we managed to build a wine rack and small shelf that Ken thinks looks like a robot.

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We also made stencils, dressed up a couple walls and fancied up a salvaged shelving unit, while Howard tested out some pozole recipes.  Drake found none of it amusing.

And of course, we did more sanding.

We also squeezed in a short trip through the midwest to see loved ones, enjoy the Ohio Turnpike, fill our bellies with pumpkin cheesecake and tap our toes to the tunes of the Sugar Beets straight out of Michigan.

We were also fortunate enough to help out at the Taste 4 the Philippines fundraiser this past week, co-sponsored by TALDE, Thistly Hill Tavern, Pork Slope and The Green Building, to benefit the typhoon victims.  Restaurants from all over NYC donated their time and talent to offer guests tasty treats and libations from the Philippines and beyond.  Those who were not able to participate, gave generously to the silent auction.  Thanks to the organizing efforts and an amazing turnout, the event brought in over 30 grand in donations!

On Thursday, Lucky Luna finally got an awning of its very own!!!!

AND the long awaited piece of paper that means so very much, has been bestowed upon us at last!!!!

Done Kicking, on to More Painting

It has been another jam-packed week for the Lucky crew.

First and foremost, we met our Kickstarter goal!!!! What a rewarding experience to have been able to share the creation of Lucky Luna with so many people AND receive soooooooo much support on top of it all! I don’t know how many times I can say it, but we are truly humbled by the generosity and love shown.  We could not have done it without our amazing friends and family who have been with us through thick and thin, way before Lucky Luna began this journey.  And our fans, what an amazing group of people you are! To believe in us, our vision and our ability to execute it is inspirational, motivational and simply wonderful.

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While not staring at our Kickstarter pages and refreshing every 30 seconds, we did manage to do some actual work on Lucky Luna.  The trillion layers of paint that never seemed to end (with more to go yet!) and our first attempt at hanging wallpaper filled our days and nights.  The glimmer of  light came when we were joined by friends who came bearing gifts of congrats, providing us with a well-needed break, and an invitation by another to a lovely wine-tasting, to help us find our perfect California Cab.

Tired but we keep on trekking.  At the end of the day, we wouldn’t have it any other way :)      OUR WAY.

Lucky Luna Workout and Diet Routine

A few of the unexpected physical results of starting a restaurant may include:

  • overdeveloped trap and lat muscles from a week worth of painting ceilings and walls
  • nice and tight forearms from a handful 8 hour shifts sanding
  • loose waistbands from too many days forgetting to eat until 10pm intermixed with daily walks with the puppy for much needed fresh air and decompression

It’s true.  Starting a business is not for the faint or weary.  It may result in weight loss, grey hair, and inexplicable bouts of energy and euphoria or paranoia and pessimism.  

The key to survival is twofold.

1) It requires awesome friends and family who tell you that you are not crazy and that they believe in you.  They even bring you sandwiches (because they know you probably forgot to eat) or coffee (because they know you’ll be at it for another 6 hours).  They walk your puppy when you need to stay and put on just one more coat before you can leave.  They tell other people how rad they think you are and how they have watched you cultivate and develop your vision for years.  They perfectly time making you dinner while you’re prying tiles from the kitchen floor, so it’s hot and ready when you finally get home.  They also give you actual money to help you make it all happen (Kickstarter!)

2) It requires an equally awesome team.  The stressful, confusing, exciting, exhilarating, and nauseating experience of opening a restaurant is best experienced in the company of others, especially the others who are going through all of the same emotions.  The team is more than that though.  The team fills in where you can’t and picks up the pieces you accidentally dropped.  The team compliments and complements you, both vital to sanity and well-rounded plans of action.

For these reasons, the Lucky Luna crew feels pretty darn lucky.

Since we embarked on this venture we have learned a lot about ourselves and each other.  We all have experience opening restaurants for other people, but adding our own blood, sweat and tears AND  money, ideas, creativity and heart, is in an entirely different dimension.  The stakes are higher, but the rewards are greater, too.  Not monetary rewards (no one goes into the restaurant biz for that!), but rather the types that come with the satisfaction of molding and shaping a vision into a reality that incorporates the ethics, the ideas, and the talents you and your team possess into this beautiful thing that is finally free to exist outside of your imagination.

We’re still at the molding stage, the sweaty (and sometimes bloody and tear-filled) stage of the process but we get glimpses of the end here and there. And it looks pretty.

We thank all of you who have shared in the process with us.  We are stronger, smarter and happier people because of you and Lucky Luna is one step closer to being a reality each and every day thanks to you.  We have almost hit our Kickstarter goal of 28k!  You all have made this possible! THANK YOU!!!

Keep sharing, keep liking ( and contributing ;)  ) with 4 days left to make the final push!! It’s all or nothing folks! 

:) 

XOXO

Marisa, Ken, and Howard

Do-It-Yourself

It’s been a big week for the Lucky Luna crew.  

We made a few trips to Hartsdale to start working with a DIY (Do-it-yourself) program to build our bar and back bar.  We have the hard work ethics and creativity juices flowing a plenty, but carpentry skills … could be a wee bit more developed.  It has been a great and challenging experience— from picking out the wood to literally making the cuts to form the bar.  We chose a beautiful Ambrosia Maple.  The once normal maple tree is infested with the little ambrosia beetle that burrows and tunnels through the wood, leaving these watercolor-like stains in its wake.  The tree is then susceptible to a spalt fungus, which combined with the beetle’s traces, creates unique and intricate ink-like blue, black, pink and purple swirls and splashes.

Ambitious and enthusiastic, we plunged right in.  But like most anything that is worth it, the process always takes longer than you’d think.  Even still, being outdoors, amidst the changing leaves and crisp autumn air, while hard work, has been a welcome respite of sorts to the city runnings to Home Depot and departments of this and that, procuring all of the equipment, certificates and permits and applications necessary to open doors.

And we haven’t been the only busy ones.  Our awesome team has been working at lightning speed to get the brick and mortar outfitted with a new ceiling and solid and sturdy frame for our bar top. 

Last but certainly not least, we have passed the halfway point for our Kickstarter campaign!  It’s thrilling and encouraging to have received so much support and love.  The scary part is the fact that if we do not hit our goal of 28k, we will NOT receive ANYTHING :(  We are over halfway to meeting it with only 11 days left!!!! 

We are simply asking that our friends, family and fans continue to share our story and campaign. No contribution is too small (or too big!).  We have also added another prize tier! Our hoodies have gotten so much love, we decided to offer them as a full on reward.  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter, too! 

THANKS EVERYONE!!!

XOXO

Ken, Howard and Marisa