Sunday, January 24, 2016

REPORTING FROM THE BLIZZARD OF 2016


One of the reasons I wanted to return to NYC was because I missed the change of seasons. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a beautiful mild Fall that extended through Christmas Day, when it was in the 60's. This weekend my dream of a picturesque Winter came true in spades. We were blanketed by 24" of snow in 24 hours, which turned dull gray streets into a glorious winter wonderland. 

Normally unnoticed details on buildings, like handrails & finials, now look like 21st century sculptures.

Today's bright blue sky and sun have already begun to melt away yesterday's magic.


I don't think I'll be seeing my car for at least a week. The snow plows managed to bank it in pretty well and the drifting snow on the sidewalk comes up to my thighs. Here's the view from in front of my brownstone looking up & down 8th Street:



                                                          All day yesterday CBS-TV had a crew reporting live from 7th Ave around the corner. That street was repeatedly plowed...guess it helps to have Methodist Hospital just a block away.
The path to my front door  gives you an idea of how deep the snow is.

Don't think I'll be eating in the back garden anytime soon.

This was Twink's first encounter with snow and it turns out that she's a Floridian after all. One look at the pile of snow confronting her at the front door and she ran back in. 

When her
usual view out the window was blocked by snow, she gave up trying to see outside. Then it was time for jammies.


We were very lucky to experience minimal power outages & injuries. All vehicles were banned from driving on City streets after 2:30pm yesterday. New Yorkers took advantage of the empty streets by cross country skiing, sledding, having snow ball fights and walking around & down the middle of normally busy avenues. Of course, staying in was a good excuse for me to read the New Yorker, watch movies & bake some goodies. 


It may be cold outside, but it's beautiful, and I'm glad to be home.

Love from the Big (White) Apple,
Bonni & DaTwink



bonnibakes@gmail.com
(941) 746-6647

381 8th St., Apt 1    Brooklyn, NY  11215

Friday, January 1, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM BROOKLYN


I live on this tree lined street in Park Slope, Brooklyn


During December New York is a magical place where street trees are decorated with twinkling white lights and bold swaths of color transform large buildings. On Christmas Day I was walking down W 23rd Street on the way to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was a gray day which morphed into an evening of thick fog that embraced & obscured everything. As I turned around I suddenly saw the lights on the Empire State Building shining through the mist. Smiling, I had to stop and take this photo with my iPhone. By the way, I loved the movie so much that I saw it again five days later in the 3-D version. May the Force be with you in 2016. 


It's been 100 days since my transition from Floridian to New Yorker began. I now have a NY driver's license & plates for my car, down jacket, boots, mostly black wardrobe, subscription to The New Yorker, personal Metro Card, membership in Park Slope Food Coop, Brooklyn Library card and I'm working on getting my accent back. 
Twinkie, known on Brooklyn streets as DaTwink, has become a fashionista. Once happy to go au-natural in Bradenton, she now regularly sports sweaters, pajamas, a winter coat & rain slicker. I drew the line at a Halloween costume, although she seemed to be the only dog in the neighborhood without one. 
We're living in Park Slope, Brooklyn which is a very family friendly neighborhood where I can find most things within walking distance. Luckily I only have to move my car once a week for alternate side parking. Restaurants, subways, buses, shops & fresh food options (including handmade mozzarella) are within a few blocks.
Some of my neighbors go all out for Halloween. I stood in front of my brownstone with bowls of candy as over 100 costumed trick-or-treaters stopped by. My favorite group was the 5 member family of assorted penguins. Lots of creativity around here. 


Christmas & Chanukah displays

weren't far behind. In addition to the classic plastic Santas and glittery trees, a few houses had awesome setups, like these bigger than life nutcrackers. Not to be overlooked, many Jews display electric menorahs in their window for eight days. I was surprised to see a few cars driving around with a menorah strapped to their roof & a sign flashing "Happy Chanukah!" 

Here are a few pictures of my new environment:
The back garden of my brownstone apartment

Random mural on a building
A store that JUST sells breast pumps?
Cutting boards & rolling pin handmade by my Grandpa in the 1930s
Thanksgiving leftovers became my Turkey Pot Pies
I haven't been baking for the local community as I did for the past 4 years in Bradenton because NYC doesn't have a Cottage Food Law. I'm restless so it's time to look for the next challenge that I can throw my creativity & energy into. I'm sure I'll stumble over it in 2016. Of course I have been baking for family & friends.

Whole Wheat Rye Cranberry Pecan Loaf
Living in the same city as my kids for the first time in 25 years is just fabulous because we can do so many things spontaneously.

Abby, Rainer, Bonni, Rob, Molly @ Abby's Tree Trimming
And Twink loves having sleepovers & hanging out with her furry cousins, who are founding members of the notorious Greenpoint Glass Gang.

Best wishes, good health & tons of happiness in 2016. 

I haven't done a very good job of staying in touch these past few months. Now that the craziness surrounding my BIG MOVE is over I hope to do better. I miss seeing & talking with you & appreciate all the support and friendship you've given me over the years. My email address & phone number are the same, in case you want to get in touch. I hope you do.

Hugs from my Brooklyn kitchen,
Bonni & DaTwink


It was mid 60's around Christmas, what's her problem?
bonnibakes@gmail.com
(941) 746-6647

381 8th St., Apt 1    Brooklyn, NY  11215

Thursday, September 3, 2015

BONNI BAKES FINAL ARTWALK THIS FRIDAY 6-9pm


I’m leaving Bradenton exactly 16 years since Rea & I first bought a house in the newly designated Village of the Arts. We were the second ones, closing just a week after Graciela Giles. Rea designed the renovation to house BONNI BAKES, which started out as a wholesale boutique bakery. 

After a while I felt isolated & missed interacting with people. So the next year I started making those famous thin-crust pizzas a few times a week. Ultimately we became a bakery/cafe, offering lunch 5 days a week. 
 

I've met, loved and sometimes lost many wonderful people over the past 16 years, including my own mother & husband Rea in 2003.


Lots of positive change has taken place in the Village over the years and BONNI BAKES was always in the thick of it. Join me for a stroll down memory lane looking back at some of the food, customers (many of whom became good friends) and events that make up those memories.

I started baking Breadstix, crackers, breads, muffins & cookies (especially Chocolate Orgasm Cookies). Soon they were joined by pizza, stromboli, soup, salad & lunch specials. 













I created C.A.F.E. (Community Arts Fundraising Event) where diners enjoyed a simple meal then voted to donate the cost of their meal to a local non-profit project. 



                             


"Mommy or Daddy & Me" intergenerational baking classes were lots of fun for all ages. We were the first restaurant in Bradenton to be permitted to offer Doggie Dining at our outside patio, separate menus of course. 



I gave my building & facilities over to various charities for free so they could have fundraising events. Rick Kerby, a trained chef as well as the Artistic Director, cooked up some great meals & raked in some great money for the Manatee Players.

One year I decided to work fewer hours and invited guest chefs to provide a different cuisine each day at lunch. We offered Spanish tapas, Persian, Macrobiotic, classic French, Latin Caribbean & Southern Comfort. In addition, there were unique dinners featuring Paella, Minorcan specialties & Ethiopian. 






And then there were cooking demos & classes; customers who decorated Christmas cookies that we donated to local charities, and lunches made up solely of organic veggies from my Geraldson Community Farm CSA share.



BONNI BAKES was a favorite venue for parties, whether we only catered them or hosted as well. Various birthdays & anniversaries were celebrated; we provided wedding cakes for the two Village weddings; Lee's retirement party from Good Earth Natural Food Stores was a bitter-sweet celebration, and we hosted several Pot-Luck Community Thanksgiving dinners too.




I believe that Anna D'Aste & I outdid ourselves making the 7 (count them) colorful cakes for Franny's Quinceanera.


I've spent several stints on the Village Board of Directors and am proud to have written the Banner Grant, which helped us begin to create "place-making" in the early days. 



As a clinical social worker I was happy to collaborate with the Boys & Girls Club in writing a grant for "Culture Vultures". The 6 week program improved self esteem of the participants by creating art alongside professional artists in their Village studios. 


As an 18 year breast cancer survivor, I was motivated to raise funds for Breast Cancer Research by creating "Artsy Undies", an art show that filled every wall with locally decorated bras that all screamed WE NEED MORE SURVIVORS!!






When I found out that nothing was being done to raise funds for a local Prostate Cancer Support Group, I created "Artsy Undies 2". It was a show composed of decorated tidy whities, jock straps & boxers.


Over the years we've especially focused on exposing young children to art. In addition to housing the Culture Vultures Gallery, we welcomed young students from PS 9; I put together a summer program for Harllee middle school & hired artists from the Village to teach in their medium, and held a month long art show featuring the work of 4-6 year olds from a local daycare. The focus of "Arts Alive" included numerous school children in Manatee County who decorated the Funky Men.

People still ask me when 
are the belly dancers coming
back? They were such a hit    
during "Dancing thru the Village"
an event that also had a Conga Line & a dozen other dance groups performing at different galleries.





I've been a recipe tester for several national cookbooks & appreciate those customers who bravely tasted & rated the results for the authors. Remember when we baked our way through classic Brooklyn bakery favorites including bagels, bialys, black & whites, pletzl, mohn cakes, rugelach, babka and onion rolls.


And let's not forget the fantastic fruit from our organic
  Keitt mango tree, which worked its way into cookies, cakes, jams, fruit butter & ice pops. 

For me it's the end of an era and I want to say a sweet "goodbye" to everyone who has helped me celebrate my years in Bradenton. Stop by BONNI BAKES during Friday's ArtWalk for some free baked goods & a hug. See you there at 930 12th St W between 6-9pm.

Hugs from my kitchen, and Elvis is out of the building
Bonni