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It’s spring fever time

The Brooklyn Paper
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Everyone talks about global warming, but no one seems to do anything about it. In other words, baby it was cold outside for much of the past four months.

Finally, however, the calendar says it’s the first day of spring — and your tired old bones are ready to shake off their rust.

The GO Brooklyn team knows how you feel, so here’s our annual guide to curing your upcoming case of spring fever.

The drink

Springtime means spring break and spring break means margaritas. Cabana Bar in Park Slope calls its version the “mambo fresa,” a concoction of mulled fresh strawberries, lemon and mint that puts the standard mix-based ’rita to shame. Blended margaritas are available, but, in our expertise, stick to them on the rocks.

Plus, the straw palapa bar at Cabana is refreshing like the famed summer breeze of that old Seals and Crofts classic.

Cabana Bar [648 President St., between Fifth and Fourth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 399-2161].

The sound

The classical musical event of the season is a special concert at Bargemusic on April 2 to mark the 90th birthday of Olga Bloom, the floating venue’s founder.

“It’s going to be four hours of the greatest works ever composed for chamber music in the last 200 or 300 years,” said Mark Teskanov, the artistic director.

The show includes quartets and octets by Hayden, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, and a little composer named Beethoven.

Olga Bloom tribute at Bargemusic [2 Old Fulton St. near Furman Street, (718) 624-2083], April 2. Tickets are $90.

The lamb

Nothing says spring to some people like fresh lamb, preferably a nice shoulder cut, braised and accompanied by fiddleheads or some other seasonal green.

That’s why just such a dish has joined Stephen Browning’s menu at the aptly named Flatbush Farm.

Browning slow-cooks the lamb shoulder in stock, wine and aromatic vegetables until falls off the bone in a delicious mound. Then he rolls it, roulade-style, seasons it some more and cuts it into medallions about two-inches thick.

“It’s a fresh, simple farm approach,” said Browning, who worked at Bayard’s under the famed farmer-chef Eberhard Muller.

The satisfying dish ($22) is all the more pleasing with a glass of Malbec.

Flatbush Farm [76 St. Marks Ave., between Sixth and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope, (718) 622-3276].

The sights

After the vernal equinox, it’s the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s time to shine.

Even though today is the first day of spring, excitement was budding all through the week.

“Our first cherry has popped over the last couple of days,” Patrick Cullina, vice president of horticulture and science, said (yes, he really said that).

Hanami, the month-long cherry blossom festival kicks off on April 4, and it’s the granddaddy of Garden events. But the magnolias, daffodils and Spanish bluebells are coming into their own soon, too.

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens [1000 Washington Ave. between Crown and Montgomery streets in Prospect Heights, (718) 614-7740]

The Park

Prospect Park’s warm-weather events officially begin with the Little League parade on April 4 and the return of the UniverSoul Circus on April 8.

The parade, a rite of passage for Brooklyn’s young ballplayers, celebrates a purer form of the game when the only juice a slugger needed came with a straw from his mom.

UniverSoul Circus is comes back for another three-week run in the Wollman Rink parking lot with its funky assortment of acrobats, clowns and a menagerie of animals under the big tent.

The Little League parade starts at Seventh Avenue and Carroll Street in Park Slope at 10 am on April 4 and ends at the Prospect Park bandshell. Tickets for UniverSoul are available via Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171 or at the Wollman Rink box office.

The game

Brooklyn premiere kickball league will kick-off its sixth season on the dirt diamonds of McCarren Park. The wildly popular 30-team league — which has elevated the city game to new heights since its start in 2003 — will celebrate its opening day on May 3. Registration for the season is already closed, according to organizer Kevin Dailey, but players and fans alike can enjoy the opening day festivities, which will include lively kick-ball action and an appearance by Knicks legend John Starks.

Brooklyn Kickball opening day at McCarren Park [Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street in Greenpoint], 4 pm, May 3.

The hangout

When the weather warms, Brooklynites head to Habana. Fort Greene’s Habana Outpost — an “eco-eatery” known for its pedal-powered blender, tasty Cuban sandwiches, and ample outdoor seating — will reopen after its annual winter shutdown with a kid-friendly Earth Day celebration on April 18 and 19. But the opening weekend won’t be the only spring festivities at the neighborhood hangout.

Outpost General Manager Darcy Le Fleming told The Brooklyn Paper that the eatery will be serving its famed slushy cocktails and corn on the cob at its always raucous block party on May 9.

Earth Day celebration at Habana Outpost [757 Fulton St. at South Portland Street in Fort Greene, (718) 858-9500], noon to 6 pm on April 18 and 19.

The chicken

Spring past the cold weather and warm your taste buds with the seasonal American menu at Bussaco.

“I couldn’t be more excited about spring vegetables,” said chef Kevin Adey citing an oven-roasted chicken recipe replete with peas and asparagus. He also does a roasted carrot tortellino that would make Bugs Bunny drool.

Bussaco [833 Union St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Park Slope, (718) 857-8828].

Updated 5:11 pm, July 9, 2018
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