My Brooklyn: Maayan Zilberman

Artist, designer, entrepreneur and all round ‘it’ girl, Maayan Zilberman, is not content with your candy.   Thankfully for us she’s set her sights on rectifying that.

Founder of the acclaimed lingerie line, The Lake and Stars, Maayan launched ‘Sweet Saba‘, in 2015 and has pioneered the market in what she calls ‘candy for grown ups’.

SweetSaba_crystalsdetail

Now, we’re not talking mass produced, saccharine sweet fare here.  Oh no.  Maayan’s delicious concoctions are handmade, hand painted works of art.  Business Insider raved about her candy as ‘stunningly beautiful creations you won’t believe you can eat’.  SweetSaba_Caseettes (1)

There’s a sense of humor about her designs too and a definite nod to old school nostalgia. Deliciously retro candy incarnations of mix tapes and Rolex watches are featured alongside candy lipsticks, crystals and lollipops shaped like sunglasses. With flavors including champagne, wild strawberry, salted watermelon and rose wine, this is not your average sugar fix.

SweetSaba_Lipsticks

With features in Vogue, the New York Times and New York Times Style magazine, Tech Insider and CNBC to name just a few, her candy has become the ‘favor of choice’ at parties, fashion shows and events at the Whitney, Eataly, Lane Crawford and Art Basel.  Maayan has also had pop-up shops at The Standard Hotel -High Line, Fort Gansevoort in the Meat Packing District and even Le Bon Marche in Paris.

SweetSaba_sunglasses

Despite a big upcoming project at the ICA Boston to prepare for, Maayan took some time out to meet with me at Naidre’s Cafe and Bakery in Park Slope – the neighborhood she’s lived in for the last 16 years – to talk about some of her favorite places in Brooklyn.  Here’s what she had to say….

Hugo & Sons

367 7th Avenue – http://www.hugoandsons.com/

I love Hugo & Sons, on my corner.  The space had been  boarded up for most of the years that I’ve lived here – it had always been kind of a mystery in the neighborhood about  what was going on behind those doors.  Then I ran into one of my old college friends, Andrea, who told me he’d moved into the neighborhood and was taking over that spot to open up an Italian restaurant.

hugo exterior.pdf

What I remember about Andrea from college was that he was always an amazing chef so I was really excited about the project.  He asked me if I’d make little paintings for the for the restaurant.  I love it there – it has a real family atmosphere – and I particularly like being able to walk in and see my friends on any given evening.

hugo and sons maayan pics.pdf

S&S Cleaners & Tailors

369 9th Street  

I love my dry cleaners, which is next to the YMCA.  They’ve never done any remarkable jobs on anything I’ve given them, I have to admit, but the owners, who are  husband and wife, have been there ever since I’ve lived in the neighborhood.

They always remember what I’ve dropped off, even if it was from 6 months ago.  I basically consider them my storage facility, because they’ll store things that I had from last season and forgot to go and pick up.  When I  walk in they remember exactly what I have there.

Part of me wonders if it’s just because I’m the only one in the neighborhood who wears the kind of dresses I do, but they’re just so lovely and I always wonder if I’m going to walk by one day and they just won’t be there anymore.  They’re definitely ‘elderly’ but they’ve always been so sweet and I don’t think their prices have changed in 20 years!

Cafe Steinhof

422 7th Avenue – https://cafesteinhof.com/

I like Cafe Steinhof up the street from here.  The food isn’t spectacular, and it’s an unassuming place – you’ll notice a common theme here, that I’m just loyal to the businesses and people in my neighborhood – but they’re really big on community. Since they very first opened they’ve had movie nights – a few times a week they’ll have a projector and a big screen in the back of the restaurant.  It’s really fun to go and I always end up talking to other people in there.

cafe steinhof.pdf

It was also the first time that I’d gone to a restaurant with a transgender waitress. I don’t know if she’s still working there but it made a real impression on me when I was right out of college, that they were very accepting, so I always think about that.

The Islands

803 Washington Avenue – https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-islands-brooklyn-2

I love The Islands, which is a Caribbean restaurant just across from the Brooklyn Museum. It’s a really cute spot, which looks just like a take-out counter, but once you’re inside there’s a ladder to the left of the counter which you can climb up into their attic sit to have dinner. There’s only 3 tables up there and whenever I go with a group I call ahead to tell them what we want so the owner can buy enough of the meat we want.  It’s SO delicious.

the islands

Junior’s Cheesecake

386 Flatbush Avenue EXT – https://www.juniorscheesecake.com/

I love Junior’s because they’re open late night and my boyfriend gets out of work really late, so oftentimes we’ll go there at around 11pm. We’ll have a burger and cheesecake and sit at the bar.  It’s like an old school date, I love it.

Junior’s Cheesecake is also the thing we’ll always bring to any party that we’re going to. We’ll stop the car right up next to the window and I’ll just run in and get one while the car’s still running.  Maybe if we’re know for that, we’ll get invited anywhere!

juniors cheesecake

To purchase Sweet Saba candy, click here.  For more information on Maayan Zilberman, click here.

Photography of Maayan – Steve Erle.  Other photo credits: Cafe Steinhof, Junior’s Cheesecake, Hugo & Sons, Sweet Saba.

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