Thursday, January 27, 2011


It thundersnowed last night. I didn't know such weather existed. I heard the tell tale metal on asphalt sound of snow plows all night through the crack under the air conditioner. Snow plows are a bad sign because that means the city is "on top of it" and we probably won't have a snow day. Turns out that there are some things that you just can't get on top of... like MOTHER NATURE AND THE THUNDERSNOW*. Thank you for the day. Twas good for the soul.
not a good day for the porch. 

definitely don't walk.

grilled chz & tomato soup: home. comfort. childhood. adulthood.

*possible band name?


I went back to Syracuse for the 'Cuse v. Nova basketball game last weekend. The game was not blogworthy. It was fun, but we lost, which sucked. However, the adrenaline of the whole weekend was well worth the trip. I don't think that feeling of anticipation as you drive up 81, past Homer and Preble and the crazy ranting Indian Nation billboard, coming round the bend to see the tip of the Dome and the lights on Lawrinson (my freshman year dorm where I made so many of my friends) will ever fade. It is awesome and the sort of thing that could never be captured in a picture. 

Sheraton + Friends + Four Lokos = Doesn't matter
whether you win or lose, it's that we went to the game.

Real Good Times

Oh hello Hall of Languages. Looking as gray as I remember you :)


Alto Cinco = One of my top 3 restaurants ever. Note the
dready dude in the background. Chef's secret is under that hat.

Glass of Pinot and a shrimp burrito.

'Nuff said.
See you next year 'Cuse.

Monday, January 17, 2011


My kitchen in the Bronx was the bomb. I may have lived in the 'hood, but my kitchen was more than I could've asked for. I got very comfortable channeling Rachel Ray, with my friends gathered around the island, some chopping apples for apple crisp (thanks Melis!), some chatting (and not chopping... Ian), slugging sipping vino and making dinner. 

Kitchen @ Bronx Bricks. <3

I have since moved and absolutely love my apartment. I'm sure you can tell from previous posts that I love my neighborhood as well. My kitchen however, isn't what it was. As far as NYC kitchens come, it is spacious, but it is not open and I can't do the Rachel Ray thing around the island.

SOOOO, we are going to re do it. The plan is to knock down part of the wall that separates the kitchen and the hallway and put in an island. EXCITING!

The space from the stove to the doorway will be replaced
by the island. 

I'm in the very beginning stages of scoping out contractors (talk about unknown territory) and putting together ideas. I've run into so many horrific, gaudy styles on both the traditional and super modern ends of the spectrum that it has been easier to determine what I don't want.

In terms of what I do want, my thoughts so far include:

1. A Butcher block/wood top island
2. White tile backsplash/wall
3. Hanging glass pendant lights w/ filament bulbs over the island
4. (In my dreams) A Big Chill Fridge

Love the Big Chill Retro Refrigerator and white tile wall 

Inside Schiller's Liquor Bar. Like the floors. 

Way too modern, but I love those lights

For over the island :)

Another great white tile wall, tx Design Sponge
Zach described it as minimalist modern country kitchen. I think that fits. 


This year I got a Poo Pen in my stocking at Christmas. My dad picked it out.

Today I found a turd on the ground that looks exactly like my Poo Pen.

Just thought I'd share.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Science rules!

The Botanical Gardens in the winter. Who knew?
I signed up for 7 science professional development workshops this winter/spring. My motivation for signing up was because they pay. I wasn't exactly psyched to get up at 6:30 on a Saturday am, but did and schlepped up to the middle of the Bronx, dragging my feet through the gray slush that was last week's snow. However, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday, when at 8:30 am I arrived at the Botanical Gardens museum, which is a beautiful, super quiet building. I can't believe I have never been. I think its a kind of, I work in the Bronx, I'm not going there in my free time. I'd rather go explore Brooklyn.

The morning session was a discussion of sunlight, temperature, precipitation and biomes. Everything we did was geared toward 10 year old kids. Except that it was a bunch of teachers doing the simulations and experiments, so we laughed a lot. After a lunch, we headed to the Conservatory. We were just about the only people there (because who goes to the  Botanical Gardens in January? Other than the handful of old people) and it was like being transported to another world. In order to keep the cacti alive, the room has to simulate the appropriate biome. It was sunny, about 60 degrees and like a wonderland of huge, bizarre plants.

The American Desert room. So much sun!

New appreciation for cacti. So many kinds!

Our teacher was enthusiastically spewing information for the next two hours. I wandered in and out of the conversation, exploring corners of the green houses and talking to old people. I almost felt as if I were on a really good museum tour, which is something that I only ever do on vacation in other cities. Even then though, I'm more of a self guided kinda gal. I didn't even notice that it was time to go, which is something that I've never said before about a Professional Development workshop.

This one made me vacation-sick for Hawaii. Something like
this grew all around the volcano. 
I can't wait for the next one :) 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I could eat my whole salary

So many items on the restaurant To Do list! I keep it in my phone so I don't forget the places I want to try when the opportunity arises. The list is a little Lower East Side heavy, but why not start with what's in your back yard? Pretty crazy that having too many restaurants to try is a problem. Thank you, NYC/Will you pay me more money? 

Stina's Restaurant To Do list:
Char no. 4
Colicchio & Sons
Izakaya ten
Golden Unicorn
Mas (farmhouse)
Giardini's Pizza

All Time Favorites:
Blue Ribbon, new american Parke Slope
Landmarc, amazing TRIBECA
Roberto's, italian Bronx
Les Enfants Terribles, N. African, LES
Momofuku, ramen E. Village
Poke, sushi UES
Frankie's, italian LES
P.J. Clarke's, burgers Midtown

Fave Cheap Eats:
Gruppo Pizza
Prosperity Dumpling
Baohaus, pork buns
Caracas Arepas
Moustache, mediterranean (slammin' falafel)

Whats on your list? I could use some W. Village and uptown recs

Notable Not NYC:
Alto Cinco, Syracuse
Wine Market, Baltimore
Brewer's Art, Baltimore

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Pile

After the shelves are full and before another bookshelf is purchased/constructed/jerry-rigged, a thing called the book pile emerges. One of my favorite book piles was (is?) the one that lives on my friend Jamie's floor. She sent me the list of titles from her pile, which I saved in my inbox and still refer to when I'm looking for a new book to read. My book pile is currently all to read and none have read. It is quite exciting and a source of motivation. 

I have yet to make much of a dent in my book pile because I am in the process of reading Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. Both Zach and Jamie (the most enthusiastic of my reading friends) say it is the best book they have ever read. The thing is a beast. Big words. Long sentences. Mega descriptive. I downloaded a dictionary app on my phone because I come across words routinely that I don't know. After taking a month off, I am about a third of the way through it and the multiple plots have become increasingly interesting and often really good, but have yet to show any signs of coming together. It is a bizarre experience reading, enjoying, sometimes not following, spending days in the footnotes, not yet being blown away, but knowing that it will be satisfying to see through. I say bizarre experience because I don't usually continue reading a book that I find even a little bit boring or frustrating. I am in new territory.

I've also been keeping a list of words that I don't know and have had to look up while reading this past week. I'm going to share them. Don't judge. I should know redolent. 

assiduous- Constant in application or attention
sedulously- Persevering and constant in effort or application; assiduous
verdant- green
redolent- Strongly reminiscent or suggestive of (something
prescient- Having or showing knowledge of events before they take place
tumid- Swollen (body part), pompous (ego)
aegis- protection
preternatural- Surpassing the normal or usual; extraordinary
strabismic- A visual defect in which one eye cannot focus with the other on an object because of imbalance of the eye muscles. Also called squint.
dirigible- able to be steered or directed
paucity- scarcity; dearth
junket- A trip or tour, especially one taken by an official at public expense

On that note, I'm going to go read.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Zach and I started making granola while living in the Bronx a few years ago. This is because one could not find granola in the South Bronx. Since moving to the LES, where granola is bountiful, we have been pretty lazy about making our own. Until tonight, that is. Our go to recipe is from Bon Appetite, but calls for corn syrup (sub honey) and uses lots of maple syrup. Maple syrup is insanely expensive. Especially when you triple the recipe.

So we started an add this, leave out that experimental granola that combines a few recipes, personal preferences, and convenience. Ditch the corn syrup and oil, add egg whites to bind it all together. No vanilla? Let's try almond extract. As it turns out, I think the almond extract is what makes it.

Zach and Stina's Granola

1/2 c. maple syrup or honey
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg whites
1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract 
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. whole oats
1 c. almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 c. cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional. they went in because they were there)
>1/4 c. wheat germ
1/4 c. ground flax seed
a HEARTY dash of kosher salt, okay like 2 dashes
1/2 c. dried apricots, diced
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet w/ parchment paper. 
Combine the maple syrup or honey and brown sugar in a small sauce pan and heat to dissolve the brown sugar. Cool. Add egg whites, almond extract and cinnamon. Stir.
In a separate bowl, combine oats, nuts, and seeds. Add wet to dry and mix so that everything is evenly coated. 
Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle in the fruit. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove. Stir.
Eat. Say yum. Eat more.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Good Grafitti

Someone has been expressing their feelings
in the bike lane on the Manhattan Bridge :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Like washing a tent, gardening in NYC is sort of counter intuitive. You're SUPPOSED to get dirty when you garden. Thats half the fun of it. It felt very silly to spoon dirt from a ziploc bag over my kitchen counter. I was not exactly embracing mother nature, because then I'd just have to clean it up. But now I have a plant. So hey, whatever it takes. 

Mom gave me this Spider Plant for Xmas


New Years Eve in NYC. How to explain? Obnoxious? Overrated? Expensive? As Phil from the farm in Hawaii would say, "Don't believe the hype." I celebrated New Years Eve with some friends at mi casa. There were just a few of us, but when they're quality people thats really all you need. Well, some booze and good food are always a plus. 

Thanks to my peeps who made a super fun celebration possible!

Harriet helped with the clean up.