Queens qrazy

It wasn’t too long after we brought our daughter home from the hospital that I started longingly browsing Trulia and Zillow looking for a bigger place with MORE SPACE. We own a small two-bedroom apartment that’s good for now but is slowly filling up with the accoutrements of family life. We’re hoping to stay in … Continue reading Queens qrazy

We’ll be eating Robicelli’s for dessert this Thanksgiving. You should, too. Here’s why

Robicelli's baked goods
Robicelli’s sells brownies and loaf cake via mail-order, as well as hot cocoa mix. (Their famous cupcakes, alas, are not available for shipping. But that should not stop you from buying.)

The short version of this post: If you want to help someone who is in turn selflessly helping the hardest hit by Sandy, all you have to do is order some of these delicious brownies or loaf cakes for Thanksgiving and/or the holidays.

The longer version: Continue reading “We’ll be eating Robicelli’s for dessert this Thanksgiving. You should, too. Here’s why”

‘The Chair’

The Chair
Colonel Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) sits in an “Ancient” control chair on one of the Stargate shows.

“Change her diaper and I’ll feed her in The Chair.” <-- That's my wife in the morning. "The Chair" being the glider in The Bean's nursery. In the morning she has to make the distinction about nursing location, since she often feeds the baby in a side-lying hold in our bed. I know the day has begun in earnest when my wife takes The Chair. Continue reading “‘The Chair’”

Goodbye, Breezer Villager. Hello, Manchester Imperial De Luxe

Breezer Villager
My Breezer Village on the Hudson.

It was totally my fault. All my dumbass fault. For years I’d been locking my bike right, with a series of heavy-duty primary and secondary locks. But then my big-ass honkin’ padlock rusted. Once I finally got it opened, I couldn’t get it closed again. I put a rinky-dink lock on it, “just until I get a new big-ass padlock,” I thought.

I waited too long. I should have gone lock-shopping the next day. Instead I waited a week, in which time some assholes came through our apartment complex and stole a number of bikes, my beloved Breezer Villager among them. Continue reading “Goodbye, Breezer Villager. Hello, Manchester Imperial De Luxe”

Who holds the record for fastest diaper change?

Who holds the record for fastest diaper change? Not me, to be sure, though I have gotten pretty good at swapping out shit britches over the last four weeks. It takes me less than a minute now for cloth diapers—and less than that if I’m putting The Bean in disposables. That’s still not as fast as the various procedures above. But they have nothing on this guy. Continue reading Who holds the record for fastest diaper change?

How raising a baby is like making pizza

baby in pizza costume
From peopleinpizzaslicecostumesbecomingpizzas.com.

Some of you may know me as the founder of Slice, the long-running weblog dedicated to pizza, which is now a part of Serious Eats. One thing I’ve learned over the years of pizzablogging (yes, Margot, pizzablogging is a thing, a weird, weird thing) is that everyone has his or her own way to make pizza and everyone’s way is THE RIGHT WAY. That is to say, if you don’t mix a dough, stretch it out, top it, or bake it the way John Q. Pizzanerd does it, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. Variables like bake times, dough hydration, and seemingly innocuous things like whether you put sugar in your tomato sauce spark fierce debate.

My wife and I observed something similar in babyland when we were in the hospital shortly after Margot’s birth. Especially around issues of breastfeeding. Continue reading “How raising a baby is like making pizza”

Things I learned during my wife’s pregnancy

Or, ‘Life lessons’

DON’T ask a woman if she’s pregnant. Ever. If you remember this, you can never go wrong.

But what if it’s obvious, you say? If it’s obvious, THEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK.

Guess who in our family has violated this rule? Not me! That would be my wife. WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER. And she did it while she was pregnant, to a coworker who was NOT. Continue reading “Things I learned during my wife’s pregnancy”

Best strollers for NYC walk-up apartments

UPDATE: This post gets a lot of traffic via search, and I wanted to update this after nearly 2 years with our first child. IMO, the best stroller for a NYC walk-up apartment IS A CARRIER—until your baby is old enough to ride in a lightweight umbrella stroller. That is just my opinion. Seriously, if you don’t have an elevator, it is a pain carrying anything larger than an umbrella stroller up and down the stairs, especially if you’re doing it with a baby in tow. In which case, you should probably be putting the baby in a carrier or sling anyway, so you don’t drop him/her. —2014-05-26

Note: It looks like a lot of people are finding this post through Google searches for “strollers for walk-up apartments.” Here’s the TL;DR for you: I didn’t test all the strollers mentioned below. Just checked them out in-store and feature-comparisoned them via spreadsheet. We wanted a full-feature stroller that my wife could still lug up and down stairs. We narrowed it down to the Baby Jogger City Mini and the Bugaboo Bee. We would have gone with the City Mini (best value, universally stellar reviews) but some friends gave us their old Bugaboo Bee.

The one baby item I spent the most time researching was the stroller. I think it’s a guy thing (even though I’m usually loath to trot out mindless gender-normative stereotypes). If it involves gear—especially if that gear involves wheels—then guys are there, crunching numbers, analyzing minutiae, planning how they’re going to trick it out.

My wife and I (and now Margot) live on the third floor of a walk-up building in Queens. We don’t have a doorman. We don’t have space in the lobby to park a stroller. So we HAVE to carry it up and down when we want to use it. And that’s the real reason I tell myself I spent hours watching stroller demo videos on YouTube (where I learned that the fold is the money shot of stroller-review videos). Continue reading “Best strollers for NYC walk-up apartments”

‘College town pizza,’ Lawrence, Kansas, 1992

To me, “college town pizza” (University of Kansas — Rock Chalk Jayhawk!) will always be Pizza Shuttle, Gumby’s (since closed), Papa Keno’s, and Rudy’s. (Pyramid was for folks in the Greek system.)

Rudy’s was as close to what J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, writing on Slice, describes as “college town pizza,” which he defines as pizza being over-topped and over-cheesed. Except that kids at KU tended to not overtop it — at least not those who I knew. Not because we were enlightened pizza purists looking to avoid a “garbage pie” but because it cost more. We were cheap bastards. Like most college kids. Hell, we’d rather spend our money on beer. (In my case, beer and pinball.)

Pizza Shuttle and Gumby’s were delivery and take-out only. I don’t know anyone who ever went to pick it up. If you owned a car, by the time you were in a state to actually crave Pizza Shuttle or Gumby’s, you had no business behind the wheel. Continue reading “‘College town pizza,’ Lawrence, Kansas, 1992”

Tension-pole shelving system for living room

ISS Designs tension-pole shelving system
A rendering of the shelves we're ordering

Ever since I moved in to my wife’s apartment shortly after our engagement (she owned, I was renting, it was a no-brainer where we’d live) we’ve been slowly moving toward some semblance of organization. Today we took a big step toward finally putting everything in its place—we ordered a custom shelving system from ISS Designs. Continue reading “Tension-pole shelving system for living room”

Michael Psilakis coming to Astoria? (And other changes along Ditmars Blvd.)

Some quick observations on upcoming and outgoing food options near Ditmars Boulevard–31st Street in Astoria …

From Mezzo Mezzo to … Michael Psilakis?

mezzo mezzo construction
Construction at the former Mezzo Mezzo started in earnest last week.

That’s the word on Astorians, where the speculation is that the defunct Mezzo Mezzo will become a second location of Michael Psilakis’s MP Taverna (the original is in Roslyn, a short way away on Long Island).

This makes some sense. The bilevel space is enormous, stretching all the way back to where the blue plywood ends. Seems like it would take someone with a proven track record and a name to hit the ground running here and do the kind of business that would cover the rent.

UPDATE: And now it’s confirmed. Psilakis is opening in this space.

31-29 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria NY 11105

Hinomaru Ramen

It’s moving into the old St. Honore bakery space near the corner of 35th Street. Grub Street brought word earlier this year that it was set to open February 15. Well, obvs, that’s come and gone. Peeking through the plywood, I can see the interior looks most of the way there. There’s a long bank of counter seating on the left of the space and plenty of room for tables on the right.  Continue reading “Michael Psilakis coming to Astoria? (And other changes along Ditmars Blvd.)”

Tartine Bread … because I haven’t updated this in a while

My first loaf of Tartine Bread's "basic country loaf."

Haven’t updated on Tartine bread because, well, it was pretty damn successful the first time I made it. Figured, hell, what do I need to say besides, “It works!”

But you know with gambling — and this is what I’ve only heard — is that if during your first time gambling you win big, you just assume you’re always gonna win big. Similar thing here.

My first batch of bread was pretty damn good. Seriously, better than anything I’ve had from the bakeries in my neighborhood. But … Continue reading “Tartine Bread … because I haven’t updated this in a while”

Tartine Bread, Day 11: Need to formalize starter proportions for Cavanagh

For the Tartine Bread starter (which I’ve named Francis*), I’ve been roughly following the original amounts and proportions that Chad Robertson lays out in his book Tartine Bread. As I’ve said in earlier notes, for daily feedings he has you discard all but 20% of the starter and then add to the remaining blorb an equal mixture of flour and water. I believe he says something like “amount doesn’t matter.” But I’ve been adding back the same weight of stuff I’ve discarded. Which, yes, as my friend John Wozniak points out, is pretty wasteful of flour. (In fact, I’m now more than halfway through my two 5-pound bags of white and whole-wheat flours just on growing the starter alone). Flour is relatively inexpensive, and I anticipate I’ll modify the feeding once I make the recipe exactly according to the book. Continue reading “Tartine Bread, Day 11: Need to formalize starter proportions for Cavanagh”

Tartine Bread, Day 10: Video malfunction

Same as yesterday for both starters, though today when I got home I noticed that Cavanagh must be easily doubling in bulk, since I saw crusty evidence of that on the sides of the glass bowl I’m using to grow it in. This morning I tried using a timelapse video app to capture the activity while I was at work. Unfortunately, the app seems to have crashed about 15 minutes into the day. Going to try to set that up again this weekend or Monday. Continue reading Tartine Bread, Day 10: Video malfunction