Category: New Brunswick

Lydia’s Story at the New Jersey Film Festival

Lydia’s Story is a short documentary — an intimate account of civil war, Nazi invasion, and the post-WWII American immigration experience. The story is told through the eyes of Lydia Rohowich Zakrewsky, who was born in Belorusia in 1929, and lives today in Milltown, New Jersey.

Lydia's Story at the New Jersey Film Festival
Lydia’s Story at the New Jersey Film Festival

The 30-minute film was produced, written, and directed by my friends Alex Zakrewsky and Heather Fenyk, and will be screened as part of the official selection at the on October 5, 2014. Come see it — you’ll be glad you did.

Disclosure: I was paid to develop the .

Shaka Burrito comes to New Brunswick

After a longer-than-expected premises renovation period, Shaka Burrito opened its doors in New Brunswick last week. The wait was well worth it.

Located on the corner of Route 27 and Spring Street (street address 120 Albany Street), the space has a cheerful, easygoing ambiance. The staff is friendly, the Pipeline Beef Rice Bowl I ordered was excellent. I took half of it home, along with a nice Shaka keychain recycled from a wetsuit neoprene.

Shaka Burrito opens in New Brunswick
Shaka Burrito opens in New Brunswick

Modular bike routes

[UPDATE June 14, 2014] I created a composite map of all five modules (loops). All loops are displayed with the same line symbol (red semi-transparent). Since some route segments are part of more than one loop, some segments appear darker than others. I hope this makes sense.

All routes begin and end at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park (blue point marker). Click on the map below for a higher-resolution image. I will add route descriptions soon.

All five loops bike route module map Start-Finish point
All five loops bike route module map Start-Finish point

Some tech info for the geonerds: I collected the route data using my Google Nexus 4 phone and the Google My Tracks app (thanks to for the app recommendation). The app’s KMZ files proved to be somewhat unyielding to work with (thanks to for helping with that), so I ended up exporting the data as GPX (another Terry Stigers suggestion).

Next I used QGIS 2.2.0-Valmiera (64-bit) with the OpenLayers plugin to display the “tracks” segments of my GPX files over a Google Physical layer base map.

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[UPDATE June 08, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Johnson Park (Loop 5) is 4.88 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, .

In the next few days I will publish a composite map of all five modules along with general description of each.

Johnson Park (Loop 5) bike route module map
Johnson Park (Loop 5) bike route module map

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[UPDATE June 01, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Busch – Golf Course (Loop 4) is 5.84 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Busch - Golf Course (Loop 4) bike route module map
Rutgers Busch – Golf Course (Loop 4) bike route module map

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[UPDATE May 31, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) is 3.86 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) bike route module map
Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) bike route module map

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[UPDATE May 26, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) is 4.11 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) bike route module map
Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) bike route module map

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Inspired by , who designs modular software and cooks modular meals, I decided to design a modular bike route and share it with my fellow cyclists in the New Brunswick/Highland Park area. The idea is to compile a number of short bike routes that begin and end at the same point, which will allow cyclists to combine different modules into a composite ride of their choice.

I just completed the first module — Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1). The route is 6.02 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1) bike route module map
Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1) bike route module map

 

How to make yogurt at home, the Bulgarian way

My wife and I grew up in Bulgaria, where yogurt is a nutritional staple. We moved to the US in the early 1990s, where we failed to find good yogurt. So my wife started making yogurt at home.

“ produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as “yogurt cultures”. Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus is commonly used alongside Streptococcus thermophilus as a starter for making yogurt.  –Wikipedia on yogurt history and provenance

Recently I made a yogurt batch at home with limited (but crucial) supervision from my wife. It was a three-hour-long process, of which I enjoyed every minute (not to mention the product).

Here’s how we did it (Mayia’s yogurt recipe below picture).

Making yogurt at home
Making yogurt at home

Mayia’s Yogurt recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons of whole milk

  • 800 ml (buy 1 quart) of heavy cream

  • 2 cups of yogurt (Stonyfield, plain, organic, whole milk, do not use the sweet types)

Makes (8) 32 oz containers

Items needed:

  • thermometer

  • large pot 10″ diameter, 8 1/2″ high

  • (8) 32 oz plastic containers — best will be containers from yogurt or similar size plastic

  • baking pan 16″ x 12″ x 2″

Notes:

  • You may want to make a smaller batch first. Use half the ingredients

  • The yogurt can last a long time in the refrigerator — up to four weeks

  • You can use the leftover cream to make sour cream by adding some mixture to it in additional container and keeping it in the stove with the rest of the yogurt

  • If you have access to organic raw milk, you can skip boiling part

  • You can strain (remove most liquid from it for 24 hours in the refrigerator) the yogurt for use in cooking and as mayo, sour cream substitute

  1. Put milk and heavy cream in very large pot. Gradually heat to a boil. Stir periodically so no burnt layer is formed on the bottom of the pot.

  2. Boil for 20 minutes stirring periodically (every minute or so). This produces more firm, less watery yogurt with reduced acid content. Less boiling will work as well, however, the yogurt will be much more acidic.

  3. Fill the sink with cold water and put the pot in it. Stir every so often so cream is not formed on the top. Cool to 170°. Use thermometer to make sure it is not above that temperature. Putting the yogurt in too hot milk will kill the bacteria. If you have a good sense about temperature you can use your finger (entire finger) to place in the milk and feel comfortable, no burning.

  4. Once the milk is cooled down, add yogurt, mix well. Pour mixture in containers. Put containers in the baking pan, add 1”-1 1/2″ of warm water to tray.

  5. Heat oven to 170° for 10-15 min and place tray with containers into oven. If you are absolutely sure oven temperature is no more than 170 degrees (measure with thermometer) or have oven that can just keep on lower temp or warm, you can leave the oven on. I turn oven on/off every hour or so until the mixture becomes solid, that can be 2-4 hours depending on many factors. When the mixture is solid yogurt is ready.

  6. Wait until it assumes room temperature, put the containers in refrigerator.

 

BurgerFi opens in New Brunswick

I love a burger that’s good and cheap, and delivers the goods. Today the chain opened their first New Jersey location . The place was packed around 1 pm. I went with the top menu entry — the BurgerFi® Burger ($5.57) — and Fresh Cut Fries ($2.97). BurgerFi also serves beer (bottled and draft) and wine (by the glass or bottle).

Overall, the place felt happy. Good food, good value. I’ll be a regular.

BurgerFi New Brunswick NJ opening
BurgerFi New Brunswick NJ opening