Nikki Dinki, former Food Network Star and co-host of Junk Food Flip on the Cooking Channel (which just wrapped its second season), has lived in New York City for 15 years. About two years ago, she and her husband moved into a midtown apartment with a terrace, which she's outfitted with over 80 plants, a seating area and table, becoming her go-to for entertaining and dinner parties. Dinki's cookbook, Meat on the Side: Delicious Vegetable-Focused Recipes for Every Day will be out in June. And many of the healthy dishes chronicled there originated on that terrace in midtown.
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
2. Is this your dream neighborhood or is there someplace else in NYC you’d prefer to settle in?
It’s not the trendiest neighborhood, but it has everything you need, tons of bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and is centrally located. It’s a great 'hood and I don’t plan on leaving.
3. Do you own or rent?
4. How’d you find it?
Walking around the area, I wanted to be and going in buildings looking for rentals.
5. What’s the one thing you love the most about it?
That I have four grocery stores within six blocks around my apartment.
6. If there’s one thing you could change about your apartment, what would it be?
I wish the dining room was bigger so we could have more people over, but we make it work.
7. In three words, describe the first apartment you've ever lived in.
8-by-10, waterbugs, old.
8. Do you prefer old NYC or this NYC?
NYC is always changing, there is no “old NYC” because even then it was evolving. I love NYC because of that.
9. Tell us about the favorite apartment you’ve ever had.
My current one has a 20-foot-by-25-foot terrace which is very rare for Manhattan. The fact that I have an outdoor space with a garden makes the apartment really feel like a home.
10. And the worst?
My second apartment had a strong smell of cats, was really far from the subway, and the landlords who drank straight vodka morning,and night lived right next door. We stayed for three months.
11. Name one NYC service you couldn’t live without.
Food delivery. I love to cook, but on days where I haven’t been able to make dinner, there is nothing better than scrolling through the 300 restaurants that deliver to my apartment and getting to choose whatever I want.
12. What's your favorite spot in the city?
My terrace, but if I’m going out I’m a big fan of Gato right now.
13. Which would you rather: Brooklyn brownstone or a penthouse in a shiny, new condo?
I love to be high up and have big windows, so I guess I’m more of a penthouse girl. But I’ll take either if you’re just giving them away?
14. If you could live elsewhere, where would it be?
I love NYC and have been here for 15 years; it’s where I want to be. But if I had to move, the perfect weather of California is pretty tempting.
15. Any advice for a recent New York transplant?
Just remember that anywhere you are will eventually feel like home, but it takes time. And think about what’s important to you. If you really want more space and a yard, go to Brooklyn, but if you’re always out, the convenience of Manhattan—even with a tiny apartment—might be the smart move.
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