Ice cream, family time, and more ice cream
Happy summer! I wrote most of this newsletter a few days in advance so I could be a bit offline and spend some time with my grandparents (I did a Q&A with my grandma ahead of my visit last year). To me, visits to LA and Southern California are about the people. I love the palm trees and the sunsets and the produce and the tacos and the mosaic neighborhoods, but my most cherished memories are in the passenger seat, at the dinner table, and on walks. I’ve been coming to California since I was an infant and with the exception of 2020, I’ve made it every year, which is a gift that I appreciate more as I get older.
I know many people were off yesterday in honor of Juneteenth and I have a selection of Juneteenth reads further down. I wanted to share this (cooking related) TikTok from New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie about how no one was more responsible for the end of slavery than slaves themselves (he also wrote a column about it). He writes, “Who freed the slaves? The slaves freed the slaves.” It’s essential to keep in my mind as Juneteenth becomes more widely observed (and marketed/capitalized on by brands).
On Thursday, paid subscribers are getting a super random travel tip (and cautionary tale)!
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
I haven’t been cooking a ton since I’ve been traveling but we did have dinner at my parents’ house the night before our flight. They made grilled halloumi and grilled vegetables with a garlic scape pesto and grains for serving. It’s a lovely summer meal and you can add additional proteins as desired.
We had dinner in the backyard with Kaitlin, Don, and Hayley and they made pizza in their Ooni oven, which was so good. Their backyard is so lovely and our favorite was the peach and mozzarella one.
Hayley made an incredible dessert (olive oil cake with peaches and whipped cream) and we brought the wine. We hadn’t seen each other since Kaitlin and Don’s wedding last fall and it was so nice to catch up.
Grandma made dinner last night: stuffed artichokes with breadcrumbs and a pumpkin black bean soup. I contributed garlic bread.
To have lunch at home while working from LA, I got a few salad kits from the market. I wish the dressing packets were resealable but they are very convenient and easy to jazz up with some lemon juice, avocado and whatever else you have around.
Something to order:
Our first night in LA, we went to a Dodger’s game and the park was really fun! There aren’t many vegetarian mains so I had garlic fries and soft serve, which were both delicious. Baseball is a good time!
We’ve stayed at Teal’s in LA and took a few morning walks to La La Land Coffee and Farmshop for breakfasts and coffee. I enjoyed a Farmshop Arnold Palmer (a perfect summer drink) and the honey cinnamon latte from La La Land.
I headed to the valley for dinner with Brooke, Beckett, and Willa and we had a lovely time at Osteria La Buca. The cacio e pepe and mushroom pizza were really good and the staff was so friendly (my baby cousin Willa didn’t stop smiling).
Molly and I used Tejal Rao’s excellent LA ice cream list to guide our hang out and decided on Awan in West Hollywood. The ice cream is coconut based and really special, with very high quality ingredients and toppings for each flavor—the vanilla gets shaved coconut sugar and the mint chip got fresh mint and chocolate. The team encourages sampling at the tiny window.
Also on that ice cream list is Sweet Rose Creamery where we had a family ice cream date. They have a lot of dairy free options too (I got a mixed scoop with dairy free coffee and dairy full cookies and cream). So good.
I finally got to meet Andrea IRL after recommending so many of her articles here! I’m such a fan of her work and it was great to chat over Arnold palmers and wine at Sightglass, which has a great patio and delicious looking baked goods.
I met Anjali for dinner at Melanie Wine Bar which was lovely. The wine selection is fantastic and the food is perfect for sharing—we had tater tots, the artichoke, and a seasonal burrata and then we walked down the street to Winston for some pie (the chocolate pie with an oat crust was so good). Don’t quote me on this, but I think Melanie is a great meet up spot for East Side and West Side people as it’s somewhat equidistant.
Dale and I had a little date night at Hama Sushi in Venice, which has been open since 1979. They had so many vegetarian options (my heaven) and I got a specialty roll after we split agedashi tofu and garlic butter edamame. Dale also really liked the crispy rice with spicy tuna and the people watching is incredible.
Our first stop in Long Beach was Gusto Bread, a bakery with a focus on Indigenous grains and fermentation, which I had read about here (Tejal Rao clearly guided much of our dining). It was fantastic and I highly recommend going and trying the Nixtamal Queen, a version of a Kougin Aman flavored with nixtamalized corn. We also loved the conchas (so good) and you can’t go wrong. Go early to try the full selection. Not food related, but if you’re in Long Beach, take a tour at Rancho Los Alamitos, a historic home and property with 90% original furnishings and spectacular gardens. The hours are limited, but admission and tours are free!
Something to read:
I share additional links in the Thursday newsletter for paid subscribers.
The Centuries-Old Secrets of Gender-Affirming Herbalism. So beautifully written
Julia Turshen gave a really good talk about diet culture, anti fat bias, and the food industry. Worth the watch
Adam Platt ends his 22 year reign as New York’s restaurant critic. Should food critics have term limits? I’m thinking about it.
The cocktail bar is queer, a great story from Melissa
A bean recipe and essay from Andrea
You shared some summer sports thoughts:
Claire has me wanted to watch a soccer game: Okay, re: sports, as someone who just came from a game in 90° weather, soccer is our best summer sport. I could say a lot about the global diversity of the game, or its history in the mid-century US with new immigrant communities. But instead I will leave you with its greatest quality: the games are over in under two hours. At the end of the match, the ref has other places to be and so do you! It’s a planning savior in these very hot times.
This week, I want to talk about lunch, inspired by this! Are we eating sad desk lunches? What is working and not working about your current lunch situation? It’s hard to step away from the computer at lunchtime but I want to try and read during lunch instead of typing or scrolling. Join me and reply to this email with your lunch thoughts.
Have a great rest of your week and thank you for being here!