Have you made the Emily Mariko rice bowl?

Plus, wedding festivities, late night pizza, and lots of Mexican food

Hello and happy Monday! I’m extremely jet lagged after getting home late last night. I spent most of last week in Long Beach celebrating my cousin Kaitlin’s wedding. It was so special to be all together and get some sunshine (I went stand up paddle boarding on October 1st, so no complaints here). I also got to meet my new baby cousin Willa, who is tiny and perfect.

Since it’s starting to feel like fall here, I’m sharing my family’s pumpkin bread recipe with paid subscribers this week. We’ve been making it for over 25 years.

Get the recipe

Now, let’s dive in.

Something to cook:

Are you on Emily Mariko TikTok? The Bay Area content creator has been on YouTube for years (her content used to be more fashion/beauty focused) but her food videos are everywhere. She’s a big farmers market shopper and does very satisfying vegetable prep though I do wish she used less plastic. Her signature dish is a salmon rice bowl with kewpie mayo, sriracha, soy sauce, seaweed, and avocado. I made a version with white rice, sautéed broccoli, sriracha mayo, avocado, and sesame seeds. It was delicious and will definitely be a new go to.

My parents love to entertain and in an extremely on brand move, they invited my aunt, uncle, and cousins over for dinner our first night in town (it had been way too long since we had all been together). We had a little over an hour to get groceries and cook dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen and we pulled it off (I mostly made a cheese plate and helped with the menu). We served cheese and crackers, grilled halloumi, portobello mushrooms, and pre marinated skewers from the butcher counter (fish, chicken, and steak), roasted potatoes, salad with store bought dressing from Gotham Greens, and some delicious wines from Camins 2 Dreams, which my parents had recently visited. Getting the marinated meats made everything easy to assemble (and was clutch in a home without a lot of seasonings) and we had such a nice time catching up before everything got underway.

If you have leftover roasted potatoes, you’ve got to use them for breakfast. My dad reheated them with some leftover veggies, eggs, and cheese (we grated one of the hard cheeses from the cheese plate). Sadly, the rental did not have hot sauce (I need to start traveling with some).

My grandma planned a lovely brunch for the day after the wedding (bagels, fruit, and all the coffee) and made two flavors of homemade rugelach for the occasion. They were the first thing to go (should I get her recipe to share?)

Something to order:

This week, these spots are mostly in California. If you want more California recs, check out my trip this spring.

I like to take an early flight to LA so you have an almost full day when you arrive. That means arriving hungry. My dad picked us up at LAX and we drove straight to Manhattan Beach for lunch at Tacolicious (it’s only 15 minutes away). I especially liked the chips, salsa, and queso, and the drinks. I had a combo of pineapple juice, coconut water, and ginger shrub that was so hydrating after a flight. They also had refreshing hibiscus lemonade. After lunch, we had such good coffee at HiFi Espresso.

In Long Beach, we ate two lunches at Vibes Cafe. I really liked the chilaquiles divorciados (half red salsa, half green) and the tomato sandwich.

The pastries at Collasus Bakery were so good (get a cookie, croissant and some sourdough bread) and they have a little market with Burlap and Barrel spices, local kombucha and other goodies. If I lived in Long Beach, I’d be there all the time.

The $5 quesadillas at the dive bar where we had the wedding afterparty really hit the spot. I could eat Mexican food every single day (tbt to one of my favorite summers ever in Mexico City).

The wedding food was so good and the tables were beautiful. Kaitlin made place cards with a graphic of what entree you got (mine had a leaf, others had a fish, or filet). It made things easier for the staff and was very cute.

Dale and I drove to LA the afternoon after the wedding to see Molly and relax. We got dinner at Loqui in Culver City, a counter service Mexican spot with fantastic and vegetarian homemade flour tortillas. We grabbed Van Leeuwen after and got home with no traffic.

Finally, we had a very smooth airport food experience with Breeze (just in LAX for now). You order with a QR code and pick up your food on a shelf. Considering most US airport food is basically meh, this was much better than waiting in line and I got a pretty good grilled cheese. On the other side, we made it back to Brooklyn just in time for a late night slice at Joe’s (the pandemic has really hurt the late night dining options). Don’t stop believing was playing as I ordered and I couldn’t help but smile. New York is really so special.

Something to read:

A family recipe for potato chip cookies

The benefits of parallel play for adults (yes to reading with friends at the beach)

Welcome back, Sandra Lee

How the US Dictates What Puerto Rico Eats

Has immigration changed much under Biden?

I went to college with Amanda and love seeing my former college mag cover her Philly supper club

People don’t make peanut butter and jelly anymore—they make quesadillas

Remember Box Tops for Education? Saving them was a big part of my elementary school life.

I’m hosting a cooking class with the Catcall Collective next week (we’re making veggie burgers and grapefruit mint coolers)! Grab a spot here.

‘We Have to Survive’: Meet NYC Immigrant Women Fighting for Their Communities During the Pandemic

On falling in love with Buenos Aires

Madi talked with Katie Sturino about making crazy ideas work (At least one of her Megababe products will be on this year’s gift guide)

My dad sent this after we drove by Long Beach’s extremely backed up and busy port. Super interesting look at supply chain issues.

What we are still getting wrong about Chinese food

An ebook of Indian bean recipes

Now, let’s talk travel tips! I shared some of mine in last week’s bonus newsletter and you shared a great one.

Courtney’s tip is crucial for anyone who hikes or camps: Since so many of us took up hiking/camping during the pandemic, I wanted to make sure everyone knows about the America the Beautiful annual parks pass. My husband and I are avid hikers, so we make sure to purchase one at the beginning of every year. This thing pays for itself after two or three visits to a national park. After that, you (and your party/vehicle) pay nothing in entrance fees for the rest of the year! The bonus is that it extends to all federal recreation lands—e.g., national forests, preserves, refuges, etc. You can also acquire passes for senior citizens, military veterans and active duty members, fourth graders, volunteers, and those with disabilities.

This week, I want to know about your favorite containers, inspired by this story. I haven’t bought a container in years and use a mix of jars, takeout containers, and Talenti jars. Bonne Maman jars are my favorite for salad dressings and sauces (Erica and I always use them in our meal prep classes). Remember, it’s most sustainable to use what you already have, even if it doesn’t match. Reply to this email with your favorites and I’ll share them next week.

I’ll see you on Thursday with pumpkin bread for paid subscribers! Thanks for reading!

xo, Abigail