Ice Cream for Pop Pop
I miss you
2022 was a year of highs and lows. There have been some special moments, including going full time freelance, celebrating five years of This Needs Hot Sauce, traveling internationally for the first time since 2019, hosting IRL events again, and of course spending Thanksgiving with family in California.
That last one was particularly special because my grandfather, better known as Pop Pop Steve, died yesterday at home in Newport Beach. We all miss him so much and I feel so lucky to have had 29 years with a loving and caring grandfather who knew me as an adult and got to know and love Dale. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren and always slightly exaggerating our accomplishments (senior marketing director, ceo, what’s the difference?). He was an avid reader of this newsletter and used to joke that I majored in coffee shops in college (he was not wrong).
He loved a party and he suggested everyone spike lemonade with vodka at Brooke’s wedding in 2012. He loved ice cream as well and always had a bite of ours to make sure it wasn’t poisonous. We would go to Han’s or Dad’s for frozen bananas and balboa bars and I got to be with him when he had a Balboa bar right before Thanksgiving, his last time on the island he loved so much. He loved being a doctor and knowing everyone in the community, taking care of them as kids and then taking care of their kids. After he retired, he helped out a doctor in Anaheim and I got to go with him one day to help translate Spanish. I felt like an honored guest that day, all the staff had clearly heard about me and he took so much pride in introducing me, his neita. I didn’t know much medical Spanish but was able to help all the same. We shared a love for travel and Philly and one of my favorite memories of college is the weekend that my family came down with Kaitlin as a stowaway. We celebrated my grandparents’ 55th wedding anniversary, walked through Rittenhouse Square (he loved the goat statue), and ate very well.
The last several years have been really hard, especially being far away and having to navigate Covid restrictions around visits. My grandma, aunt, family, and his aide took great care of him and we’ll have a celebration of life for him in January. Sad as I am, there is a lot to celebrate from his life and I’m sure we’ll have some desserts and cocktails as we do it. We’ll probably watch Jeopardy afterwards and guess which answers he would have known. It’s what he would have wanted.
I don’t really know how to do this but I had already collected your best meals of the year so I’m going to share them below, along with a few articles. I’m taking next week off and we’ll see how things are going in 2023. I’ll check in on Thursday with an update for paid subscribers.
Something to read/cook:
I made these braised chickpeas with feta and they were a very satisfying dinner/lunch. I added tomatoes early on, stirred in some arugula at the end and served them with crusty bread.
You don’t need to get married or have a kid to have a party
A Warsaw Bakery Seeks to Preserve Jewish Food Where It Was Nearly Lost
Remembering the children of Sandy Hook and the dozens others killed since in school shootings.
Italy’s cuisine has long been defined by foreign flavors. But with anti-immigration sentiment rising and the climate changing, will Italians continue to embrace new ingredients and ideas from abroad?
So excited for Erica’s big news (and we taught the brie recipe in a corporate class last week, it’s delicious)
We had latkes & vodkas on Saturday, knowing the end was near. My grandma urged us not to cancel and I’m glad we didn’t. Our guests knew what was going on and were able to distract us and show their support. It didn’t feel totally normal but it felt better than sitting around by the phone.
Your Best Meals of 2022:
Em: This year in cooking has been defined by getting a CSA delivery and having to get creative to use everything in time, and to transform some of the stuff I don't like as much into something I do. Some faves: This soup, a whole lot of tofu banh mi, after we got a load of carrots and radishes at once and I made two big jars of quick pickles., Caramel apples: I chose this CSA because it gives us a ton of varieties of apple all fall, and as much as I love apples I'm a LITTLE overwhelmed! An improvised stovetop caramel on apple slices and peanut butter pretzels was the answer one night when my sweet tooth was demanding something.
Eden: I should have submitted this for top soups - but the red lentil coconut curry we made in August’s meal prep class was divine! I honestly couldn’t wait to eat leftovers of that each night. I also made this cookie recipe recently for a cookie swap and while the swap wasn’t a competition, I’m pretty confident I won. It was also my first time browning butter and I was terrified. Honorable mentions to the fluffy pancake at Rule of Thirds and the wagyu omakase at Hyun, both of which I’ve treated myself to multiple times this year.
Kirsty: My last dinner in my home for five years, Japan. Amazing sushi.
Kathleen M.: The best meal I’ve eaten this year was at Galit, a Middle Eastern Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago. There was not a single thing we ordered on the tasting menu that wasn’t pretty much immediately devoured! The standout from the meal was the deconstructed pastrami sandwich, which was exactly what it sounds like, and came with more of a Caesar-style dressing instead of the traditional Russian. They also have a really interesting and diverse wine list which is so cool. I dream about this meal regularly and hope to be able to go back soon.
Alice: Jackfruit tacos at the Highwater in Astoria! Vegan sushi and bao at Buntopia in Bushwick!
Kathleen A.: I know you like to keep it meatless, but my fave was the pork chop from Gage & Tollner.
Hayley: Roadside tacos at K38 Taco Surf in Mexico.
Sarah: The night we went out for Chinese food and my son discovered xiao long bao.
Karen (my mom): A favorite meal was Labor Day Weekend at Lighthouse w you, Dale and Lizzi. We met the gracious and hospitable owner, ate a good chunk of the delicious menu and had a great catch up. All the components for a memorable evening
Neil (my dad): Most memorable meal was prime rib with PP and MM at Side Door at the Five Crowns. He got his prime rib. Mom learned about Lawry’s seasoned salt origins.
Hug your loved ones today if you can! And thank you for making this year so special and sharing bits of your lives with me. It means so much to me.
It is so clear how special your pop pop is, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know you’ll make the very best auntie, just like you’re the very best grand daughter🤍
I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll toast an ice cream bar to him tonight!