January, Let's Wrap It Up
Breakfast burritos, TikTok famous baked pasta, and I'll have what she's having
This is the last January newsletter I’ll write this year, so let me say, one day early, we made it. January, as always, was a mixed bag, filled with some joy and some struggle. It always was better when I was gentle and it was always harder when I over scheduled things and tried to force stuff to work. I’m devastated at how many people didn’t make it through January, due to gun violence, police brutality, and more. It’s been a cruel month in so many ways.
I’m starting February with a trip to California for a celebration of life for my grandpa, who passed in December. I’m anticipating a mix of grief, joy, and comfort and am grateful that we can all be together. We’ll be serving some of his favorite foods, including ice cream and Arnold Palmers.
Next Thursday’s newsletter will be a Q&A with my friend Delia Cai, whose debut novel, Central Places, comes out tomorrow. The Washington Post is a fan and you’ll be too.
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
We gathered for the right reasons to watch the premiere of the Bachelor and I made baked pasta, the easiest way to feed a crowd. I still love this TikTok famous baked feta pasta and Julia made a fresh cabbage salad with slivered almonds, parsley, pickled onions, cucumbers, and a dijon lemon dressing. Hillary made brownies with flakey salt (boxed brownies ftw) and it was a very lovely Monday.
I needed a quick one pot dinner and made this kitchari from Divya’s Kitchen that she gave me after visiting her restaurant. It was delicious and so easy. I served with some kale but it’s flavorful and filling on its own too.
Sometimes you’ve gotta return to old favorites. I had all the ingredients for pasta with chickpeas and because I’ve made this dish so many times, I barely had to think as I cooked it, which was ideal for a Friday evening. I always add spinach a few minutes before it’s done and I didn’t have rosemary so I just topped it with a drizzle of Brightland and some parmesan cheese.
Yesterday, I saw a post on Instagram from James Park, who is writing a cookbook all about chili crisp, for chili crisp eggs with hashbrowns and decided to recreate it. My final product was way less photogenic but very delicious! Frozen hashbrowns are great to keep on hand and I used Bowlcut’s chili crisp.
By evening, I was craving a vegetable so I took a walk and bought some. I made a big salad with carrots, bell pepper, avocado, pepitas, cherry tomatoes, and arugula and topped it with a lemon tahini dressing and some Parmesan cheese. You could add chickpeas but I wasn’t that hungry since I ate lunch at 3 pm. Weekends have no rules.
Something to order:
Hell Gate hosted a reading at Starr Bar in Bushwick and invited freelancers, which was so nice. I love Hell Gate and recommend supporting them if you like quirky local news!
After the event, I was hungry so I stopped at Mother’s to pick up a veggie burger, on Casey’s recommendation. The patty is a simple soy patty, nothing crazy, but the burger fixings were fantastic (a good squishy bun, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and special sauce on the side for the burger and fries). The shoestring fries stayed crispy on my journey home and I will definitely be back for more.
Mandy, Rose, Julia, Julianne, and I got dinner at Ops on Thursday and it made me very nostalgic. I first went to Ops with Sarah in 2017 and have had so many great meals there. It was great to go with new friends and try some new to me items (why had I never ordered the focaccia before?) and old favorites like the square pie and orange wine.
I’ve wanted to try the Ursula breakfast burrito for a long time but it’s a schlep. Frida and Leslie live near it so we set up a breakfast date and got burritos on Friday (FYI Ursula is moving to Bed-Stuy soon). The veggie burrito was delicious with potatoes, New Mexican green chili, eggs, and cheese. And per Frida’s rec, the concha is delicious. All the seating is outdoors and there are no heaters so dress accordingly or go to a friend’s apartment to eat.
On Saturday, Julianne took Hillary, Julia and me on an adventure full of clues and surprises. At the end, she asked us to be bridesmaids (an easy yes)! We started the day at S&P, formerly Eisenberg’s. The food is even better than it used to be and the spirit is the same. I got grilled cheese with tomato and a side of coleslaw and we split latkes for the table. Everyone loved their sandwiches and there was a long wait, so go during an off peak time if you don’t like waiting. We followed the meal with a visit to the New York Historical Society for the Jewish Deli exhibit, which I absolutely recommend. There are great old menus and mementos and it’s so cool to see these spots in a museum.
We ended the day with dinner at Chino Grande, which was really good. We split a bunch of things and sat in the fully enclosed outdoor area (I wasn’t cold and I’m always cold). Definitely get the chilled mussels, the potato croquettes and the grande fries. My non veg friends were raving about the fried chicken.
Something to read
I share additional reads every Thursday in the newsletter for paid subscribers.
Mayor Adams is launching a newsletter with a $75K annual budget! I can assure you this newsletter has a far smaller budget and uses no taxpayer dollars.
Why every shoppy shop looks exactly the same. I do think the food businesses featured here still count as small, even if they’ve raised VC money, because the big food conglomerates are just so big (Nestle, Coca Cola, etc). It’s complicated though.
Wtf is going on with egg prices? Mostly corporate greedwrites about making New Year dumplings with sadness and anger
How to become a food illustrator
Focusing the conservation movement on pandas might not have been the best idea. But they are cute.
Candles to buy from Black owned businesses (I always need more candles)
A taste test of storebought marinara brands. My favorite won!
How Nigerian food evolves in the US
Family And Friends Remember Tyre Nichols As A “Free Spirit” Who “Was Just His Own Person”
A longread on the radical possibilities of letting people live in empty homes owned by the city, in Philadelphia.
A Kougin Amann recipe to cope with stress (it looks so good)
Layoffs have long term impacts for workers, whether you get laid off or not.
TikTok Has Us In The Dupe Mindset
Holocaust Survivors Share How They Are Passing Down Their History to Their Grandchildren
The secret to better layer cakes is a sheet pan
Why the New Obesity Guidelines for Kids Terrify Me
Now, let’s talk about midnight snacks! You had some great ideas to share.
Chrissy’s midnight snacks work at any time: I am an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person, so I'm rarely awake at midnight. But my favorite late night snack (and by that I mean like 8pm) is popcorn, made in our Whirly Pop, and flavored with nutritional yeast and Trader Joe's Umami Seasoning Blend. Also excellent for sharing with your very good dog!
Nancy’s cookie rec would be good at midday or midnight: For something a little different (and something I call an “adult cookie”, because kids might not like them), consider these. These are delicious and different. Definitely worth making again and again.
Hitha’s nachos are a true classic: My midnight snack are microwave nachos - tortilla chips spread on a plate, topped with shredded cheese and salsa on top. The hold this snack has had on me since college!
This week, I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to enjoy chocolate! Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I am behind on hot chocolate consumption for the season. I love a chocolate cupcake with slightly salty vanilla frosting and of course, a chocolate chip cookie, but I don’t like chocolate ice cream. Let me know your thoughts and I’ll share them next week.
Take care and thanks for being here!
Chocolate mousse, specifically Julia Child’s recipe. I plan to make some this month.
Hi. Benjamina’s pepper chocolate chip cookies (don’t recall exact name of them) seemed really appealing but unuseable for me—measuring butter in grams without transposing it into more American measurements turned me off. Didn’t feel like finding a conversion chart so no cookies. Yes, I’m that lazy. 🙅🏻♀️