My Weekend of Rest and Relaxation
The value of rest, NA cosmos and negronis, and midnight snacks
Last week, Substack launched audience insights and I discovered that This Needs Hot Sauce is read in 49 states and 78 countries. That’s pretty wild and humbling to think about, so thank you. Also, if you know anyone in Wyoming who might like this newsletter, would you mind forwarding it along? Last summer, I did an intro thread to get to know you better and it’s still one of my favorite things to reread. If you’d like to say hi, it’s not too late, and I’m going to make a new one in a few months to keep the chat going.
This weekend was a lesson in resting up as I got my bivalent booster and spent most of Saturday napping (in a car, in bed, and on the couch). I’m proud of myself for listening to my body and woke up yesterday feeling like myself again, ready to go on a walk, take a yoga class and grab a coffee, all makings of a good day. It’s been a big learning of adulthood that the answer to so many problems is going to bed and getting more sleep.
I can’t write this without wishing everyone celebrating a happy Lunar new year! I love seeing all the celebrations (and of course the food) and I hope the year of the rabbit brings lots of good things. I’m also horrified that gun violence invaded this celebration, like it’s invaded so many other occasions and places in this country. I’m rereading Mariame Kaba’s words on hope and spending time with loved ones.
Thursday’s newsletter for paid subscribers is about recipes, inspired by some essays and conversations I’ve been having lately. Are you a recipe stickler or more of a “no measurements, just vibes” cook? I’d love to hear!
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
Last week’s cooking recap inspired me to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. My usual recipe requires an overnight rest and I had no patience for that. Molly shared a crispier chocolate chip cookie recipe that was ready to bake immediately and they were so good. I obviously added flakey salt and I froze lots of the dough for cookies anytime.
I also made a classic dinner of pasta with red sauce and roasted broccoli with nutritional yeast and lemon. So easy and so good.
There’s an old Molly Yeh recipe that calls for roasting cauliflower with garam masala and making tacos with a tahini sauce. I made a similar roasted spiced cauliflower and used it for quesadillas for a few lunches and it’s so good.
One of the best parts of cooking is making exactly what you want. I came home from yoga and coffee yesterday and made myself the egg sandwich I had been dreaming of. I spread one side of the bread with mashed avocado, the other side with spicy mayo and cooked the eggs like this, with sharp cheddar in the middle. I added a layer of sriracha and cut it on the diagonal, then ate it on the couch while watching season one of Gossip Girl. Live your dreams.
Something to order:
St. Agrestis sent me their phony negroni to try (they also make an excellent bottled negroni) and it was pretty good. It’s not as bitter as the real thing but it still feels like a special drink. They also recently made a NA amaro that I’m looking forward to trying.
I went to a lovely lunch at abcV with Luxmi Estates, a tea company in India that has been in the same family for over 100 years (the estates were never owned by the British and the tea is delicious). abcV was very tasty, especially the green hummus, the chocolate creme brulée and the tahini stuffed dates.
Devinne, Erica and I had coffee at Talea in Cobble Hill, which opens at 10 am and is a great workspace, with wifi and snack plates. It’s also very kid friendly (the founders are moms).
Tilden and I were invited to dinner at Divya’s Kitchen in the East Village (the meal was comped and we left gratuity). It’s a stylish Ayurvedic restaurant and the food is really good. Our favorite dish was the Palak Paneer served with the fluffiest rice and it’s a fantastic place for anyone with dietary restrictions. They don’t serve alcohol but have a great range of NA drinks including a fun Cosmo, limeades, and NA Riesling. Divya was so kind and gave us some of her kitchari mixes and ghee to take home—I can’t wait to cook them.
Casey and I finally met IRL at Baba Cool for a coffee. I’ve been reading her work since she was covering One Direction at Teen Vogue (she now writes) and it was so great to catch up in person.
I got my booster on Friday and got 16 Handles afterwards, as a treat. I do miss the froyo heyday but it was good.
Dale took me to dinner at Cozy Royale, which is a very cute restaurant that I wish had more consistent vegetarian options (or dare I dream, a veggie burger). They used to have mussels and lately they’ve had a very simple pasta (it’s been aglio e olio and this week it was tomato sauce, which was fine but nothing special). They make great drinks (I love the negroni and they have a big martini list), it’s a great space, and I always wind up chatting with other diners, but I wish they had a main dish to look forward to. The hippie salad is a good appetizer but vegetarians shouldn’t have to eat a few appetizers to make a meal. In conclusion, I’m sure I’ll go back because it’s a fun spot but I want more from them.
Something to read:
Want more reads? I share five additional reads in the Thursday newsletter.
Bachelor Data is one of my favorite parts of watching the Bachelor franchise and I love her takes on the new season
Why gas stoves actually matter
This is messed up: the food safety exam most restaurant workers have to take funds lobbying to keep the minimum wage down for restaurant workers!
That’s So Raven’s costume designer reflects on her work 20 (!!) years later
The making of Addy Walker, the first Black American Girl Doll
A delightful history of midnight snacks
Lighthouse BK Sets the Standard for Responsible Dining
Would you make a resolution to be less competent?
Grace Atwood on building a sustainable business online
Intuitive eating has been around for 30 years and is getting more mainstream. I’m here for it.
Anela Malik is such a generous creator and her tips on short form video are so helpful.
In the Midst of the Black Maternal Health Crisis, Could Midwives Be the Answer?
An Ode to Kraft Dinner, Food of Troubled Times
This week, I’d love to hear your favorite midnight snack! I loved those moments at a sleepover when you’d talk for so long that it became time to find snacks. I love a late night popcorn or cookie or pizza or quesadilla depending on how the night is going.
Have a good week and thanks for being here!
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!
For something a little different (and something I call an “adult cookie”, because kids might not like them), consider: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/nov/05/chocolate-chunk-black-pepper-cookies-recipe-benjamina-ebuehi
These are delicious and different. Definitely worth making again and again.