Old Favorites in a New Home
Plus, bagel orders and very good ravioli
I’m writing to you from my new apartment! It’s been a long journey, with apartment hunting and moving to Queens for a month, but we’ve officially been here for a week. I love the space and can’t wait to set it all up. I taught a private cooking class last Thursday, which pushed me to set up the kitchen right away. I now have a dishwasher, which made cleanup way easier. I’m hoping to take advantage of the quiet of the end of the year to do some nesting and search Facebook Marketplace for some fun pieces.
A scheduling note: This Needs Hot Sauce is taking the last week of the year off. The last free newsletter of the year will be Monday, December 20th, and it will cover the best things we ate in 2021. Paid subscribers will get their last bonus of the year on Thursday, December 23rd. I hope you have some rest ahead as well.
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
For our last night in Queens, my dad made a feta and peppers pasta using the cascatelli Amy and Bradlee brought to Latkes and Vodkas. We all enjoyed the pasta shape with the creamy sauce and now it’s more widely available if you want to try.
The first thing I cooked in our new apartment: Annie’s mac and cheese with broccoli and chili crisp. It was delicious.
Fried rice is a weeknight go to and an easy way to pack in vegetables. I made a big pan of it with broccoli, kale, onion, garlic, egg and tons of ginger. I use a combo of soy sauce, hoisin sauce and rice vinegar for seasoning and finish with chili crisp.
On Friday night, Julia, Julianne and I did our annual candle exchange (we all gift each other candles to get through the winter). We didn’t want to spend too much time cooking, so I picked up two kinds of ravioli (cheese and sun dried tomato), some Casteveltrano olives for snacking, and some fra diavola sauce at Savino’s Quality Pasta, which sells French and Italian products. We also made a simple salad. The ravioli was excellent and I plan to keep some on hand at all times. Highly recommend.
Something to order:
This week was largely about returning to my favorite takeout spots after some time away. We got Williamsburg Pizza on the day of the move, fuel for unpacking.
We toasted our first night in the new apartment with Champagne and sushi from Ako. I missed their peanut avocado rolls.
Tilden came over to watch And Just Like That (plz reply to this email if you want to discuss) and we ordered vegan pho and bahn mi from Lucy’s Vietnamese. Their vegan ginger chicken is so good.
I got to celebrate Hillary and Frida’s birthdays (and attend Natalie’s very fun holiday party) and Clare, Frida, Austin and I ended the night at Super Power in Crown Heights, which has very good drinks. Get the mezcal mai tai.
The chipotle breakfast burritos at the West are so good. Dale came back from a run with burritos, which we ate while watching Season two of Love Life on HBO (so good). It’s good to be back.
Something to read:
Excited to read Tammie Teclemariam’s work as the Diner at Large for New York magazine.
Huge Ma aka TurboVax is running for office in Queens
Cyberattacks played a role in the cream cheese shortage
Tiktok’s couch guy on how it feels to be investigated by the internet
What it’s like running a New York City restaurant when you don’t speak English
Honored to be a community favorite food newsletter in such great company
Guatemala’s rural and indigenous communities are hit the hardest by Covid (this was reported from the town I used to live in)
Anna Codrea-Rado writes frankly about money and freelancing in a year where she made less than the year before
Starbucks workers just unionized (yes!!). Now the real fight begins.
A restaurant review from “The Worst Michelin Starred Restaurant Ever”
In Sinaloa, a feast for lost souls
Aged rosé is the perfect winter sip
Reddit users are standing in solidarity with Kellogg’s workers as they strike
Helping Indigenous restaurant workers in the language they speak
My Parents’ Country Doesn’t Exist. I Moved There Anyway.
I’m loving Whetstone Radio’s new podcast, Climate Cuisine, which looks at ingredients by the climate they grow in. The first episode, about cassava, spotlights Senegal, Belize, and Taiwan.
The meal prep classes I teach with Erica make an excellent gift for a loved one (or yourself). They’re all virtual, which comes in handy for last minute gifting, no shipping delays here. Grab the Meal Prep Class Pack at a discounted rate and get more details here (the menus are so good).
Still shopping? The This Needs Hot Sauce Gift Guide has many ideas to help you out. Lots of shipping deadlines are this week if you’re shopping with Christmas in mind.
Now, let’s talk about bagels. I’m definitely getting one for breakfast tomorrow after reading these orders.
Jeremy has a satisfying dairy free order: This might not be so revolutionary, but after I cut out dairy a few years ago, I wasn't sure how to replace the cream cheese on a bagel... and eventually realized hummus works really well, and hummus + smoked salmon is actually pretty great. Some capers or olives and a little sumac sprinkled on top, even better.
Julianne’s frozen bagel reheating method is a winner: Everything bagel with cucumber dill cream cheese (a semi-recent find, it's incredible!!!). A special occasion (I always find one) calls for lox, tomato, and onion. Also, shameless plug for my bagel reheating technique so you can live your best bagel life at home full of temptee whipped cream cheese from the grocery store! I mix in chopped scallion that we grow ourselves and top with EBTB seasoning because you can never have too much!
Ron’s spicy combos sound great: Sometimes, after the cream cheese base, I’ll add a thin layer of salsa if we have some. Chili crisp goes well with the cream cheese, too, or really a few drops of any hot sauce. Oh, radishes, thinly sliced!
Jamie and I agree that tomato sometimes belongs on a bagel: I don't eat bagels often but when I do it's a sunflower seed flat with vegetable cream cheese!! Sometimes with tomato if I'm feeling it
Chrissy is counting down to New York bagels: I, too, am a native New Yorker (I grew up on Long Island and went to college in Westchester.) Alas, I moved to the South after I graduated, where the bagel options are tragic. Whenever I go back to NY, my first stop is a bagel shop, where I keep it classic - an everything bagel, with scallion cream cheese. I'm going to Long Island for Christmas this year, and I'm already drooling.
Julia’s topping of choice is a Jewish classic: The best bagel topping is whitefish salad and I will die on this hill.
This week’s question is a big one: what’s the best thing you ate in 2021? This can include home cooking or restaurant meals and you can send in a few contenders by replying to this email. I’ll share your best meals (and mine) in next week’s newsletter. You can peruse last year’s for inspiration.
For paid subscribers, I’m writing about my new kitchen and will answer more reader questions. Your support keeps This Needs Hot Sauce going and I thank you.
Happy eating and thanks for reading.