Taco Shells and Pantry Shelves

Plus, happy hour and that first sweet sip of a latte

Hi friends,

Welcome back to This Needs Hot Sauce. I’m looking forward to Thursday’s happy hour at 8 p.m. and ready for a new week. I’m also really ready to go grocery shopping—it’s been 13 days and we are on our last apple.

Here’s the info for Thursday’s happy hour. Feel free to join if we’ve never met!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 984 233 800, Password: 048749

Now, let’s dive in.

Something to cook:

Most of last week was Passover, which meant some constraints and some hard-earned carbs at the end of it.

I made a very tasty lunch bowl with kimchi, a soy sauce soaked hard-boiled egg, cabbage, tofu, and leftover broccoli stir-fried with garlic and ginger. I topped it with sesame seeds and chili crisp (very important condiments).

I rarely buy eggplant but variety is important! I roasted mine with a miso ginger glaze from this recipe and served with some cabbage (can you tell I was using up a head of cabbage?) dressed in the extra marinade since I couldn’t eat grains. The full recipe is really good if you have cucumbers and farro or rice.

We ordered in for the end of Passover but I made some cookie dough while we waited for pizza. Since we’re almost out of butter, I made a half batch. It is good to have some cookie dough in your freezer. We often bake a few cookies in our small baking pan for a movie snack and I’m not above eating a raw cookie dough ball.

On Saturday, Julia and I were at a loss of what to cook. We turned to our ever faithful chickpea pasta and added an entire bag of frozen spinach, which felt necessary. This is a very affordable pantry staple based recipe and you can easily use dried herbs instead of fresh (I’ve been using a mix of dried thyme, oregano, rosemary, and red pepper flakes for the finishing oil). Since it only uses 1/2 cup of pasta, a box of elbows lasts forever.

Last night, Dale and I made tacos with hard shells. I eat breakfast tacos and quesadillas all the time but it had been years since I had eaten ones with a hard shell. They were really fun and nostalgic! I used a doctored up bean chili as my filling and he used ground chicken. We made a toppings bar with lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado, and cheese and then watched the first two episodes of the Last Dance (so good). Grab a box of taco shells next time you’re at the store and warm them up in the oven before eating, you won’t regret it.

Something to order:

I love Ops and it was the perfect way to end Passover. If you’re ordering from a very popular restaurant (Ops, Win Son, etc.), order early. We ordered at 5:40 and the food arrived at 7:30. A lot of menu items sell out early too, like their sourdough bread, which we missed out on. Dinner was delicious though, the margherita pizza, their allium covered cicero, and a fresh salad with seasonal lettuces. We had enough for lunch the next day, which means we ordered the perfect amount. Ask for a side of chili oil and tip well!

We had to re-up our wine supply this week and ordered the Dozen Deal from Bibber and Bell, which came in less than an hour. It’s a weekly rotation of 12 bottles for $125 with free local delivery. It’s a great deal and I love their selections. They offer smaller bundles throughout the week, so get on their email list for more details.

Julianne and Ian picked up lunch at La Princesa (also the source of my photo birthday cakes) and I went downstairs to wave at them from afar. They surprised me with a guava and cheese pastry and a coffee, the perfect afternoon treat. La Princesa has most of their menu available for takeout, call ahead to avoid a wait.

I realize I ate tacos so many times this week but I have to shout out Los Tacos McOndo. Dale and I got delivery from there on Friday and started Too Hot To Handle, which I cannot actually recommend, but it will pass the time. Get extra of the spicy red salsa.

Do you know what’s good? Espresso! I had my first latte in almost six weeks yesterday and it was so delicious. Dunwell Donuts is open for takeout and delivery and I will absolutely be supporting them frequently. Julia and I took a brief walk for a donut and iced almond milk lattes (it’s a vegan bakery but you wouldn’t know it) and it felt so good to wait in line, pick out a donut, and sip a latte once I took my mask off at home. They had a really good system for distancing and sanitizing the touchpad so the whole thing felt safe and special.

Something to read:

Of course Wesley Morris’ Grub Street Diet made me think about the history of Anson Mills and the obligations of companies to disclose their histories. He’s the best.

Related: This longread on the role of slaves in a West Virginia Salt Company is a must-read.

Sneaky: Land O’Lakes finally (and quietly) got rid of their Indian maiden mascot

The expiration dates you need to be following (it’s not that many)

How to repurpose your takeout into future meals

A dive into the disputed history of dalgona coffee

Loved Joy the Baker’s pre quarantine week of outfits

A recipe fundraiser featuring some of my favorite spots: Lighthouse, Win Son, and Five Leaves

I watched Uncorked on Netflix last week and enjoyed it! It’s set in Memphis, all about wine and family. Read about the local somm that made the tastings look real and read Julia Coney on what the film means for black wine drinkers.

I’ve interviewed Yia Vang before and he’s a tireless advocate for Hmong people and Hmong cooking.

A fun advice column: How will I know when it’s time to eat the emergency beans?

Related: The Home Cooking Podcast has also been giving great advice.

On noticing good food things during a pandemic (yesterday’s latte definitely qualifies)

Alicia Kennedy’s essay about resisting and then embracing the idea of a domestic goddess resonates.

Irina wrote about a queer baker in LA and how he takes care of his community.

Fany Gersen shares a raw look at what it’s like to run a food business right now.

Mari Andrew’s letters to New York have been a delight and this old interview with her was a very soothing read.

Related to taco shells, is instant pudding due for a comeback?

The photos in this story about food being destroyed due to disrupted supply chains amid coronavirus are devastating.

You might not have made bread, but have you made pancakes? Also, Leandra’s honest writing about her emotions in quarantine is much appreciated.

Lots of links this week, I know. Take what you need, leave what you don’t.


Alicia shared another approach to weekends (see last week’s newsletter for more). I love the idea of routines every day but two:

I know this is late but I originally didn't have an answer about weekends till this weekend happened and I realized. I have a very established routine during weekdays (or as established as it can be during these times) and the weekend is my time of anything goes. Which is also pretty true to my regular life 

Anyway as for foods, so my spouse is from the South and made what I think is Ambrosia Salad but they called it Marshmallow Delight, and I was surprised to learn that I liked it. 


This week, I’d love to hear how you’re shopping for food. Are you ordering online, using a CSA, waiting in line at the stores, or something else? What’s been easy or hard to find? How do you make your lists? Where are you at in your full fridge to bare shelves cycle? Reply to this email and let me know!

I’m so curious and will share more of my shopping routine next week.

Stay safe and wash your hands. I’ll see you on Thursday!

Happy eating and thanks for reading.

xo, Abigail