They Should All Be Three Day Weekends
Burgers, Blondies, and Beach Days
I’m writing to you from a post long weekend cloud of contentment. It was my first weekend without work in over a month and I made the most of it, with beach trips, parties, long walks to the farmer’s market, and some couch time (finally finished the last season of Younger, lmk your thoughts). Last night, we got back from the Rockaways after 8 pm and I decided the only thing I wanted to eat was pasta with kale sauce. I felt slightly silly taking out the blender at that hour, but it was worth it to satisfy my craving. Dishes aren’t too bad after a post beach shower.
I also had a story I’ve been working on since April come out last week and I am so happy with how it came out. I spoke with 10 restaurant workers about how the pandemic changed hospitality and their answers were stunning (also the photos are stunning).
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
I cannot recommend this kale sauce pasta enough. It works with fresh kale or almost wilted kale. I added some basil to mine since I had it and tossed with rigatoni. Also one perk of the recipe: you don’t use a knife at all (I tore the ribs from the kale and smashed the garlic with my hands).
For Leah’s birthday party, I made a pan of Ina Garten blondies, with a few tweaks. I skip the nuts, use less chocolate (10 oz), and less sugar, and I top them with flakey salt. They slice easily and the leftovers keep well for a few days, if you have any.
The heat has been intense lately (the climate crisis is here) and cold noodles make a perfect dinner. We made this Hetty McKinnon recipe with the addition of broccoli, mushrooms and tofu for our Bachelorette viewing. It’s so filling and fresh and would work with many different vegetables.
For Julianne and Ian’s barbecue, I made tomato bruschetta with garlic toasts and black beans burgers. Paid subscribers have both recipes (I’m happy to comp subscriptions to students or anyone un/underemployed, just shoot me an email).
Something to order:
I was invited to dinner at Kimika (comped) and brought Tilden to celebrate her new job. Our favorite dishes were the artichoke, the soy butter pasta, and the desserts (the soft serve and the chocolate hazelnut mochi).
Dale and I had a date night at Mesa Coyoacan, a longtime favorite (I wrote about it back in 2018). We sat outside and split the guac. I got the mushroom huitlacoche quesadilla (the tacos are also great) and he got the enchiladas verdes. Luckily, we got home before the rain.
Ako Sushi has become a new regular spot. I first visited with Julia (they have a covered backyard that was great before I returned to indoor dining) and Dale and I have been going a lot. It’s well priced, high quality sushi with lots of veggie options and you can always get a table. Some favorites: the vegetable gyoza, the oshinko roll, avocado cucumber rolls, and sweet potato tempura.
We had a family birthday dinner for Leah at Bellwether in Long Island City. It’s such a good restaurant, with a seasonal menu. We had stracciatella with tomatoes and snap peas, mushroom linguine and such good desserts.
Rippers at the Rockaways never misses. I’ve been there twice on holiday weekends and the line always moves quickly. Get a burger (the veggie one is really good), fries (their fries have such good seasoning), and cheese fries with the cheese on the side (better for dipping). Like all foods, it tastes better on the beach.
I had my first Mr. Softee of the summer as we were leaving the beach: a swirl cone with rainbow sprinkles.
Something to read:
How to throw a great summer party (I love parties)
Gordon Ramsey botched Puerto Rican pegao rice
Studio Atao released an extensive toolkit for implementing systematic changes towards equity in food media.
The joy of finding art for your home
Now I want to try making peanut sauce with whole peanuts
Rainbow cookies from Adam Roberts to celebrate pride
Bring back menus and end QR codes. I agree that QR codes have accessibility issues and seem to lead to more phones at the table
Meet Andrea Hernandez, a snack expert building a business in Honduras
Nicole Russell Is Bringing Black Girl Magic To The White, Male-Dominated Pizza Industry
A tour of Kelis’ California farm
The delicacy of long cooked vegetables
On managing relationships and growing tomatoes
Angela Davis aka The Kitchenista has been working for weeks to expose the fraud and harm caused by Darius Cooks. Her work hasn’t gotten much coverage, but this article is a start.
Enjoyed listening to Bettina Makalintal on this podcast
I love how this restaurant credits staff for dishes they come up with
11 Frozen Meals the Washington Post food team turns to
Farmworkers and construction crews face special danger as an extreme heat wave continues to bake the West
Domestic Workers and American Ex-pats in Mexico City
I’ve had a few conversation about the most recent season of Top Chef, which I haven’t watched. TLDR: The winner, Gabe Erales of Austin, was fired from his job in December for numerous charges of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. I spoke with Gabe once in 2019 for a project he was not selected for. He was fired after the show was filmed but before it had aired. Bravo still aired it with him as the winner (which includes a cash prize) and has not released any comments on the situation. It’s so demoralizing to see this happen again, on such a large scale (Edouardo Jordan was also in one episode but he was edited out after reports of his own behavior came out). I’d heard really good things about the season before this—it dealt with the pandemic in a responsible way, featured indigenous food, and had a historically diverse cast. I hope Bravo makes a statement and I hope that gatekeepers like Top Chef add new tools to their vetting process to avoid situations like this (and that the industry culture changes in a major way, of course). Padma Lakshmi has called on Bravo to address this.
I’m featured on Being Invincible! We had a great conversation about work, a typical day in the life, what I focus on in cooking classes, and I told a story of my first (and only) overnight hike.
Finally, I’m sharing this story on how the pandemic changed hospitality again. I am so appreciative of all the folks who took the time to talk to me about their experiences and visions for the future. Thanks as well to my editor Chris who helped make this story bigger than I ever envisioned. And thank you to everyone for reading and sharing it.
Now, let’s talk about ice cream sandwiches!
Julianne: My ideal ice cream sandwich is, you guessed it, the ones your parents made! I'd love to make another ice cream sandwich with Julia's flaky salt chocolate chip cookies though. That sounds outrageous!!!
Jamie: Thank you for the inspiration, definitely going to make ice cream sandwiches this week!
This week, in a small departure from food, I’d love to hear your favorite summer read so far! I track all my reading here if you’re curious and recently loved Crying in H Mart, People We Meet on Vacation, Musical Chairs, and Somebody’s Daughter (bookshop links). I’ll share your recommendations next week!
Last but not least, Erica and I are teaching part two of our summer meal prep series this Sunday! The menu is really great, perfect for hot weather and the first class was so much fun. Grab your spot here if you’d like to join.
Have a great week and thank you for reading!