Hey There, It's Amanda

A Peek at Coffee Week, the Garlic Press That Passed Our Tests & What I’m Reading

Plus, an update on the new Food52 HQ.

April 28, 2023
Photo by Mark Weinberg

This edition of the newsletter contains a few products independently chosen (and loved) by Amanda. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we’ve linked to.

We’re approaching the end of our first Coffee Week, and it’s been a caffeinated spree on everyone’s favorite morning elixir (minus you heretic tea drinkers). If you still need a fix, some stories you won’t want to miss:

In my experience, most coffee drinkers tend to be nomads, forever on a journey to find their holy grail of caffeine. I’ve traversed the lands of canned Brim, French press, and Nespresso. I took a brief detour with a Rancilio Silvia machine that kept breaking, and then turned to cold brew. Currently, we subscribe to Cometeer, a service that delivers perfectly brewed espresso shots on dry ice. But I may someday return to my trusted Bialetti Kitty.

I talked with Erin Alexander, our inquisitive managing editor, who headed up Coffee Week, about her own coffee enlightenment:

“I didn’t really get into coffee until I approached high school and was starting to cram for APs and study for the SAT,” she said. “Then I got a car, which opened up the world of Starbucks drive-thrus for me. My order back then was an iced vanilla latte with exactly two pumps of vanilla—it’s not my go-to anymore, but there was definitely a time and a place for that.”

College in Berkeley broadened her coffee choices. She was introduced to Philz’s Mint Mojito coffee (“It’s like iced coffee with cream, sugar, and muddled mint leaves”) and South Indian-style filter coffee with her boyfriend’s family. Now in New York, she’s still making South Indian filter coffee (you can, too—here’s the low-down) and countless cappuccinos with her beloved Breville.

In Case You Missed It

I made Flank Steak with Green Sauce for my show, Amanda Messes Up in the Kitchen—thanks to Shun for letting me test drive a knife or two in the process.

It’s Warming Up. Let’s Eat Outside!

Here are a few things you might need, and that I not-so-secretly want:

Product Vetting

Last week, we launched Food52 Approved, a new monthly column in which we’ll put a bunch of products to the test. To kick it off, Genius creative director Kristen Miglore took on the controversial garlic press; Anthony Bourdain, for one, called the tool “an abomination.” As she wrote: “We asked the Food52 community on Instagram which life-improvers they most wanted us to review: It was garlic presses by a landslide.” Here’s her take on the best tool for turning garlic to pulp.

What I’m Reading

The White Album by Joan Didion—I was struck by a chapter on life in California in 1977: “As I write a fire has been burning out of control for two weeks in the ranges behind the Big Sur coast. Flash floods last night wiped out all major roads into Imperial County.” All so familiar.

What I'm Watching

  • New Girl
  • Cunk on Earth

The New Food52 HQ!

It’s taken us three years, some vexing shipping delays, and so many design decisions to build out our new headquarters in Brooklyn. You’ll be hearing a lot from me on this soon, but in the meantime, here’s a shot of my mom, Judy, testing out the sofa in my office—aka my very first office since we began 13 years ago!

Here’s to chilling like Judy,

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.