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Comfort Food - Issue #7

Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy
“We grow radishes here!”

Freshly farmed Indiana Radish
Freshly farmed Indiana Radish
I think I’ve told you that Evie and I manifested a puppy, right??
So I had this dream a man came to me with a puppy one weekend when my kids were at their dad’s. He said “I think you are a dog person, you just don’t know it yet. So you have a weekend to decide if you are keeping this dog, because if your kids see him they’ll never give him back. His name is Radish.”
In the dream, the man was right. I go on a lot of runs and walks, and need some extra companionship when my kids aren’t with me. I’m outside all the time all year round.
When I woke up, I told Evie about it. And now, like YEARS LATER we have him. He’s incredible. His personality is even better than his face.
One rub: I had to fly to Indiana to get him. In an extra spooky twist, they GROW RADISHES AROUND THERE along with corn. Lots and lots of corn.
Paul was simply not up for this. And I wanted Radish to be a surprise for my kids. So I asked Adimika, and soul sister that she is she readily agreed, but insisted we do a Chairman Mom meet up in Indianapolis and Chicago on the way in and the way out of town.
It’s been a two day whirlwind.
I remember a lot of what is hard about having a baby. The whining and screaming and people looking and judging you.
I’m just trying to show him I’m the alpha like the books say!!!
It was rough, but thank God for these meetups because I have so many incredible Chairman Mom sisters who really had my back, reassured me I’m doing right by my new baby, and told others to– frankly – step off at times. I mean, I love these women.
Adimika and I also had some food adventures along the way.
Wanna hear about it??? Of course you do.
I was so happy to be in the Midwest again. I love it so much. The gentle humidity (yes, it’s gentle when you are from the Delta). The friendliness. The greenery everywhere. Flying in it was like, baby pool, above ground pool, baby pool, above ground pool in every yard.
These people live life well with so much love and heart for the people around them.
We changed planes in Chicago O'Hare and Adimika and I stopped at Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill for a quick mid-terminal margarita and a guac. They were lovely, but there was a confusion on the ticket and we had to race to our gate. Oh well, made it, yay, snuck on margs (shhhh!) and got upgraded to first class! Yay!
Except no. Adimika left her credit card at Frontera Grill with Luis!!!
Reader: You cannot simply call an airport Frontera Grill. They don’t have a phone for one thing. And we were in Indianapolis when we figured it out.
We had a forty minute drive to our first event straight from the airport. During that time we tracked down the managing partner of the ghost kitchen that Rick Bayless sold the brand to for the airport iteration of Frontera Grill, we found his office phone number. He was on vacation til Thursday. We got through to his mobile and he called us back!! He found how to reach Luis!! Luis had the card!! We are getting it on the way home!
Girl: Adimika and I can solve anything. Epidemiologist + health equity advocate + Investigative journalist + entrepreneur + mom = GREAT COMBO.
We are worse at puppies. But we made it with the help of a Midwest army of kind souls.
What else I ate this week (across three states!)
Sunday night
My latest favorite Bay Area restaurant is Al’s Place. I live in the Mission and have no idea why it took me so long to go here. The chef’s tasting menu is absolutely incredible, totally vegetable centric, with meats as a side dish option.
Their palette cleanser Jerusalem melon was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Our waitress said it was the chef’s comfort snack, and they’d finally convinced him to throw it in the tasting menu.
There are so many incredible dishes, it’s hard to pin them down but the salad is just incredible. The one with the herbs and avocado? If you ever go and do not do the tasting menu, don’t skip this. It looks like a boring old plate of leaves and let me tell you, I am generally a “skip the salad” person myself. It’s absolutely transportingly-good. And you eat it with your hands which is how my friend Andrea prefers to eat salad because the mineral taste of the fork combined with anything acidic can twist the flavor.
I was so in awe and just gushing about this salad, and the server was like “I know, right? How can I not ever make one like this?”
And I was like “Girl, let yourself off the hook because this is some crazy ass alchemy going on here. No one else on earth could make a salad this good.”
Paul and I also had an awesome talk about some future Chairman Mom courses we’re working on and it was a brief respite between kid intensity and work intensity. Perfect way to spend a rare evening together. By together, I don’t mean in the same physical place because we are basically always TOGETHER in that sense. But I mean actually together, not in the same place fighting adjacent fires.
Monday
Did you know that Tartine Manufactory DELIVERS fresh croissants via DoorDash!? I did not. Yes, the same ones you line up for at the other Tartine. I woke up without even coffee and soon got coffee and the world’s best croissants for my 9 am Zoom meeting.
I wrote about this for my Chairman Mom newsletter (also free!) and the significance of it.
I didn’t remember until that moment that as a young kid my frequent daydream of ultimate “I’VE MADE IT!” luxury was living in a big city, able to support myself all on my own work, and getting fresh croissants delivered every morning. I have no idea why this felt like the peak of luxury. But it was so hard coded, I had to take a minute to reflect and thank that girl for her dreams, and thank the girls in between for working so hard to make them a reality.
It turned out the only thing I hadn’t achieved from those dreamy days, and subsequent day dreams about my future life, was a set of silk pajamas. The 80s sense of “made it”?
Maybe next paycheck. Maybe on my next trip back to San Francisco. She deserves it. We all deserve it after the last year (and the new backslide with the virus. 😩)
Tuesday
I told you about Frontera Grill already, and, you know, that tiny margarita and guacamole bar hit the spot rushing between planes. I’d be thrilled seeing these pop up in more airports, ghost kitchens or not! Trouble is that’s basically all we had to eat the whole day. We landed in Indy and went straight to our event at this incredible female owned popcorn cafe.
I got to see one of my favorite people on earth, who helped organize the event, Jillian Walker, who took our Sisterhood Course along with 70 other women. It was my fault the event went so late, but there were so many incredible women to meet.
Someone once asked me if Chairman Mom could scale because every time I describe women in the community they sound so incredible. “How many women like that are there?” this person asked. They are ALL LIKE THAT. We just give them the space to be in their full amazing greatness. These nights fuel me so much and connect me so deeply with my mission.
But….. it was 10 pm when it ended and we had only eaten some Rick Bayless guac all day. We STRUGGLED to find something open in Indy and everyone almost gave up, but I was like NO! We are gonna go to a spot and get some takeout at least! One lovely lovely friend opened her back porch to us and Adimika and I found some tacos at a place called Condado. We flew in there as they were closing, but they took great pity on us and gave us a slew of tacos and queso to go, plus margaritas while we waited. I assure you, that was a good tip.
There’s something about a meal when you thought you weren’t getting one. You relish it in a whole new way. It’s like an extra tastebud gets unlocked.
We were totally confused by the menu so I was like “Just pick six great tacos for us.” I got the Ooey-Gooey, which I would 10/10 recommend. Hard shell, black beans, queso blanco, roasted chicken and dirty sauce. That combined with badass women (and a guy) on a back porch in Indy at 1 am. So incredible. So happy to be back in the Midwest.
The next day we drove out to the farm in Indiana to get Radish! Afterwards, kinda overwhelmed, we stopped at the Great Lakes Cafe in Gary Indiana, just before we drove by the Jackson 5 house. They packaged up some delicious breakfast sandwiches for us, and let us eat out in the parking lot, while Radish nosed around in the grass and potty’d. (Good boy!) A woman who worked there’s daughter, Gloria, came out and played with Radish and told us all about her day.
“I’m gonna be someone’s company today!” At first I had no idea what she meant, until I realized her mom must have always referred to family who comes over as “company” probably followed by rules on how you treat company. Gloria was thrilled she got to be the company today. AND that they had a swimming pool. Oh she was gonna Lord getting to be the company. You could tell.
“You’re living the dream!” I said.
“I don’t know, you flew in from California to adopt a puppy, sounds like you are living the dream!” her mom said.
Her mom had family who live in the Mission above one of my favorite restaurants, Flour + Water. (Reservations next week!) YOU KNOW we talked food while I chowed on her food. Universal language: Food and puppies and kids.
Our next meetup was at a place called Guild Row in Chicago, and absolutely gorgeous co-working spot, cafe and bar. Normally dogs are a no go but they were INCREDIBLEY accommodating to Radish for the HOURS we were there, which included a 30 minute alpha-off between me and Radish about his crate. This tiny puppy has lungs. Nevertheless mom persisted.
You know what? It worked. He behaved like a dream on the plane and yelled almost none in his new home. He’s already nicely adjusting to life off the farm, 24 hours after leaving, as I’m writing this.
I have to shout out Owen, the chef who made our tremendous sandwiches and quiches at Guild Row. He was Radish’s best friend for the day. Radish was crestfallen she didn’t belong in the kitchen, despite her name.
Tonight Paul gets home after setting up our stuff in Palm Springs and we have reservations at Ernest, after our weekly Margs & Market in the Mission with Adimika and Andrea. I’m taking Radish in a sling. It’s my second to last one before we move! :(
I always complain that the Italian guy never remembers me but last week, he practically leapt across his stand and yelled “YOU’RE BACK!” when we came in.
“Is this a most beautiful women contest?” he asked. I gestured to Adimika, Andrea and myself. “Oh, it’s no contest…”
Ernest vs. a night in with the new puppy? Gonna be a tough call…
Next week: Our big going away party and LAST BITES BEFORE WE GO!
(Share your favorite bites with me and share this newsletter with a friend!)
Radish's mom and dad saying goodbye.
Radish's mom and dad saying goodbye.
Hot Radish in the city.
Hot Radish in the city.
Bless your heart margs from the only people who would feed us Tuesday night Indy.
Bless your heart margs from the only people who would feed us Tuesday night Indy.
Jilly + Adimika + me looking like Sesame Street puppets we're so excited!
Jilly + Adimika + me looking like Sesame Street puppets we're so excited!
Jilly interviewing me <3
Jilly interviewing me <3
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Sarah Lacy
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Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy @sarahcuda

I'm the founder of Pando and Chairman Mom. I live half time between San Francisco and Palm Springs, ferretting out the best food between the two. Food is my love language.

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