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I Left My Heart in San Francisco-Style Garlic Noodles



Good morning. The vernal equinox is in less than three weeks, but you wouldn’t know it from the frosted mud in the woods and the storm-wounded lawns where I stay. It’s bare ugly everywhere save in the bays, where water clear as gin flows over rocks in a spectrum of pink. At the market: cabbage and potatoes, a box of turnips, industrial berries that might have been grown in space. The new season’s coming, sure as tulips, but right now it’s hard to imagine.

Cooking helps. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe for Vietnamese American garlic noodles (above), for instance, helps conjure a taste of springtime San Francisco, where Helene An introduced the dish at her family’s Thanh Long restaurant in the 1970s. Eating it is a form of travel for me — a chance to imagine myself blocks from the beach, slurping butter-slicked pasta in advance of a walk through Golden Gate Park, wind whipping in from the Farallon Islands. I like the dish with flaked crab cut into it, perhaps with a whisper of Maggi seasoning over the top.

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They’re a taste of not New York, which is sometimes just what’s called for on a winter weekend, at least for me. Here’s a video on our YouTube channel of Kenji making the dish. Watch closely and then give the recipe a try.

Alternatively, how about Naz Deravian’s new recipe for shrimp tempura or, in keeping with the frying theme, her new recipe for pork tonkatsu? I like the latter because if you make enough for leftovers (and you ought to), you can make katsudon for lunch or dinner the following day.

I could see making oxtails and butter beans this weekend, or a comforting beef stew. We won’t be doing that come May! Steering directly into the weather, it might be great to simmer up a beef birria, for quesabirria tacos, or to make this lovely miso-mushroom barley soup. Or this creamy spiced number from Zainab Shah, bagara baingan, a Hyderabadi dish of shallow-fried eggplants cooked in a slightly fiery gravy, which is excellent with rice and roti.

There are thousands and thousands of other recipes for the weekend waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. You need a subscription to read them. Subscriptions are what make this whole endeavor possible. Please, if you haven’t done so already, would you consider subscribing today? Thank you.

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Now, it’s nothing to do with Cornish game hens or pimento cheese, but I had a good time watching “The Drop” (it’s on a ton of streaming platforms), a 2014 thriller written by Dennis Lehane and starring Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini. The film is nominally set in Brooklyn, but save for Hardy and Gandolfini, all the characters sound as if they were raised in Dorchester. Weird, kid.

What book are you going to read next? My colleagues at The New York Times Book Review will help you find it with this excellent page of recommendations, which they’ll keep updated, I hope, for many moons. Explore it for a while.

The film critic Justin Chang has decamped from The Los Angeles Times to take up residence in the halls of The New Yorker. Here’s his review of “About Dry Grasses,” from the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Finally, how about a pick-me-up to get you through the day? Here are the Thee Oh Sees at the Pitchfork Music Festival back in 2012, performing “The Dream.” It’s seeking, it’s peeking, into real life. Listen to that nice and loud. I’ll see you on Sunday.

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