Natalie Morales will educate you easy methods to make Cuban espresso.
Illustration: Maanvi Kapur

This yr, Natalie Morales grew to become a first-time director — and a second-time director. In March, she launched Plan B on Hulu, and as we speak marks the discharge of Language Classes, which she co-wrote and stars in with Mark Duplass. The story of a Spanish language instructor in Costa Rica and her pupil in Oakland, it’s instructed by Zoom (glitches and all), and The New Yorker praises Morales’s efficiency as “laughably smart, sympathetic, and engaging.” Off of Zoom, throughout the restricted time she had not doing press for the brand new movie, she made loads of Cuban espresso, stopped by the farmers’ marketplace for pupusas, and managed to spend an extended weekend in Ojai with some mates and her favourite chocolate. 

Monday, August 30
I had some yogurt and granola with some mangoes from Miami that my stepdad despatched me. As a result of this was apparently not candy sufficient, I drizzled honey throughout this factor. Oh, sure, I additionally had half a chocolate chip cookie from Milk Jar. My very good buddy Dina despatched me an entire field. I had by no means been there, she simply purchased me a field.

I’d been out of city, and I simply obtained again lately. I had no groceries, so this was actually all I needed to eat. Let’s see how lengthy it should take me to truly store for groceries.

Lunch was from Tocaya Organica. Two barrio tacos with vegan picadillo and queso fresco, and iced inexperienced tea. I normally love this place, however sadly these tacos have been chilly and the server was too good to me, so I didn’t complain and ended up consuming chilly tacos.

Early within the night, my mates Josh and Lauren came visiting for a glass of orange wine on my porch. They introduced over a extremely scrumptious bottle that I can’t keep in mind the identify of, but it surely had a cool image on the duvet. When you make wine, all you actually need to do to make me purchase it’s have a cool label. I’m a sucker for good packaging.

It’s not that I would like a cool label. I’ll, after all, have wine with an abnormal label that somebody recommends. It’s not that I don’t know a lot about wine, it’s that I don’t actually care that a lot. What makes me care is those who put effort into their packaging and make it sort of an fascinating piece of artwork. I perceive that this could possibly be a gimmick, and the wine could possibly be horrible, but it surely’s what makes me take a danger in shopping for a wine I do know nothing about.

Obtained the veggie ramen and a yuzu-mint lemonade from Silverlake Ramen. Simply the most effective. It’s in all probability my favourite ramen place in L.A., principally as a result of I don’t eat meat. So it’s arduous to get vegetarian ramen that is superb the place the broth tastes good — as a result of I concede that ramen is all in regards to the porky broth. And Silverlake Ramen does it very well.

Tuesday, August 31
I had no time as a result of I refuse to get up sooner than I completely have to. I’m unsure why I do that, despite the fact that it makes my life more durable. I had all these plans to go get a pleasant breakfast for myself earlier than this large, lengthy press day for my new film, however alas, I’m not that individual. Breakfast was cream cheese and toast — Dave’s killer bread, thin-sliced, seeded — plus Cuban espresso — Bustelo — with oat milk.

I make it in a Cuban espresso maker. We name it that, but it surely’s like a moka pot or a type of percolators. It’s a two-part system. It’s not just like the Italian one, the place you simply make an espresso, as a result of on the aspect you may have this little steel cup. Think about the dimensions of a shot glass, but it surely’s a steel pitcher. That’s all, proper? You set sugar in there, relying on how a lot you want.

Then, when the espresso first begins to brew the very, very first drips of the espresso, you set just a bit little bit of drip in that sugar, after which with the spoon you beat it till it’s nearly like a sweet and it has numerous air in it. Then when the espresso’s achieved brewing, you pour all of the espresso into that little pitcher, that tiny little pitcher. All people calls it espuma, it’s like a sugar foam that the espresso already inherently has. In order that’s the way you make Cuban espresso. It’s very easy. I can educate you easy methods to make it.

My lunch was leftover ramen and tuna salad that I made with the one can of tuna I had. A really primary tuna salad that was simply tuna, mayo, and Lawry’s garlic salt, which I legitimately placed on all the things.

My stepdad all the time cooked with Lawry’s. I keep in mind he would make pasta, and it will be olive oil and that garlic salt or cream cheese and that garlic salt. He would make these frozen ravioli with a sauce that was butter, cream cheese, and garlic salt. And it was so good. I simply suppose Lawry’s tastes good in all the things. Every part wants it.

For dinner, I made myself refried bean and cheese tacos with Cholula. I used some Greek yogurt as an alternative to bitter cream and the final of my cilantro. Additionally, a Tecate. It had been an extended day, and typically all you want is tacos and beer. This was the dregs of what I had at house, although, and I actually wanted to go grocery procuring.

Cholula is one thing I found once I moved to L.A., as a result of L.A. is an enormous scorching sauce metropolis, and Cholula’s typically on the desk. I by no means favored Tabasco, and I’m considered one of two folks on the planet who doesn’t like sriracha, in all probability. I additionally don’t like actually spicy stuff, usually. Opposite to standard perception, Cuban meals isn’t spicy. It’s spiced. It’s flavorful. However it’s not scorching.

So Cholula got here into my life like an actual blessing. It’s principally tasty, it’s principally actually flavorful with the tiniest little bit of spice, but it surely’s not a spice that, like, lingers or will get in your nostril otherwise you sweat. It provides just a little little bit of a kick to meals, however principally it has a very nice taste to it that makes issues style actually good.

After dinner, I had two leftover Package Kats. These have been in my fridge. They have been in all probability two months previous. I had stayed in a lodge firstly of August and was actually hungry and broke into the minibar and ate some Package Kats after which didn’t end the package deal. So I introduced the remainder house, and that’s what these have been for.

Wednesday, September 1
Not numerous time once more, so I ate Vans energy protein waffles and PG Tips tea with a splash of oat milk. I like these waffles as a result of (1) they’re waffles, and who doesn’t like waffles, and (2) I’m a vegetarian — with a number of fish exemptions — so I’ll take protein wherever I can get it.

I haven’t eaten beef since I used to be 17 as a result of I obtained actually dangerous meals poisoning from a burger at a spot the place I labored, however I in all probability can’t identify it or I’ll get sued. It was “I went to the hospital” meals poisoning. I ended consuming beef from there, after which a number of years later, I ended consuming rooster and turkey and pork.

Pork was an enormous factor for me to cease consuming as a result of I’m Cuban and that’s 50 % of our weight loss program, however I like animals a lot. That’s the essential cause why I’m a vegetarian. I do actually nonetheless really feel dangerous about consuming fish. Continually. Generally I’ve goals of fish swimming round in my abdomen after I eat sushi, which is why I don’t eat it typically.

Rising up, Cuban meals was mainly all I ate. I didn’t have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich until I used to be like 19 or 20, when a buddy made me one. I knew what it was. It was simply not one thing we ever had at house. Additionally, the concept of it appeared unusual to me. It was a buddy of mine who was white. And I used to be like, “Can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” It was like caviar to me. I had by no means eaten something like that.

I additionally didn’t eat numerous greens rising up. They’re not tremendous standard in Cuban delicacies. So I had my first asparagus at 23, and that’s so much for somebody who now’s vegetarian. It’s been a studying curve. I needed to shut my eyes and eat random greens that I’ve by no means eaten earlier than.

Anyway, I forgot to eat lunch as a result of I used to be working all day, so I used to be ravenous. For dinner, I had a brie, apple, and fig sandwich and a vegan chocolate protein shake from Stamp Proper Foods. I’d by no means eaten there earlier than, however this was superb, and sure, get off my again — nonetheless no time for groceries.

Thursday, September 2
A late breakfast-slash-brunch of spinach, quinoa, and candy potatoes. Had the leftover chocolate shake from the evening earlier than.

My early dinner was a hippie sink bowl (with vegan feta, romesco, and extra candy potatoes), smashed cucumbers, and coconut water from Grain Lab. I’d additionally by no means been there, however my cousin and I have been close by and attempting to make good decisions. The opposite choice was Krispy Kreme, however your lady selected proper. That hippie sink bowl was so good.

The large theme of my weight loss program this previous week is that I didn’t go grocery procuring and had barely something in my home. I do like to cook dinner. However my favourite factor to do is have a look at what’s in the home and work out what can I make from these bizarre mixtures of issues that I’ve? It’s kind of my very own Chopped problem. I discover the problem to be fascinating, however this was just a little bit excessive.

My late dinner was a cream cheese and jelly sandwich and a peanut-butter-chocolate cookie.

Friday, September 2
Breakfast was Cuban espresso with oat milk, toast with cream cheese, and a medium boiled egg with garlic salt.

Late lunch. I ended by Echo Park farmers’ market and obtained some bean and cheese pupusas from Delmy’s Pupuseria together with a watermelon agua fresca. I used to be going to get one thing on the bookstore proper subsequent to the farmers market, and I used to be additionally hungry, and I used to be like, “Oh great. I’ll just stop by here.” It doesn’t damage that I like pupusas. Pupusas are the most effective. I normally get them at any farmers’ market that I’m at as a result of they’re all the time there.

I went to a small little screening of my buddy Joe’s new film at his home, and there I had some cheese pizza. We have been close to Glendale, so I adopted that up with lavender and strawberry frozen yogurt from Yoga-urt. I actually do crave candy after salty.

I like ice cream. I can’t say I don’t love ice cream. I infrequently will flip down ice cream. I like Van Leeuwen, I like Salt & Straw, and I like McConnell’s.

Saturday, September 4
I used to be heading to Ojai for the lengthy weekend, so I made some Cuban espresso, plus the one tortillas that I had left have been all damaged, so I popped them within the air fryer to make some fast tortilla chips. (I obtained the air fryer someday final yr when everyone obtained one as a result of we have been all bored out of our minds attempting to determine what to do with our lives, I assume. It has are available actually useful, and I actually like experimenting with it.)

Then I took a few of the leftover refried beans and the final of my yogurt blended with some Cholula to make a fast bean dip. I promise to you, expensive reader, I deliberate to get groceries as quickly as I used to be again house.

For lunch, my buddy Aliza obtained me a vegetarian sandwich from Farmshop. Fairly dang good. In addition they have ridiculously good fruit and charcuterie platters that she introduced alongside for this weekend. A+.

For dinner, we ordered some Thai meals. I had tofu pad see ew and had a few of my buddy David’s pad Thai after which my favourite chocolate: Tony’s Chocolonely. For actual, I used to be shopping for it in bulk, and it was an issue. I ate it a lot that I used to be like, It’s essential cease doing this. That is an excessive amount of chocolate for one individual to have. It’s additionally actually arduous to search out, in order that’s good. It’s all the time out of inventory all over the place. The final time I purchased it on Amazon, and it got here from Iceland. That’s how out of inventory it’s right here. I had no thought it was coming from Iceland.

Fortunately, my buddy occurred to have some at her home, and I might get just a bit style. It was additionally fortunate for her that it wasn’t my favourite taste and so I did go away her over HALF of the bar. You’re welcome, Michaela.

And, sure, I did lastly order some groceries after I obtained again to L.A. I’m absolutely stocked and really excited.

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