Leslie's List: Tacos, Instagram, and an Easy Weeknight Meal

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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Leslie's List-Recovered EDITTED

For me, this week was all about getting back into routine—I joined friends at our now-weekly Tuesday night trivia at a bar in Los Feliz, saw girlfriends for our weekly "podcast session" (it started as an idea to start a podcast, but now we just sit on my friend's living room floor with wine and catch up), and got back into the groove of meeting friends for morning workouts. This weekend, I'm heading to the mid-West to visit my boyfriend's 98-year-old Grandma Shirley (who's pretty much a legend), so I'm counting on spending the weekend sharing lots of stories, catching up on books, and watching a baseball game or two (as one does at 98!). Here's what I'm enjoying this week:

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Every year, the website L.A. Taco hosts an online reader's choice competition for the best taco in the city. For Cinco de Mayo this Friday, they're hosting a taco party with their top contenders. It's free to get in, and once you're there, they'll have beer, Micheladas, and of course tacos available for purchase! So basically, it's exactly what my boyfriend imagines Heaven must look like.

In terms of what my version of Heaven looks like, it's probably along the lines of the new restaurant Botanica, which soft-opens this week in Silver Lake. It's no wonder it's my dream place since it was started by two food and lifestyle editors (they also edit the online publication Botanica Magazine), with lots of vegetable dishes, a sun-soaked dining room, and a great-looking wine list. I've already made reservations for next Saturday and can't wait!

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I love Asian-inspired sauces, so usually when I make chicken at home, it's doused in some sort of miso, ginger, or teriyaki situation (this Miso-Honey Chicken is a regular staple in our apartment), but this week I decided to break out of the norm a little for a Mediterranean feast. I picked up some sauces and sides (taramasalata, tzatziki, cured olives) from my very favorite Greek restaurant/store in Los Angeles, Papa Cristo's, and built Monday's dinner around it with tabouli and chicken. Usually when I do this, I make a classic roast chicken with lots of butter and lemon slices under the skin, but this time I searched the web until I landed on a decidedly not Mediterranean chicken that was still better than serving a teriyaki something: braised cilantro-lime chicken thighs. What I loved most about it is that it's easy, delicious, and I already had all of the ingredients on hand, which was more than enough to convince me on a Monday night.

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When my friend saw the Lauren Greenfield exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography this weekend, he couldn't stop talking about it. Greenfield's show, Generation Wealth, covers affluence over the past twenty-five years and the obsession to have more and literally "keep up with the Kardashians." The images are fascinating and often disturbing—if you can make it, the photographer/filmmaker is giving a lecture on May 11!

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For the past week, I've barely been able to lift my eyes from The Handmaid's Tale (my friends and I have started a one-book "book club" around it since we're all reading it), but next on my list is Into the Water, the latest book from Girl of a Train author Paula Hawkins, released yesterday. Like her first novel, it promises to be eery, full of twists, and nearly impossible to put down.

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The Netflix original series Dear White People (based off of the movie of the same name), addresses racism at privileged colleges head-on. Taking place at a predominantly white Ivy League school, it follows the lives of four black students as they navigate discrimination (while busting the myth of a "post-racial" America). It's funny, provocative, and so, so smart and timely—it's no wonder Rotten Tomatoes gave it 100%.

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Earlier this week, I listened to an episode of the NPR podcast Hidden Brain that I found particularly poignant and interesting, about something we all do and see everyday: projecting only the best parts of our lives on social media. Of course, social media can be a place to go and feel inspired and happy for our friends (or celebrities/models), but it can also be the source of some serious FOMO (I actually deleted my Facebook three years ago when I realized I was spending more time feeling bad about myself than catching up with friends). As much as I love and enjoy Instagram, this episode does a really good job of explaining the times I don't love social media, with a recent study to back it.