Wednesday, March 27, 2013

remember who you are



i still write, cook, and take pictures…just not here.

there will never be a point in my life where i will not do these things. they are a part of who i am. yet, it was time to put aside the foodie hunter alias and take responsibility for the intimate words, ideas, images, and stories that i have explored here.

it was time to no longer take shelter behind the veil of anonymity. it was time to have one life instead of multiple segmented lives that knew nothing of each other. it wasn't and isn't easy. i’m still working on it. it will happen.

the foodie hunter blog was never really about food. it was about pursuing passions. it was about learning and doing things out of love and not caring if i was good enough. it was about pushing myself to go well beyond my comfort level… and be willing to let people see me.

it was also about pride. a hella lot of pride. i wanted to prove that no matter where i came from or what i had been through…i still choose to be the person i want to be.

every moment is a choice.

it really is.

for my last post, i choose to write to EC, a completely stubborn spitfire. it is not going to be easy for you my love. i hope that i'll be there to see you grow into the amazing woman i have a feeling you will be. if not, you'll be able to see what i've written here and know that you are not alone. i haven't always been right...but i have been truthful. this too is a deliberate choice to break cycles.

your choices are your own.

so, my ever so charming willful stubborn spitfire.....someday, you'll be in a situation where you will be heartbroken.

you’ll be heartbroken because of a lover, a dream unrealized, family, friends, unexpected loss....the sources of potential heartbreak are endless.

someday, you'll be sitting on the floor of the tub, your head on your knees, feeling the hot water pour over you, alone, and you'll wonder if you'll make it.

someday, you'll feel your breath leave you and know that the reason why you have such a hard time breathing has nothing to do with the water or the heat. 

someday, you'll wonder how is it possible to feel rage, sadness, and be numb. simultaneously.

nothing will make sense because you thought you did everything you possibly could and it wasn't good enough. then you'll know that you didn't do everything you could have. then, you'll go through all of the scenarios wondering if you shoulda, coulda, woulda done something different.

you'll feel each regret. each what if. each bittersweet moment on a seemingly never ending continuous repeat.

you'll feel like you've failed, because, you have.

you have failed.

there is nowhere to hide from yourself.

you may or may not realize that how you choose to respond to your failures will define you.

will you give up? will you let it consume you? will you take that failure like a blanket, wrap yourself in it? for a day? a week? a month? a year? or until you are no longer counting and are physically living but not alive? this is the easiest route. people do it all of the time. people will encourage you to take this route. people will pat you on the head and say "it will be okay" because they expect you to give up. 

or will you fight?

will you pick yourself up and charge again at life? will you think, investigate, try, discover, wonder about the almost never ending possibilities of what fighting back means? will you remember this....that fighting back will provide you with a steely confidence that can only be the result of absolutely heartbreaking failure. failure is a milestone. it is not the end. unless that is what you choose it to be.

i'm going to break one of my own rules of not interfering in other people's lives and say, i want you to fight. i expect you to fight. i know that you have it in you. i know that it is in your core. i remember when you were just a toddler....just raw little human energy...and saw you fall from a not so insignificant distance and how you literally blew the hair out of your face and got back up.

never allow anyone to take that away from you.

if you are reading this and think it is gone, it means that you let it happen. it means that it is time to get it back.

if you are reading this, angry, with your chin jutting out....(i can totally see it too) then you know what? i'm glad.

you better be fucking angry.

what? you think i don't fucking understand? that i don't understand what it means or how hard it is to fight? how tiring it is? how much it hurts? how draining it is? how easy it is to not fight? how scary it is....to choose to fight?

actually, your mom knows exactly what it means and so do i. i am not asking you to do anything that i haven't done myself. so that whiny "you just don't understand" bullshit has no place here.

yes, be angry at me and what i have said. take that anger, channel it, and don't let heartbreaking failure be the end.

if i am not with you, telling you this in-person, then know that no matter where i am, i love you..... and that i always expect you to remember who you are.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

SF Food Itinerary: Gordon's Visit

where does one take a new yorker to eat in SF during a brief visit?

this is the food itinerary that i put together and what we ate.....


Day 1

Late evening arrival at my place
  • Dirty Girl Arrowhead cabbage + early girl tomatoes dressed with broad bean soy, champagne vinegar, furikake, roasted sesame oil, house tea infused sugar, Marshall honey, and house tea bitters.
  • Re-heated “Big Daddy” Hapa Ramen Take Home Kit (pork broth, corn, arugula, kombu, nori, squash, sous-vide egg, pork, and fried breaded chicken). 
  • Tasting of St. George Rye Gin


Day 2

My place:
  • UK Black Tea (Marks + Spencer Fair Trade Extra Strong)
  • Dirty Girl Strawberries  +  Flavor Grenade Pluots from Tory Farms

Breakfast at Craftsman and Wolves
  • Sightglass Latte
  • The Rebel Within
  • Corn + Thyme Pastry
  • Tomato Strawberry Scone
  • Chocolate Croissant Stack
  • Sipping Caramel
  • Purchase for Partner: Matcha Jam

Fatted Calf
  • Pork Pluot Sandwich on Focaccia
  • Purchase for Taking to New York: Beef Jerky

Smitten
  • Salted Caramel

Blue Bottle: Hayes Valley Kiosk
  • New Orleans Iced Coffee

Absinthe
  • Inner Peace Cocktail
  • Galapagos

Nopalito

Cocktails
  • Mezcal Paloma 
  • Mayan Sidecar

Food
  • Taco de Pescado al Pastor
  • Quesadilla con Flor de Calabaza
  • Birria de Borrego

Comstock
  • Martinez
  • Cherry Bounce

COI (Six Course Dessert Tasting)
  • Frozen Lime Marshmallow (coal toasted meringue)
    • Paired With 2011 La Montecchia Moscato ‘Fior d’Arancio”, Veneto, Italy
  • Grapefruit 2006 (cognac, ginger, black pepper, tarragon)
    • Paired with 2004 Darting Rieslaner Beernauslese ‘Durkheimer Nonnegarten;, Pfalz
  • Peaches & Cream
    • Imbue Bittersweet White Vermouth, Gaston, Oregon
  • Preserved Lemon 7:13
    • 2005 Chateau Terte de Lys Sauternes, France
  • Silken White Chocolate
  • Candied Raspberry
    • 2011 Ca’Rossa Brachette ‘Bibet’, Piedmont Italy

Day 3

SF Ferry Building
  • Blue Bottle Latte
  • Frog Hollow Scone
  • Humphry Slocombe: Secret Breakfast + Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt
  • various produce and gifts purchases at market vendors


OTD on Bush
  • Goi Cuon
  • Banh Cuon
  • Beef Pho
  • Cha Trung
  • Iced Coffee
  • Jasmine Silver Needle Tea

Wing Wings
  • Brown Sugar Black Pepper Biscuits

Maven
  • Death in the Afternoon
  • Yellow Brick Road
  • The Original Whisper
  • Smoking Maria
Single Malt Tasting Party
  • St. George | Hudson | Balcones | Amrut Kadhambam | Yamazaki | Laguvulin 16 | McCarthy’s
  • Mission Chinese Food Delivered
    • Thrice Cooked Bacon
    • Salt Cod Fried Rice
    • Mongolian Beans
    • Ma Po Tofu
    • Kung Pao Pastrami
    • Pork Jowl + Radishes

Post Party
  • Scream Sorbet: Coconut Thai Basil
  • Kee’s Chocolates

Day 4

My place
  • Four Barrel Coffee


Quick stop into Arlequin to Purchase Sightglass Beans

Bar Agricole
  • Food
    • Scone
    • Duck Leg, Frisee, Egg, Crème Fraiche
    • Buckwheat beignets
    • BLT
  • Cocktails
    • Fruit Cup
    • Supreme
    • Sleepyhead
Bi-Rite Creamery
  • Basil
  • Brown Sugar Swirl
  • Olive Oil
  • Salted Caramel

Before Flight Meal
  • Leftover Mission Chinese
  • Experimental Cocktail with Knoll Figs
  • 4505 Meats Chicarrones
  • Smoked Salmon (Sus/Hapa)

Other
  • Recchiuti Chocolate Bar for Flight Back to New York



Friday, July 20, 2012

hapa on fillmore kickstarter



"i think you should jump in a pool naked."

i really don't think richie was expecting me to say that. methinks i'm the most outwardly prudish person associated with hapa...yet, there i was gleefully suggesting that richie be naked for the camera. you know, for the hapa on filllmore kickstarter.

i qualified it with "i really don't think people want to to see you naked. it is more about how it would be funny and demeaning. we could ask jesse could film you from behind jumping into the pool. give people an incentive to pledge us beyond 100%."

richie didn't really looked too convinced by it. i also wasn't too certain how jesse would feel about filming it either, but i certainly wasn't going to film it. i also had a feeling that i'd get vetoes from sus, svet, and finch as being tapped as videographers well.

but i was pretty stubborn on the point of having an incentive that people would like in order to keep pledging beyond 100%. then i clarified some more with "you know how anthony bourdain bitches about some of the demeaning things his producers have him do on his shows but he does them anyway right? it is because people LOVE that shit."

"i'm not jumping in a pool naked."

"i really don't care if you are naked. it just has to be dignity challenging. i mean, really, i saw that munchies video. you were dry humping brett."

"ok, i'll figure something out but i'm not going to be naked."

this was just a snippet of many o' many conversations i've had with hapa over the past few weeks regarding the hapa on fillmore kickstarter campaign that we launched on tuesday morning.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/haparamen/building-our-dream-kitchen-together-at-hapa-on-fil

there have been meetings at the kitchen, discussions during breaks in service, running around filming videos, late night texting conversations, and conference calls.....all while i am working my corporate job and while  everyone else is prepping, cooking, and working service.

even after we launched, there is still much to do. in between non-hapa meetings i was having downtown, i'd try to make progress on the "thank you" sketches for the kickstarter backers that contributed the largest dollar amounts.



seeing me sketch something in a conference room while waiting for the next meeting to start is not something that folks usually see. so when people asked me about it....i told them what they were for,  told them about the campaign, and my involvement in it. they looked surprised. i could also see that they "saw" me differently.  not in a bad way. just looking at me like a puzzle that they hadn't quite figured out.

it is difficult to describe how it felt to not hide one aspect of my life from another.

in many ways, i am, like hapa, entering another stage in my life. there are an incredible amount of things going on right now and it has been lovely to see so much support for hapa through tweets, photos, postings, shout-outs, and videos.

i hope, dear reader, that you will also consider contributing to the hapa kickstarter. it doesn't have to be  funds toward helping us build our dream kitchen...every tweet, sharing, posting, or link also helps us get the word out about the upcoming restaurant.  every bit helps!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

rethink



Saturday, June 30, 2012

unsegmented



my life is segmented.

there are parts of my life that are completely unaware of the other.

the segmentation began when i started the alias "foodie hunter" over four years ago. everything i believed about the life i thought i was going to have at the time...changed.


after seven years together, i was not going to spend the rest of my life with the person that i promised i would. there are no words to accurately describe what that loss feels like. 


the sis was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. she stopped eating. the name "foodie hunter" was born out of poking fun at myself because i was trying to track down things that she could eat. we were and are in this together.


work wise, things were great. i really loved the people i was working with and i was obtaining some mind boggling unexpected recognition. i remember i was at a table, surrounded by great coworkers, who were all laughing at me because i really had no idea that the executive at the podium at the company wide meeting was saying all of these nice things about me before my name was called out to receive an award for exceptional contribution. i really did think they were talking about someone else. this amused everyone but me at the table.

while all of these experiences were going on, i knew that i wanted...no needed....something different. i needed to make something, to learn something, and to be creative. i wanted it to be just for me. a secret. my room of my own. i knew that social media was something that intrigued me from a technology perspective and when something....anything....intrigues me, i set up a lab. 


so i created the "foodie hunter" alias with multiple types of online presence and analytics....a mini-ecosystem. 


i decided it would be a place where i would pursue passions for writing, cooking, and photography....while pushing my ever private self to be more open. i would write in all lowercase to have an immediate visual indicator that this is not a formal space. the tone of the work would be deliberately intimate. a 1:1 connection similar to when speaking to closest loved ones throughout the night....watching the sun rise. this would be my most private voice.....the voice i use for my sanctuary. i decided that making it public (gulp) would force me to grow as a person. the foodie hunter lab experiment appealed to the ever practical side of me as well. i would be able to use this practical experience with social media and incorporate it into my work. 


what started out as a learning lab experiment changed everything for me.

everything.

it began when it slowly became known among a certain circle of friends that i was the person behind the alias. almost everyone was supremely surprised...especially with the raw authenticity of the voice. friends of friends...as they found out...treated me differently. there was an open acceptance that i wasn't expecting. it is also fascinating how there is a group selecting process... observing which friends would decide to tell whom....and how there are still "in real life" folks that don't know.

i can always tell when someone has read me. there is an unguarded recognition on their part and an air of assumed intimacy. it is slightly unnerving to know that someone knows you ...or has seen some of your most private musings....when you don't know them. yet, these days...instead of making me cringe, i've accepted it.

things got complicated when i was being recruited to become part of a team to take a company public and obtain many stamps in my passport. the opportunity was exciting and a wee bit scary in an exhilarating way. it also meant having to lock-down on who knew that i was "foodie hunter". this is when the parallel segmented identities really began.

things got more complicated with shout outs from famous bloggers, online publications, and getting pictures on global sites like san pellegrino.

then things got even more complicated when i heard that amy invited this guy she used to work with named richie nakano to a party where a bunch of us were pitching in...and how it was possible that he and sky were going to show up. it was complicated because it was around the time i was avoiding the guilt-laden scolding tweets from "linecook" about not announcing myself when eating, taking pictures of, and writing about hapa ramen food under the foodie hunter alias.

this is the real reason i outed myself to richie by the way.

i mean really...lets think about this.

if he and sky showed up at a small party and i was taking pictures + tweeting about it as foodie hunter....richie was going to figure it out anyway.

so i went to the back of the stand, vic + richie were probably like "who the fuck is this?" before i outed myself saying "i take pictures under foodie hunter" and that we both knew amy....then i scurried away....with richie yelling after me "hey! what's your real name?". i was so bitter. the parallel lives were not suppose to be converging goddammit. fucking san francisco and the zero degrees of separation.

i didn't know at the time just how fucking complicated it was going to get.

later on, kitty's brother wasn't able to work OtG at the last minute and richie texted me asking if i would help out. i said yes. i showed up. i worked service. this was the start of my third segmented identity....one that developed over the last couple of years. there are folks that only know me on sight as someone on the hapa crew. they ask me things like "is hapa at the market today?", they know me from seeing me at the kitchen, or i get discounts because they associate me with hapa and i purposefully go less often now because i don't want to take advantage.

the segmentation was initially necessary and has caused some issues in each separate life.

a prime work life example was when i was in hong kong for meetings and presentations with the APAC team. i snuck in a few slides about social media and being on the look out for regional/localized equivalents to twitter online or on smart phones....as a way to interact and build community with product install bases. especially since mobile devices were already a commonly accepted lifestyle choice (i.e., mobile phones + mobile app development were a hella lot hotter in the early 2000s in asia than the states). i stressed that it was about making connections and enabling users to make connections with each other to build a dialog about brands. this was a presentation i gave about 4 years ago. they hadn't even heard of twitter. during this session they looked at me like i was crazy when i got to these slides. i couldn't explain that i was able to see and experience first hand how the evolution this tool and those like it....had the potential for providing another significant touch point with customers and building a community around a product or brand....because that would mean telling them about the foodie hunter lab that i absolutely positively wasn't suppose to have.  

see what i mean about fucking complicated?

the last couple of weeks have been very challenging on many fronts. it has reminded me of what is really important in life and how short our time is here. it has also forced me to review the past few years and recognize why i wanted and needed portions of my life....or portions of me....to be segmented.

yet, that was then....and this is now.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

food porn: mochi cake from cafe hana in japantown on post





the tip was courtesy of cdouble.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

last night at the hapa popup at wing wings



last night, i was still working on a few things at home when i saw the wing wings folks tweet out that there was a line out of the door at the opening of the hapa popup. my first thought was "hell yeah!" then i thought..."oh, this will mean that hapa will likely sell out of foie before i get there." i think it is pretty well known that i avoid crowds whenever possible...even hapa crowds...unless i'm working service of course. so i just settled back into work for a couple of more hours before i made my way over to wing wings to see how everyone was doing. 




service was slammin and dishes were quickly being sold out. 








as i was observing from the sidelines, i was thinking about how there is a grace to service that i still appreciate.









for me, even if i'm not working service at the tuesday popup, i still show up. it is more to show my support...check-in with everyone....provide some small treats to hopefully ease the pace of such a long day.



sometimes, it really is just letting folks you care about know that you give a shit. for the hapa folks...it is an extremely long day as everyone is at the ferry building farmers market for the first shift...then everyone heads over to the lower haight for the second shift. i also think it is rather mind boggling that the wing wings folks provide their space on tuesday nights for the popups....when that is their only night off.  as i have referenced before, this is just a single example of how the wing wings folks are supportive of building community. over the past year, i find that they are remarkably press shy in the ways they support and collaborate with local food vendors. they are people that don't really shout from the rooftops about what they do...they just do it.  for those of you that read me an ongoing basis, it will be no surprise to you that i have a lot of respect for them and definitely appreciate that they open up their space for the hapa family.

Monday, June 25, 2012

duck + foie at the next hapa popup at wing wings



unfortunately, i wasn't able to sign up for ryan's series of foie classes that just happened. one of these days, the stars are going to be aligned and i'll be able to take one of his classes. i missed out on my chance this round. there is just a lot going on right now with work, i was on call as my godfather was in town, and i also wanted to see if sky + i were going to see brave this past weekend. hopefully we'll see it soon. i know that both of us have been looking forward to it.

in between my working on "day" job stuff over the weekend, i had a chance to observe and learn a bit about foie by watching richie in the hapa kitchen.


i find that hanging out with hapa over the past couple of years, i learn a lot just by being there at the right time. i've been at the kitchen when richie was pushing the foie through the tamis before, yet, i hadn't been at the kitchen to observe the foie being prepped for the tourchon, poached in the sake mirin bath, and hung to dry. as i was observing richie do the prep for what will eventually become the foie terrine at the popup at wing wings tomorrow night (tuesday, june 26th) ....





it is pretty obvious that he's this done before. a lot. 

for those of you who have been reading me for the past couple of years, you already know that richie's foie is among my top favorite things that he makes. i've also made things like...a foie banh mi from his foie. while i was at the kitchen, i also had a chance to see some of the prep for the duck legs for the ramen. 


the marinade for the sous vide duck legs smelled heavenly. 


it is going to be very poultry centric tomorrow night at the popup at wing wings. hapa will be running a spicy chicken ramen, a duck ramen, and the foie terrine. i'm looking forward to it quite a bit. 

less of an asshole. maybe.



i think i may have found a couple of new (to me) work spots. thank goodness. i'm currently working from one of them now and am taking a quick break. i also think that i may keep to myself where these places are for a while. i'm finding SF is getting smaller and smaller every day....and anonymity is becoming more challenging to maintain. there is something odd about getting an askew glance of recognition or speculation. part of me thinks i should have a rotating flashing LCD screen that reads something like "i'm not in the industry", "you really don't know who i am", or "i'm not a groupie". i know that there are industry folks that think i'm kind of an asshole because if i happen to be with homies who are speaking to them, i don't say anything. the more i learn about the industry, the more aware i become of certain group of individuals who lack self esteem and seek to obtain self esteem vicariously through flirtations with cooks. it would be different if i was a cook. it would be different if i had a penis. but i'm not a cook...and let me do a quick check...yup....still no penis and no desire to grow or surgically attach one. so it makes a big difference in perception. 

yeah, i'm going to own that in an ideal world i wouldn't care how i am perceived. yet, in this instance, i have no desire to be branded or labeled as a whore. having worked in male dominated fields for my entire work life, i have seen the consequences of being labeled as such....and the battles that happen because of it. 

yeah, i'm going to own that if i had a choice between being perceived as an asshole or a whore, i'm going to pick the asshole...every single time. i'm also going to own that one of my major faults is....pride. i have more pride than a dozen people should have....much less someone as tiny as i am. one of the other major faults of mine is stubbornness. so when you put both of those things together.....you get something where loved ones get kinda exasperated with me. 

like recently when i got on rant about it with a homie and how i just don't have respect for someone that uses sex to get what they want. his calm response?  "i don't think you should have respect for them." 

yeah, i know i can be a trial sometimes.

the groupie archetype is not a new phenomenon and nor is it something that only occurs in the food industry. in a previous life, i had the opportunity to work on projects with some of the most brilliant distinguished and principal engineers.....or folks that just went public/acquired/whatever and happened to be the latest "it" darling.....and even they had groupies. i'd try to keep the eyeball rolling to a minimum when colleagues/friends were dealing with them....then we'd go out for dinner where we'd discuss business as well as my recommendations on where to take their wives for a night out in san francisco, paris, or wherever. i know some of them enjoyed the attention immensely. i know some were embarrassed by it. i know some were confused by it. i know some were angered by it. i knew....because we worked so closely together....how it impacted some of their relationships with their significant others. 

so it is all of this historical knowledge that is floating around in my over analytical brain that i carry over with me when i interact with industry folks. after repeated scoldings from industry friends, i'm trying to be less of an asshole.....but i have a feeling that it is going to take a while.  


food porn: south indian thali from dosa on fillmore (weekends only)








early morning


first meetings of the day are cancelled.

since i have a few hours since my day "officially" begins, i thought i'd take a quiet moment, nosh on a frog hollow peach, look out of the window, and watch the morning. 

i observe people walking with purpose. the buses, despite the early hour in san francisco, are completely packed. i assume people are getting ready to go to work or school. there is something humbling and comforting about living in a city. no matter what may be happening in one's own sphere, one is surrounded by people who are experiencing their everyday lives. they work. they study. they connect. 


this morning, i observe these people with a dispassionate distance. i assume that they must have their own struggles and joys. yet at this moment, they are external. while on some level it is good to be reminded that life, indeed, goes on. this morning, i'm not really caring about those strangers i see. while i was extraordinarily relieved when i was given the okay by my doctor this past week, loved ones experienced some incredible loss. 

i know that when i face traumatic experiences certain survival behaviors happen. i become numb. oddly enough...decisions, paths, and actions become crystalline. i attack whatever it is. there is no hesitation. i know what i need to do. i implement a plan to ensure that i am safe. 

then.....then....when i am safe, then it comes. 

i prefer to be alone when it happens. i've been informed that this isn't my most endearing trait.

it is remarkably different though....when those that i care about face loss or traumatic experiences. i am not numb. the familiar arrogant confidence i have dissipates. nothing is crystalline. i don't know what to do. i don't know what they need me to do. i don't know too many things.  i feel helpless.

i do know that i wish that they weren't having to face these things. i do know that if i could, in some magically realm, i would redirect what they are facing upon some evil person instead. i do know that despite not knowing so many things, i'm not going to stop trying to figure out how they need me to be there. 

despite everything, i have faith in three things.

i'll support them however they want me to support them. they will get through it. they will be ok. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

cherish





you know how i've gotten so much shit for talking about who i care about, who i am excited about, who i want to celebrate, who i want to acknowledge as making strides toward their dreams in this blog instead of breaking people down?

you know how i keep harping about making sure that those that i love know that i love them...and how i'd rather stand there.....and be a silly fool or be self conscious or be uncomfortably socially awkward and ensure that they know...then not know?

well this is why i don't care how much shit i get and this is why when i care about you.....you know it.

today, i found out that one of my godfather's best friends was walking home with his partner in the castro and  he died. he died as they were walking home. no warning. he just passed on. it wasn't one life that ended in that moment. it was two.

how would you feel in that situation?

how would you feel when your love....your lover...your friend....the person that you've decided to spend the rest of your life with....the person that you've been with in sickness, in health, in bickering, in laughter, in rage,  in happiness, in disappointment, and in love with....for decades.....is taken in an unexpected everyday moment.

or

how would you feel when you are walking along the sidewalk with your love....just an everyday moment...a moment that you've done countless times throughout the decades....and then suddenly and you feel something shift within your body...you are no longer in control....and you know it is your turn.

if in some magical world ....time could stop and you were allowed to say something to each other....what would you say? what would you be concerned about?

when the godfather told me what happened, i was in a state of shock and incredibly saddened. yes, i know them. i've laughed with them. i've gone to them for advice. i've celebrated holidays with them. they are part of an extended family.

yet, one is gone. the other is broken.

now i sit here feeling angry. angry at other people that waste time.

life is too short to spend energy on the haters, trolls, or those who seek to deliberately harm. life brings on the drama, tragedy, and heartbreak. it doesn't ask "is now a good time?"  because it is never a good time...and it doesn't care.


during my time here, i choose to expend my energy acknowledging, celebrating, supporting those i see making a difference, those i see pursuing their dreams, and those i care for. because when it is my turn, i don't want to rely upon living in a magical realm where time stops so i can say all of the things i meant to say but never got around to saying.....because there was pride, because there was fear, because there was anger. 


don't be reckless with people you care for. 


cherish them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

chelsea's dinners

i've written quite a bit about the pursuit of passions.....not only of mine...but also of those i am fortunate to be friends with. since the inception of this blog, i have referred to one of the most talented cooks i know as CK. 

over the past decade i've smiled quite gleefully when straight male friends enter a state of bliss when they taste her food....and before they can offer up any impromptu marriage proposals, i tell them "you know chelsea's in love with/married to louis right?....oh, and did you know that she's also wickedly smart? oh....and did you know that she's really good at giving massages?".

snicker.

i have such a mean sense of humor sometimes.



over the past few years, i have listened quite intently as chelsea spoke of her desire to extend her passion for cooking in a professional environment. i have also observed quite intensely as she volunteered and worked at industry events, conducted her own catering projects, held a popup dinner in oakland, delighted quite a few people with her food at my rye whiskey tasting party, and even quietly set up a stand and completely sold out of her wares at the lower haight holiday market last december. 


while i have written about chelsea's appearance at the lower haight holiday market....what i didn't say in that posting was how fascinating it was....watching how many strangers ended up hawking chelsea's holiday goodies for us that day. for example, there was this amazingly nice lower haight record store owner that had set up his stand next to ours....and instead of selling his music.... he was telling folks about chelsea's brittle and how they should buy it! i actually wasn't surprised that this happened. the proof of her passion and talent is in the taste, texture, technique, and flavor profiles of her food.......as well as how people connect with her food.




so you can imagine my excitement when chelsea told me that she was planning to put on a series of multicourse dinners at various locations....and that the first dinners would be inspired by north africa for a contribution of $40 per person. 





she also forwarded me the menu.....

  • Chicken and Walnut Rillettes with Housemade Crackers and Pickled Vegetables
  • Spinach Falafel with Beet Tzatziki
  • Grilled Apricots with Spiced Dates, Housemade Yogurt Cheese and Savory Granola
  • North African Spiced Lamb with Carrot, Feta and Harissa Salad and Hand Rolled Couscous
  • Housemade Yogurt Rose Mousse with Strawberries and Pistachio Meringues









i immediately reserved a couple of spots and brought along and treated a friend of mine (who is also, coincidentally enough, an amazing cook as well) to the dinner. 









despite us knowing each other for such a long time....i was rather belligerently insistent regarding paying for the dinners. as she is starting out, i wanted to support her. also, i had a feeling that i was going to write about it. as many industry folks have already found out....i can be quite stubborn about paying. this is an understatement.






i absolutely loved the meal and was happy to have a chance to take a few pics. when my dining companion and i left the dinner to make our way to our prospective apartments....my friend said to me "that was outstanding". yes....yes it was. later that night...when i arrived home...i was very happy to text chelsea to let her know what they thought....as i had a feeling that kind of validation would be nice to have.



if you'd like to have a chance to have this same meal....chelsea is showcasing this same menu on the 30th of june at 6:30pm. if you are interested in booking a spot or want to ask any questions, you can contact her at chelseasdinners (at) gmail.com. the exact location will be revealed after booking is completed.

UPDATE:
unfortunately, chelsea and the family got the flu.....so she had to cancel the dinner. stay tuned for one of chelsea's dinners in late july....

Monday, June 18, 2012

dreams and milestones that actualize them



i'm feeling sentimental at the moment.

i guess it could be the visit to the ER over the weekend...but it actually started before then.

over the past couple of weeks, i've been observing some major changes and milestones within the lives of people i respect. chelsea aka "CK" aka one of the most talented cooks i know....embarked on her first of a series of dinner events (i'll be talking more about that in a later post), amy has left nopa to travel for a bit...and i can't wait to see what she decides to do next....she + i both know that i will do whatever she wants me to do to help support her next stage, cdouble's place met the year mark from the official opening... woohoo!, and as for hapa......hapa started construction on the restaurant today. earlier today, richie tweeted a pic of it and after i saw the pic, it made me realize just how many milestones have happened over the last couple of weeks.

while i was working from a jtown cafe today, a member of the family stopped by for a chat. we talked about a few things. one of the things that i brought up was how....historically....when something is important to me...it is hard for me to find the right words. sometimes i sit there....having no idea what to say....completely silent....looking like this

O_O

i've been informed that it is very irritating. repeatedly. it is something that i constantly work on. i'm better now than i used to be but i still have a long way to go.

so tonight, as i wind down from the evening....thinking about the day and the past couple of weeks....i'm reflecting on what it means to see folks pursue their passions and reach milestones that actualize them. how truly important is to say "hey! i see what is going on! this is awesome!"

i think life brings on so much unexpected drama, negativity, and challenges. i'm not one of those people that think everyone is inherently good. personally, i think the majority of the world is filled with assholes....myself included. yet, when i see folks....working hard to actualize their dreams....making things happen on their own terms...it makes me feel so happy for them.

i'd rather say something about it and be perceived as silly idiot than sit there....silent....looking like this

O_O