Saturday, August 21, 2010

such a good day.....

i'm going to break one of my blogging rules. which one you ask? the one that indicates that i should be completely sober before hitting the "publish post" button.

i've just had such a good day though.

things at work have been a bit rough. i am doing everything i can to protect my team and have found myself, over caffeinated from working on projects, and staring the ceiling until 3am thinking about potential angles and actions i should/would/could be taking to ensure that my team will remain effective and be protected through various changes. this has happened at the majority of companies i have worked at over the past decade....yet, each time, i immediately go into my "what do i need to do to prepare my team and make this work? zone." it is always tiring.

so i was really ready for a good day.

i started out my day getting ready to head out to the sf street food festival. i usually take antibacterial gel, napkins, disposable spoon and/or fork, and my favorite must-have travel food accessory .....a pair of portable chop sticks

i love these things. chopsticks are my primary utensil anyway, even when i am not eating "asian" foods. i bought these ages ago at flight 001 in hayes valley btw. i find that taking these things may make a WORLD of difference when eating at these festivals. once i was ready, i got on muni and headed to the mission.

i had purchased a couple of passports (one of those weekend ones and another just $$) online ahead of time. i deliberately purchased more than i knew i would eat because this is an event put on by La Cocina. La Cocina supports folks that don't have a lot of accessible funds to become food entrepreneurs.

i know that there was a total shit storm of press about last year's event. last year's event was so popular that it took the event folks by complete surprise. some of the press was constructive. some of the press was not constructive at all and embodied aspects that i hate about a certain segment of the food blogging world. one of the ways that the event folks tried to make amends was to invite folks that had pre-purchased passports to a special dinner...since some of those passport folks weren't able to spend what they purchased. i wasn't able to go but i remember reading the email, thinking, these folks are very sincere in their efforts better and i would definitely not be giving up on this event.

so i showed up at about 11am to pick up my passports and run around the event taking pictures....

and noshing on random things.....

and taking more pics of folks cooking....

i love taking pictures of people cooking. it is one of the reasons why i love events like this. it is a way to communicate with eaters and say "this is who cooks for you.....this is who is hustling in pretty tiny spaces....with heat and flames....with professional calmness amidst the crowds." also, as i have mentioned before on this blog, i liken watching people cook to watching dance....there is such a grace about it.

i must admit that i decided to make hapa ramen one of my last stops as they were amongst the 4-5 vendors that already had some pretty long lines just after 11am. so by the time i had taken a bunch of pics and nibbled on was already well into the event....and the hapa ramen line was already snaking along the sidewalk. so, before i hopped into the hapa ramen line, i went and bought a popsicle at the bi-rite stand

so that i could eat it while i stood in line. i love bi-rite. i pretty much love everything i've ever had from them.

i shouldn't have been surprised that the line moved as quickly as it did. i was only halfway through my popsicle before i got to the front of the line. in my mind, there was no question that i was NOT going to be bugging the folks at hapa ramen given today's crowds that make the crowds at the thursday market at the ferry building looking like nothing. plus i'm used to sneaking around taking pictures of everybody and their food, so it is habit that is pretty ingrained and hard to break. so after i paid the gal (who i didn't recognize) that handled over my order, i found a nice step to sit down on to enjoy my ramen down the a ways from the hapa ramen stand.

yet somehow, hapa ramen must have, i don't know, like psychic radar or something. i look up and i see hapa ramen making gestures that he sees me. he points to his eyes and points to me. i wave to him, hapa ramen mama, and the gentleman who works the line with hapa ramen (apologies sir, although i've taken your picture quite a bit...i don't know what your name or moniker is). then hapa ramen mama makes motions asking if i like it and i give her the thumbs i do like it. the noodles were flat once more. i was also digging the smaller portion size because i had already indulged in a lot of food at this point. as i went back to my slurping away, hapa ramen exits the stand to walk over (which did startle me a bit when i looked up from my slurping) and tells me to grab my shit. i don't argue. i've learned my lesson. so i was all about the "oui chef". then i enter their stand...not certain what to expect....and he points to a chair! and tells me to sit. so i sit. wasn't that nice? so i get to sit in a chair while i finish eating. everyone in this small space is hustling around the food including mrs.hapa ramen as well. as i'm eating and watching, i'm wondering if one day....hapa ramen baby will see how much his parents have put into this.

once i'm done, i see an opportunity to get some great action shots. i see an opening in space so i take it and very quickly take some shots....

they were so nice and totally in their zone....and still making conversation. i don't know how they do it. after i take the shots, i say thanks for the seat and head out....anxious to get in a few more shots before heading home to process the pics.

as i posted before, here is a link to the full set of pics on flickr:

as i am big on transparency in my blog, i do have an agenda with this posting.

it is my hope that, dear reader, that by showing you these pictures and relaying these sort of stories and snippets of everyday life....that you will see the people behind the food. the majority of the time in my blog, i focus upon the food itself....yet, it doesn't mean that don't think about the people that put so much effort into growing and crafting our food. while i am an admitted antisocial shit, i do have a tremendous amount of respect for farmers, purveyors, cooks, and all sort of food industry folks that seek to make a difference....through food. it makes me, the curmudgeonly foodie hunter, feel even more connected to what i eat and the food that i love. perhaps it will for you, dear reader, as well.

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