Sunday, December 12, 2010


the other day, i was early for a meeting and decided to take a moment to reflect about all of the shit that was going down. the meeting i was getting ready to attend was to sign off on the paperwork for my new apartment. it felt surreal then....the circumstances behind my finding a new apartment.....and in many ways, it still feels surreal now. there was a part of me that wondered as i sipped on my drink....

whether at the last second, something would go wrong and i wouldn't be able to get this new apartment and i'd have find another possible place to live. i also told myself that if everything went according to plan and i was able to sign off on the paperwork for the new place, i would celebrate by heading over to nopalito for lunch. the place i was going to sign off on the papers was only a couple of blocks away from nopalito and i have been meaning to eat there for ages.

fast forward about 20 minutes later.....with the brand new signed papers in my bag..... i jaunted toward nopalito and was rather surprised that i ran into a couple of uber cool ladies (i.e., mrs. hapa ramen + hapa ramen mama) who were meeting for lunch. after a bit of a chat and cooing over adorable babies, the ladies headed inside for their lunch date, and i stopped off at the store next door to grab some food porn (i.e., food & wine magazine) to peruse. after i bought the magazine, i walked inside nopalito, took a seat at the counter, and ordered the meatballs (i.e., Albóndigas al Chilmole).

when my meatballs arrived, so did a fellow customer who sat down next to me and made a comment of appreciation re: the meatball dish. i think i made some sounds of acknowledgment as i was more focused on taking a picture or two....ensuring that i didn't get my ipad or magazine in the shot. i'm not exactly the most friendly person, particularly when i am focused on something or in this case...taking pictures of these meatballs and then putting my face really close so that i could inhale all of the delicious scents arising from the dish.

then, interestingly enough, came another question.....along the lines of "are you in the industry?"

now that question gave me pause. given the context, i knew exactly what this person was asking me.

my response "nope, i just love food." which is true. i am not in the industry. i may write about the food that is an outcome of folks that are in the industry but that does not mean i am "in the industry".

fellow customer: "awww. how can anyone not love food? i was asking because of your magazine and taking the picture. i have many pictures of food on my iphone."

and so, this began the foodie hunter having an impromtu lunch conversation with a complete stranger. we spoke of technology, food memory, the ferry building, farmers markets, our various regular lunch spots during off hours, and about needing to cook as an outlet and alternative to being "right brained" all of the time doing work in technology. they mentioned how cooking helped get them through their graduate studies and now, they find themselves one foot in technology being a partner at a start up and another foot in the food at one of the most intellectually focused and respected restaurants in the city. you bet my eyebrows went straight up when i figured out who this fellow diner's chef was. i suppose it was probably a good thing that i didn't find this out until the conversation was well underway. if i had known, i probably wouldn't have said anything and done my typical anti-social non-talking foodie hunter thing...not because i didn't think they were interesting and not because i wasn't enjoying the conversation....but because aside from a couple of RARE exceptions, i keep away from folks in the industry.

i usually stay away out of a kind of respect.

i know this sounds odd.

yet, as someone that blogs about food, i am extremely well aware of many food bloggers that seek to use their blogging status to get free handouts, take advantage, etc. etc. i don't see myself as that kind of person. i also don't want to be perceived as that kind of know...the kind that seeks to take i keep my distance.

the other day, i was scolded by a homie about not introducing myself to one of his best friends when i ate at her restaurant in nyc. i indicated, in my defense, that i didn't want it to seem like was looking for a handout because that is what so many bloggers do....say they know a way "in" or something like that. i just wanted to go to her place and enjoy the food. not like this particular homie doesn't know about this personality quirk of mine..... considering he's had some choice things to say/text me in the past about my not wanting to take advantage. i believe my favorite text from this homie was something along the lines of "i'm not a drunk girl on prom night".

i'm still laughing now, months later, about that comment.

anyway, so there i was having an unexpected yet lovely conversation at nopalito with someone in the industry who had no idea that i was foodie hunter. oddness. just pure oddness. as one of my best friends pointed out to me, this sort of oddness is of my own construction....a result of my insistence on remaining semi-anonymous. it is a consequence of a choice. my choice. in other words, suck it up.

as i finished up my meal and said good bye to my fellow lunchtime diner, i stopped off at that table where mrs. hapa ramen + hapa ramen mama were to say good-bye and ended up sneaking a bite of their dessert. now, i do realize the contradictory and paradoxical nature of this whole experience. they are in the industry and know who i am. well, how could they not? i worked with them for a night for gad's sake. i'm pretty certain that they know that i like and respect them as people. i suppose the whole foodie-hunter-semi-anonymous-identity thing is just one of those things that will just have to remain contradictory and paradoxical. i sense no resolution on this issue in the near or far future.

as i walked to catch the muni back to the hotel i was staying at, i texted the homie to let him know that i ran into his wife and had a random conversation with someone who works at a well respected institution.

of course, the homie had to ask if i told the stranger that i was a blogger.


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