A few weeks back, the famous Dr. Drang posted a piece on the inconsistencies of the parallax effect in iOS 7. I found an exception and replied back to him on Twitter. This is probably the first time I’ve been linked to on the website of a PhD.#
At around 11, as this surprise rush’s orders come in, the pass fills up with dishes, but none of the four food runners are present. This could prove disastrous, the sort of domino effect that a kitchen might not bounce back from: dishes could go out cold and come back for refires, clogging up the line for rest of the night, creating delays, angry customers, cuss words and — worse — comps. The sous chef paces, showing signs of stress. He walks out of the kitchen to yell, “Runners!” through the swinging doors. And sure enough, the machine kicks back into gear.
If you want a behind the scenes look at how a restaurant is run, this is as real and true as it gets. From the mindless prep, to the different cooking stations, the Spanglish, to the description of the flow of the kitchen: everything is spot on. Forget what you see on TV, that is all glamorized. Be sure to watch the video of how the potatoes are prepped.#
August 21st, 2013
I’ve always been interested in the restaurant and food service industry. I worked on a food truck for over a year and it was one of my best job experiences. I moved to the Bay Area over a year ago and have been enjoying all the restaurants and great food this area has to offer. After leaving the food truck, I realized that I missed working in that environment, not to mention, the extra cash. I’ve longed to work in a kitchen again but without the flexibility of my previous day job, I would have to sacrifice my evenings and weekends to take on a side job.
A month ago, I started my new side gig as a line cook at Noelani’s in Downtown San Carlos. Mary came across a Craigslist ad looking for servers, line cooks and busboys for the restaurant and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to turn in a resume. After a call back and a dinner service as a try out, they were impressed enough to offer me a position.
Working in a kitchen is completely different from working on a food truck. I’ve read articles saying working on a truck is more difficult with the limited space. I say this is true but there are other aspects of working in a kitchen that add up to make it overall more challenging than working on a food truck.
First off is plating. After months of chucking tacos into taco trays and wrapping burritos in foil, I had to learn how to properly plate dishes. Our head chef has a vision of how he wants the plates to go out, even down to the dish ware it goes out on. So on top of preparing the dish, I have to remember what plate it goes on and other dressings it needs before it goes out.
Second is the variety of the menu. The food from Dos Chinos is really good, but when you get down to it, it’s just tacos, burritos or fries with your choice of protein. When I got a list of items that I was responsible for at my station and how each one was prepared, I froze. I had to ask tons of questions before I was comfortable preparing the dishes on my own (see 1st point). And I still ask questions and I still mess up. Our restaurant is more of a bar/lounge instead of a sit down restaurant. We don’t have to deal with timing the dishes to all come out at the same time; food comes out as it’s ready. I can’t imagine the level of difficulty when you have to time dishes to come out all at once.
Finally, cleanup. After my stint on the truck, I had a much greater respect for chefs, line cooks and everyone in food service. It’s fast paced, high tension, you’re hungry and thirsty and you get little or no breaks. It is definitely hard work. When running a food truck, you can hire people at the commissary you park at to clean the truck after every shift. I can’t believe how much of a luxury this was in retrospect. In a regular kitchen, everything must be cleaned up, wrapped, washed, sanitized and put away at the end of the night. You may read that and it doesn’t sound that hard. I’d invite you to watch what goes on in a kitchen after they announce last call for food in the kitchen. I’d also dare you to try to squeeze in an order once the last call is made.
I’m fortunate that I found another gig that lets me cook for people and is flexible around my schedule. The people I work with are fun, easy going and are willing to teach me. If you’re ever in the area, check us out.
May 25th, 2013
Today you turn 5 years old. I’ve only known you for a little over 2 of those 5 years but we’ve come a long way.
I remember the first day I met you. I was super nervous. If you can believe it, I was never too comfortable with little kids. I remember we picked you up and took you to IKEA. On the car ride, your mom played “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa and you were shy at first, but you loosened up and started singing the chorus.
At your 3rd birthday, I came to your party and it was the first time I met your Grandma Cora, your Papa JC and the rest of your family. When we were opening your gifts, I was sitting next to you and I got up to give you more room, but you wanted me to stay and sit next to you.
I remember the first time you got upset at me. We were leaving the apartment and on our way out, I opened the door but didn’t undo the chain. You were so eager to get out that you stuck your hand in the crack of the door and while I closed the door to undo the chain, I pinched your fingers on the door. You cried and you stopped but it wasn’t until I apologized for pinching your fingers that you were your normal self.
When you weren’t used to me, you would always want Mommy. There was a 50/50 chance that you’d want Mommy to get you when I would try to get you out of your carseat. I don’t remember the last time you said that.
I remember all the times you call me “Daddy”. When you first said it, I didn’t think much of it but as our relationship grew, it means a lot more. I always correct you, I never set out to replace your dad but I’m honored that you would look at me in that way. Especially as you’ve grown older, smarter and more aware of what is going on around you.
I remember your “Target phase” when we would look at the website and shop for toys and clothes for your future baby brothers and sisters. “What else do babies need?”
You’re such a loving little girl. Shortly after you could figure out that I wasn’t just Mommy’s “friend”, you would ask when we would get married. Or how you always run and hug me when I pick you up from school. I love that your classmates, who I never really learned their names, would always tell you, “Malia, your Dad is here to pick you up!” I love that they just know.
You make me so proud when the little things I teach you stick. Especially when you take off your shoes and put them to the side. One time, Mommy and I called you while you were with your dad and you yelled at him! “Put your shoes away! Someone could trip on them!” At a girl! Or the time you were sleeping and said, “Awatap”. You still get grouchy when you’re tired or sleepy (who doesn’t), but now you’ll tell us instead of us having to guess.
And you’re so smart too. You know almost all your letters, you can write sentences as long as we tell you what letters to write. And you can carry a conversation. I laugh when people still talk to you like a toddler. Little do they know you’re capable of regular conversations. You love to talk about your Uncle Clyde, my old dog Kaylah, the story of when you were born or the story of how me and your mom met. Both times.
You’re such a strong little girl. I can’t even imagine what it’s like constantly going back and forth to two different houses. But you’re still a normal little girl who likes to play with other kids and play with your toys. You like to make up games with all your Littlest Pet Shop toys. And I love that whenever you come back from your dad’s house, you bring more toys from his parent’s house to our apartment and tell us that you’re “moving in”.
I know sometimes I’ll get upset at you and I know I can be annoying when I constantly tell you to do things. I only do it out of love. I know you’re not of my flesh or blood, but I treat you as one of my own. Now and forever. I know I tell you I’m not scared of anything but one of the scariest things a man wonders is if he’ll be a decent father. Your future brothers and/or sisters should thank you. You’ve taught me that I’m more than capable of being a “real” father one day.
Happy birthday Lia Bear.
May 13th, 2013
Thirty three is supposed to be an insignificant birthday. Sure, thirty is a big deal. Maybe even thirty five or the one before the big 4-0 can be considered a bigger deal than thirty three. It’s the last year before you officially hit your mid-thirties. But this year will definitely go down in the books as one of my best birthdays ever.
I’ve been living in the Bay Area for over a year now. I love it up here. I could list a bunch of reasons why we love living here. If I could change one thing, however, it would be to spend more time with my friends and family. We text, IM, talk and FaceTime with them but it’s not as easy to call someone up to hang out and spend time. That’s not to say we don’t have friends up here or that we’d trade our lives up here to move back home. Just sometimes, you miss your friends and family.
This year, Mary gave me the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. Back in April, she reached out to thirty three of my closest friends and family and had them write individual birthday cards to me. She mailed them out (each with a SASE), collected them in time and presented all thirty three to me on my birthday. Not only did that act surprise me, but the cards I received blew me away. Not only by the participation from all my friends and family, but also by the messages everyone wrote to me. I’m not one who craves attention, but this definitely made me feel loved and appreciated by everyone.
To everyone who wrote me a card, thank you. Seriously. I am not the person I am today without all of you. I know we don’t get to talk or see each other everyday, but you all are still in my mind. To Mary, you really out did yourself. I can’t imagine a better birthday present. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today. You reached out to all my close friends and family and reminded me that they all miss and care about me. I love you.
March 27th, 2013
For our two year anniversary, Mary treated us to a weekend trip to Mendocino. Mendocino is a small town about 3 hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area. We stayed at the Stanford Inn By The Sea. They call themselves “An Eco-Resort on the Mendocino Coast.” The place was awesome and the staff was extremely friendly. We left right after work on Friday and checked in at close to 10 pm. After we checked in, the lady at the front desk took the time to walk us all the way to our room. She also helped us get familiarized with our room. Each room had ocean views and a wood burning fireplace. She pointed out that our fireplace was all set, ready to be lit. She told us where we could get extra firewood. Breakfast was included, as well as afternoon tea and dessert, with our stay. The hotel’s restaurant is all vegan and their breakfast was amazing considering it is included in your rate. This wasn’t a continental breakfast either. They even had a small plate of cookies with a personalized note from the owners.
We only had one full day so on Saturday, we tried to enjoy as much of the area as we could. We hiked around Russian Gulch State Park, we walked around the actual town of Mendocino and took advantage of the free afternoon snacks. After, we relaxed at the pool and watched the sun set from our room.
Life by itself is hectic and this getaway could not have been anymore perfect.
There’s also the issue, Flock says, of what the Brewer’s Association calls “crafty” beers — beers owned by big beer companies disguised as small craft beer. A common example is Blue Moon, a Belgian-style beer.
I need to remember that.#
I have less — and enjoy more.
My space is small. My life is big.
Great story on how Graham Hill went from selling his business and owning two homes to living in a 420 square foot apartment. And he’s happier. A sobering lesson on what we really need to survive and be happy.#
March 14th, 2013
I listen to a lot of podcasts and every once in awhile I come across a great episode. Glenn Fleishman, of Jeopardy championship fame, interviewed John Gruber, of Daring Fireball and The Talk Show fame. In the interview, John goes into detail about how he turned his hobby of writing a blog into his full time job. His site now gets roughly 4 million page views a month and weekly ad spots run $8,500 a week. It’s a great interview if you know anything about John and his work and fascinating even if you don’t.
Pulling back, The New Disruptors podcast is an interview series about, you guessed it, new disruptors. I’ve seen a number of people make good livings for themselves by doing the thing they love in ways that are considered “nontraditional”. You have Gruber, Marco Arment (iOS apps), Dan Benjamin (podcasts), and Shawn Blanc (writer) just to name a few. These are just regular people in industries I’m interested in. They are working for themselves and make a decent living. If you pull even further back, people like Oprah, Anthony Bourdain and as much as it pains me to say this, Kim Kardashian, have made names for themselves, even brands of themselves, by taking advantage of opportunities that were presented to them.
Going forward, I see a lot of regular people doing this. We live in a great time where practically anyone can use the Internet to not only make a name for themselves, but to make a decent living doing so. I want a piece of this and do not want to get left behind.