Wed, Dec 2, 2009 by
In Texas, they say everything is BIGGER and that includes personalities and food risks. Interesting enough all the guys here are from California. But, we were in Austin so, when in Rome, right? (Well, when in Austin actually. Ahh, forget it).
Brian and Flo are friends and colleagues from the buzz team. These guys are both stand up gents that I would run into a burning building for. Actually, I have theoretically done that several times for each of them. They have gratefully returned the favor. Brian Mullin is a SoCal boy born on St. Patrick’s Day who races cars and raises 3 kids when he is not selling ice to Eskimos. Flo(Sean Florio) is a NoCal kid who’s life resume reads like a Disney casting call. Homecoming king, quarterback for the football team, semi-pro skiier, ideal husband, perfect dad covers the basic milestones. I’ll let Walt and his “idealistic” storytelling fill in the blanks.
Sean O’Connor is my new best friend in Austin. He is a gregarious and fun loving guy that seems to run on full tilt ALL THE TIME, which makes for a quick bond. Sean jumped right in when we were ordering the appetizers, finding the “crazy stuff” to fill our bellies. Having only spent a couple hours with him I can barely paint a proper picture of his person but he clearly knows how to enjoy LIFE. His recent move from San Fran to Austin will hopefully result in more fun for me on my next visit down. Plus, who doesn’t want a tour of the place where a spray can full of pancake batter was created? For me Sean’s company, Batter Blaster, is like mixing good food and street art. Think Banksy meets Emeril Lagasse. The product almost begs you to make pancakes on anything hot; Intake manifolds, blacktop in 100 degree heat or just inside the window on that greenhouse effected ledge in Starbucks.
Nick Tangborn is Sean’s right hand man and a tall, pompadour capped party machine in his own right. Having worked and played in the music scene for years, he has quickly dialed in the disco in Austin.(Disco meaning rock and roll) Walking into the Continental that night was like seeing the mayor meeting his “citizens”. At dinner, he took part in the risk food between Napster stories and pointing out Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother at the bar.
I love Austin more and more each time I visit. Now I have two more reasons to add to the list. Three if you count Olivia. Thanks guys for treating me local. Brian and Flo, glad we had the time to break bread and whoop it up a bit without any burning buildings in sight.Continue reading...
Tue, Nov 24, 2009 by
Can you beat a home cooked vegetarian (almost) business lunch? Rhetorical, please hold your breath for a moment. I was in Hastings, New York with Amit to meet with Seth and Ishita around a few projects in the percolator. Only days before Thanksgiving I certainly have food on the brain and this gastronomical surprise was the perfect easement into my second to last business day before holiday.
If you are a faithful reader, you have undoubtedly heard of Amit before. Creator or Photojojo and Jelly, he has been my partner on the Yahoo! and Jelly “Jellytalk” series. Most recently, besides a red eye from SF and a quick nap on my couch, he has put out an awesome photo book with all sorts of great ideas in it. You know I rarely plug but, this is a great ‘lil holiday gift from a super creative place.
Seth I had met once before at a Jellytalk in Brooklyn. Although he loves to complain about the space I know he had a good time, at least during the talk. Seth’s office reads like a neatly organized exploration in fun and interesting. Not surprising considering his background, occupation and writing. His one line bio, (Seth is a writer, a speaker and an agent of change) may need another comma and the word cook added. Thanks Seth for the delicious lunch.
Ishita made the tea and kept the meeting on track. She is Seth’s assistant and creator fear.less, an online magazine that empowers people through unique stories of overcoming fear. There seems to be some discrepancy over Ishita’s role. After further clarification it is unclear if Ishita works for Seth, if Seth works for Ishita or if they are partners in crime. One thing is clear, Ishita’s official title is “Head of Hoopla”. That sounds like the boss to me. I’m just saying.
This was perhaps the most productive and tasty meeting I will have all week. Thanks again guys for the hospitality.
What we ate:
Brown rice with kimchi, hummus, egg and tofu
Thu, Nov 19, 2009 by
It had been a long two months leading up to this meal. Mike and Mark were instrumental in helping me pull off the yodel studio project. They were even more valuable on the ground with me in Mumbai. We had finally just finished the whole project and caught our breath and it was time to celebrate. For our celebratory meal we headed down to Leopold’s in Colaba for a good ex-Pat Indian meal.
Mike is a SO CAL guy, bringing that calm and chill behavior to the crazy world of Mumbai. Mark is a NO CAL guy, also a calm person, but in a different way than SO CAL. If you have ever lived in California you know the difference. My relationship with these guys has only been a short 2 months but in that time we talked a lot about the project details. Mark and Mike thanks for all the help with the studio. Ohh, and Mark, I will be out to take you up on that kayak offer one day.
What we ate:
Chicken Tikka Masala
Lamb Rogan Josh
Sat, Nov 14, 2009 by
When I first met Shaa’ir I was stuffed in the back of a van in India, cars were wizzing by on my right and a gaggle of kids were grouping up on the right. She poked her head in the passenger door to say a quick hello before we headed out to our next video shoot location. Shaa’ir(Monica) is one half of the Mumbai based electro, funk duo Shaa’ir + Func.
A few days later the shoot was completed and Shaa’ir, my video director/producers and I headed out for some Diwali partying.(Func had to run off to a gig in Australia) But, before that we hit some grub. A chinese restaurant in Bandrha would do the trick. Shaa’ir ordered up a bunch of dishes and we all dug in.
Shaa’ir has a beautiful voice and a welcoming energy about her. She has an interesting story in that she grew up in the United States (did her time in NYC) but then moved to Mumbai because she felt the creative energy there was what she needed. Over the few days I hung out with her I could sense these two sides to her. On October 25th I realized why I had such a strong feeling of her character so quickly. We both celebrate that day as our day of birth. Although almost a decade apart scorpios know scorpios. Rather than me try and explain all this more, here is the final documentary we were filming of both Shaa’ir + Func. It will fill in their story much better than I could.
What we ate:
Vegetable fried rice
Fri, Oct 16, 2009 by
Ayazed was my driver today. He quickly turned into my tour guide and then my lunch partner. He is 39 and dyes his hair black. Normally it would be grey. An early confession from Ayazed. As we traveled from the flower market to the Thief market and then onto Crawford market our chat continued to reveal history about my new friend.
He spent 7 years in Saudi Arabi, speaks Arabic, has 2 kids and held a variety of jobs before becoming a chauffeur 12 years ago. Considering his age he certainly has accomplished a lot in his short years here. We moved the client/driver relationship into a friendship when we sat down together at Noorani and got our fingers dirty with some naan.
Thanks Ayazed for a great day around Mumbai and for trusting in me enough to share your personal stories.
What we ate
Fri, Oct 16, 2009 by
I met Santosh and Shital at Cafe Madras in Mumbai. Madras is a very old restaurant and the protocol is that you sit where there is an empty seat. They sat across from me and we got to talking. Turns out they just returned from Goa and I was heading there in a few days. After a little small talk we got right down to recommendations for food and hotels in Goa. They even hooked me up with a guide. After that Shital schooled me in masala chai vs coffee. Thanks for all the info guys. It helped a ton.
What we ate
mysore masala dosa
Fri, Oct 16, 2009 by
Vik and Bryan are my documentary crew in India. They are in India, with me, to film Behind the Scenes footage for a documentary we are doing on the October project (Yahoo! Yodel Studio). As part of the documentary, each city has profiled a local, up-and-coming artist. Shaa’ir and Func are our India profiles. Before they got off to shooting we sat down for a breakfast.
I met Vik and Bryan about a year ago through my friend May. Of course they are also the other two thirds of Disposable Television along with Brendan. Seems I have had a lot of disposable face time in the last 3 weeks. Low and behold they both know my friend and documentary producer Elliott Phear.
Vik is the tallest and nicest Indian guy I know. May always raved about him but until this trip I didn’t know exactly why she raved so much. He also has shot all over the world and has stories to prove it. His calm and mild mannered attitude is a pleasure especially when in a crazy ass country like India.
Bryan makes me laugh when I look at him. Not because he is funny looking but because he is absolutely hilarious. More funny comes out of his mouth than one should be exposed to. HE is fearless in talking to strangers and that only adds to the comedy.
Thanks guys for killing it on the doc and making Mumbai even more pleasurable.
What we ate
Yogurt and musli
crab and cheese omelette
Tue, Oct 13, 2009 by
As a man, you need woman in your life. Enter Corrin Arasa. Corrin kept me honest while I was deciding on interior decor and all those little details that I believe make a project sing. From the hunt for the elusive leather white chair to the custom gold records she never ignored me (but I am sure had her moments) and relentlessly pursued my vision.
We are at the cheesecake factory in Albany NY. She is eating one of the many chicken dishes on the 27 page, ad infused menu and I and having the eggplant sandwich. I met Corrin about 3 years ago. She runs her own event company, e2 marketing. Over the years we have worked with her to produce Yahoo! Penthouses, Pop up ice cream shops and almost a Yahoo! laundromat. Don’t get me started about that.
Corrin brings a calm and cool demeanor to the usually crazy event life. One of those woman I referred to earlier that you need around at the right time. Thanks Corrin for keeping me in check and perusing even the craziest of details. (aka-the disposable hip-hop grillz that customers can choose to adorn before signing their yodel)Continue reading...
Mon, Oct 12, 2009 by
It was last Wednesday and I was sitting in Adirondack Studios conference room surrounded by the crew that had built the latest project squeezed from my head. From a marker sketch 2 months ago I had just scene the real life version of a structure I had only imagined what it would look like. I was blown to bits with the attention to detail that was carried through from phone conversations and emails to hammer and paintbrush. As I took my last bit of turkey sandwich my attention turned to Ken Graham as he started, yet another unbelievable but true story…Continue reading...
Tue, Oct 6, 2009 by
Teachers beget learning. I hooked up with two more University at Texas Professors my second night in Austin and was schooled. Maria Rivera and Matt McCutchin both teach portfolio classes at the University. Earlier in the day, Matt invited to talk to one of his first year portfolio classes. Teaching is something I have long resisted but truly love to do. Thanks Mom. After the talk Brad, my host and previous meal partner, suggested we grab a bite to eat later and of course I was up for that. The first bit of learning came when we arrived at the Eastside Cafe, our dinner spot. The huge garden out back and chicken coop made my eyes grow and mouth water immediately as I realized that our dinner would be extremely fresh. More on what I learned at this meal in a post coming soon.
As dinner got going I started to learn more about my dinner partners. Matt has worked all over the country in a ton of agencies and has crazy agency chops. He even knew Chinnici Direct. He is a native Texan and has that hip Austin Texan look to him Complete with the Thick framed specs. Talking with Matt brought me back to my agency days. We playing the “do you know” game while jumping from agency to agency in our minds. Thanks Matt for inviting me into your class and calling up all the memories.
Maria is originally from Alabama and has been to my favorite of favorites in the BBQ world, Dreamland. She also did some time in NYC and eventually settled in Texas as a teach and a copywriter. As we progressed into entrees I learned of a project Maria created for her 35th Birthday. She created a video that asked a simply question, “What do you know for sure?”. Then she sent it to everyone she new from family to random happy hour acquaintances. The response was bountiful and educational. I love projects like this. Maria is planning on making a little book of all the responses. Hopefully she will share it with us when its done.
Special thanks to Brad Love for hooking it up in Austin.
What we ate
Fresh raw garden greens from out back
Super fresh Salmon, Trout and Chicken