Wednesday, December 2, 2009
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...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
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
Friday, October 16, 2009
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
Friday, October 16, 2009
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
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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...
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Mixing some beef ribs with a gentleman like Brad Love makes for a great and messy lunch. I was barely in Austin for an hour and I was already breaking bread with Professor Brad Love from the Advertising Department of UT. We met at one of my favorite spots in Austin, Ironworks BBQ. I met Brad last year at SXSW. I am back for a few days to launch another of my Yahoo! projects, this time with the help of his students.
Brad runs a great curriculum at the University of Texas and we share a lot of the same out looks on the ad world, both new and old. One of his classes is based on real world RFP’s. The class gets an assignment and at the end of the semester they present their concepts back to the client. Brad thought it would be great to have a Yahoo! assignment and I have been wanting to do the exact same thing for a year and a half. So Brad invited me down and we are off to the races. Great hospitality and a ride to my hotel in his beloved Saab 900 capped off our afternoon with an appropriate Austin fashion.
What we ate
Smoked turkey sandwich
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I goofed up on this one. First, I forgot a camera during the meal. Second, Jenny and I never eat out of the office. Jen and I have been work married since 2006. That means she knows things about me that only wives and long term girlfriends know. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing but I am sure that it’s a THING.
We decided that stretching our legs and escaping the email stream for 30 minutes was in order. To do this we headed to Uncle Moe’s, our local burrito spot. It was a fantastic break but of course our conversation turned to the million work tasks that this week has dished up.
Jen has been a mainstay of the Buzz Team for as long as I have known and is the rock upon which giant programs are built. She was with me in Germany for FIFA and will be with me in India for the October Project. Sort of a work wife anniversary. More importantly then Jen’s work contributions you should know that she is a nickname giver, mine is on, and a song whisperer. On is reverse short for Jason, BTW. The song whispering is uncanny. With a few simple notes she has made everything from “oops I did it again” to “ring around the rosie” stick in my head. It really makes me wonder if this influence is normal. She has a gift, what else can I say. Jenny, thanks for sharing that 30 minute break with me and I can’t wait to see what jingle you get in my head come Thursday.
What we ate
Watsonville buritto and water
Sunday, September 27, 2009
A slice, a pepperoni roll and a coke is all we needed. Rojeh and I popped into the pizza joint on Norman Ave. before heading up to a birthday party. We have shared a numerous amount of meals over the 24 years we’ve know each other. This particular dinner was occupied by quality-of-slice contemplation, a recap of current love interests and a rehashing of the disintegrating fashion etiquette our local hipster population employ.
Rojeh is a true artist in every sense of the word. His physical work and psychological outlook both are dynamic, unique and entrancing. Since we were kids Rojeh has always created. Recently he has moved from realist paintings to abstracts, started doing some performance pieces and used his eBay habit to focus on old film stills (which he reprints in his home darkroom). By day you can find him on the second floor of the MOMA educating tourists, locals, fellow artists and curators on the latest and greatest art books. His knowledge of artists, technics and the books in which their work can be found is uncanny. So, next time you are in the neighborhood pop into the MOMA and give Rojeh a challenge. I always do. He will welcome you with open arms, I guarantee it. Thanks Roj for always being gracious.
What we ate
A peperoni roll
Saturday, September 26, 2009
A giant round of take out sushi at the Rocamboli’s transitioned my “week” into my “weekend”. Avid readers of this blog know this division is more theoretical than tangible. None the less, I would celebrate this unrecognizable event with a trip out to Dave and Enid’s in Jersey City. Usually the three of us find ourselves with a delicious plate of cuban food in front of us. This time we switched it up with miles of sushi anchored by the staple Godzilla role.
Dave is a doctor working out in western Jersey but hails from “the island”. Dave and I shared tons of those awkward, right-of-passage moments in college and therefore never run out of fodder while pumping sushi rolls into our mouths. Such topics as the roach apartment, the robbery and the hole in the roof always seem to make their way into conversation. Enid is his lovely and astute wife who is currently on hiatus from fashion buying since little Lucas came along a few months ago. (We’ll get to Lucas in a second). Only for context would I ever explain “E” as Dave’s wife. If anything Dave is more “her husband”. Simply, Enid is my friend just as much as Dave. Having had our own bonding moments over the years, we always revel discussing topics that Dave would rather pace in front of the TV for than participate in. Having not seen them in a while due to their new addition and my travel schedule we had a great night of catch up covering a myriad of topics and laughing a ton. Just the way it should be. Of course the evening was interspersed and augmented by outbursts from one of my newest friends, Lucas. This little guy is adorable and happy as a clam. His giant open mouth smile kept Uncle J. entranced for a good hour upon arrival. As dinner progressed Lucas was right there with us until his fake keys, laughter and squirm parties got the best of him. Like a light switch at 9pm his eyes shut and his head rolled into his right shoulder. Lucas had left the building. ZZZZZZZ. More laughter and brownie sundaes capped off the evening before Dave decided to attempt a 2 river/2 tunnel drop off in Brooklyn that I must say, was as easy as he had planned it to be. Thanks for the sushi, the laughs and the ride home. Next time it’s my side of the rivers and my treat.
What we ate
Godzilla roll/spider roll/spicy tuna roll
Tuna and salmon sashimi
homemade brownie sundaes/cafe con leche