Food – Food Biz

January 1st 2014


I am going to concentrate on a backward approach. Wine Advice (that means the person who advised me and talks to others who discuss blah blah) says I write plenty to get back in. They do have a valid point. I learned about wine through specific wine bottles then ended up in studies which are hard and general in nature. The next step is same again and I need to make friends with many wine bottles to cover the whole spectrum. That is a difficult approach but necessary and what is meant by wine writing first. Wine experts are now identified differently. As one progresses through this field one comes across many. They all speak the same language and more or less same things but careful systems make us deal with them properly. It is like living in a community. We come across many people and all of them pass as “people” but we know by cultural learning who is who and what is what. We avoid. We approach and so on. Culture teaches us how to choose. Wine people are similar. Everyone talks of wine and has their angle on wine. Most need to be banned from discussing wine. Culture teaches us that. Dealing with them leads to losses. Many sell wine. Many write on wine. Most drink or serve wine. They need care in handling. Their angles on wine and industry are very incomplete if not destructive. Avoiding them is the rule. A few and a very few of those few know what they talk about. They naturally avoid you and all the rest. That is not a bad thing. The time has come once again to go through the field and one comes across so many “people” who are known collectively as “wine people” and most have this introductory line of “I have been in wine business for X number of years and….” and “I have been in restaurant business for X number of years and ….” These are the people to avoid the most. They think they are authorities. They have the worst and most biased and possibly most erroneous ideas of the field and don’t you dare have an alternate view as they told X number of years right in their opinions. We need avoid them. And personally, I have to deal with another group in my quest. The so-called knowledge people who have some education or a lot, have some name or drag a celebrity of the field as being part in their work and are equally a problem. The higher folks have a good name for them. They are called “professional wine drinkers.” These folks have had enough background to be in the field at a higher than casual or tenure point and cannot be pushed off their step but their primary knowledge and ability lies in “drinking” a lot of wines and throwing labels, names, vintages, tastes and stories out at audience as their “knowledge” you cannot argue with unless you also drink their same and then can battle them. It sounds like there are not many left in the field. I guess that is why most “wine people” fit the nickname “doushbags” so aptly. We don’t have an industry in spite of what we are told. I have told people and I have been told by higher folks what the hell I am talking about. Experience will prove they are right. Food, wine, liquor, hospitality and the rest at least on the West Coast are just businesses. They market themselves and persons as many things but all in all are just that. They don’t have a deeper foundation of common principles and organization making them an industry. That means some level of regulation which fights easy dollars and let’s face it at least the restaurant part of this great “industry” (don’t forget great! That is a needed adjective in wine and food writing or upset some) many illegal activities are housed inside “restaurant biz” fronts and the existence of an industry structure would create serious conflicts with their “business” activities hence we promote “industry” but lack one. That is still the state of a lot of things on the West Coast. Who cares? We do so we avoid them. We need to look for and spend time with “good” parts of the food, wine, liquor and hospitality industry. That does not mean promoting them blindly but there are many “good” and “notable” things out there. The bads outnumber the “goods” by too many hence waste of time unless we are criminologists. The future needs more of “good” of this whatever we call “the industry.” Let’s stick to that in our path of visits, exploration and findings. 1 Jan 2013 12:05 pm San Leandro, California

Important Bulletin


This hereby notifies all persons reading this notice the package of Burrito in purple is suspected of containing some manner of truth chemicals possibly loaded by Federal Government of United States. The side effects are average 30 minutes of involuntary truth telling to any audience available! You are hereby advised to take preventive measures against potential damage to your life, career and relationships. The other two packets taste good. Be careful after microwaving you may burn your tongue once in a while. These packages are experimental samples of breakfast for all survivors of current government in a post-liberal America. You will have to eat them to stay employed or alive in this country. The next government will not tolerate non-burrito eating population and takes serious measures. Feed the purple to whom you don’t like and ruin their lives some bad person may say and it is not me but seriously you could do it! Right? Hint. Hint. Bunaprti. Nice spelling! 28 Dec 20137:24 pm Hayward, California

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All In Good Time (Short Piece)


It is Saturday morning and weather is nice. I tried playing tennis. It was half successful. I have found good location and realized I need tennis shoes. It is a minor problem and we are in business. The exercise part works. I noticed my arms have gotten bigger which is just water inflating the muscles. Nevertheless we are getting there. I just renewed subscription to a restaurant magazine and then flipping through the photos I remembered something. I have been around to feel I know everyone of them. Not personally but as scumbags they are! That is when one remembers what some who work in the industry have said about THEM and how more and more seek professional refuge in Wine Country jobs or even East Bay. San Francisco sucks. The SF ATTITUDE is so bad, the whole City goes under water a lot of people who have worked there wouldn’t care. A few weeks ago I hear the talk that as soon as the upheaval begins here, some locals want to hang this oldtime restaurateur and his wife from the poles in their restaurant as payback. Old people cross generations and once it was customary when workers complained, they would soon be found hung from the poles and the cops would take the body and bury. People still don’t have rights in this country. That was the era of mighty white of you and today is keep America safe era. It is the same shit. What really stayed with me after looking at the photos of all the phonies posing to sell something direct or indirect was I got it! I know why some hold so dearly to my error-laden blog posts with all the typos and insults. They are such a breath of fresh air compared to a culture dominated by these motherfuckers. Oh well. The future has arrived and many would have to make changes. Some won’t be allowed. They just would have to go. Go where? Ha. Ha. Ha. We will build quite a few monuments by the City waters with names of once local citizens who were murdered by local business for “complaining.” Their names will stay as a testament.

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Are You Sure You Want Me To Review This Restaurant? (Short Piece)


It has been months but finally came through. A long long time ago, I signed up for a dining evaluation thing. It was more of a joke. When I was asked in the online form which of their employees had recommended me, I put “George W. Bush.” I was always passed for evaluation and why not? Isn’t this an excuse to feed your friends? Surprise. $30 reimbursement and $25 for reviewing this place? I felt so bad reading it. They don’t know who I am. I am actively arm wrestling with someone at work and heard a story how someone beat him but was gracious enough to tell him afterwards he was a professional arm-wrestler. What if it? I do a little bit of restaurant reviewing too. The top dog in San Francisco is MB (keep him incognito as he likes) and probably one of the top 5 most disliked people in the history of San Francisco for how he operates. I heard a story that when being accused of being strict and a downright bastard, MB claimed he was not that bad and that he knew of this top chef in San Francisco that was stricter and a bigger bastard. A follow up story says the said chef claims he is not that bad at all. There is this guy named Cush that writes stuff about restaurants that a bigger bastard than him and even stricter than him. I could care less and if true, well F both of them. They are both okay if somebody else is nit-pickier. But there is some truth to the story and frankly I think we all have in common is if there is something we don’t like, we won’t let go. That can ruin a happy fake operation. On the other hand, our chef friend as strict as may be gave huge margin of error to some low-level staff I happened to know in his operation so a screw up won’t be written off because of lack of opportunity. It is what he doesn’t like that kills people. The anonymous MB may be the last person who cares yours truly says or does but did acknowledge that independents can have a hard time against the criminal-minded operators out there and happens to have given plenty of 1 and 2 stars to places I happened to clash for professional reasons. It is what he doesn’t like. I guess all bastards are not bastards. They are difficult people but can be fair and understanding. Today when I saw this email I realized how sad it was to ask me to review seriously (and turning a blind eye is not okay as I can when on my own. Ignore and bye bye the $55!) when I AM a little strict with standards. I will never play with any of them even as a joke. That also reminds me I should write a few reviews soon…..

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How Many Honest Retail/Food Will Be Around in A Couple Of Years? (Short Piece)


Are the prices high or are they high? The last time I remember a rise in prices was back in the 90s. Interest rates used to be extremely high which means money cost too much to borrow. Prices were adjusted for how much money was around. As soon as interest rates started to slide (larger money supply), the prices jumped. One year car prices started at $5500 and next year was $7500! The interest rates were lower now which meant higher prices were okay given public still had X-amount of dollar for monthly payments.

Shoppers complaining about sales not being good deals and still spending money? Sac Bee says so. Yes, the sales are tricky and not good. Economy has not changed for two years though the public mood has. Less and less people talk about recession but know is there. I wrote a couple of years ago not raising prices for restaurants that January was a good idea not to scare public. That is history now and prices have gone up since then. The word back then was our esteemed restaurateurs were mad for the money they had lost and had plans how to make up for it. I really liked that perspective. Anybody who reads the food media has a wrong view of the industry. Our SF folks felt how much they were owed by the public for doing their business and wanted the “losses” made up for. That is not what public think of aspiring and cool folks in food business with all their troubles and doing kind food service while barely making it. Anyway that has passed too but have prices in retail and food gone up? You bet you. A burrito costs how much? A good burger costs how much? And the list goes on without going into fancy stuff that are priced as one pleases. Prices have gone up and deals are garbage. Black Friday was so much TALK this year and the number of items in deals are probably 1 versus 100000 for regular prices. “Hype” is a good term. The industries are built on crap foundation. The underlying assumptions no longer hold and retail/food still want money the old way. How much damage will food trucks do? The market has changed. Fighting it turns the trend into a monstrous crash on top of the industry. What about crime? It is in fashion and increasing exponentially. The “losses” are inevitable though we ignore. Has the market changed or what? Do we have better foundation for the industries? That is a laugh. Same sellers with same attitude except now are pissed too! Raising prices is one way to get even. Fake sales are another. Stealing fron taxes, the employees and whoever is another. And where is it to stop. The market may have changed and easy money-making fronts are no longer easy but the “bossman” does not care. WE OWE HIM/HER TO SPEND. That is a given. My guess is retail/food go criminal all the way. Anything illegal that pays goes. People I know would turn heads and say “they already do that!” I say now they go into money laundering, faking books, and who knows what AS THE MAIN BUSINESS. The retail/food is now only a front and what illegal was a side biz becomes main biz! Damn, it is so important to make X number of dollars regularly. How long before this trend takes over 100% and what can be done against it for industries that are old and weak but not that bad to go criminal ALL THE WAY?

Food Trucks Can Be Too Great An Experience (Reflection)


Sacramento Bee Sunday edition has good articles. I never thought of food trucks as way to bring culture to all communities. Food trucks are such great ideas beyond being food trucks. A traveling circus of food trucks as an excuse to experience alternate cuisines? It probably would work but farmer’s market-style events make more sense. One can sample only a few cuisines in one day. Return trips are required. Restaurant lobby is going to fight food trucks through archaic municipal rules till the whole thing gets so big, it overwhelms the entire industry and not only won’t go away but will become a hostile alternative to greedy brick and mortar shops. Why not help them a little and save much headache down the road?

San Francisco Needs More Retail Stores of The Right Type NOW (Advice)


Today is Wednesday. The temperatures have dropped. We receive shipments on Wednesdays and new planogram so is a waste of a day. I wore my jeans again (and believe it or not that is dress code) so I don’t ruin my pants. I could say a lot of things are done wrong here thus $13 stock price and obvious question would be if it is bad, why don’t you go somewhere else! Everytime this question has come up and I have changed, so many good things have happened to me. That is my history. Retail is boring and hard in many ways. Tourists have a hard time believing there is hardly a store to buy a computer in entire San Francisco except for Best Buy and our chain. Stores sell garbage in abundance. The cost of doing business in cities such as San Francisco is too high and everyone is driven away. The city is very hostile to some types of businesses also. Corruption is at the heart of it. Where would you look to see physical signs? You have to be connected to the interior flow of City information and you would be amazed. Everything physically present is justified and locals ignore as okay. On a more positive notes, I am assured the present City administration are no Gavin Newsom-likes and at least have interest in San Francisco being equal to other major world cities. Enough of fake shops and robber businesses. Most specialty stores are huge rip-offs. Why? The only way to make money is to be a business that either sells perceived value or simply rip off. Sounds like we are talking about Fisherman’s Wharf businesses. It is the entire city. Fashion, boutiques, clohing, restaurants and so on. What thrives in San Francisco has little cost versus high selling price and lots of complaints about labor costs and so on. Majority of these items are not worth a fraction of their costs but sell thus they can do business here. San Francisco needs plenty of stores simply because the products and services are needed. Most camera stores are gone. What is left is neighborhood, super specialty and absolute rip-off. What kind of world class city is this? If it was not for the darn Apple store (high specialty and straight rip off anyway), one would be lost looking for anything that hints of world class besides clothing stores and some chain stores. San Francisco needs a good amount of work in this area to be a world class city. There has to be at least a few of each major type of chain stores around. That will serve some need and brings small competition that takes care of the needs unattended. The combination of such businesses will rank this dirty old City as world class again as most would agree. My own personal advice is if and when such happens make sure to hire only those NOT LIVING in San Francisco AND never hire Macintosh-users. Sounds like superstition but if in the field they are rules-of-thumb that truly hold and make worlds of difference. I included a picture of my shoe so you have something to gripe about. Believe it or not there are those who believe I owe business advice to them so they make money. The shoe is for them. Abstract advice: Go figure it out.