Saturday, January 24, 2009
Bad news on the 'hurry up and open a restaurant' front. We're held up in getting the building permit. The issue lies with Public Works, and us needing to get an appraisal of the building to prove that our renovations total less than 50% of the building's worth. (DUH!!!) Unfortunately, this is a costly and time intensive process. It'll be at least 3 weeks before any of the appraisers I've spoken with can even start on the appraisal, and then it will take then another week or so to complete ours. So tack that extra month onto however long it'll take the city to review & bless this appraisal...and subsequently (and hopefully) finalize the building permit. If any beautiful, talented & witty public works employees or their friends/family are reading this blog & want to help a brother out...please leave a comment. Otherwise, keep your fingers crossed for me. I was antsy, now I'm a few notches above antsy - does anyone have a name for it? Ugh...
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Anyone who's attended (or heaven forbid, had to staff) trade shows with any regularity knows they're just a weird little world. Crowded, over-stimulating and exhausting conditions make for tweaked attendees and booth staffers. The world of food trade show-ery is no exception. This week I attended my 3rd consecutive Fancy Food Show - a showcase of new food products and packaging from the mainstream to obscure. Overall, the show is a great opportunity to learn about new products & distributors, though after 4+ hours it's easy to burn out.
*Food celeb sightings: Ina Garten (Contessa, as Laura & I call her), Suzanne Goin (a sort of famous LA chef), Joanne Weir (local host of cooking shows on PBS), Paul Prudhomme (chatting with Narsi David), Tom Douglas (famous Seattle area chef)
*I've been on the hunt for blood orange juice or nectar (to use as a base for salad dressing). I found a couple vendors this time out, including a maker of jarred blood orange concentrate, another maker of straight juice. More often than not, you only find it as fizzy italian bottled soda.
*I connected with the companies that will provide my coffee & my cash register, both of whom I hadn't spoken with in a while
*I ran into a friend from culinary school staffing a booth. Nice to catch up.
*Some really tasty samples of interesting new products.
*My favorite quote of the show: One attendee to another as they sped away from a booth "It's gross!!! It's like 7-11 coffee." Please note, this was NOT in reference to my coffee purveyor.
*Trudging past super slow attendees taking it all in, and many many people who think it's perfectly fine to stop and have a conference right in everyone's path.
*Someone passed gas and I walked right into the middle of the cloud. Annoying anyway, but especially when you're fried after a long day.
*Lots of people shoulder to shoulder walking and talking and eating, which means strangers' food breath right in your face.
*A mix of pushy & up in your grill booth staff, along with others who for whatever reason won't give you the time of day. It reminds me of that line in pretty woman "Hey, I got money to spend here!!!"
*This is a weird one - I think I got it twice from really small companies. I say "Oooh, I like that! How do you distribute your products?" Meaning, do you ship to me directly? (bad!) or Do you use a big distribution company I can order a bunch of different products from? (good!) They reply "Well, we're always open!" What does that mean? Am I to find you a distributor and do your job? How do you ship your stuff?!? It's a simple question. I walk away.
In the end, even if it gets annoying it's always worth attending. It takes me at least 4 hours to walk the show floor. And that's moving at a pretty fast clip & not lingering too long at any one booth. It's a monster of a show! If you're one of those no shame costco sample types, you can clean up here. Samples and takeaways large and small. Booths with dips & sauces accompanied by cut up bread or pretzel sticks. Maybe 25 companies? Chips, juices, coffees, sodas, flatbread sandwiches, desserts, candy, smoked salmon, granola, breads, tea, gelato, coffee, caviar, bbq sauce, soup. You name it, it's there...for an estimated 24,000 attendees.