Archive for June, 2009

Bite Of Boston

June 30th, 2009

BiteOfBoston1I happened randomly across a new sandwich shop for lunch today called Bite of Boston.  It is a shop that recently opened that is trying to bring New England charm and food to the west coast.  Their website claims that it is the bread that separates the east coast subs from the west coast subs.

As a detailed oriented (aka anal retentive), communication background, ocd-ish person, I of course have some analysis and hypothesis of this establishment and its first impressions on me.

I went to lunch with Joeyand Ray.  The place is decently arranged and has Boston sports memorabilia on the walls including jerseys, helmets, pennants and pictures.  However, out of place were a few San Diego items such as  Dan Fouts framed jersey, a couple of Padres and Chargers pennants, and the strange Arizona State University pennant.  For a place trying to replicate the East Coast and the flair of Boston, this was out of character.

They had artistic and individualized menu boards with clever boston sandwich names.  The boards seemed too particular, and too specific and frankly too costly for a sandwich shop.  Granted, they were cute, and I liked their flair, but for a company that I predict (more on my predictions later) will fail within a year, this seems like too high of an early expense.  A few of their sandwich boards even had color pictures of 2 females (which I am guessing are family members) offering  “Casey’s Buffalo-Chicken Wrap” and “Justine’s Chicken-Caesar Wrap.”

I ordered the sandwich called “North Ender.”  It is prosciutto, sopressata salami, capicola, provolone cheese, roasted peppers, tomatoes, oil and seasoning on sliced Italian bread.  It priced at $7.35  I purchased a soda – they only sell bottled sodas- of which I was also charged a crv fee (yes, three manual entries into the cash register).  My total price was $9.72.

This price seems much higher than it should be.  I can get a really good, customized sandwich, chips and a refillable soda at Submarina for dollars less.  You definitely are paying for the “charm” of this place.

My sandwich was actually really tasty.  The guy behind the counter – who seemed like the proprietor – was really friendly.  He sliced the bread and came over and asked me if it was too thick or thin for my pleasure.  He chatted up customers as they came in, asking how they had heard of the place.  And he loved saying “the CHOWDER” when people needed a bowl.  Back to my sandwich, it was delicious.    It was a great blend of meats and cheese, and the bread was surprisingly soft and perfect (it appeared to be old and stale upon sight).  The roasted peppers were a great addition to the flavors of the meat, and really gave it a unique taste.  It’s presentation was on a paper plate.  On taste alone, I would definitely eat it, and here again.  However, if you know me, you know that I place a high value on, well, value.  The price of this sandwich seemed rather high to me, and I was frustrated that refills were not available, and even more irritated that I was charged a crv fee.  Wouldn’t it be better to just include the crv cost within the price of the soda so the customer is unaware?

Speaking of the soda situation, a customer came in and asked if they ever forsaw them switching to fountain drinks.  The person who seemed to be the propieter stated that they would not.  That even tho it was much more profitable, it was “messy” to have a soda machine.

Pro’s Con’s
-Good Bread -Over Priced
-Unique Offerings -No Soda Fountain, CRV tax
-Happy Spirit -Inconsistant Design and Theme
-A Good Product  

I hypothesize that this restaurant will not last very long.  I give it 6 months to a year tops.  It will not become a mainstay of Rancho Bernardo.  My hypothesis is not just related to the soda or the price.  I just get the feeling that it is a restaurant that was always someones dream to open, and they threw their passion into their desire, went very specific into many details, but fell short on the details that mattered. 

The decorations are not completely to theme.  The menu boards are extremely customized.  The employee uniforms and hats seem too specific.  They lay claim that their bread comes from a specific bread store in Boston.  They have all these framed jerseys and helmets.  It just seems that they had this vision, this dream and spent a lot of capital up front on meeting these “requirements” in their heart.  Which is great, I am not knocking that.  It just seems like there are some inefficient costs and details that hurt the bottom line.  And in this economy, and to break into the restaurant business, is a detail that cannot be overlooked. 

I love the entrepreneurial spirit, and I love that they are following their heart.  I hope I am wrong in this hypothesis.  For myself, I was frustrated with the designs and the inconsistencies and that I will not eat there again due to the price and the soda situation.

Florence To Montalcino

June 27th, 2009

I have backdated another post from italy.  This one is from our travel day from florence to montalcino.  Thanks for reading and your patience with me trying to catch up on this task.

It Was The Sound Of A Crescendo

June 26th, 2009

As He Came Into The Window
It Was The Sound Of A Crescendo
He Came Into Her Apartment
He Left The Bloodstains On The Carpet
She Ran Underneath The Table
He Could See She Was Unable
So She Ran Into The Bedroom
She Was Struck Down, It Was Her Doom

billie-jean-jacksonYesterday afternoon at approximately 3:00 PM pacific time, the “King of Pop” passed away.  Michael Jackson was a tortured soul and must have lived both a thrilling and a stressful, worried-filled life.  While learning his A-B-C’s as a child, he seemed to take no greater joy than being on stage performing.  He was a smiling, dancing, happy kid.

After becoming “King of the World” you could see a person that both wanted to heal the world (perhaps as Captain EO), yet despite his success, he had to retreat and isolate himself.  He would have to remind himself that he was not alone.

He had odd moments with marriages, odd moments with his own children, and questioned moments with other children.

He was both one of the most celebrated and revered musical artists not just of our time, but in the entire history of the world.  But he was also a little off the wall, and confusing to the world.  The part that confused me the most, was the fact that by the end of his life, you really couldn’t tell if his appearance was black or white, human or alien.  He had multiple surgeries on his face.  He just couldn’t help it.  He could no longer recognize the man in the mirror.

mjgloveNo matter your perspective–whether your view of him is of a musical dancing genius, or whether you see him as a bad, deranged man– the fact remains that he was a global icon.  His popularity went further then just the girl named Billie Jean, but stretched throughout the world.  The girls were his, the men were his, the world was his.  At the height of his popularity, he could do no wrong.  He was invincible.  He could even walk on the moon.

He is gone too soon.

News of his death quickly passed around the eInternet and it even caused sites to go down.

News of Jackson’s death spread quickly online, causing many websites to experience technical difficulties under the unanticipated swell of users. Google announced technical difficulties after a sudden swell in searches for “Michael Jackson” led the company to believe it was under attack from hackers, while social networking site Twitter reported a crash after record numbers of users used the site to spread the news of Jackson’s death.  Wikipedia itself had temporarily experienced technical difficulties and crashed at 3:15 PDT reportedly due to excessive edits and user overload. Many news organizations were generally very cautious about the initial reports of his death.

mjleanAs I heard the news, and quickly reflected on his life and death I wondered if he would be remembered as Elvis or Buddy Holly are remembered.  Author Samuel Roy has argued: “Elvis’ death did occur at a time when it could only help his reputation. Just before his death, Elvis had been forgotten by society.”  You could probably say the same about Michael Jackson.  He had become an anomaly to culture.  Hopefully his death will make people remember the time when they danced, sang, and just couldn’t get enough of his music rather than the disfigured man, sharing wine and beds with boys, trying to free willy.  Will Neverland Ranch become his Graceland?

As I contemplated his legacy, I at first thought that although I viewed him as filthy (in the baseball sense–amazingly good), I didn’t have any sort of connection or tie to his music.  But then as I thought about it more, I realized that I have 2 (actually, just thought of a third) vivid memories of his music.

The first was when I was only six years old.  It was late 1982 and my family was renting a winter cabin for a week or weekend in the mountains.  When I was younger this was kind of a tradition.  We had another family come visit and share our time for a few days.  One of my brothers friends (I think it was Tyler Monroe), brought with him the new Thriller album.  We listened to the album non-stop and even pretended we were making a video for it.  I also remember being scared and having nightmares of the title track.  It was really a freaky song for a newly six year old boy in a dark musty cabin.

mjperformingMy next vivid memory (both of these memories I can still see very clearly in my mind’s eye), took place when I was in junior high school.  It was a Sunday morning, and I was waiting in our Volvo (Volvo for life), for my dad to finish chatting with people after church.  It was parked on Martincoit road, along the street, right outside my former elementary school that housed our church.  I was sitting there listening to the radio, and Casey Casem’s top 40 countdown.  The number one song that day was Man in the Mirror.  It was a spiritual moment for me, as I sang and cried to the song.  It inspired me that day, to want to make myself a better person, to want to help people, and to focus on my own problems, rather than the faults of others.  It’s a trait that I have hung onto and grown my entire life–within each problem, fight, scenario that I might encounter, I look to see where I could have blame so that I can attempt to change that pattern in the future.  I think this is sometimes a detriment to myself, as I too often claim more blame than I should.  But overall I think it is a good concept.  Why blame others and hurt them with anger, when I can find and fix the role I played and build up the esteem of the other person?

michaeljacksongloveThe third vivid memory that I have in my photographic memory (or would it now be called a videographic memory?), is my senior year in college.  It was a week before school started, and I was hanging out preparing for the year with the other R.A’s in my dorm–Erin, Erin, Angeline, Rebecca and Jon.  We were setting up our R.A office (does anyone remember “the Dugout?”), using bleach to clean out the mold in the refrigerator from a long summer.  We were setting up our pet miniature illegal turtles (what did we name them?  M.J was one I think), and getting the entire dorm prepared for the rush of students and the new year.  Our dorm,V.K, was shaped similar to how you might view a Motel 6.  It was two stories, rectangle in shape, that all surrounded a large green courtyard with cement walkways.  While we were busting our humps cleaning, laughing and enjoying new friendships and experiences, we were blasting in the courtyard Jackson’s album, HIStory.  We just couldn’t get enough.  It was a precious moment in my life, and along with laughter, love, and hope, Jackson was providing the soundtrack.

There are probably many other moments of my life that Michael Jackson provided soundtrack to.  But these 3 are the most vivid.  I remember them so crisply and can picture them on a loop in my head.  Whether I am 6, 12, 21 or now practically 33, his music and life have been integrated with mine.

Will you (if I have any readers) share any specific memories, moments, or flashbacks that you may have had with Jackson and or his songs?  How did he make you feel?



President Ronald Reagan and Nancy in 1984 before receiving an award for his contribution to a drunk driving awareness program.


Bidet To You Too Sir

June 14th, 2009

An intellectual discussion on bidets, had while in Florence Italy.  Will you join this roundtable discussion?

By the way, I am still working on catching up on my journals.  I posted a new one today.


Forza Juve

June 5th, 2009

I brought back a Juventus jersey for my niece.  She has her game face on.


Back To The Future

June 2nd, 2009

I got behind on posting and writing up my journals from my trip.  To my reader(s) out there, I still plan on writing and posting those.  When I do, I will backdate them to the date of the day that I am writing about.  I just finished publishing one from May 16 that you can see by scrolling down to that date.  Thank you for your love and support.  Keep checking as I post in the future, past journal entries from my trip.

This Week I'm Thinking About: Jonathan Wilt