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I went to a ugc wine tasting and fell in love with a sauternes. I thought my sweet wine drinking days were over, but wally's proves otherwise. A sommelier introduced me to Max Ferd, Richter Mulheimer Sonnenlay Zeppelin Riesling; it was like drinking tart green apples, or more accurately, green grapes that aren't quite ripe but sour in a delightful way. Then the Sauternes. Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey. It was like dirnking rose petals and overripe honeydew. Beautiful. 

that cheesemonger life

I make the least amount of money I've made in at least ten years, but my diet consists of out of date pate, smoked salmon, caviar, and fine cheeses I get for free. So, I live poor and eat rich. I even got some half to 3/4 bottles of bordeaux leftover form tonight's tasting. The other night there was an event  and there was leftover truffled roasted chicken and sea fennel braised bass that never made it onto plates that I took home and devoured. Our chef  has an impressive resume and he's really good.


While the biggest protest in U.S. history was going on, I was plating expenisve 3-5 oz portions of cheese and charcuterie for the richest of the rich. The restaurant was packed from afternoon to midnight. None of this affected them. Until we take the protests and the riots to the beverly hills of world, there will be no impact on them.

A coworker's wife tried to go the portest today, fave up when the platform to the train was too crowded and had brunch instead. Not that I any better, but it just doesn't seem like protest when its only done in comfort. 

sweet dreams are made of cheese

One of my best friends hired me at the cheese shop he manages. I'm not so thrilled about entering the world of retail again and having to recharge my batteries each day from the constant customer interaction, but I am hoping its a decent job. And I finally get to see my friend. (I was his boss several years ago in NYC). It is a little intimidating to sell fine foods to beverly hills clientele with very little knowledge of it, so to prepare myself I've bought a ton of cheese and wine books, watched 3 wine documentaries and counting, and have been listening to the Cutting the Curd podcast all day at work at the ice cream factory (Friday is my last day there). Needless to say I have incredible cheese cravings. I dream about cheese. I have made this all the more overwhelming because every bit of knowledge i gain only shows that there's a lot more knowledge I don't have. However, it is all pretty fascinating. I have gone around for a couple years talking about how dairy is the cruelest thing to consume as the cow is repeatedly raped and tortured over its whole life. Now i've been reading about all of these incredible small scale American farmstead cheesemakers and know this is not the case. That is true of some large industrial farms, but many high end artisinal cheeses, like the ones in the shop, are not made under those circumstances.

Listening to cutting the curd and the passion the host has for the history of cheese and the way cheese sparks memory for him, has sparked a kind of nostalgia in me as well. I wanted to jot it down while it was still a little fresh in my mind.

Hungary. I think. (could have been czech republic, i visited them within days of each other, but i'm pretty sure it was hungary). Circa... 2001? 2002? Sometime around then. Why didn't I write about this then? Maybe I did, I should check the archives. I probably wrote about pastry. I had a whole system where I wouldn't eat meat so that I could save room for all the desserts, but I digress. I remember an older woman and her daughter that were a part of my tour group. They were excited to be there as they had Hungarian roots. The woman would proclaim every morning, "the food is all so wonderful, except the yogurt! The yogurt is awful, its the worst yogurt I ever had." I just smiled as I glopped an extra spoonful on my plate. Yogurt was and is one of my favorite dairy products, probably my favorite. I went on a diet once that restricted animal products to one a week and I chose yogurt. I think I have a sour tooth. If it wasn't my favorite at that moment in time, Hungary certainly helped make it that way. While she went through her daily yogurt complaint I would think, "this is the best yogurt i've ever had. I didn't even know yogurt could taste like this". This was before the greek yogurt craze, and probably this hungarian yogurt was made fresh. It wasnt thick, it was thin and liquidy. There were a variety, one off white, another slightly more beige, and few pinkish ones that we had to guess the flavors. Berries of some sort, not berry flavor, the yogurt was such a dull color it had to be real fruit. It was sweet and milky with just enough tang. It was the core of my breakfast. Every hotel from germany to czech to hungary had a similar breakfast spread: an array of hard yellow tinged cheeses with a grey or brown rind. They were somewhat "swissy" but better, less strong, more complex. Some creamy and buttery; crispy bread, fruit, muesli, and yogurt, lots and lots of yogurt. Breakfast and dinner were free, we were on our own for lunch. So I would wrap up chunks of cheese and bread to take with me. I ate so much of that cheese I can remember the flavor now, it became disgusting to me at the time because i ate so much of it but as I sampled alpine cheeses on my training day last week the memory of that cheese sprang up and all I can think about is the wonderful cheese, bread, and yogurt of eastern europe.
i just read on yelp that our gelato popsicles are "$4.50 for a pop" I had like 3 1/2 today. I just ate $15.75 worth of popsicles.

too good to be true?

my new job, which found its way to me exactly two weeks before leaving my current job, pays me to eat all the gelato i want. I can go look at koi fish on my break. ZERO customer service! 

Gelato chef?

I got a call back from the gelato chef job. Its quite a bit less money than i'm used to and part time possibly. However, it sounds a lot like what i'm looking for- no customer interaction, just come in, make recipes and leave. Also I can call myself a gelato chef. Also looking for someone that grows with the company and will possibly be training new people on production when the business expands. The guy did what i used to do when hiring awesome looking candidates back at my old store, almost talk them out of it so they realize it isnt glamorous. That never works though. He seemed really honest and expressed the fear that i've suspected many employers have when they interview me, that i might not leave the food hole. I'm going to let him know my availability when i see my work schedule tomorrow. I can at least go check it out and see if it seems like a fit. I kind of hope it is. I have the savings to make the low pay work for a few months. I can just be honest about that. Like yeah dude, i can work part time at that pay for 3 months and after that its more hours or more pay or i need a second job.

Part time would actually be really nice. My boss kind of vengefully scheduled me that way now that I stepped down, but i'm enjoying the days off. In fact I'm almost disappointed that i might get this gelato job and already be full time again by next week. This guy wants someone immediately so he can train them along with the other employee. Looking for a job feels so weird. I've had such job security for so long.


Just hire me please.

i dream of chocolate

Did the chocolate interview. I was up for 22 hours, so hopefully i didn't say anything ridiculous. It was such a strange experience because they walked in said "have you worked in a factory before?" me "no" them "thats okay i can teach you everything. Do you have any questions about the job?" That was the interview, me asking questions and asking them how they are adjusting to living in L.A. I asked when will i know if there are next steps and they said, "oh we're interested! We will be in touch! We just need you to meet the head chocolate maker and general manager." So, Hopefully i'm in.I am meeting all kinds of people in the food world here through all these rounds of interviews. It all could be helpful experience if i did end up getting the food tourism gig. or start my own walking food tour company. I will be makign a lot less money, but it sounds like such a cooler job and such a great environment. fingers crossed.

On the current job front, I have a really understanding and cool store manager even if my direct boss isn't the greatest. I'm awed every time I come in wishy washy about leaving and he's like, eh, just stick around until you find something. He could easily be like step down, here's a 30 day letter and pay cut, good luck. but he's more like, "uh, you can still work here right? you can hang in here until you find something?" Super cool.

Oh yeah and chocolate job has an almost guaranteed celeb encounter. its a pretty hated on the internet place, but is pretty successful. I'd love to get that job because it will be such an amazing learning experience. I will make chcolate from scratch, like roasting beans and grinding them, and also some confection, and also some baking, and also whatever else pops up because its still a small company that is just now expanding. Exciting. I am so grateful to be learning so much here. I'm getting more confident at scratch bread. I'm even decorating more. I can juice with confidence. Its really cool. I'm also taking myself out of my work comfort zone. I got really secure in san francisco and now its all about shaking it up.

This whole move is like moving to new york city all over again. Its hectic and stressful, but also exciting and filled with potential. I'm going to find where i belong soon enough.

maybe its all for the best

Sunday I found an exciting work study program that made me reflect on what my calling is. Yesterday I apllied to not one, but two postings for dream jobs. I have an interview on Thursday for chocolate maker, cross yoru figners for me.