graduation


new york + settling in

I have a new appreciation for hot plates and toaster ovens.

this weekend I moved from an apartment in inman square to a studio in the south end. trees line my new street, I’m a ten minute walk to my favorite espresso royale caffe and flour bakery, and am getting acquainted to the mini-fridge, microwave, and bed doubling-as-a-couch lifestyle.  although i may feel differently come december, it turns out my concerns about not having an oven were at least somewhat unwarranted. tonight for dinner I made quinoa with a few drops of olive oil, arugula, salt and pepper, and topped it with two eggs, chopped avocado, and grape tomatoes. all on a single-burner hot plate (the quinoa was made first). living here and cooking this way will force me to be creative with food, again. i’ll have to forgo some of the staples i’d ordinarily rely on this time of year like roasted squash, and baked oatmeal isn’t anywhere in the foreseeable future–but that’s alright. I’m just thankful to be here.

earlier in the week I went to visit my cousin, christina, in new york. turns out that megabus is amazing. I never took the bus to new york last spring, for some reason, but it was really easy and well worth the $26 round-trip ticket. I spent part of wednesday afternoon wandering around the east village and at ost cafe on the corner of 12th and avenue a, waiting for christina to finish work. this was my view from the cafe window. hopefully during the course of the fall I’ll have time to make a few more trips to the city. until then, i’ll be posting more of my toasted, re-heated and single-pot meals.

beginning again.

the fall semester is underway, and it’s my last as a full-time student in the gastronomy program at boston university. hard to believe.

as I’m getting settled back in boston, my legs are adjusting from the miles-long bike commutes to the mission to long walks across the BU bridge, through cambridge, to campus. this fall brings a lot of good with it: multiple San Francisco visitors, my cousin’s wedding next weekend in kalamazoo, and a pending trip down to new york. it feels good to move to an already-familiar place.

all throughout my work with la cocina over the summer, I had been contemplating ideas for my thesis. I was interested in aspects of the incubator model, and its ability to be transferred to other neighborhoods around the country; in other market-entry incubators, including markets like Off the Grid and The Underground Market; and the potential of incubators like La Cocina to continue to foster the growth of small food-business start-ups in San Francisco. What impressed me over and over again with this non-profit in particular was the depth of commitment to their clients: each email sent to a volunteer, each jog up the stairs to the storage cages in preparation for a cooking class, and each organizational meeting for the street food festival–was done with the goal of showcasing these culinary entrepreneurs. whatever form my thesis ends up taking, I hope it will at least be a small reflection of the passion that runs La Cocina. the work they’re doing is changing lives in the Mission District, mine included.