Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

People are always surprised to find out that I spent a short time in my life working as a police officer. A real life beat cop on the street. It was a very interesting time in my life filled with crazy stories that I will never forget. But I fondly remember one day in particular...

I was still in training at the time, and as a part of training, I rotated through all the shifts to be exposed to as much as possible. This day I was working the day shift, starting bright and early at 6am. I remember walking into briefing and seeing the TVs on with scenes of a smoking building. The early word was that some crazy person flew into the World Trade center. I remember seeing on TV images of the building with smoke pouring out on one side. It was surreal, but we had no idea the severity of it at the time. The sergeant who ran the briefing agreed to leave the TVs on in mute while we conducted our business. I didn't know what to think. I was out of the academy for about 2 months. Was this sort of thing what I was to be dealing with now? We all paid attention the best we could, and as we wrapped up briefing and starting to walk out, the first building started to come down. We all watched for a minute in silence. I don't think we really were able to processed what was happening, so we went out on duty like we were suppose to quietly.

Since I was in training, so I rode with a training officer. I remember we didn't really know what to do with ourselves. Word had started to come out that this was some terrorist act and there was another plane that had crashed by the Pentagon. We didn't really know if we would be seeing any activity near us. I didn't exactly work in a small city. It was somewhat conceivable, at least at the time, that San Jose would be as likely of a target as anywhere else. Having that kind of violence brought to our soil, made it seem like it could've happened anywhere. We were the only ones to think that, of course, and we started to get called about "suspicious" activities everywhere. People were freaked out, and honestly, so was I.

I think what calmed me down the most was what helped a lot of people that day. I called Britt at home after a couple hours of craziness to see if she was ok. Britt asked me why I was so worked up. She was at home watching PBS cartoons with an almost two year old Hannah. She had no idea what was going on and I appreciated the calm that was at home. I told her to change the channel to see what was going on, but she probably had no idea how much she brought me back to focus that morning. A morning of confusion and panic, and I had a calm, peaceful home, still waiting for me.

Not a lot really happened for the rest of the day. We tried to stay ready and available in case anything did happen. Safe to say the car thieves and drug dealers got a break from us that day. For as long as we remember and commemorate this day, I will always be grateful that I had a unique perspective on it all. A lot of brave and courageous people work everyday to keep the rest of us safe. People who have their lives and families who constantly remind them why they do what they do. I am honored that I was a part of that for a while, and I can honest say that I will never forget the events of 9/11/2001.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I Have An Eating Problem

Jon's Street eats

This is certainly not a food review. Probably more about how crazy I am about food.

If we ever decide to go out and share a meal together, don't ever take me to a food court. I love to eat all sorts of different foods, so if you present a bunch of choices to me at once, my brain will lock up and I won't be able to make a decision for hours. Whether a simple mall food court or a ethnic smorgasbord like the Emeryville Public market, I can walk circles for hours bouncing between a cheesesteak to a hot bowl of udon to Korean BBQ to Indian goat curry until everyone else have eaten, digested, and finished the complimentary mint. If it was up to me, I would get the sampler plate, with a bite from every place. Wouldn't that be the best ever? Maybe a bite size cheese-on-a-stick followed by a mini Stromboli washed down with sip of Thai iced tea with maybe a baklava for dessert? I'm not good with food and choices. Which is a long way of introducing my dilemma today...

I am currently serving as stay at home parent while the wife is in Minnesota enjoying her own food adventures (and maybe attending a graduation somewhere). With a toddler involved, it pretty much involves a morning of television with the likes of Mickey Mouse, a blue dog appropriately named Blue, and some sort of oddly shaped figures who likes to dance. Combined that with older kids with a very active softball schedule, I have been pretty much a car service with a bonus title of short order cook. So on my last full day as daytime nanny (and not even those hot ones that Jude Law might run off with), I decided that I needed to do something that I wanted to do for a change. And what I want to do it eat something good.

My first thought, of course, was the myriad of food trucks that I follow on Twitter (shameless plug) who are almost never where I am. The closest area where the good food trucks go seems to be Emeryville. (and by good, I mean just the current crop of gourmet food trucks. Not your run of the mill taco trucks, which I also love, and is pretty sure densely populates my neighborhood. But that is another day's eating/blog post) It seems that some cities are just more food truck friendly. If you drive down Hollis St in Emeryville at lunch time, for example, you can usually find 3 or 4 trucks parked and ready to stuff your face. But which place do I go? Who knows when I would be able to get this chance again? (Please, food truck community, someone come on out to Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek where I work) There was only one thing to do: I made a couple of stops.

A food truck feast

So I ended up with a lunch that looks like this. Seared ahi tuna roll from Jon's Street Eats. Short rib taco and BBQ pork slider from Mogo BBQ. Is that a lot of food for lunch? Yes. I couldn't eat it all, but the different tastes was so satisfying. It was definitely worth a short wait with a sleeping 2 year old to carry around. (More food for me!)

I started this by saying that you should never take me to a place with too many choices. Let me amend that. If you are anything like me and like to try a lot of different things, please come along on one of my eating adventures. I can't possibly eat a whole serving of everything (I try sometimes though. Ugh. I need a just inspiring post about a workout routine). Let's all get something different and share it with each other. Apparently I am a social eater. Maybe it's a cultural thing. Chinese people often eat their meals family style, sharing several dishes. I'd love to discuss it over some pad thai and fried chicken though. Won't you join me?