In June of 2020, I began my first ever job and-- surprise surprise-- it was in the food industry. Starting a new job can be overwhelming and even more so during a global pandemic. Lucky for me I got a job at Baskin Robbins, a place dedicated to feeding people's cravings and serving happiness in a cone to its customers.
Before I started working on the inside, I had no idea how challenging it is to manage a customer or even to do something as simple as scooping ice cream. When I began training at Baskin Robbins, I had to practice my scoops and weigh them to make sure they were the perfect amount. I would do this for hours during my first three days of training and when I moved up to interacting with the customers there was so much I didn’t know: How was I supposed to respond when someone asked why one scoop of their ice cream is bigger than the other? What do you do when they don’t like how their milkshake tastes? What is the proper way to respond to a thank you? The greatest lessons I learned in my six months at Baskin Robbins had to do with how to read people, and also that hot fudge makes everything better.
Most people don't consider the interpersonal skill and emotional intelligence needed in fast food service. You have to pick up on a person's mood based on their body language and tone of voice they speak in and then adjust yourself accordingly. On top of the difficulty of reading people as is, we now have to do it where a mask covers half of their face. When a restaurant worker gets your order wrong your emotions kick in and the worker has to stand behind the counter and take it. Employees who work in food and drink all come to work with their own emotional baggage but it's their job to mellow yours with a stress scoop or a cheery banana split. No matter how busy, how loud, or how stressful a situation is, the employee must read it and handle it. At the end of the day, you’re always walking out the door with a scoop of satisfaction.
I can’t say my experience at Baskin Robbins was perfect but it changed my whole perspective on the fast-food industry. Six months ago I was not a generous tipper, but now that I’ve seen how every cent adds up, I always tip. Six months ago I didn’t specify all the details of my order; now I do because I understand what it's like trying to maintain a fast and efficient customer service environment. Six months ago I didn’t know how to properly do the dishes, now...I try my best. Fast food and restaurant industry workers have a level of intelligence that is only developed through experience, and now that I’ve learned what it's like I applaud my comrades who also work in the industry. And as my chapter at Baskin Robbins comes to a close, I am so excited for my next chapter at Chick-Fil-A. Have a tasteful day!
Once upon a time humans used to go to restaurants to sit down and enjoy the ambiance. This “once upon a time business” was actually only a few weeks ago, but for now while we're stuck with Postmates and to go, let’s reminisce on the sit-down eating days…
Appearance seems to really entice the appetite. So it’s no surprise that curb appeal can really matter at restaurants and food stores. We associate nicer outsides with high quality food and vise versa.
But, what was once a Taco Bell is now an amazing bahn mi place that can break down our biases about restaurants, and startle the mind with high-quality food inside of a fast food exterior. Carrot and Daikon don't look much different than a Taco Bell. And its surroundings certainly don’t raise your expectations. It is located on the corner of Newland and Westminster Blvd. surrounded by a 7 Eleven, casket store, donut shop, beauty salon, and Shoppy Max. Each business is advertised with its name in two languages at the top or even just one you don't understand.
When first driving by, we missed the entrance to the lot because we were surprised by its curb look. Once we saw the place I worried they'd have a mediocre banh mi with a greasy fast food taste (don't get me wrong sometimes I crave that taste), but their fresh ingredients, perfect bread, and juicy, crispy-edge meat proves wrong every assumption we made before entering the restaurant.
The place itself reflected the culture of Garden Grove with old men enjoying Vietnamese iced coffee, regulars popping in, and a diverse group of customers eager to dig into their food.
At the front counter, there's a spread of food wrapped in banana leaf that to my surprise was Vietnamese bologna as well as plastic display cases filled with baked goods like an empanada-like pastry filled with a sweet pork mixture called a pate chaud.
Behind the counter are employees working nonstop pumping fresh bread out of the oven, assembling sandwiches, and making boba drinks. The airy and crispy French bread is slathered in a garlic aioli and topped with cilantro, carrot, daikon, and jalapenos. Both my dad and I tried the crispy pork belly sandwich which was the perfect amount of fatty, warm, and toothsome crispiness. Compared to all of the bahn mis I’ve ever eaten, this one was so perfect compared to the rest because of its ratios. At Carrot and Daikon they don’t skimp on the meat and they use perfect amounts of slaw and jalapenos. Next time, I’d be interested in trying the Vietnamese bologna, as it seems to be one of their specials. It’s only fair to warn you that the sandwiches are as big as your face and you will end up eating all of it.
The best restaurants could have Michelin stars and beautiful interiors, but they could also be holes in the walls or former Taco Bells. The famous Jonathan Gold birthed the idea that the best food finds in SoCal are often in strip malls. The best meals don’t have to be expensive and fancy either, the best meals can be simple but well made. After my visit to Carrot and Daikon I’ll definitely be more open to restaurants no matter their shape, size, or look.
Gringos Guide to Mexico City
By the time you wake up in Mexico City, everyone is already setting up shop on the corners. Tortas and tlacoyos are being prepared as early as nine in the morning and the city is filled with over twenty million hungry people.
Created by Mexico City native Elena Reygadas, Rosetta Panaderia is loved by those near and far. Regadas started her foundation in an Italian restaurant but the breads there became so popular that she opened the panaderia. The bakery is located in the heart of the neighborhood Roma Norte, where the streets are lined with beautiful old row houses and leafy trees.
Every morning, employees run back and forth between the restaurant and bakery carrying trays of freshly baked bread on their heads. The small bakery has an indoor bar-like seating area and benches outside but the best place to eat fresh bread is in the Plaza Rio de Janeiro park.
Decorations in the Zocalo.
The GMO/GMF Debate
The debate on the safety of genetically modified foods has lasted for decades, so what's the big idea? For decades, we have been gentically-modifing organisms, creating nutrient rich foods such as kale and squash but many people are still anti-GMO. Some people don't eat foods that are genetically modified because they believe it is unnatural and could cause heath problems. Ninety percent of scientists believe that GMOs are safe, so why should we have to label GMOs and why do some people stay away from them?
Before we dive into the debate, ask yourself what is your stance on the issue or do you really know what GMO stands for? If you don't know what GMO stands for, it stands for genetically modified organism. Usually this means that an organism is genetically altered through scientists adding genes to an organism that code for a desired trait. By genetically modifying something we can add vitamins and nutrients to something as simple as a peanut. In fact my great grandfather, in his lifetime, began to research ways to modify the peanut to have lots of nutrients for a low price on the market. His goal was to use this peanut to end world hunger. So while we worry about genetic modification causing cancer or disease, we forget that GMOs could help save the world.
One big issue surrounding the GMO and GMF debate, is should companies label whether their products as containing GMOs clearly on the front of their package. Although it is a small complaint, it is a big deal to some people but is seemingly easy to fix. If GMOs aren't so bad then why don't brands just label GMOs on their packaging? There is a GMO law being implemented about labeling but with the power and money of big corporate brands it may be hard for the law to fully take.
To take a look at actual GMO labelling myself I went to Ralph's and explored the bread isle. The brands Simple Truth Organic and Dave's Killer Bread stand out as non-GMO breads proudly reading so on the packaging. Other brands such as Orowheat, Western Heart, Natures Harvest, Wonder Bread, and Sara Lee don't claim to be non-GMO but, they pride themselves on no artificial flavors, colors, or high fructose corn syrup. So does this make up for them being non-GMO? Some people say to avoid Sara Lee, a seemingly healthy bread, at all costs because the ingredient list goes on and on and is filled with GMOs. Let me know in the comments below if you think that GMOs ruin the "healthiness" of a food. Non GMO or containing GMOs always read the label on your bread if you are looking to find the healthiest bread for you.
After researching GMOs, I would like to believe that they are safe. Though, I will limit my intake of them because they are frequently used in prosecced food. GMOs could help save the planet but we still need to do more tests to see the longterm effect of GMOs on the environment and the human body. What's your stance on GMOs? Have a tasteful day!
P.S. I recommend you check out this youtube video by Jimmy Kimmel revealing how much we really know about GMOs:
What's in your bread of choice?
The Crack Shack
Travesãno de la Frontera
Nothing is better than fall in New York City! I was lucky enough to visit just a few weeks ago. Here's a glimpse into my trip!
Hello foodies and lovers of food! Welcome back to Holy Guaca- Lola. Todays post will be a little different than most of my posts. Currently I feel that I am going through a blogdentity crisis, like an identity crisis but about my blog, and since you all have been here along my blogging journey I want to share my thoughts with you.
Food has been my passion for as long as I can remember but as I grow older my passions are shifting. Writing just about food lately has felt forced and not fun anymore. I love to write but I am feeling not as passionate about just food writing. Recently, one of my passions has become helping the community and making change for the greater good. Another one of my passions is traveling. While I love writing about food I feel the need to incorporate some of my new passions into my writing. This may mean that Holy Guaca-Lola will go under construction. As I discover who I am I want the things I create to tell something about who I am. I will still want this blog to be mostly about food but I want to find a way to mix my new passions of traveling and activism into my food blogging. What do you think? What types of things do you want to see on the new Holy Guaca-Lola? Thank you for sticking with me on this journey! Have a tasteful day!
New Yum City! (Part 1)
Recently, I visited New York City where I experienced an amazing and truly unique "fenture" (food adventure) and learned to love things that I thought I wouldn't like. One of the most unique and fun places we went to was an incredible soft serve ice cream place called Taiyaki--the fish-shaped, waffle cone and soft serve dessert cafe that has us all wondering about if the ice cream tastes as good as the pictures look. I can confirm that I was blown away and extremely happy with this amazing ice cream. When we walked into the store there were excited milenials everywhere and even little girls dressed in tutus and unicorn horn headbands. Everyone was packed into the small box and jumping with excitement. My dad and I had walked through the breathtaking and art gallery filled SOHO in anticipation, and when we were handed our gourmet cones our day was made. I ordered a regular red bean filled cone that had a swirl of vanilla bean and strawberry soft serve topped with unicorn glitter, a horn, and ears made out of sugar and cookies. The strawberry and vanilla together was a creamy refreshing treat after walking through the New York heat and the slightly warm fish cone tasted like soft and crumbly sugar cookies with a thick and chunky sweet paste at the bottom. Although I am not a fan of red bean, I tried my dad's black sesame cone and accidentally got a bite of red bean that complimented the black sesame's cookies and cream like taste. We were both really impressed! Get ready for more yummy in New Yum City!
Eating Through Cerritos (Part 2)
Cerritos, a culturally beautiful and inviting gem in the big area of Los Angeles. A lot of the time I blog about bigger and more drawn to restaurants. This post is about the hidden and very visible gems of Cerritos and its welcoming center for all races. Being of Indian/Asian decent I have seen that not many cities have as much of a diverse population as Cerritos, I believe that this is important to be recognized when so many races are currently being shut down and torn apart. I believe that food can be a peace keeper and a force of love that tells a story. As you are reading through these many gems of this multi-cultural city, I would like for you to think about how food has made you feel at peace in a world of war and hate.
A place to find all things ube in the most creative ways, Cafe 86 uses the amazing ingredient of ube, a purple yam, and makes it a indulgent sweet! The cafe features things such as ube pop tarts, ube flan cupcakes, an ube butter bar, and so much more! The Ube pop tart came with a beautiful dark purple drizzle that tasted like frosting that comes on sugar cookies. The filling is a sugar sweet paste wrapped in a buttery and almost pie like crust. The pop tart did not even need to be warm to melt in your mouth because of its perfect moistness. The ube flan cupcake was unreal and completely unexpected and amazing. As my dad put it, "it tasted like lucky charms marshmallows." It seemed like the cupcake was what a candy store would taste like. The ube butter bar was extremely rich and buttery smooth. It was almost like an ube cheesecake bar. I was amazed by the smooth texture on top of the rough graham cracker crust.