Mission Street Food, how I wish I was back in SF for one more meal

just had an awesome meal at mission street food w/ @steveportigal and partner Anne, menu attached

Yesterday I talked about my great iPhone map experience of not getting lost in SF because of technology. Today I thought I’d go in a different low–fi dinning experience direction. Searching for food online, looking at yelp or if you’re in NYC reading http://lunchstudio.blogspot.com can be helpful in finding unexpected places to eat. But if I look back at last Saturday night while eating at Mission Street Food in SF, I doubt I would have come across it via a technological mean. Thankfully I’m friends with Steve Portigal who was the one that suggested that we meet there. He had never been before but had read about it online (I think)—so there was the blog component, but again with out him it’s unlikely I would have come across it. The quick moral to this food story is that if you’re looking for a great food experience, look to a friend before going to search. Every time I’ve come across a great place it was through a personal connection.

Onto the actual food experience of Mission Street Food. I knew I was in for something a bit unexpected when there was a line up before six as I walked by an unmarked and caged up storefront. I couldn’t really see the numbers of the door so I was hopping that I was standing in the right line. I did find out I was in the right line but didn’t make it early enough for the first sitting so I ended up being one of the first for the next sitting. That ended up not being a big deal as I had a beer with Steve and his partner Anne at Lunna Park on Valencia St. After one beer’s time we strolled back and managed to get a table pretty quickly.

What made this dinning experience unique was A. the place had no lights on, B. the vibe was chill, and C. the food was unlike anything I’ve had before. It was a cross between low–fi homemade and high fidelity flavour. We started by splitting the PB & J in three, and later on got the cheese plate. For the main course I ordered the MSF Rice. It was the best duck and rice combo I’ve had. Between the MSF Rice and the PB & J I was seriously thinking about coming back after Steve and Anne took the subway home. I really wasn’t ready to say goodbye to that food. But like all great things they had to come to an end, but not before dessert. We ordered both the butter fried cornbread and secret breakfast ice cream. As with everything else those desserts exceeded my expectations by A LOT. I’m getting hungry just thinking about that meal which was almost a week ago. Sigh…

If you live in SF or plan to be there on a Saturday you will be rewarded for the effort of visiting. I would go in to the experience by taking off all filters of what you think food should be, and let yourself be surprised not so much by the surrounding environment but what is in front of your lucky tastebuds.

You can also read more about it’s history with SF Gate’s post titled Mission Street Food: low-down haute cuisine And you can always visit flickr to see people’s food experience at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/missionstreetfood/interesting/

Exporting Airplaine Music Player Info

Delta My Playlist

Having a couple hours to push around a bunch of buttons in front of me as I flew from JFK to SFO, I thought it would be interesting to explore the playlist feature of the Delta music player. To be honest I’m not really sure why anyone would save a bunch of songs on a flight—though someone must find it useful. In any case I started saving a bunch of songs to see what unexpected questions might arise. The biggest thing that stood out to me was that I’ve invested some time creating a list, now what? What I mean by the “now what”, what can I do afterwards? I can’t export that list, and I can’t get that info out of that player. By the off chance that I wanted to purchase all those tracks there’s no easy way to do that. There’s no send, share or buy functionality. What’s up with that? There’s a perfect opportunity to explore music that I otherwise would never have listened to, and there’s no extension to take the experience further.

Link Drop (7·10·09)

linkdrop themes

July is here and with that comes the Tour de France. I’ve found a number of bike and tour related stuff that is shows the sport in perhaps a slightly different light then most people are used to reading about. There were a number of process pieces that I didn’t connect directly though on a second look might warrant it. There’s behaviour process, big question process and the big idea process along with emotional process. And as usual there’s a number of photo and type related things. I’m heading off to SF for a couple days next week, so I’m not sure what the format for next week’s Link Drop will look like. Stay tuned…

 where to get off the subway_1247224883208

where to get off the subway
Now that I have this app I’m hope it will be easier to find my exit on Canal St or 34th St a lot easier. Up until now I’ve been choosing my train car haphazardly. Now I’ll pick it by design.

 beauty made from ugly_1247224896925

beauty made from ugly
There’s something really cool about making architectural forms out of metal shipping containers.

Lost in Translation « Choicelessness_1247224908557

Lost in Translation
I really like how the abstraction on the left carries a lot of visual resonance to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to the right.

i am the weather » » there are 4 phone booths in NYC, this is one of them_1247224842179

“there are 4 phone booths in NYC, this is one of them”
If this fact is true that’s quite amazing. When I think about how NYC was shown in film many years ago before mobile phones were out, phone booths played a role in the set. How times change.

Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Michael Jackson Turning Points_1247224922308

Michael Jackson Turning Points
This post was one of the best collection of ideas relating to MJ and the way old media was.

New York Times Considers Charging $5 Per Month For Access To NYT.com (NYT)_1247224929968

New York Times Considers Charging $5 Per Month For Access To NYT.com (NYT)
Interesting developments going on about a paywall. It would be interesting to see how this plays on in terms of people passing on links to articles read from that site. The reason why I don’t pass that many links from WSJ—because it’s behind a paywall…

 Why are Cheap Airlines so cheap

Why are Cheap Airlines so cheap?
There’s a side by side comparison of how some airlines can be cheaper then others.

jetBlue’s award system is broken #jetBlows_1247224944146

jetBlue’s award system is broken #jetBlows
A point by point breakdown on why JetBlue’s point system isn’t working.

 Insert hands to dry - Pleasure and Pain by Whitney Hess_1247224957348

Photo of the day: Insert hands to dry
Would you put your hand inside this box?

Desperate-to-leave LinkedIn users rename accounts "delete delete delete" - Boing Boing_1247224969354

Desperate-to-leave LinkedIn users rename accounts “delete delete delete”
I’m sure LinkedIn has a reason for not allowing people to delete their accounts, however people are going to always come up with a solution no matter what a service wants to do with other people’s data.

 Notes On Vibe Magazine - Grids - SPD.ORG - Grids_1247224978295

George Pitts: Notes On Vibe Magazine

Vibe’s founding Photography Director goes back and talks about a lot of the people he worked with and what he got from the experience.

Super Colossal » Surry Hills Library Signage by Collider_1247224992220

Surry Hills Library Signage by Collider
The typography of this wayfinding system is quite special. I love how the type is angled. I want to be able to do that for something in the not so distant future.

Well-formed data » dbcounter – quick visual database stats_1247224998060

dbcounter – quick visual database stats
I’m putting this info in my things to remember pile.

how @CarinBerger changed my twitter process - collapse and delight_1247225006010

how @CarinBerger changed my twitter process
This process worked for her, maybe it will for you.

 walking berlin._1247225034455

walking berlin.
When’s the last time you saw a building get up and go for a walk?

Letter from AIGA’s incoming president — AIGA | the professional association for design_1247225045945

Letter from AIGA’s incoming president
It’s amazing to me that more incoming design organization presidents don’t write a simple letter explaining what they want to accomplish. It should be mandatory to have an outline like this.

d.life - sort of surprised airless tires haven’t hit it big..._1247225051694

Innovative Airless Tires by Michelin | Toxel.com
The tire that doesn’t run on air. I wonder of we really gain much from a design like this though?

In Pursuit of Elegance | Emotional Design Delivers Intangible Value_1247225062000

Emotional Design Delivers Intangible Value
I’m not a Pottery Barn shopper so I can’t vouch for their emotional design. But it does seem like an interesting process to consider.

 The New Practice of User-Centered Design, by Robert Fabricant - Core77_1247225074363

Tools of Engagement: The New Practice of User-Centered Design, by Robert Fabricant
Asking big questions, hard to know if the authour is right or not when we look back in a couple years.

Advertising Could Do With More of Bernbach's Genius - Advertising Age - Al Ries_1247225091273

Advertising Could Do With More of Bernbach’s Genius
I wonder if someone under thirty would write something like this?

'Le Tour' Rolls into Austin - Grids - SPD.ORG - Grids_1247225102660

‘Le Tour’ Rolls into Austin
I hope this show makes it’s way up to NYC. Looks fascinating.

Photographers » Blog Archive » My other pair of eyes and hands | Blogs |_1247225114394

My other pair of eyes and hands
One photographer’s experience shooting bike racing.

Italian Federation Calls For Redesign Of Pozzato's Jersey | Cyclingnews.com_1247225124208

Italian Federation calls for redesign of Pozzato’s jersey
Maybe they should have hired a real designer instead of having the cyclist design the shirt.

 Sarah Palin in spandex

JerkStrong How Lance Armstrong is like Sarah Palin.
Interesting connection between Lance and Sarah. There’s also some brand advice to be found in the post.

Molecular Voices » A lesson on (im)personal brand management from “LeVideotape” James_1247225151966

A lesson on (im)personal brand management from “LeVideotape” James
If this happens to be true—crazy…

FRANGRY - I love our president. (image via Yahoo News)_1247225130932

I love our president. (image via Yahoo News)

This photo could turn iconic.

KinoSport | Black Sun, Closet Plus_1247225138902

Black Sun, Closet Plus
I’m sure there’s a logically explanation for all these settings—but would you even want to guess?

A couple Stanford d.school students try converting people on the freeway



A friend passed me on a video of a project designed by some Stanford d.school students. The process and explanation of the project is quite smart, though their hypothesis maybe not so much and the results were kind of dangerous to all involved. Taking on the issue of the daily commute, they wanted to disrupt the normal highway flow by driving slower to get people to consider that maybe driving wasn’t the best option. Their process in the video makes sense, but what works on paper isn’t always the best idea in the real world. “One guy tried to run us off the road” goes one of the slides as they described what happened when they drove 60 mph instead of the legal limit of 70 mph. To be honest I was like wtf—if I was driving I’d be angry too. While the video is a great example of showing design process I’d say the actual results we far less successful and were possibly a failure. What one person considers disruption another might consider it as design anarchism.

There was no call to action—people were forced to drive slower, but instead of turning that anger from the people driving behind into something positive they just left people angry. There wasn’t any two way communication. While it wouldn’t have been any safer they should have placed a piece of communication on the back of their vehicle to explain what they were doing. Even with a sign it would have been a dangerous stunt. In the end I’m not sure they accomplished a lot of actionable items. Are any of those drivers affected by that one day of slowness going to change their behaviour? Probably not. Would a billboard have been any more effective though safer—again probably not.

Changing people’s behviour through design has never been easy—consumer behaviour maybe, but not necessarily people’s day to day life. In some respects it’s like trying to convert someone to a different religion or turn a beef eater into a vegetarian. If people don’t want to do it, they’re not going to do it. There’s also a balance between righteousness and trying to make the world a better place. It’s a tricky line in the sand for people to consider. As we do live in a democratic world that people can consider options, a better design would have been to set a goal that can be measured through actionable items. Anything that is more about awareness is a good idea, but how will you know if you’ve made a difference?

EDITORS NOTE: 2 hours after the initial post and passing them on some feedback they emailed me this video explaining some of their results.

and in the email “Thanks for your feedback! Based on the feedback of you and a few others, we’ve made another version to cater to a non-design crowd. By the way, we did have signs on the back of our cars, but that was not apparent from the video. The hope is this second video is interesting enough to start getting people’s attention, and then begin spreading through the web.”

I’m so happy to be here


I’m not sure if the wait of three days in an airport will ever make me trust Air Canada again, but I’m so happy to be back in NYC. The flight that I did finally get out was an hour late leaving, but the company I had beside me was pretty fascinating. Having a friendly person to talk with always makes a flight go faster. I’m not sure I really need to talk anymore about the irritation and lack of comfort that Air Canada gave me, but I thought it might be nice to say that in the end I got my bag when I arrived at LGA. That makes me happy too.

A couple thoughts about airport living

Two days of cancelled flights from Toronto to NYC

Two days of cancelled flights from Toronto to NYC

This is day three of trying to fly back to NYC from Toronto. The irony that it only took four days to drive from Edmonton to NYC (2,500 miles) last year has not been lost on me. I was extremely lucky to have a friend take me in over the two nights – otherwise I probably would have just slept in the airport. I’ve had a lot of time to think of course, mostly in terms what went right and wrong during the days where I’ve been stuck at the airport and having never experienced a flight cancellation before.

Aside from the flight cancellations the airport has also managed to loose my suitcase, I’ll be making a report in NYC but I’m not going to hold my breath. Early on in the process I had decided not to even worry about the actual flight cancellations, but the suitcase thing has bothered me a lot. The first thing that I would redesign is how a person can keep track of their bag. Each checked bag has a barcode. Why not be able to check the status location from your cell or laptop, similar to the way you can keep track of a FedEx package? I would be willing to pay for that kind of convenience. Of course I’m never going to check a bag in again, but it’s something airlines should consider. I love how Air Canada and I assume every other airline is the same in abstaining in any responsibility for my lost time and expenses occurred b/c they didn’t have an available airplane. The excuse is that weather cancellations is not their fault. I don’t accept it, but there’s nothing I can do about it. A little good will could go a long way – give me free wifi at least.

The only reason why being stranded hasn’t totally weathered me down is that I’ve had my laptop and wifi that I’ve had to pay for. Ten bucks isn’t a huge inconvenience, but free is always better in my opinion. Staying in touch through IM, Facebook, Flickr and email has eased the boredom a lot. Power to keep the laptop running has been the only thing to worry about it. I’ve got two batteries that probably last three or four hours depending on what I’m doing. There’s electrical outlets near some of the seats, but there should be more. So it’s been a process of making sure my batteries are full and deciding how much time I want to be away from a power outlet. You never know when the power might go out and you need the extra battery life for something else. Did I mention that my cell cord to charge the battery is my suitcase? So my limited ability to conserve cell power has lead to some interesting ways to communicate with others. Again email has been a lifeline except when your in a restricted area such as baggage claim. So to let Mark who was picking me up know where I was, I had to rely on my one level of power to let him know that I was endlessly waiting for my bag.

I’ve come to learn that the Airport in Toronto has a sense of humour. Any checked international baggage that doesn’t make it out should find it’s way onto carousel number 13. Lucky thirteen right – the first day it was for me as I was able to get my bag the first night I was stranded here. The second day it was unlucky. No bag in sight. Of course there’s absolutely no signs mention that 13 is the carousel for that type of situation, there was one announcement an hour after I found out. Another mystery was trying to figure out how to leave the terminal after clearing American Customs once the flight had to be cancelled. I eventually tracked down someone that had to open a secure door where I found myself going through Canadian Customs. But by day two there was almost a routine to the chaos. I learned to embrace long lines, understanding that that there was a 50/50 chance of it being the line I needed to be in.

So the next time I travel, this is how I would plan my trip. 1. I would bring a suitcase that didn’t need to be checked in, no matter how long I’m away for. 2. I would have 2 batteries for my cell and laptop charged up. 3. I would have all the important flight information on my computer and paper format. That would include phone numbers for the airline and confirmation codes. 4. I would also write down important phone numbers and other information in case the cell or laptop dies. 5. For the laptop scenario to happen, you actually need a laptop – I find it extremely difficult not to have my computer with me at all times, so that’s a given, but if you’re wondering if you should or shouldn’t bring it, I would. It’s all common sense of course, but it’s a good idea to think about what you would do ahead of time if the ideal situation doesn’t work out.

the Moleskine City Blogs

moleskine city

Everyone likes Moleskine though sadly my nomination of it for the People’s Design Award didn’t win. Then there was the Moleskine City Guides, a pretty good idea for the closet tourist. You could open one of the books up to find directions without fear. Now to extend things further there’s the the Moleskine City Blogs. Just like the books, the blog covers London, Milan, New York, Paris and Rome separately and together. You could either look at one particular city or combine them all.

Crumpler mini matches

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crumpler mini matches, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

Walking around for a couple days in NYC with my new black MacBook, I started to feel that the bag I was carrying wasn’t up to the challenge. Lucky for me I found the Crumpler store. Just a couple doors down from Rice to Riches, I checked the bag store out. Of course I found the bag of my dreams, but more noteworthy was one of their giveaways that I’m now talking about. They had these really nifty mini matches. They’ve got this really cool scale to them and how can you not smile when you look at them – just like they’re bags.

NYC Groove

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IMGP1315.JPG, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

After a long needed break I went back to NYC. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking about some of the discussions I had, some of the things I saw, and ultimately what inspired me as a designer.

But for now as I catch my breath, I need to thank a lot of people for their kindness and help. So Eric, Caren, Piers, Noah, Mark, Roger, Marion and lots of other people out there – thanks for making NYC just a little bit smaller and showing me what you luv about your city. It won’t be forgotten.

Visiting NYC

I’ll be in NYC mid next week. If you have any suggestions on things to see or do, please speak up. I guess the question becomes, do you visit the places you’ve already enjoyed, or do you throw caution to the wind and take a 50/50 chance that you’ll see something even better than the previous time?

Montreal, a “City of Design”

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization awarded Montreal a “UNESCO City of Design”. The only other cities to have been given the award are Buenos Aires and Berlin in 2005. Quoted here “Montreal is a city where design and designers, be they involved in the fields of interior, industrial, graphic, fashion or architectural design, represent a dynamic force of cultural and economic life. According to recent statistics, design is responsible for 20,356 jobs in Montreal’s metropolitan area and economic spin-offs of more than $750 million. Also, 65.3% of Quebec workers involved in the field of design live in the metropolitan area. Montreal is the only North American city to have established, as early as 1991, a bureau dedicated exclusively to the development and promotion of design. Important achievements are owed to this bureau, including the Commerce Design Montreal competition, which has contributed to the rise of Montreal as a city of design.”

You can read the entire press release at www.ccnmatthews.com

Via Peggy Cady

The Robot Show in Calgary

It sure seems like if you’re a designer and like to be active, UPPERCASE would be the first place to visit if you head to Calgary. Aside from the cool poster, the Robot Show looks pretty neat. Below is more info that I received in an e-mail newsletter.

The Robot Show opens this Thursday, from 6 – 10 pm.
Co-curated by Janine Vangool & Mike Kerr
Featuring robots in art, illustration, kinetic sculpture, books, toys and film!

Toby Cougar, Calgary
AJ Dimarucot, Manila
Mark Dulmadge, Calgary
Doug Fraser, Victoria
Ryan Heshka, Vancouver
James Jensen, Calgary
Mike Kerr, Calgary
Aaron Leighton, Toronto
Renata Liwska, Calgary
Patricio Oliver, Buenos Aires
Don Post, Calgary
Rick Sealock, Toronto
Janine Vangool, Calgary

If you go to their site at www.uppercasegallery.ca you can get more info on each contributor.

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