Interview: Erin Cochran on Cooking and Starting a Business

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Erin Cochran has been working with food since she was 14. From start-ups in Istanbul to fine dining in The Mission District, she has done some of everything. She runs C&B Bottling with her wife out of their home in San Francisco, and is in the process of starting her own restaurant / farm.


 

Ben Hanna: How did you originally get interested in food and cooking? How did that start?

Erin Cochran: I feel like I just sort of fell into it actually. My first job I got as a counter girl, that was my actual title, at a pasta restaurant that was right up the street from where we lived when I was a teenager. I was 14 and I went and told them I was 16 and got a job because I really wanted a job. I got that one specifically because that one was within walking distance of my house and I didn’t have to drive, because clearly I couldn’t. I worked the counter and took money and whatever else.

All the boys would smoke pot during the day.  If I worked the shifts when they were smoking, then they were more than happy to let me do the cooking as well so that they could just not do anything. Those were my favorite shifts by far. It was super fun to go back there and try to figure out how to make these different pasta dishes which at the time seemed very complicated with a lot of cooking involved. I realize now that they weren’t really.  Apart from a few weird jobs along the way — in New York I ran a magazine for a year because I got too burned out on cooking —  I never left because I liked it so much. And that’s how I got started. I just stuck with it.

Ben Hanna: Do you have any formal education in cooking?

Erin Cochran: I’ve had an unbelievable amount of jobs. I can’t remember them all, actually. I worked at a ton of different restaurants. During college I was going to school for hospitality management and was the kitchen manager of this brew pub. Of all my classes in hospitality management, the only ones that I really liked were the cooking classes, the food prep classes. All of the other business classes I did but I didn’t really enjoy. One day I was talking to my dad and said “This is the only thing I really like doing, I wonder if I should just go to culinary school?” He said “Maybe you should,” and then I applied and got in and quit school and moved to Vermont.

Ben Hanna: How long was culinary school? How long did that last for?

Erin Cochran: Two years. The school that I went to was New England Culinary, and they do a six months on campus, six months internship off campus. Six months on, six months off so it is a two full years, but you are only on campus for a year.

Ben Hanna: Did you focus on a specific type of food preparation or specific aspect of cooking?

Erin Cochran: No, I did not. I really didn’t want to. New England is a very French school, so I got a lot of French technique, but I really didn’t want to focus too hard on anything. I’ve always really wanted a very well-rounded education, whether I’m getting that through school or through what job I choose to take. The biggest selling point for taking a job for me is learning, and I’ll take a lot less money if I know that I’m going to be able to learn something.

My CouchSurfing job was great because I got to learn about sort of taking care of specific small dinners. Having to do that all on my own, plus getting to travel, which is something different and learning in and of itself. But yeah, everything I’ve taken has been about “What can I learn here?”

Ben Hanna: You have cooked for a lot of different places, which one have you enjoyed the most or one that was really out there?

Erin Cochran: I was a general manager of this weird little place called Dreamliner’s in Sacramento for a year that was all, like, middle-aged mothers that were putting food in Ziploc bags and taking it home and cooking it. That was maybe the weirdest food job I’ve ever had. As far as what I like best, Heirloom is definitely one of my favorite jobs, if not my favorite. And mostly it was, I really love designing menus.

Ben Hanna: Designing menus?

Erin Cochran: I could just sit home and geek out and design hundreds of menus if I had the place to cook them.

Ben Hanna: When you’re designing a menu, how do you approach that? Do you kind of look at what ingredients you can get right now that are fresh and local and move on with that?

Erin Cochran: Yeah, so I don’t think of ideas very well while I’m standing up in a kitchen. I need to sit down and have a piece of paper to write on.

Ben Hanna: Do you need to be hungry?

Erin Cochran: I actually don’t need to be hungry, no. It’s probably better if I’m not.

Erin Cochran: So I sit down with a piece of paper and I go through the emails we get every day from our produce company, meat company, and fish company talking about what they have that’s coming in that’s really good. I’ll make a list of things that I want to work with, and then I will pick out an ingredient, like Brussels sprouts, and I will make a list of a few things that go really well with Brussels sprouts. Squash, or Parmesan, or bacon.

And then I’ll use that list to start — if I did roasted Brussels sprouts, how could I work in bacon? Does it need to be bacon? Could it be pancetta, could it be prosciutto? And I just start going through options until I have ten different menu items with Brussels sprouts, bacon, and horseradish. Then I sort of tweak it and go from there.

Ben Hanna: A couple of years ago you and Steph started another company making and selling tonic. What were some of the most interesting trials you came up against that you had no idea you were about to hit?

Erin Cochran: Well, just starting a business in general is very tricky. There are lists of things that you “need” from the city to be able to have a business. But there are a lot of chicken and egg situations when starting a business in the city.

You need your health permit, but you can’t get your health permit until you have your business license. And your business license, they don’t know if they can give you until they know you’re going to make safe food.

Maybe I should have anticipated that, but I thought it would be a little bit more straightforward because so many people have started businesses. You just think it must be not that hard. Actually, it’s pretty complicated.

Ben Hanna: Yeah – it is not easy.

Erin Cochran: We didn’t expect to sell as much as we did, which has created its own sort of problems. Good problems.

Ben Hanna: How has it changed your approach, I mean, from cooking in your kitchen and bottling with spray on labels to what you’re doing now?

Erin Cochran: Right now we’re trying to even get out of producing it entirely because we have to make tonic about once a week or so. Originally we made batches of ten cases and we’d bring those ten cases home think “I have no idea how we’re ever going to move through these. I can’t believe we just made ten cases of tonic.”

Now we make batches of 25 cases and half of them are sold by the time we get them home, which is great but also tiring. So we’ve started looking at taking a really big leap and hiring a co-packer to make them for us. Most co-packers have a minimum of 500 cases. So we are thinking of changing our production from 25 cases at a time to 500 cases, which is terrifying because it’s a significant personal investment.

We have to pay for the whole thing up front and we have to find somewhere to store them in the meantime. We need to sell at least a third of them before we start making any money whatsoever off of them depending on how much our storage costs are. It’s really scary. But if we don’t want to do this, if we don’t want to invest this money into it, then maybe we should fold. We might as well quit if we’re not going to move forward.

Ben Hanna: What was it like starting a business with your wife and continuing to run it for several years?

Erin Cochran:We definitely had some conflict at the beginning. We both started out really excited but it took several months to sort of figure out what both of us liked to do, especially when we both had full time jobs. It’s been easier with me not having a full time job. She really likes to go out and talk to people about the tonic and sell it, and I am a much bigger fan of sending off emails and making sure all of our finances are in order. Doing all the business side of it.

In the beginning it was difficult. We had a few fights about who was doing what and if each person was working as hard as the other one and if we really wanted to do this. Now we’ve fallen into a rhythm of “I do those these things and you do these things.” Sometimes we cross over if either of us needs help, but pretty much we have our own functions, and we work really, really well together.

Ben Hanna: I think it just takes time to get to that point. There’s no way to do it except to just start doing it.

Erin Cochran: Sure. It takes time and for sure, you just have to figure out, and you don’t really know when you go into it what you’re going to like to do. There are things that I thought I would like doing, like making the tonic. I thought that that could be fun, and it was fun for two batches and then both of us were pretty over it.

Ben Hanna:  You recently left Heirloom and are striking out on your own. What led you to make that decision and what are you looking forward to next?

Erin Cochran: I was at Heirloom for four years, which is the longest job I’ve ever had. I felt like I had kind of maxed what I could do there unless I bought into the restaurant. I had been offered the opportunity to buy part of the restaurant and I was really, really considering it. After a few months of thinking about it I just realized that if I bought part of this restaurant, then I would probably never be free, truly free to go and open my place. I would always be worried about not putting all of my energy into this thing I already owned.

So I decided I couldn’t do that, and at that point, I guess I’m not going to move forward with this. Then I’m only using it to be comfortable. And if I’m only trying to be comfortable, then I’m not going to keep moving forward.

Ben Hanna: Right.

Erin Cochran: I decided that the only way to really push myself to move forward and to try to start a restaurant on my own was to leave Heirloom. I’m in a really fortunate position that I have a wife that can support the both of us. That gave me the freedom to be able to leave and start looking for restaurant spaces and put all of my efforts into that.

Ben Hanna: And right now you’re in this in-between time. You are also doing something pretty unique, which is going back to cooking small meals all by yourself for groups of people with Feastly.

Erin Cochran: Yeah, for sure. Those are super fun.

Ben Hanna: How’s that going?

Erin Cochran: It’s going really well, actually. I had a dinner last night that went super well. The meals are fun but not big moneymakers by any means. I’m buying small quantities of things, not like a restaurant, so my food cost is pretty high. And I spend maybe 18 actual prep hours preparing for each of them.

Ben Hanna: That’s a lot.

Erin Cochran: So, as far as what I get paid by the hour for these, it’s nothing, but they’re super fun. It’s fun to be cooking again. Just looking on the computer for restaurants and working on a business plans, it starts to feel like I have an office job and like I’ve sort of lost touch with what I want to do.

Ben Hanna: You’re also treating these meals strategically in that you’re doing a little bit of restaurant test prep as well, right?

Erin Cochran: Sure, yeah. I have a sort of unique design that I want for the restaurant, which is a set family meal, or a set meal that’s kind of like a family meal that everyone in my restaurant will get. These dinners that I’m doing sort of gives me the opportunity to test that out and see how well it goes over, see how the flow works, and see how I can tweak it a little bit.

Ben Hanna: You say you want to do a family dinner, a set meal. How did you arrive at that being the food experience you want people to have?

Erin Cochran: At Heirloom I was a cook, but I was also a server, so I’ve had the chance to really talk to people about their meals and talk them through menus. I have found that more often than not, people don’t enjoy trying to figure out what they’re going to eat.

When they sit down and they have a menu, it feels a little bit stressful, and they don’t really know what wine to choose and they need help, and they don’t know what’s best coming out of the kitchen, they don’t know if they’re making the wrong choice. You can visibly see people relax once they have a glass of wine, and once they’ve decided what they’re going to have, and they can actually have a conversation.

So, when I have friends come into the restaurant, I often don’t even give them a menu. I’ll just tell them “This is what I think you should drink, these are the best things we have, that’s what I’m going to send you, we’re going to do it all family style.” So, then no one thinks “I want what they’re having.” It’s just a nicer, more communal feeling that way. It’s like you’re sitting down with your friends to have a good experience, not to analyze all the food and figure out where everybody went wrong.

Ben Hanna: What’s your timeline right now for the restaurant?

Erin Cochran: Gosh, that’s an impossible question. We have this spot that we’re both really interested in and that I’ve gone up to see several times. It’s in Sebastopol, but it’s not zoned correctly, so we need to talk to the city about whether they would be willing to rezone it commercial.  My number one person that I need to convince is the supervisor of Sebastopol, and I have a meeting with him January 7th. He can’t tell me a definite yes or no because I won’t have any of my environmental studies and traffic studies and whatnot done. But if he says that he thinks that he would be willing to approve it, then we’re looking at about nine months for applications and all that to go through.

At that point we can start construction, so that will take another maybe nine months to a year. That particular spot is a little ways out. If we happened to find another spot that was already zoned or that was already a restaurant even, then the timeline could shorten significantly. It just depends on what we find, and we’re looking for something pretty unique, so it could pop up tomorrow or it could take two years for us to find something.

Ben Hanna: Is your goal to pull locally from where you are, or to be a destination restaurant – where people are driving an hour and a half, two hours to get there for this experience?

Erin Cochran: I honestly think it could be both. The way that I want to approach the service and the community-oriented family-style meal, I think it could become a definite local hangout. I’m not planning on making it astronomically expensive. I want it to be somewhere that normal people can go to, so I think it could be something that locals want to go to. I’m also hoping it will be a unique enough experience that people are going to be willing to drive to get there.


Thanks Erin! If you want to try some of her excellent tonic, you can order it at http://www.candbbottling.com/ .

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Interview: Justin Cutter of Compass Green

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Justin runs Compass Green — a school garden on wheels.  It is a fully functional greenhouse built in the back of an 18ft. box truck that grows vegetables, grains, and herbs and is powered by waste vegetable oil.  He travels the country teaching students. I talked with him about some of the ins and out of his business.


 

Ben Hanna: How many students are you serving a year right now?

Justin Cutter: This year, I taught 10,000 students, which is my goal since I started Compass Green – to be teaching 10,000 students with one truck per year. 

Ben Hanna: How did the idea for Compass Green kick off?

Justin Cutter: I had been working with John Jeavons, this world-famous agriculturalist, to help start a program called the Green Belt Team with the goal to train people to go to developing nations and start sustainability centers.

After doing that, I felt like I wanted to do something for agriculture in my own country. I started traveling to colleges and teaching workshops on Biointensive sustainable agriculture, which is just a kick ass system that is super productive and super sustainable.

When I was part of that I would also give this presentation on our global food situation and what our choices about food are doing to our bodies and our planet. How it can be incredibly positive, but right now we’re on a pretty bad track.

Those would be open to the public and some were very well attended. There are all people who are already interested in sustainability and I saw pretty quickly that I was falling into these traps of preaching to the choir, which is a very enjoyable thing to do but not very productive. I realized that if I’m actually going to make any difference in sustainability in the US, then I would have to reach the people who:

1) Did not have access to this kind of thing.

2) Who were also “just” interested… The people who saw a poster for a talk about food sustainability or anything with the word ‘sustainable’ in it. People who would just not want to go because it would trigger some kind of trippy tree-hugger sentiment that they didn’t want to be a part of.

Around that time, one of my old high school buddies called me with this idea to turn a truck into a greenhouse. He was thinking of going to farmer’s market and stuff like that and knew that I was in agriculture and so that’s why he brought it up to me. 

To me, I instantly felt like it was a fantastic idea but instead of using it as a way for us to have an adventure in itself and it seems like an amazing way to have an adventure and really reach people who would not, otherwise, be exposed to this kind of education and teach them about sustainability.

The truck would serve both as a vehicle to get to those places but also as a really cool interest piece that would capture the attention and imagination of the audiences, regardless whether they were already interested in gardening or sustainability or anything like that.

From there, we just ran with it. Started up in Brooklyn, New York in 2011.

Ben Hanna: You guys actually started by funding yourselves with a Kickstarter, right?

Justin Cutter: We did, yeah. Kickstarter was very crucial for us. We didn’t have any money and we weren’t interested in going into major debt to get us off the ground so we did a Kickstarter campaign and were successful in meeting our goal of $27,000. That was enough to buy the truck and retrofit it into a mobile greenhouse that can also be run off of vegetable waste vegetable oil.

Ben Hanna: How are you funded now? What’s your primary source of income?

Justin Cutter: Right now, the primary source of income is corporate sponsorship. We work with a few corporate partners that are supportive of our mission and would like to see it extend. Secondary funding comes from small grants. The last little bit of funding every year comes from individual donations. As soon as I have enough time and a team of people that can just dedicate time to it, then we would be going after some of the bigger grants.

Ben Hanna: I know right now you post on Facebook about how you’re trying to find interns before each tour that you do. How have you gone about finding the right person to offer an internship to? Who is the right person for your tour?

Justin Cutter: We’ve found a few on Omprakash.org, which is a really amazing organization online that gets volunteers to connect with volunteer opportunities around the world. I was reading the application of a guy from Portugal, who found us through that. Also Facebook and people passing it around. Most of the interns have actually come from those just through word of mouth, somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody would be interested in this kind of thing.

The right kind of person for the internship is somebody who already knows something about sustainable farming and has a strong interest in Education. Also, a little bit of the activist standpoint that education is a much more sustainable form of activism. We really are trying to change how farming is done in the US and we are doing that through education.

A typical intern would be for us recently out of college, looking to gain more experience. They know that they want to work in a benefit company that is a non-profit organization in the field of sustainability or agriculture. Someone who wants to get involved in education, and to learn a little bit more about how non-profits are run. Also, somebody who’s really outgoing and down for an adventure because that’s a big part of it as well. That’s part of the thing that really draws people to our project.

Ben Hanna: How do you go about setting up a tour and booking updates? How do you go about getting the right contacts at the place that you’re trying to go and setting out those appointments?

Justin CutterWhen it first began, it was just wherever the heck we wanted. We started in New York and said, “Let’s have an amazing educational road trip adventure  in New England over the summer.” Going to summer camps, down the East Coast in the fall, and across the south in the late fall. That was our first tour.

Ben Hanna: Would you just call a summer camp up and say, “Hey, we are driving around, can we stop and give a talk to your kids?”

Justin Cutter: That’s exactly what we did. This is the area we wanted to be going through because our friend has an awesome beach house that we’ve always wanted to visit. Let’s see what summer camps are in the area. We started off like that and went where we wanted and looked up places in the area on the internet.

Since then, I now have lots of schools reaching out to me. I’ll look out at the schools that seem most interesting and see if it corresponds to an area that I would like to be teaching in.

I’m definitely susceptible to being won over by a school that says they really need it. If one school is really good at that, then I’ll build my tour around a couple of different schools. 

I’ll look up the States database for FRPM or Free Reduced Price Meals. That’s pretty much how you figure out how poor a school is.

I’ll look for a school where over 60% of the students getting free meals, which means they’re below the poverty level. I’ll call them and follow-up with an e-mail. I’d say doing it that way, maybe 1 in 4 schools actually get back to me because most of these don’t have a lot of resources or are  also really strapped for time. It’s hard to even get anybody to respond.

Ben Hanna: You’ve been at the Maker Faire recently and Disney did a feature… How has the publicity changed what you’re doing and the possibilities that you see in the future?

Justin Cutter: The more that we get out there, the more flexibility we have to choose where we want to go. It still happens that the majority of the schools that reach out to us are schools that have the resources to have somebody looking, paying attention and keeping their eye out for projects like ours. We don’t usually actually go to those schools.

 Compass Green has always had a pretty good relationship with media. We did a bunch of interviews while we’re starting up in Brooklyn and some other online publications. From that, right away, some people were reaching out and contacting us. That did help direct our tour a little bit. Now that it’s really going out there with an article in Sunset Magazine and the San Francisco’s Chronicle, which I think kicked off an article in Tree Hugger magazine and then on to Disney.

It keeps getting out there more. More and more schools hear about it and start contacting us.

Ben Hanna:  Are you fully saturated now? Could you get to more schools even if they wanted you to come to them or do you not have enough time?

Justin Cutter: I could to go to more schools if they wanted me to come, but if more media came in, then I probably could spend my time a little bit better and not have to be reaching out to more schools. 10% of the schools that reach out to me are the kind of schools with the right demographic that we are really focusing on. If it goes from 200 schools reaching out to me to a thousand, then I’ve got a much better chance of not having to look up anything on States database and be making any calls, so that’s really useful.

Ben Hanna: Are you doing anything actively to help further your storyline and narrative in the media?

Justin Cutter: In terms of me reaching out to them, ironically, the only times that I’ve ever really done the PR job and contacted the local media in the places that we’re going to, it hasn’t been better.

Ben Hanna: How do you budget your time and what do you use to do that?

Justin Cutter: When I’m on tour, it’s really a 24/7 gig for 6-8 weeks at a time. You can never turn it off. When I’m off tour, it’s kind of similar to that. I think that anybody who owns their own business will be able to relate to not being able to turn it off because the to-do-list is always stacked up a mile high.

You’re never ever going to get to all of them. So somewhere in your mind, whenever you’re taking some down time for health or fun, you are thinking of all those things that needed to be done, especially today with our phones that connect us, it’s really tempting to be working on it. 

I do make an effort to tie in some adventures to it to keep me refreshed and healthy… I use those surfboards that I’m carrying around with me or I use the rock climbing gear on the weekends. That makes me able to focus and do what needs to be done. When I’m not on the road, it’s similar, probably work more like 60-hour work week and try to take time to myself as much as I can. 

Ben Hanna: When does your next tour start?

Justin Cutter: Next tour is going to start in the end of February in Southern California and run until the beginning of April.

Thanks Justin! You can find out more about Justin and Compass Green at compassgreenproject.org, and if you know a school that could benefit from his program, send him a message or email info@compassgreenproject.org.

WorkShop Winter Clean

I generally live with a decent amount of chaos, and am not fastidious about being neat and organized in my physical life. Digitally, I like things trackable, with in reach at a thought, and where they belong. However, there is a certain satisfaction that I get from taking chaos and transforming it into order that only comes when using my hands to make it so.

This weekend we tackled “The WorkShop.” It had become a nightmare.

Ahhh!!

After a few projects left un-resolved, and the need to store my old car for our three month road trip, this place had become a glorified storage container.

No more!

  • Step 1: Sell the car. Done in 2 hours via Craigslist. Cash in hand.
  • Step 2: Clear out the stuff we don’t need. Street pile and junk garbage pick up.
  • Step 3: Have a place for all things. Working on it!

Now to just put the stuff on the tables away…

Getting there… Still more to do.

Back Home

Coming home after a 3 month / 11,000 mile road trip is somewhat of an adjustment.

No longer do I need to spend any time planning where I will be next, or how I need to get there. No longer is finding a place to camp how I end every day.

After a week of driving from 6am to 11pm every day to get across the country, I am taking time to just relax. But man, will I will miss those views…

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Autodidactic Learning

I have recently been asked my opinion on returning to school by a few friends. We are all in our late 20’s, and it is a transformative time. The pervasive feeling seems to be either to commit to your current career, or make a shift, now by going back to school for some more education. (Personally, I plan to shift my career and focus every five years or so until I die.)

Going back to school for a PhD, Masters, or other degree or certificate can be a good choice, but in this day and age where you can learn anything online, showing what you know is often better than a degree.

My alternate approach to learning started early. High School always frustrated me. I felt that it was using an outdated model which placed in inordinate value on my ability to memorize and repeat random facts. Learning was not spontaneous. Most teachers would not follow an idea deep and emerge somewhere unexpected. They followed the lessons.

I used to spend long hours at home in our basement “playing around” on the family computer. I had discovered that I could learn real skills and applicable knowledge online. I taught myself how to code HTML and CSS, how to use Photoshop, After Effects, 3D design programs and video editors. My brother and I filmed sci fi battles where we rotoscoped lightsabers in place of brooms, shot electric fireballs across rooms and played with slow motion.

My junior year I joined the yearbook staff, and taught myself pagemaker / indesign. We decided to do an additional digital yearbook that year, and it fell to me and and a classmate to put it all together. For the first time I started learning to project manage and juggle operations tasks.

I got into film photography, and convinced a family friend to pay me to photograph a birthday party. I learned by trial and error again how to best compose, develop and sell photos. These trials led to a job doing product photography and web design for a pre-Etsy custom parasol designer. (Prissy Parasols!)

Recently, I wanted to get into woodworking. I spend most my time on a computer, and I wanted to build things with my hands. Things that don’t disappear when the battery dies or the power goes out. Things that might outlive me.

I joined a free furniture building class at the San Francisco Community college. It was initially great, and provided access to tools, and an instructor who was knowledgable. Unfortunately, the class was large, several people were slow learners, and I couldn’t move at my own speed.

I ended up spending $1,000 on wood-shop tools via Craigslist, and through trial and error, Youtube videos, and immersion I taught myself basic furniture building. I now know other woodworkers who I can learn from, and have work to show for my time.

Arguably, I learned more from these attempts that I ever could in school. True learning follows passion, which can only develop from experimentation and immersion.

Cafe Culture

The social role of cafes in 2013 – 2014

I went to a cafe this morning to get some work done and change up my work environment. It always helps me zone in and focus. I am able to set an “Until my battery dies, I will work on this one project” time frame.

Today, the world had other plans. I got to the cafe, ordered food, got my coffee sat down, and… no internet. Hmm. Went to the counter and asked about it.

Yeah, it is down. We have a guy coming this afternoon to fix it.

I personally was upset, because I had just paid for food at this place expecting to stay their for the morning and work.

This brings up the question “What is the primary purpose of a cafe in 2013–2014?” I was planning on using it for internet and to work. Others were there for food and socializing. Most people had laptops out. What is the primary use of the “Third Space?”

As an experiment, I pulled out a sharpie from my bag, and clandestinely hung an “Internet is down :( ” sign from the door. As I watched from the window while I ate my food, I saw person after person frown and turn away — headed to more internet rich pastures. In fact, of those who saw the sign not a one entered the cafe.

How often do you go to cafes alone for a meal vs to work?

5 Tools to Optimize your Web Design Workflow

The toolbox you have for creating websites affects the projects you work on and how you approach them. If it is hard to do something you will do it less often, which means you may take the easy way out. These are some of the tools I use that will help you optimize your web design workflow.

CodeKit – you want this, it makes your images smaller, automatically injects CSS changes to your page from Sublime Text so you can code live, and will compile SASS or LESS to CSS automatically if you ever start using either of those CSS languages. (Use SASS, it is better, and has more support in the professional community)

Chrome’s Developer tools are going to be your best friend. Built-in to Chrome, they let you test everything for problems, design in the browser, and will let you learn how to code better than any other tool. Simply right click on any part of a web page anywhere, select “Inspect Element” and it will show you where the element was created in the code, the css that styles it, and allow you to edit it.

STFP – this is a plugin for Sublime Text that allows you to upload via FTP from within Sublime, and sync local and remote version of your website. Saves having to use Cyberduck for most things.

Emmet – This is a shorthand system for creating large amounts of HTML quickly. Learn the basics first, but once you understand what you are doing, graduate quickly to this style of writing HTML. It allows you to plan the skeleton of your site rapidly, and fill in from the in side out. There is a plugin for Sublime Text.

Adobe Fireworks – A big one – this tool is perfectly set up for web design. It has object based layers, will show you the CSS that is needed to make the designs you create, and it allows you to make clickable mockups.

That should be enough to fill your weekend ;)

Wool – The Silo Saga

Wool is one of the best science fiction stories I have read in recent years. If you like dystopian futures, this series is made for you. Part of a set, this Wool Omnibus is books 1-5. There are prequel and sequel sets as well, but starting with this set works best.

It is written by Hugh Howey, and was a breakthrough success. He was originally planning to write one, but his fan insisted, and he followed up with the whole series.

  • Number 1 Bestseller on Amazon
  • Winner of Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book of 2012 Award

PopSci turns off comments because they are “bad for science”

PopSciPopular Science has made the choice to turn off comments because they can be “bad for science.”

Comments are a common problem on the internet, and they tend to trend towards the lowest common denominator. Youtube is known for its miserable comments, and Google has recently been addressing this by incorporating Google+ moderation into it’s youtube commenting system.

While debate is an important part of a community, it seems that until there is a way to make sure that they don’t degenerate into meaningless arguments, they will be more and more moderated.

$1 Oysters in San Francisco and the East Bay

 

$1 Oysters in San Francisco and the East Bay

I love raw oysters on the half shell. I grew up eating gulf coast oysters by the bucket full with my grandfather, and have loved them ever since. They can be expensive, but they don’t have to be!

I put together this list of where to get $1 oysters in San Francisco and the East Bay no matter what night of the week it is – I hope it is helpful.

Enjoy!

East Bay

San Francisco

Monday

  • Luka’s Taproom & Lounge

    2221 Broadway

    (between Franklin St & Grand Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94612

    (510) 451-4677

  • Marica Restaurant

    5301 College Ave

    (between Hudson St & Manila Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94618

    (510) 985-8388

  • Cafe Rouge ($1.25 every day, $1.00 sundays)

    1782 4th St

    (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave)
    Berkeley, CA 94710

    (510) 525-1440

  • Hog & Rocks (5:00-6:30)

    3431 19th St

    (between San Carlos St & Mission St)

    San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Waterbar (11:30-5:30)

    399 The Embarcadero S

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 284-9922

  • Boxing Room (11:30-4:30)

    399 GROVE ST @ GOUGH

    San Francisco, CA 94102

    415-430-6590

  • Mission Rock Resort (3:00 – 7:00)

    817 Terry Francois Blvd

    San Francisco, CA 94158

    415-701-7625

Tuesday

  • The Rockin’ Crawfish


    211 Foothill Blvd

    (between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94606

  • Marica Restaurant

    5301 College Ave

    (between Hudson St & Manila Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94618

    (510) 985-8388

  • Cafe Rouge ($1.25 every day, $1.00 sundays)

    1782 4th St

    (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave)
    Berkeley, CA 94710

    (510) 525-1440

  • Hog & Rocks (5:00-6:30)

    3431 19th St

    (between San Carlos St & Mission St)

    San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Woodhouse Fish Company

    2073 Market St

    (between 14th St & Reservoir St)

    San Francisco, CA 94114

    (415) 437-2722

  • Waterbar (11:30-5:30)

    399 The Embarcadero S

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 284-9922

  • Bar Crudo (5:00-6:30)

    655 Divisadero St

    (between Grove St & Hayes St)

    San Francisco, CA 94117

    (415) 409-0679

  • Boxing Room (11:30-4:30)

    399 GROVE ST @ GOUGH

    San Francisco, CA 94102

    415-430-6590

  • Mission Rock Resort (3:00 – 7:00)

    817 Terry Francois Blvd

    San Francisco, CA 94158

    415-701-7625

Wednesday

  • The Rockin’ Crawfish


    211 Foothill Blvd

    (between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94606

  • Marc 49

    4915 Telegraph Ave

    (between 51st St & 49th St)

    Oakland, CA 94609

    (510) 652-2100

  • Marica Restaurant

    5301 College Ave

    (between Hudson St & Manila Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94618

    (510) 985-8388

  • Cafe Rouge ($1.25 every day, $1.00 sundays)

    1782 4th St

    (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave)
    Berkeley, CA 94710

    (510) 525-1440

  • Hog & Rocks (5:00-6:30)

    3431 19th St

    (between San Carlos St & Mission St)

    San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Waterbar (11:30-5:30)

    399 The Embarcadero S

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 284-9922

  • Bar Crudo (5:00-6:30)

    655 Divisadero St

    (between Grove St & Hayes St)

    San Francisco, CA 94117

    (415) 409-0679

  • Boxing Room (11:30-4:30)

    399 GROVE ST @ GOUGH

    San Francisco, CA 94102

    415-430-6590

  • Mission Rock Resort (3:00 – 7:00)

    817 Terry Francois Blvd

    San Francisco, CA 94158

    415-701-7625

Thursday

  • Marica Restaurant

    5301 College Ave

    (between Hudson St & Manila Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94618

    (510) 985-8388

  • Cafe Rouge ($1.25 every day, $1.00 sundays)

    1782 4th St

    (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave)
    Berkeley, CA 94710

    (510) 525-1440

  • Hog & Rocks (5:00-6:30)

    3431 19th St

    (between San Carlos St & Mission St)

    San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Waterbar (11:30-5:30)

    399 The Embarcadero S

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 284-9922

  • Bar Crudo (5:00-6:30)

    655 Divisadero St

    (between Grove St & Hayes St)

    San Francisco, CA 94117

    (415) 409-0679

  • Boxing Room (11:30-4:30)

    399 GROVE ST @ GOUGH

    San Francisco, CA 94102

    415-430-6590

  • Mission Rock Resort (3:00 – 7:00)

    817 Terry Francois Blvd

    San Francisco, CA 94158

    415-701-7625

Friday

  • Marica Restaurant

    5301 College Ave

    (between Hudson St & Manila Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94618

    (510) 985-8388

  • Cafe Rouge ($1.25 every day, $1.00 sundays)

    1782 4th St

    (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave)
    Berkeley, CA 94710

    (510) 525-1440

  • Hog & Rocks (5:00-6:30)

    3431 19th St

    (between San Carlos St & Mission St)

    San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Waterbar (11:30-5:30)

    399 The Embarcadero S

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 284-9922

  • Bar Crudo (5:00-6:30)

    655 Divisadero St

    (between Grove St & Hayes St)

    San Francisco, CA 94117

    (415) 409-0679

  • Boxing Room (11:30-4:30)

    399 GROVE ST @ GOUGH

    San Francisco, CA 94102

    415-430-6590

  • Mission Rock Resort (3:00 – 7:00)

    817 Terry Francois Blvd

    San Francisco, CA 94158

    415-701-7625

Saturday

  • Marica Restaurant

    5301 College Ave

    (between Hudson St & Manila Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94618

    (510) 985-8388

  • Cafe Rouge ($1.25 every day, $1.00 sundays)

    1782 4th St

    (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave)
    Berkeley, CA 94710

    (510) 525-1440

  • Waterbar (11:30-5:30)

    399 The Embarcadero S

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 284-9922

  • Bar Crudo (5:00-6:30)

    655 Divisadero St

    (between Grove St & Hayes St)

    San Francisco, CA 94117

    (415) 409-0679

Sunday

  • Marica Restaurant

    5301 College Ave

    (between Hudson St & Manila Ave)

    Oakland, CA 94618

    (510) 985-8388

  • Cafe Rouge

    1782 4th St

    (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave)
    Berkeley, CA 94710

    (510) 525-1440

  • Mayes Oyster House

    1233 Polk St

    (between Bush St & Fern St)

    San Francisco, CA 94109

    (415) 885-1233

  • Hyde Street Seafood House and Raw Bar

    1509 Hyde St

    (at Jackson St)

    San Francisco, CA 94109

    (415) 931-3474

  • Waterbar (11:30-5:30)

    399 The Embarcadero S

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 284-9922

  • Bar Crudo (5:00-6:30)

    655 Divisadero St

    (between Grove St & Hayes St)

    San Francisco, CA 94117

    (415) 409-0679

If you know of anywhere else to get $1 oysters in San Francisco and the East Bay, please let me know and I will update this list!