Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Don’t Hassle the Hoff

The Rhino and I have spent the last two and a half weeks not recovering from our recent truck sanding fiasco. I mean really valuable learning experience. Instead, we have been working round the clock getting ready for our rapidly approaching launch! We’ve been so busy, in fact, that this blog is now five days late and counting. Sorry guys. Although I do greatly enjoy and will never tire of getting the “when’s the next blog coming?” question. It makes me smile. On the inside.

 The launch party is just a mere 2ish weeks away (YIKES INFINITY!!!), and the Rhino and I decided to take some time apart so he could drive approx. 1,000 miles back and forth to Big Lake while I stayed home* and worked on such things as party planning (really fun!) to tracking down bulk spice distributors (medium fun!) to researching bookkeeping and payroll software (100% lame).
*Seeing as I got fired/laid off from my position as Bloomy1 sanding-helper.

For those of you who know the Rhino & me, you know that we are usually two peas in a pod. But the enormity of the tasks on our ever-increasing task list demanded that we divide and conquer. Good thing, too, as what happened when Rhino & his dad neared the end of the sanding/priming/painting process would have given me the mother of all whack attacks. And I probably would have died. I mean definitely.

You must be thinking, “OMG! What in the world happened?” Well, hold your horses because I’m just about to tell you!

The Story of What Happened
You know when you go the paint store to get a bucket of paint, and the guy (or girl) who mixes the paint puts the color code right there on the bucket so you know what color it is in case you have to order it again? Yeah, well that’s how it works in the normal world.

In the world of Bloomy’s, this is what actually happens: you go in and find the most perfect paint color for your truck, so you order a bucket. When you’re nearly done painting, you realize that you need to order another bucket… except the dude who mixed the paint in the first place put the WRONG code on the bucket! A code that was like 50 shades off from the actual color. And the dude has now disappeared so you can’t ask him a dang thing.

So what you’re left with is a bucket of paint that doesn’t match the perfect color at all but you have to use it anyway cuz you’re a start up and therefore on a budget of approximately seven dollars. Ahhhh! I’m a little stressed just writing about this. PS - This totally reminds me of the time* I was so stressed that my jaw muscles froze up and I sprained my thumb trying to work the kinks out.
*Last Monday.

Luckily, Rhino & his dad were able to mix the non-matching-at-all paint with some other paint to get something relatively close to the original color. Is it noticeable? Mmmm…not really.* Good thing the Rhino knows me well enough to know that it was best not to tell me about this until it was all said and done. Saved me one heart malfunction. At least.   
*Pretty much only when you look at it.

In all seriousness, the truck looks freaking slamazing and it’s all thanks to the Rhino & his Dad. You dudes rock! And you saved us at least $9,650 or more. Go team Bloomy! Although, I must admit that I will miss looking at that Frito Lay logo and laughing every time a semi-defeated Rhino said, “I got Layed.” You’d think that saying would get less funny with time, but it does not.

In any case, after over three weeks of work, Bloomy1 is sanded, primed & painted to perfection. Want to see it? Well… you’ll just have to “Follow the Beef” and meet up with us on the road! (See what I did there? That, my friends, is called a not-so-subtle self-promotion.) 

In other news: last weekend Saturday, the Rhino, Bridger, & I spent the not-71 degree and not-sunny day (seriously weather people? #uttershame) inside at the Seward library* interviewing line cook & cashier candidates. I am so happy to share that we now have a fully hired and fully awesomesauce team of roast beef lovers, ready to start training next week! Watch for introductions shortly.
*Where conference space is available for whopping zero dollars per hour. Cost savings for the win again!

Speaking of introductions, please allow me to take a moment to formally introduce (again) our food truck manager, Mr. Bridger! Aside from being completely awesomesauce, Bridger brings to the table both slamazing culinary skillz and a love of all things roast beef. He and Rhino have also developed a fairly hysterical habit of making beef jokes to each other all day long. An example of this follows:

Bridger: “What’s up, Beefid Hasselhoff?”
Rhino: “Well isn’t this a nice little beef and greet?”

This is fun for me because I get more jolly belly laughs now than ever before. Which is pretty great. Anyway, let me tantalize your taste buds with some illustrative samples of Bridger’s culinary creations:

And this!


And this!


And this!


I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely starving right now.

Alright, I need to get back to my task list seeing as we have exactly 15 days until our launch party and have a gazillion things to do before then. It’s gotten so bad that I actually found myself sitting in a meeting the other day calculating the price differential between two sizes of green peppers instead of paying attention to the meeting. And I got called on. Oops! I promise* this only happened one time…
*Fingers crossed. Doesn’t count.

Ok folks. Next time we talk, the launch will be just a few short days away. Eeek!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And The Beat Goes On.. And On... And On

Dear fellow roast beef lovers,

It is with heavy eyes and tender, swollen, sanded-down-to-nothing finger nubs that I write to you today. Finger nubs that have spent countless hours getting Bloomy1 ready for her paint job. Just how massive is this project, you might ask? Well… let me tell you a story. A story about love, loss, and misunderstanding.

The Story of Love, Loss and Misunderstanding
Once upon a time, otherwise known as two Fridays ago, the Rhino and I woke up with excitement in our hearts. The day had finally arrived when we could pick up Bloomy1 from Chameleon Concessions and bring it up to Big Lake to prep and paint it for its big debut! Since Bloomy1 had been fully wrapped with a vinyl decal (thanks a lot Frito Lay for ruining my life!) and rolled (rather crappily, I might add) with white housepaint, we knew it was going to be a lot of work. About $10,000 worth of work, according to a local auto body pal. Good thing we* had planned out a strategy in extensive detail beforehand!
*My part of this strategy was to listen to the Rhino’s plan and respond enthusiastically.  

The Plan
1.    The Rhino began the planning process by researching numerous kinds of paint thinner with the idea that we could use the most slamazing paint thinner in the world to cut through the paint and decal. Pros: he found the best paint thinner ever! Cons: No one would ship it to us because it’s considered super intense hazardous material. Yikes! Never fear though! See #2 for proof of the Rhino's adaptability skills.
2.      As proof of his adaptability skills, Rhino discovered another paint thinner with the same active ingredients sold at our local True Value hardware store. Nice recovery. High five!
3.    We figured if the paint thinner didn’t fully work, we’d just sand the truck down to its aluminum using our handy drill sanders. Good plan!

Feeling quite accomplished, we packed up the Jeep with sanders, scrapers, and paint thinner before heading to Chameleon to pick up Bloomy1. I was so excited that I kept babbling about how awesomesauce it would be to do some physical Bloomy’s work instead of sitting at a desk all the time. Think of all the calories I would burn! And the toned arms I would get! <Insert multiple Rhino eye rolls here.>

Well… when we got to the truck, we realized pretty quickly that it wouldn’t start. I will remember the sad final whimpers of that nearly dead battery forever. And when it died, I was happy when I realized that the Rhino had jumper cables in the back! Until I was informed that the Rhino had recently taken them out and replaced them with a tow rope. LIKE ANYONE EVER NEEDS A TOW ROPE!* Anyway, so we drove back home, grabbed the cables, and headed back to Bloomy1 for take 2. The jump got her ticker beating again and off we went! As it was dark, late and freezing by the time we got to Big Lake, we decided to hit the hay and get an early start on Saturday. We went to sleep with smiles on our faces, me dreaming about muscle definition and the Rhino about more practical things I’m sure. Then came Saturday.
*Don’t worry. I only said this part in my head.

Saturday a.k.a. “Day of Trial, Error, and General Awfulness.”
Rhino & I woke up early, put on our painting outfits*, and headed out to the shop.  What follows is a super accurate timeline of how this day went.
*I guess only I call it a ‘painting outfit’ and everyone else calls them ‘painting clothes,’ whatever.

8:30am – We excitedly put on our hazardous-paint-thinner-avoider-gear which included safety goggles, a respirator with pink filters, and heavy duty impermeable work gloves. Work gloves that were the same size as the one Rhino’s dad wore, which means they were about 1,000x too big for my hands.* Anyway. Rhino got out the paint thinner and the paint brush and I got out the plastic scraper. Ready, begin!
*Apparently, no store in the world makes heavy duty impermeable work gloves in child size.

10:00am – We realized the Bloomy1 vinyl decal was not only covering a layer of superpowered epoxy paint, but also came complete with NASA strength permanent adhesive that even highly toxic paint thinner wouldn’t cut through.

10:15am – We’re staring at a truck that now has sticky gobs of glue stuck all over it. I feel whack attack #1 coming on but sufficiently stuff it back down* so it can fester into a huge stress ball in my belly.
*Because I promised the Rhino I would do my best not to whack out until further notice.

11:30am – After testing several glue removal techniques, including but not limited to: lacquer thinner, wax & dirt remover, rubbing it with our gloved fingers (FYI – all this does is roll the glue from one section to another) and sanding with our drills, we realized that sanding with our drills was the only thing in the world that worked to successfully remove the demon globs. We decided to go gung ho and sand all the glue away forever! But first, a lunch break.

12:30pm – Back in action, we get out our sanding drills and get to work! This is sure to be successful!

3:30pm – The only successful thing we have done is successfully break two drills trying to sand through to the aluminum.

3:45pm - Realized that it would take us pretty much the whole rest of the year to sand the entire truck down to its base. Good thing we have to launch in five weeks! The huge stress ball continues to grow. It has now spread from my belly to my sternum.

4:00pm – I stared at the truck and realized for the first time the exact enormity of what we’ve gotten ourselves into. In case you’re wondering, this enormity is called a truck the size of Rhode Island that, after most of a day with three people working on it, had 1/4 of one side sanded and was covered in glue gobs. The stress ball is now up to my throat and makes me swallow every five seconds.

5:00pm - Realized that our only true option to ensure that we’ll launch on time is to sand the top layer of the truck (yes, that crappy housepaint), prime, sand again, paint, and cross our fingers that the paint wouldn’t cause the decal to lift up and crack everything to bits.

5:30pm - Went inside, ate dinner, and passed out.

Sunday a.k.a. “The Slightly Better Day When We Make Minor Headway”
When I woke up, the clock read 7:15am. I was excited because it was Daylight Savings time and you know what that means! It’s actually only 6:15am! Except in the spring, when you lose an hour and realize that it’s already 8:15am. Shoot! Gut check confirms that the stress ball is still intact.

8:30am – 5:00pm – We sand, sand, and sand. Then we sand. Then we sand and sand again. Oh, what is this over here? More sanding. We sanded through our gloves and the top layer of our skin. We sanded until our arms wouldn’t work anymore and our eyes wouldn’t stay open. Then, we sanded some more. We sanded around thousands of rivets and through glob after glob of ridiculously annoying house paint. What did we do then? You guessed it. We sanded.

Then, we ate dinner, went home and got ready for work the next day.

So this quickly became our new routine: Get up, go to work, come home, grab a sandwich, and eat dinner in the car on the way up to Big Lake. Sand, sand, sand* until we couldn’t sand anymore before driving home and collapsing into bed.
*On the plus side, the Rhino & I have successfully achieved the pale, powdered look of the olden days with the help of a thin coating of white paint dust that we can’t seem to ever quite remove completely. Talk about attractive.

I can honestly say that neither the Rhino nor I have worked this hard before in the history of our lives. And the worst thing was that, after all that time and work, the end wasn’t even in sight. Not even a little bit.

So around comes Friday, the night we had designated as our night off. We were nearly done with sanding (freaking finally!) and ready to move on to the priming/painting/praying the decal wouldn’t lift off stage. Our brains were fried, our bodies were mush (but oh so toned!), and our spirits were hovering just slightly over “dangerously low.” We needed a night off in a big way. As I sat at work on Friday afternoon, I dreamed of all the wonderful things we could do – like sit down, watch some tv…maybe eat a non-multitasking dinner. Then I realized that there were at least 10 things I needed to do that night just to keep us on our timeline. Then, I freaked.*
*Freaked (v): a more intense version of a whack attack. 

This freak resulted in a panicked phone call to one of two people in this world who could calm me down. One of them* was already overextended, so I called the slightly less extended one (barely): my sweet and practical dad. The same guy who, when he answered my call with a jolly laugh and an innocent “how’s the truck?,” was greeted with sobs from his eldest child and a barely coherent “I’m in over my head! What do I dooooooooo… booo hoo…”
*The Rhino, in case you were wondering. And I'd already promised him that I wouldn’t whack out… in front of him. (I added that last bit myself)

After giving me a reassuring attitude readjustment and a virtual hug, my pa sent me on my way. At the same time (approx.), the Rhino sent me an e-mail letting me off the truck work hook for the weekend! Not because he thought my mechanical skills were subpar*, but because it didn’t take three people to prime a truck (unless one of said people wished to simply stand and watch the stuff dry). So I stayed behind and completed nearly 20 to-do list items over the weekend while the Rhino and his dad completed numerous feats on Bloomy1. These feats included the majestic achievement of purchasing test paint and applying it in a way (slowly and with fingers double crossed) that would not cause the decal to lift and crack. And it worked!
*This is probably the real reason.

Now, we are so proud to tell you that the end of this project is finally in sight! The truck is sanded to perfection, the hub caps are no longer trusty rusty circle eye sores, the bumper is shiny (well, as shiny as we could get it), the grill is fixed, and the rivets can kiss my butt. And, we saved about $9,500. All that’s left is painting and decorating with our logo! At the same time, we’re still on track - despite our recent hurdle(s) - and our spirits are once again hovering just above “infinity high.”

In case you were wondering where the Love, Loss and Misunderstanding went, here’s a quick explanation:

The Rhino & I made it through this ridiculousness (so far) with our relationship intact (Love).

We broke two drills and disposed of about 1,000 sanding pads and several pairs of gloves (Loss). I also nearly lost my mind. (Loss).

Our excitement around working on the BEST PROJECT EVER was quickly replaced with the harsh reality that we novices had no freaking idea how much work this would actually be (utter Misunderstanding).

So there you have it. One month until launch and we’re still hanging in there… barely. But it will all be worth it when we serve our very first mouth watering roast beef sandwich. Dibs!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Can You Step Into My Office?

The Rhino and I are proud to present the following fantastic news:

After hundreds of resumes, 15ish (or I lost count how many) phone interviews, and three slamazing final candidates, we are excited to share that we have officially hired our Food Truck Manager! Please welcome Mr. Bridger, our new Food Truck Manager, to the Bloomy’s food family! Stay tuned for Bridger's exciting photo op introduction. I could have pulled a photo off of Facebook but stopped myself because 1) that might be weird and slightly stalkerish and 2) I'm not quite sure of the Facebook laws regarding photo borrowing*.
* By borrowing, I mean taking and claiming as my own.

Anyway, not only is Bridger 150% awesomesauce, but he has loads of experience in the food industry and is a whiz with social media. He also has a really shiny grill (like a grill where you grill meat and kabobs, not a Lil’John-style mouth grill.). In addition, he has created numerous mouth watering culinary masterpieces that I will be showcasing in our very next blog!

Bridger is so bomb that he already met the Rhino at Chameleon Concessions last week to do the final walk through of Bloomy1 and made lots of helpful suggestions including the most helpful suggestion of all: how to fit a third seat in the truck! This means that we can drive around town with three people in the truck instead of two! Way to go Bridger! Mission accomplished and you haven’t even technically started working yet. A+++. Would hire again! This exciting news also means that we get to install a jump seat in the truck!  A jump seat! I've always* wanted one of those and now I can have one! Thank you Bloomy's for making all of my dreams come true. 
* Ever since last week when I learned about it.

In other news, the Rhino has informed me that we need to begin referring to our home office as “HQ” from this moment forward. So whenever I say “HQ,” you will know that I’m talking about our office where the Rhino has a big nice roomy workspace that takes up half the room and I have this:

Yes, this is where I work.
Now, you could be thinking – is that a super tiny desk located in the closet? Complete with a glass of wine and a book as a mousepad? In the closet? Why yes. Yes it is. It’s called compromise people, and an ability to fit well into small spaces. Although the Rhino does let me put dibs on his roomy workspace approximately 4x per week. Or 0x if I’m “being a fuddy-duddy*.”
* The Rhino’s description of me when I’m being mean and narrowing my eyes at things. For those of you who are thinking “I thought the phrase fuddy-duddy retired back in 1957?”, you are correct. 

The nice thing about owning a company such as Bloomy’s is that you can pretty much call things whatever you please, because you're the boss of everything! You can even pick your own job title. For example, my job title is Chief Executive Officer because I’m the one who does all the filing of important documents and the Rhino is the Chief Operating Officer because he’s the one who does all the reports and check writing. However, the Rhino has decided to change his job title from COO to the more intriguing and FBI/Undercover Agent title of “Chief of Operational Intelligence.” So now when people ask me what my fiancé does for a living, I can say, “Well he is a Chief of Operational Intelligence (obvi, I leave out the part where he works at this job for free).” Then the person who asked says “Wow, that sounds like a really cool job.” And I say, “It IS a really cool job! I mean, he doesn’t carry a 14K gold badge or have access to top secret classified information. But it’s still pretty sweet.”*
* This conversation only happens in my imagination.

(Warning, major sidetrack about to happen here).

My spell checker function just informed me of the appropriate spelling for the word “fiancé.” Apparently, I’ve been e-introducing people to the Rhino as “My Finance.” Oops. Although you could argue that "My Finance" is still accurate. Ooooh. Just kidding! Calm down people. I pay my own bills, on time.

Anyway, before we move on to business updates, which is what this blog is supposed to be about but isn’t most of the time, I want to give one exciting personal update. I CAN EAT FOOD AGAIN! After my 25 day Clean Program, during which I did not cheat ONE time but during which I complained approximately 100% of the time, the Rhino and I celebrated my return to regular food with this:


Yes, my friends. This is a picture of the TWO chicken-topped beer cans who were hanging out in our oven for awhile. One lemon garlic and one smoky BBQ. Mmm, delicious.

Our friend Elliot over at Sysco had impeccable timing as usual (except for the bacon incident) and also dropped off this:

Potatoes and veggies and more veggies!

And this:

The apple is there for perspective, obvi.

Now that’s a lot of Ghirardelli brownie mix! Am I in heaven? Yes. Will I curse the belly ache I'll have after eating this box of brownies? Definitely.*
* Not a deterrent, at all.  Bring it on.

Even though I've since convinced two other people to try the Clean Program, I cannot tell you how ready I was to rejoin the rest of food-eating society. The worst thing was sitting down to lunch with the Rhino, drooling over his beef brisket, frowning over my nasty butternut squash soup, and having super duper lame table conversations such as this.

The Rhino: “How’s your soup?”
KJ: “Eh.
Rhino: “You know, you can put some sea salt in there.”
KJ: “Why? So it can bring out the assy flavors even more?”

Now, we don’t even have conversations at the table anymore because I’m too busy stuffing my face with things like this!

Soon to be stir fry. Soon to be gobbled up by yours truly.

Ok, now it’s time for the business updates. And here they are, in no particular order of importance.

1) The party planning is well underway for our sponsor/launch celebration, which is officially scheduled for April 21!  That is less than two months away! Yikes*. JamieD, Chickie, and I have come up with an great list of sponsor party ideas that I can't share seeing as they are surprises. But the surprises are aplenty, and they are going to be slamazing.
* I mean Yikes in a good way. I'm not freaking out or anything. Maybe a little bit. Ok, whatever. I'm seriously freaking out!!

2) The Rhino is busy toiling away on creating our master SOP document that we have to submit to the city inspectors to get our official "ready for business" stamps of approval. In times like these, I'm glad the Rhino is the COI, which could easily stand for "Chief of mucho boring things like SOPs."

3) While the Rhino is working away on the above, I have been beating my brains out trying to learn the fine art of web development. Little did I realize that this would also require learning a completely new and foreign language better known as HTML and CSS. This adult language learning requirement has caused a few* whack attacks and many "fuddy duddy" moments that have resulted in the Rhino kicking me out of HQ. Good thing dumbed-down video tutorials and I have become BFFs. Go social sharing!
* Like... eleven. At least.

4) After a bit of equipment rearranging to better fit our wicked jump seat, Mark at Chameleon is putting the finishing touches on Bloomy1. I can't wait to take her up to Papa Bloomy's and get my mechanical skills* groove on!
* I have no mechanical skills. Wait - is sanding and painting even considered a mechanical skill? Let's pretend it is, and that I'm really good at it.

5) I'm trying not to think about the line cooks and cashiers we still have to hire and the companies we have to call and the stops we have to set up. <Heavy sigh.> This is why 4:30am and I have become such good friends lately.  

But, we're nearly to the finish line everyone. The hard part is ... well, just beginning actually. Dang it! I have to go care for my poor Rhino now, who is down for the count with a head cold the size of Massachusetts. Catch y'all on the flip side!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Countdown Begins

After a small bout of writer’s block (my first since beginning the blog, oh no!), I’ve nearly recovered and am ready to share all of the new and wonderful things that have happened since I last left you.

First of all though, I have to say that I’m pretty sure my writer’s block was caused by one event in particular. I will call this event The Attack of the Seven Point Five Pound Bacon. This attack happened on day 8 of my 21 day Clean Program (NOT including the four day prep thing I had to go through beforehand, also during which I could not eat any good foods). Anyway, I was sitting on the couch watching the telly when, all of the sudden, I was struck by a bacon craving. A bad one. Like the kind you get after not eating any bacon for over 12 days.

Then the Rhino walked in with (I AM NOT KIDDING) a 7.5 pound CRATE of bacon!

There are seven layers to this crate!
 Between apologies and dodging my scary growls, Rhino managed to tell me that Sysco had dropped off some bacon for taste testing purposes. Apparently, some equals 7.5 pounds worth! So now I have all this bacon in my home and it’s all I can think about. Enter the writer’s block. Anyway, sweet Rhino made individual sized packs to hide in the freezer so I can focus on way more important things, like telling this story. Did I want to lick his fingers afterwards? Maybe. I mean definitely.

Moving on.

We’ve officially started the T MINUS COUNTDOWN TO THE BLOOMY’S LAUNCH! I don’t really enjoy the countdown, usually because it gives me heart palps*, but I figured it was about time we started one. Mainly due to the fact that I really wanted to install a countdown gadget on my iGoogle page. This is also where I track my two stocks (I made almost $11 today!) and whether new movies got a tomato or a splat.  

*Palpitations of the heart. This may or may not be a genetic abnormality; also commonly experienced as a precursor to a very large whack attack.

Anyway, we’re less than 10 weeks from our big sponsor celebration event and the Bloomy’s event planning team (comprised of Creative Director JamieDelish, Event Manager Chickie*, and yours truly) is ready to start super-planning what will soon be remembered as “The Greatest 2012 Twin Cities Food Truck Sponsor Celebration Event/Launch Party. Ever.” We have some exciting plans in the works and can’t wait to see all of our Kickstarter backers there to help us kick off Bloomy1! Bring your appetites people!
*Our newest Bloomy’s (unpaid) team member. Her name is not Chickie, but her real name is too hard to remember.

The Rhino and I are also very excited to share two major pieces of information with ya’ll. One is business related and one is a big announcement about our relationship. Oooh, what could that be? Hold your horses because we’re starting with the business one.

Number One
Our prized possession, Bloomy1, has officially gone from looking like this:



Wait… You might be thinking: “Dude, it looks exactly the same. You just changed the background and the way it was facing.” First off, don’t call me Dude. Second, take a closer look at this:

That’s right. That my friends is our very own super bomb serving window through which we can serve all of our delicious roast beef sandos and greet our fellow beef lovers with a welcoming Bloomy’s smile! Yessss!

Mark Awesome Palm at Chameleon Concessions has been doing loads of work on the inside of Bloomy1, getting her ready for her big debut. Mark has already achieved numerous feats including this:

And this!

And this!

In fact, Bloomy1 is officially nearly ready for her paint job which will be completed by our very own Rhino and his dad, Papa Bloomy. I will miss you Doritos logo!

Number Two

Now, on to the second announcement.

After five months of being engaged, the Rhino and I have finally decided on an official day of matrimony! Go team! That didn’t take long at all! We had originally decided on October 13 of next year since this year we’re way too busy making Bloomy1 the food truck rockstar of the Midwest. But then we realized that pretty much no one would want to party down with us on a Sunday. So now we’ve decided that on September 27, 2013 we will have a few family and friends over to Rhino’s Mom’s house, eat some food, dance a few jigs, change my last name to Bloomstrom, take some pictures, and go to Hawaii to celebrate my name change. No big deal. I also may or may not have* started a matrimony day countdown on my iGoogle page. 589 days? Done.

*This means absolutely.

Why September 27? Because according to our numerology charts,* this is the most auspicious day for the Rhino and me to enter into a lifelong union. It’s also the Rhino’s nephew’s birthday, and something tells me he’ll enjoy a night of cake, dancing and complete awesomeness. Bring it on. I will start planning this event in approximately 500 days.
*This blog is a judgment free area. And numerology is sometimes over 60% accurate.

In Other Exciting Future News
Tomorrow afternoon, the Rhino and I will be making a very important trip to our local bank so we can officially close on our bank loan! After 8 months of work and hundreds of hours of lost sleep, the fact that this day has finally arrived just doesn’t seem real to either of us (and probably won’t until it’s over). But we are both very much looking forward to actually having some dollars so we can buy important business items such as dishes and food. And this!
Cool Software Found Here

Saturday brings the Big Day of Food Truck Manager Interviews. This is the time during which the Rhino and I will meet our Food Truck Manager (FTM) finalists face to face and decide which FTM is awesomesauce enough to manage Bloomy1! This is one of the most important tasks on my Bloomy to-do list, as our first FTM will not only manage Bloomy1 but may very well end up managing the whole kit and caboodle* in the very near future. What a sweet job! If the Rhino would let me, I would totally apply. Except that I don’t meet the qualifications. Whatever.
*I don’t actually know what this phrase means, but I heard my grandma say it once and it made my grandpa lol.

We’re also excited to share that our website (which was built by me, so only I can be offended when I say that I think it has no game) is currently undergoing a mega face lift! Our developer dude seems to have disappeared underground for the winter so I don't have an ETA, but hopefully he will resurface shortly. Then we can unveil the new and improved website that has lots of game and also houses this very blog! Dope!

Ok, I’m off to watch a John Cusack film (enter Rhino comment here: “I don’t know why you love him so much.” Me: “YOU CAN’T HELP WHO YOU LOVE!”) while trying not to think about bacon.

In the words of our friend and loyal blog follower, Eric: "May the beef be with you."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Putting the “Oooo!” in Bloomy’s.

Last week, the Rhino and I discovered that the long-standing Gopher Towing, a.k.a. the home of Bloomy1, was going out of business. This was devastating on several fronts - mainly because it made our truck homeless and secondarily because we have to provide the bank with a storage lease in order to get our loan money. No Gopher Towing = no home = no lease = no loan. Yikes! You can imagine how big a wrench this threw in our plans. However, never fear! The Rhino stepped in and found another home for Bloomy1 in less than a week*. He even brought me there for a visit on Sunday! Now, we have a new home for Bloomy1 that is equal in awesomeness and slightly less expensive than its previous home. Rock. On. I praised the Rhino on his industriousness and gave him a kiss (on the cheek; we are not married yet).
*Why I adore the Rhino Reason #671,794.

Two Fridays ago, the Rhino accompanied yours truly to my day-job department’s holiday party. Yes, we have our holiday party in January. The party, coincidentally, was also held at Chino Latino (just like the Rhino’s holiday party was!). We got to stuff our faces with delicious food such as shrimp curry and also do awesome (at the time) things like this:

I wish I could say that this holiday party turned out differently than the last one, but it surely did not. The Rhino and I once again plopped into bed well after 3am and spent the next day rubbing our bellies and cursing our love-hate relationship with Bacardi Limon.

In any case, we recovered and were incredibly excited about our big important meeting at the…

Sysco Test Kitchen
Last Thursday, the Rhino and I took some time to visit the best place in the world (or at least the best place in Blaine), the Sysco Test Kitchen. Stocked far and wide with delicious ingredients just waiting for us to eat and judge them. Which we did. A lot. Accompanying us to this dreamland was the official taste testing crew, comprised of (in no particular order).

1. Our culinary specialist, Budda,* who brought over a decade’s worth of experience in catering, kitchen management, and creating culinary masterpieces. And a passion for agates.
2. Rhino’s BFF since 8th grade (think Stand By Me meets … Starsky and Hutch?), Ron*, and his lovely wife.
3. Our awesomesauce Creative Director, Jamie D* (the D stands for Deelightful or Deelicious, depending on your preference)
*Names may have been changed to protect the identity of our taste testing crew, or not. Probably not.

Jamie D, Rhino & I were super early to the test kitchen (ooh anticipation!) so we decided to stop off for a quick beer (it was lunch time, BTW, and therefore acceptable). My GPS wasn’t working, so the three of us were forced into looking for beer the old fashioned way*.
*By actually looking with our eyes.

Between the solid input of his car companions (KJ: “I think I might see something over there!! JamieD: No, that’s… not a place that sells beer,”) Rhino calmly navigated us to a strip mall where he found us a Chinese Buffet. We proceeded to order some Blue Moons, and I was happily surprised when the beers arrived along with three fortune cookies! I tried to trick my hunger with the beer carbonation, but it backfired, so it only took me about 5 minutes to start hoarding and devouring everyone’s fortune cookies. Sorry guys. Then we headed back to the test kitchen.

After a slightly uncomfortable yet slightly informative meeting with a salesperson, we were ushered into the super slamazing, super huge, and super HOT test kitchen. We got to sit around at a little table and have four people wait on us! And then they started bringing out food. And more food. And then they brought out some more food. By the time they brought the roast beef out, I was so excited I nearly burst into song. I believed for a moment that my life had reached its pinnacle and am about 90% certain that I also heard angels’ voices. I wondered for a moment what it would be like to live in the test kitchen (JamieD: “Awesome! It would be awesome!”). But it was just too hot… and there was no shower, which is a really bad combo. So we did eventually leave.

In any case, despite all the decisions we made on chili and coleslaw and roast beef, we still have over half our menu to go. Most importantly, we need to decide on the bread. I am head over heels for bread as it comprises the majority of my meals so am incredibly excited about this decision. However, the Rhino believes that bread is “just a vessel to get the beef into your face” so a convincing session may be in order. Another test kitchen visit?? Yes please!! Except for one small problem.

KJ and the Clean Program
(For those of you who think detoxing is a scam, feel free skip this part.)
Yes, I have decided to start a program. It is called the Clean Program. During this program, I cannot eat any of the following things: cheese, eggs, French fries, ranch dressing, bacon, bread, beer, tomatoes, pop, ice cream, pizza, Carnation Instant Breakfast, or pretty much any other thing you can think of that’s delicious and fun. I’m approximately 99% sure I’m going to pass away from lack of bacon, seeing as it has only been two days and it’s already all I can think about. Especially while I’m busy burning quinoa and trying to figure out how to cook a chicken breast.

The Rhino is “supporting but not participating,” as he enjoys the aforementioned food and beverage items way too much to give them up (Insert Rhino comment here: “Totally! Why do you think I look so good in a white t-shirt?”). Touché.

I think we are both very nervous at what lack of grease can do to this girl’s mood but hopefully we will both make it to the end of the program. Stay tuned!

So that brings us to two days ago Sunday, during which we began the quest for the city-mandated

Commercial Kitchen
All Minneapolis food trucks are required to partner with a commercial kitchen, which doesn’t sound that difficult until you realize that there are like 20 food trucks and like 2 commercial kitchens. Yikes. We’ve been on the search for awhile before narrowing the pool to two equally magnificent commercial kitchen options:

(1) Kitchen in the Market
On Sunday, the Rhino and I ventured into unknown territory, a.k.a. Midtown Global Market. We were there to meet with the charming Molly who runs Kitchen in the Market, a wicked cool commercial kitchen smack dab in the middle of all the market glory. (If you haven’t been to the Midtown Global Market, I’d suggest going immediately. It’s the bomb. Even despite one particular woman who, every time she saw me, asked me if I was Kimberly. Um, no. But if you keep asking me, I might suddenly decide that I AM Kimberly. Oooh, what now?!)

So we got to tour the kitchen and all its slamazingness. Afterwards, we calculated the distance (7 miles) and time (20-ish minutes but we made all the green lights) between the kitchen and our storage facility. Not bad, not bad!

We were so excited that the Rhino took yours truly to JJ’s Clubhouse for a ”Katie’s last meal before her program” feast of Bloody Mary’s, sandos*, and Cajun fries.
*sando (noun): sandwich

(2) Kindred Kitchen
Last night, we met with the adorable Terese at the Kindred Kitchen. Kindred Kitchen is our second commercial kitchen option in Minneapolis and specifically supports new foodies trying to get their businesses off the ground. The Kitchen also offers a workshop series where you can learn about everything from writing a business plan to marketing strategy to Quickbooks. Dope! It is also conveniently located just 1.9 miles from our new storage facility! And across the street from a cookie shop! Go Team Rhino! We also got to meet other aspiring foodies including a chutney enthusiast, a baker, and a pasta maker. Three cheers for foodies!

It will be very tough to decide which kitchen to go with and we only have until the end of the week… because of some very best news, which I have saved for last!

Some Very Best News
As I was leaving work yesterday and walking through the parking lot to my car, I got a call from the Rhino. Here is a 100% accurate transcript of our conversation:

Phone: “Ring ring!”
Me: “Hello?”
Rhino: “Hi honey.”
Me: “Who dis?”
Rhino: “It’s Ryan.”
Me: “Oh, hi honey!’
Rhino: <Rolls eyes> “Do you want to hear some good news?”
Rhino: “Well… I just got off the phone with the bank…”
Me: Heart rate increases from 90bpm to 110bpm
Rhino: <Pause>
Me: “AND?!?!?!”
Rhino: “They said the paperwork was approved!!”
Me: (not exaggerating): Drop everything I am holding into a parking lot snow puddle (this includes: purse, lunch bag, laptop bag, high heels, water bottle) and start screaming as loud as my vocal cords allow. Then I kick up my heels and do a little jig.
Rhino: lol, lol.
Me: “Eeek! Eeek!”

So, for those of you who have been following our story, we were scheduled to close on our loan in December. Well, it is not December anymore and we have yet to close on our loan. Some “at-least-60-days-or-maybe-more” paperwork approval process came into play, and the Rhino and I have been sitting on edge for 6 weeks now, hoping and praying for the approval. Now we have it! Early! You know what that means…. BLOOMY’S IS BACK IN ACTION BABY!!

That’s all I got, for now. I wish I could say that I was off to pop open a celebratory bottle of wine but… water will have to suffice for this roast beef lover. At least for now.