For several months now Kelly and I have been trying out Blue Apron, the service that delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to your door so you can make amazing meals. Bottom line: it's been responsible for a wonderful shift in our cooking and eating habits at home.
Before Blue Apron, we were in a bit of a rut when it came to cooking at home. Both of us have found enjoyment at various times in the process of cooking, especially for other people. But at times we also faced a failure of imagination, discipline and/or motivation when it came to planning meals, going to the grocery, and taking the time to make something interesting or healthy. Yes, these are clearly problems of privilege; in a few minutes we could easily pick something from a cookbook, get to the grocery store that's less than 2 miles away, buy some stuff and a few minutes after that be home cooking - pretty much the definition of convenient and easy living.
So when I first heard about a service that would ship fresh ingredients to our door along with recipes to prepare them, I was skeptical. Surely we could just make ourselves put a little more time and energy into doing what we already knew had to be done, right?
But we decided to try it out after reading a review online, if only to say we'd experimented with this crazy new use of the Internet.
The result? Delicious, interesting, beautiful, fun, healthy food:
I decided at the beginning of 2013 that I was going to go for the entire year without eating pizza. I guess you could have called it a New Year's Resolution. For the past several years, I've tried to come up with a year-long sacrifice, discipline or other lifestyle change that would force me to experiencing something different just so I could see how it affected me, a kind of extended Lent season.
In early January, I published a blog entry noting that Tom Amyx, owner of Tom's New York Deli here in Richmond, wanted to give away his restaurant to someone who could carry it forward with a positive and exciting vision. It turns out that my blog post generated quite a few inquiries to Tom about doing just that. A local couple, Ron and Rachel Hughes, saw my post, talked to Tom about the possibilities, and are now taking over ownership of the Deli as of this week.
Earlier today, I sat down with Ron and Tom to ask about how giving away a whole restaurant works, plans for the future of the Deli, and what Tom will do with all of his spare time (and cheesy jokes) in life after small business ownership; here are some excerpts from the conversation:
I love this city! Thanks to Tom, Ron, Rachel, and the entire staff of Tom's Deli for living out a great vision for small business and community building in Richmond, Indiana.
The place has apparently been open only a few months after some Miami University alums decided to pursue their vision for a local brewpub, and it already seems to be one of the most popular dining destinations in town.
Tom Amyx is giving away the business he spent the last 20 years of his life building.
This morning when I spoke with Tom, the owner of Tom's New York Deli here in Richmond, he talked of troubling health issues and financial factors in his decision, but he seemed as energetic and excited as ever. He opened the restaurant in December of 1991 and it's been a fixture on Main Street in the downtown business district ever since. Professionals, passers-through, families and sports teams alike frequent the establishment, which is known for its great sandwiches, corny jokes and extensive collection of local and national memorabilia.
But as he looks toward the next phase of his own life, instead of trying to sell the small restaurant to the highest bidder, or close it down altogether, he's ready to give it away to the person who would bring the best vision for its future.
On Friday night I had the opportunity to see The Punch Brothers with Chris Thile in concert at Earlham College. As with many of the artists that Earlham brings to town, I hadn't heard of them when I came in, but when I left I was craving more of their work. The event was billed as a mix of "bluegrass, gospel and klezmer," but that hardly does justice to the talent, complexity and variety the group brought to the packed auditorium. Mandolin player and group convener Chris Thile evoked David Gray, Jeff Buckley and Dave Matthews in his vocal range, honest lyrics and child-like wonder as he danced around the stage - he made it hard not to smile and dance in my seat, and several audience members were moved to call out in praise throughout the show. It was quite an experience, and based on the quality of the performance I saw and the group's full tour schedule, it looks like they're really going places.
I've been walking to and from work via the Main Street business district here in Richmond, Indiana, and as I take in with fresh eyes the businesses and product/service offerings located there, I can't help but argue a bit with the folks who would say it's a struggling area. We have several great local restaurants, a wide variety of local banks, a place devoted entirely to the art of knitting and crocheting, a cloud computing specialist, a local sporting goods store, massage therapists and acupuncturists, software consultants and website developers, an amazing toy store, bakeries and candy shops, several local jewelers, coffee shops...yeah, the list keeps going on. What a neat place to live and work!