“We might get 300 to 400 people” said Karen Hester, organizer of Oakland’s new food and community event, Bites on Broadway.(Famous last words is the phrase that comes to mind) I’m pretty new to the whole mobile food biz and half the battle seems to be figuring out how to bring enough food to satisfy but not enough as to have waste. This weekend Sassy Pies got a taste of both and learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. Since BOB was brand new, had issues with its location, and was nearly cancelled before even beginning, no-one knew really what to expect. Certainly not lines 30 deep, and over 600 people. Am I complaining? HELL NO! I just kept running back to our kitchen and bringing more. Everytime I arrived with the next load of pies, Bri sent me back for more. What a thrill. I know that there were frustrated attendees who missed out on some great grub but I have no doubt that my fellow mobile food fellows will be joining me by preparing a hell of a lot more food for this Friday.
Yes, I was the one stuck talking to “Mr. Grumpy Pants” who actually said to me “Of course you knew that this many people would come.” Well, Mr. Pants, can I please hire you and your psychic abilities so that I never make too much or too little food again? It must be nice to be that omniscient and to automatically know what hundreds of us agonize over everyday as we prepare our yummies to take to the street. I pointed out that this was the first event of its kind and to me, I saw a lot of happy folks enjoying a beautiful evening with their neighbors. “Bah Humbug” was pretty much his response. Oh well…
Case in point: The next day I was preparing for the Chocolate and Chalk festival. I mentally went back to third grade math to work out the equation. If BOB had 600 people, 4 food trucks and I sold x pies, and the Chocolate fair predicted 5,000 people, and 2 food trucks, than I should prepare x number of pies right? Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. I sold less the next day than at BOB. Why? Who knows, and that is the part of the equation that cannot be predicted and why food truckers struggle constantly with this balancing act. Too little food and we disappoint, too much food and our food waste costs put us out of business faster than you can eat a Sassy Pie.
So again, I’m sorry that people went away hungry, and I’m sorry Mr. Pants , well, that I thought I could turn your frown upsidedown. I am super excited for this Friday and here is what we will have on the menu:
- Chicken Pot Pie with Bacon and Sage Cream
- Aloo Matar (potato pea curry, tastes like a samosa)
- Caramel Candy Apple
Shave Ice (Fluffy Sno-Cones with homemade syrups)
- Balsamic Blueberry Vanilla
- Strawberry Rhurbab
- Apricot Ginger
- Pina Colada
- Cinnamon Chocolate Raspberry
See you there!
I don’t know about you but I have never asked anyone I am not related to or sleeping with to help me move. Why would anyone sign up for that kind of exhaustion on what could otherwise be a nice weekend afternoon? I know I have good friends, and looking back they may have been happy to help, (especially if beer was present) but it was more about me not want to ask for too much, or push some kind of weird unspoken boundary. “Hey did Sue ask you guys to help her move out her apartment too?” “Yeah, what is she nuts, that’s what movers are for!”…
Well in the 5 days between the Indie awards, Closing SadieDey’s Cafe for good, and getting ready for the Doof-a-Palooza food festival I experienced what can only be described as a mutiny. In one day my kitchen manager, operations manager and, one other employee did not try to take over my ship. They jumped. I wont go into any details except to say “if you can’t stand the heat “…well you know the rest and this was no “Hell’s Kitchen”
Bottom line is I have 500 pies, my first real fair and 1 hardworking staff gal left. (remember new readers, Momma Sue’s Blogs always offer a good dose of drama) Ultimately I shared my woes with family, neighbors and friends and a wonderful thing occurred. My unbeknownst to me “moving friends” just started moving shit. I didn’t have to worry about asking, they just started doing. I started waiving cash and asking everyone’s hourly rate while they shoved me out of the way and said “Sue please, this is what your friends do, this is what your community does.” I’ve lived in co-housing for 4 years and never really realized how supported I was. Serious “D’ cup support I’d say even.
So today I want to thank all of of my “Moving” friends who got going when my going got tough!
Ron, for not only helping me run the booth but for lending me his own Play Cafe employee, Gabby, for the day. And for hanging around the booth exclaiming to passersby “How amazing these pies are!” What a good shill he was.
Blaise , for peeling an entire 30 pound case of Jicama so we could serve “Healthy” fries at the festival
The Ramsteds, for loaning us their ancient minivan when the breaks went out in ours. ( your request to douse in gasoline, light on fire and roll off a cliff in case said ancient minivan finally died was not necessary. She ran great!)
Tori, for suggesting that She and her girlfriend Terri should come help man the booth
Terri, for actually manning the booth all afternoon when Tori got called away to a community work party. Its the thought that counts Tori and you are awesome.
Lucio, Terri’s son who’s best help was actually in holding the tent that nearly blew away when the Oakland afternoon winds picked up.
Gramma and Grampa, for taking both our baby beasts (Sadie and Dey) AND our rambunctious puppy off our hands as the last minute so we could pull this thing off.
Jannette, for helping me figure out how the hell the zippers worked on the t ent screen and for saying things like “You poor thing”. “You are such a great Boss”, “What, are they crazy”, “You were paying her that much!” and other phrases that good friends say.
The Hubby, for getting up at 5am, keeping me together and repeating my favorite mantra “Everything WILL be ok.”
A word on the actual fair:
Amazing for the attendees, a few issues for us vendors. Lisa Bulwinkle does an amazing job of putting together awesome productions and street fairs. Free food and giveaways are great for the families that came, and having the farmers market right next door made for a huge amount of options for event goers, but provided an uneven playing field for those of us trying to sell our products. It was also hard to compete with major corporations like Chipoltle who were selling 2.00 tacos. This was a pr event for them which undercut it as a selling event for me.
This was my first fair so I have a lot to learn about what to expect and hod to guage what events will be a good fit for my pies and which one’s wont. Overall I more than broke even and got a few great connections and catering events out of it too. I’d say that’s a win.
Till the next drama,
We are all so excited! As tumble & tea cafe we won “Neighborhood Dynamo” for all the improvements we made to the Temescal neighborhood. (Yes we were there before it was cool and hip to be in the new gourmet ghetto :) Now we get to present our pies as one of the caterers for this year’s award ceremony. We’ve made 900 pies so far and we chose chicken mole, pot pie with bacon and sage cream, aloo matar, yam and feta with balsamic glazed onions and our salted caramel apple pie. Nicole made the caramel last night and filled the whole kitchen with an intoxicating scent of butter and sugar. What could possibly be better?
Come Check out some great Oakland independent businesses
Today we got our new cart in the mail and attached it to my bike and made sure the cooler fits. This weekend we are building the enclosure and designing the signage. We are trying to design a build in table for bike-side dining.
We just got approval for our health permit that allows us to sell our pies hot off the bike! The problem is that we can’t serve any open food which includes samples. What to do, what to do… Well we’ve decided to create bite sized samples that we can heat, wrap and serve for just a buck.
If you like it enough to buy whole hand held pie (of course you will) we’ll give you a .50 rebate on your order. You taste, you like, you win. Come see us front of SadieDey’s Cafe all week at 4210 Telegraph Avenue. Thursday will be our first food bike road trip. Details to come…
Welcome to the new home of Sue’s Sassy Pies (& Ice)
Sue’s Sassy Pies are sweet and savory hand-held gourmet pies made with organic, local ingredients. Chicken Gorgonzola with pesto and sun dried tomatoes, apple-brie walnut and chutney, and vegan coconut curry tofu are our most popular.
Additionally we serve traditional Hawaiian shave ice with unique, organic, homemade syrups made by our sassy team. Favorites include vanilla latte, raspberry chocolate, orange cream, and margarita.
Here we are documenting the building of a new Bay Area mobile food business as well as letting you know when and where to catch a pie, or two!