“A Tale of Two Austins”
Interstate 35 cuts right through the heart of Austin. On one side, the west side, Austin’s neighborhoods are booming with activity. There’s the state Capitol building, the financial district, and the University of Texas at Austin–and they’re driving business to places like Rainey Street. But on the other side, the east side, what was once a majority-minority area is now undergoing its own revitalization, albeit more slowly.
I met with food truck chefs on both sides of the highway to see how their changing neighborhoods influence the food options on the block. Fun fact about this episode: we had a shorter stop in Austin after our train was delayed due to the Texas flooding in May, so I shot this entire episode handheld to save time. Come along with me on this wild ride to Rosewood Avenue on the east and Rainey Street on the west as I search for the next “Great American Cooking Story.”
*Special Note: After the episode was filmed in May 2015, Raymond Tatum shut down the Three Little Pigs on Rosewood Avenue and moved northwest to Burnet Road. Three Little Pigs held its grand reopening in late November 2015.*
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“There’s Nothing More American Than Chinatown”
Los Angeles’s Chinatown is experiencing a food revolution. Only the eateries making a name for themselves aren’t Chinese, they’re Thai, Korean, Mexican… and even Southern. In episode one of The Great American Cooking Story, I explored two of the restaurants shaping the future of L.A.’s Chinatown: The Little Jewel of New Orleans and Chimney Coffee House. Join me on my adventure of great food made with local ingredients and sold at affordable prices as I explore the role that these two restaurants are playing in Chinatown’s revitalization.
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In one year I went from thinking I should be making documentaries to crowdfunding my way on board a train across the country to create a series of them.
April 2014. Chicago. The Purple Pig.
The Purple Pig is one of those places that doesn’t post its menu prices on its website. It’s not a place where you find yourself at 2 p.m. on a weekday with a journalist’s salary unless you were me, someone who was in a quarter-life crisis and didn’t know it.
I was meeting with a former professor of mine, someone who has come to be a mentor to me. I had meant for the conversation to be a chance to catch up. But as are most meetings with your mentors, it turned out to be about life instead.
“Purpose” was our topic of conversation, in particular, what mine would be. This was not a new subject for us, as she had helped me figure out my senior year of college whether I would move with my friends to NYC to pursue acting, or continue down the path of journalism. Ultimately, I picked the latter, and was working as a Capitol Hill reporter in Washington, D.C.
“Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?”
I thought about it for a moment. “Eventually I’d like to move into documentary work. I want to be telling stories that inspire people to act.”
She looked at me. “Why can’t you do that now?” Continue reading “The Origin Story”