May 18, 2009

Brought back memories...


After all the hard work from serving Meals on Wheels San Francisco, almost all chefs partied at Tim's Yuet Lee once again before his last day today!

Watching how everybody was there for Tim, signing a chef jacket from Sam Choy, wishing him the best wishes... It sure brought back memories for me on the last weekend of Furenzu! When all my friends and customers came in for the one last time, a band offered to play, songs they played for me and so many cries and moments with all my customers and friends, my mother came and helped out... I felt it for Tim!

I sure miss you all!

April 27, 2009

How "unfortunate" are you?

So when everyone is complaining about how bad the economy is; how they have to cut down from their spending; how they now can only take one vacation this year vs. two; how they can only eat out in a restaurant once a week and can only order one glass of wine than one bottle...etc. Have they thought about amongst many others, they are actually still the "fortunate" one?

I remember before I sold the restaurant around last April/May, I was talking to a customer and that's exactly what she told me: "We're really hurting. The economy is coming down and will be coming down fast. Our house's value dropped half and you know, having two kids to raise is really not easy!" I thought, yes it's really not easy to provide for kids in the bay area. Don't even mention kids, how about just to provide for ourselves!? Then what surprised me was the lady turned to her kids, who were about 6 & 9 I guess; and told them, "So you two are not going to complain this year! We may not go to Paris this Christmas, but may only make it to the summer house in Mexico during your summer break."

I could only think, if that's hurting, please hurt me!

For all my friends who know me well, they usually describe me as a very optimistic and positive person. In Chinese, we say, "Even if the sky collapse one day, that's just an extra blanket on us."

I definitely think I'm in some kind of transition right now, trying to figure out what's my next step. Nervous? Yeah... Uncertain? Yeah... Panic? Well, yeah...there were times. Worry? Of course. However I still feel I'm very lucky! To have many supportive dear friends! To have my customers still remember me, and even receiving surprised phone calls and emails from them! Best of all, hired me to cater their wedding! What an honor! Then a long time old friend offered me a trip to Europe... While having all times in hands now, I am able to visit or reacquaint with friends that I haven't seen for looooooong time! To think about just to be able to experience everything my life path has provided, even if those were painful memories with break up relationships or betrayal from friends I trusted so much... I still feel very thankful for everything I have and had experienced!

Then I received the following link to the video from a friend. My tears just wouldn't stop. After watching it, how could we not think we actually are the fortunate one? However I think the message wasn't just that, but to see how thankful and how giving that poor guy was, shame on us!

Yes we are all in a difficult time right now, but again I thank for the experiences and challenges. It's a time to remind us to be humble, giving and be thankful! I hope you all like the video.



March 12, 2009

Top Ten Smartest Dogs

Last I read about the top 10 was quite some years ago. I remember Labrador was ranked 2nd and big Poodle was ranked 1st! I was very proud of Juppa of course at the time while having my smiling yellow lab!

Today when I found lab fell off to 7th on the chart and Poodle was still going strong at 2nd! Now I wonder how is my birthday boy, Monte; a Yorkshire Terrier ranks? It's Monte's birthday today! Happy Birthday Monte!

Good Boy! The World's Ten Smartest Dogs
We've gathered a wide sample of dog breeds, sharpened their No. 2 pencils (you know, no opposable thumbs), and asked them to fill out a...

August 7, 2007

Crucible Fire Festival

This is why we live in the bay area and this is why we PAY so much to live in this great bay area! A place so full of cultures, a place of opportunities where it allows us to create and makes our dreams come true!

I had been noticing big iron sculptures being built around the West Grand bart station, but didn't know what's that about. Until a few days before the fire festival, I was driving my ex-coworker/good friend; Jean to the station, then we saw even more sculptures were being built. We drove around and noticed postings were up about Crucible Fire Festival. Amazing huge sculptures. Then we learned about these were all part of the burning man.

"Great!" I thought, since I have never been to the burning man, and with the restaurant; I doubt if I'd ever be able to make it there. So this would give me a taste of it. I drove by Friday night just to check it out and planning to attend on Sat night and hopefully to watch the show. However I didn't get the ticket since I didn't know how busy the restaurant would get and what time I would be able to get there. While I thought I would just get ticket when I got there, sure enough, tickets were all sold out. So I could only capture some pictures and video from outside the fence.

If you're familiar with the dancing game from the 1st generation of Play Station, then you'd know what I'm talking about. (Believe it or not, that was my mother's favorite game and she even bought me a Play Station and two dancing pads! So that I could compete with my friends, she said! Yeah...and I won't tell you how old I was! ;) There at the festival, they sure brought the game to the next level! If you made a mistake, you'd "get fired!"

Here's a little taste of it for you:

IMG_5130.JPG firedance.jpg

March 31, 2006


Having this restaurant is really the best thing happened to me so far, everyday you experience all kinds of things and meet all kinds of people.

Honesty is the #1 thing to me. Doesn't matter if it's business, friendships or personal matters. I forgive very easily, but you got to be honest! Many years ago, I was betrayed by a very dear friend of mine. I got many warnings from other friends, but I'm the kind of person who "believe", and have too much faith in people. Not only I found out the truth, but also got blamed for her actions. It was very heart broken. I broke up that friendship right away. At the time, it felt more heart broken than breaking up a relationship.

A few months ago, this friend walked in to the restaurant! We were both in shock! I always try to greet my customers whenever I have a chance. I greeted many that night, sat with some friends for a bit...what should I do? It took me quite a while before I could go over and said "hi". We exchanged some informations, updated each other a bit... Then I found that I was only caught in surprised, and didn't feel much of what had happened anymore. It was in the past after all and sure time has taken care of it somewhat. I hope she's doing and living well!

Until this very recent weeks, I found that I lost my trust, faith and love again to someone I totally believed in. I was given all these hopes but were all taken away in one day. It's was like you were the princess living in this castle, but when you woke up the next day, you found yourself on the street being homeless and didn't know what or how did that happened? I was traumatised. It's so painful that I was completely torn apart, and I think my body gave up because of that. What would you do when someone violated your trust? To think about it, the last time I felt sad was when I lost my lease to a location that I was looking into, again because of my good faith...oh well, inexperience too in dealing with business.

I remember my father once told me, "You're in this country for too long already. You won't be able to do business in Asia, people would eat you alive." Simply because I have too much trust and faith in people. It's true, if you gave me an apple, I would return a dozen. However that's "me", and I believe that's what made me special and that's why I have these many dear friends!

I love to laugh, and can just laugh and be silly for no reason. I can also be happy and be pleased very easily and was very content. However not able to laugh or smile kills me! When things like this happened, it's really not easy! How do you pick yourself up and perform? How long would it take, and how could you regain your trust and faith again? Jean said, "Think about it this way, it's really good that you have your restaurant! Imagine you're still with your last job, you would be dragging yourself just to get out of bed." It's true, as soon as my body felt better, I have to go in right away! It's my business and I can't let my staff down!? Forcing myself out of the house and smile at my customers helped. Then meeting some new customers who truly appreciate Restaurant Furenzu definitely keeps me going.

Josephine almost talked me into getting a dog! "You're too nurturing and have too much love right now you have to channel it to something which would for sure give it back to you unconditionally." That's why I love dogs, but since Juppa past right before the restaurant opened; my schedule wouldn't allow me to have another dog. It wouldn't be fair to it, but it sure was tempting and I have found myself looking into dogs' ads lately. This is the time I sure miss Juppa, my loyal pal, who shared so many of my joys and cries over the last 11 years.

Well for now, Lourdes, Josephine, Elizabeth, Jean, Vivian and Jane: Thank you for being there for me, ALL the time! Thanks for letting me borrow Chocolate, Josephine; she sure is a great cuddling pal. And Ada, thanks for your call, that's really very nice of you! Ward, you're one dear friend who couldn't show up at any other better time! Love you all!

March 23, 2006


When I was still in college studying for some management 101 classes, what I remember most from that class was if you want to be a good manager, you'd have to have a constant attitude. So that your staff can always be able to count on you, and be able to walk into your office and speak with you at any circumstances.

I found that could be applied to many other things than just in an office or be a manager. It sounded easy, but not at all. Human is human. Everyone has his or her emotions, tempers and situations that affect their performances.

I know I personally don't have much of a temper(yes I double checked with my friends!), but until last October; I realized I had developed quite a temper. Simply because I got pressured and too much stress from the business, the lost in sales, and performances from my staff. I'm sure part of the reason was also because I never had a day off since before opening. I've heard of all kinds of stories about how all the famous chefs tossing plates and glassware at their staff in the kitchen. Hope that's not the way to be one!?

I also noticed it usually only happened when I was cooking in the kitchen. From the Chinese medicine stand point, it's because too much "heat" inside the body, plus facing the fire whole day would cause that. Those were the times when I missed my mother most, because when she was here, she would make all kind of Chinese herbal soup to bring down the heat, for better skin...etc. My friends and my staff know me well enough to forgive me or just ignore me, let me vent and respond to my questions. It's because they all know after that, will be the happy me again to party and eat and drink with.

I think the last time I was most frustrated was the last Valentine's Day. From not enough sleep to start with, tremendous pressure working on my 1st Valentine's day, high expectations to the chef menu with the regular menu, to hadn't got enough time to prepare, reservations were over booked, on top of that, SF chronicle came at the peak time for photo shoot...etc. I was still handling fine until the same staff came in at least 3 times asking for the same order that I cooked for more than 3 times already. That's when I stopped everybody and raised my voice trying to find out what's going on.

Other than that, things that happened in your personal life, which may affect you most at work also. How can you still pull yourself together and go to work? AND bring a smile on your face to face your customers and your staff!? THAT'S hard! When a customer asked you, "how are you tonight?" Even though you felt like hell, "Oh great! How are you?" I must say, that's so not me! I always express my feelings truly and honestly. However how could you tell your customers, "oh I feel horrible, really not in the mood to talk at all...." You can't! You have to put up that face!

So when I work the floor, it forces me to smile at the customers, chit chat some random topics with my customers, oh and you still have to operate in front of your staff! Hopefully you don't have any headache or stomach cramps or back pain or simply tired or physically drained...etc. However by doing that, it also forces me to take all other thoughts off my head and just concentrate on what I'm doing on the floor. Maybe tha'ts also a good thing!?

All I can say is, take a deep breath, put on that big smile and keep it up! If you can fool everybody, so that they all can still have a great time at the restaurant, that's your reward behind all the sorrows already! (Hmmm...but will I be able to smile inside yet?) At the end, I still have to thank all my true and loving friends because they're always there for me, holding my arms to make sure I won't fall. Everytime I see them walk through the front door, whatever inside me that's boiling, it feels like their presence would just pour a big pot of ice water in and cool down everything. To all freinds who love me so dearly, THANK YOU!