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Chai High

Honey drenched honeycomb like pastry and eye shaped savory cheese tart were recommended. Honey comb bread reminded me of Iranian flat breads I recall from few years spent in Teheran from my childhood. Fresh out of the oven, they were Warm and crusty on the outside soft and chewy on the inside. Just like these! It’s heavenly.


Where am I?

Delah Cafe – California’s if not American’s first Yemeni Cafe … traveling through the world through immigrant offerings in this melting pot of a country called US of A.


Not Monterey Park

I would not be truthful if I said I had no fear. And if I had no fear perhaps it’s sheer ignorance or denial for my own mental health. There is more fear especially now with the gun violence reported the day before this day we went to San Francisco Chinatown. Few blocks into Grant Street gate there were police presence.

Fire cracker sounds were heard intermittently from the alleys and were we scared? At that moment in time, Call me stupid or brave but

No. There was no fear. People went about as they do. The stage full of dancers danced speeches were heard on a loud microphone- streets were crowded with visitors like us either oblivious or even more determined than ever – all the more you might say. Perhaps many people who planned to come join the festivities cancelled. We understand. We have gotten so used to the cancel culture now so ingrained in us having lived through the Covid new normals of last 3 years.

I am not Chinese nor of Chinese descent and while my family has never celebrated Lunar New Year as a new year celebration, here we are to experience a little of other cultures and customs kept alive here in San Francisco Chinatown.

It’s tragic what’s happened in Monterey Park. Then a flashback of an incident when my son and I volunteered at a Food Bank in a marginalized neighborhood. At this food bank a long line forms when grocery bags of various foods are handed out. They were mostly black and brown skinned people – Afro-Americans and Latin Americans. Mostly. But a rare sight – an old Asian man approached the counter manned by a young lady and asked only for a bottle of cooking oil, pointing at the shelf with lots stocked. The young lady looked at him coldly and said NO with not one bit of compassion. No I can’t give it to you you need to get a blah blah. It’s just a little plastic jar of corn oil or something maybe $3-4 at a grocery store. Internally I was rolling my eyes in disbelief- why not? just give it to the poor man. It doesn’t belong to you – there’s no shortage there’s plentiful supply on the shelves- just give it to the poor man begging. Why be mean?

That – that man’s face of being told no for such a little item – just give it to him! I thought of that poor man and the daily numerous rejections and contempt he probably endures being poor and hungry treated so disrespectfully at an age when he should have been looked up to or at least not looked down upon. There’s also a racial element to this I rather not go into but … I imagine when someone’s self worth is stepped on so repeatedly sometimes harshly I can see those scars may turn a person into a monster.

This incident was probably when I felt ashamed to volunteer at this particular place – We are all human Rich or Poor, Entitled or Impoverished, Privileged or Robbed – it’s just a little cooking oil – it’s not cutting into anyone’s profit margin – isn’t this a non-profit? – give it to the poor man begging. It’s these little indignations built over time I think leads to a crackup. The recollection crossed my mind as I listened to the gun shooting tragedies- the need for mental health interventions. Otherwise … we get these disgruntled monsters and news stories casting shadows over this bright sunny week.

Gun Control. Why do people who go unhinged have access to guns in the first place? What’s this place- In the wild Wild West of the frontier days when there were not tax payers funded peace officers? The data apparently shows people living in California (due to “tighter” gun possession laws! And this?) to still be 20-25% safer from gun violence than rest of the country. It’s not enough. I hope to see improvements in my lifetime!