I'M IRVIN, AMA (ask me anything) ⁉️

Really? Do you really have questions for me? Aren't there more interesting people on @list that you'd rather be asking? I guess I'll try to answer anything you want to ask. I'm kind of boring though...
  1. Basic facts about me.
    I'm Asian (Taiwanese-American to be specific). I'm in my early 40s but no one thinks that because I'm Asian and chink don't sink and also because I liberally sprinkle my texts, tweets and SnapChat's with emojis. Also I am gay and in a long term relationship with my partner @AJ for 16 years. He's the best.
  2. More less interesting facts about myself.
    I'm a former graphic designer and art director. Some of my past clients included Wendy's, Ben & Jerry's and Quiznos. I know WAY too much about fast food, fast casual and chain restaurants because of this job. I also worked with nonprofits. This led me to once dress up as a 7 foot tall penis. I made a list about it. Why I Dressed as a Massive Penis With Testicles and Watered a Lawn
  3. Even duller facts about myself.
    I am a recipe developer, writer, photographer and currently run a food blog (www.eatthelove.com) I also have a cookbook coming out in November. You can pre-order it if you want. http://amzn.to/1OwzzJb
  4. And a few more mundane details...
    Born in St. Louis MO. Moved to San Francisco about 18 years ago. Have a degree in Painting and English Lit. Lived in The Netherlands for a year in high school. Walked on the Berlin Wall right after it fell in Feb. 1990 (it came down in Nov. 1989). Road trip A. LOT. across the USA. Been to 23 National Parks. Currently obsessed with ceramics and throwing pots on the wheel. Own way too many cookbooks. Almost always have baked goods around the house. Mildly lactose intolerant.
  5. Finally
    You can find me on all other social networks under the name eatthelove. This includes Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and a bunch of other places that I don't frequent as much. I'm also on Anchor but I'm listed there as my full name Irvin Lin. But the only person I know who actually uses Anchor is @mudaba.
  6. Oh yeah I'm also an intensely curious person.
    This means if someone asked a question that I don't know the answer to, I usually feel compelled to look it up on the internet. My Google skillz are 💯 and I use them often. This also leads me to sound like a total know-it-all on social media. I am far from that! It's a compulsion of mine and one I'm working to curb. But there's that as well. It also explains why I make those detailed lists about random topics. I fall into a google hole and then just regurgitate everything I learn...
  7. So ask away!
  8. Your favourite Asian comfort food?
    Sorry to be that person and ask about food! I know your so much more than that! You're so multi-talented!!
    Suggested by   @DawnCloud
  9. @DawnCloud So my mom makes a traditional Taiwanese soup that uses a processed fish paste in it. It's sounds gross but I love it. I think the Taiwanese name for it is Ba Genh (though a lot of versions have noodles in it, my mom's doesn't. I keep on meaning to get the recipe from her.
    I really need to get that recipe. Every time my mom makes it, it reminds me of my childhood. In fact, pretty much anything my mom makes, including sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed pork buns are my favorites. One of these days I'm going to sit down with my mom and make her write out all her recipes.
  10. What kitchen gadgets do you hate? What do you love?
    Suggested by   @krissybell76
  11. @krissybell76 Good Question! I pretty much hate useless unitasker items. Avocado slicers and that sort of thing. Usually a knife will do just fine. As for my favorite, that would probably be a kitchen scale. It's the most underused and under appreciated baking tool and will improve your baking immensely.
    That said, I actually have a list on baking tools and equipment that everyone should have (I made it back in the beta days so it's kind of buried in my archive). You can check it out! Must-have Kitchen Tools for Bakers
  12. Best and worst places you've been to in the US and why?
    Suggested by   @aprilgrace
  13. @aprilgrace Ooohhh... That is tough! In the summer of 2013, my partner and I drove from San Francisco across the northern part of the US, cut halfway down through the Midwest all the at to Miami and then headed back the southern route through New Orleans, Texas and up back to San Francisco. We spent 7 weeks on the road.
    But if I HAD to pick a fave, I'd go with southern Utah. I love the desert & the rock formations are just amazing. Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Zion and Capitol Reef National Park are just phenomenal. A close second would actually be Hawaii, where AJ and I spent 5 weeks there. But it's pretty hard to not love Hawaii. Worse place? Hmmm...there are stretches of highway like in Nebraska, Kansas, Texas. Iowa, New Mexico that are really boring. Not the worst in the world. But really really boring.
  14. What's the scariest movie you've seen recently?
    Suggested by   @shanaz
  15. @shanaz Huh. I actually don't really watch a lot of movies and I definitely don't watch a lot of scary movies. I used to LOVE horror movies but I found as I got older they freaked me out too much!
    That said, two Halloweens ago I went to a friend's house for a dinner party and we ended up watching The Shining. I hadn't seen it in awhile and it was just as creepy and unsettling as I remember it being.
  16. I loved your post on the SF Food Wars Pie or Die competition - have you ever considered entering another one (or a different sort of food competition)? Now I want pie!
    Suggested by   @sophialucchesi
  17. @sophialucchesi Ha! That is a REALLY old post! I don't really do food competitions anymore because I don't have time anymore! They don't do the Food Wars anymore and that's probably the most fun or of all of them. But it's a lot of work and lot of effort and I've too busy to do that sort of thing.
    But never say never! And I was actually approached once to do a reality TV competition show once. It was...not the best situation in the end. I keep on meaning to write a list or blog about it. But it hasn't happened. It's a long story. Maybe one of these days...
  18. What is a fun/simple memory from the Taiwan "love boat" experience (that you haven't previously listed)?
    Suggested by   @estherlimtf
  19. @estherlimtf Ahhh LoveBoat! If folks aren't familiar with the list Esther is talking about, you can check it out here: Why We Dubbed My Taiwanese Summer Camp "the Love Boat"
    Probably one of my favorite memories was at a skit/talent show that each bus did for the entire camp. Our bus had our group (the cool kids) staying up late all night long to write a medley song of pop culture TV theme songs. We incorporated every single TV theme song we could think of, making sure to medley in lyrics so when words overlapped they transitioned to the next theme song. When we performers it, and hit the Love Boat theme song, the crowd went wild!
  20. Have you or would you go to the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest?
    Suggested by   @dudleyjoshua
  21. @dudleyjoshua Hmmmm... So I have never been to the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest. In fact, I have never been to either Coney Island OR a hot dog eating contest (or any competitive eating contest).
    And to be honest, I don't really have any interest in competitive eating. It's not my thing. But if I had the opportunity to go to Coney Island, I'd probably go. Not sure if I would go out of my way to go there. But if an opportunity turned up, I wouldn't turn it down. And if the hot dog contest coincided with that trip, I'd probably stick around just out of curiosity.
  22. What's your favorite cheese for grilled cheese?
    Suggested by   @ryeisenberg
  23. @ryeisenberg You're killing me with this question! Do I have to pick just ONE cheese? To be honest, I love nearly all grilled cheese. Mostly because I love cheese!
    From the classic white bread and Kraft singles (tastes like childhood to me) to Cheddars, Gorgonzolas and Gouda style cheeses. One of my absolute favorite grilled cheeses was a soft Camembert & Comte with mushroom on baguette grilled cheeses. Also a Dubliner w/tomato jam one. But if I had to pick, maybe a sharp Cheddar & Provolone grilled cheese with grilled onions. Pro Tip: butter and sprinkle some shredded cheddar on the OUTSIDE of the bread. Grilling it will make the cheese crispy & crunchy!
  24. What has been the hardest part of learning wheel throwing? What do you like most about it? Can you show us a photo of your favorite pot?
    Suggested by   @ladyprofessor
  25. @ladyprofessor So I'm a COMPLETE novice beginner when it comes to wheel throwing. I took a class in high school over 25 years ago and then I decided to take a continuing ed class last month. So I have very little experience! I'm just starting to get back into it. Also, I'm currently working on a list w/photos of my pots so look for that soon.
    For most people, learning to "center" the clay is probably the most important and hardest thing to learn. Pros make it look INSANELY easy (and once you do master it, it really becomes second nature) but it can take awhile to get to that point. I know folks that basically spent all 8 weeks learning how to center the clay. For me though, throwing pots and getting on the wheel is really zen and contemplative. It's how I used to feel about baking until it became my job...
  26. What do you make for a quick dinner it's late and you're hungry and tired?
    Suggested by   @roaringsoftly
  27. @roaringsoftly such a great question! Can I be totally honest and just say carry out?
    Ha! But seriously. SF is home to some serious (and cheap) good eats! BUT if I want maximum quality home cooked food w/minimal effort, I'll roast a spatchcock chicken. It's about 15 prep time & 55 min roasting in the oven (all walk away time). If I can't wait that long, I make a bacon, egg & cheese grilled sandwich. I use Dubliner cheese, Tartine bread and home cured bacon. And I generously sprinkle the overeasy egg with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Yeah, I'm one of THOSE annoying people.
  28. what are three of your favorite songs to drop in a mixtape??
    Suggested by   @boygirlparty
  29. @boygirlparty Gah! That's such a good question and one that is impossible to answer. I really try to create mixes specific to ether the situation or to the people I'm giving it to.
    That said, if I were to make a mix RIGHT NOW, here are three songs that I would add to it. These are necessarily my favorite songs to drop, but they are the songs I love and wish nor folks would know about: Red House Painters "All Mixed Up" (a long time favorite of mine), Tracey Thorn "Book of Love" (her cover of The Magnetic Fields song is so brilliant) and School of Seven Bells "Open Your Eyes" (this song is so devastating to me).
  30. what's an ingredient (other than butter/cheese) that you are almost always happy to experience?
    Suggested by   @boygirlparty
  31. @boygirlparty Because of the work that I do, I eat a LOT of excellent meals and dishes. I actually get more excited about ingredients and preparations of food that I am NOT familiar with than I am with food that I know.
    That said, I do love season summer stone fruit. So when cherry , peach or plum season comes around, I'm pretty darn happy. In fact, I basically become a frugivore. It's probably not the healthiest option. But I can't help myself.
  32. who is someone you wish you were friends with?
    Suggested by   @boygirlparty
  33. @boygirlparty Great question! I actually already have a really wide range of awesome friends. All of the friendships have grown rather organically. I can't imagine the way famous/influential people present themselves in the public is the same as they are in private or with their close friends. So it would pretty hard for me to answer this question.
    That said, there's a number of pretty awesome people (or seemingly awesome people) that I wouldn't mind sitting down and sharing a meal with or having a conversation with. That's probably a whole other list though. And that's actually pretty different than what you asked.
  34. when is the last time you totally completely unplugged from social media / phone / internet and what was your experience?
    Suggested by   @boygirlparty
  35. @boygirlparty AJ and I love to go camping, specifically at National Parks. The last National Park we went to surprisingly had 3G booster antennas near the camp store but while we were hiking we were "offline". That was in April. Before that we went hiking and camping in Pinnacles National Park in February and there was no internet/cell reception.
    I actually really love unplugging. But it can be a little odd to be completely off grid. After camping and not having ANY cell reception, we drove to Santa Cruz. While walking to a cafe to get lunch I looked down at a newspaper stand and saw the glaring headlines "Supreme Court Justice Scalia Found Dead!" It was surreal.
  36. what do you think the loveboat chaperones were thinking?
    Suggested by   @boygirlparty
  37. @boygirlparty like any camp counsellors I'm sure the LoveBoat chaperones where equally amused and entertained and annoyed with us. And certainly a fair number of them went out and partied with us. Or hooked up with campers. We were all roughly the same age!
    In fact, I think I have a few friends who are still friends with some of them!
  38. What brought to San Francisco & do you live in the city proper?
    Suggested by   @MichaelRose
  39. @MichaelRose I had a few friends who already lived here in SF and I was really looking to move away from my hometown of St. Louis. It was really up to SF or NYC and in the end I decided to try out SF. It seemed less overwhelming than NY. I actually hated SF for about 10 months but then abruptly fell in love with it.
    And yes, I do live in SF proper. I have since I moved here. I live 1 block away from Dolores Park (which, if you know San Francisco at all, is a much coveted neighborhood - though I moved to this neighborhood back when it wasn't quite as nice) More important than being in close proximity to Dolores Park though, is the fact that I am 4 blocks away from @gabimoskowitz who I adore! Sadly we are both so busy we don't see as much of each as we would like.
  40. If you were a dessert, what would you be?
    Suggested by   @bettyturbo
  41. @bettyturbo Most likely I would be a lemon and blackberry chess pie with bourbon meringue. A little bit sweet. A little bit tart. With a little bit of unexpected kick. And more complicated than I look from the outside.
    Also I'd be one of those desserts that not a lot of folks know what it is, but those that do know, would appreciate it. Also I'm not fancy. I'm pretty down home, which is exactly what a chess pie is.
  42. If you had to re-do your life, and your current career path was not an option, what would you do and why?
    Suggested by   @aminam
  43. @aminam Gah! Could you ask a more difficult question? So at one point I tinkered with the idea of pursuing fashion styling/designing. Possibly that. Though I also had a strong interest in mathematics. If I were to veer in a REALLY different direction, I'd probably would have pursued theoretical mathematics.
    But thankfully I did not. Theoretical math is one of those odd careers that are strictly academic. I have no real interest in practical applications of math. Just the truly theoretical math for math sake stuff.
  44. @Sim0n So I've ALWAYS identified with Ravenclaw. I'm a bit of a bookworm and love to read. I've also been intensely curious about the world as well. Gryffindor is appealing but I'm not sure if I'm brave or adventurous enough to be part of it. But Ravenclaw always seemed like a good fit.
    However, recently @Lisa_Fav did a list where she sorted people into different houses and she put me in Hufflepuff. I was horrified! But then I later found out that the French translation of Hufflepuff was Poufsouffle. This made me feel better about her putting me in that house. So I not longer am offended and would be happy there as well.
  45. Do you peel (with a knife, not a peeler) things inwards or outwards?
    I peel things inwards and that freaks everyone when I do that 🤔
    Suggested by   @aida
  46. @aida so I rarely peel with a knife, preferring to peel with a peeler. But on the rare occasions that I DO peel with a knife, it's always away from me.
    The issue is no matter how much control you think you have or how sharp the knife is, there still always the chance it will slip and if you peeling TOWARD yourself, you're more likely to cut yourself.
  47. If you were a dessert, you'd be Lemon & Blackberry Chess Pie with Bourbon Meringue. (Lovely self analysis BTW) Now it's imperative for me to make said pie. Do you have a recipe link or should I just poke around the internet for one? 🍋
    Suggested by   @angela3950
  48. @angela3950 Hi!! Sorry this answer is so belated! There's a version of the recipe on my blog but it's super old and I was a terrible recipe writer back then. It also doesn't have the bourbon meringue.
    BUT you can get the recipe in my upcoming cookbook! You can pre-order it at http://bit.ly/MSLbook