Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Best lunch. Ever.

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Left my internship today planning to drop by Mike Maley’s cinematography class in Berkeley this afternoon.  Knowing I’d have time for a quick lunch, I decided to stay on the 1 and get off on Fillmore instead of at my apartment.  My roommate James and I have been eating at La Mediterranee on Fillmore for years now.  In fact, the first time we met to discuss moving to the city together was over dinner at La Med in Berkeley on College Ave.

I called the Fillmore location last week, per my friend Gabi’s recommendation, to ask about their donations/charitable contributions policy in terms of catering non-profit events.  I needed to make sure my crew this Sunday would be replenished and well-fed throughout the day so we could keep our creative juices flowing.  Alicia, Gabi’s contact, informed me that they had already maxed on their quarterly quota and wouldn’t be able to donate catering services at all.  She did, however, offer a 10% discount and her email address in case I decided to accept the offer.  At this point, I was starting to feel deflated.   A friend of mine who helps run the Kung Fu taco truck told me they wouldn’t be able to cater that day, and another friend who works at La Boulangerie wasn’t sure she could contribute at no cost.  I guess I was aiming a little high for feeding a student crew on a student budget (meaning no budget)…what can I say, it’s San Francisco.   We love our taste buds.

This afternoon, I walked into La Med and ordered the Middle Eastern lunch plate at their bar.  (If you’ve never been, you’ve never tasted heaven.  Heaven tastes like Chicken Pomegranate and Chicken Cilicia lounging next to each other on one plate.)  I cleared the entire thing and when I turned to my right, a man with an accent and gentle voice asked me, “How was lunch?”   I was embarrassed – “Apparently great, because there’s nothing left.”  He smiled so warmly he could have melted an ice cube and said, “That’s what I like to hear.”  I asked him if he was the owner and then introduced myself.

Levon Der Bedrossian is Armenian (I have serious love for the Armos, thanks to Liana), from Lebanon, well-read, and has been part-owner of La Med for the last 30 or so years.  I told him about my documentary project and about getting shot down by Alicia last week (I know, it was her job to do that).  He called Alicia over, gestured to me, and said, “Let’s do it.  Lunch plates for her film crew Sunday.”  Could he be any more generous!?  Catering gratis – I was thrilled.  So grateful.  For the next 20 minutes, we talked about his passion for tapestry rugs, lost traditions, street food, and his son who is currently in Turkey and also interested in multimedia journalism/communications.  And to think, I was going to give up on trying to get a local business to support this film.

I think the lesson learned here is: Never take no for an answer.  If you really need or want something, do everything in your power to get the answer(s) you want.  And if they still say no, get the owner/manager.  It also helps when that owner/manager is the kindest person you’ve ever met.

Written by winniewongsf

August 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

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