Frank Chen

Frank Chen

email newsletter #1

la eats, chat gpt, alternative work

Hey friends,

I'm experimenting with writing more. One of these experiments is a form of "what's going on in Frank's side of the world" email on some semi-regular basis.

The idea came from seeing other folks do this, but also because of the coffee hangouts that we've had. We discuss interesting topics when we're together, so I figured sharing more couldn't hurt. The goal is to write down the curiosities in my head. At the very least, it'll be some conversation fodder.

If you'd like to opt-out, just let me know. I'm starting with just 4-5 people. Similarly, if you want to pass it on and someone wants to subscribe, let me know and I can manually add them!

la eats

Amy and I spent Christmas in Los Angeles. As usual, the trip was a gravy train of continuous eating.

Here were some highlights of our favorite spots, food and non-food.

Maru Coffee - They're known for their "cream top", a cold brew with sweet cream, but they're a legit craft coffee spot with all the standard espresso drinks. All Time's famous cheesy egg toast is also just down the street, which makes visiting Maru a two in one deal.

Guisados DTLA - I specifically targeted the downtown location because their "underrated" breakfast menu is only served in certain spots. My verdict is that the regular menu is still superior, but if you put some combination of hot dogs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, and scrambled eggs in a handmade tortilla, I will promptly stuff it down.

Pizzeria Bianco - Worth visiting. This place does the "bread" part of pizza really well. I normally don't want too much bread, but I couldn't stop eating their special Sicilian slice, even after the toppings were consumed.

Kinto - is a shop for craft housewares. They have these really nice amber cups and metal no-filter drippers for pour-over coffee.

BCD Tofu House - an all time favorite. Classic Korean dishes, 24 hours a day. Ate here all the time 15 years ago, and it's still going strong as ever. The servers now have microphone headsets, which means they've gone fully corporate.

Lowboy - Many people sing the praises of the smashburger here but I think the real sleeper is their "fresh" burger, which is closer to a classic burger. Get the double fresh with cheese and thank me later. Better yet, get a double lowburger and a double freshburger and do a side-by-side comparison.

Quarter Sheets Pizza Club - Walk across the street from Lowboy for a dinner-only Detroit-style pizza pie. Their homemade desserts are supposedly a sleeper, but I didn't enjoy the slice of cake we got.

Kumquat Coffee - Kumquat has a peanut butter based coffee drink that's quite good. They've also got the normal assortment of craft espresso and matcha drinks.

SYTK Sullengtang - go for the ox knee bone soup. I've made it a habit of ordering one to eat there and one to go. It's the perfect rainy day sick food, but I eat it even when it's not raining.

the pathless path

"The Pathless Path" by Paul Millerd. The book is attached to this newsletter.

Paul talks about the sense of creativity and curiosity that arises when one takes an extended break from work and finally reclaims ownership of one's time.

Take a gander at his state of work tweet thread, or load his book into a Kindle.

for your viewing pleasure

Alice in Borderland on Netflix. This show is one of those fucked up science fiction survival shows where the characters are playing games with deathly consequences. Think "Squid Game" but in Japanese with a post-apocalyptic parallel universe feel. It's quite heartfelt at times, which is surprising.

chat gpt

I've been playing around with Open AI's Chat GPT, which is an AI bot that you can talk to. Find ways to fuck it up and give you a wrong answer. Or, use it as a learning tool. Ask it complex questions, use acronyms, tell it you don't understand, etc.

There's another site that I think uses Chat GPT - It's a place where you can talk to Elon Musk or other celebrities. It's surprisingly accurate.

random idea

Our dog Speck likes to chase things, so I'm looking into a small, fast remote controlled car that I might stuff into a squirrel costume.

quote of the week

"There's so much more to who you are than you know right now. You are, indeed, something mysterious and someone magnificent. You hold within you – secreted for safekeeping in your heart – a great gift for this world. Although you might sometimes feel like a cog in a huge machine, that you don't really matter in the great scheme of things, the truth is that you are fully eligible for a meaningful life, a mystical life, a life of the greatest fulfillment and service." - Bill Plotkin