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All Roads Lead To Rome

Happy 2023.

How is it almost February?

Has it really been 25 days since we started the new year?

Things seem to be happening a lot faster right now, probably because we spent most of 2022 setting up for 2023. Also, for the first time in 5 months we are not opening a new restaurant or cafe, so there is that.

Today I found something that I had written on my notepad last year around this time, it read “todos los caminos llevan a Roma” (all roads lead to Rome). It was a quickly thrown together 2 year plan. A way to tell myself that at the end of it all, no matter what road I took, I was going to find a way to spend my life living back in that little apartment in Roma Norte, where I lived until the start of the pandemic.

Here is what the plan was:

Build a roastery. Expand restaurant footprint. Develop talent.

Create more brands.

Earn more money and finally pay yourself. Find/Build a new space for Republica

Write a beloved docuseries. Shoot the series.

Shoot another docuseries.

Step away from Hospitality.

Let the restaurant run without you,

Comeback to coffee.

Keep writing.

Move back to Mexico.

Notes like this are hard to read when you find them years later.. They almost feel like journal entries. Especially because this one in particular is so centered around my own… wants. It’s not even about what is going to make me happy, it all reads more like a “great escape”, to be honest. But it is necessary that I do this, because it allows me to create a skeleton of a plan. Little by little I add more details to each category until it gets to the point where each one of those is a long and detailed description with action items attached. The thing about this one, is that I actually did okay for it being a quickly scribbled together two year plan. In fact, I believe it was a month later, as I was figuring out what it would take to “expand the restaurant footprint” or “write a beloved docuseries” that I realized that just about everything on that list was possible, within one year instead of two. All except for the whole “paying myself” thing.

How are you going to do it?

That’s always the question you have to ask yourself. How?

How do you go from a newly launched restaurant in the middle of the pandemic to one of the best restaurants in the country, all in a matter of months?

The same way you go from being an unknown home-roaster to being named one of the “rising star” coffee roasters in the country, all within one year.

Write it out. Or it will never happen.

Listen to me, write it out. Or it will never happen.

Last February, I took the little money that I had in my savings, invested it on some camera and audio equipment. I found a person who I believed in and who also believed in me, and we put together a small production crew with 0 real professional experience doing this.

We made our way to Oaxaca, arranged a list of things, people, and places that we wanted to shoot and acted as if. You know, act as if.

As if you have done this before. As if you are not afraid to fail at it. Act as if you are the Mexican Anthony Bourdain being shot by the Mexican Michael Moore.

That’s what we did. Acted as if.

After that we came back to Portland, and with all of the experiences we took from our time in Oaxaca, we began to shoot RCTID.

Trust me, there are a multitude of things that I would do differently at every aspect of its production. But I could say the same for everything else I’ve done in the last 43 years that have led me to this point. The series was released last month, and lives on our Youtube channel. It wasn’t what we wanted but it was the fastest way to get that material up for the world to view and move on to the next project.

Our hope was that a streaming platform would pick up, after all, the material and quality of production is pretty fucking good considering how little we knew at the start. But when you are as unknown and as unconnected as we were when we started this project, the mere completion of the series is something to feel proud of. So now the question I ask myself is how do you go from a Youtube channel with only a few hundred followers, to writing one of the most beloved docuseries about Mexico for a major streaming platform? All within one year? You write it out. Or it will never happen.

2023 is going to be good, hang with me, a little.

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