Ask And You Shall Receive

It has been exactly two months since I left my hometown of twenty years behind… to move to a completely new place to start my life over. I didn’t have any ideas or plans on what I was going to do, other than to seek peaceful life and hope that I would find a job before I run out of money in a few months. During the first couple of weeks in town, everyone I met kept telling me how bad the economy is and that there are hardly any jobs. While I was optimistic about my ability to find work — I thought if I ended up homeless, I could always pretend to play my guitar; Max can hold a “Please Help” sign, and Evie knows how sit up on her hind legs and look pretty. People would take pity seeing my furry kids or either that give money just to keep me from playing my awful guitar noise  music. 😉

Luckily, the furry kids and I didn’t have to go that route. When I met my roommate, she told me that our neighbor next door owns a restaurant. I thought… great! Maybe I can talk him into giving me a job. About a couple of weeks after I arrived to my new home, I finally met my neighbor. We went for a hike. During the hike, I told him about my 20 something years of restaurant and cooking experience. Blah.. Blah… Blah… I went on. Shamelessly selling myself, hoping to get a job. Well… to make the long story short. I didn’t talk him into giving me a job that day, instead a week later, I end up talking him into giving me the whole restaurant. He had purchased the restaurant six months before and by the time we met, he realized that owning a restaurant was more work than he had thought. He was at the point where he wanted to give the restaurant back to the previous owner. So during one of our daily hikes, I simply asked him to give me the restaurant. Ask and you shall receive. Well… this is one of those times where that statement came true. I didn’t have much money, but somehow I knew this cute little place was going to be mine. Well… after a month of paper work, dealing with the government,  jumping through many other hoops, and most of all; the help of some guardian angels — my dream came true. I am now the proud owner of a Hawaiian style restaurant — Aloha Grille, located in the beautiful town of Prescott, Arizona.

This is one of those opportunities in life when it hits you in the face and you are actually ready to receive it kind of moment. I had owned a small cafe many years ago but at the time, my kids were very young — among other challenges of life, the cafe didn’t make it. Anyway, I told myself someday I would have another one when the opportunity is right. And when I made my New Year wish, I didn’t know that I put in motion for me to find my opportunity. When I look back at my New Year’s post, A New Journey Begins. I am amazed by my predictions. If you read what I wrote, you will see that my journey for the last couple of months have been exactly as I have written.

My little herbal garden. I hope to harvest the mint for the noodle salad dish.

Nope, I didn’t paint the mural. It came with the restaurant. Although, at the end of a hard day; I love to sit and stare at it. If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the waves crashing on to the beach.

It is a small place… but just right for me. People commented on how comforting they feel when they eat there. So far, all the orders come back with empty plates. It’s a good sign that my food is tasty. One good thing about being a food photographer, I will be able take photos of my cooking. Which I hope to do when I get more settled with running the restaurant. So far, I’ve been running around none-stop. And yes, I feel sleep deprived but at least I finally lost the 15 lbs that I’ve been trying to get rid of for the past few years. 🙂

I have to admit, it has been a crazy last few weeks. I changed the menu, did a lot of cleaning, bought supplies and even sewed the table clothes. The biggest challenge I discovered was the difficulty of getting the ingredients I need living in a small town. I had to drive all over town and search four different stores just for coconut milk, bean sprouts and snow peas. I couldn’t order from the food service companies because of the small quantity I need. On top of that, I have to learn how to bake at high altitude. I thought it only affects baked goods, but I spent all day today, trying to modify my Easy Breezy pancake mix recipe without success. And I’m suppose to open for breakfast tomorrow. So… I cheated. I went and bought pancake mix. Until I can figure out this high altitude problem, I have to cheat and use store-bought. Yikes!

I know there will be more challenges ahead… especially, the cash flow issue. However, all is good. I have my excellent cooking skills, experience and determination to make this place a success. And this time around, no kids, no husband, and other family obligations to distract me from my goal. This time, I have only me, myself and I to deal with.  ALOHA!  🙂

43 Comments on “Ask And You Shall Receive

  1. WOW! What an awesome story. I love the photos but I want to go to your establishment AND it turns out I will be in Arizona in two weeks.

  2. This is brilliant, Emily. Well done! 🙂 And a very cute restaurant.
    (My apologies for not coming by for quite a while, bit busy with something myself right now.)

  3. Somehow I missed this post Emily.
    Congratulations and best wishes on your new adventure. I am sure you will do well.

    Love the colors and theme in these shots.

  4. It appears that destiny is on your side Emily. I wish you all the best and am so happy for you.

  5. Wow – what an exciting story! It is amazing how quickly life can change. I hope it is going amazing for you, and you are solving your startup headaches! What a cute place. Wish I could pop by and try it out – but coming from the Eastern Canada, will have to wait a while on that one! All the best for loads of success and happiness.

  6. Best of luck with your new endevour, Emily! I’m so happy that you are doing so well and are finally doing something that you really love! 🙂

  7. This is so fantastic Emily. I am glad things are working out for you on so many levels. You deserve it!

  8. Congratulations on the new (ad)venture. The cafe looks wonderful and inviting. You are on your way. Best wishes for the future!

  9. Wow! You are braver than I, Emily. However, this is a beautiful place filled with color and I just know you will attract the people. Happy cooking!

  10. Wow, Emily! Sounds like you’ve siezed this opportunity with both hands, I’m sure it will be a resounding success. And if I ever happen to be in Arizona, I’ll make sure to stop in and sample the food 🙂

  11. Congratulations Emily! What a fantastic opportunity. When next I visit the Grand Canyon, I’ll have to make a side trip to Prescott to check out the Aloha Grille.

    • Thanks Mike. Yes, it is an amazing opportunity. I feel so blessed… please do stop by if you are ever in this area. It is a beautiful town. And of course the Aloha Grille’s food is awesome. 🙂

    • Thanks Erin. It is amazing how much my life have changed in the last couple of months. I’m looking forward to the months ahead… tourist season is coming and the country’s oldest rodeo event is just right up the street from the restaurant. I’ve never been to a rodeo before… Sounds like it is an amazing event. I can’t wait to photograph it.

  12. Wow, congrats. You made a dream come true. It’s awesome. I really hope that many people will visit your restaurant.

    • Thanks, Cocomino. Yes, I am still amazed that my dream came true. And as for customers, I had two native Hawaiian customers today and they told me the food was excellent — very authentic — they thought I was Hawaiian. One lady said the coconut curry was so good that she wanted to lick the bowl clean. 😀

    • Yes, it has been very colorful lately. I feel as if the rain finally parted and the sun is shining brightly — literally. Unlike Seattle’s rainy weather, it is sunny here most of the times.

  13. I am sure that you are on the right path. I will make it there to meet you and sample your excellent wares at some point, but can’t say when that might be. I will notify my musical partner in Phoenix and try to steer him your way. Does your new place have a website yet? Wish I could make a reservation now!

  14. Great news – I wish you success and glad to see that you are well into your new life.

    • Thanks Mike! If you ever decide to head down this way… please look me up. There are so many nice places we can go shoot. I do get Sundays off… sort of. 😉

  15. So very cool! I am happy that you have had a chance to start something new and exciting both by moving to a new area and now the restaurant. Congratulations and good luck to you!

  16. Oh my, oh my , oh my! See what happens when one takes a leap of faith,steps work too. It was destined to happen. I am so proud of you, the strength and courage it took it pack it up and go. I feel the same for us..We had lived in a mobile home for nine years and I would always look at houses and my heart would pitter patter and I’d admire. It was meant for us too.. So very happy for you!!

    • I do believe in destiny and sometimes it just takes us quite a few detours and dead-ends to find our way to where we want to be. And yes, it definitely requires faith and courage to make that leap. I’m so happy that you got your dream home, Roberta. 🙂

  17. Well, you’ve had the luck to land a restaurant, I think you have the determination to make a go of it, but you need to tell us where it is, so we can all mention in our blogs, “If you’re ever in Xxxxxxx, you have to stop in at the Aloha Grill, the food is fabulous there!”.

    • Since I pretty much signed my life away, yes… I have only my determination left to make it a success. Seriously though, I know this place is special. I felt it the moment I walked in. “If you’re ever in Prescott, Arizona, you have to stop in at the Aloha Grille. The food is fabulous there!” 😀

  18. That’s so exciting! It seems almost as if it were all meant to be…

    I’m happy that this opportunity presented itself to you, and I hope that it gives you much joy and pleasure!

    • That’s what I think too. I mean what are the chances that I would find a roommate from Craigslist while I was still in Seattle — and she was the first ad I responded — who lives next to a neighbor who owns the restaurant. To think, if I had responded to a different ad; I would probably be playing my awful guitar with the furry kids on a street corner somewhere…

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