san francisco pancake party,

Friendship is a dish best served sweet.

Nothing breaks down the hard walls we’ve built up during this pandemic quite like soft, buttery pancakes.

Curtis Kimball had been feeling one of COVID-19’s more insidious symptoms: loneliness. Friends had moved away and no new connections were presenting themselves. But still, the craving for connection persisted.

Kimball could tell his entire city was feeling the same. “San Francisco is in a bad way. The vibes here are all effed up," he tweeted.

Figuring that everybody likes pancakes, or “at least the idea of pancakes,” Kimball decided to host his own flapjacks and friendship party (he didn’t actually call it that, but I wish he did) and he invited the entire neighborhood to join him.

Going for an old-school approach, Kimball posted whimsically odd fliers that read: “My wife said I’m getting weird. She says I need to make friends. So I’m making pancakes.”



Who could say no to that?


Kimball already has experience drawing in a crowd with his delicious food. His now closed Creme Brulee Cart was the sweet stuff of San Francisco eatery legend, having people lining the streets for his super decadent combinations. I mean, he served something called SF Gold, which was creamy custard topped with dark chocolate shortbread crumble and sea salt caramel. So when this guy offers you free pancakes, you take them.

Despite his former food fame, Kimball felt very vulnerable putting himself out there. He admitted to the TODAY show about being “nervous and self conscious,” telling himself that “this could be a really dumb idea and everyone might hate it.” But as soon as the party started, Kimball’s neighbors who lived two doors down came, and “were very excited.”

That was only the beginning. The party totaled out to more than 75 people, of all generations and backgrounds, a “mix of wonder and joy and people hungry to connect,” Kimball told TODAY.

The more people came, the more joy Kimball felt.

He tells San Francisco Eater that serving food in a nonprofessional atmosphere was even more rewarding than owning his business. “The vibes were so good that going back to foodie vibes feels bad. Customers come with expectation of themselves as critics rather than just enjoyers.” He even reflected that rather than cooking, maybe bringing people together was his real calling. He’s certainly a natural at it.

By the way, round 2 was even better.

On Feb 12, Kimball followed the same winning strategy: fliers + pancakes. This time, 300 people showed up, thanks in part to Kimball’s previous pancake party going viral and making several headlines.

“The joy, the laughter, the gratitude, the kindness was all overwhelming (as was the smell of pancakes),” he tweeted. “Not to be a softy, but I got a little misty a few times as every person thanked me for what to them felt like the perfect antidote at the perfect time after a rough 2 years.”

Now Kimball dreams of “people all across the country hosting Saturday morning pancake parties for their friends and neighbors.”

For Kimball, this fun, creative thing he discovered is actually vital. “I think it’s important because most of our public spaces are dominated by the big arguments over our differences as people,” he told TODAY. “And those things are important. But what feels lost and might be equally important is celebrating each other and our commonalities. We need more chances, as people, to root for each other and to believe in each other as humans.”

Perhaps he is onto something here. Our souls have been left unnourished and starving. Because of the pandemic, political division, technology … the new normal. But all it takes is one one thing, one simple thing, to shift perspectives and feed that innermost part of ourselves.

Feeling good and connecting with others is the sweet stuff of life. And we should savor every bite of it.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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