Travel And Nomadism with Cory Etzkorn at Trick Dog.

Tanner and Cory Etzkorn — a designer, software engineer and bath enthusiast living in Brooklyn — talk nostalgia over the days when air travel was less regulated and you could smoke on planes, differences between the West and East coasts and weird pandemic era nomadism over delicious tendies and cocktails.

Hostess: Can I get you guys started with something to drink?

Cory: Yes.

Tanner: I think I'm all ready for everything.

Hostess: All right, let's do it.

Tanner: I'm going to do the Mural Project, the Quik Nuggets, the burger and no lettuce.

Cory: Can I get the Chinatown and the hotdog.

Hostess: Sounds good.

Cory: Cool.

Hostess: I'm going to let you keep one of those menus. Any allergies on the table I need to know of?

Tanner: None that I know of.

Hostess: Okay. Awesome. Thanks, guys.

Tanner: Hell yeah.

Cory: All right.

Tanner: All right, it's officially, I mean, it has been recording, but I guess we can officially start.

Cory: All right, let's start it up. Let's fire it up.

Tanner: I didn't even plan an intro for this, so I guess this is what the first official, unofficial, official installment of Dinner With Friends.

[Unknown song plays in background]

Cory: I mean, you don't need an intro, we just should have a moment of silence and let the song come through. What is this? This is like a classic, probably.

Tanner: Probably.

Cory: You don't know what it is either? I feel like one of us should know what the song is.

Tanner: Unfortunately it just ended.

Cory: All right, we're already going to get canceled because we don't know culture. Bad.

Tanner: Well we got an intro tape playing. I think the idea I had with this is just I've been having all these conversations with friends, usually over dinner or drinks, and the format has been we'll talk about pretty interesting things. And it always feels really good capturing those conversations and having a food aspect of it, so it feels like the half food blog, we went here, had this food, and did this thing, and then had a pretty interesting topic of conversation. So maybe half food blog, half friend journal, and maybe some thoughtful way to fuse the two together.

Cory: Yeah, and if there's ever a gap, you can just talk about umami or something, the umami of the food.

Tanner: I'm probably not going to shut the fuck up about these nuggets.

Cory: I thought it was going to be chicken tenders, but I guess chicken tenders is a secret codeword for any chicken item. Is that true?

Tanner: Yeah. I mean, there's chicken tenders and there's tendies, and then tendies could refer back to chicken tenders or like any gains you get from the stock market.

Cory: Is this a west coast thing, because on the menu I also saw that they referred to chicken sandwiches as chicken sandos.

Tanner: Probably.

Cory: Okay.

Tanner: I wouldn't be surprised. Do they not call sandwiches sandos over in New York?

Cory: I think it's a little too casual maybe. I don't know, it gives me sort of the same vibe as ... Actually the pilot on the way here, flying from JFK to SFO, once we landed he said, "Welcome to San Fran." And I didn't hear anyone cringe since it's not audible, but I know you're not supposed to refer to the city that way. Right?

Tanner: I think some people get upset when you call San Francisco something else, but fuck them.

Cory: I've heard that SF is approved, San Francisco is approved, the Bay is approved. San Fran is definitely not approved.

Tanner: I think San Fran is the vocal fry of pronouncing the city name. You can do it, it’s kind of cringey I guess, but ...

Cory: But chicken sando makes me think of that. Tendies is okay though.

Tanner: San Fran makes sense to me because you're shortening the word, but sando, you're shortening it but adding an “O”. “O” shouldn't be there.

Cory: Yeah. I get it, I get it.

Tanner: Anytime I've flown out of New York, the pilots are definitely not chill at all.

Cory: I think they are. Related to airplanes, I'm going to Colombia on Monday, the country. I keep telling people I'm going to Colombia and I think they think I'm going to Ohio, and I'm not. I mean, it's February. And even if it wasn't February, I probably wouldn't be. But I'm going to the country and fun fact, the flight that I'm taking, the exact flight number and the airline, was involved in an air crash investigations video that I watched on YouTube.

Tanner: Ooh.

Cory: So I'm hoping all the bad luck ... You'd think they'd at least change the flight number, but they're just still rolling with it.

Tanner: I think that's a thing for major crashes or aviation disasters, at least in the US, is they retire the flight number.

Cory: That's what I would think, but this one's still going strong, and I hope that all the bad luck was already used up.

Hostess: Chinatown. Mural Project.

Cory: Thank you.

Tanner: Thank you.

Cory: Wow, I'm just going to narrate this experience since we're just kind of talking totally normally. Cocktails arrived.

Tanner: Cheers.

Cory: Cheers.

Tanner: Hope you don't encounter an aviation disaster.

Cory: Me too.

Tanner: Hope your flight number is lucky this time.

Cory: Me too. Ooh, it smells like that one liqueur that I can never describe. It's the Suze or something. Do you know what this is? Can you tell by smelling it?

Tanner: Let me smell it real quick. Ooh.

Cory: Is it Suze?

Tanner: I think there's some Amaro in that.

Cory: Yeah, Amaro, but it's almost like kind of a bitter, fruity vibe.

Tanner: Yeah. It's what I like about their cocktails here. They're never ... Horsefeather the other night just felt like I was drinking gasoline. This feels like I'm drinking like a very not overly intense sort of smoothie.

Cory: Yeah, this is really good. Really good cocktail.

Tanner: I think there's a time and place for just guzzling gasoline type alcohol, but maybe not the best thing to do on a Monday night.

Cory: Probably like college. Yeah.

Tanner: Well I missed the memo a couple days ago about it.

Cory: Yeah. Get with it.

Tanner: Yeah, 30 year old me trying to convert gasoline into something enjoyable. So you're going to Colombia, the only other fun fact I have about duplicate location names is there's a San Francisco, Argentina.

Cory: Yes. There's a Kansas City, Kansas and a Kansas City, Missouri.

Tanner: And there's a Paris, France and a Paris, Texas.

Cory: Yeah. I wonder how much confusion has this caused. Every time I get on a flight, the first couple of minutes, I am a little nervous that I'm on the wrong one, and when they announce it, I'm like it's going to be somewhere totally different isn't it? But obviously at this point, there's a lot of checks that happen, they scan your thingy. Back in the day it seems like it would be more likely to end up somewhere totally unknown.

Tanner: Yeah. And I think back in the day, obviously air rules were a lot more relaxed. You could have kids fly unaccompanied by parents. I also feel it was more chill because probably flights were a lot more expensive, so you probably had fewer people flying. They probably wanted to attract more people to fly, so they probably lowered the rules to entry aside from cost, and now there's almost too many rules, there's too many people flying.

Cory: I wish I was alive during the era when you could smoke cigarettes on planes. I think it would be awful probably, it would definitely be awful, but I'm just curious what it's like. Is it walking into a haunted house where it's just a thick cloud of smoke and you can't see anything? I mean, I don't know.

Tanner: I feel like it would be because also, air cabin ventilation probably wasn't as good as it was back then as it is now.

Cory: Yeah, I feel like today I could handle it if they just switched the filter out more often.

Tanner: Yeah. I feel with planes today, the person sitting to my right could probably be smoking a blunt the whole flight, I wouldn't know.

Cory: Yeah. I guess masks are optional now, but I guess I haven't been wearing them this month, but in a transitional period, I was wearing them basically until takeoff, because I felt like that was when the good ventilation kicked in or something. I don't know if that's true, but ...

Tanner: That actually is true. I think there's, if I remembered correctly, while a plane is taxiing pre-takeoff, it's using a different energy system, and I could be totally wrong here so citation needed of course, but I think once you're in the air, the air filtration in cabin is partially powered by the aircraft's engines, and not the backup power. I wish I could phone a pilot right now and ask. I think that moment where you're taxiing and you're starting to take off, where you hear that distinct hum sort of change like some motor kicks in, I think that's what happens, that's when that changeover happens.

Cory: I mean, flying machines are incredible. That's my opinion on airplanes, is that they're amazing.

Tanner: I think they're a little too amazing for me. I get really bad anxiety when I fly, and it's not that I don't fly. I will happily get in the metal tube to go somewhere, but I've got the caveman brain just acting up, confused as fuck about why I'm in a metal tube, high above the earth, shaking violently. And I've got the five year old brain screaming holy fuck, this is so cool. And those two kind of compete.

Cory: It sounds like you just have the cavemen air travel anxiety. I have the caveman urge to just start a lot of fires, which isn't as good to have on an airplane.

Tanner: I know. I've been taking CBD before every flight, and that turns the caveman brain off.

Cory: I've been taking Cinnabons.

Hostess: All right, QuikNuggets. There's the Mission dog.

Cory: Thank you.

Hostess: And here's the burger, no lettuce.

Tanner: Perfect.

Hostess: Anything else I can get you at the moment?

Tanner: I think this is good for now.

Hostess: Awesome. Enjoy.

Tanner: Thank you.

Cory: The food just arrived and the burger and the hotdog look the same, which I haven't experienced that before.

Tanner: Are there pickles? There's pickles. That's probably why the burger patty was so small, it's on a hotdog bun.

Cory: Yeah, but it's kind of fun though.

Tanner: I like it. I'm going to take a photo of it.

Cory: I kind of like the idea of a restaurant where everything comes in the same shape, where you could be eating a burger, an ice cream sandwich, pad thai, or a vegan something, and it just looks the same.

Tanner: I think it makes it easier to prepare the food, but it's also a nice style choice.

Cory: I mean, I guess it's not too dissimilar from a TV dinner where it all comes in the same tray.

Tanner: But I feel like this is going to taste a lot better than a TV dinner.

Cory: I think so. That was a restaurant I wanted to start at some point, was you know those like beer bars where you buy the beer, you grab it out of the fridge in a can and then you take it back to your table.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: I think the point is that since it's in a can, they just have a ton of selection. But I wanted to start a restaurant where it's just every single wall is a freezer, like from a grocery store, full of a frozen food items, and you can just grab any frozen food item. Basically you choose your frozen food items, you grab them, and then the server takes them back to a room, heats them up, and presents them on a beautiful plate.

Tanner: That's sort of like low and upscale.

Cory: Yeah, or a commentary on how presentation has become so important. And sometimes food that's presented really well isn't even that good, it just looks good.

Tanner: Well hot fucking damn, this hotdog's pretty good.

Cory: Happy to hear that.

Tanner: Yeah. I feel like you can go really almost too pretentious with the presentation. I feel like if the presentation is too good, it almost makes it look worse because it's easy to make the presentation really good and have the food quality not match that. It's really hard to make that sort of high quality food, and I feel like at that point, you're almost missing the punchline for why you're there in the first place.

Cory: Yeah. How is the beard been treating you?

Tanner: The what?

Cory: The beard. Has it reached its final length?

Tanner: It's been a very interesting journey. I think the last time I had a beard of this length was maybe 2013.

Cory: Oh, so this is round two?

Tanner: This is round two. I think the time between round one and round two, I have learned a lot about self-care, grooming, and whatnot.

Cory: Yeah, I mean, that goes a long way.

Tanner: I think round one, beard looked like a caveman. So we have the caveman brain still standing but the caveman beard fully groomed. It's been good. I started the beard at the advice of my therapist last March, because I couldn't keep track of time due to just everything related to the pandemic, things kind of opening, things kind of closing, no significant events happening. I actually would lose track of time where you could tell me it'd be July or December and I will probably believe it. So she recommended do something — maybe cut your hair at a certain point, then you can sort of associate two weeks have passed, four weeks have passed. So I started with the beard because the beard grows pretty quickly, a little too quick. So grow to a certain length and then trim it. I grew it for a month and it was looking great, I got a lot of compliments on it. This felt amazing. People are attracted to the beard and I like the beard. It feels like I have a bonsai tree on my face and it's fun to take care of.

Cory: I mean, at the point it's very impressive. There aren't very many people that have that big of a beard.

Tanner: Thank you.

Cory: It's like having really long hair too. It's funny because both long hair and beards, they take dedication, but also it's dedication in the form of literally doing nothing. Sort of. There is some trimming and cleanup, but for the most part, you're just not cutting it, which is actually kind of dedication in a world where everyone's cutting everything and trying to be all trimmed up.

Tanner: It is definitely. You have to get into a certain rhythm with it, depending on your facial hair. For me, it's very easy for it to get very scraggly, so I'll go in for maybe a tuneup every few weeks or so, where you're trimming just the smallest amount possible just to keep a sort of block shape. I think for me, my face is very curved, so I have this thing that makes it look more square. It feels nice. I think on the other side of it is it's actually been a really nice filter when it comes to dating. It's a very polarizing filter so I feel like half the group is I don't like beards, fuck facial hair, no-go for me, which is totally fine, that's a preference. And the other half is I really like facial hair and you have a lot of facial hair. And the facial hair looks good.

Cory: It's good to sort of ... I was going to say it's good to take a side, and then I thought of a lot of situations where that's not so fun. But I think definitely with your appearance and just your energy, it's nice if there's something people can see visually that they can understand, they remember you or it says something about you. I'm trying to think, I don't know if I have anything like that. I guess I have glasses. But I mean, for a while I had long hair. I just think it's kind of a bummer if everyone looks exactly the same.

Tanner: Oh yeah.

Cory: It's just kind of not fun.

Tanner: I feel like I want to see a photo of you with long hair. Because I like about-

Cory: I have a bunch.

Tanner: ... Your hair has that really nice volume on the top.

Cory: Yeah, thanks. It had a lot of volume when I was young too. It was good, I mean, I took good care of it. The only thing was that I do feel like I almost became a little bit evil because of the hair.

Tanner: Really?

Cory: Or like ... Yeah. Say if you're like in high school and you grow your hair out, your parents might start to think you started to hang out with the bad kids or something, or the skateboarders, or the druggies. Literally just because of your hair, like you just start to look more like someone different.

Tanner: Right.

Cory: And I think if enough people project that onto you, you start to internalize it a little bit and you start to be like maybe I am that way.

Tanner: Interesting.

Cory: I think a good example is if I was out in Brooklyn and I had long hair, and there was a group of people and there was a lot of people I didn't know, they're new people I just met, they'd kind of assume that I was the guy who would buy shots and get everyone to have a wild time. Just because I have that vibe. And if I had short hair, I never really felt that kind of energy. And what I also kind of noticed, if there was someone there who had a bunch of tattoos or really long hair, I feel like people kind of wait for them to assume the role of being rowdy or whatever.

Tanner: But it is kind of fun to subvert that. Everyone thinks you're one thing, and you come out as definitely not that thing.

Cory: Well I mean, I kind of was a little bit. I mean, it's partly probably my fault, but ... I don't know, you can be whoever you want to be and it doesn't matter what you look like, but people do associate stuff with certain things. If I went around wearing a legalize LSD shirt every day or something, I think people would read into it, right?

Tanner: You're just a man who's very excited about LSD legalization.

Cory: Yeah. What if I was doing that, just going around wearing a legalize LSD shirt, I didn't even know what LSD was, I just thought it was a cool design I found at a thrift store. It's possible.

Tanner: It is. I can relate to that. I think I've only smoked weed twice in my life, anytime I smoked it, it'd just give me maximum anxiety. But I love parodying stoner culture, and I do it I think almost to a fault, where people probably think like this guy smokes a ton of weed 24/7, just based on what he says. And I absolutely do not, not because I'm a prude about it. I mean, if you want to 420 blaze it, totally good for it. But it is kind of fun to subvert it, because everyone's "I thought you were the stoner guy." "Well you thought wrong."

Cory: I mean, I don't know, maybe one day you'll actually fully embrace it.

Tanner: We'll see. Maybe. Maybe I'll be in the retirement home just being wheeled around and, you know what, I'm just going to smoke weed all day, every day.

Cory: I mean, if I make it that long, I think I'll probably start doing some bad stuff, like getting into ... What's the kind of hacking where it's bad?

Tanner: Black Hat hacking.

Cory: Black Hat. I'll start trying to ... Yeah, if I'm 75 ... Or, that's not that old. If I'm 85 and it's looking like it's near the end, I'll probably start trying to hack the water resources or something. Wasn't that a thing where all the damns were captured or something for hostage I wouldn't do that, but it's just ... I don't think I'd become a menace to society, but I'd probably become a menace to myself and I'm going out anyway so I might as well pick up some bad habits.

Tanner: Yeah. I mean, there is Gray Hat Hacking, which I think you do the sort of borderline illegal, or that whole thing, to find a flaw in something, with the intent of fixing it or patching it. If it gets a little too real, you could just go the end and say, "Oh, I'm just trying to help you find vulnerabilities in the system, and you found one because I found one, so let's patch it."

Cory: I do sometimes wonder ... I personally have never spent any energy trying to find exploits in software, but I'm sure they're pretty easy to find. I think the place where I'm thinking about it is if I'm trying to get a reservation at a restaurant. Should I write some sort of script that hits the button the millisecond something's available. That's not even an evil exploit, it's just using programming skills to make your life more convenient and get something before other people do.

Tanner: I've done that before.

Cory: And it's cool, but also it does take considerable effort and you probably really have to want to go to the restaurant, right? Or is it not that hard?

Tanner: I think this was 2016... It was late 2015. I had a really great crash course into automated testing, how to script on pages and whatnot, so I'm surprised it worked. But I wrote an automated test on my own server to act as a bot to go through Ticketmaster and purchase tickets for me for a specific show.

Cory: They definitely are aware of that though. That must happen all the time.

Tanner: It somehow worked. It didn't finish all of it. It managed to get me a ticket.

Cory: I mean, if you're literally just running a test where it goes to the page, they can't really do much to stop that.

Tanner: It was scripted on a local machine, so it wasn't running remotely and just buying a bunch of tickets, it was I just wanted to get two tickets, I'm probably going to miss the millisecond where it switches over to the loading screen and the waiting room, so it did that part for me.

Cory: My guess is they're probably just tracking number of tickets per IP address or something, and then aggressively banning.

Tanner: Yeah. Probably.

Cory: It's sort of the thing where I feel with any criminal activity, up to a certain threshold, it's more work to chase after it than it is to prosecute. Definitely in San Francisco.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: We don't have to get into that though.

Tanner: I mean, we could.

Cory: Shout out to Mike Solano's newsletter, if you're listening.

Tanner: That dude defected all the way to Florida.

Cory: Really?

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: Does he have anything to write about now?

Tanner: I feel he shifted focus more towards just the United States in general.

Cory: I really don't care. It's more just ... Yeah. Maybe there's kids in the room listening, but we are at a bar, so ...

Tanner: True.

Cory: Just make sure you make this podcast age restricted and NSFW.

Tanner: I don't know-

Cory: Especially given our next topic.

Tanner: What's the next topic?

Cory: Something very scandalous.

Tanner: Oh, should I know what this is?

Cory: Yeah, you prepared it ahead of time. What is it, Tanner? What is your scandalous topic that you prepared?

Tanner: The topic I was actually going to go into, this is a nice segue, is being a nomad and traveling. Going back to the complaining thing-

Hostess: Can I clear anything over here for you?

Cory: I think we're still working. Almost done, yeah.

Tanner: Thank you.

Cory: Is this my tendie?

Tanner: I think that's yours.

Cory: All right.

Tanner: Take it. Take the tendie.

Cory: It almost got cleared off. Actually, let's get into that, but just a quick tip.

Tanner: Yes.

Cory: I read an article, I think it was from The Cut, that one site.

Tanner: Mm-hmm.

Cory: And honestly, it was a pretty annoying article. It was the 200 Rules of Modern Society, etiquette or whatever.

Tanner: Oh, I read that.

Cory: In the beginning I was giving it a chance, but towards the end I was just this is not okay. This is excessive. But the one thing that did stick with me is if there's one piece of food left and it's a shared meal and there's some shared dish, just take it. You're going to get a piece of food, you're going to enjoy it, and it's going to relieve the tension from the table of who's going to eat it. You don't have to ask permission. Sure, maybe don't try to eat the entire dish, but if it's truly one piece left, don't think about if you had more, just eat the thing. And there are going to be a few people who get really offended and mad about it, but that's why they should get a therapist. All right, so now we're going to talk about the other thing.

Tanner: Traveling and being a nomad. The reason I said it's a good segue is maybe this is always a thing that's been percolating for maybe the past decade or so, but really came to a combustion point with the pandemic, is when we were all right under lockdown, you're really sort of forced to look at your four walls and kind of think, is this the place I want to be while in this state?

Cory: That's true.

Tanner: And maybe this situation exists universally across the state, the county, and the country, and what have you, but it also feels like that becomes more of a personal decision. Maybe you're trapped in a small apartment with a large family. Staying at home 24/7 doesn't feel great, let's find some open space, Or maybe this other place has been handling things with what's going on and I care more about that. Complaining would be natural, because that's a stress test. But what I feel like with the pandemic, especially San Francisco, was you would have a very vocal contingent that would say, "I'm going to leave and fuck you about it on the way out." And that's a personal decision, go for it but geeze is this annoying.

Cory: And it's also, of all the places in the world where people could be unhappy, say they want to leave, this is the one place where everyone has really just the lifestyle and the means to do so. So there's really no excuse here.

Tanner: Right. It makes sense. If you have that mobility and you need to get to a better situation, generally speaking, by all means do it. But you had a very vocal contingent that's going I'm going to do the thing, I'm going to maybe go to my cabin in the woods or over here, but I just discovered Austin, Texas today and I'm going to go there and fuck everyone who isn't in Austin. I think that was the part that got me, was this sort of added layer of I'm on my way out and I'm going to kick you on the way out.

Cory: Yeah, I mean, I guess it's just kind of a way to validate their own decision, is just to make it seem like the only decision. Because I imagine they probably, a lot of those people had a lot of doubt about it.

Tanner: Totally.

Cory: Because they've built their whole life in San Francisco, they work in tech and this is the capital of tech or whatever, and they've convinced themselves that Austin is the place to be, but they're definitely not sure about it. Honestly, it's a great place to be in tech, but it's not San Francisco.

Tanner: Right. That part makes sense to me. If you sort of built your identity as I'm a person who works in tech, I'm in the tech city, everything is tech, tech, tech, all my friends work in tech, I work in tech.

Cory: Which sounds like hell to me.

Tanner: Dude, yeah. I could not bear it. It's fantastic having a pretty diverse friend group where I could talk to some of my friends and it was like I don't understand what the fuck you do, and it was like fantastic, we can talk about anything else. But going to the nomadism thing, it really feels like a lot of people were negative about where they were and then not being open to optimism or opportunity in the place they're going to. Like if I were to leave San Francisco, I wouldn't want to leave it with like, "Fuck this place. I hate it. I'm out." I'd want to go to the next place and say, "I'm really excited to start this chapter over here."

Cory: Yeah, I think that's a healthy way to do it. A lot of those people are coming back now, I think, too.

Tanner: Yeah. And it makes sense. I feel like the other places have definitely got the punchline a lot sooner about COVID being over. I feel like it took us a lot longer to catch up to it, which isn't fantastic. But there's been the nature is healing moments, it feels like we're over all the restrictions, the dread, all the the sort of negative energy around the pandemic, it's been long gone. And now people are thinking, okay, now that that's gone, maybe ... Could we do another order of the QuikNuggets?

Hostess: Of course.

Tanner: Thank you. So we solved the problem of splitting the nuggets.

Cory: Yeah.

Tanner: There can just be more.

Cory: Also I just finished my hotdog and it was very good. This is a good bar.

Tanner: Yeah. I need to come back maybe another few days in a row.

Cory: Yeah, bar food is great, especially if it has a little twist.

Tanner: Yeah. But the nomadism thing, what I actually really liked about you doing it was I'm going to go check out this spot over here, go see what's over here, it felt like you kind of approached it with this open mind of let me go over here for a bit, see what's happening.

Cory: I mean, I went to LA. That's pretty much it, right?

Tanner: I think it was LA, Minnesota, you did New York for a bit.

Cory: Oh, I forgot about that. Yeah, I did do a few months in Minnesota.

Tanner: You had quite a few travels since I've known you when we started working together.

Cory: Yeah, but the intent was really not to be a nomad. Honestly, the ... Wow. I saw that and I thought the floor actually cracked.

Hostess: I'm so sorry about that. Did it get on any of you?

Cory: Because is sort of looked like a crack.

Tanner: I think we're good. Thank you.

Cory: I literally thought we were in the middle of an earthquake and the floor cracks, because that was pretty intense, and literally all it was was a container of ketchup fell.

Tanner: The floor's bloody with ketchup now.

Cory: Literally, because the floor is red and the ketchup's red, and it's extra from this angle in the light. It looks like a crack.

Tanner: It kind of does.

Cory: Yeah. I thought we were in the middle of an earthquake and the floor was going to to crack and that was going to be the end, and it'd be recorded on this podcast.

Tanner: I feel like there'd be a lot more fanfare and disruption if it was.

Cory: Wow, that was a really strong and short earthquake. But I wasn't trying to be a digital nomad. Actually I was trying to kind of move to LA. And then the pandemic sort of ended, kind of, or whatever, I don't know if it's over yet. And then I was trying to move back to an office, and on the way ... Actually it was not because of COVID. Because I tried to move back to New York, and then I got there and it was the second wave of COVID.

Tanner: Oh, right. I remember, because you were there in the winter.

Cory: Yeah, I went there and it was great and I was looking for apartments, and then everyone got COVID again for the second round, like the first Omicron wave. And then I wasn't sure if it was going to turn into a full-blown two more years of it, so I was thinking I'm going to go home to Minnesota, see my family, and not sign a lease in a big city yet. It was sort of unintentional digital nomadism. I'm actually not really a fan of digital nomadism, I think. I'm a fan of traveling and I'm a fan of being able to travel for extended periods, but I am also a fan of having a home. And obviously people do one or the other because it can cost a lot to have a home and travel, which makes sense, but I think there's probably a way to find a middle ground. Just don't have a very expensive home. I mean, that's what I'm going to do, is like instead of getting a two bedroom apartment in New York, I'm going to get like a nice studio, and I'll use the saved money to travel, so I can have a home but it'll be tiny, and I'll still get to explore the world.

Tanner: I actually did that in 2018. It was this perfect convergence of things. The place I was at in San Francisco, we went through what's called an Ellis Act Eviction, where the landlord pays for you to leave, you get a settlement. The property owner passed away, the kids took it over, they sold the house where I was living, and it was like I'm getting a pretty good lump sum of money, it would be nice to live a little more frugally, and then just spend this year traveling fucking everywhere but still have that home base. So I got a studio where I'm at on Cole Valley, and it was actually pretty great. And then I ended up saving a ton of money, just tapping into settlement money I got, and like every few weeks I would go somewhere. It works if you do a lot of long term planning, like April I'm going to be here, May I'm going to be here, and sort of build a theme to your travel.

Cory: Yeah, I mean, that's the tricky part. I've known a few people who did a yearlong road trip during COVID and like every month they're in a new spot. It's just like you have maybe one or two weeks of peace ... Well, not even that, because the first week is just trying to get the wifi to work, and then the second is like uh-oh, it's almost halfway through the month, I better start looking for places for the next month, and then maybe the last week is semi-peaceful if you found a place for the next month.

Tanner: You're going through these very intense cycles of trying to get stability, trying to get comfortable, and trying to find something new.

Cory: Yeah, I think maybe if you're like really untethered, like you're running your own tiny startup that had like one to five people, and you don't have that many meetings, and you can just tether your phone internet, and you can work from your laptop, then it could maybe work. But if you have a job job, there's going to be a lot of Zoom. I just always felt bad having the bad internet connection and just ... I saw someone say like, "If you're working from the Palace of Versailles, definitely don't have your Zoom background be the Palace of Versailles. Find a white wall inside the palace of Versailles. And it's fine that you're there. That's fine. But don't let everyone see.

Tanner: I think the worst example I have in that category was, this is like in the summer of 2020 where COVID was just ripping, someone, I won't say who specifically, they made a very impassioned plea to the employees of where I was working at the time saying, "Stay safe, don't travel, stay at home. COVID's ripping, protect your loved ones and yourself." I had a Zoom meeting with them a few days later and they were at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And I was like, "Your Zoom background looks great," and like, "Oh, it's just an Airbnb.” I was like, "Where's your Airbnb?"

Cory: So it wasn't like a social media discovery, it was just from Zoom?

Tanner: It was from Zoom.

Cory: And their background was like 10,000 bikers or something?

Tanner: No, it was a really nice Airbnb, so I asked them like, "Oh, where are you at?" Like everyone's kind of traveling to isolated areas. They're like, "I'm in ..." One of the Dakotas, I forget which one has Sturgis. They're like, "I'm in one of the Dakotas, I'm going to Sturgis tomorrow." And I'm like I don't know if I would go to Sturgis after making a plea for people not to travel.

Cory: Yeah, I mean, just do what you want or ... I don't know. Just do what you want and don't tell other people what to do, how about that?

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: Seems like a good middle ground.

Tanner: If you want to do that, more power to you. Go do it. But then also don't try to reconcile that with the trying to be super safe.

Cory: Yeah, I feel like I see people doing like dumb stuff all the time, but I don't tell them it's dumb. Unless it's so dumb that they're going to like die, then I might warn them. But if it just look dumb, I'm just like you got to learn the hard way, my friend.

Tanner: Sometimes you do.

Cory: Yeah.

Tanner: But the nomadism thing, so it sounds like you went through this ... Like you did a lot of course correcting. I feel like you went through it with this sort of positive optimism, like things will get better but let me course correct, and end up in a really good situation. It's sort of like to find that discovery element.

Cory: Yeah, I mean, I always thought COVID would last a long time. It was a little stressful in the beginning because it wasn't clear that it would. Going back to the not wanting to be a nomad and wanting to have a home, my favorite thing is to be a nomad while having a home, which I've been able to do because I've lived in a different city like every year. Which that'll probably come to an end too because it has downsides. You have to keep starting over, but it's fun. I was signing a year lease in LA and COVID could have ended in two months. But I think what it came down to is just COVID was just a hard time for everyone in different ways. I felt like the least I could do for myself is make decisions that would make my current situation better, and not worry about the need for the future as much. So that's why I decided to sign a yearlong lease, and it worked out. I almost need to apply that wisdom more generally even post-COVID. It's like anxiety, right. It is good to think things through, but there is definitely a threshold where it's not productive. Right? Yeah.

Tanner: No, it makes sense. And I think, going back to the concept of staying in one place, for me going through the pandemic in San Francisco felt like next month something will turn and it will get better. And it felt like that for every month. I'm like all right, it's just going to take a month, it's going to take a month. And then you get a year later, it has been 12 months. And then it's been 18 months. And it feels like if I had that foresight, maybe I would've done a few things differently. But for me, it was I had my friend group here, I felt like I had some pretty good roots, but then as that departs for one reason or another, I think that's that sort of ... Like you have to make a really fucking tough calculation.

Cory: Yeah, but I don't think you have to look at it like retroactively. All that matters is that you made the best decision to support you during that time. And it sounds like you did.

Tanner: I think that's a much kinder way to look at it.

Cory: Yeah. I mean, I feel like it's the only good way to look at it. Probably, unless you want a lot of stress.

Tanner: Yeah. There were definitely times where you're almost making a calculated bet ... I remember in the first half, it was if this gets solved in like a year, year and a half, whatever that looked like, it seems there might be a vaccine that kind of solves this, but even that doesn't fully work out. I'm trying to think ahead too, like what would everything start to look like in a year or a year and a half? Would I be okay making a bet between now and then.

Cory: I mean, I think I read something about how the pandemic still hasn't officially, like it hasn't been totally announced sort of.

Tanner: No, the definition of a pandemic is it comes down to ... Like people can take the literal definition.

Cory: Well there's still an emergency declaration. But the thing was like I think President Biden decided it's over. The pandemic, he has decided it is over, but the FDA won't announce it like until the spring because just the world takes a long time to adjust. Like all the doctors and stuff would have to totally adjust their insurance. So that's always what I think too, is when you're doing things on the scale of the entire world, even if your resolution is in two weeks, the full resolution is going to take longer.

Tanner: Yeah. And that's sort of that self-calculation to make, because you could say maybe on the personal level, the pandemic's over for me as far as the effects of it. But the actual definition of it, it's still transmissible, things are still moving. Then you bobble off and get to-

Cory: Sure. But pandemic isn't just that there's a transmissible virus, it's that it's at a scale where, it's at least an emergency thing, it's at a scale where it warrants significant disruption to our normal processes.

Tanner: Totally.

Cory: I don't know.

Tanner: yeah.

Cory: But I honestly almost feel like it's too late to announce that it's over and I don't think there is going to be a final ... We're not going to have a global day of COVID being over, where it's on the calendar. But I kind of feel like everyone sort of needs it. Honestly, maybe I'll start that holiday. But then a lot of people would be really mad at me, because I know it's never going to be over for a subset of people.

Tanner: Totally. And again everyone has moved through this or is moving through this at different paces, and it almost feels like, in terms of getting that resolution, like a war would've been easier. Because there is some finality, whether it works out for you or it doesn't, but you sort of get that finality. And it's not like jubilation, but it is that finality. I feel like with this, it's just been like a good amount of people are over it, just there is that no celebration, it's just ...

Cory: I almost feel like there was a final moment, which was when there was a point where the CDC said you could stop wearing masks and then they went back on it. But that felt like the moment to me. But now that that was like reneged, it sort of feels like there will never be a moment, which I think we all just have to make our own moment and just do what we need to do. Are you getting another cocktail?

Tanner: I am. I think I'm going to do the same thing I got or maybe something different.

Cory: Okay. Which one was it? The ...

Tanner: I got the Mural Project.

Cory: Mural Project. This first one I had was very good, so it could be kind of hard to top.

Tanner: Right.

Cory: What would I do to follow up a mescal thing? Maybe a ...

Tanner: I'm not quite sure.

Cory: I feel like a-

Hostess: Nuggets over here.

Tanner: Oh, yes please.

Hostess: Lovely. Do we have napkins for these?

Tanner: What was that?

Hostess: Do we have napkins for these?

Cory: I have a napkin.

Hostess: You need one?

Cory: I'm good. Thank you. Did you need your drink?

Tanner: What was that?

Cory: Were you trying to get your drink?

Tanner: I think I'll take a look at the menu after you. I'm definitely going to do another round.

Cory: Oh, actually this NA drink looks really good.

Tanner: They have a really good list of nonalcoholic cocktails.

Cory: I think I'm going to do the NA one. Yeah.

Tanner: It does have some good tasting, like even if you don't drink you can still enjoy yourself here. Even if you're-

Cory: Yeah, I'm a huge fan of the nonalcoholic movement itself. Here's the menu. There's like so many use cases for a nonalcoholic cocktail. Like one could be ...

Hostess: Thinking about round two?

Cory: Yes. Do you need a second still?

Tanner: I think I'll do the Mural Project again.

Hostess: Okay.

Cory: Can I do the Joy of Drinking or the Joy of Cocktails.

Hostess: Joy of Cocktails?

Cory: Yeah. Okay.

Hostess: You got it. Are you all done with this guy over here?

Cory: This one, I might need one more sip.

Hostess: No worries, take your time.

Cory: That was my last sip of alcohol, now we're going to water, chicken tendies, and pine cone extract is what's in my next one.

Tanner: Pine cone extract?

Cory: Yeah, or I think it said young pine cones.

Tanner: That will probably be my rapper name. I'll move up to the Pacific Northwest and call myself Young Pine Cone.

Cory: Yeah, I'm a big fan of the nonalcoholic movement thing, and I think it's starting to take hold in New York, but the thing is there's always going to be a lot of bars that probably don't catch up to it. Basically, only bars that have craft cocktails are the ones that seem to have nonalcoholic stuff. Like if they were just slinging gin and tonics, they're not really making a craft elderberry extract drink.

Tanner: I wish it would take off more, because to me you have some really great bars that are amazing third places. I just want to go somewhere after work, but I don't want to get blasted.

Cory: Yeah, it's nice to have the option not to, and I mean, it's nice to have a beverage in your hand and have something to sip, and it's nice if it doesn't have to be alcohol. And I also want to try the whole going out having one alcoholic cocktail and then following it up with nonalcoholic. I think that's a nice middle ground, for sure. Because I think there's actually like the CDC or, I don't know, the FDA recently changed the guidelines though on how much alcohol is ... My theory is that it's like tobacco where no amount is good, but we're still in the era where industry is still lobbying, and they're like, "It's okay to smoke two cigarettes a day. Totally fine." And honestly, you might live a long time that way, but it's not totally fine.

Tanner: Yeah, you're making a pretty big risk event there.

Cory: Yeah. And I think alcohol is going to be the same, if you removed all of the lobbying and the money out of it, I think science would say that it's not healthy at all. Even though I keep hearing the whole thing where, but the French drink one glass of wine every night and live to be 100, or whatever. Isn't that a thing?

Tanner: Well at least as far as their diet goes, it's a lot healthier than what we have in the US.

Cory: Yeah, so there's a lot of factors. If you like never ate McDonald's again and you just had a glass of wine occasionally, that seems like a fair trade off.

Tanner: I can't remember the last time I've been to McDonald's.

Cory: I mean, I really like McDonald's. I think everyone has childhood associations with it.

Tanner: Oh definitely.

Cory: I think that's what it is for a lot of people, is like everyone sort of wants to regress into their inner child, you know, if they're in a really stressful situation, and a way to do that is to eat a Happy Meal for a lot of people.

Tanner: I mean, food is a very powerful way to implement nostalgia state, especially McDonald's and any of the chain restaurants or like chain food places you probably ate at as a kid. All of them are likely still around. Like I don't think McDonald's is in danger of going under any time soon.

Cory: No. I've also been very impressed with brands that just like keep their brand forever, like Coca-Cola, or Coca-Cola versus Pepsi. Where Pepsi, they actually haven't updated it for a while, but it feels like once a decade they do a big rebrand, but Coca-Cola hasn't ever done it. For a really long time, for maybe like 60 years. They have done a few evolutions, but it's all derivative, it's not like a totally new thing. But I've been impressed with McDonald's with that, where I feel know everyone knows fast food isn't healthy, so just let it be unhealthy. Just don't eat it if you don't want to be unhealthy. But there have been a lot of eras, like I feel the early 2000s, where it was like every restaurant should be healthy, and there was a lot of pressure for McDonald's to be like the health food store. And I think it's cool that they didn't.

Hostess: Joy of Cocktails for you.

Cory: Thank you.

Hostess: Mural Project.

Tanner: Thank you.

Hostess: Of course. My pleasure.

Cory: Yeah, I think it's really cool that they didn't bow to that pressure and they stayed true to who they are, which is a place that serves delicious, unhealthy food.

Tanner: Yeah. I did like there was that period though where they had like just the whole salad ranges and like-

Cory: Yeah, the salad shakers.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: Those were great, but also the majority of it was-

Tanner: The dressing was super unhealthy.

Cory: ... Like soybean oil. None of it was healthy. That's the whole thing, I’d rather just eat something unhealthy than have something that is salad and is still unhealthy. That's the worst combo.

Tanner: Yeah. You don't get the benefit of anything.

Cory: Yeah.

Tanner: Also your drink look like a taller version of mine.

Cory: It does, except for I'm going to feel better tomorrow. I mean, you'll feel fine, but ...

Tanner: We should compare notes tomorrow morning.

Cory: No. Kendrick Lamar.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: I never listened to his newest album really. I started to. Did you?

Tanner: I like him as an artist, but not my genre.

Cory: I mean, I love Good Kid, MAAD City and I love the album before that, the one that has ADHD on it. I forgot what it's called. And I also really loved, what's the one with Kid Cudi? This album.

Tanner: Is it this one?

Cory: Yeah.

Tanner: Let me ask you this. As a guy who listens almost exclusively to heavy metal and all this scary stuff, what should be a song I should listen to to get into his stuff?

Cory: I think it's called Drank.

Tanner: Drank.

Cory: Just listen to the Good Kid, MAAD City album. Drank ...

Tanner: So Drank.

Cory: Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe.

Tanner: Okay.

Cory: Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe, have you heard that one?

Tanner: Probably.

Cory: I feel like that is the quintessential Kendrick song, and it's just very unique. I mean, he's just a really amazing poet too. And I think he's a poet first and then a rapper second. I don't know. I'm probably totally making up lies, but to me he's just a true artist.

Tanner: I mean, like I said, nothing against ... Just hasn't been my genre of choice.

Cory: Yeah, I think the only thing with Kendrick is a lot of his newer stuff gets really deep and heady, and I think that's awesome but a lot of times I listen to music to zone out or to chill out or to decompress, and Kendrick for me is a rare treat where I really want to focus on it and listen to what he's saying, otherwise it just is adding too much to whatever I'm doing. And I feel like it's art, so I want to respect it and give it the space. Does metal ever feel like that?

Tanner: I think there's all these different shades of it. For me there's times where I want that caveman brain to just wild out and tap into that, sort of excite the caveman brain. And then there's stuff where it's so overwhelming, you're almost forced to concentrate on something else, so it's great music for work.

Cory: Yeah, I mean, it's very melodic in a way, I think.

Tanner: Hm.

Cory: Right?

Tanner: It can be. It's definitely...

Cory: Rhythmic and melodic. I feel it's a little easier, a little less about the lyrics. Or is it?

Tanner: It can be very melodic and it can be very rhythmic, but it's very hard to find where that rhythm is if you're not used to that type of music. If I played something for you from Meshuggah or At the Gates, you'd probably make it two or three seconds in, and say “I'm not sure I'm listening to music anymore” because it just sounds like a trash compactor exploding.

Cory: Do you want to try this?

Tanner: I'll probably get it for my last round.

Cory: Okay, it's very interesting. In a good way. It's kind of like my favorite Aesop hand lotion, which is the Reverence Aromatique. The Reverence one is peppery and kind of stinky, I describe it as stinky. I almost would say this drink is stinky. It's like a Munster cheese, which it's an acquired taste, but I feel like the best tastes are the acquired tastes. Right?

Tanner: I don't think I've hit the point in my life where I'm drinking Aesop soap.

Cory: I can't even describe this. It tastes sort of like fermented swamp water. With a fruity note. It definitely tastes like something that would make me ill. If this wasn't presented at a bar, I'd say this is rancid.

Tanner: Hm.

Cory: But I like it. I like that it's so weird.

Tanner: All right. I think I'll have to have that for round three.

Cory: I feel like you won't like it though.

Tanner: It's at least worth a shot.

Cory: You should maybe try it. Up to you.

Tanner: We'll see.

Cory: But I think you will not enjoy it.

Tanner: I think you've given the sales pitch and the anti-sales pitch all in one.

Cory: That's the best kind, it means it's real.

Tanner: Fair. Fair.

Cory: Say you're buying a car and the salespeople say "Yeah, it's the best car in the world, but I hate it." I would buy it from that guy, right?

Tanner: Yeah, I do kind of fall in that pickle sometimes, where the things that I try to promote to friends, it's usually I am all in on that thing. I feel I channel some pretty hardcore golden retriever energy, so it's if I find something I like, it's this is my new favorite thing forever and ever. I will fanboy it so hard. And that doesn't translate to well if I'm trying to honestly promote something to a friend. "Hey, I went to this place. It's my new favorite thing. You should go check it out."

Cory: Yeah, I mean, if you're going to say something is your favorite thing, you can't say something is your favorite thing every day.

Tanner: That's me. Everything is always my favorite thing.

Cory: Yeah. I take your recommendations seriously though.

Tanner: Thanks.

Cory: Because maybe you just see a lot of things and you have a lot of things you like.

Tanner: I feel like my filter, I feel like it's pretty well tuned, but the filter is pretty extreme, it's an either or. It's hard for me to say, "Oh, I kind of like this thing, maybe." But it could be, "I really like this thing," and this thing doesn't have to be the most famous thing or the best thing, it's just I'm able to say, "I really, really, really fucking like this thing." Or, "I really don't like this thing."

Cory: Part of me wishes my drink was alcoholic.

Tanner: What?

Cory: Part of me wishes my drink was alcoholic. I really like it, but it's... well, we had a bunch of cocktails two nights ago.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: But I'm just trying to balance out the week because there's been a lot of social stuff.

Tanner: I think that's always my pitfall when I go to New York for business travel, is you're there for work, kind of take that part seriously, and then you kind of wish ... You're there for a week or two or whatever, so you have to force yourself at the end of the day to be in vacation mode for another 8 hours. And it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not, but you end up going unnecessarily hard almost every single day to try to get the “I'm here in this place, someone or something has sent me here, I've done my obligation and duties for the day, now I want to explore and do everything. I need to pack as much as I can in an 8 hour stretch.”

Cory: Yeah. Well, I feel like we need to deliver value to our listeners. Or have we already delivered value? I don't know.

Tanner: I guess that's the open question with this, is ... I mean, we've had the dinner. The ever-flowing chicken tendies, or I guess chicken nuggets, the drinks, maybe some good banter. What would be your rating of the food and drinks so far?

Cory: I mean, this is honestly the most interesting nonalcoholic beverage I've ever had. And the first cocktail, the Mezcal one, was amazing. All the food was ... I mean, it's all 10 out of 10, which I don't give 10s lightly.

Tanner: Oh, hot damn.

Cory: Yeah. I mean, I think I saw a thing on the menu and it said it was ... I feel like every place, they have like a sign on the wall that says, "Voted best burger." But this has world's best bars, and it's voted from Eater Magazine or something.

Tanner: Yeah, it holds a really high distinction.

Cory: Oh here, it's James Beard Foundation World's Best Bars. I actually trust that. And it says, "World's Best 50 Bars," which we're talking the world, so yeah, I think it's quite good. I think it deserves 10, 10, 10.

Tanner: What I like about Trick Dog is, and again, this is I think sort of going back to my experience living in San Francisco, it feels like you can casually get some really amazing high end, top tier food, but it's not pretentious to match that status. You can come into this place, like Trick Dog, and just get amazing cocktails, but there's no pomp to it, there's no parade to it, whereas I feel like when I was living down in LA, everything was more status driven than quality driven.

Cory: Yeah, it definitely has a chill vibe. I don't think I've really been to too much stuff in San Francisco that's super, you know, you got to wear the right clothes. Because everyone here doesn't have any clothes, they all wear a startup t-shirt.

Tanner: Yeah, I feel like I'm overdressed.

Cory: Even like Lazy Bear, the super, super expensive restaurant, it's probably sort of disrespectful, but I feel like everyone in there was in jeans and a t-shirt.

Tanner: Oh. I don't think San Francisco's a city that focuses on fashion.

Cory: No, but I'm okay with that to some extent, but it's still important to me that the spaces I'm in are just thoughtfully creative and fun to be in. I can cook well, I can make good cocktails at home, and if I'm going out, I want it to be something someone put a lot of effort into and I can too.

Tanner: Oh yeah. And the sort of area we're in too, it's sort of deceptive what amazing options are here. Because we're right by the office, Trick Dog's within walking distance, it's a brief minute walk. And then next door, you have Sightglass, makes killer coffee. Next door you have Penny Roma, which is amazing Italian food, they got a deli next door, we got Flour + Water, we have True Laurel right around the corner. So you have almost the greatest hits of the food scene in San Francisco on a block that's in a very, not sort of nondescript location, but it feels random for what they are. And again, it doesn't have that sort of pomp and parade to it. It's just “hey, we're here. We're focusing on our craft, we're making great food or great cocktails, if you want to come, we'll welcome you in.”

Cory: Yeah, it's good. Yeah. Are there other neighborhoods in SF that have like a high density of cool spaces? Because I feel like there definitely are neighborhoods that have a high density of like not bad. No hate on the Marina, but I feel like when I've gone over there, it's beer pong and maybe one Starbucks.

Tanner: Yeah, my sort of take is all the different districts in the city cater to different things, almost like you're in a video game and you're exploring different levels. It's nice that every district isn't the same. I mean, I'm obviously biased and I probably won't shut up about this, but Cole Valley kind of feels like that for me, where, yes, it's a place you can go for really great food and drinks, but it's also very casual and sort of low key about it. And it's great, I can just maybe go to Zazie after work, like holy fuck, I could have amazing French dinner here.

Cory: Yeah, that place, same thing, we got brunch there, but it seemed like a really cool ...

Tanner: Their dinner's really great. I think people go there the most for brunch, but their dinner is criminally underrated. My other favorite spot is like ... It can be touristy, but anything in the Haight feels really good.

Cory: What about Noc Noc?

Tanner: I like it.

Cory: Yeah?

Tanner: Yeah. I could fuck with that.

Cory: It's a vibe,

Tanner: Mm-hmm. I really do like everything on Divisadero, because you have good options. Start the morning maybe at Cafe Réveille, get a latte, maybe a small pastry, chill outside, do some people watching, kind of overhear what everyone's up to, kind of get the pulse of what's going on. Move over to Sightglass for a top up, go to The Mill, overhear people walk through their existential dread and casual life crises.

Cory: Cool.

Tanner: Yeah. So if you have some life drama on a 10 year timeline you need to work through in public, The Mill is a great place to kind of shore up that material.

Cory: Life drama.

Tanner: Or maybe just catch up with a friend over some nice toast.

Cory: Yeah.

Tanner: Yeah. I think the Mission always feels good. It's a great place to sort of just wander around if you can do it.

Cory: We should go to, is it called like the Make-Out Room?

Tanner: Make-Out Room, yeah.

Cory: Is that still a thing?

Tanner: It is.

Cory: There or the place that like a makeup parlor. They like paint your nails in there or something.

Tanner: I don't think I've ever been.

Cory: It's on Mission. Kind of a glamorous vibe.

Tanner: Ooh. Do you remember the name of it?

Cory: It's a dive bar but it's ... I forgot what it's called. It's called like The Nail Salon or something.

Tanner: Oh interesting.

Cory: I'm probably totally just not describing it well, but ...

Tanner: Well we can look it up later.

Cory: I'm trying to find ... Oh here it is. Here's the recipe for my NA cocktail. So it's ... Actually that's not it. Where is it? Here it is. I called it the Joy of Drinking but it's called the Joy of Cocktails.

Tanner: Close enough.

Cory: Oh yeah, so it is super weird. It has fermented Bronx grapes.

Tanner: Is that a substitute for sewage water that you were tasting?

Cory: Yeah, I think so. It has Konbu Tea, young pine cones ...

Tanner: Young pine cones.

Cory: And Martini Floreale, which that's pretty wild.

Tanner: That's a very interesting mix of things.

Cory: Like it's not even pine cone extract, they ground up pine cones and put it in this thing.

Tanner: Like I said-

Cory: I'm going to take a picture of it.

Tanner: ... I feel like I need to move to the Pacific Northwest, start my own band, and call myself Young Pine Cone.

Cory: Do it. Should I eat this chicken tendie?

Tanner: Go for it.

Cory: Do you want it? Oh, I was just talking about this earlier, is that we're not supposed to ask.

Tanner: Tap into the tendie.

Cory: I feel like I'm going to be perfectly full after this though, so that's good.

Tanner: Have you had the kale salad here?

Cory: No.

Tanner: So it's this giant plate, probably this big, of just, it's a mountain of kale with Parmesan. Like it is a salad meant for like six people.

Cory: It sounds pretty epic.

Tanner: It's overkill. Or over-kale, I should say.

Cory: I mean, I will say I've appreciated that everything has been finger food so far, and I'd probably have to break out a fork for that, right?

Tanner: Right. What's cool is the menu they have. During the pandemic, when everything shut down, you can only do takeaway, Trick Dog was shut down."We don't want to do the cocktails to-go thing, because we can't ensure a high enough quality for what we're serving, but we have a kitchen here, let's do a food popup." And they called it Quik Dog. And the food popup is everything on the menu, so the hotdogs, the burgers, the chicken tendies, the fries. I guess they had a recipe and transportation method for the nuggets and fries where you could deliver them over DoorDash or Uber Eats within like 20 or 30 minutes, and they would still be fresh.

Cory: What'd they change to make it like that?

Tanner: They didn't change anything. The menu they have now for food is still what they had for Quik Dog.

Cory: Oh, so they didn't have nuggets before that?

Tanner: They didn't.

Cory: Okay.

Tanner: It was a really cool consolation, because they have this thing, it sounds really cool, I want to order out from it. But then you get into things have kind of recovered, what does the future look like? I wanted Trick Dog to come back so bad but Quik Dog's cool. And then they kind of merged the two and it's nice. I like that.

Cory: Do the owners own any other bars?

Tanner: They do. They own another one which unfortunately just shut down the other day that was my other go-to, Chezchez on Valencia Street.

Cory: Okay.

Tanner: It was more of the south of France vibe, really nice wines, natural wines, seafood and tinned fish, and they just abruptly shut down.

Cory: That's sad.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: Have you tried the tinned fish?

Tanner: Tinned fish is criminally underrated.

Cory: You're a fan?

Tanner: Oh, big fan.

Cory: Do you eat it with the bones in it?

Tanner: I get it boneless.

Cory: Have you tried the bone kind?

Tanner: No.

Cory: I have. It was soft.

Tanner: I think I got Eric Wareheim's Italian cookbook called FOODHEIM, and there's not really any recipe, it's just… get a bunch of black olives, crackers, prosciutto, and tinned fish, and it's a super easy meal to make. Oh yeah, that's a thing you can do. That feels kind of nice, pair with a natural spritz. You got an easy summer evening at Italy but at home.

Cory: Ooh, this is a wild drink.

Tanner: It's got the young pine cone in it.

Cory: Yeah. What's the vibe for tonight? Are we getting like wild?

Tanner: What's that?

Cory: Are we going to go like wander around the town in search of adventure and danger?

Tanner: I mean, we could.

Cory: We could. Usually when I visit SF, I go for some really long walks and go to the top of Twin Peaks or something, but I haven't this time. It's been pretty busy.

Tanner: Yeah. Maybe that could be a good Friday evening sort of event to -

Cory: Maybe.

Tanner: ... Cap off the week.

Cory: Yeah. My brother's playing a soccer game on Friday, I might go watch. In Berkeley. Yeah, I think maybe before that, but I always like to walk to like a viewpoint when I'm visiting somewhere, just to see the whole thing I'm visiting. Even if I know and I've been there before.

Tanner: There's sort of that physicality to it. You've made the journey, you've gone to the top of the peak, and it's a nice capstone to it.

Cory: Yeah, if you go on a hike and I feel like hikes can be kind of disappointed if there's not something you're trying to get to, like either a waterfall or a view or like a nice vista. I guess you can have a nice hike where it's just truly a trail through the woods, but I feel like it's definitely elevated when you have a moment where you're like I did the thing, this is my reward.

Tanner: I struggle with that a lot, because a lot of the hiking I do is out in the desert. And the sort of cruel thing about being out there is there's sort of no finality to it. It's more of the best you get is you happen to be in a place, and maybe the sort of view at the top of the mountain maybe more metaphorical than physical.

Cory: For sure. Yeah, I mean, there's something cool about being in the ... I mean, that's one of the appeals of the desert is the emptiness and the vastness and feeling that you're kind of not really going anywhere, you're just in a loop sort of. It can sort of put you in a different head space.

Tanner: Yeah. My sales pitch for being out there is it gives you the sort of space to expand mentally, maybe physically, and kind of turn more inward. So it's more of a tool to investigate yourself versus the I'm going to do this speed run, get to the top of the mountain, see the thing. And I think there's that idle level of danger, maybe not the threat of an animal attacking you, but I'm in an environment that's degrading me the longer I stay here. You probably wouldn't get that being out in the forest. But you have to kind of reconcile how do I keep myself in a good state and sort of go on this physical journey and try to figure out what I want at the end of it.

Cory: Yes.

Tanner: Yeah. I think that's where I channel my golden retriever energy. Everyone should go to the desert, I love going to the desert. It's so great. And I would bring friends out there, and they're wondering what have you been selling us? This place is extreme, it's hot, or it's cold, or we're not prepared, or something's gone wrong. And I forgot about that part.

Cory: Which reminds me, it's time for our commercial break. Here we go. This podcast is sponsored by Amtrak, which is sponsored by the US government and runs on mostly freight rail. We'd like you to come try our Southwest Chief. It runs through the desert, which what Tanner's talking about. All the food is frozen but it can be reheated. Great views, sometimes the wifi works, and you can reserve online, so take your first ride on Amtrak. Use code TRICKDOG for ... I don't know what you get.

Tanner: You get a friendly conversation with a fellow passenger.

Cory: Yeah, use code TRICKDOG and then Tanner will get a free ride too and he'll sit next to you. All right, back to our regularly scheduled podcast.

Tanner: Should we go into Amtrak fun facts?

Cory: Are there a lot of them? I think the thing with Amtrak is there's -

Tanner: There's a lot of facts, but I don't know how many are fun.

Cory: ... There's a lot of sad facts.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: But also I'm sure there's equal number of fun facts.

Tanner: You know how you were talking about the plane you're taking to Colombia-

Cory: Yeah.

Tanner: ... With that same flight number that was involved in an aviation disaster?

Cory: It was.

Tanner: When I was taking the Southwest Chief last June out to Santa Fe, and I remember changing very last minute the week I would leave because there was some crazy shit that was happening with work. I can't take this week off, I can kind of move everything back a couple weeks. So I was supposed to be on the train — on my original schedule — that derailed. There was a huge derailment over the summer of the Southwest Chief that struck a dump truck or something, the whole train derails, some people got hurt, unfortunately I think a few people got killed. But I was supposed to be on that train.

Cory: Yeah, that's good luck. It was meant to be.

Tanner: Yeah. I mean, I remember kind of being upset about because I can be flexible with my schedule, but I really want to go on vacation right now. And then seeing that… I'm cool waiting a week. I'm fine with that.

Cory: Yeah, I remember that. I want to take an Amtrak. I might do, there's one from New York to somewhere in ... Oh, it goes New York to Montreal, and it's supposed to be quite pretty, or one of the most beautiful ones on the east coast.

Tanner: I think for the most part Amtrak is very, very, very, very, underrated if you don’t try to use it as a serious mode of transportation, yes it will get you somewhere on some time, maybe not the time you want or the timeframe you need to be there. But if you do it as ... it's the same way you take a cruise. When you're on a cruise, you're thinking I want to be here as long as I possibly can and enjoy the thing. You would never think that of public transit, which what Amtrak falls under. But if you do it, you get this very scenic tour through remote parts of the United States. That's a land cruise at that point.

Cory: Yeah, I want to try it. I've done it on the east coast, but parts of the Amtrak on the east coast are pretty functional. It's mostly for commuting and stuff, so you actually can use it wherever if it's out there. Some of the routes. But the only one I've done that is scenic was from LA to San Diego, and it was really short. It was two hours or something, two and a half hours. It was really pretty. It went along the ocean pretty much the whole way. And that one was great, in that case it was an effective mode of transport and it was beautiful. So I guess it depends what leg of the journey you're doing.

Tanner: Yeah, I think all the Amtrak lines Chicago and west, they start to be less transit or transport focused and more it's you're going very long distances. I guess the pro is if you live in these remote areas, you likely have an Amtrak station but not an airport. So if you want to get to maybe a very small town in Colorado to Chicago, it might be more of a hassle to fly, and Amtrak might actually be the best bet for you to actually get somewhere.

Cory: I could see that.

Tanner: It's very, very useful in terms of you're trying to connect smaller places to much larger spots.

Cory: That's true. I mean, a lot of places, anywhere that's not a big place, if you fly you've got to kind of rent a car or two.

Tanner: Yeah.

Cory: But I always find in a lot of those rural places, say you were to get off the Amtrak and you're on foot, it's so inhospitable to people on foot anyway that yeah you're in the town but good luck getting anywhere. You're going to be walking along the side of the highway.

Tanner: That really depends. When I was taking the Southwest Chief, you ride through parts of Arizona and New Mexico, at least in the southwest, it used to be just very small settlements where Spaniards and then previously Indians or Native Americans, and then after that, the Mexican Empire took over. But they were originally these very tight-knit sort of walkable villages, and they sort of kept that same layout a hundred, two hundred years later. So you get off in a place like Flagstaff or somewhere in New Mexico, it's a tiny town, but I can get around reasonably without a car.

Cory: Yeah, that makes sense.

Tanner: I think if you end up somewhere in Montana, “cool, I'm the only thing here.” I need some way to get around.

Cory: I feel that. Use a hoverboard or consult the Boring Company.

Tanner: I think Montana is pretty anti any sort of land development.

Cory: All right. How long has thing been recording?

Tanner: I don't know. How long have we been here?

Cory: I feel like it's definitely been more than an hour.

Tanner: Let's see. Hour 25.

Cory: Yeah. Let's add a finale in.

Tanner: Alright, it’s over.