Project Update: Thanks to a set of wonderfully generous backers, I’m heading to Berlin on July 6, 2010 to start the final research for the book based on the Taxi Gourmet blog. Stay tuned for new adventures from Europe’s capital of cool.
When that first Buenos Aires taxi adventure started with Enrique and ended so serendipitously at Parrilla Peña, I realized two things:
1. The cab-driven adventures had only just begun.
2. Eventually, I was going to write a book about these food quests (and all that surrounded them).
Three years later, I’m ready to get started. I just need one final piece to complete the three city saga that I’m going to put on paper: a series of adventures in Berlin, Germany in July and August 2010.
It’s difficult for me to do this, but here goes: I’d like to ask you to help me make Berlin happen – and I’d like to offer you something amazing in return (no, not just my eternal gratitude).
Why am I asking for your help?
Until now, the Taxi Gourmet blog has been an entirely self-funded venture. The money for all the cab fares and all the meals over the past three years has come out of my pocket (from food and copywriting gigs and, most recently, from driving a cab in New York). It’s been an extraordinary ride, but there’s a lot I want to share that goes beyond these blog posts.
In order to take it to the next level – to bring in food pilgrims in different cities, to transform this blog into a global food quest sharing hub – I need to write this book. In order to write this book, I need to get to Berlin. And as any New York cabbie will tell you, a taxi driver’s salary isn’t going to take me there.
This sounds fantastic! How can I help? What do I get in return?
Backing the drive to Berlin is easy – and, as I mentioned, you get more than my undying appreciation:
- $5 gets you a compilation of my favorite restaurants in Buenos Aires, New York and Berlin
- $10 gets you a signed copy of my book upon publication plus the restaurant compilation
- $20 gets you TWO signed copies of the book (one for you and one for your favorite person) plus the restaurant compilation
- $50 gets you a signed copy of the book, plus the restaurant guides, plus my feedback on a blog post and/or hints for writing effective blog copy
- $100 gets you a signed copy of the book, plus the restaurant guides, plus a free ride in my cab (to/from anywhere in Manhattan) and a snack from one of my favorite places to eat
To invest in the drive to Berlin, just go to my fundraising page at kickstarter.com (a supercool organization that sponsors fundraising drives for creative projects around the world) and click on the green “Back this Project” button. Even $5 helps – and I’m not just saying that.
What’s the money for?
If I raise $2350 by June 15, I can get myself to Berlin, go on a series of 10-20 taxi adventures, interview cab drivers and get a taste of their city by traveling to their favorite places to eat.
I’ll be blogging as I go, but I’ll also be researching people and places that go beyond the scope of the blog (and within the scope of the book).
What’s the book going to be about?
I’m not going to be regurgitating blog entries – I’m going to give you the tango I learned to follow in Buenos Aires and the dance I learned to lead from behind the wheel of a taxi in New York.
I’m going to give you more amazing characters, more vibrant flavors, and more of what I’ve discovered from the front and back seats in three of the world’s great cultural capitals. I’m going to touch on what it means to be a traveler in the new millennium. Who knows? There might be a little romance in there, too.
Besides being Europe’s current capital of cool and creativity, Berlin is coming into its own as a food city. Since the Wall came down, it’s gone from a place where people avoided restaurants to one where people actually travel to eat out.
Though a lot of the culinary hullabaloo in Berlin has centered on trends like the underground restaurant movement and dining in the dark, there are more flavors worth exploring. For example, there’s a theory that there’s not a single traditional Berlin recipe that hasn’t been modified in some way by foreign influences. I’m going to investigate that idea.
And while the cab culture in Berlin isn’t as well-developed as Buenos Aires or New York – there are only about 7,000 cabs in Berlin total – it will be a fascinating place to explore how taxi culture has developed in a city that was once divided.