lemongrass portland




Jake Ten Pas
by Jake Ten Pas

I don’t really believe in the concept of reverse racism. At least not in America. Racism is based on power, and, well, this isn’t a blog about reverse racism, so I won’t waste any more of your time with my philosophical ramblings. I simply mention it to preface what I’m about to say.

Reverse racism exists, and nowhere is it more prevalent than in Thai restaurants in Portland. If you don’t believe me, try a little experiment:

Step 1) If you’re white (and also a masochist), go into a Thai restaurant and order your favorite dish at the spiciest level the restaurant offers. This will usually be a four or five.

Step 2) Be disappointed.

Step 3) Invite one of your Asian friends to join you for the same meal at the same restaurant. If you don’t have an Asian friend, make one.

Step 4) Go back and order the same dish at the same level of heat.

jake ten pas sweating
Step 5) Enjoy (Unless you’re one of those “normal” people, who don’t like having your taste buds burned off of your tongue with edible lava, or the impending gastrointestinal discomfort that will surely accompany it).

Step 6) Come to the mandatory conclusion that white folks simply can’t get any respect when trying to order spicy at Thai restaurants. You might want to have a pillow handy, so you don’t have to cry into your sleeve.

Now that we’ve all learned something about the brutal nature of modern life, allow me to blow your mind. What if I were to tell you that there’s a Thai restaurant in Portland where the color of your skin not only doesn’t matter, but where the heat scale goes up not just to five, not even to eleven, but to TWENTY.

It’s called Lemongrass, and it’s located in a beautiful, if slightly dilapidated, old house on N.E. Couch St. The restaurant’s menu is pretty simple compared to many Thai places, and the staff seems to consist entirely of the family that owns the place. If you’re looking for either a luxurious or cookie-cutter dining experience, stay away. This means you, angry man on Yelp.

If, however, you’re looking to eat some incredibly delicious Thai food, and sweat out all the toxins in your body (and perhaps a few pints of essential bodily fluids), Lemongrass is the place for you.

Explaining to our host my issue with most Thai joints’ underestimation of my threshold for pain, I was met with eyes that said they’d heard it all before. I was told that I should probably order a level two on my green curry to match other restaurants’ level 5. Full of the sin of pride, I ordered a level three and braced myself.

Jake Ten Pas celebrating
Did I weep openly? Did I gnash my teeth? Did my internal organs liquefy? No. I’m a professional, people. I’ve eaten something called a Satan’s Handroll, Salvador Molly’s Balls of Fire and even attempted Orochon Ramen’s Special #2 noodle challenge.

But it was damn spicy, and full of flavor that surpassed that spice to disprove the notion that when a dish is too hot, all you can taste is the heat. And this was a level three. Imagine a ten, or heaven forbid a twenty. I am, and my imagination tastes delicious right now.

If you’re like me, and tired of the extremely first-world problem of not being able to get hot enough curry, stop by Lemongrass Thai sometime. I’ll be headed back soon myself, and this time I’m trying for a five. Pray for me.

Twitter sliced

Twitter becoming critical tool for crisis communications

by Jake Ten Pas

As any firefighter will tell you, the best way to put out a fire is to prevent it. But when something does catch on fire, a quick first response can help keep things from going up in flames.

Using Twitter for crisis communications is fast becoming a critical component in any company’s strategy. Twitter is as much about preventing an isolated issue from becoming a full-blown crisis as it is about communicating quickly to key stakeholders and the public once a crisis has happened.

twitter image blue

Crisis communication is a public relations activity that, with careful planning, rarely needs to be implemented. Still, it’s very important to have a plan in place when an emergency rears its ugly head. When a product fails, an accident occurs, financial crisis arises or natural disasters happen, whatever the case may be, crisis communication plans keep the peace and give direction to chaos.

Social media has changed the landscape for the development of crises and offers a critical communications channel to address and abate a crisis. Social media can blow up a situation in a matter of minutes. When a story breaks, people are actively looking for answers, and more people than ever are turning to Twitter for those answers.

As in all business communications, Twitter needs to be part of a broader strategy, and one of a variety of channels you use to listen and share with your employees, customers, clients, and industry. This is true both when it comes to prevention and when it is time to react.

How to use twitter for crisis communications:

  1. Educate – Bring yourself and your staff up to speed on how Twitter works and the social norms of the platform.
  2. Plan – What will you do when something bad happens? Identify and plan for crises you can foresee, and those you’d never expect. Think about thinks that could happen to you – disasters, etc., and crises that are self-inflicted – product recalls, hazardous materials spills, etc. Who will be the one to speak on behalf of your company? Answer these questions and more by creating a crisis communications plan.
  3. Listen – Good communicators are always good listeners first. In other words, you won’t know what’s happening unless you’re actually listening. If you’re not on Twitter, then you won’t know who’s talking about your brand in that space, much less take part in that conversation. You shouldn’t join Twitter just to react to an issue. Creating a presence pre-crisis helps develop a network you know shares an interest in you and what you do.
  4. Be Active – Become part of the online community. Don’t wait for the building to be burning down around you to engage your public. Prevention is always better than reaction. There are also many great free tools for tracking what happens on Twitter. Use those to preemptively ease into the conversation before a crisis even hits.

Twitter, faster than earthquakes?