although it was sunny, it was also a cold day today, with temperature hovering in the 50's. but that's often the case here in new england, spring can't decide whether it still wants to be winter or move onto summer.

first thing i did when i got to the cafe this morning was to install a new eufy 2k indoor webcam overlooking the new parking lot patio. customers might think we're spying on them, but it's for everyone's protection, and allows us to see who's back there. that makes a total of 5 eufy cameras in the cafe, as well as a wyze pan camera in the basement.

hard to say how the weather would affect business, but the combination of sun yet cold seemed to have kept the customers away. it was already 12:30pm and we hardly had any customers. those are some famous last thoughts.

because we did have a customer, we just didn't know it. a online pickup order came in at 12:33pm, but nobody bothered to look at the receipt printer, which had printed out an order ticket. i was busy making my horchata (more on that later), while my father was busy making some kung pao chicken in the back. we didn't see the order ticket until 1:10pm - nearly 40 minutes - and basically went into panic mode making the order. fortunately it was all thing we had on hand, and even more fortunate that the customer was late to arrive. it took us just 10 frantic minutes to complete the order. i even told the guy picking up that he was our first online customer, and my father gave him an extra vegetable bun as a thank you.

then 10 minutes later we got another online order! this time it was a single bubble tea, from one of the hairdressers working next door. we didn't recognize her name, otherwise we would've delivered it to her.

so totally forgetting to check the receipt printer is probably not a mistake we'll make again. the problem is that the printer is at the far end of the cafe next to the register, while we're usually in the back kitchen. it makes an alert sound, but it's very short and not loud, so easy to miss. also we weren't in the habit of checking the printer. there doesn't seem to be a good solution, other than maybe getting a wireless bluetooth printer, but these tiny heat transfer printers are expensive, $330-360 a piece.

but it's proof that the online ordering system works. as more customers get used to it, i think they'll use it more than calling. it's much faster and more convenient, and the good thing is the customers pay in advance before we make in the order, compared to in the past with phone ordering, where we make the food first and the customer pays afterwards. it's better for us.

oh, xiaojuan also stopped by unexpectedly while we were feverishly fulfilling the online order. nobody had time to chat with her, so she quietly just left. it was only afterwards that both my father and i remembered seeing her briefly then disappearing.

(1 pitcher)

4 cups water
1-1/2 cups rice
3 cinnamon sticks
1-1/2 cups whole milk
14 oz. can condensed milk
1/4 tsp salt

vitamix blender

soak rice and cinnamon overnight. add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. serve over ice.

so i made some horchata. i've been wanting to make horchata for over a year now, ever since i discovered it watching some television show where one of the character talks about spilling his horchata. horchata? so i looked it up, and discovered it's a sweet mexican drink composed of blended milk and rice. the easiest way to make it is to use a vitamix blender, which would blend everything, no straining involved. so it was a recipe that can only be done at the cafe, where we have a vitamix blender. it's also a two day affair, where you soak the rice overnight, then blend all the ingredients the next day. my father gave me some blending tips, i was sort of afraid of the power of the vitamix. he said to mix in two batches, and just maximum power. at first it kept making a horrible grinding sound as it was trying to pulverize the rice and cinnamon sticks, but after about a minute on high power, everything combined into a smooth consistency.

it tastes pretty good, hard to describe, sort of like a chai because of the cinnamon and cloves and milk, but you can also taste the starchy rice flavor. it also reminds me of nut milk, because there's a very subtle graininess. the key for making simple horchata is the vitamix blender. if you use a regular blender, it could never blend all the ingredients together, so you need a very powerful blender. the horchata - because of all the blended solid ingredients - has a tendency to settle, but you just need to mix everything well before you serve.

my father made some kung pao chicken for lunch. i can't remember the last time i had kung pao chicken: a sticky stirfry of celery, chicken, peanuts, and some dried hot peppers. it was pretty good. he offered some leftovers for me to take home, but because i already had my dinners for the rest of the week planned out, i didn't take the kung pao.

3pm i took the car to home depot to buy 10 bags of vigoro brown mulch (2 cu.ft per bag) which were on sale for $2 a bag. it's for the mulch bed around the parking lot, but i don't think 10 bags is enough. i was worried the car couldn't support all that weight from the bags of mulch. i stopped by my parents' house to grab a few things - my drone, laser measuring tool, baby cucumbers, garden gloves - before returning to the cafe. i was going to start mulching, but my father said it could wait until tomorrow.

i returned home by 4:15pm. i packed my jacket in my bag because i was feeling hot but i kind of regretted the decision when i biked home because i felt cold. that's what also made me decide not to visit the garden, wait for a better warmer day instead.

i thought my upstairs neighbors were leaving today and the new tenants moving in, but they were here all day, i think their tenants got delayed.

i bought something from craig's list today: a scott's drop spreader. the seller's in lincoln, we've scheduled to meet at his house saturday noontime. for some reason spreaders like these are really expensive - $75 - but this guy was selling his (used for a single season) for $30. haven't bought something off of craig's list in a while, i used to buy stuff all the time.

for dinner i made a ham-egg-avocado bagel sandwich. the past 2 mornings i've weighed 151 lbs, which is 4 lbs. lighter than my usual weight. every morning when i weight myself it's like getting a report card. it helps that i've been more active and i don't usually eat at the cafe, so i just have one meal a day (dinner). i'd love to get down to the 140's, and my dream would be to be in the 130's.