La Oaxaqueña is a small Oaxacan restaurant located in the Mission District of San Francisco - right around the corner from an old apartment. When I first moved to San Francisco after graduating from college, this restaurant became a very special spot. During that rite of passage first year out, feeling awkward and confused about my place in the world, maybe adrift, maybe a bit lonely, this place was my refuge. Every day after work, I would eat at La Oaxaqueña and read the paper. I loved being a regular and soon became friends with Harry, the owner of the restaurant, and a sort of surrogate father that would cook me dinner every day.
At the end of my first year in SF, I lost my job, and again La Oaxaqueña was there to catch me. With a lot of free time on my hands and an itch for something new, I decided I wanted to take a shot at web design.
Being the tech-obsessed city that SF is, I was always surprised that La Oaxaqueña didn't have a website, and had brought it up to Harry a few times. When I got the chance, I pitched the idea of building a website for him and after a bit of negotiation, I got my first client. Now I just needed to figure out how to build a website...
Since this was my first web design project and the requirements were quite simple, I decided to create the website using Yola - then a no-frills website builder. I soon learned the limitations of Yola when trying to create a menu, so taught myself HTML and CSS to achieve what I wanted to do (oh the joys of pushing divs!).
The best part of the project was the photography - Harry wanted photographs of everything on the menu. Over the course of a week, I would corral all the friends I could into La Oaxaqueña and I would order as many different items that we could reasonably eat. The kitchen would pass me a plate, I would photograph it, and then it would get passed on to a bunch of hungry 20-somethings. Great photos, comped food, zero waste, a meal with happy friends - what could be better?
I completed the project on schedule, Harry was overjoyed with his shiny new website, I was paid on time, and I came away with a lot of new skills. A first-time freelancers dream indeed.