I’m not a big foodie, but holy cowabunga! Grilled Cheese Grill in Portland was THAT bloody good. If you’ve never experienced food orgasms, you may want to add this to your list. Every bite was a bite of heaven.

A silver bullet shaped trailer transformed into a mobile kitchen. A vintage school bus retrofitted to serve as a creative, fun and whimsical dining area reminiscent of your childhood. The menu, creative and sprinkled with humor. And the staff, warm and friendly with the quintessential Portland “weird” look. The entire set up and experience was impressive.

Motto at Grilled Cheese Grill — “Come by for a taste of childhood. Unless your childhood sucked, then we’ll let ya have a taste of ours.”

Delicious menu offerings at Grilled Cheese Grill, Portland, Oregon.

At first glance, it looks like some dude just put all this together over a few cocktails and wallah! But that’s rarely ever the truth. Luckily, a chance encounter with Matt Breslow, the owner, offered a glimpse into his story.

Matt grew up in New Jersey. But felt compelled to leave his home state and go someplace where he could simply just be himself. Back home, he constantly felt judged for his dreams and aspirations that “failed” to meet the expectations of his family. They’re Jewish.

Within the Jewish community, there is an understanding and expectation from parents about wealth accumulation and acceptable professions. Like the Indian community, the only viable options include becoming a doctor, lawyer, CPA and so on. Something respectful! Something that offers bragging rights. And boosts your status within the community. Opening a mobile food cart is not on the list of authorized professions! And perhaps, even perceived as demeaning.

While unable to acquiesce to the community’s expectations, Matt decided to move to Portland and opened a mobile food cart business. A bold and unpopular move.

Matt’s father, however, did understand and support what his son was aspiring to do. With his father’s guidance, Matt ventured into the unknown and dove in headfirst. He followed his heart. And granted himself the freedom to be himself and pursue what made him happy. What better place than Portland!

Matt invested in a silver bullet trailer and an old bus and refurbished them. Fast forward through all the permits, licensing and a zillion other tasks to get a business off the ground … and Grilled Cheese Grill was born in 2009.

Grilled Cheese Grill, Portland. Silver bullet trailer and a refurbished old school bus is where the magic happens.

Matt’s sandwiches started creating buzz in the city. Articles got published. Accolades and recognition followed. And so did the naysayers!

The perspective of former naysayers shifted as public recognition in magazines and accolades piled on. Matt’s pursuit of his so-called unacceptable dreams suddenly became acceptable. The magic of being printed on pieces of paper and being recognized by others!

 .  .  .

Naysayers are generally driven by their own fears, insecurities and attachments. Some may not be supportive because they don’t want you to be successful. This does not necessarily make them “bad” people. Your success, for example, may make them feel less about themselves. Clearly, they have their own insecurities to contend with.

When the naysayers are our closest loved ones, it can be upsetting, frustrating and even confusing. But their lack of support comes from a place of fear. And love.

They fear the unknown. They are afraid for you. They don’t want you to “fail” or get hurt. And that’s because they love you. So they persuade, coerce or manipulate you to come back into the fold. It’s safe there. They want you to choose a path that is well known, familiar and has a proven track record for success. They want you to follow the blueprint.

But they fail to understand that you have already failed when you don’t try. But when you try and fail, that’s not failure. That’s learning. And enriching.  

Matt did not let his fears, or the fears of others, dictate how he was going to live his life. He went against the grain to pursue his dreams. He was not going to live the life that others wanted for him, and regret not pursuing his dreams for the rest of his life. He dared to be different. Success was not etched in stone for him; he could have failed just as easily. But he had to take a risk. He had to try.

Success is when you try with every ounce of your being. The outcome is irrelevant.

Published: September 10, 2014

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From Global Roots to Unearthed Truths

Asha was born in India, raised in Oman, and lived in London before settling in the U.S. Her multi-continent, multi-cultural, global experience was a clear predecessor that fed her insatiable curiosity – and the inspiration for her defining Twizted voice.

As a rare breed, she’s truly mastered the art of metamorphosis in body, mind and soul. In her first adult incarnation she graduated Magna Cum Laude from ASU and pursued a vibrant career in the hospitality industry. Then, she grew new wings. Ever intrepid and intrigued by the unknown, she launched and helped grow a thriving e-Commerce technology company with her business partner, proving herself as an entrepreneur and demonstrating both the skills and resolve required of a woman intent on succeeding in a male-dominated industry.

In 2014, she boldly stepped into uncharted territories again, starting a new venture, Twizted Myrtle, in pursuit of her undeniable thirst to confront and create consequential social change. Few understood why she would leave behind a burgeoning e-Commerce business that served marquee clients like Amazon, Samsonite, Viacom, Pokémon, Red Bull, Taylor Swift and other household names – all during the pinnacle of a successful career.

The impetus for leaving the traditional business world for a less conventional path was intensely personal; a deafening voice and inimitable force inside her told Asha that she needed to contribute to the world in a very personal and life-changing way. Asha found herself in the throes of depression and new depths of loneliness. She was acutely aware her “success” was empty. Like many, she had lost her soul in the daily grind of chasing unhappiness.

Ironically, during this time, her depression revealed spiritual clarity; it connected her to the struggles of others who face the same suffocating walls of relenting darkness. Photography became a sacred respite that unleashed a strident voice; like a caged tiger set free, she could never again return to the confined existence dictated by society.

Twizted Myrtle became the multi-pronged platform to confront social issues that we’ve been plagued with for centuries. To break free from these vicious circles, she challenges what we accept, without question, as “wisdom,” and our conventional way of thinking through artistic means – provocative writings, thought-jarring podcasts and captivating photography.

Bringing a refreshing curiosity with the unique empathy of a true global citizen, she speaks with an open mind and unfiltered honesty on a host of issues where most would fear to tread. Her work compels us to see and think differently to help unlock our mindsets from self-imposed limitations. In doing so, she seeks to help people break free from the invisible chains that enslave us as oblivious prisoners.