Archive for August, 2011

Oh, Snap! Photo Entry!

I’m still brainstorming what to call my photo entries to differentiate them from my regular blog entries. So far, “Oh, Snap!” is the best I can come up with. *hangs head in shame*

But lame titles aside, here’s a photo to show that sometimes the coolest stuff that happens in my avec life happens just outside of it too.

HOLY SWISS! It’s a praying mantis!! I was walking to the train station with Elliot and Marcus (our foodrunner/bartender/resident 3D actor) when Marcus spotted it just hanging outside the CTA building. How many people have seen a praying mantis outside of nature shows and National Geographic magazines? How many people even knew praying mantises lived in Chicago?! The experience of seeing one up close was really amazing. I’m also impressed Marcus spotted it, because if I’d walked a bit more to the left, I probably might have stepped on it >.>;;;

Here’s another photo for scale. FYI, if I happen to look super ugly in these pictures, it’s because I had just gotten out of work about 10 minutes before. Whatever!


I finally let him go by the bushes outside the CTA building. Goodbye little buddy!

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Look At This Pretty Picture

Finding time to blog is a bit difficult with my abnormal work schedule. I’ve been stockpiling all these subjects and potential entries for, like, WEEKS now, but when I come home I squeeze in what little time I have to quick chats with my long-distance boyfriend and then maybe a quick peek on facebook.

But I still want to talk about work! There’s always something happening while on the job that may make me smile or I think would be tweet-worthy (if I tweeted) but wouldn’t necessarily be blog-worthy. And so, inspired by Ms. Nao’s Friday kitty pics, I’ve decided to showcase work snapshots for when I can’t sit down and document my line time. You’ll see a pic and a short description. Basically, little pictorial vignettes of my working life. Woohoo! It’s also partly in thanks to my FINALLY upgrading to a better phone that conveniently has a better camera.

And so, I present to you the first pic of the series. (I’ve practically been kitchen paparazzi these last few days haha!)


Aww yeah! Those are a bunch of new cazuelas that we got in last week, after our other cazuelas started mysteriously dwindling in number. I was so happy to get new ones, I had to take a pic. They’re not as good as our other ones, but it’s not like I can really complain. In case you didn’t know, the cazuelas are what we serve our signature dish (the chorizo-stuffed medjool dates) in.

Hmm… I’m going to need a working title to announce the picture entries. Trench Pics? Line Snaps? Any suggestions?

A Little Number Crunching

Just another small-ish update post from yours truly.

We had another stage today. Her name was Paula. Apparently she was recommended by Paul Kahan himself? Or did I just hear wrong? Whatever the case may be, she didn’t really impress me. For one thing, she was too quiet. Out of the corner of my eye, she’d be swishing the ladle in my chicken stock, or smoothing my ninth pan of butter with my butter spoon. What, are you bored? I know, why don’t you pay attention to what I’m doing instead of looking at your nails?
More importantly, her sanitation kind of made me wary. She’d touch fish or quail and then use that same hand to touch the salt, her dry towel, and possibly even a loaf of bread (the last I’m not fully sure, but I strongly suspect). I’d remind her from time to time, but I wonder about the times I wasn’t there….
Another thing was her habit of burning dates. Look, I know that KO or Bass showed you the ropes the first time, but don’t you think that if you always have to turn your burned dates over to a nicer side after each time you placed the dates at the same spot in front of the fire, maybe it’s time you tried cooking the dates in a different location in the oven?
Not to be mean, but I hope she doesn’t come back, just because her sanitation makes me nervous.

Our intern Katie also saw a bit of line time. It was kind of cool/strange to have two girls standing next to me for a good part of the night. I’m probably playing favorites but I definitely like Katie and am really excited to impart whatever knowledge I can to make her line time (if/when she gets some) easier.
When I told her I kept a blog, she got excited and asked for its web address. Cool! A potential reader! I also wrote down the recipe for one of my comida standbys, pork sandwiches (which KO calls the “Sloppy Betty”), into her little notebook. Whoa, imparting my knowledge… so profound….

Hmm. I just noticed that I’ve been keeping this blog since March, which means I’ve been a line cook wannabe for nearly 5 months. And yet I still keep telling people I’ve been doing it for about two months. Wow, my sense of time IS totally off…. *face palm*

My First Avec Celebrity Sighting!

Another short update but a pretty cool one!

As I was training another stage that night (*sigh*) Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen came in to dine!
My first thought, besides, “COOL!” was “Goddammit, if they order anything off my station, the stage will be making it. GODDAMMIT!”

I can’t remember what they ordered from Station 2, but they definitely got dates and a pork shoulder. And they requested no onions in their meal. Interesting!

I got a glimpse of Martin Sheen. He definitely looks like himself haha.

I’m not gaga over celebrity sightings or anything (well, depends on the celebrity I suppose) but I was impressed that the two chose to dine at avec rather than, say, Blackbird or Publican. If you’ve seen avec, you know that there’s no place to hide in the diningroom. We don’t have private booths. A couple of days ago, we got word that Mayor Rahm Emanuel was going to come in, but cancelled in favor of Publican because of the booths. Whatever! I’m not being hateful or obnoxious when I say this, but avec is better. Our foodrunner Marcus put it quite nicely when he said that everyone from our sister restaurants (Blackbird, Publican, and Big Star) comes in to eat at avec, but no one from avec really goes to the other places to eat. I think that’s saying something.
Which is why I give props to Mr. Estevez and Mr. Sheen for coming in to eat that night at avec instead of hiding themselves away for star-treatment dining. Yay!

She Works Hard For That Money

I got a text from Koren today asking if I’d be willing to work Saturday (which was supposed to be my day off). Of course I said sure. I wasn’t surprised because my companion station 1 line cook, Mikey Rook, has been experiencing excruciating carpal tunnel lately. Last I heard, it was so bad he couldn’t even hold a toothbrush.
Everyone at work is concerned for him. We even switched him to prep to make it easier on his hands but I guess it’s not really helping =_=

Anyway, long story short, I’ll be working this Saturday and Sunday. A 6-day work-week! And it’ll be all overtime! I might be a little tired, but it’ll be station 1, the station I love, working on time-and-a-half. I’m happy. Especially because more money = easier time paying off my student loans. Hurrah!

Touching Base!

Hi there, I’m still alive!

Work is fine but I’ve been busy…working.
And so, I find little time to blog about my kitchen times. Especially not when my other priorities, laundry and sleeping (and a bit of kpop entertainment news and uploading kpop onto my Zune…and reading manga…Okay so I’m lazy and unmotivated as hell, so sue me) are taking up my time.

Anyway, I’ll get to updates soon.
Look forward to my thoughts and impressions on:

  • Ms. Nao and her friends pay a visit to avec!
  • Vice TV’s Munchies pays a late night visit to avec (courtesy of Girl & The Goat’s Stephanie Izard)!
  • Our various stages…
  • Station 1 is… hot yoga?
  • A new intern!
  • A possible new feature about Station 1 staff meals called COMIDA, featuring RECIPES!!!!!!!

Phew! I’m kind of excited at the thought of writing about these topics. Now if only I didn’t have to go to bed, as it is almost 6AM….