Archive for February, 2012

Miss You

Should I be a little concerned that lately, I’ve been scheduled to work on station 1 a lot while Ruth has been on Station 3? O_o?

Since Friday last week, Elliot’s been out of town, so Armanzo was on 2 tonight. Armanzo usually has Mondays and Tuesdays off, so working a Monday with him was… a little different. Not that there was anything wrong, and I’m certainly not blaming him, but tonight I was just not feeling it. And no amount of convincing myself that “Today’s Monday! It’s gonna be fun!” was changing the way I was feeling. It was a bunch of little things that prevented me from having fun like I normally do:

– The night cleaners cleaned the stove last night and I came in to find that we were down another pilot light. If anything, that was THE crushing blow that set the tone for the night. I asked Armanzo to call the maintenance guy and he said he would, but I wonder if he remembered. (Probably not.)

– For about two days now, my throat’s been feeling a little dry and sore. I don’t know if something’s in the air, or the air in my house is dry, but it makes for occasional funny talking and not-so-fun singing along with my voice cracking. ;_;

– The last Chef’s Table guest was apparently a regular and she was getting on my nerves. She ordered the whitefish but since she loved vegetables *eye roll*, she asked for some green vegetables in her dish. Oh-kaaaaaay, fine. I offered to saute some kale for her. But then she saw me plating hangar with lentils and she got interested and asked for lentils with her dish too. Oh-kaaaaaay. And then during her meal she talked on her cell phone and was pretty annoying. Especially her laugh. It was like a screaming parrot. And then, since she was on Weight Watchers (riiiiiight…) she asked for half a cup of coffee.
Ugh… I hope she never gets seated at the Chef’s Table again.

– The new pasta dish is gross. Okay, fine, it’s not gross. It’s just not my fave. We’ve switched the pork neck ragu pasta to a carbonara, and I find it so rich I could almost puke. It’s so weird how I’ve got people telling me it’s their favorite kind of pasta. Ew. Busboy Diego asked for it for dinner and he loved it. I’m glad he liked it but gross! >_<

In other news, I can't tell if Armanzo was joking or not but he said that next week I'll be learning station 2. *cue horror movie screaming*

I couldn't wait for the night to be over because I'm off Tuesday. I just want to sleep in and order in and maybe work up the energy to do my taxes and my laundry. Opening Wednesday, so that should be fun.

Throwback Monday

I got a case of the Mondays tonight and my morale especially took a nosedive when I walked up to station 3 and was confronted with this:

Two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash because that would’ve been the norm. But last week, through some mixed blessing, we got the stove all fixed up and lawd almighty, there were ALL SIX pilot lights working.

All the line cooks who ever worked 3 with a grill light were thrilled. It was a miracle!

But then today happened, and at first I thought, “Oh the pilot lights got blown out,” but when I went to relight them, they wouldn’t take the flame. WHYYYYYYY?!
Wahhhh >_< Back down to earth with a ka-thunk. I should've known that it was too good to last, and was a cruel joke played by the Kitchen Gods.

Speaking of cruel joke, Katie and I were looking forward to going to Ian's, and astonishingly, even Elliot agreed to come, but when we got there, Ian's had closed. WHYYYYYY?! They let us get pizza to go, but IT'S NOT THE SAME DAMMIT. Urghhh I hope Elliot comes with us again when we can actually go in and sit down. Did I miss out on my bonding time forever? ;_;

I open tomorrow. Hopefully things look up. Not that Monday was terrible, but I would really like the burners to miraculously light up again, and I want another opportunity to bond with my sous chef and my fave sister line cook together.

Here For The Party

Maybe it’s because of the extended weekend but Sunday night was just as stupidly busy as last night. We did 198 covers. When the night was over, I had JUST squeaked by with 4 orders of dates left. *shudder*

Not much to comment on, except that if not for Koren jumping into the window to expedite, Sunday night would’ve turned into a shit show. It also helped that when we needed stuff (which we often did), she was there to get it, or make it. (Pistachio puree? Ahahahaha… making it on a Sunday? Give me a break…)
Working a Sunday is lame, but hey, it could’ve been lamer. Maybe. Armanzo was ready to break shit for a good part of early service, while I was telling myself that I’d break bottles in the alley after work. Eh, it didn’t work out like that: Armanzo bought some cigarettes and smoked them, while I bought a King cone and ate that.

Good news: Liz tells us we’ve earned another pizza party for being accident free in the workplace. Woot! I’m sure we’ve been accident-free like three times over, but hey, I’m not going to raise my nose to a pizza party. Hell, I didn’t even realize we’d been keeping track anymore. Just goes to show that the Avec crew is just KILLIN’ it.

I open Tuesday. Why do I get the feeling it might turn out to be a bit of a doozy…? Hmmm…

Oh, Snap!: Lifesavers

Saturday service was stupidly long. I sold 30 shoulders tonight. I’m pretty sure I went to the bathroom once during service.

Here are things that kept me from killing myself tonight, when I wasn’t talking like a gangster to keep myself sane (Meeehhh, see?):

I got these fruit bars from my friend, Ms. Nao. When line cooks work, there’s no time to eat. These saved the day. I shared some with my coworkers, Elliot and Armanzo. We ate 5. Blueberry flavor tastes awesome… just like a fig newton.

When I work on 1, my face gets grimy as hell. Thanks to Katie, I can wash my face with proper face wash, instead of hand soap, which I was using in a pinch. Aw yeah, my face feels cool and clean, back into the fray!

Sometimes drinking water just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes I drink ginger ale. Until the time of the night I can have a beer.


Happy Valentine’s Day!
I had a great day at work tonight! Despite it being Tuesday, we were busy, and it was exhilarating. At the time though, it was kind of lame, with tickets spewing out the printer like I’d won the jackpot or something, but afterward, really cool to think back on.

I should’ve known it was going to start out a doozy when after going with Katie next door to grab wood, the dining room already had guests. Wtf? We were only gone 15 minutes and some people were already sitting at the tables and bar. Times like this I roll my eyes and wish people would just eat a hot pocket if they’re that hungry.
But I was on a roll and I wasn’t going to get dragged down. I told the hostess Claire that I only wanted same-sex couples and older hetero couples sitting at the Chef’s Table: “Hetero couples are a dime a dozen, but older couples are cute!”

Shit got cray real fast. First chef’s table guests were ones I weren’t happy about. Not only they did not meet any of my criteria, they were industry people, and worse than that, one of them used to backback for us. And I don’t remember really liking him. He has the face of a douche. And his girlfriend looked like a supreme bitch. So, they looked perfect for eachother. Anyway, it was so busy I luckily didn’t have to give them the time of day.
And DAAAAMN was it busy! I had orders left and right and somehow, I went from having 3 whitefish orders to 7 whitefish, all order-fires. On top of a bunch of other orders. Infuriating! But after I put out those whitefish, something clicked and I realized this was fun. A push is fun! The music was fun! I was able to enjoy myself and then a new couple came to the table and they were definitely an older couple.
They definitely hadn’t been here before. The gentleman asked about the brandade, pronouncing it “brandaid” and the focaccia, “focatta”. I rolled my eyes but in the end these two won me over. They were so happy to be eating really good food and watching all the action that I found myself really enjoying talking to them. Elliot joined in on some conversation too. The man was so impressed with us, he compared us to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin. Eh?! I couldn’t imagine myself compared to such greatness so I laughingly replied I’d rather be Dennis Rodman LOL.
Anyway, they were so nice I gave them a plate of chocolate to go with their after-dinner coffees. And then before they left, they tipped me $20. Wahhh!!! Elliot also got some money! Whoaaa!

Definitely the icing on the cake. I hope this couple (who I now know as Jeff and Holly) come back, and I hope I can talk with them again!

Katie made out all right too. She was definitely nervous earlier today, not knowing what to expect out of a holiday, but she did great today. I definitely tried to encourage her and look forward to her continuing progress. She made fajitas for comida today, with stuff she’d bought at the grocery store. Going above and beyond, I’m really amazed by her.

I open Wednesday, so it should be super fun! Taking a page from Katie, I’m probably going to bring in some leftover brown rice from home and make fried rice for opener comida. Yay fun times!

Speaking of fun times, some notable moments today:
– I got a flower delivery from my boyfriend! So sweet!
– At some point, Elliot got a huge rip in the back of his pants! The weird thing is, he didn’t know it happened, and even weirder, they weren’t even a little ripped when he first put them on! O_O!!!
– Later in the night, a three-top came in and sat at table 4. The woman sitting at seat 47 was incredibly hot. Like, I looked up and for the first time, went “Damn!” Elliot said she looked like she’s caused a few traffic accidents. I’m sure….

Hmm… I wonder what day Sweetest Day falls on? 😀

Big Love

Just wanted to throw in a little update that Sunday night, my old sous chef/Big Star chef de cuisine Justin Large showed up to eat with his friends. His dinner was fine, they liked everything. Armanzo went out to talk with him a bit and then called me over to say hi and stuff. I’m super bashful when this happens, but I’m grateful when Armanzo throws the spotlight on you. If he knows credit goes to you, he’ll make sure that it’s known, that’s for sure.

Large told me something that really made me happy. He said that I was his favorite person to work with. Whoa! Really?! *fist pump* YEAH! I didn’t get to work with him for very long after I was hired, but when I worked under him during his openers, they were special times, that’s for sure. And it’s funny how whenever he’d announce that it looked like we’d be getting out early, it never happened. Like the time the basement flooded… >_>;;;;

Anyway, I’m just putting down this memory for posterity. Cos when the shit goes down and I’m feeling like everyone hates me, I can just look back and read/remember that at least TWO people have said that they liked working with me.

Also, how did I not know about this little gem? Did he give up blogging? I scrolled down and I saw the entry about Lollapalooza, which I worked, HA. It’d be nice if there were more entries, but seeing as how the last entry was in 2010, I think he’s given up. Sad ;_;

Treating Us Good

I have to make this short because I’m sick and I have to sleep, like NOW, but I just wanted to write a quick post about work.

I’ve been nursing a weird, mutated monster head cold since Thursday and today I wanted to call in and see if KO could cover my shift, y’know, since I covered his when he was sick. But apparently he had family in town and it was a no-go. I pretty much sucked it up and went to work, despite my feeling like crap.
This is one of the rare instances when I feel like I hate my job, when I’m nothing more than a skilled laborer, with seemingly no benefits of any kind. How sucky is that? Maybe a lesser (or smarter?) person would’ve just called in, but like I said, I just had some head cold. If I had the flu, I definitely would’ve called in. But in this instance, I had some weird sense of responsibility to my coworkers since I couldn’t find myself a replacement.

Needless to say, I came into work feeling quite down. And I couldn’t even ask Ruth (who was opening) to work a double because she was getting sick too. Goddamn it!!!!!!! Everything was pissing me off because I just wanted to go home. (I stayed professional and just kept it in. I ain’t no whiny-ass brat.)

I should be grateful for some things, though:
– I was on station 1. If I’d had to work station 3 sick (which I’ve done before), I’d probably would’ve had a little inner breakdown.
– No one ordered chicken until 10pm or so. Because dealing with chicken during dinner rush is an effing bitch.
– Elliot and Armanzo would ask me how I was doing, which to some degree means they care about me.

Okay, okay, they probably do care about me, or else they wouldn’t have sent me home around 12:30am when things definitely died down and stage Theo (yep, he was back… as well as stage Richard, but I didn’t deal with him much) said he could handle the rest. Thank you guys! You are great. Even though I had to work for 8 hours with a leaky nose and sneezing like a fiend, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. They told me to take a cab (which I did) and now, a hot bath and two head cold tablets later, I’m heading off to bed.

Because I have to work tomorrow. And I don’t want to be sicker than I already am.

Talk To The Hand

I’ve been having a little trouble getting to work on time lately. How lame is it that I have to leave my house at 2:40pm in order to arrive at work at 4pm on the dot? I kid you not. Even with my catching the express train, when I’m at the Clark/Lake station, there’s like 2 brown line trains to every green line, and even when both trains are due, the green line always seems to defer to the brown line. Come on, people, I have to get to work. Even when I want to come in just a tad early (like 15 minutes! That’s not asking for much, right?) it doesn’t seem to be possible. Sigh.

That said, I came to work on time today which is so sad because I used to come in so early when I was a prep cook ;_; Oh how the mighty have fallen.

I was on station 3 tonight, Elliot on 2, Katie on 1. Fun times! It started out a little mellow, and then got a little busier just when I was about to pick some duck meat. Two ladies got seated at the chef’s table (sigh) but it was just as well because they ordered a salad and some mussels and then I didn’t have to anything with them afterward and because they were sitting there, no one else could sit there either. Win-win? Also, apparently one of the women had something to do with media or something. Either in the way for some film-making gig, and long story short (with chunks of facts missing because I got this third-hand from Katie tonight… I know, I’d make a TERRIBLE journalist), apparently Elliot got scouted as some sort of HAND MODEL?! And apparently Elliot has really good-looking hands?! (I’m gonna have to take a good look at his hands the next time I see him.)

I have to admit I’m not surprised. Elliot’s kind of a really good-looking guy. He wears clothes like he casually walked off a shoot for Gap clothing. But that’s not to say I won’t rib him to shit about this hand modeling thing mwahahaha… *evil chortle* … I mean, until I hear the whole story. But still… heehee!

I want to post about other recent happenings, such as the Superbowl, new comics, how I burned my neck (so stupid), how my knife broke (so stupid), and a zillion other things, but I have to open tomorrow; little updates will have to wait for another time. I know: LAME!

My Guiding Hand

Tonight was a pretty mellow night for a Saturday. It never got too busy and it wasn’t too slow. It was just as well, because I played big sister tonight with stage Theo on station 1.

Theo’s a stage who’s come in a couple of times. I don’t know exactly if he’s looking for employment from us, but he definitely doesn’t mind coming in and helping out and learning stuff from us. It’s also nice having a stage who comes back because then I don’t feel like all the line advice I give when I do babysit a stage goes to waste because they never come back again.
Lately whenever Theo would come in, he’d have the incredible bad luck to share his stage with someone else, so when the time would come for someone who hang out upstairs on the line, he’d always have to opt out because he’d been with us before while the other stage hadn’t. And I would feel a little bad for him because, like I said, I’d rather share my line-knowledge with someone who’ll come back, rather than give all this seemingly pointless information to someone who won’t be returning.

I guess the stars were all aligned because Theo was our only stage today and I was on station 1. So around 9:30, when the pacing was mellow, I asked Elliot (2) for the okay to let Theo have some line time.
It was a little rough in the beginning. He was left-handed (which I’d forgotten), so some of the advice I gave didn’t really apply to him. He was flustered and a little nervous once more orders came in, so he lagged a little on certain dishes, forgot to replenish his date sauces (resulting in some lagged dates), got caught up in a little oven chaos (his shoulder Staubs were all over the place), and got his station a little messy (squid grease, bread crumbs, chopped herbs all over the place).
Of course, I was on the side to remind him not to forget his dates, watch out for his chickens and to check on his shoulders, and pick up his speed. Up to a point, though. When he kept looking to me to see if he should sell these dates or if that shoulder was ready, I gently but firmly told him I wasn’t going to hold his hand. I told him to trust in himself and his senses. I’d already told him what he was looking for, he just had to be aware of the signs.

I think that believing in him and letting him stew on the line was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Even when he was a little behind and then Elliot told him to work 4 more orders of squid, and I got his squid into a bowl, then let him do the rest and stepped back, it was a good decision. Because even though he was flustered, I think he was thrilled, especially after he sold his squid and I congratulated him on his squid push. It definitely helped his spirit. There were a couple of times I considered switching him out but I held off and I’m glad I did.

Elliot came down later as I was straightening the walk-in and pretty much affirmed what I felt: Theo did a good job, it was a little rough in the beginning, but it was good to have faith in him. Alright! Even though I considered it, I assessed the situation and decided it was best to leave him where he was. Besides, the restaurant wasn’t even that full and no one was coming in. Elliot said that maybe if someone had complained about dates being late or something, then he would’ve switched him out, but luckily, no one did.

Anyway, Theo was super thrilled to have been on the line on his own for so long (I let him stay until closing and he even broke down the station and cleaned the slicer on Station 2), and I’m happy for him. His being on the line reminded me of the time I was struggling on Station 1 and Koren almost pulled me off but Katie Furst had faith in me and let me muddle through. It was almost like coming full circle and then paying it forward.

And maybe like a little reward from the Kitchen Gods, I heard something tonight that made me very happy. While I was in the cab with Elliot after work, I asked him if he’d be working Monday (affirmative). That was good, because it would be me, him, and Katie. I told him that Katie liked working with him and it was good for her confidence because he was a Zen Master. He said he liked working with her too. Not only that, he said he liked working with me too!!! “Because there’s no drama,” he said.
Arrrgggghhh I wish times like these I didn’t have such a terrible memory and that I could recall exactly what else was said (we talked about how Armanzo sometimes doesn’t call tickets which sometimes troubles Katie, and I confessed to Elliot my apprehensiveness about KO), but all that really matters is that one of the people I admire the most told me he likes to work with me.

Ahhh! Such happiness!

Oh, Snap!: Bottle Mods

It isn’t the case at the moment, but last year we had a squeeze bottle shortage on the line. What happened to them? I don’t know. Did some get thrown away accidentally? Did one of them fall on the plancha and melt? Who knows?

But we’re Avec, so we do the best with what we can.
And with the help of Wildcard Scottie… we came up with these:

Pfft! That’s a real squeeze bottle housed in the part that’s usually wrapped around the glass. We have wacky senses of humor.

At the the time, we were still selling the mushroom salad (and it was selling like crazy) so in his wildcard ways, he reused a lemon juice bottle and screwed on a squeeze bottle top for the sherry vinaigrette on station 3. It worked!

Of course, since then, we seem to be good on squeeze bottles (thanks to Scottie stealing two of them from Blackbird for us heh heh), though I think we really should nip this in the bud and just place an Edward Don order :/