Archive for April, 2012

Fever Do Tell

Who worked Station 3 tonight with a fever of 101°F?

I did!

Who’s been battling this flu-like illness since Wednesday night?


Who has to work tomorrow, whether or not the fever goes away?

Why, I do!

Granted, Elliot let me go home an hour before we usually shut down, but I think I was a trouper. Despite all the death glares I gave people. Sorry, guys, it’s either I clamp down my mouth and frown to tamp down the waves of nausea, or I smile and vomit on you.

It’s times like these I wish I didn’t work in this kind of industry, and that I didn’t feel like some skilled laborer. But oh well, tomorrow’s another day…. Mlurf.

Oh, Snap!: Dad’s Back

No time for a full entry! Look at this pretty picture!

Sorry for not updating for a while. My boyfriend was visiting from out of town and aside from an opener, I didn’t do much. I did work last Friday and there was a foie episode I’ll talk about some other time, but for now, here’s a treat!

My one and only Avec “dad”, Justin Large! With all the crap that’s been going on (I claim it’s because Avec was built on top of an Indian burial ground), apparently Koren made a call last week and lo and behold Large came to save the day. I finally got to work with him tonight. It was fun. He’s super energetic. SO energetic, in fact, that it makes me look like a sluggish loser. Damn!

Will he come back next week to work Station 2 again? I’m not sure, but I do know that it was good to see Large on the line at Avec once more.

We Got Your Back

Lucky thing I happened to wake up “early” today (noon is early as far as I’m concerned) because I didn’t hear my phone when it received a text from Elliot to come into work at 2 (I was scheduled to work at 4).

My stomach had recently been in knots over what to do/say about my long-distance boyfriend coming to visit and how I wanted to take time off but not sure how to broach it in light of Armanzo’s situation. I bit the bullet and just asked for a couple of days off and then some openers. Elliot was very nice about it and it looks like things might work out for me.

Except as I say this, I know I’m being kind of selfish and Elliot’s just above-and-beyond awesome because then I found out that KO has a situation of his own: apparently one of his kidneys isn’t draining properly and has to be removed. So, unless someone corrects me, I think KO’s done for the season.

Thinking about the obstacles the restaurant has to surmount (two line cooks down, last night the basement kitchen flooded), my personal problems are just piddly shit.
I’m sorry my timing is so terrible, but I also want to spend some time with the boyfriend for a couple of days >_<

In My Other Life

I was reading a manga and learned a phrase that makes me wistful and wish that I knew Japanese. Or that English could rise to a higher level of beauty. I have no idea really what I mean when I say this.

This Japanese phrase is “aun no kokyuu”, which, according to these translator’s notes, literally means inhaling and exhaling, but indicates that two things work together perfectly. Such as “two co-authors who have worked together for so long that they can anticipate each other’s needs perfectly.”

For some reason, this phrase, “aun no kokyuu” and its explanation moved me. Maybe it’s because to some extent, I’ve always got work on the brain. I thought, “I want to be someone’s aun no kokyuu!” I want to be THAT reliable, without it even being known or realized.

I suppose I’m being foolish and naive. Striving to this level means moving up the ladder, because surely I can’t just be someone’s aun no kokyuu at one station only. It was like a happy dream to work on 1, and now that we’ve hired new people, I’ll never be able to go back. And even now that I’m on 3, they’re already planning my next moves.

Still, I can’t help but wish to be the other half of an aun no kokyuu.

Don’t Ask Me To Rise

I ended up not doing any training on Station 2 Tuesday. Either Elliot told Koren I was a spectacular failure, or maybe it was because we got a little busy right off the bat for me to get another try on that station.

Either way, I was a little relieved and disappointed.

It was a steady stream of orders that kept us busy until about 10:30, and then it suddenly died and got quiet. What a difference… you’d think we’d be mellow on a Tuesday but at one point I had three cheese plates, a salumi plate (or two), and some foie going on. It kinda sucked at the time. (Elliot: “All I want to do is drink my Gatorade and enjoy my fun-size Snickers. Is that too much to ask?”) I ended up selling out all my whole fish (granted, I only had 5 all day), and by the end of the night, I had one order of whitefish left. Phew!

After work Katie and I went to Ian’s to have after-work pizza, which I think is the best time to have that pizza. We brought some dates, hoping our regular pizza would be there. Ian’s somehow renamed itself into Dimo’s, but the pizza and the staff (we finally found out the guy’s name is Jason) are the same, so I’ll probably still be calling it Ian’s out of habit.
(For the record, I had the corndog pizza and the steak & fries pizza. Random and delicious! Katie had buffalo chicken and… I’ve forgotten her other slice of pizza, but oh well, it was tasty.)

I open on Thursday.
Hopefully I’m not confronted with that horrible wallpaper on the office computer that’s essentially a tiled picture of Blackbird’s pastry chef Bryce Caron with an awful haircut and trying to pose all avant-garde. He looks like a goth Geico caveman. It’s terrible. Why he cut his hair, I’ve no idea, but it looked better when it was longer and he tied it back, as opposed the current pigeon’s nest he’s sporting on his head.
I guess one good thing came out of it. Elliot sent a picture of it to Armanzo who got a good laugh out of it.

Betty Downer

I trained on Station 2 for about 15 minutes today. It fucking sucked. I totally appreciate Station 3 now. I never thought the day would come when I would be SO glad to be in front of the stove cooking foie gras….

It started out a great day (I went to JP Graziano’s for a tuna sub and then walked to La Colombe and got two bottles of Pure Black for Elliot) but then things took a turn for the worst when Koren showed up and had a little pow-wow with Elliot and decided that then was just as good as any time to get a taste of Station 2.

It turned out to be a horrible, bitter taste and I am now scarred for life. Okay, okay, I jest (just a little bit). But it was still a miserable time for me. At first it didn’t seem so bad (*scoff*) but then more orders started coming in, and I had to start calling out orders and in the corner of my eye Elliot was already working on second courses without me calling them, which lowered my morale a little. And then I put out a couple of (in my opinion) shitty looking focaccias which further lowered my morale. And then more orders came in, and it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to keep up.
So when Elliot asked me if I was having trouble, I answered him honestly and said yes. Just my luck to have, as Elliot put it, a string of bad tickets. Was it the kitchen gods saying it wasn’t meant to be (yet), or was it just me not being physically ready for the incoming orders? I think it was a little bit of both.

We switched out just as it was starting to get a little busy and never more have I rejoiced being on Station 3. Even though it’s just one step away, in my heart, I practically ran over there, like it was some long-lost family member I just reunited with. Cook foie and make salumi plates? Okay!!! With pleasure!!!!! Talk with people at the Chef’s Table? You got it!!!

I never went back on 2 again that night, but that’s not to say I won’t train again tomorrow. Oh, I know it’s coming. And I’m still gonna fight it in my heart. But now that I’ve been given a taste of the bitterness, at least I know what to expect. I just haven’t developed the muscle memory yet. I haven’t developed the resolve to accept the responsibility either, but that’s another matter. Sigh. Back on 2 tomorrow for a little bit. I’ll try not to be too negative about it like I was today, but I’m not gonna make any promises that I won’t wish I’d rather be dead.

The Young And Ignored

So many things have happened and I haven’t mentioned them. Where do I start?

The most recent to date (and still freshest in my mind) is that a couple days ago, we had a major work related accident: Armanzo had to be taken to the ER after his boning knife went into this thigh. I didn’t see the video footage (unlike server Josh who’s watched it about 10 times and even recorded the footage onto his phone) but the basic points go thusly:

  • It was sometime after 9:30pm.
  • He was butchering lamb meat.
  • He had his knife in his hand.
  • He bumped his knife into his leg.
  • (His knives are known for being sharp as fuck.)
  • There was a lot of blood lost.

Last I heard, he’d just been released from the hospital after an extended stay because the bleeding wouldn’t stop/risk of infection. Speculation that he’ll be away from work for at least 10 days. People have already brought out the “Thanks for ruining the pizza party” and the “He went big and then went home” jokes. As for me, I hope Armanzo recuperates quickly. It sucks when people you know are in pain/discomfort and you can’t do anything about it. That said, goodbye pizza party ;_; I think we’re at 4 days accident-free now….

Next in news is slightly older (I’ve know about this for about a week and a half now), but no less significant: KO will be leaving us in May to be Gilt Bar’s sous chef. I suppose it’s not surprising to me, since KO has gone as far as he can go at Avec; he’s already a frequent Station 2 player and the Avec sous chef position is already filled.
I admit that while I’m happy for him (he’s pursuing his best interests and can recognize when they can be provided elsewhere), I’m more relieved for myself. I respect and admire all my kitchen brothers, but he was never my favorite and I can feel myself always putting up a wall of cordiality in order to get through the day when we work together.


  • Server Christine is going to have a girl, everyone is surprised/delighted, having been swept up in the belief that she and her husband, Builder Dan were going to have a boy. I’m indifferent since I’m not into babies/children anyway. I am intrigued at the thought of an Avec baby, though.
  • Next week’s schedule has intern Theo training on 1 and me training on 2. Good for Theo, Oh Lawd for me….
  • Katie’s down to working 2 days a week and new hire Fred seems to be acclimating well on Station 1. I sense he’s still feeling his way around kitchen dynamics but we’re all like that in the beginning (I was, at least).


 My local animal shelter, Red Door Animal Shelter is having their annual Spring raffle (where the proceeds benefit the animals, natch) and again I’m selling raffle tickets for a dollar each. Through the kindness and generosity of my coworkers, I’ve already raised over $100. I’m hoping to be able to raise $300 but I’m too timid to ask people for money, and I’m not too familiar with our sister restaurants to go asking for donations. I’ll try to make a poster for them though. Knowing Large has got to help for something maybe. I’ll definitely try to shake ask Blackbird though. C’mon big sister, you’re not next door just to look pretty.
And hey, any readers out there? (*echoes*) If you know me and want to buy tickets, come up and let me know. Or, if you’re someone I don’t know and but want to donate to this very good cause, you can go to Red Door’s website and buy tickets online, and they’ll fill them out for you. This will probably be my last year doing this, since I’ll be moving to another state next year, unless Red Door has no problems with my selling tickets in another state…. I better ask them about that 🙂

That’s all for now, folks. The next time I write, I’ll probably be reeling from the nightmare that is Station 2 training. Or maybe I won’t be writing BECAUSE I’ll still be reeling from the nightmare. Who knows?

I Would Do Anything For Love, But…

I’ve known about this since last week but I forgot to mention it here.

Koren wants me to start training on 2 under Elliot this week or next.


Oh, Snap!: How Long Has This Been Going On~

No time for a full entry! Look at this pretty picture!

I opened today. It was TOO. FREAKING. LONG.
I worked just about 13 hours I think. What the–?! But I think I managed to cover a lot of prep so that tomorrow wouldn’t be so bad… I hope. Fingers crossed.

I probably would’ve gotten out even later if not for the Knucklehead Brothers (and I mean this affectionately), Richard and Theo. I’ve actually become quite fond of them. Richard is eager to learn and always asks questions, and Theo’s going to be our intern in about a week, so he has no choice but to learn. They helped me out a good deal, and hopefully I gave them good advice and guidance about prepping. Richard rolled pasta today on his own (yay!) and I gave Theo a little tutorial about focaccia doughmaking. Let’s see how much information they’ve retained the next time I ask them to do these tasks….

I got home about an hour ago. I work tomorrow. So it’s off to shower and (hopefully) bed.

I leave you with this picture of what happens when you let me straighten up the walk-in. I just might color coordinate. Haha!

From left to right, we have: piquillo sauce, grapefruit segments, sliced orange on top of sliced persimmons, pickled onions, pistachio puree, eggplant-tahini puree, sunchoke puree, and lemon mascarpone. Mwahaha!