Archive for June, 2012

Oh, Snap!: I Made Some Comida

No time for a full entry! Look at these pretty pictures!

Ever since I moved up the ladder and we got Master Blaster as our dishwasher, the responsibility of making food for the dishwasher has all but diminished. Sure, we still make him food. But it’s not like before, when we used to make it with whatever was in the walk-in and every dinner was a delicious surprise (or, depending on the line cook, a passable offense). Nowadays, the ole Blaster asks for something and we make it. I long for ye olden days.

So last Saturday night, it was with gleeful delight that undertook the making of staff meal. Whoa, that’s a term that’s not often heard at Avec. Ruth had handed me a quart of whitefish scrap to make comida for Master Blaster, but those plans fell through, and well… everyone else benefited. Heck, I wasn’t going to let a quart of super fresh fish go to waste. And immediately I thought, “Cioppino!” except we didn’t have any other seafood other than squid, and some salt cod (in the brandade). Whatever! Not like that stopped me and Ruth from making some tasty fish soup. Version 1 (pictured above) was made on Saturday and included fideo, potato, roasted endive, and a heavy finish of pastis.

Version 2, made on Monday, had fennel, roasted endive (love that mellow bitterness!), rice, fava beans and considerably less pastis, with the addition of sambuca. Maybe I’m partial to version 2 because I can wholly call it my own (version 1 was a Betty and Ruth collaboration), but I liked the subtle flavor of the liqueurs I used to finish, preferring to let the seafood be the star, as opposed to Saturday’s soup with its long pastis finish. I guess I’m all about subtlety.

It felt really good to make a good meal out of random odds and ends of ingredients. I’m thinking that as long as there is really good fish scrap, I’ll be making really good fish soups all summer. Hmm, next up, fish chowder?

Oh, Snap!: New Kid On The Block

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

The old Meiji space two doors down from us is now Alimentari, which opened its doors last Friday (three days ago). To be honest, I’ve taken a look at the space and exterior, and it looks like Avec Lite. I’m not saying we hold the exclusive rights to natural wood exteriors, but when your neighbor builds a house that looks similar to yours, you can’t help but raise an eyebrow.

But hey, it’s probably coincidence, right? I’m sure on the inside it’s a different beast altogether. Hmm, according to Eater, the place also has a wood burning oven. No biggie, what restaurant DOESN’T want one? Those things are awesome. Besides, the place is Italian, so it’s like a given. Oh, they’re doing charcuterie and small plates too? Meh, that stuff must be all the rage, just look at the Purple Pig.

We got a copy of their menu and Ruth and I took a look at it. Oh hey! Alimentari will have burrata on their menu too! A roasted half chicken? Seared white colored fish? Cheese with honeycomb? No way, us too!

As Ruth says, imitation is the best form of flattery. May our new neighbor become our new waiting room!

Oh, Snap!: All Work No Posts

Last week was kind of amazing. Not only did Conan O’Brien come in to eat on Wednesday, but I worked a double the next day (opened and then worked service), and then worked on station 2 on Friday for Ruth (she of the recovering spider bite).

My first Friday on Station 2!!!!!!!! Epic!!!
I was ready to fight my way through a mountain of focaccia tickets, but surprisingly they turned out to be very manageable. It also helped that for a while it was mainly a station 1 party, aka high demand for dates, shoulder, burrata, and chicken.

I don’t think I’d happily volunteer to do another double in the future, but at least I can say that if the need is there, then I shall rise to the occasion. Dare I say that it really isn’t as bad as some people thought it would be? I’d been telling everyone, “If Elliot could do it, so can I!” because he had pulled a double before. I suppose I was just running on my own happy energy/adrenaline, because later that night I started to feel a little weary during a 5-focaccia pop, but I got my (maybe) second wind and all was well to the end. Katie was super impressed that I was pulling a double and left me this awesome “survival pack” that just totally lifted my morale. Woot Gatorade! ZOMG M&M’s ice cream sandwiches!! Scratchies!!! Thank you Katie for the awesome gesture!!! I devoured the watermelon after work. It’s really odd but some of the best watermelon I’ve had this year has come from 7-Eleven, no lie.

I think since I proved myself capable that Friday, I took a look at the schedule for the 4th of July weekend and it looks like I’ll be on 2 that Thursday, Friday, and SATURDAY O_O!!! The training wheels have come off! Or, rather, as Koren said, the training wheels have been off for a while. If it’s so, I’ve been shakily riding the 2-Wheeler (hahageddit?) but you know what? I’m excited!

Little Musings

To the people who came in just as the kitchen was closing and at 12:58am ordered a hangar, whitefish, whole fish, and TRIED TO ORDER FOIE: you suck.

I know I’m not as spry as I used to be when I’m working and I haven’t gone to the bathroom in so long that my kidneys hurt. Urgh… it never used to be like this.

What’s more obnoxious than men who don’t take off their hats in restaurants? Women who wear hats in restaurants.

I loathe children in the diningroom. But I hate children with iPads even more. How dare you flaunt things I can’t afford?

Speaking of kids, I hate making special food for kids just because they’re kids. Hey parents, you took your children to eat at avec so don’t cop out and request that the line cooks make pizza with tomato sauce or pasta with only butter and cheese. Your kids don’t want to eat finocchiona salami or chicken & liver sausage? Take them to McDonalds next time.

It’s after midnight. What are you people still doing here eating? GO THE FUCK HOME.

Saturday service is a soul suck.

Red Headed Stranger

Holy. Crap.
Tonight Conan O’Brien came in and sat at the Chef’s table.
He ate at our restaurant. During busy service. He had no crazy airs. He loved everything. He wears glasses when he reads.

When he and his wife walked up to their seats, I immediately turned around and tried to remain calm and not act affected. But it’s a little hard not to, when you’ve been watching him for a good part of your life when he used to host his late night show. It’s a pop culture in-yo’-face moment and I was kinda-sorta squeeing on the inside.

He ordered (in order of courses): green salad; dates, hangar; flatbread, chicken. We sent him olives and a second course squid compliments of the house.
He was totally loving the salad I made. I could hear him talking about how good it was. AHHHH! Yay!!! They loved all the food and totally thanked us for the meal. I wish I could’ve shaken his hand or gotten a picture or something but I’m too staunchly professional for that. Still! Squee!!! He said the next time he was in Chicago, he’d totally come back. Excellent!

With this Comedy Week going on, I’d like it if Kevin Smith, Sarah Silverman, or Hannibal Burress came in to eat. Come on!!

Sigh. In other news, Ruth got a pretty bad spider bite and I have to work a double on Thursday. Clopener into a double. All I can say is: FUN TIMES! I’m probably just naively trying to convince myself all will be fine, but hey, maybe some other well-known person will come in for dinner and make my night…. Just sayin’….

Oh, Snap!: Art Wall

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

From left to right: an Epic comic still in progress, the first Epic comic I ever drew, the Rejuvelac comic, two drawings illustrating my feelings during my initial stint on Station 2.

I doodle a lot. So much, in fact, that I created an art wall of staff caricatures by the locker room. Then I was told that Corporate wanted me to take it down. So I did. I still don’t really know who “Corporate” consists of, but if Nameless Higher-Ups tell you to do something via your awesome manager (Liz), then you should probably heed the warning.

Not that it’s stopped me from drawing and pinning art to the wall again. Can’t keep a doodler down, yo!

Oh, Snap!: Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting

No time for a full entry! Look at these pretty pictures!

Saturday service is long and brutal but who cares when your awesome manager (Liz) comes in with bags of candy for the troops? ZOMG Starburst! Airheads! Sour Patch Kids! I don’t even really like peanut butter but those Peanut Butter Snickers were the bizniz. Awww yeah… sugar rush all night.

Sylvester came in to eat with his girl and besides ordering a whole fish (which was delicious, I might add, toot toot) he had a focaccia and since line cooks MUST have a sense of humor (it sez so here) Ruth made this:

It’s at an awkward angle, but donger focaccia with cheese jizz is awesome. I totally encouraged it, and I’m glad Ruth had the same thought when I suggested about the “garnish”.

Mwahahaha I love my job.

Oh, Snap!: My Little Friend

No time for a full entry! Look at these pretty pictures!

We have a lost and found box full of random things, mostly people’s scarves (though once there were three pairs of reading glasses and someone’s physics notebook full of calculations). On Thursday I dug around in it because I’m curious and found what I assumed was the mitten part of some child’s lost glove mittens.

Since it was cute and weird (attributes of which I am quite partial), I started playing around with it, fitting it over my fist and saying “Say hello to my lil’ friend!” and pretending to punch people.

Since I can’t make food if my hand’s in a fist, I left the little guy on top of the knob of the slicer. It’s a slicer cozy! I hoped people would comment and notice but few did. Or if they did notice it, they didn’t say anything.

Today Koren saw it and she thought it was cute and hilarious. She even found a tiny baby carrot and stuck it in its mouth to make it look like it was eating a carrot/smoking(?). Yay! Love it when my boss is in on the fun. Without asking, Armanzo knew the cozy was my doing. “How’d you know?” I asked. He gave me a look that said “Really?” and I acknowledged that yep, I’m the sort of person who does this kind of stuff.

At the time I was listening to the Talking Heads so I named it Psycho Killer, but it looks like a little bear my brother had when he was a kid and so now its name is Larry (Psycho Killer).

Hi! I’m Larry! When I’m not being used as a slicer cozy, I pretend I’m a cute shrunken head! Whee!

Oh, Snap!: Rejuvelac

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

At the French Market, there’s a shop that sells raw vegan food. Ryan brought in some drink called Rejuvelac for Ruth a couple of days ago that she didn’t drink, which I found when I worked Station 2 last night.
The label says it’s made from sprouted wheatberries and purified water and costs $3.99.
Armanzo tried it and said it tasted like “bile”. Foodrunner AJ said it tasted like “armpit sweat” (EWWWWW). I’m much kinder and I said it tasted like “unsweetened, slightly sour soymilk”.

Whatever the description, it did not taste good. Even when we found out that–oops!–you’re not supposed to shake the bottle.

I drew a comic to illustrate how it tasted.

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Going on a tangent, I came into work today and found out that Elliot had stopped in for a second. Huh!? Commander Green, no fair! I wanted to say hi to you! Or at least jokingly demand a souvenir! Apparently he came in for his paycheck (hmph) and he’s leaving for London tomorrow. Bon voyage, Elliot…. Bring me back something from your European jaunt, dammit!

Man Of The Hour

Last Tuesday was Elliot’s last night at avec. Even though it was my day off, I made sure to show up that night to see him off. I wasn’t the only one! Armanzo came in earlier that night to eat and bade him farewell. Fred and Theo came in. Ruth, who opened earlier that day, came back that night as well. Adam Walsh, who doesn’t even work here anymore, came in to say his goodbyes. It was totally bittersweet and awesome. Drinks were toasted, pictures were taken, and there was a little bit of dancing (mostly just Master Blaster and Elliot yukking it up).

During a lull in the festivities, I presented Elliot with a thank you/going-away present. It was a (beautiful) Ohishi petty knife that kinda-sorta got him a little verklempt. He looked at it and then he said, “I will pay you back.” “No you will not!” I retorted. The knife was my way of paying him back for all that he’d done for me. I mean, the man stayed after his opener to help me make potstickers for Thanksgiving last year. For that alone, I’m eternally grateful. I hoped the knife would become a tool that would serve him well wherever he went. “Thanks, Betty. I love you,” Elliot said as he looked at the knife. Aww! And then to cut the Hallmark moment, Theo piped in, “That’s a really pretty box [the knife came in].” Hahaha.

Elliot has now achieved Dad status, but in my heart he’ll always be Commander Green, one of the best chefs I’ve had the honor of working with. As of now, he’s totally chillaxin’ in Minnesota with his girl, Nancy (and both of them friend-requested me on facebook! Yay!), and hopefully when he comes back, I’ll get some moccasins. But even if I don’t, I’ll be really happy to see him again.

Good bye, dad!! We love you!!!