Archive for August, 2012

While My Eyes Gently Weep

So… I’m currently on vacation. I usually don’t usually update the blog during this time (or my off days either) because I’m not working and there’s nothing to say. But something happened that had to be noted.

Two days ago I got a text from Koren saying how she loved me and would miss me. Thinking that she forgot I was on vacation, I thought nothing of it and just replied how I loved her back. I may have wondered about the wording but then again, I tend to take things at face value a lot.

A couple of hours later during a drive, I got a text from an old coworker asking how avec was doing, he’d just read an article about mom (Koren’s nickname).

“I’m outta town right now. Everything was fine when I left. What did the article say?”

“That Koren left avec. Officially.”

….

WHATDAFUQ?

And when I got back, I hopped on eater and there it was, about how she’d left. But nothing about why.

I have my theories on why she did, though they don’t mean shit until I get the truth or some more details. Until then, I texted Ruth asking stuff. Apparently there’d been a meeting about her departure. Paul and Donnie were both getting “misty”. Apparently Publican’s Earling will take over. My first reaction was: AUGH! WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US ALL?!??! But with a couple days passing I’m over it now. Koren’s left. I’m leaving. I mean, the change was in the wind. I’m out soon and for better or for worse, avec’s gonna weather the storm.

Comings And Goings

Last week was the second year anniversary of the avec fire. I honestly didn’t remember (I thought it was the 10th) until later that night, we saw a tealight candle and a small bouquet of flowers in the corner by the alley. It put a somber mood to what also happened to be Liz’s last day.
It also happened to be a hideously long service for a Wednesday that night. So long, in fact, that I never got to break out the farewell ice-cream cake. We didn’t cut into it until long after we’d closed and only a handful of Blackbird staff had come over. And even then, they cut into the cake while I was outside. In my heart, I would’ve really liked to have sent Liz off like we did Elliot, with rousing farewells and toasts. Because I think of Liz as an essential member of the avec family and I wanted to wish her well and let her know she’s totally loved and will be missed.

That said, her replacement is Esther, formerly of Publican. Welcome to the family!

It’s been a while since I last posted. Apologies for that. For a while, it felt like most nights were somewhat smooth sailing whenever I worked a station. However, last night and tonight, for a while, I was sucking really badly. Yesterday I was on 3 and for maybe an hour during service, I was firing things too late or too early. I felt like an asshole, especially cos I fired a whole fish a course too early, with nowhere else to sell it. So that was a $30 loss. (Urgh T_T) Then I fired a foie too late, and had Armanzo quietly scolding me (“When I tell you to fire something, fire it. And now this person is going to wait 25 minutes for this foie”) and I felt even more like an asshole. but you know what? I can’t wallow in this sorrow, so I got over it, and the night ended up fine. Armanzo’s dad came in to eat and totally enjoyed the meal and everything was hunky-dory.

And then the next day, I worked on 2, and we got this early pop that saw me sucking very, very badly and left me lagging. Flatbread is my achilles heel right now and when there’s more than one on the board, I’m already pretty much screwed. I can’t seem to make those things any faster than I already am, while trying to call tickets and navigate orders. On top of that, I got set back even more when, while cutting into a focaccia, it ripped so irreparably that I had to throw it away and start anew. Draaaaaat! AND THEN! Armanzo was in the window and somehow a bunch of tickets got stabbed, so I had servers in the window asking for food on tickets I DIDN’T HAVE.

Normally stabbed tickets are an annoyance, but this time I decided to see it as a silver lining, because if some food is taking forever, it’s technically not my fault because I wasn’t even aware it existed. So, in some perverse way, it bought me some time. And time is what I really needed. Aside from another set of hands, and that wasn’t gonna happen. All in all, I did the best I could. What’s even weirder was that service evened out and I got back on track and was (self-proclaimed) awesome again, I looked at our covers and we only did 133, which was slower than the night before. Whatever, I’m over it.

Is it weird that even though Armanzo in the window was throwing a wrench in the service (and Sylvester, for about three steaks, could NOT seem to stop overcooking them), I totally appreciated his being there because I happened to be in my own little whirlpool of suckiness and wasn’t even capable of looking at the tickets? Well, I totally am grateful he was there, stabbed tickets and quiet scolding et al.

I open tomorrow. I work station 2 Friday and Saturday. May the kitchen gods smile upon me!

Oh, and last Saturday I brought in Velveeta skillet dinner kits (think Hamburger Helper, but cheesier) for Saturday Soul-Suck Survival, and it was epic. I used chorizo in place of ground beef and the whole thing turned out really rich in an over-the-top-delicious-but-my-arteries-are-paying-for-it kinda way (I also threw in sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and green beans in an attempt to tone down the richness, but it was like fighting a forest fire with a squirt gun). Would I buy it again? Hell yes, but I’d definitely make some changes. For one thing, if I’m going to use chorizo again, I’m sure as hell not going to dump in the whole bag of seasoning. That was intense. I’m also going to add more vegetables. Because life isn’t really worth living if there are no awesome vegetables.
(The week before that was amaretto cheesecake from JR Dessert Bakery. DELICIOUS.)

Fighting The Only Way I Know How

Another Saturday Soul-Suck come and gone. It was rough, but even more so because it’s Lollapalooza weekend. Times like these, I’m glad that the kitchen gods seem to smile in my favor because no matter how bad it felt today, it was much, much worse last night. And of course, Armanzo was working on Station 2.
According to him, not only did we do 247 covers (as opposed to last year’s 275; ew gross), they mostly came in huge parties, 6-tops, 10-tops, 12-tops–GROSS…..
Apparently chicken was selling like crazy (focaccia and flatbread a given), and to make it worse, Sylvester was NOT killing it that night. “I told him he needed to stop sucking,” Armanzo recounted to me the next day. And also, to make things even more interesting, a rocks-glass shattered on Armanzo’s station and glass was everywhere, resulting in him throwing out a lot of stuff.

Seriously?! This is the kind of stuff that chips away at your morale. And yet luckily, I’ve managed to come away from the station mostly unscathed. For example, tonight we only did about 210 covers, partly due to an early storm that was so severe Lollapalooza attendees had to evacuate the venue. If not for that, I’m sure we would’ve easily seen at least 40 more covers come in to eat. (Because when I’m at a large outdoor concert all hot and sweaty, the first thing I think of when I’m hungry is avec *eye roll*)
Instead, we got a pop and then stayed steady all night, with nearly no glitches. Service was steady and (atrociously) long, but so what? Since when is Saturday not a long soul-suck?

To combat this, I’ve decided that every Saturday I work up until my last day, I’m going to bring in something for the crew. A light at the end of the tunnel, if you will. Last week it was flavored ice freezer bars. The week before that was Japanese sports drinks and dumplings. This week was cheesecake and sparklers. YEAH! Saturday service makes me want to eat a gun, but having something to look forward to in the evening helps to restore a little bit of my (and my coworkers’) sanity.

Speaking of sanity, a 3-top at the bar came in just before the kitchen closed and dared to order foie. Even though we DID have foie, Liz told them we were out of it. Thanks Liz! Seriously, don’t think that ordering foie this late in the night will impress us. It’ll just piss us off. We don’t give a shit that you have the means to afford the foie. We’d actually like it if you didn’t come in that late to order food. They ended up ordering pork shoulder (just as bad), focaccia, flatbread, and a crostini. *eye roll*

On to next week!