Posts tagged ‘Dune’

Taking It Too Easy

My Tuesday opener went swell today. Well, it was all peachy keen until around 6pm Sylvester asked me about the ramps and charred spring onion that go into the pasta. Which I didn’t do. Because they’re not on the list. Well, ramps aren’t. But Buth crossed off charred onion on the list so I assumed all was fine but if Sylvester’s asking for them…. I hauled ass and got them done. Dammit. Oh well, whatever. They’re done.

Pistachio puree also took a lot of my time because I was having three peel pistachios to get the job done faster, but even so, peeling blanched pistachios isn’t a quick job.

I work Station 2 again tomorrow. Not looking forward to it, but biting the bullet anyway. Fear is the mind killer… I am already thinking up Dune references in my head…. (It’s been a long time since I last referenced the book!)

But out of all this, what I’m most upset/troubled over is that today was Elliot’s day off and he invited me to hang out with him and Marcus at the Orbit Room after my opener. And I would have LOVED to go, but I had to decline because I came to work dressed in a Spiderman tee, a fuchsia peasant skirt, and powder pink Converse Chucks. Honestly I looked like an overgrown high-schooler. I could not go out to a cool social event looking like I did. And I live too far away to do a quick-change and do meet-and-greets. Goddammit. I admit it made me a little sad to miss out with potential bonding time with the cool kids. Especially since Elliot’s leaving soon. Arrrrrrgh. I left work a little sad over this non-encounter, which resulted in me being even sadder because I tried to go through my (nearly empty) mental rolodex of friends who might want to meet and hang with me, but I came up with nothing because I have no friends. Okay, that’s not true, but if one of your friends has a kid, your other friend is joined at the hip with his girlfriend, and your other good friend is currently without a cellphone, and your best friend currently resides in New York, it’s nearly the same as having no friends.

Is it better to just be friends with people at work? How is that even possible when most of them are working when you’re available and vice versa? Sigh.

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In All My Wimpy Glory

I wanted to post Thursday night right after my first day on the line but when I got home, I was so tired it was all I could do to eat a little food and take two aspirin for my heat headache.
Friday was to be my second day learning the line, but it got really busy and I’d have been of no help. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with my first day!

Since all I’ve known for the past two years is prep work in the basement (I fondly call myself a kitchen slave), I was extremely nervous and felt really out of place. Even studying the menu the night before (and the morning of) didn’t seem to do me much good, as it felt like all the knowledge I’d tried to cram suddenly left me and I keenly felt my helplessness. It was pretty much the trend all night.

I wish I could give a blow-by-blow account of Thursday on Station 1, but I’ve got a really shoddy memory and who wants to hear me going, “and then I got an order of dates…and then there was chicken…and then I got an order of pork shoulder and a half order of dates…” blahblahblah boring. I’ll tell you my first order of the day though: burrata. The regular who ordered it wanted it without nuts, oil, and cheese. I remember thinking, “Uh… whut? How am I going to make this dish if there’s no main ingredient?” In retrospect, it was really simple, but at the time it was like some nightmare koan: what is a cheese dish that has no cheese? Luckily, Katie (who was on Station 2 that night) helped me out (the answer: some escarole and beets. Man, I’m stupid.) Without her and Adam (who was coaching me) I would’ve been utterly lost. I’m sure they’d say otherwise, but they’re nice like that.

In all honesty, I’d like to say I didn’t suck. But I sure wasn’t awesome. I was what I’d expected to be on my first day ever on the line. Taken into account that one time during a really busy rush when Adam stepped in for me, I managed to persevere the whole night until we closed. I was elated. Everyone said I’d done a good job and I’d killed it (encouragement helps even if part of me knew they were being generous). I was happy I’d stuck through til the end. My last order was two warmed loaves ^_^

The night seemed to go in a rush and I’ve got a memory like a seive, so here are some highlights/thoughts I do remember from that night (in no particular order)

  • When John (who was expo that night) told me it took me 26 minutes to put out some dates, I knew it was time for Adam to step in for a while *CRINGE*
  • Eduard came by with a glass of wine and wanted me to try it. It was a Syrah called Black Betty (haha, get it? Cos my name is Betty?) and it was really, really good. I’m not a big drinker and I haven’t really tasted wine since my school days during wine class (or was it called Beverage Management? O_o?) so all I remember thinking was “Ooh! This is good!” It was seemingly sweet, it was smooth. Katie wasn’t too fond of it, saying it was like “blueberry syrup”. My glass ended up getting shared away. I was a little sad.
  • During some lulls in service, I’d practice my moonwalk. I think I’m getting better!
  • Man, that oven is hot. This is a pointless statement, since it’s like saying, “Man, the sun sure is hot”, but when you’re struggling to grab a cast-iron cocotte from the back of the wood-burning oven with some flimsy-ass oversized tongs, it’s hard not to curse yourself for not having oven mitts for hands. Or wishing you could just wear an Ove Glove all night.

So there you have it for my first night. Granted, it was a Thursday night and we did 106 covers. It was a good first try for me, if I didn’t have it easy. Which brings me to Friday night…. I didn’t have it easy. In fact, I pretty much didn’t do any cooking at all.

On the commute to work, I was half excited/half dreading another day on the line. I could feel my stomach knotting up with worry on the bus cos I was scared. But on the train ride I just reviewed some more, mulled over things (what gets lemon juice, self reminders to try to be faster, drink more water which was a biggie since I forgot to the night before hence the raging heat headache) and felt a little better. I got into work, did a little prep, made some ravioli and around 5pm went upstairs to report to station 1….
And walked right into a busy service. So I just stood to the side and watched Adam whirling around like a dervish putting out orders, ran up and down the stairs carrying out requests to get more things, and basically dreading and anticipating my chance to get on the line. For a long while I didn’t get it. Tess (the hostess that night) came over to me and said (and I’m paraphrasing cos my memory sucks) “I wish I could have your job right now. It must be fun just standing and watching.”
Honestly, it was for a little while in the beginning. I am disgusted with myself to admit that yes, I was relieved at first that it looked like I wouldn’t get a chance to work on the line. Woohoo! Just standing on the sidelines and being a stage! But watching Adam, I got disappointed with myself. For thinking like that, for not being able to prove myself to myself, for just standing and watching like a wide-eyed dope.
So when Tess said that, I told her sincerely yes and no, it was “fun” cos I was scared so I was happy I didn’t have to face the line but I was also disappointed cos this isn’t what I really wanted. But if I jumped on the line now, I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
It felt like I was in limbo, unable to move forward, but not willing to turn back (i.e. clocking out and going home during the middle of service).

A lull came and Adam had to go to the bathroom so I was called into service (not that I was ecstatic over this, but I was game). Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember John saying the wave would come again, but at the time I didn’t hear it. (As I type this, I imagine myself as a little child playing on the beach oblivious to the tsunami that comes roaring up in slow motion.) At first it was an order of dates. And then more orders for me came trickling in. And by the time Adam came back and had been standing a little while encouraging me to keep going, I was getting more swamped, until Adam tagged me out. And then he did his dervish act again. Sigh. I couldn’t help feeling I sucked. I knew it wasn’t really me, being Friday dinner rush and all, but still. Part of it is still me. And all I can do is try again next week.
I tried to stay as long as I could but I ended up cutting out around 10:30 cos I was back to prep Saturday morning. That was the reason my mouth gave. But in my heart, I left because I didn’t think I could handle the line again that night; because I was a pathetic loser-wimp >_>;; Again, caught in between wanting to stick it out til the end, but my wimpy conscience telling me I needed to go home and get some sleep in order to get to work tomorrow morning. Urghhhh >_<

So there you have it.
I’ll have another chance next week. I’m not proud of myself, but I’m going to try not to shy away again. I think it’s probably better for me to ask for line time on Wednesdays and Thursdays, as opposed to trying to tackle a behemoth like Friday Night Service. And also, I should memorize that Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear from Dune:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Right. Good night then. Until next time.