Posts tagged ‘Elliot’

Rising Star

Here I am, chugging along!

Tonight was mellow (except for the time I got a little behind and there was a 30-minute wait for a focaccia) due to the rain. I love the rain! I like it when it’s mellow because then it’s not as taxing on me. I’m hardworking, but I’m also lazy.

New people are coming in as I leave. We’ve got a new addition to the family named Monica. Apparently Paul Kahan recommended her from PQM. She’s not my favorite and she’s still slow, but I guess all in due time. I’m waiting for her to prove me wrong and be a really strong family member. We’ve also got a new intern. His name is Dan, though Sylvester wants so badly to call him “Daniel-san”, and I’m still refer to him as “the intern” since I just met him today. I haven’t seen him work yet but a few minutes after we met, he was about to put a quart of fried leeks into the walk-in, so… yeah. Prove me wrong about you, too, Dan!

A piece of good news: Fred’s moving up the ladder. Not only has he passed his training on 3, and has trained on 2 (actually, he’s working station 2 tomorrow), he’s been made junior sous-chef, right under Rachel. Good for him! Even though Fred has his slow line cook moments, he’s still got a really good head on his shoulders, and he pays attention to detail. He’s also contributed some dishes to the menu, which says a lot about his drive and ambition. In the beginning, Fred didn’t show much in the way of personality, but kind of like an oyster, he’s slowly been opening up more to reveal that there’s more to him. He definitely has his funny moments. I’ll miss him when I’m gone. Is it weird that I see him sort of as a little brother? Maybe it’s because he’s Asian?

Sontra came up to the window and we hashed out some more details about this farewell karaoke party that she wants to do. I found out that it wasn’t her idea in the first place–it was Elliot’s! What the–?!?!
Me: What!? I didn’t think Elliot was a karaoke-kinda person!
Sontra: I didn’t think he was that caring a person.

At first I thought she meant that Elliot was a callous guy or something, and I started to defend him, but she meant that she didn’t know we were close. Actually, i didn’t even know he considered us to be that close. I mean, we took the train together going home and sometimes we shared a cab, and there was that one time we bonded a bit while I helped his girl Nancy paint wall art at a coffee shop (and then we had breakfast), and also that time I invited him to Zanie’s (along with Nancy and Marcus), but really. I didn’t think we were that close. I thought it was me at the bottom, gazing upward at this awesome higher being. I’m seriously touched that he thought of me, even though he doesn’t even work at avec anymore and we haven’t even been in contact except for like, 2 text messages (“When is your last day at avec” and “Where are you going to work in Seattle?”).
Aww, Commander Green! I’m TOTALLY going to draw like, FIFTY squirrel mascots for you to choose from for your new place! (It’s kinda-sorta an inside joke, where his new place will have a squirrel as a mascot.) So far, I’ve only drawn two though >.>;;;

The days are ticking down. Two more weeks….

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Excuses, Excuses… And The Presidential Debates

Will people get mad at me if I say I didn’t update the blog because I just didn’t feel like it? Sad but true. Even though I don’t really update all that much, it started to get a bit tiresome and tedious. And I felt like I had to step back for a hot minute after my boyfriend commented that I “complain alot” in my writing. Drat! Is it true? It probably is. When I’m at work and I think about things I’d like to say in entries, I mentally say things like, “Today was lame/Why are people still eating?/I WANNA GO HOOOOME” and the like. If that’s not complaining, I don’t know what is.

But you know what? Whatever. If I can’t write about my harsh rockstar life as a kitchen slave, then maybe I shouldn’t have started the blog in the first place. (Ironically, I intended to write with good intentions and realize now the downward spiral I’ve taken….)

ANYHOOT. Today was really mellow, thanks to the presidential debates. I’m curious as to what was said (and what could be turned into a meme) but mostly, I’m more focused on work now that my last day at avec is approaching. Everyone’s been asking me when my last day is (Nov. 1) and today Sylvester said he’d miss me. Awww! I didn’t know what to say. Even though I’ve worked there for (maybe?) almost 4 years, I feel as though it really hasn’t been that long. Have I really left an indelible mark? And in what way? And more importantly, where can I leave some secret graffiti that can be discovered years after I’m gone but still remembered?

I know I’m not in the top ranks of avec line cooks (Elliot’s definitely there though) but I’m definitely valued (and am probably hovering somewhere in the top middle tier). A couple of days ago, when I was working with Armanzo, I’d commented that he was working with his Asian crew (me and Fred) and he said, “I know. I made it that way. If I’m gonna write the schedules, I might as well work with the people I want.” Awww yay! It’s nice to know that someone likes working with me. And I kinda-sorta suspected already how favored I am because more often than not, I am scheduled off on Sundays, which is unofficially the worst day to work (though lately not as bad since we have newcomer/old pro Linda to help us open now). It’s nice to know someone’s looking out for me like that.

Speaking of Armanzo, his last day is fast approaching as well. He’d told me he was leaving months ago, but asked me not to talk about it. I think we all know now even if he hasn’t really said anything officially (like a sit-down meeting) but he’s mentioned his upcoming project (a salumi company) more than once so it’s not like he’s never talked about it.
Hostess Rebecca and Server Sontra have both mentioned farewell parties including karaoke, which touches me. I love karaoke! Whether this happens or not, it’s the thought that counts.

It’s getting late and I work on 2 tomorrow. I’m sorry I’ve posted such a lame return to blogging, but it’s the joy of the mundane that keeps me coming back.

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.)

Oh Boo

Saturday soul suck, I mean, service, wasn’t actually too bad. For once, Station 3 was the busy station (except Ruth is awesome and could totally handle it).

Ruth made comida tonight, which was Cioppino Version 3.0, except I was so excited for the food that I scarfed it down really fast and didn’t even pause to take a picture or analyze what made this one different, aside from shaved fennel, julienned onion, sliced yukon potatoes (ver. 1 had sliced fingerlings), no alcohol of any kind and it was much thinner (less concentrated in flavor) than version 1. O. Still tasty! And to my surprise, even Master Blaster wanted in on the soup, when usually he’s all pizza or steak-and-potatoes. It’s the magic of Ruth’s cooking.

I work station 2 tomorrow (Sunday) again as well. Who would’ve thought that Station 2 is actually fun. Holy crap Elliot was right. Which goes to show that he really is that freakin’ awesome. Sunday soul suck! Oh well, the only way to combat it is to bring in some tasty treats to share. Or buy a ton of Gatorade for the troops. With temps reaching the 90s all week, we’ve been guzzling down the stuff. C’mon Gatorade–I think line cooks should be included in your commercials as well.

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!!!

Oh, Snap!: Master Blaster Makes A Pizza

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

Even though it’s Wednesday as I write this (I had a good service! Entry pending!), I wanted to showcase one of Monday’s highlights: our dishwasher, Master Blaster, on station 2 making his own pizza.


Yep, he’s a cutter.


Pizza in the window! Wait, I don’t have a ticket for it….


Hooray for Master Blaster! You did it! Elliot may have supervised, but you did all the work. Good job!