Posts tagged ‘foie cookery’

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!

Sweet Tidbits

Another busy night on Station 3. I should’ve known when I walked in at 4PM and the restaurant was nearly full =_=
It pretty much stayed like that the whole night. I’m SO glad I stocked myself up the night before because I never really got a chance to ever go downstairs. O_O Phew! Total covers by the end of the night: 270.

Other than that, not much to really say. Ruth was killin’ it on station 2. I held my own on 3. I sold all my foie (though I was super annoyed at cooking it in the first place), though I thought I’d cooked them all really nicely.

At some point in the evening, I looked up and Koren’s friend Scottie, aka Wildcard, was in the window talking with Armanzo. I know I haven’t mentioned Scottie much. At some point he was opening a lot for us, but once we hired more people and our staff numbers evened out, Scottie bowed out since he was there to help us out anyway.
Anyway, the reason Scottie came by was to drop off a crap load of crawfish for us (it filled up two full hotel pans). With corn. And some Zatarain’s. What the–?! Not that I’m even going to question this. I mean, it’s Wildcard fer cryin’ out loud. You don’t question him. Yay! Thanks Scottie!
Armanzo brought one crawfish up and had it in the window for a while before he gave it to me in a pint container with instructions to cut it in half and throw it on the plancha. I’ve never cut up a live specimen in half before, so this was cool. I felt a little bad since it was a little life and it was thrashing, but I said a little prayer, put it on a towel and then I cut it in half. Then I sprinkled some salt, pepper, and sumac on it and cooked it off for Armanzo.

Another highlight of the night was when bartender Mary Rose told me a story about how her roommate, Michelle. Two things to know about Mary Rose’s roomie: she’s Asian and a line cook at Gilt Bar. Anyway, so the story goes that Roomie was talking with someone somewhere (you know how I am about these details), and mentioned she was was a line cook. Apparently the other person in her conversation said, “Oh! You must be the Asian girl who works at Avec!” AHAHAHAHAHAHA!! While I feel a little sad for the roommate over the mistaken identity, I’m tickled pink that this person has been to Avec and has seen me. Someone knows me! I’m not just any ole Asian girl! I’m the one who works at Avec! Ehehe! \^_^/ Woot woot!

I’m off tomorrow but why do I get the feeling I’ll be seeing more line time on Station 2 next week…?

I leave you with the horrible picture of Blackbird’s pastry chef from Food&Wine that I mentioned a while back. We have a new dessert to replace the old hazelnut cake. It’s a lemon cake that comes with rhubarb compote among with some other accoutrements which I don’t know because I’ve never seen a completed cake. While the cake is tasty, I hate it because I’m required to heat it up. So everytime a ticket comes, I put a cake in the oven, and then when I plate it, I have to pop it out of its hot aluminum tin, and then rip it in half, while burning my fingertips on the hot sugar the cake is baked with. When I put it up in the window, instead of calling “cake!”, I say “Bryce sucks!”. It cracks Fred up.
In the name of petty revenge, here’s the picture:

This is terrible. I am traumatized.

The Man From The West

Phew! Busy night last night. I know because I didn’t get a chance to go to the bathroom for about 8 hours =_=;;;

Ruth worked Station 2 and she did a great job, though there were a couple glitches, not really her fault. For my part, I made a terrible mistake and sold a whole fish somewhere else, and it resulted in someone else waiting half an hour for theirs. Urgh… I’m so sorry >_<
The wave of diners came in a pattern that made Ruth nervous. It was a flurry of tickets and then the board would clear just before the turn. Usually that means another wave of tickets will be coming…. Whether it did or not I really can't remember though I probably just forced myself to forget to deal with the onslaught.

Working the chef's table was a little rough tonight for a while (that whole fish incident not really helping) because we changed the old chitarra dish to a new one more fitting for the spring. It's orchiette with ramps, chicken & liver sausage, fava beans and verjus. It's really tasty, though I'm still fiddling with the taste. It should be light and rich at the same time, and I'm still fumbling around. I'll get it….
It was pretty popular for a good part of the dinner hour and then I feel like when we were at our busiest, I didn't really sell much pasta (not that I'm complaining). I know at least one server (Marcus) who was definitely doing his best to sell the pasta though. Thank you!

Since it was Friday, I was counting on people not to order foie gras, but I was wrong. Grr… cooking foie is not a favorite activity of mine. I feel this pressure all the time not to overcook it, and of course the pressure should be there; it's a really expensive piece of protein. One lobe that weighs a little over a pound and three-quarters costs $150.

Chef Tom Douglas came in tonight and to my dismay, he ordered a quarter piece of foie. I shouldn't hold it against him since he's rolling in the dough and he's a chef and he probably had a hankering for foie, but when it's super busy and the onslaught is going on, the last thing I want to do is cook foie gras. Oh well. I cooked it. I ended up selling the other half that night too.
Anyway: Tom Douglas! I don't know why I find it so weird that he was here that night. Maybe because he was sitting at seat 74 at the bar. It's the next closest seat to station 3 (chef's table is right in front of me), so I could see him so clearly. That might've been it. Or it could be that I'm considering trying to work in one of his restaurants when I move to Seattle (since he has like a bajillion) and having a potential future employer (who doesn't know you by the way) sit so closely and being able to see you work makes you a little self-conscious.

Nothing else of note. Theo worked 1 at the beginning of service and had to be bailed out later on by Fred. Armanzo was expo. Armanzo's dad and his wife came in to eat earlier that day and they loved everything and left us a $5 tip. Hey, every little bit counts! Yay money! Later that night, this woman at the chef's table saw me prepping out the foie, and she kept pronouncing it as "foie gwah" which made me wince ever so slightly. It reminded me of the time I worked at my dad's chinese takeout and some regular kept calling bok choy "boy chuk" no matter how many times I'd gently correct her. Oh well.

Back on 3 tonight with the same lineup (Ruth-2, Theo/Fred-1, Armanzo-expo, Elliot opening). Hopefully it'll be fun times and I get to go to the bathroom more than once :/