Posts tagged ‘Liz’

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!

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.

All I Want To Do Is Bond

I had a turning-point moment today during my time on Station 2. We went from being relatively quiet to suddenly all these people sitting down and ordering all at the same time. And they mostly wanted stuff from my station and Katie’s. It was all I could do to not scream, “Help! I’m being raped!”
I’m sure a more seasoned pro would have thought nothing of the stream of tickets. But so far I’ve been used to nothing but steady/leisurely services so tonight wasn’t something I’d encountered before. And I got scared. Luckily, Koren was in the window to guide me out of the haze. At the time, though, I thought I was in hell. Later I joked with busser Diego, “I thought I was being punished for all the bad things I’ve done in my life.”
I made it though! Koren was proud of me, though she chided me for my self-deprecating attitude. I’ve also learned it’s okay to throw jobs at people when you’re in the weeds and they’ve got nothing to do. Though at the time my brain was a little too fried to realize this. Sylvester did help me cook off some mackerel, so thank you!

Also of note, I think I sold a record low of 13 focaccia tonight. Yeah!… Waitaminnit…

After work Katie and I headed to Ian’s (even though they call themselves Dimo’s I can’t do it yet) for bonding over pizza. Yay!


Katie says she’ll be seeing some Station 3 training soon. Woot!

What was especially nice about this bonding time was that it was right on the heels of bonding time from the night before. Elliot had worked 3 with Theo, Katie worked 1. And after work we sat around with Liz, who barbacked that night, and talked while drinking rosé.

Yep, that’s Elliot drinking rosé out of a pint container. Like a boss.

Sadly, Elliot’s decided to move his last day up (I’m still kind of upset about it) so Monday night was essentially Katie’s last night working with Elliot. So I coerced him into hanging out with us for a little while. And Elliot’s so nice, he agreed (though for a second I was worried he’d just bike home and not say anything >_>;;). Theo tagged along with us. We decided on breakfast at a diner in his neighborhood called the Golden Apple.


I loved bonding! I can’t say much for the food though. While my pancakes were fine, my eggs and sausage were kind of sad. Elliot had a Reuben sandwich: “On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this a 2.” Theo had a gyro omelette… I don’t even want to know whether any good came of that. Katie had a combo breakfast plate and maybe she got the best of the bunch?

Siiiiiigh, will I never have awesome bonding time like this ever again?

Here For The Party

Maybe it’s because of the extended weekend but Sunday night was just as stupidly busy as last night. We did 198 covers. When the night was over, I had JUST squeaked by with 4 orders of dates left. *shudder*

Not much to comment on, except that if not for Koren jumping into the window to expedite, Sunday night would’ve turned into a shit show. It also helped that when we needed stuff (which we often did), she was there to get it, or make it. (Pistachio puree? Ahahahaha… making it on a Sunday? Give me a break…)
Working a Sunday is lame, but hey, it could’ve been lamer. Maybe. Armanzo was ready to break shit for a good part of early service, while I was telling myself that I’d break bottles in the alley after work. Eh, it didn’t work out like that: Armanzo bought some cigarettes and smoked them, while I bought a King cone and ate that.

Good news: Liz tells us we’ve earned another pizza party for being accident free in the workplace. Woot! I’m sure we’ve been accident-free like three times over, but hey, I’m not going to raise my nose to a pizza party. Hell, I didn’t even realize we’d been keeping track anymore. Just goes to show that the Avec crew is just KILLIN’ it.

I open Tuesday. Why do I get the feeling it might turn out to be a bit of a doozy…? Hmmm…