Posts tagged ‘Station 2’

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….

Better Things To Do

Oh lawd. Tonight’s Sunday service sucked a big dick.
I know it’s all Labor Day and all, but really, people: howzabout you stay home and do some grilling and shit?

It was already a bad start when there were people waiting outside (and some even peering in) before we were open. I hate that. Don’t you people have better things to do than to dine at 3:30pm like a bunch of geriatrics?
And then the initial rush ended, but it was only the calm before the storm that was official dinner hour that didn’t let up until midnight. Holy crap. I didn’t even know the kitchen was supposed to be closed until Ruth mentioned making Richard (our goofy-lovable apprentice and goodnatured Sunday dishwasher) dinner and then I looked at a ticket and it was 11:58pm. What the….

As bad as it was for me for a while, Ruth had it way worse. She was getting killed and I couldn’t really help her. It was mostly pastas and sweetbreads that were bogging her down. I felt so bad every time I had to tell her to fire multiple pastas at a time. That’s the stuff that chips away at your morale: that feeling of “Didn’t I already do that” coupled with the overwhelming inner wail of “Why isn’t this over yet?” I’m pretty sure those who have paid attention have heard me singing on multiple occasions “Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop, make it stop now!”

On my side, I had multiple focaccia pickups that always had salmon dishes in between tickets so that it was always one or the other. Salmon is such a quick pickup that I can’t just make two focaccia and have it be all hunkydory. I have just enough time to roll a focaccia and throw it in the oven, slap a fish on the plancha, peek at the focaccia, turn it, flip the fish, wait a couple seconds and take it off the heat and brush it with a glaze, before I pull out the focaccia to cut in half. And then I plate the fish and finish the focaccia. It’s a pain. On top of which there are other little, easy-pickup dishes on my station. But they require me to stop what I’m doing to do them.
I’m gonna stop complaining. I didn’t have it as bad as Ruth did. By the time service was “winding down” (it never really did), she was unabashedly (and almost comically) bitter, especially about pasta. Trying to plate some cheese in the middle of fish, pasta, and ribeye pickups must’ve been hell….

Oh gahd. I work 3 Monday night. This is going to be a shitshow….

Sweet Sweat

Maybe it’s because I’ve been away from work for a week, or maybe it’s because I took my regular pants home and was wearing my other chef pants that had thicker fabric, but I was sweating like a muthafucka tonight. It was a little annoying at first but in the end I was glad I was able to work up such a sweat working. Huzzah for sweating!

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.)

Been Over It

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or just the fickle ways of the Kitchen Gods, but every time Armanzo works Station 2, he seems to be on the receiving end of a beating. Tonight flatbread was popping off, like for serious. It seemed as if every other ticket had flatbread on it, and more often than not it was as a first course. Meanwhile I’m on Station 3 twiddling my thumbs, feeling REALLY bad that I can’t help out in this kind of situation. The most I could really do was to cook off the occasional order of redfish or plate up some anchovy. Yeah… really helpful.

Armanzo said that he sold 24 flatbread. WTF?!?! It blows my mind on so many levels. How is it possible that he sold less focaccia? Why was the flatbread so popular tonight? Why is Armanzo constantly getting raped on Station 2? It didn’t help that earlier that night, Giulietta accidentally knocked over a pint of oil all over his station =_=;;;
All I can say is, I am SOOOOOO glad I wasn’t working that station tonight, or else you’d be reading a completely different blog entry. Probably full of cursing and maybe a lot of crying and recounting how I had another meltdown or something.

That said, I had a really good night on Station 3.

In other news, we have another addition to our avec family, albeit a part-time one. Her name is Linda, and she’s friends with Armanzo, having worked at the Publican and Perennial. She’s very sweet and she’s the owner of a beautiful Corian knife that makes me want to run out and buy more knives. She’ll be working with us for two days out of the week (don’t quote me on this), so yay for having another girl on the line!

Heat Wave

It’s freakin’ hot!
Despite the a/c at avec, despite not one but TWO summer showers that day, yesterday’s outdoor temperature of 102 carried over to the kitchen. Service was brutal only because the heat made it so. Ticket flow was fine (though Sylvester was getting a little clobbered by cheese tickets) but Katie and I were just desperate for the night to be over. If the servers wearing sleeveless tops were hot, how do you think three line cooks wearing black pants, chef jackets, and their heads covered were feeling?

My bangs felt like they were plastered to my forehead, and several times I could feel the sweat dripping down behind my ears. Arrrrrghhh, Liz please order us double the amount of short-sleeved dishwasher shirts!! >_<

Still, I'm enjoying the summer. Sweating may not be the most fun activity, but thanks to my first avec summer last year, I've learned to be able to stand the heat.

After work, Katie and I bonded at Dimo's where this week's special was an apple pie pizza. Yum! Katie made a small announcement a couple of weeks ago that she was leaving avec and so every day working with her has been really precious. I'm going to miss my awesome work buddy and line ally! Next week is her last ;_;
Ruth "jokingly" penciled in herself and me into the schedule so that we'd have an all-ladies line for the last time. Hopefully no one (*cough cough* Armanzo) messes with the schedule….

Tomorrow is Saturday soul suck with an extra dose of heat. I say, bring it! After I stop by a store and buy a truckload of Gatorade, that is.

Beta Female

Don’t be alarmed since it’s long passed, but for about an hour or so today, I was really tired of being a line cook/kitchen slave and therefore, really tired of my life, and disappointed in myself for not being able to defend myself against other people’s bullshit.

Therefore I’ve decided I’ll be leaving avec this year. I’ve been maintaining a ridiculously long-distance relationship for a while now and so I’d been considering moving to be with him sometime next year. I guess it’s just time to transition now. It was due time.

That said, Monday night service was a suckfest. And then a 10-top of Asians came in and sat down at 11:40pm, just when all I really wanted to do was break down my station and go home since I had to open the next day. Sigh. The life of a line cook wannabe….

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!: All Work No Posts

Last week was kind of amazing. Not only did Conan O’Brien come in to eat on Wednesday, but I worked a double the next day (opened and then worked service), and then worked on station 2 on Friday for Ruth (she of the recovering spider bite).

My first Friday on Station 2!!!!!!!! Epic!!!
I was ready to fight my way through a mountain of focaccia tickets, but surprisingly they turned out to be very manageable. It also helped that for a while it was mainly a station 1 party, aka high demand for dates, shoulder, burrata, and chicken.

I don’t think I’d happily volunteer to do another double in the future, but at least I can say that if the need is there, then I shall rise to the occasion. Dare I say that it really isn’t as bad as some people thought it would be? I’d been telling everyone, “If Elliot could do it, so can I!” because he had pulled a double before. I suppose I was just running on my own happy energy/adrenaline, because later that night I started to feel a little weary during a 5-focaccia pop, but I got my (maybe) second wind and all was well to the end. Katie was super impressed that I was pulling a double and left me this awesome “survival pack” that just totally lifted my morale. Woot Gatorade! ZOMG M&M’s ice cream sandwiches!! Scratchies!!! Thank you Katie for the awesome gesture!!! I devoured the watermelon after work. It’s really odd but some of the best watermelon I’ve had this year has come from 7-Eleven, no lie.

I think since I proved myself capable that Friday, I took a look at the schedule for the 4th of July weekend and it looks like I’ll be on 2 that Thursday, Friday, and SATURDAY O_O!!! The training wheels have come off! Or, rather, as Koren said, the training wheels have been off for a while. If it’s so, I’ve been shakily riding the 2-Wheeler (hahageddit?) but you know what? I’m excited!

Red Headed Stranger

Holy. Crap.
Tonight Conan O’Brien came in and sat at the Chef’s table.
He ate at our restaurant. During busy service. He had no crazy airs. He loved everything. He wears glasses when he reads.

When he and his wife walked up to their seats, I immediately turned around and tried to remain calm and not act affected. But it’s a little hard not to, when you’ve been watching him for a good part of your life when he used to host his late night show. It’s a pop culture in-yo’-face moment and I was kinda-sorta squeeing on the inside.

He ordered (in order of courses): green salad; dates, hangar; flatbread, chicken. We sent him olives and a second course squid compliments of the house.
He was totally loving the salad I made. I could hear him talking about how good it was. AHHHH! Yay!!! They loved all the food and totally thanked us for the meal. I wish I could’ve shaken his hand or gotten a picture or something but I’m too staunchly professional for that. Still! Squee!!! He said the next time he was in Chicago, he’d totally come back. Excellent!

With this Comedy Week going on, I’d like it if Kevin Smith, Sarah Silverman, or Hannibal Burress came in to eat. Come on!!

Sigh. In other news, Ruth got a pretty bad spider bite and I have to work a double on Thursday. Clopener into a double. All I can say is: FUN TIMES! I’m probably just naively trying to convince myself all will be fine, but hey, maybe some other well-known person will come in for dinner and make my night…. Just sayin’….