26 December 2008

Aftermath

This Christmas brought the opportunity to make eggnog twice. The first time was with Jessika, and we were desperate. We had no milk or cream, but we did have sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk!!! It worked kind of, and was tasty and had booze in it. So we liked it. But on Christmas eve, I was prepared with heavy cream and more eggs. This time it was perfect, just like my grandpa Opa's. I beat the egg yolks into the heavy cream and hooch, which was one part of the fluffy equation. But then I whipped the whites into puffy clouds and folded them in separately, after the first part had chilled for a few hours. It was soooo frothy and thick and amazing. We all had one glass that made us very happy, and then thought about barfing. And then we had chocolate cake.

I'm returning to work tonight after an entire week off. I did not want a whole week off, but it happened thanks to the FUCKING SNOW. Monday we leave for New Orleans.

Hopefully I will get some staff meal tonight or tomorrow night. I sure do miss it.

24 December 2008

Christmas Time (It's Here)





Christmas Time (It's Still Here)








It has been FUCKING SNOWING here in Portland for the past... week? I'm losing my marbles and no longer have any sense of time, context or decency. Somehow, my brother Ryland made it here from NYC and my mummsie got here from Maine. I think they were the only two people who had a relatively easy time traveling here this week. I am sorry for those who did not have this luck. I'm also sorry for leaving most of my shopping until yesterday. We had to take the bus downtown, which was packed due to the weather and date, and then deal with the whole downtown insanity and a hungry mom. It was a long day, but sangria made it all OK in the end.
We are getting ready to make a chocolate cake, Pearls marshmallows and Graham crackers (have I mentioned that Graham crackers were origionally made to supress carnal urges?) and then Chicken stew for dinner. More eggnog, more Christmas music, and some healthy family drama are in store for all (Christmas People)!!!! Good Luck.

20 December 2008

Bridges Freeze First

So you're having an affair in a distant city. It's her birthday, you take her to her favorite Portland restaurant. You at first order a $33.00 bottle of wine, saying "I don't know why... I just want this one." You didn't realize it was a half bottle (duh, you transparent shmuck), and then after being flustered and realizing you're being a cheap ass, you select a bottle of Ken Wright Pinot Noir ($125).
Nice choice, your server says. You give a half smile as though to say "I'm just a classy guy... It comes naturally to me."
You decide to try the tasting menu. Your server spends copious amounts of time explaining the dishes, decanting your wine, making sure the lady gets bubbly (on the house) and a candle in her tart.
The bill arrives. Of course, you pay. You examine the final charge. $250. That's almost all of your allowance!!!!! Oh well, you'll just pretend you can't do math and tip $30, plus a compliment on the way out: "Thanks for the greeeeeeaaaaaaat service. Really wonderful."
"GET OUT! Screams your before friendly server.
But I was am so smooth and have such impeccable taste- where did I go wrong?


The public service announcement for the day is that nothing makes you look worse than being cheap in the end with your server. Especially if you are trying to act like a big shot, drinking fancy pants wine like you can afford it. We remember forever.


ps Obviously, I'm not fired. My hobby, hating customers, is still going strong.

pps Guess who's being Santa's elf helper today? That's right, it's me, boxing up (in my MOUTH) chocolates for xocolatl de david!!! I'll take photos of the workshop.

19 December 2008

Sorry Folks (descriptor, not apology)


We are all sorry folks in the restaurant business right now. Shifts being cut left and right, snow keeping people at home, dinners going uneaten. So why haven't I been blogging, you ask? I've been busy thinking of creative ways to occupy my pathetic schedule. I have found many: putting glitter on pine cones, making christmas presents, fawning over Jacky more than usual, baking, cooking lasagnas, wondering if I should start babysitting again, and getting drunk. Just kidding! No, seriously. We also cut down our own christmas tree out in the middle of nowhere, and then decorated it with said pine cones. It's fun having pretty much nothing to do but wring your hands in worry and do crafts. My cayenne-red Kitchenaid mixer came (omg omg omg) so I am preparing to make tons of treats with my mummie. Yes, my mom and brother are coming for Christmas. I usually go to my grandparents house in New Hampshire for the holiday, but I am staying here this year and those two hooligans are coming out for a wee visit. I'm guessing that's why it's snowing here in Oregon- to make me feel like I'm at home and to make them hate it here. Thanks nature, but you can give it a rest.
On Sunday night we went to Pearl's house and strung popcorn and cranberries. It was very Norman Rockwell, and Pearl was being extra cute as she knew she was being watched (Santa.). Internet, I'm going to tell you what I am making for Pearl for Christmas, but you have to promise not to tell her. I'm going to whip her up some homemade pink marshmallows (in my new mixer YAY!), baking her some graham crackers, designing her a personalized chocolate bar wrapper, and finding the most perfect of toasting sticks. Thats right, her very own s'more kit. It's obvious that she has made up for all of her naughty behavior by bribing me with kisses and sweet nothings ever since she realized christmas is coming. My original plan was COAL, AND LOTS OF IT! but when I told her this, she curled up in my lap and batted her eyelashes at me and promised me I was her favorite cousin. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the kid.
In other news, we went to the Stumptown Coffee Christmas party on Tuesday night. They took over the Ace Hotel and Clyde Common, filled the hotel lobby with a mechanical bull plus inflatable ring, and hired a tattoo artist to give out free tattoos. It was intense. There was also a photographer there taking holiday photos for everyone, and we got one taken. I'm laughing with that huge face of mine, and Kevin is crying into his cocktail. According to my dad, it looks like they "photoshopped a fake hand" onto my body, but actually its the real me, looking nuts! So that's cool. We had a good time. None of us rode the bull, but lots of guys took off their pants to ride it with their white collared shirts, ties, and briefs. Many girls attempted the sexy bull ride scene from Urban Cowboy but none achieved it. Oh sexy bull rides. How elusive you seem to be....
Ok, I'm off to probably get fired from my job I mean go to work. Stay tuned for christmas baking with Dirty Deeds (aka De De aka my mom), updates on Pearls gift, and my fundraiser for if I get fired tonight.

12 December 2008

Twenty Four Hours Ago

My birthday is officially over. I'm very sad because I think it was my favorite birthday so far. I didn't know what was in store, and so when Kevin told me to get in the car and then we went and picked up Jessika, I was very excited. He then dropped us both off a Loyly Spa for the afternoon! We saunaed and steamed and did face masks and squealed excitedly the whole while. Later on Kevin and I went to Le Pigeon for dinner which was so delicious and it had been over a year since our last visit so it was really fun to go back. We had pigeon, trout, fois gras, noodles with truffles, and steak. Then we got back in the car and went to the Victory where my friends and father were all joined together in merriment. Jessika made me maple cupcakes which were amazing, and made up for all the times she didn't save me any cake for staff meal. Apparently Jessika's mummy (who reads this blog) was very upset with her for not saving me cake all those times, and so Jessika felt like she had to do right by me on my big day. And she did. I am a little hungover today thanks to one thousand champagne cocktails etc. but I'm hanging in there! Work tonight. It's going to be fantastic!
This morning I went to Pine State to make more apple caramel tarts with bacon pecan crumbles on top (Get it while the gittin's good because last weekend both whole tarts sold out rapidly.) And damn it, I had a damn biscuit! A biscuit with apple butter, fried chicken, bacon and cheddar! That's the Pine State Employee creation, and I feel privliged to have tried it. This madness has to stop. I'm going to be the roundest of rounds if I keep up this terrible behavior plus my gym strike. BUT ANYWAY, no end is in site as New Years is approaching, which means our New Orleans trip, which means 5 days of beignets and cured meats (I'll be with Shane and he requires charcuterie and a cheese plate before and after every meal). I'm so excited. But really. I have to find time for a vegetable eventually. I love vegetables! But where are they when I need them? In the ground? At the supermarket? They aren't at staff meal (unless bathed in liver mousseline or something weird). They aren't in my refrigerator. Who am I kidding anyway- I just glanced down and realized I still have bacon jammed into the crevices of my grandmother's ring- I'm never going to find a vegetable in there.

PS Hey you other baking geeks, guess what I got for my birthday!?!!? A kitchenaid standing mixer!!! It hasn't arrived yet but it's on its way!! It's cayenne!!

08 December 2008

Ok, one last dog related thing (for today)


If anyone wants to know what I want for my birthday, it's this.

05 December 2008

Behold





Jacky and Hiro's new Christmas sweaters. Don't they look happy?



P.S. Xocolatl de David and I (Twenty Blackbirds) have collaborated on a dessert for Pine State Biscuits. If a piece of apple tart with fleur de sel caramel (by David himself), bacon and pecan crumbles sounds good to you, I recommend you stop by. Of course I am still making my rosemary and pear crisp for vegetarians or people who simply like pears.

04 December 2008

Thankfully

Last night was looking like it would be a flop with only two reservations on the books. But then... plenty of people showed up, looking for some dinner and expensive wine. So it wasn't so bad after all. There were two highlights: a super nice mother daughter combo (for once) who were celebrating the daughters birthday with a really wonderfully tacky cake that they shared with all of us, and then an older couple that were just plain nice. The gentleman of this couple reminded me so much of my grandfather. We kept chatting about this and that, and then I asked him if he was an artist because somehow I knew that he was. And he was! He works with stone and bronze casting. I told him a little about my grandfathers work and then he looked at me, very sadly, and said "So what are you doing here?". I said, "I'm still in school" and he and his wife both threw their hands up and said "OHHH!" This was a great moment. I could see how someone could take this as a little bit of an insult, as waiting on tables is a fine way to make money, but it's true that it's not much of a challenge. I told them that yet again they sounded like my grandparents "Graduate School- you're going!" and that I appreciated it. I smiled for the rest of the night.

In other news, Hiro has sprung a leek. He is peeing a little bit every where he goes, and wetting his little dog bed every night. Poor puppy! I had the privilege of getting a urine sample from him this morning... it's a glamorous life I lead. He is now curled up in a shame-ball, with the hiccups. I will post photos if he gets diapers.

01 December 2008

Holladays

Well... We'll see how this season goes as far as restaurant life is concerned. I'm feeling a little disheartened these days and here's why: Although we have still been busy, the threat of becoming un-busy has people tense and afraid. You know how people act when they are tense and afraid? That's what I'm up against. I feel like I'm being watched like a hawk by all parties involved. Customers, more than ever, are worried that I am trying to pull a fast one on them by recommending they order more than just a lettuce leaf, or that we might be trying to sell their jacket on ebay whilst they dine. The eyes of the restaurant have found new time to monitor side work duties as though my side work duties include handing out meds at the hospital (So I forgot a few patients... they'll recover).
If waiting tables becomes some sort of uptight affair, I might join the circus. THATS A WARNING TO ALL OF YOU. No one really wants to see me as a bearded lady for I only have one beard hair (so far, and also I'm aware that one is too many for most), and I have no flame swallowing or throwing skills. Really though, I hope that fear doesn't get the better of us. I'm here to feed people and "make them feel not annoying", and that's nothing to get in tizzy about.
Meanwhile, staff meal on saturday night made me feel all better. We had Kanas City ribs with cornbread. YES PLEASE!
Jacky Scrapple had a big helping of garbage for dinner last night while Kevin and I were out eating our own feast (holy crap did I have baked spicy dungeness crab? Yes I did.) and today it appears as though he isn't feeling well. It's time for a grass grazing walk.
Please, go out for lunch or dinner today and ask your server if they have ever considered modeling. Hot or not, they need the boost.

29 November 2008

call me a sucker.



This is food related...

28 November 2008

The morning after

You would think that Jacky and Hiro did all the work yesterday because they are EXHAUSTED. They both put themselves to bed before people had even left last night, and now are both still trying to sleep off their hangovers.
I am also in rough shape, due to lack of sleep and my own little hangover. But really, I can't complain. Yesterday was awesome. Jessika came over early in the day to get things going, and its a good thing she did. Kevin was running around the house and cleaning, I was in a baking frenzy with two pumpkin pies (which I think sucked), two apple tarts (one of which my landlord's brother knocked off the porch railing as it cooled, if only you could have seen his face) and a tray of sticky buns (glorious). Jessika had to manage the brussels sprouts, the cheese platters, the gratin, the stuffing, gravy, dinner rolls... I was too frantic to even pay attention to everything she was doing. We made beets and sunchokes with lemon rind and candied carrots as well, now that I think of it.
And the sangria! It was glorious. Red wine, sparkling cider and triple sec with cranberries and apples. I am now even more convinced that it's not a party without sangria. We drank tons of wine and also did plenty of Mexican brandy+peach brandy+sugared lemon shots (something Kevin used to serve a lot of in Arizona...creepy...). That might explain the hangover. Or maybe it was the Manhattan's.
I am excited to eat leftovers today because last night I was so overwhelmed and full from eating a million appetizers that I couldn't really fit much more in by dinner time- let alone dessert. We have so many leftovers. The turkey carcass is sitting outside in a cambro, waiting for me. When we ran out of refrigerator room we had to start using the porch. It's coldish outside...
As for now, I am going to start cleaning. We got so much help from everyone last night that my job isn't too overwhelming, but still I'd rather be taking a bath or sticking pins in my eyes.
Which reminds me- this morning a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death at 5 AM by a crowd of redneck psycho shoppers, so skip the errands today people.

22 November 2008

Creeping in the dark

I just crept into a sleeping house... with a bottle of riesling... a quart of lard... and a twenty pound turkey. I felt weird driving all these new friends home. Just us girls! The turkey is so large and pink, I wondered if I should buckle it up. It was a struggle carrying it all in at once (never a second trip- not with 3 flights of stairs each way). As I struggled with the contents of the refrigerator to make some room for this toddler sized bird, I managed to make enough noise to awaken Kevin- sending him into a "we're being robbed" panic. This is something I do frequently, though usually I am waking him up because of imagined wild animals roaming through the house and my mind. All is well now, but I am wondering how we are going to fit anything else into the fridge.

Much to your relief, we had staff meal tonight after I voiced my anxieties several times. We had a cauliflower and romanesco salad with anchovies, lemon and parmesean cheese. We had open faced pig face sandies with cheese and onions, and a brussels sprout salad with onions and liver dressing. Lots of salad, I was very happy. I was more happy when I won the wine contest of the night- I sold both a certain dollar amount of wine and also more than Shane. Those were the requirements to get a free bottle, chosen by Anna. Getting this wine really made up for when I forgot to ring in a bottle last night and had to pay for it myself. Not that I like documenting my errors- but hey. I'm only uman.
One last thing- of course I'll be making ants on a log. I feel that that should go with out saying. Did I mention sticky buns? Homemade butter? But of course.

Flushity Pushity Marshalades!!!!






I am making marshmallows just for funsies. They are cooling off right now, but I will update as soon as I get to to the fun part- cutting them and dusting them.
This morning was the kick-off for Thanksgiving preparations. Jessika, my dad and I went to the farmers market (Kevin fired my dad, so he was available for shopping) to pick out our veggies. We were on a mission to get chestnuts, but alas, there were none to be had. We did, however, find purple (Purple!) brussels sprouts! We also got green ones, leeks, sunchokes, 2 kinds of apples, 2 kinds of tiny pears, and quince. Yesterday I went to Marshalls, my most favorite store, and I found a Le Creuset casserole dish and also many Portuguese serving platters. Bam! It's going to be an extravaganza. Holiday of the year. For those of you who decided not to come or who are banned from our house (Morty), be prepared to be DEPRESSED when you see photos of the venison terrine. To CRY at a glimpse of the 4 layer chocolate cake. The rustic apple tart. The purple (Purple!) brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts (which we found at New Seasons). The turkey! The stuffings! The romanesco and cauliflower gratin! Silas and Leslie's cipollini onion delight! I don't even KNOW what else we are having because it's so overwhelming and I am too busy thinking about my marshmallows. Oh yes- I will also be making pumpkin pies. Kevin has a knack for them, but I'm pretty sure that with my newly acquired secret ingredients (secret only to those who don't read Cooks Illustrated. Ok, they are maple syrup and yams.) I will be the pie princess! If, for whatever reason, his is better, I will give him that very title. Cause I'm fair like that.
I am also busy worrying about staff meal tonight. Will we have one? Will it be delicious, creative and well-themed? I really, really hope so. Yesterday when I got to work there was some sort of Paella with saffron rice, clams and mussels. That was acceptable, but then I ate two of David's chocolates and went into a coma before service. I recovered and had another. (I had permission this time, by the way.)
I must go tend to the mallows. Photos soon!

18 November 2008

We're all fancy on the inside.

My auntie Esther was just in town with her fabulous pal Marsha. Though Esther had a 60 pound gremlin attached to her leg for most of the visit, we still had a good time. That's my cousin Pearl I'm referring to, (not Marsha). She is both 6 and ferocious. What she wants for Christmas: A kitten... with a broken leg. I have my suspicions about where she might be headed as far as her teen years go. I also have my suspicions about who she's going to call when she needs $2000 and ride home from Canada.

So, for Esther and Marsha's trip, we ate lots of biscuits at both the farmers market and the restaurant. We had a huge lunch at Park Kitchen, and took a long walk at Sauvie Island. Everyone, including my boyfriend but not including me, got together on Saturday night for a pizza party (I was at stupid work.) For the grand finale, we went to the Steve's Cheese anniversary party. I stationed my self next to Caroline who was working the Raclette station and had like 19 little baguette slices with melted cheese. Then we parked it at David's chocolate barn and had 10 dixie cups of Champs Chocolate Milk- the Pine State chocolate milk of choice. Dave dared me to down the whole pitcher, and believe me I could do it. But I wanted to save him from himself and his own bad ideas. Contrary to popular belief, having some girl chug a pitcher of chocolate milk in front of your stand where you are trying to sell food product is not a good sales pitch. You're WELCOME Dave, for NOT accepting your dare.

The reason I did not write about saturday night's staff meal yet this week is that... well... yes, we were insanely busy, and no, I didn't slap any one all night, but.... There was no staff meal.

I looked into the kitchen longingly at about 11 pm, only to see cobwebs and hear that sound affect music they use when you enter a deserted western town in movies. I was all, What? Who? Where? Seriously, what the fuck? I'm hungry- I have a blog at home that will die with out this....
Nothing.
Shane and I made the cook feel really, really bad, which was easy because he is a very nice guy. We put our best efforts into expressing both anger and sorrow about his error. But still I feel the sting of the plates that remained empty on Saturday night.

I just hope for you, Staff Meal Blog, that this never happens again. As Shane said, even a big flank steak salad goes a long way with us servers... sniff...

15 November 2008

"No more Mrs. Nice Gay"





The title of this post is a poster I saw today at the farmers market for a No on Prop 8 Rally! I love it! I am so sad about what happened in California this election. I was obviously THRILLED about Obama, but when I saw the Prop 8 news, I was totally disheartened.

However. My family, the coolest people I know, were out in Portsmouth NH this morning protesting against it. I am taking an activism class right now- and why? It's already in the family!

14 November 2008

Time lapse

Please excuse my absence, I was on glam rock vaca at me mums house in Maine.
And to have left the day after my favorite staff meal ever! Tragic to leave it unwritten so long!
David Briggs, "Heart-o-Gold" Beefcake, whatever that guys name is- made us meatball subs and fairy bread. Meatball subs? Fairy bread? Go on... Meatball subs were all homemade with the tangiest tomato sauce, the softest of balls, and the most vietnamese of rolls (so those weren't homemade but from a vietnamese bakery). We sprinkled them liberally with cheddar cheese. It was sad though because immediately Scott docked me a ball and made me share. Not fair, not fair. But anyway. Fairy bread, according to Briggs, is a midday snack at any little kid who's anyone's birthday party in Australia. White bread. Slather with butter or margarine. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles (dots, not dashes). Enjoy! Every bite you take leaves a teeth shaped absence in the half inch of butter you are working through, and boy does that ever feel satisfying. Thank you Briggs!

Maine was one hundred percent fun. My mom picked me up after my nonstop flight (boo-ya) and we went straight to Portsmouth, where we had osso bucco for dinner. The trip was filled with grandparents forcing me to eat more lobster, key lime pie, etc, my girlfriends being the cutest girls on the planet, and the tv show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I know- what the hell? I blame Priscilla. My mom got a new kitten, Fuzzy, who I beat up the whole time. She is a floppity, fuzzity, purrball. One of the number one treats of my trip was getting to see my friends Melvern Taylor and Jon Nolan play a show in Portsmouth. Their voices are meant to be together, it has been scientifically proven. Melvern would turn around after songs and ask us what we wanted to hear next. Drunk with power! I was! If you do not have their records, go get them. If you click on their names above, you will be sent to their websites. Lucky you. I have been loving those boys for a long time so I can finally listen to other records (sometimes, rarely). I just got a new ipod and all of the sudden I have music again! Walking to school has never been so much fun, and how else would I have realized the both of the Black Keys have enormous crushes on me?? Its awkward, but true.

In other news, what is North America's problem? Did anyone notice that we do not have monkeys? We were watching the Planet Earth series, disk one, last night, and I came to realize that everyone else gets monkeys but us. I mean, I have Jacky Scrapple so I'm ok, but for the most part, no monkeys! Other things we don't have: Pandas, birds from New Guiney, snow leopards or any leopards, 6 foot long salamanders. I'm not sure where I plan on moving to, China seems to be pretty much full of cute animals, but Africa also seems bumping. I'll keep you posted! In the meantime, I actually have to go back to work tonight. Boo! But someone has to pay for my exotic animal habit.

07 November 2008

Meals, wheels


Staff meal last saturday night was viewed as a kind of "last meal". Jon, the man who has been so inspired by cooking for his fellow staff, has switched shifts and will no longer be working on saturday nights. So, as his good bye meal, he made yet another bar- taco bar. We had ground beef, pig face, cheese, salsa something (sorry Jessika, I know you made it but I don't remember what fancy name you gave it), homemade tortillas (Not made by the famous tortilla maker, Caroline, but by Jessika, her #2 fan). Jon brought in some homemade pickles and fried them up for us too. Fried pickles: a southern snack, apparently. Thank you Jon, for all you did for us, and may you warn your replacement that I will light them on fire if they don't follow suit.

On a lighter note, election night! What a night it was. First, lets talk about the menu. Miss Emily made pigs in a blanket, chips with velveta cheese dip with ground turkey and jalapenos and chocolate chip cookies. I brought carrot sticks with blue cheese dip, and Shaney made us, honestly, the best Manhattan's I have ever had. I think they were the reason Obama won, don't you? *Editors note- blogger see's "Obama" as a spelling error. Um, hello google, are you out there?
We ate our special 'merican treats while we sweat, cried, and cheered. None of us could believe it was true- but of course it was! We wondered how to celebrate and naturally decided to go to the Victory. We ordered bottles of Cava and shots of whiskey, my dad came and joined us, and we did some serious whooping and hollering.

This is a historical moment for the whole globe. I am, finally? once again? proud to be american. Obama!

05 November 2008

Victory

OBAMA!

04 November 2008

At least we looked good.






Halloween was a serious night at work. And by that I mean only 4 people came in and they all were clearly trying to avoid the holiday at all costs, only to be assaulted by more costumes. Holly was a good Christian mom from the 80's who loved baking carob brownies. Shane was remarkably annoying and also Dee Dee Ramone. David was Michael Jackson, as usual, and I was a dead sailor. Seriously, no one commented on the fact I was wearing dead person makeup and had seaweed in my hair. WTF? We had fun anyway.

30 October 2008

Sad News

Estelle Reiner passed away at 94 on Saturday from natural causes. My grandmother frequently quotes her from the movie "When Harry Met Sally" :





"I'll have what she's having."

I feel that because this scene takes place in a diner it sort of relates to the blog? Love you Mamie!

29 October 2008

huge- excuse me, GIANT douche or a turd sandwich?

Last night was a rager, one that shall go down in history as the night that prompted me to barf out of my nose. My friends, my watery eye and I went out for a sushi extravaganza at Yokos, the finest of sushi's around (in my valuable opinion). The crowd I was running with are crazy, rabid over-orderers. We all have favorite things from Yoko's that we made sure everyone would be able to try. Kevin ordered our favorite sake (Watari Bune) and the owl beer for the table, Emily knew to order fresh crab with certain rolls, and Shane went nuts and ordered 5 plates of sashimi. Basically each of us individually ordered enough for three people (totaling at enough food for 21 people) and hoped it would be enough. The waiter was looking at us like we were the craziest people he had ever waited on (we were). It took four people to bring us our food. We finished every last bite, too- fives were highed.
We should have known to go home after that, but we did not. Instead we ran into more bad natured friends who forced us to get drinks next door and then carry on to the Victory. There was tequila (Shane's idea), there was whisky. This is following Lillet, Sake and beer. What's all of our problem? Gah. When I awoke this morning at eleven (Kevin had to get up at 7- the pain!) I felt as though I might die. In fact I knew that if my watery eye didn't kill me, this would. I have a bad relationship with throwing up. After an unfortunate event at the post office as a 5 year-old I have decided not to participate in vomiting. Today I elected to give it a try. It was awful! I'm just glad I had the foresight not to be at my grandparents house, naked and puking on the lawn like other people I know when acting this way.
When we got to work for our staff meeting this afternoon, we were applauded by the chef for our adventure in Japanese culinary arts. I publicly admitted to my mornings' trauma, and also about the embarrassment of being caught serenading Kevin at a stop light last night. You see, we were stopped on Division and I was belting out his favorite Justin Timberlake song to him, with dance moves of course. Another car pulled up and had been watching, and were laughing very hard. I think they just wanted a little action too, so I reached out my boy-band hands and pulled them into the dance (figuratively.) It was special, that moment. Special and embarrassing.

...Ain't gotta do nothing crazy- see, all I want you to do is be my love. (loooove).

27 October 2008

What's the sound of one eye crying?





Seriously, I have one eye that wont stop crying. Two days of lonesome tears and a migraine. I just looked up possible maladies on the internet, and the prognosis DOES NOT LOOK GOOD.
I just hope to eat another staff meal... that's all I ask...

Anyway, saturday night was another very special evening. You know how I love bars? Well we had two. Baked potato bar, and a fucking bloody mary bar. Um? For real? Yes. For real.
Baked potato bar included: sour cream, butter, bacon bits (real), cheddar cheese, scallions or whatever those green things are that you put on potatoes, and probably other things but I was totally overloaded with ecstasy and didn't notice or can't remember. Bloody mary bar included fresh, super horseradish-y bloody mix and Lovejoy vodka, and Jon's own pickles from this summer. He made green beans, celery, and okra (I think, again, drunk, working, spaced out, who knows, don't remember)! Oh and pickled eggs. Which sound gross, but he forced me to try it and I actually enjoyed them very much.
My potato included all of the fats: butter, sour cream, and cheese, and bacon, and then those green bits be they whatever they are. Chives? Chives. Oh my god! I forgot about Yessika's salad. She made a salad with greens, prawns, eggs, and a lot of other things, but the point is that it was not only delicious but also very beautiful. She also started poking at me about the thanksgiving menu, GOD SHE WILL NOT LEAVE ME ALONE, and it sounds like she is going to force me into having a fancy affair.

Jessika: And then we're going to have eggs stuffed with beet caviar.
Jenny: Beet caviar? You mean beets with fish eggs? Yum.
Jessika: No, that's just a term for cooking. Earlier I called it beet tartare. It can be a lot of different things.
Jenny: So no caviar as in fancy fish eggs.
Jessika. ...No.
Jenny: So you're a liar.
Jessika: Oh my god.
Jenny: We can serve up your lie dish with my Ants On A Log as appetizers!
Jessika: You can't serve that.
Jenny: "you can't serve that!"
Jessika: I hate you.
Jenny: Beet caviar my ASS.

24 October 2008

Two posts, one day


I feel that this event requires its own separate post. On Tuesday, Kevin and I went to Seattle on a food mission. We took the train (fun, plenty of time (usually taken up being stressed out about driving or fighting about who gets to take a nap) to harass one another and also see both the sunrise and sunset over the water) with our bikes, so once we got off we were immediately mobile. The first thing we did was put on mittens. Then we pedaled directly down a very busy industrial highway to track down Skillet, the food cart that inspired this trip. I casually looked over my right shoulder at one point into a little alley way and saw a flash of silver. Skillet! It was funny finding it like this- through a chain-link fence, smoke puffing out of its tiny chimney. Kevin got a tour of the trailer and I took a bunch of photos. He had been looking at the website and knew what he wanted already, but I was not so sure. I decided on the dungeness crab po boy sandwich with slaw and a brioche bun, while he had the kobe burger with cambazola (triple cream blue) cheese and bacon jam. Bacon jam? Yeah, I don't know, but I love it. He also got poutine; fries with gravy and cheese curds. What?!??? So good. Everything was great, and we were stuffed afterwards. We were glad we were on bikes!
We went straight to the public library to check out the cool new building. It was crazy- stainless steel floors, florescent escalator tubes, red lacquered hallways, frightening heights and angles, and padded ceilings. Plus there was a drag queen pageant winner walking around the whole time- she was awesome too.

From there, we went on a long ride (again along the highway) out too Ballard. There was a store there that Kevin wanted to check out. The ride was 5 miles of bike unfriendly traffic, over a long, narrow bridge, but Ballard was great anyway. Holly tells me that this is where all the cool kids moved to after Capital Hill became expensive and gentrified.
I had a red velvet cupcake from Cupcake Royale. It did not compare to the red velvet treat that Jack got me from Cupcake Jones here in Portland, but it was a cupcake so who's complaining? We took the bus back into Seattle, bikes on front, and ended our trip with a little ride around downtown. We wanted to go to Salumi for some Salami sandwiches for the train ride, but they were closed. Salumi and Pine State both hold "Top Ten Best Sandwich" titles from Esquire magazine, so Kevin really wanted to say hi to them. We knocked, and one of the owners opened the door. She was so nice, she gave us a salami sampler to take on the train even though they had been closed for a couple of hours. These salami's are nuts! We plan to return asap to get an actual sandwich. Our car mates for the ride home must have loved sitting near us while we ate 15 different kinds of cured meats!

Ah ha!


I would like to first say that I have been meaning to write all week long but got caught up gazing into Jacky's eyes and trying to help Kevin establish his winter look.

Last weekend was pretty special for two reasons (probably more but I don't remember the details any longer). Reason number one: my new friend Ambika made me Nepalese milky tea from fresh goats milk. She has three goats and she milks two of them! I have never had goats milk, let alone fresh, unpasterized goats milk. It was so tasty- not really 'goaty' but more just earthy and creamy. The tea tasted like chai, but better. She grinds her own spices and is in general very magical.

Reason number two: Staff meal. The kitchen really got fired up about it and went almost too far! We had chicken pot pie, fresh green bean casserole, fried oysters, and coleslaw. The bartender rewarded them with some wild turkey and cranberry juice. After my day on saturday of going door to door in St. Helens for the elections, I really needed a good meal. This was perfect. We got into a debate about fresh green beans in casserole vs. blanched. Holly feels that they must be blanched and old fashioned to satisfy her (kind of like me and my love for canned cranberry sauce), while I found the crunhy beans to be very delicious. We all appreciated the fried onions on top.

And thinking about green bean casserole only makes me SO EXCITED for thanksgiving! My aunties from Oakland are making the trek up to Portland for the holiday. There will be much merriment and tons of food. I have been fretting about the menu for many weeks already, but I know for sure I'll be making sticky buns as usual and will be wearing a vintage dress and apron.

On Wednesday morning, I busted out my new apfelskiver pan. My grandmother Mamie makes me this dish whenever I am home and sleepover her house. We have always called them breakfast balls. I did not have her recipe, but I remembered that it had beaten egg whites and as much butter as possible. I found a recipe that sounded good and cooked Kevin, Jessika and I a hell of a breakfast! Mamie always flips her breakfast balls with a chopstick and stands on one leg while cooking. I made sure to follow these important traditions, and had great success. Next time you see a cast iron pan that is made of little half spheres, buy it! Buttery dutch (?) breakfast will follow.

19 October 2008

More pets, please


I will be writing about last night's staff meal extravaganza once my photographer sends me the photos... hint hint... But for now I give you this photo and a suggestion to go to cuteoverload.com immediatly to watch all the pitbull with chicks video. And by chicks I don't mean babes- I mean BABY BIRDS. The pitbull IS RAISING THE BABY BIRDS. He looks like Hiro and so when I watched the videos I wept with pride. Although really Hiro has raised nothing but Jacky, and look how that turned out.

17 October 2008

Food Carts

Yay! Yay yay yay! This morning, I called Sam and invited her to go get breakfast together. I had food carts on my mind... more on that later... so I was hoping we could go to my favorite food trailer, Moxie on Mississippi ave. It is pretty much always closed and yet always on my mind. They make this smoothie with dates, almond butter and bananas, and yes, this shit IS bananas! I dream of it. Todays attempt was blessed. I don't know why, usually when Sam and I get together all hell breaks loose and she dares me to drive into parked cars. Not this time. I had my smoothie and a buckwheat waffle with yogurt, bananas, and cinnamon sugar while she had a bee pollen smoothie with a cheddar biscuit and smoked salmon.

Which reminds me. People, it's ok if you you have a biscuit somewhere other than Pine State and you happen to enjoy it. A few times this week I have been discussing food with friends and heard them say "So I was trying out this new restaurant and I had the biscuit.. OOPS! Don't be mad!" and they get this look of guilt and shame when they look at me. Biscuits are great! I'm not going to hunt you down, lock you in my basement and torture you Mariah Carey style or anything just because you cheated on Pine State. Just don't tell Kevin. He might do all those things I mentioned, or worse, cry about it.

So, anyway, food carts. Yay! My auntie Esther called me at work the other day (I totally screened her) to tell me that a. she loves my blog (yay) and b. she reads another blog (when are people going to start feeling guilty when they casually mention to me that they read other blogs!??!) that this week featured a cool looking food cart. She then recommended that I go there on a road trip. Well, one week later and I have my train tickets and we are going on Tuesday! We have never taken the train before, so we figured this would be the day. We leave in the morning, get there at noon, furiously attempt to track down this wayward cart, eat, get back on the train and we're home by nine. Kevin believes that the stress is what will make it fun. Of course I will take photos and write about that next wednesday!


In staff meal news, this wednesday night at work, Jon, the man who made the grilled cheese and tomato soup, actually asked what the blog wants for dinner on saturday. WHAT DOES THE BLOG WANT FOR DINNER? I obviously have been stressing about it ever since. I said spaghetti and meatballs because thats my favorite, but then was filled with doubt as I have so many favorites. Plus thats a focus on tomato two saturdays in a row. Plus, is that fair? Giving the blog what it wants when the blog is all about my personal at-work-food-related-hardships-and-triumphs?

I am thinking about what I just said and decided that it's only a good thing if staff meals become more fun and delicious, and if I get to have my way. It is fair. Yay!

12 October 2008

news flash

I have changed the commenting requirements. If you would like to leave a comment, you no longer have to register with Blogger to do so. Yipee!

Comfort Food



It's been a good week for food! It's true that Jessika made yet another cake and yet again didn't save me a piece, but other treats from nicer friends helped me get past that. First and foremost: last night. A certain cook admitted to me that he had not yet been to my blog, and in fact did not realize that I had been writing about staff meals for three months- despite that fact that I threaten him with this information daily. So last night he stepped it up big time. He was clearly planning WAY in advance as he brought in his own bread and had a menu prepared. Grilled cheese sandies with creamy tomato soup. Obviously, we all used that promise as fuel for the whole night.

'Did that customer just damn you to hell and spit in your face???'
'Yes. But can you wait for tomato soup and grilled cheese? I can't!'

It really helped. The sandwiches were very very large, and Jon took the time to cut the crusts off for me. (Blog hungry.) Meanwhile, I think this might have created a little healthy competition in the kitchen as the chef (also blog hungry) contributed a massive crowd pleaser- cocoa BBQ ribs and polenta! SHIT! We ate until we cried, and then ate some more.


Tonight I am going to a harvest dinner. We are eating cabbage and sausages(I think), and drinking Alsatian Riesling and Belgian beer. I was assigned the task of making dessert. I have been thinking (obsessing) about it for three weeks and have changed my mind a lot of times. We will be drinking calvados with dessert, so I thought a nice apple pie would do the trick, but then decided that was too easy. Baked apples? Apple upside down cake? Pumpkin upside down cake? Spice cake? Gingerbread?
But then I remembered my landlord and lady have an ice cream maker. This of course led me into an even more intense period of confusion and distress. Finally I had to go to New Seasons and just walk around for awhile while talking to my mom about possible ideas. She provided me with the idea of Indian Pudding*, and I provided me with the idea of apple ice cream.
Indian pudding is a molasses cornmeal pudding that takes 3 hours to make and not one recipe for it looks alike. It (a blend of two different recipes) is currently very slowly baking. I found the ice cream recipe in the New York Times, but then I changed it a little bit. Their NYT version calls for baked apples, but I decided to caramelize them with butter, brown sugar and sea salt. The ice cream itself is made with a little sour cream and cinnamon. I tasted it, and it is crazy good! Hopefully the two dishes will work together. I have a sneaking suspicion that they WILL! Also hopefully my hostess does not read this before I get to her house and spoil the surprise!

Earlier this week: I bought Ron Sexsmith a shot of whiskey. How do you like me now?


*This name seems to be a little dated and inappropriate doesn't it! I don't think Native American Pudding sounds very good though so I will be referring to it as Blackstrap Pudding.

08 October 2008

Salad Bar (=staff meal for non staff)

I find myself at the New Seasons salad bar very, very frequently. Which is to say, I got sick of the sandwich bar after eating the same sandwich 2000 times last summer and was forced to switch teams. I get the biggest to-go box they offer and fill it to the brim with almost everything they offer. Today, as I piled baby corns (I can never say no to tiny versions of normal sized things) atop cold noodles, a hard boiled egg, raisins, paramsean cheese shreds, water chestnuts, peppers, edamame, and some spinach, I realized that I was creating a staff meal on my own time!!!
There I was, a world of fine prepared foods at my hands, and I was making a creepy combination of unlikely ingredients... and mixing them up in a box, out of which I ate like my life depended on it (which it did- I was starving.) Just like work! And I do this for most of my out of work lunches! Maybe some people go to the salad bar and think, I'll make a salad out of ingredients that work together- like say, a garden salad with carrots, tomatoes and peppers. They don't think, 'but I also like cheesecake- why not stir that in?!' the way I do. I have no self control, I get overwhelmed, and suddenly I'm taking a bite that includes cottage cheese, parmasean cheese, raisins, raw garlic and some balsamic vinegar... and liking it. Liking it to the point that I go back and make the same mash up all over again, every time! I have made this bizzare pairing of salad bar offerings so many times now that I am almost sick of it and ready to go back to that predictable sandwich of last year. At this point, I can't fathom eating edamame without raisins- that's how fucked up the salad bar has made me.

If I was an animal I would be a bottom feeder.

06 October 2008

tiny update

I have managed to post a tiny slideshow over there to the right, below my info. If you wave the arrow over the photo it changes the display so you can see the whole photo, rather than the half picture. If you click on it, it takes you to my Flickr account. I am an HTML master. That is all.

Fats


I just got home from a very special family-camping weekend. It was trailer living, Deschutes style. We were all so styled out in vintage trailers and greasy faces. Greasy faces? You ask. Yes. Every meal we ate contained copious amounts of animal fat. Specifically... Duck fat. Potatoes in duck fat, pheasant in duck fat, pie with pork fat, pork with pork fat, leeks with butter, EVERYTHING WITH BUTTER! and DUCK FAT! It's true, I'm very enthusiastic about fats. How many times can I say fat? At this point it's starting to sound weird.

The first night, Silas and Leslie were in charge of the menu. We had... Pork roast with home made apple sauce, braised beet greens with bacon, and bread with butter. For dessert, my favorite Leslie dessert, almond cake. This cake is dense, moist, crispy on the edges, and best when a little undercooked. Leslie has this one DOWN! Send me the recipe, someone, please!
The next morning we had banana pancakes, bacon, and 16 french presses of Stumptown coffee (!!??!). Then we went hiking and to come castle or whatever. And then lunch! Creamy mushroom chicken soup with homemade cheddar bread. We also had our found pears and some crazy oatmeal cake for dessert.

After lunch I immediately launched into dinner preparations. I made a pie. Blackberry peach with rosemary, lard crust of course. Baking in a trailer oven is very special. The pie loved every minute, and so did I. Kevin, meanwhile, was cutting up onions and leeks which he cooked down in (at least) two sticks of brown butter. He cooked the pheasant in a pound or two of duck fat, and made polenta with heavy cream and goat cheese. I made a fig compote for the pheasant with balsamic vinegar and some more butter. Kevin tried to talk me into putting two sticks of butter (his magic ingredient) into this sauce as well but I told him to reel it in. I also made Hasselback potatoes, with garlic and more duck fat. These little guys are so good- the best way to eat a potato I might say! The meal was a delight!

It was pouring the first night we got there, so we all stuffed into my dads trailer to eat together out of necessity. The second night it was clear outside, but we cozied up anyway to wait for our imminent heart attacks.

The final morning we had to eat all the remaining food which included: half a pie, half and almond cake, 8 sausages, toast and eggs. Hiro ate 6 cashews and a mound of sand. Jacky ate grass.

We are home now, and Kevin's car got broken into last night. We should have stayed at the campground forever, living in the trailer, eating like kings. The good news is that my brother Ryland is visiting for the week. He is helping my dad with his house.


Now, a few weeks back I attended a "Lobster vs. Dungeoness Crab" party. It was amazing. We all had one of each- speaking of gluttony. I am from Maine, lobster is from Maine, you know which one won. However, I'm going to give out a little shout out to Dungeoness right here, because oh boy is it delicious. You have to work your ass off to get into it, but once you do you are rewarded again and again for your hard work. I am told that there are some very sketchy photos of me from this party, with a ring of butter around my mouth and a possessed look on my face. Fortunately, these have not surfaced so far. But I am waiting in fear for them to arrive in my mailbox, with a note attached asking for one million dollars to stop their public release.
I made a pie for this extravaganza, my blue ribbon winner of course, with a lobster cutout on top to show my allegiance.


It has been a very busy time, and I have had very few staff meals of note lately. Mostly because I haven't been working very frequently. However, there recently have been a few people who have approached me with their most horrendous staff meal memories. Dan, who I was camping with, described the time he was served a pot of tomato sauce full of bay leaves for staff meal...and that's it. I retorted with the time we had canapes with green mayo with ham floaters.
I was inspired by his story to ask my readers (all 4 of you) to email me your worst staff meal tales. If you do, I might post it up here on the old blog! FAME!!!! My email address is Jennyfresh@gmail.com. You can also tell me your best meal if it is really interesting. But I doubt it is.

PS. I have started a mini-pie series at Pine State. Please go and demand one.

Staff Meal (seriously! ind of.)

02 October 2008

Open letter


Dear Jessika.

So, I heard you made a cake for staff meal today.

WHY DIDN'T YOU SAVE ME A PIECE??????????????????

Heartbroken, hurt, and confused,

Jenny.

01 October 2008

Boca!

There has been a recent flurry of activity in my life, including going back to school. I do hate going back to school!!!! But it's fine. I'm actually glad be enrolled in some of the classes I'm taking this semester considering the political atmosphere this fall. 

Anyway, for my last day of "summer vacation" Kevin, the puppies and I hiked some mountain in the Mount Jefferson wilderness park. The hike was steady and beautiful, all lush scenery and trickling streams. But the top! Well, a little below the top- is Boca Cave. You climb into it and the soil is red and damp. The cave itself is enormous. Its like a big spooky cathedral. Once you're inside, you turn around and look at Mount Jefferson through the mouth of the cave. The view is nuts. Jacky and Hiro are regular cave dwellers. Someone at the bottom warned us that the dogs wouldn't like it, but was he ever wrong! 

Speaking of dogs, I would like to mention the passing of my childhood dog Hattie. She was a small but fat Corgi. I spent most of my time with her making fun of her and her short legs. She barked at everything and only got in trouble a few times in her long life. She was my moms companion, and I would like to send my mom all of my love, and you should too. 

At the top of this post you might have noticed some kind of beautiful dessert. What is it? you're wondering. Well I'm here to tell you, its a plum cardamom upside down cake, and I made it last week. We have a few friends who claim to be pizza allstars, so we invited them over to prove it. They really are. We had a lot of pizza that night, and a lot of wine. And then we had cake. I made it in our cast iron deep skillet from start to finish- who knew? First you caramelize the plums in brown sugar and butter, and then you pour the sponge cake batter on top and pop the whole thing in the oven.  Success!! Careful with cardamom- that's a crazy and intense spice.


27 September 2008

Grumpy Boy!!!

An anecdote from last night:

My first impressions were: Nice mother daughter (elderly mom/older daughter) combo plus one (fucking asshole) husband (of the daughter.). Don't know about wine...apparently believe they know something about wine...whoops! We've got a grumpy boy! 

Man (quivering with passive aggressive anger): The wine's a little warm, could you chill it please?"
Me (grinning with glee): Of course I can! In fact, nothing would make me happier than to get the wine to the right temperature for you!!!!!!!!!!

At this point things could have gone either way. I figured that it was going to be a completely forgettable first table, and returned with the now chilled wine. I filled every one's glass, like you do, while the man glares at me and says to mother-in-law, "I am so sorry you had to wait for the wine to chill. That's really acceptable, I am so sorry."  I'm pretty sure I was supposed to get down on my knees at this point and massage his toes whilst apologising for the 5 degree problem, so I instead took their order, oddly thrilled at the sheer douche-baggery that I was witnessing. 

What happens next was my favorite part of my favorite night of the week:
Shane approached the table, lifted the bottle of wine to refill our favorite grumpy boy's glass. Grumpy boy scrunched his face up in his best Grinch impression and slammed his pointer finger down on the copper table top. "Put. The. Wine Bottle. RIGHT HERE." Shane, totally blindsided by this confusing rage, walked away and congratulated me on table 12. "You've got a winner!" 

Poor Jack. He didn't get the memo either. While I was bringing them their plates, Jack also attempted to fill the still-empty wine glass, because we are servers and our only fucking job is to make sure peoples glasses are full. 

"I can fill my own god damned wine glass!" He shrieked.
"Oh, my god! I'm sorry..."Jack backed away, also stun-gunned. The man balled his hands into fists and cursed down at his plate, 100% furious.
My smile widened to a freakish grin. "Well sir! Is something... the matter?"
"I can poor my own god damned wine!"
"Goodness! Well this is a restaurant that you're eating in, and the staff is here to provide you with service!"
"Well it's a service I don't want!"
"That's great news! I'll tell you what- I'm just going to go around and tell the whole staff!!!! about your little preference here, and no one will bother/speak to you ever again!"


And I will tell you what- we didn't. That was the end of "service" and "verbal communication". Shane went ahead and gave me permission not to say thank you at the end of the meal, and so none of us did. But you know what- I'm ready. I'm ready, and I want to say it here.
Thank you so much for setting the bar so low- right there at 5 pm. The rest of my night was a dream, by comparison. 

23 September 2008

Weasel in the backseat

Today I hiked Multnomah Falls (or something). Highlights include: the drama of moss and rocks, posing Jacky on moss and rocks for photos, and when I found a fuzzy Caterpillar. The downsides include: My knees (how fucking old am I? One hundred? Forty?), poor snack planning, and when Hiro fell in the water because I was trying to convince him to pose on rocks and moss.

I haven't worked in four days and have escaped any thoughts of waiting on tables. I haven't woken up in a panic because the person in the other room needs a glass of iced tea (But Jenny, there isn't anyone in there! But I just have to get them the tea and then I can go back to sleep, OK?) but I also haven't had any staff meals. I did eat at PokPok tonight and had a meal so fine me thinks... well whatever, it was delicious, and as usual I had the fish sauce wangs and the glass noodles with pork belly, prawns and whisky. Dang! Try me staff meal! Try and be like that!

I watched Casino last night. Whats with me and all the violent movies? I really loved this one since I am half Italian ((pure Dalfanso blood courses through my weak, clotted veins) in my mind) and I love the lights...the jewels... the Sharon. What a psycho bitch! Seriously, tying a kid up as a babysitting method really does have some obvious genius behind it. I would try it. Plus her hair, before it reaches the 80's, is fantastic and admirable. 

I have a ladies luncheon tomorrow with my most ladylike friend, Sam. We are going to Castagna as it fits Sam's only requirement: a place that has white wine. And it fits my requirement for being a mere couple of blocks from my palace. Nighty night. 

PS: A good quote from my grandmother: "Being paid a thousand dollars for a job is a good thing. Someone once offered me a thousand dollars...." (she trails into a suspicious, smily silence)

20 September 2008

The Joy of Cooking


One of my favorite cooks, Jessika, is now working Thursday lunch- my one lunch shift of the week! I am very critical of staff meal after lunch because I am usually very hungry and pissed off. Jessika knows this and she really aims to please (perhaps only to avoid certain death). On Thursday, she made a giant salad with sweet corn and this creamy tarragon lemon dressing. I know there was a lot of other stuff in there, but that combo stole my HEART. 
I wish I could say I could remember any specific tales from this past week, but it is mostly a fog of "I just had a sandy clam. What do you plan on doing about that?" and "This menu is weird. Is there anything good  to eat?"

 Meanwhile, Biscuit Land had a special celeb speckled week including two visits made by one Jack White. What the hell? We had no spotting's. I did see Burn After Reading though, and it was just like waiting on John Malkovich all over again. If only we could talk about padron peppers one more time... which, by the way, I bought at the farmers market today, along with chanterelles, tiny potatoes, sweet onions, and carrots. I'm making stew!

I did my weekly bake-off for Pine State yesterday and this time around I made Georgia On My Mind peach and blackberry crisp with pecan maple crispies on top. Jack White had better come back and get some! It was a rich batch- I had copious berries and butter on my hands and over-did it with both. But who's complaining? Not my co-workers because I made one for them too. Briggs whipped up some sweet cream and we had dessert for dinner. Yesssssssss.

The final news I will force on you today is that I got my haircut. I love it, I love my new hairdresser, and I love my new hairspray. Hairspray! What an embarassing item to own! It smells like "grandpa" according to everyone who smells my scalp- which is a lot of people. Kevin narrowed it down to "aqua velva"- which his grandpa used to wear. I told him to get ready to take his grandpa to bed, and he grimaced. At least my hair looks good.

16 September 2008

Bumma

Well, the leg situation has worsened. Any time the vicodin wears off I realize that its a throbbing hot mess. So, I'm just not letting that happen! Instead I'm popping pills and relaxing. The real pain is in my heart, for now I am missing the chocolate dinner. Boooo! BOOOOOO!!

15 September 2008

Trailer living


Last night was great. We went to Porque No? for dinner, the new one on Hawthorne. The space is big and beautiful but seems like they might still be ironing things out a bit. The food was good but not quite up to par with the Mississippi location. Then we went to Plan B for a beer, and on to the weird new bowling ally by our house. It's fancy and over staffed, but sunday nights are industry nights so it's like two bucks to bowl.
We ended up at my dads and sat around the fire drinking bourbon and talking about... who knows what. Then my dad remembered that he had a bunch of my old stuff in the trailer and so we ended up looking at old photos and journals from my childhood. It was funny and mostly embarrasing. 

Did I mention that I watched American Psycho yesterday? Someone brought it up at work because I was saying how much Jacky looks like Willem Defoe, and they figured I meant in American Psycho. I really meant when he played the rapist in Wild at Heart, but whatever. It reminded me to rewatch American Psycho, which I had only seen some of long ago. That movie has so many funny restaurant scenes! "Swordfish meatloaf with lemongrass broth..." 
"Do we have reservations somewhere? I'm not hungry, but I would feel better if we had reservations."
I thought the obsessive narration throughout the film was so interesting. His fixation on restaurants, business cards and skin care is so fucked up! I was almost equally as horrified by the vapid world that he lived in as I was by all the woman-hating violence the movie depicts. The violence was really awful, and much less interesting than the rest of the film. Christian Bale is very talented, but I have to wonder what it must mean for an actor to accept such a role. I wont go to far into this, but I think that to accept that role is to further that narrative. You could say that he is just acting, but there is already too much of that kind of media out there to justify creating any more of it. So, what I'm saying is, Batman is a pig. Just kidding guys! But seriously...

Today was the last river trip of the summer (probably.) We got some friends together and went tubing down the sandy river. I was thrown from my tube during a rough patch and banged the shit out of my leg. The bumps and bruises are spectacular. Its oddly relieving when you get hurt to get some visible results. It's proof or something- see how much that sucked???. This experience could have been a lot more painful judging by the bumps I have on my shin. It looks like someone put a chinook salmon under my skin and then punched me till I bruised. Other members of the floating team got bumped on their bums- I'm happy to say my ass is bruise free and very happy to be out of the cold water. Maybe I really am ready for fall.

Back to work tomorrow night. I am working our chocolate dinner- what could be better? Going to the chocolate dinner. Every course is wrought with chocolate. Sigh.

14 September 2008

P.B.L.T.

Yesterday was the final day of my shitty work week, which was appropriately followed by no staff meal. To make up for such pain I went to my favorite bar, the Victory, with Sam. Check out what she had for dinner- a P.B.L.T.. That's a pork belly, lettuce and tomato sandwich if you couldn't guess. And if you couldn't guess, please- get on track. I had amontillado sherry for dinner, and boy was it tasty as always. I could use one of those sandwiches right now, but I am having tacos for dinner instead which probably won't be as good. 

I had a piece of really good pie for lunch today made by my Aunt Leslie. It was my grandmother's recipe, and it is a peach with sour cream and brown sugar custard pie. Give me a break, it was delicious! We were at our friends house in Milwaukee for a small pool party and sat under some banana trees while we ate the pie. My cousin Pearl, who is both 6 and naughty, sat on my lap and made fun of me whenever she got out of the pool, so that was nice too. 

Kevin and the dogs and I are going to sleep over at my dads new house tonight, but in one of his crazy trailers. Jacky is especially excited. 

12 September 2008

Good Year for the Roses


Seriously, as soon as Jack gets back from his honeymoon, he is DEAD. Work is really starting to get to me. Even if we had milkshakes and waffles for staff meal I would still probably feel this way. This is an example of why I am full of resentment and hatred: 

A conversation between myself and that mother daughter combo I previously mentioned
Me: Can I get you two anything started?
Mother:.....................Um.....................................................Welllll....................................
Me: Looks like you need more time. I'll be back in a few minutes.
Mother: No no, hang on. Um.............................................................................Hmmm...................
Me: Would your little girl like some pasta with cheese?
Mother: Oh she eats fine dining all the time. It's just... usually we can find things we like! What I really want is a little duck breast with a port reduction, but as a small plate.
Me: Interesting!
Mother: Or this gnocchi- I would really like it with brown butter and sage.
Me: Well it seems like you might think you are in a different restaurant right now, so I'm going to give you a few minutes to adjust and read the menu our chef has prepared. 

It goes on, ending with me feeling like other people might want to hear this story and writing it on my blog. It's not funny, or all that unusual, it just INFURIATES me. I really shouldn't include the daughter in the story because she was just a kid that will grow up to be a horrible bitch but just hasn't reached her potential yet. I would like to believe that "No! Maybe she will be sweet as pie to rebel against her mom!" but I read her future and that's not it. 

Back to about a week ago before I was tired and mean:
We went and saw the Chapman swifts! We packed a picnic of cheese, figs, olives and wine, and my dad brought his own eggplant caponata. Shane brought some pot, which we smoked inches behind my dads back. If only I had known in high school how easy it could have been! He did catch on later and found it to be very funny. Anyway- this all added up to quite an evening.  There are so many tiny swifts flying around in these beautiful formations, and then in the end they all swirl down into a big chimney like it is sucking them in. A falcon flew in during this and picked off one of the birds- it caught it mid flight! Everyone was cheering for the falcon getting a meal, but I was a little off my rocker and found this to be a small tragedy. 

The weather is beautiful this week. My dad and I went to Sauvie Island and picked a 5 gallon bucket of farm flowers which are now all over my house. We took the doggies to the beach where they went totally wild, and we had grilled corn and sandwiches at Kruger farms. 

That was before. Now I am in the depths of this horrible work week and I must return now to work lunch. Cross your fingers that I make or find a million dollars today.

10 September 2008

double the fun!


I have to work every day this week and also a double today. If you know me even a little bit you know that I try to avoid working at all costs. What I'm saying is; this is unheard of! I have been doing A LOT of whining about this crazy schedule and damning all people who go on "honeymoons" and "vacations". 
I don't have time to tell all the tales of the past few days but here are the highlights to look forward to:
Swifts!
Picnics! 
Mother-daughter bitch duos!
Duck in the closet!

yours truly.

07 September 2008

omg

Read this, RIGHT NOW!

06 September 2008

Whiner!


Tonight sucked for reasons I can't really remember. I'm always so appalled by certain things that happen like "I can't believe that person just asked me to re-polish their wine glass- what an ASSHOLE!!!!!!". And in my mind, it's just like that- 6 exclaimation marks or maybe even more. They aren't asking for much, but I really hate them for it. It's all about the timing. Sometimes I can understand why a person might want to save the cork I just threw away, or why they want their perfectly cooked lamb brought up to medium, but not on nights like tonight. So what was it that pissed me off tonight? Everything, and for no specific reason. And there was no staff meal. Ok, I'm done.


Weird Plate


I find that most of the meals I eat at work are piles of strange foods. Last night for example: bean-zucchini pile plus arugula-beet pile plus shrimp salad on weird crackers pile plus tiny salt cod fritters. These things are scraps from other moments in time, like the moment when the cooks are plating up actual meals. Whenever I work private events, there are always small strange piles left over. This is how I came by "dinner" last night. But here is the thing- we are very excited about these and spread the word amongst the other servers very quickly. Here's how it went last night:

me: THE EAGLE HAS LANDED in the closet.
shane: what are we talking?
me: small balls, shrimpies, and tuna beans!
shane: oh shit!
holly: the small balls are so much better.
me: tell me about it.

And then we all creep into the employee changing room/mop closet and stuff our faces like rabid animals for 30 seconds. Minutes later, back on the floor with clean hands and smiling faces, we are acting so casual we don't even believe we could have ever been so savage. But we are. Behind closed doors, we are hungry, crazy monsters just looking for some leftovers.

04 September 2008

Well!


I don't normally work on tuesday nights, so when my section was empty and I wandered into the kitchen to look for a snack I was SHOCKED to see malted cherry ribs and a bowl of polenta. Do they always get so pampered on tuesdays? Was this a mean joke? No, DP just decided to make up for the utterly bizarre lunch offering of spatzle with olives, cheese, meat and a cup of salt by making us something special. What I admired about this staff meal was the obvious effort involved- this took planning in advance. It showed some respect for both us and the food being prepared. We'll see how today goes, although I know who's behind the staff meal wheel and this guy seems to HATE US. If we have crostini with ham sauce again, I'm slashing some bike tires.

PS Don't you think I should get that dog pictured at the top???

02 September 2008

Piety


The day after the pie-off I was feeling so happy that I made another pie. This one would have been a real winner too- if only I had known the wonder that is the peach pie! This one, again with the lard/butter crust, was peach basil. Rather than making another herbal simple syrup, I just put in fresh basil from my porch garden. It was delightful and the inside was exactly the right consistency. The pie-off really made me rethink my relaxed attitude and has sent me into a world of very serious baking. No more laughter or games, that much is obvious. 

Last night we went out for some whatevs Cuban food and then to see Encounters at the End of the World- the Werner Herzog film about Antarctica. The audience we were watching the movie with was so dumb! They were laughing at all the wrong parts, including when the confused penguin wanders off in the wrong direction, towards the mountains and certain death. I can't think of anything more sad, unless maybe if it was Jacky. 
The movie is weird, and makes me not want to go to the south pole. However, it did make me realize that scientists are the real crazy people in this world. Forget artists and restaurant people- anyone who chooses to put on a waterproof snow suit and spend three months locked in a tent with a bunch of other nerds, occasionally SWIMMING AROUND UNDER THE ICE WHERE CREEPIES LIVE, is nuts. They are totally nuts! Another group of crazies have decided to spend their time crawling around on the side of frozen volcanos trying to avoid "lava bombs" and also frost bite. Confusing and conflicting temperature dangers! And all for the love of information. I'll stick to pie.

30 August 2008

Holy Pie


The pie-off was INTENSE. 49 entries, 8 categories, and over 125 onlookers. You know I got a blue ribbon baby! My pie, Rosemary's Baby, was, if I do say so myself, very attractive. She had style, she had grace, so on and so fourth. The crust was just the way I dream it, flaky, tender and sparkly. The insides... not as dreamy. I made the pie much to late in the day for it to have time to set up before the judging. It was soupy inside. By the time we enjoyed the leftovers for staff meal it was PERFECT. But at 4 pm, not so much. So I was a little disappointed. But I did get a ribbon for "Best Pairing with Pie" which is to say I bribed the judges with spanish dessert wine. I feel pretty good about it! Its kind of the only award that doesn't actually refer to the pie itself, but I don't want to sound like an asshole and complain- I got a ribbon! I never win anything, so this is good. Most people get ribbons for things like "sports!" and "talent!" and I got one for "dessert wine knowledge!"- maybe not even just dessert wine knowledge so much as "actually brought a pairing!" But hey- like I said, I'm very excited and proud. 
Last night all we had for staff meal was pie. Which usually would be a dream for me but I was kind of over it by that point. By the way- did I mention the worst staff meal I have experienced yet? It happened on thursday and I think I was too upset to mention it at the time. We had crostini with a bunch of weird crap to put on it like bean sauce with floating ham chunks and chunky-rabbit-liver-something-in-a-bowl. We were like "Seriously? Bad appetizers for lunch? Is this IT?" and then they made a salad with tuna that made my mouth itch. "Thanks for the poisonous canapes, you MONSTERS!" Love you guys!