31 May 2009

Bird Flu

Actually, bird shit. As I was describing a crispy lamb belly dish to my first table last night, a bird crapped on my head. I felt something cold and wet land in my hair with enough weight not to be a water droplet. I clapped my hand to my head, stunned. The people I was waited on all went "oooooooooooohhhh man!" but I cheered, "A GOOD OMEN!" And I think it was.
We have moved into our new house- we are stealing internet from someone else and the signal is spotty. I will give a better update when things settle down a little bit around here.

28 May 2009

Justice is Served

I'll tell you the tale of another waitress's pain since currently I don't have any good ones.

She works at a restaurant in my old NW neighborhood. She works hard... oh, how she works long. One beautiful afternoon as she served lunch, she had a table of business men. Nothing new here. They had money, light personalities, and shiny, pointed shoes (I'm guessing, as most of them do). They ordered cappuccino's with which to finish their meal. She went to make them, and when she returned, they were gone. Her blood pressure shot up and she furiously ran out to the sidewalk. There they were, in their big, fancy, dumb car trying to drive away. But alas, they were parked in. She approached the car and knocked on the window.
"You seem to have forgotten to PAY YOUR BILL?!?!?!?!" She hissed.
"Oh well my car seems to have been parked in, so I guess thats justice".

So guys, that's justice. When your Mercedes SUV (or whatever) gets parked in while you are walking out on your bill from a restaurant, That. Is. JUSTICE.

Thank you Samantha for the heart warming and educational lesson of the Business Man and the Justice System.

26 May 2009


I find it harder and harder to remember what happened at work the moment I walk out the door, these days. I went out drankin' with my beautiful co-workers the other night, and none of us could remember what crap had gone on mere moments before. What can you whine about when you can't even remember a single person's face or bad attitude from the evening? I have to practice word games to help jog my memory (which is a frail and faulty tangled web of lies anyway) such as : mean. nice. rude. poorly dressed. handsome. abusive. sexist. sexy. sexless. OH YEAH! And then I can launch into another boring waitressing story. But even the game isn't helping me tonight, and I really wanted to get snarky.

I will tell you that me and the Hollys got hit on by this can of vegetables

And in a much more annoying way by this balding I mean budding comedy star:

Anyway. Staff meal on saturday night was baked potato bar with rapini in smokey onion cheese sauce. Um... Are you kidding me? Broccoli and cheese on a baked potato? It was very soothing.

In other news I had a fantastic meal here including red velvet cake for dessert, and a famous burger at this famous spot in my new neighborhood!

21 May 2009

Ghost in the Machine

Has anyone ever pressed the handicap symbol next to the word verification line when they were leaving a comment on a blog? I don't know why we need to scare the shit out of our handicap readers, but I do know you should press that button as a party trick.

In other news, we were gifted a bagful of Tastebud Farms brick-oven bagels today at the farmers market from the artist himself. They are smaller than other bagels which means maybe I won't go into a coma after I eat one. I'll let you know.

BTW, It's ON.

(photo from pietopiacontest.blogspot.com)

Lookey lookey- its Pietopia! This is a contest that I am going to compete in for sure. You get to write an essay AND make a pie!!!!! The concept is that you create a pie that represents something going on in your life at the moment. So I guess my pie will be "Utter Chaos and Anxiety*" pie! You write about how each of the ingredients represents something relevant to your situation. Can I really make a pie of whiskey, cereal and asprin? It's going to be a challenge but I think I can!

But seriously, what do I love more than writing creative essays and baking pies? Putting them together is not only thrilling but also signals that there are other dweebs just like me, right here in Portland. I will NOT be revealing my recipe until the day of the contest OBVIOUSLY, but I will keep you posted with any great success or failures.

*Clearly, we are remaining remarkably chipper and enthusiastic. However, buying a house sucks and if you don't want to walk around with the shakes and your cellphone glued to your palm I might recommend that you avoid it.

Laurelhurst Market

Last night, Kevin and I unexpectedly stumbled upon the best night ever. We were thinking about going to Ken's for more pizza, when we got a phone call from one of Kevin's employees. This employee has another job cooking at Simpatica, and so he was invited to the soft opening for their new venture, The Laurelhurst Market. He kindly extended the invitation to us! The new place is both a butcher shop and restaurant- naturally heavy on the meat. The space is beautiful and includes black and sliver wallpaper in the bathroom (wallpaper being my favorite thing ever). It was too cold to be outside last night, but the bar has windows that open to an outside bar. So you can be sitting outside, looking into the restaurant and also at the people sitting at the inside version of where you are. Whhhaaaaat? The cocktail list is very rad and includes a smoky whisky drink that is made with smoked ice.
We sat down with some friends and were served a million perfect plates: grilled romaine with romanesco sauce, steak au poivre, steak frites (one of the best hanger steaks I have tried), sweet sweet mussels and frites with the thickest and most luscious aioli you can imagine, pate with pistachios, stinky macaroni and cheese, ribs... It was a frenzy. Our friend Eric who also didn't expect to be there kept yelling as dishes arrived "I'm gonna FREAK OUT." I shared his sentiment- I really was freaking out. And being a soft opening, the night was free. We left a tip of course, but whoa. I am SO LUCKY.
We realized that we were a few of the only non-Simpatica employees there- that was a little awkward, but we worked through it and maybe even made some friends. I can't wait to go back when it is officially open, which by the way happens on Friday. You should go, and bring your friends.

19 May 2009

All Too Familiar

This* looks a lot like staff meal, doesn't it? That's me at the bottom, stealing from Shane's plate.

*photo from cuteoverload.com, my favorite website.

18 May 2009

Adult Spaghetti O's

As expected, Saturday was a long and strenuous night of waiting tables. And still I followed through (which, for some reason was greeted with surprise) and made us a staff meal. When I was creating the menu in my mind for this night I really thought about the things I want out of staff meal- something warm and fun, and dessert, and I went from there.

Actually, the preparation started on Friday with the creation of 36 hour cookie dough. The key to perfect chocolate chip cookies is letting the dough rest in the fridge for a while-24 to 36 hours. Saturday (perhaps the sunniest and nicest day of the year so far) I worked in my kitchen lovingly preparing tiny meatballs, fresh cherry tomato red sauce and homemade blue cheese and buttermilk dressing. My idea was to have adult spaghetti O night, but I could only find alphabet pasta so that was the downside. I made the wonderful sauce and then pureed the shit out of it, so it was thin and saucy like the canned kind. Then I added in the tiny meatballs, and finished the whole deal with shakey-can cheese. I really know how to party.
I still had 4 tables when I started pulling the meal together at work. The kitchen, I guess pretending to mimic me, started asking about dinner at like 9:15 so I knew I had to hustle. It was very stressful, but if they were trying to teach me a lesson it did not work. I got right back there, bossed people around and got the meal going. I had already made the cookie dough and the pasta sauce with balls at home- at work I needed to boil the pasta, cut the iceburg lettuce into wedges and artfully drizzle with blue cheese dressing, and bake the cookies off. Meanwhile, I also had to dazzle my customers and keep everyone happy. Somehow it all came together perfectly. All of our customers left, we pulled the tables together, and sat down as a family. It started out so nicely, with lots of gratitude and sweetness. Things turned less sweet when bodily fluids and 7-11 became the focus of conversation, but everyone shut up again once the cookies hit the table. Warm, chewy and crispy cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Try this recipe- it can actually make boys stop talking about their penises for 2 minutes.

Oh noes!

14 May 2009

A Dark, Dark World

It turns out that if you harass a kitchen full of people for enough months (years) on end, they will break. All it took was me standing in everyone's way, stuffing undercooked crackers into my mouth and loudly complaining about staff meal. They turned on me and said, "You know what Jenny? Why don't YOU make staff meal for once if you want it so badly." And you know what I said? "FINE, I WILL. I'll show all you just how good peanut butter can BE." So... quite a pickle I got myself in. You see, I'm playing this fun game called "waitress buys a house" that has me all in a knot, and now I have to spend saturday (supposed packing day, kind of like right now is) slaving over a hot stove. Because I can't just ladle some mustard and meat pieces over hominy they way they do- I have to impress. I can't reveal my plan so far (don't have one), but it will be documented and will most likely involve candy and/or whipped cream.

Now I'm off to soothe my aching mind with vermouth.

10 May 2009

TV for Winners

You know how when you are at work you have "at work" conversations? You might be talking about something very inappropriate, or mindlessly and lovingly chatting about your pets- no matter what it is, it has a certain at-workieness about it. There is a show called Party Down that captures these conversations so well, and is also very funny. I watch my TV on the internet, so I don't know where this show lives on real TV, but you should find it and watch it. The show is about how painful catering and working with the public is, and so I think anyone from the service industry will really enjoy it. When I was riding my bike to work yesterday (yay) I saw a catering company carrying some trays into the Chinese Gardens downtown. One of the guys was making his all black uniform a little more spicy by wearing black velvet pants. Very hot. I cackled. I love this show.
Here is Constance (Jane Lynch) behaving just as I do in the workplace:

Happy Mothers Day!!!!!1!

09 May 2009

Heres a thought:

If you're going to be the worst table I have ever dealt with, don't look at my boobs while you complain about the crackers. Number one, you're old enough to be my grandfather. Number two, you're complaining about CRACKERS.
This experience taught me a lesson. Well it taught me two lessons- Holly told me maybe I shouldn't have boobs if I don't want people looking at them. So that was the first really helpful lesson. The second one was this: When I reviewed my tips at the end of the night, I thought that I saw that they had left me a large tip. This table could not have been more difficult, and so I was very surprised. So that got me thinking- Does it make it OK for a table to play mind games with you AND objectify you all at once if they leave you a large tip or does it make you feel dirty and used? What the hell? Who were these people coming in, seemingly hating everything, and then leaving a large tip? I concluded that I would have preferred if they had followed through and left a couple of nickels so I didn't feel like their whole shtick was a fucked up form of entertainment for them. "Lets complain about delicious, perfectly prepared food, and Frank- you're creepy- why don't you make the waitress uncomfortable by never once lifting your eyes from her chest! Perfect! She will squirm!" I was settled on my righteous answer- I'll take a little respect over money- until I looked at the credit card slip again and saw that they tipped quite poorly (as originally anticipated). Immediately I was pissed! So, that proves it once and for all- my morals are very weak. I'll take the money. Or maybe it just shows that I will complain no matter what.

Anyway, I've been promised pizza for staff meal tonight. Whoa- I went to the Country Cat the other night and sat at the chef's counter with my family and ended up getting in a lively conversation about staff meal with cooks. Those guys have staff meal before AND after every shift, and they bring in special treats all the time. They have nachos. I don't want to say I have a wandering eye; I'm very loyal to my job. But nachos... a girl can dream. After I get fired because of the old b-l-o-g I know where I'm going.

03 May 2009

Before AND After

Saturdays are often kind of weird for my eating schedule. I generally go out for brunch and eat so much that I feel sick all day- and so I usually don't eat before I work. But that is a bad idea, and I realize this about 15 minutes before we open, and that is when bar-caddy snack happens. The bar-caddy is the thing that holds the olives, cherries, picked onions and lemon slices for cocktails. Bar-caddy snack is when I get a plate and a spoon and serve myself a little of each, and slice up an orange for good measure. This snack does not make sense on the plate or in my stomach but my brain likes it a lot.

Post shift staff meal was awesome last night- almost as good as the pre. Japanese curry (full of my favorite spice, MSG) with potatoes, rutabaga, peas and asparagus on rice. It was hot and healthy, and paired with a frozen drink. Shane needed to use up some creepy moonshine and a bunch of other toxic spirits, so he blended them in the kitchen blender with ice and some pineapple juice. It was a perfect end to a perfect evening. Wait a minute...

I would like to address a certain behavior that I will not stand for. You see, David is kind enough to make us the most delicious little chocolates to hand out with the check for every table. He puts these adorable little chocolates into adorable little frilly paper cups. In each cup, if you look, there are two chocolates. Or, if you are hostile, defensive and rude, you do not bother to look and immediately attack your server for not giving you the proper number of free gifts. Here is a sample of this kind of behavior from a group of 6 (grumpy, hateful people) that I (disliked) waited on the other night.

Me: Thank you so much for dining with us, here are some salt and pepper chocolates made by our friend David for you to try tonight. It has been a real pleasure!
Customer #1: You only gave us three!
Me (pretending to be cheerful): Well if you look in the little cups you will see there are two chocolates in each cup. Do you really think I would only give you three free chocolates???
Customer #2: What- am I supposed to use a knife to cut them up?
Customer #3: There are ONLY THREE?!
Customer #4: What is the point of this? Why do we have three chocolates?
Me (head tilted, patronizing smile): Like I just said, if you just use your eyes you will notice that there are two FUCKING FREE CHOCOLATES THAT ARE PROBABLY THE BEST CHOCOLATES YOU WILL EVER TRY per cup. What kind of a server do you think I am? Ha ha!"

It's the fact that people immediately assume that I am ripping them off with a free gift that bothers me. We aren't getting our fair portion of free chocolate, damn it! Believe it or not, I am not a mean, cheap con-artist most of the time. I don't understand why I need to prove myself as otherwise.