Archive | January, 2012

why every restaurant should be open 24 hours.

13 Jan

One thing that keeps me and Harry’s marriage strong is indecisiveness. We just don’t know. It doesn’t matter what it is. We don’t know. A standard conversation:

“What day are we leaving for our vacation?”

“I don’t know.”

“How long should we go for?”

“Until Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. Where should we go?”

“I don’t know. What do you think? Should we go someplace hot? Cold? Should we drive? Fly?”

“I don’t know.”

It is for this reason that we CONSTANTLY end up taking vacations to Disney World. We can’t decide where else to go. There are just too many options. We need to narrow it down to a smaller world. We come to no conclusion on many other subjects as well: our baby’s name, (if Riley came out a boy, Harry was naming him Jax because he really likes the show Sons of Anarchy, and my son’s name was going to be Grady so I would have a real life cowboy in the family) what color to paint the walls, (plaid, so we can choose like 5 colors?) what to talk about (Sons of Anarchy or how much I want to move to Texas?) and (quite obviously) where to go for dinner.

No matter what the occasion or how late it is or how hungry we are, we are physically unable to decide where to eat. This isn’t sometimes, so don’t think it isn’t a severe issue. This LITERALLY occurs on a nightly basis. We drive around, we google “where can we eat right now?”, Harry tells me that he decided last time so it’s my turn to decide, I tell him my birthday is next (in 4 months) so it’s his turn to decide, and by the time we figure out where to go, it’s too late and every other restaurant has closed for the night other than Cheesecake Factory.  I know what you’re thinking, and while that menu is obscenely long, we always order the same thing (lettuce wraps, tamale cakes, a salad) so they don’t close that place on us while we’re figuring out what to get.

We’ve been known to drive to Manhattan with a reservation at a super swanky new place on opening night, dressed up (for me this is the same outfit I “did the door” in on top, jeans on the bottom and a fresh coat of lip gloss. For Harry this is pants with no elastic in the waist and hair gel. We’re very fancy people) and somehow, four hours later, end up at Little Vincent’s right around the corner from our house eating some slices. We’re talented like that.

But this weekend is going to be different. This weekend Harry and I are cruising down to AC with another couple, (this is extremely rare, as we have discussed I have pretty much no friends and FORGET about being tight with other married people…) and Harry BRILLIANTLY suggested that he’d pick a place to eat dinner. They got all excited because Harry really knows his shit about food, but I’m like freaking because I know that what it means when he says that he’s picking a place is that we’re picking a place, or rather I’m picking a place because he says I’m better at Googling than him.

Our friends told us they’re glad that if the meal sucks it won’t be their fault. What they fail to realize is that by the time we figure out where dinner is we’ll be back on Long Island and ordering short stacks at the Diner.

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Epic battle: kids v. old people

13 Jan

Today I set the ambitious goal of not changing out of elastic waist pants, which proved challenging after I made dinner plans with my friend (who still hasn’t read one of my posts all the way through, so really I want to kick him). Thankfully I have a sequin belt that makes any outfit a party outfit, so out I trekked in my pjs to a pretty trendy sushi place. I had Riley, the most adorable accessory in the whole world, so I knew that nobody would be paying much attention to me anyway.
You cannot possibly imagine the kind of pressure a restaurant owner feels bringing a child to dinner. I have devoted months, maybe years of my life to bitching about poorly behaved smelly pipsqueak brats who bring their clueless parents into my place with their diaper bags overflowing with magic markers, red food dye and other weapons of mass booth and carpet destruction. Before Riley was born my mom and I discussed relatively nothing at our almost-daily lunch dates except who we need to promote and/or fire, and why the fuck do these women have kids if all they want to do is ignore them and let them scream that they’re hungry/tired/invisible?
And now I’m the woman with the kid.
I spent my day compiling a cynical list of things that really piss me off about kids (and their lovely parents) at the restaurant. I was going to tell a story about a mother who apologized profusely for her sons’ horrific behavior just as she got popped in the face with a killer spitball. Launched by her husband.
So I had it all ready to go, with a little space leftover for unexpected moments of poor parenting at some point during the evening. And I got to dinner, armed with my usual arsenal of organic cheddar bunnies, one of those sticky placemats, half of the toy department of Target and a picture book about manners (call me old fashioned but I keep the iPhone and iPad for emergency situations only. It’s like using your high beams – you might think it’s really dark now but just you wait ’til we turn off the highway). Riley is one and a half. She has two teeth and is the size of a medium size 11-month-old. And as it turns out, she is a human baby just like all of the monsters at my place, and if she isn’t feeling the moment, she’s gonna let you know. So I prepare for the worst. Gay Asian Waiter (we need to start calling him Charlie because my dad said I run the risk of hurting his feelings, plus it makes the story confusing because we’re at a sushi place) is one of the helpful/understanding type friends so that made me feel even more ready for the hell on the horizon.
But something happened.
Riley sat at the table and played with chopsticks. She quietly picked at cheddar bunnies and babbled with the waitress through the salad course and snacked on our tomatoes and jicama. She double fisted her sweet potato roll and laughed and laughed and laughed.
SHE
BEHAVED
PERFECTLY!
Here I was trying to trash my kid for the sake of blog wonderfulness and she gave me NOTHING. In fact, the most significant incident of the evening was the fact that we tried to order iced tea and were informed that they don’t have any (Do you have ice, nice Japanese waitress? Because I KNOW you have tea).

So instead of making any you parents reading this feel terrified of dining at my establishment because I’ll be inspecting your family’s every move so I can turn you into a witty anecdote, I’d like to leave you with this thought:
If you are an old couple (or anyone else) and you are sitting in a trendy sushi place (or anyplace else) and the moment comes that a child is seated at the table next to you (oh please I know you roll your eyes and throw a silent temper tantrum) and that child behaves perfectly, do the parents a favor.
Tell them that you noticed.
Or even just smile, or nod, or (heaven forbid) throw the adorable child a friendly wave.
Because while a quiet, happy child involves a little bit of luck, it takes a lot of fucking work to make it happen.

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How to not be annoying in a restaurant.

11 Jan

Yesterday after I posted part 1 of why I have no friends, I received an outpouring of comments from two people, accusing me of treating them like chopped liver. Coincidentally, one of these readers also has food allergies, so in one post I not only declared that I don’t really consider her a friend, but I also called her nuts. While I may have been exaggerating slightly about my friendless existence, having friends simply isn’t that funny. How many jokes start out “So I was hanging out at a swingin’ bar with a group of peers who truly enjoy spending oodles of time with me…?” Exactly my point. None. That being said, I don’t want to insult the other three of you, so I will refrain from publishing the exhilarating conclusion to Why I Have No Friends until these folks decide to drop me like a Hot Potato because I exploited their questionable taste in comrades on the internet.

Last night was alright at the restaurant. There were some super annoying customers in the dining room, (“No, sir, you cannot use a tax exempt form to pay for your bowl of soup. And unfortunately we do not accept gift certificates to the restaurant that was in this location ten years ago.”) and one major bitch at the bar, (“This is an oversized wine glass, we don’t fill it to the top, you are not getting ripped off, I promise.”) but all in all it was pretty uneventful.

The real action came after work, when I went for a late night snack to one of those trendy beer places that serves like 389 beers nobody has ever heard of (or is it just 4 beers and 389 different labels? Conspiracy? I think maybe…) and I ordered “whatever’s light on tap,” which any smart bartender will translate to “anything that tastes like water with a little beer in it.” This guy must have thought I like beer or something, because he gave me a sample of something “light in color” but “super hoppy.” I swished it around in my mouth like Listerine, hoping that I’d grow accustomed to the nasty taste and actually miss it after I swallowed it. Not the case.

“Maybe I’ll just have a Bud Light.”

Because guess what. I am just as much of a pain in the ass as every customer I bitch about. I didn’t come to this conclusion myself, because obviously I think that everything I do is perfect. It was actually the Gay Asian Waiter for whom I wrote yesterday’s Haiku (who kindly informed me that he still won’t read my whole blog post, so it’s good that I’m getting some other hits).

“You’re just like all of the other asshole customers.”

I attempted to dispute this ridiculous accusation until he began to point out some key examples. Here, a list of ways that I am just as annoying as all of you in restaurants.

  1. I want a booth. Even if the wait is longer. Even if there are no booths in the building. I want a booth. The only exception to this is if I am with five other people, in which case I want a round table.
  2. Can you tell me precisely how many more people are before me on that wait list? I, too, look at the wait list as the hostess is checking, even though it annoys the HELL out of me when you do it to me. I’m super lucky because I’m also familiar with Open Table and can track my reservation from more of a distance across the room. Oh, and speaking of Open Table….
  3. Why, yes! I did make that online reservation while my husband was pulling into the parking lot! I mean, where there’s a will there’s a way.
  4. I haven’t even GLANCED at the menu yet! Sorry! It doesn’t matter who is sitting next to me at the table, or if I’ve been to this restaurant 6 other days this week. I have no idea what I want, and if I’m with another female, I won’t know for at least 45 more minutes. Also I’d like you to read my mind and come back to the table at the EXACT moment I’m ready to order.
  5. I just can’t decidddeeeeeeeee…. What do you recommend? And yes, I always order the exact opposite of whatever the item is. You say Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I say Ummm Do You Have Anything Right Side Up?
  6. Excuse me, Waiter? There’s a hair, fly and piece of metal in my soup. This actually doesn’t annoy me in the slightest as a restaurant owner, as long as it’s done with a little bit of class. And don’t get me wrong. I don’t do this to get something for free (although I’m extremely talented at getting comped dessert by making managers feel really bad and/or pity my date. Another day…). I do this because if you have a legit problem with anything happening in a restaurant, nobody is going to be able to fix it by you keeping it to yourself. And you never know who is going to be turned off in the future. For instance, the other day I dined at a terrible restaurant disguising itself as a new overpriced steakhouse (I’m keeping the name out of this to protect the potential available real estate) and when the head server asked how everything was, I said (after I paid so as to not encourage a discount or comp) “The food was not good. But worst of all is the pen sticking out of our waitress’s ponytail. Perhaps next time she removes it to take an order for a $40 piece of chicken she can put it in her apron pocket?”
  7. Oh, we’re the only people left! We’re not keeping you here are we? IF YOU EVER HAVE TO ASK THAT QUESTION, THEN THE ANSWER IS GET OUT NOW BEFORE THE BUSBOY KEYS YOUR CAR.

 

Lots of love to my two friends and everyone else who’s been reading to the end of these THRILLING posts!!

part 1 of why I have no friends.

10 Jan

Being the short as hell owner’s daughter doesn’t have as many benefits as you may be thinking. Maybe, over the course of the past few days, you’ve convinced yourself that I’m a highly refined dainty heiress, running a top notch food service operation to the best of any tall Harvard grad’s abilities. This is actually not the case. Because I looked and acted like I was fourteen until I was just about double that age, (one may argue that I still act fourteen and to that particular person, I say the Disney Channel is better) my parents discouraged me from taking on any sort of management role. So I worked my way all the way up from hostess to waitress over the course of fifteen and half years.

Because of my later-in-life promotion, (Face it. When nepotism is in play, one should be running at least part of the company by the time he/she graduates middle school) I developed more of a casual management style. I had spent so much of my restaurant life cleaning out coffee grounds and folding napkins with the underling servers and bartenders that I really felt like I was one of them, not the superior powerhouse that so many restaurant managers see when they look in the bathroom mirror (you know, the one that says ’employees must wash hands before returning to work’). I mean, yeah, if I’ve got PMS, you better not make eye contact with me unless I tell you to. But generally speaking, I’m really the chillest manager princess in all the land.

And I really do attempt to treat everyone equally. I don’t discriminate. For example I once made out with a salad guy from Mexico City after work in the alley outside the restaurant. Go ahead and ask a Salvadorian or Guatamalan. They wouldn’t touch that shit with a ten foot pole. And you know that really really sketchy bar in the bad part of town that may or may not have bars on the windows and a satellite police station setup next door for the sake of convenience? I’ve gone dancing there. More than once. But don’t think that I’m stereotyping and saying that the only difference there is between restaurant employees is what country they hail from. There’s also the issue of gender. In my book, boys and girls should be spoken to exactly the same. I told some waitress to “grow a pair” because customers were being mean and she cried during a busy Friday night service. And we encourage all of our bartenders to show some skin during their shift. Even the ugly ones.

Another non-benefit of my job (other than no retirement package, in-house daycare program, business-class air travel or summers off) is that every time I “click” with someone who works for me and we go out partying like it’s 1997, (or whenever it was that I was still a waitress) they almost undoubtedly drop me like a bad habit as soon as I tell them that they can’t smoke a cigarette while their table is trying to place an order. Occasionally (once) this has not been the case, but at this point my level of paranoia is so severe that I’m still pretty convinced that Harry is using me to maintain job security. And to him I say SMART MOVE, BUDDY, NOW GIVE ME A BACK MASSAGE. Because that’s the lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of decades – that if someone is going to use you for your benefits, then you should use them right back. For instance, if they can provide you with really good conversation/pot/fashion advice, they are worthy of being in your company. Even if it means they are going to hog tables or wear a dirty apron or tell you to go fuck yourself and storm out the door during the dinner rush.

And now the moment you didn’t know you were waiting for!

Introducing…. The Tuesday Poetry Corner!!! Dedicated to all of my friends with Attention Deficit Disorder, here is your incentive to get all the way to the end of my blog post. One of these particular friends mentioned that while he thinks my posts are funny, he hasn’t actually read one in its entirety because it’s too long. And so, dear spaz, this haiku is dedicated to you….

gay asian waiter

you get paid to be my friend

please don’t remind me

Tomorrow perhaps I will discuss people with food allergies and why they drive me NUTS.

Taylor Swift is cooler than you so stop lying to yourself.

9 Jan

One of my favorite hobbies is pushing my highly opinionated music theories on bar patrons. Most often it begins because an Amy Winehouse song starts to play and some FOOL says something like “I’m just not a fan” or “I have no respect for people who drink and do drugs like that.” Ok, first of all? YOU’RE SITTING AT A BAR. The only difference between you and her is how big your glass is. Oh, and that she’s like ridiculously talented. And I bet when Bruno Mars and Adele come on you’re gonna be like “Ooh this song is rockin!'” Well guess what, my friend, you can thank the late great Ms W for even being exposed to that shit, because they’re her contemporaries.

OK. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to her music from the beginning of her career because I liked her backstory (and I secretly wondered if after the song “Tim McGraw” came out he slept with her…I think no, although if you saw Country Strong you may be a little skeptical). All these people dump on the chick, who is clearly just a Geek Girl Gone Right. I mean, ew. What a freak… She writes her own music, is a poised and eloquent role model, has great hair (it dries naturally like that, people) and adorable dresses, makes her personal experiences RHYME and is taller than most of my guy friends. Ok, the tall part is a little nuts, but other than that, what’s the big deal? Because she acts surprised when she wins every award she’s nominated for? See, Tom Hanks ruined it for people like Taylor Swift. Somewhere along the way, maybe the part where he talked to that volleyball for 3 hours, Tom Hanks just became the guy who was gonna win. And he was suave and witty and well prepared. What the fuck is wrong with being surprised that you’re better than Adele and Lady Gaga according to a group of educated people (or tweens)? I’m pretty sure that if someone told you that you were the greatest entertainer in the world, you’d be a little enthusiastic as well. And if you weren’t, then give me that Golden Surfboard because it’s really fucking cool, and you clearly don’t appreciate it enough.

I’ve got lots and lots of qualifications for these compelling arguments, so don’t think that I’m just arbitrarily coming to conclusions. For example, in third grade, the chorus teacher said I have really good pitch. Gavin Rossdale signed my t-shirt once, and I saw Dave Matthews in an airport in Italy. And I played the viola for like twelve years (Yes, I was in the orchestra in college, which I used to meet guys. Haha just kidding, that is obviously not a brilliant social plan. In fact, I invited my stand mate to a Halloween party the year I was a Slutty Angel and he vomited in my friend’s car) and I have a really expensive instrument sitting in my closet. I arrived at college during the dawn of Napster, so basically I’ve heard every song ever recorded (even if the every track on the Counting Crows Hard Candy album was on a loop of the first line, it still counts). I know more Bossa Nova than “The Girl From Ipanema” and one time I was at a Phish show in Vegas, and they covered a song and nobody knew what it was and I said “Hey, this sounds like Stevie Wonder!” and sure enough it was and everyone there (other than the people who were passed out or tripping) was very impressed with my mad skills. Last but certainly not least, I dreamt about Carol Channing the other night (Google her, young ones) where she forgot the words to “All That Jazz” and I sat next to the stage and reminded her. So see? I definitely know my shit about music. Sometimes I feel like if I dumped all the lyrics I know out of my brain, I’d have a real capacity for remembering other things, like the difference between a Republican and a Democrat, or how to subtract without using my fingers, or what I ate for breakfast.

I’ve decided to reveal my biggest secret last, because I didn’t want to destroy my credibility for 90% of you. I am hugely into country music. Not just like the ONE Lady Antebellum song and ONE Band Perry song that play on Top 40 radio. I mean, like I know every song on the Billboard Top 100 Country Singles. And I have dragged Harry to a multitude of country concerts (although he “had to go to the bathroom” for the entire first and second acts at the last concert, and missed the part where the singer guy said that he loves Jesus and I cheered in the spirit of the moment even though I’m a Jew and don’t really have any particular feelings either way for him/her/it). As a celebration of the start of my blog, I made a playlist on Spotify (by far the greatest creation of our time) for your listening pleasure. The Official Shelbytown Playlist

Awesome country songs as determined in about 7 minutes by the most well rounded music fan in the history of the world:

1. Beautiful Mess, Diamond Rio

2. Our Song, Taylor Swift

3. That’s the Way That the World Goes Round, Miranda Lambert (except the weird feedback during the first verse which I am not a fan of)

4. Stay, Sugarland

5. Don’t, Billy Currington

6. Summertime, Kenny Chesney (seasonally inappropriate but whatever)

7. These Days, Rascal Flatts

8. Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde, Travis Tritt

9. Devil Went Down to Georga, Charlie Daniels Band or even better, the cover by the Zac Brown Band (which I can NOT play on the viola)

10. You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn

11. Who’s Your Daddy, Toby Keith

Side note: I own Jackson’s in Commack (which is delicious and I highly recommend it for all your eating and drinking pleasures). That is NOT the restaurant I was referring to that is closing. The restaurant I was referring to (still no confirmation so I’m still not saying the name) is the one that I was raised in by my parents who are in Atlantic City right now if you’re looking for them, and they sold it from under me in 2001, leaving me floundering for a career path. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Why marrying a chef is stupid.

8 Jan

It’s really been nagging me that I mentioned in my very first blog post ever that I was stupid for marrying a chef with no supporting evidence. In fact, I’ve gotten feedback like “what do you mean? being married to a chef must be so fun! What sort of wonderland is inside your refrigerator?” or “I’m jealous of you. Your house must smell like muffins and bernaise sauce ALL THE TIME!”

This is not the case. My kitchen reeks of lack of use. The stovetop is a holding area for empty pizza boxes and various pieces of junk mail, although we have a salt pig (vocabulary of the day! an open salt holder thingy that you keep on your counter to season creations such as Cheesecake Factory takeout) that a friend bought as an engagement gift and looks extremely professional. Our refrigerator is a wonderland… of week old chinese food, leftover pancakes, (my area of expertise) partially expired condiments (I say partially because Harry pays attention to the dates and I don’t) and juice packs for my 9-year-old stepson to take to school. What about the baby? That’s what you’re probably thinking. She’s a modern girl, my friends. She eats takeout with her parents, like any well adjusted restaurant kid knows to do.

Chefs are notoriously cranky. I mean, think about it. Their job is to make sure that every other person in the restaurant is doing EXACTLY what they want, while standing over a hot fire and periodically burning themselves on scorching oil. If the chef wants a 1″ dice on the carrots, and the Norbert the New Guy 3/4″, that is like a really really big problem in the chef’s life. Or Wanda Waitress rings a steak in to be cooked to medium, and the Gus the Grill Guy cooks it a little closer to medium well, it goes out to the table, and the steak comes back because the server meant to write medium rare, and the customer could have accepted it if it were medium but really this is just totally overcooked, the chef (by way of Wanda and Gus) has destroyed the night of every person at the table, or maybe even their year. Talk about pressure! (Chefs are maybe a little bit dramatic. Thank you, Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef.)

Harry and I work together, which is really most of the reason that I’m stupid. We literally have to bring our work home with us, because it’s dinner. So how do I not tell him that the wings are dry and stringy? It is my wifely obligation. Or maybe it’s my work obligation. It’s a foggy line… And try growing up flirting with every person that walks through the door, and now throw your significant other into the routine. Boring!

So no, marrying a chef is not all sunshine all the time. I mean, it does have its perks….

Ok, I just sat and spaced out for like 13 minutes trying to come up with the perks. This is what I came up with:

1. Harry and I have the perfect excuse not to participate in any of those lame-o dinners, weddings, movie nights and other social gatherings you regular people subject each other to. That’s right, the restaurant has a ridiculous amount of reservations tonight, sorry! Next time! Or if we’re feeling extra smart, we show up at the end when you are all drunken fools/summing up all the gossip of the night/eating yummy dessert and we feel quite satisfied. If we know you have a knack for party planning, or legitimately feel like we’ll be sad if we’re left out of photos, we might make an exception. Sometimes Harry is “too busy at work” and I go alone. Most of these occasions result in my acquiring a substitute husband for the evening, catching the bouquet and eloping to Reno. Sorry Harry.

2. We save A LOT of money on dry cleaning. Yes, all you teachers out there can continue your jealous streak. Harry’s uniform gets tossed in the laundry because it is comprised entirely of elastic waist pants and t-shirts. Basically, Harry gets to wear my after-work couch clothes all day long.

3. Harry makes really pretty fruit platters, so if by some act of the gods we are actually invited to somebody’s house for a brunch, (and that brunch is held on a Sunday, because as we’ve already discussed, we don’t do Saturday social engagements) we can provide an impressive showing of sliced seasonal melons.

To give Harry some credit, he is also stupid for marrying me.

Tomorrow I’m going to be discussing Taylor Swift but you should read the post anyway.

Dishwashers are people too! (this post is really about my shoes)

7 Jan

Maybe in your world the dishwasher is a kitchen appliance that maybe breaks the night you host a dinner party and you kick it and call it an asshole. The dishwasher sports a dent and a scuff and eventually the Maytag guy shows up and fixes it and life is easy again.
In my experience, that sort of treatment towards the dishwasher in a restaurant isn’t ideal. For one thing, I wear pretty nice shoes at work and I’m not looking for them to get all messed up. It’s bad enough that my heels get stuck in the holes in the rubber mats and get all disgusting. Do I really need to fuck them up more by kicking the dishwasher?
But the main reason that kicking the dishwasher at a restaurant is frowned upon is because he is an actual person. Well, if you took the time to pay attention to how furiously they replenish the dining room with soup spoons and appetizer plates, you may be convinced that they are machines, (or robots!) not mere mortals. But they are, in fact, people.
Back to my shoes.
So on Saturday nights I like to follow two rules of thumb. Heels and cleavage. I have learned over time that breasts can make certain people (I won’t mention any specific genders on this one) forget how famished they are for solid food. So when it turns out the wait is a little tiny bit (40 minutes) longer than anticipated, my partially nude body really softens the blow. The shoes are because I’m short as hell, and at this point my feet last longer on a busy Saturday night if my heels are elevated. Buying footwear for work is daunting to say the least. It’s my job to look fabulous so they can’t be any of those dorky non-slip numbers. Stilettos get stuck in the little holes in the mats, toes have to be closed so I don’t cut then open on random shards of glass (or ever have to get a pedicure). They can’t be suede or have a leather heel because there’s a lot of crap that ends up on the floor and lord knows it will destroy those puppies almost immediately.
So basically at this point in time I am left with two pairs of Saturday night work shoes. Pair #1 is leopard. They are four years old and thisclose to having holes in the soles. I get an endless flow of compliments from old ladies, young ladies, hubbies and kiddies, and all I can think is “holy shit thank goodness it’s dark in here.” The others are black Coach boots that I love more every time I put them on. I really don’t tend to make large investments in shoes for work because they get the crap kicked out of them more severely than your Whirlpool. So these boots are like a super big deal to me. My favorite part about wearing them tonight was when I jumped behind the bar to be helpful and somehow, half a pomegranate martini ended up inside of the right one, slushing around for a good hour until it finally dissolved into my tights.
Anyway, heels and breasts. My personal keys to a smooth Saturday dinner service.
But don’t think that my job is all glamorous and go deciding that you should leave your mundane teaching job to open a restaurant so you can dress like a flousy AND get paid. This evening I picked a paper towel off the floor (carefully, so as to not expose any unnecessary body parts) and realized, upon inspection that it was actually a ped. You know, those little socks made out of nude pantyhose that they have in the tissue boxes at Macy’s. I know what you’re thinking. What the fuck was it doing there? Just another culinary mystery I’ll never have the answer to.
And don’t quit your day job.

where i come from…

7 Jan

So there’s this restaurant in a stuffy shopping center not too far from here. After twenty-three years, this weekend is the last weekend it will operate. It means pretty much nothing to quite a few people, probably even you. Maybe you had a first date there. Maybe it worked out, maybe it didn’t. Perhaps you sat outside in the summertime and had a salad, or took your Nana there for her birthday.

Unless you were me.

In the case that you were me, you did your homework in the office above the ladies bathroom. You made pets out of soft shell crabs before they became someone’s dinner (sorry.). You brought your best friend to sit in the corner after school and ogle cute waiters, hoping that they’d risk their job to take you to a house party and get you drunk on jello shots. You got paid a crisp 20 dollar bill to essentially complain from opening, to lunch rush, to shift change, to dinner rush, to closing, all while wearing a pristine uniform of black pants, white shirt and red bowtie. Yes, if you were me, you’d do all of these things quite regularly. Because if you were me you’d have been the owner’s kid.

If you ever worked in a family-run restaurant, then you hate my type (or adore, believe me I have had a fan or ten in my time, many of whom hail from Central America …). I’m pretty spoiled, but know how to cut the shit out of a lemon. If a toilet breaks and is filled with unidentifiable substances, I fix it straight away, but bitch about it for like two weeks as though it’s the worst thing that ever happened to me in my entire life. I complain that I’m broke but buy a new outfit before every hostess shift.

Anyway, that’s where I come from. A restaurant that’s going out of business, and even though we haven’t owned it (I say “we” because at 14 years old I was undeniably essential in the running of the business) since 2001, I’m freaking out and having a nervous breakdown and the only solution I can come up with is to start a blog.

My parents have owned restaurants my whole life and after years of resenting the fact that we have to talk about plate origin and linen bills at the dinner table, I decided to jump on board after graduating from college with the clearly logical TV, Radio and Film degree. Then, to add to my stupidity, I married the chef, and now raise my children in a far more spacious office than the one above the ladies bathroom. So maybe I’ll write about that. Or perhaps I’ll push my opinions of tween TV programming or Amy Winehouse on you. (I miss her everyday.)

To conclude my first post, which I realize has absolutely no direction (as most of my thoughts often do) I will list some tips I picked up at this special restaurant which we will not name. How can I mention the name when really the fact that it’s closing is totally a rumor and I don’t like to start rumors?

1. If you are a teenager in the ’90s, you should probably not acquire all your musical taste from the Wurlitzer in the corner. Patsy Cline has nothing on TLC at the homecoming dance.

2. Even though it can lead to serious injury, it is VITAL to be able to close a metal takeout container faster than the person next to you.

3. Jappy women are people too. I’m Jewish and from Long Island, I can say that.

4. Learn to speak words in Spanish other than “ella.” Because while it’s nice to know that you’re talked about, it is also helpful to know what is being said.

5. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so having unlimited free meals at your disposal makes you popular. Choose wisely.

Disclaimer: I rarely choose wisely.

How are you supposed to end blogs? See you tomorrow?