Archive | March, 2012

sexual harrassment: it’s not just for kids anymore!

29 Mar

The other day one of my veteran waiters asked to speak to me privately. He wanted to let me know that he had been smacked in the ass and told that he had “a lot of junk in the trunk” by a new hire while he was bending over to get a takeout bag. He told me that it wasn’t a big deal, but he thought I should know. His ass and his ego were sore for days.

As a result, Harry and I quickly decided to formalize a Sexual Harrassment Policy to review with the entire staff and have them sign so they’ll stop spanking each other in front of customers, forming massage trains in the walk-in and using our bartop for passionate makeout sessions before shifts. No no, it’s all come to an end. In this age of gratuitous lawsuits and where everyone in town is looking for a quick $540 million, we need to make sure that we establish ourselves as an environment that doesn’t encourage this sort of behavior unless you’re the owners who are married to each other.

But the thing about the restaurant business is that it sort of goes hand-in-hand with lewd innuendo and frisky frolicking and unsuitable touching. I didn’t make it that way, it’s just how it is.

For example.

Tonight we had a party for some high school cheerleaders and their moms. [Sidebar: I figured out why all the teens were walking in their platform stilettos like complete spazzes… because you don’t REALLY learn to properly walk in idiotic heels until college, when you’re shitfaced at some frat party and have to walk 3 miles back to your dorm in a -16° blizzard WITHOUT SPRAINING YOUR ANKLES. You just don’t learn that crucial info ’til you get your diploma. Hardcore incentive to graduate and matriculate in a 4-year college with on-campus housing – you learn to walk.] So….. we’ve got this trophy dinner finishing up, and the two middle-aged waitresses working the party (we’ll just call them Thing 1 and Thing 2) decided that they wanted to entice Harry to help them clean up by offering to vacuum topless.

“I cannot condone this inappropriate behavior,” I scolded them and shot Harry the death look which he didn’t seem to notice because he was distracted, either with the schoolgirls or Things 1 and 2, I don’t know which. “You all signed a document banning you from offering sexual services in exchange for work. This is not good.”

“I didn’t sign it yet,” Thing 1 told me.

“I did,” said Thing 2 (I think she was a little jealous of Thing 1). “But Shelby, this is how we get our kicks. We’re old. We need this.”

Way to put me in an awkward position, Things 1 & 2. Who am I to make old people sad?

a post before 10pm! yippee skippee!

29 Mar

Last night we made lemon ricotta pancakes with strawberries, bananas and nutella (not all in one, we’re not animals. jeez.) until 1:30am. They were delicious, but you’re not going to get them at Hashbrown Harry’s because they just weren’t “je ne sais quois” enough, so oh well. I do have a tendency to cook my friends pancakes on their birthdays at around the same time of night, so maybe if you’re fortunate enough to become my friend right before your birthday I’ll do you something good.

Oddly enough, I woke up with a mild bellyache. So now I can’t eat anymore pancakes or eggs. I guess I’m on to mimosa and hash brownie test tasting for the rest of the week.

In other news, come pick up your limited edition Hashbrown Harry’s business cards while they last starting April 4th. You know where, don’t make me tell you. Or if you want me to mail you one leave a comment.

In fact, just leave a comment anyway, ok? Like how you can’t wait for April 28th. Or that you think I’m super hot. Or, if you’re my mom, you can tell me you hate eggs.

if I see one more poached egg i’m gonna puke.

27 Mar

I. Just. Can’t. Eat. Any. More. Eggs.

I’m changing my husband’s name to Benedict Harry and am considering selling him on eBay. It’s not that I don’t think he’s awesome, and I really do understand how meticulous the planning of a (popup) restaurant menu is. But honestly? When do we get to the fucking pancakes and hash brownies? I have gotten drippy yolk on every outfit I’ve worn in the past week. My Asian dry cleaner is getting insanely suspicious.
“It’s egg! It’s egg!” I shout as she winks at me, as though we’re in cahoots.
The eggs are destroying my reputation among the Asian world. All I have left are Heejun from American Idol (he won’t answer my tweets, which is such bullshit but whatevs) and Charlie, who is totally going to stop talking to me tomorrow when he reads this and finds out that Heejun is STILL my #1 favorite Asian.

Anyway…..

Poetry Tuesday!

IF I SEE ONE MORE POACHED EGG I’M GONNA PUKE

No more eggs.
Eggs no more.
Please put your eggs back in your drawer.
I truly do not want to fight
But all I dream is yolks and whites
I’m glad you’re trying recipes
But switch the main ingredient, please
I used to love that runny goo
Now I want them thrown at you.
I want to kick them very far
I will not eat them at the bar.
I cannot eat them on a plate
Stop poaching, take me on a date!
I will not them mix them in a cake
I will not pair them with a steak
I do not want them in my bed
I do not want them fried instead.
I don’t prefer them green or brown
I really can’t keep poached eggs down.
If they were pancakes I’d have ten
And then I’d eat those ten again.
If you throw in chocolate chips
I’ll eat pancakes while I skip
But you just want to make more eggs
Although I puke and cry and beg
I just don’t care if we are married
I won’t eat your dumb eggs, Harry.

Don’t forget to make your reservations via our half-assed new website!! Hashbrown Harry’s

Hashbrown Harry’s roundup!

26 Mar

In the past few days, Harry and I have been hard at work getting our shit together for Hashbrown Harry’s. This basically means that all we eat is breakfast, all we talk about is server uniforms and all I think about is fonts. Which really sucks for Riley. She’s been whining in her crib for like 52 hours now, and I feel really bad but I’m super preoccupied.

Here’s some useful information:

  • Hashbrown Harry’s is a one night only pop-up restaurant, which will be located in Commack on Saturday, April 28th. H.H. is a late-night breakfast joint, which was born out of necessity because one night me, Charlie and Nicole couldn’t decide where to go. It is farm-to-table, which means that the food will be locally sourced when possible, and organic when possible. The eggs are hatched about 2 miles away from where you’ll be munching on them. Forseriously.
  • Dinner is at 9:30pm. There will be one seating. Dress is casual. It’s weird if you want to wear jammies but we’re an equal opportunity establishment. Unless you’re nude, in which case you need to be wearing shoes or we won’t serve you.
  • There will be 7 courses. One of them will be a hot-and-cold duo of cereals, consisting of homemade organic fruit loops and something hot like grits or quinoa. What did you say? I’m amazing? Yes, I’m aware.
  • The 7 courses will be paired with a beverage, spiked and/or not spiked. So either don’t come wasted or don’t be in charge of your own transportation.
  • The final course will feature hash brownies. The only way to know if I’m serious or not will be to eat them and find out.
  • Reservations are available (going faster than I thought) by emailing hashbrownharrys@gmail.com or by visiting this website and booking through Open Table. Keep in mind that this website is not affiliated with Shelbytown, it is simply the facility in which Hashbrown Harry’s will be popping up. Please note on your reservation if you have any food allergies so that we can best accommodate you/not poison you.
  • Hashbrown Harry’s t-shirts will be available for purchase, so bring some cash. (I know what you’re thinking, and if we have leftover brownies they’re totally on the market as well. It’s a variation on my dream…)
  • Charlie will 100% be in attendance. Lucky lucky you.

Another thing we’ve done over the past two days is clean the house, because our every-other-week cleaning ladies didn’t show up on their normal day so we just decided to do it ourselves and throw “spring cleaning” into the mix. All this means is that I can’t move any of my body parts because I’m SO exhausted from furiously Swiffering the crusted raisins off the floor, and my feet are all torn-up from stepping on Austin’s stray Legos.

I was planning on using this as my excuse to write very little tonight, but I just realized that tonight is the premiere of Secret Life of the American Teenager and Make it or Break it on ABC Family, so I’m going to use that instead.

memoirs of a shitty shitty day.

24 Mar

Today was a shitty day in many, many ways. Here are the highlights:

  1. My good spatula has gone missing so my pancakes came out like shit. I don’t think it had to do with the expired milk I used to make them, but I guess we’ll never know.
  2. While trying to snap a photo of Riley wearing her Syracuse hat at the park, I accidentally tripped her, causing her to fall on her face and get a scratch on her nose and a bump on her forehead. Twenty minutes later, I put Riley in the big girl swing because Austin insisted on sitting in the baby swing, and she wasn’t holding on as tight as I thought (because she’s a baby). Yada, yada, yada, I am just now getting all of the recycled tire “dirt” out of her hair.

    Riley post-trip. Nice recovery.

  3. Austin got his foot stuck at the top of the slide, and while I was taking pictures of him being a total weirdo, Riley took it upon herself to “borrow” the toy of an extremely violent bitch of a toddler.

    My stepkid's a weirdo.

  4. I poured the gelatin too soon for the top layer of my Arnold Palmer jello shots, and in my haste I fucked them all up. What was supposed to be a bi-layer treat with a candied piece of lemon in the middle is now a glob of brown sugary goo with a stack of lemons on one side of the pan and a clump of frilled toothpicks on the other.
  5. I ate all my family meal chicken wings without remembering use blue cheese. (Vocab of the day: FAMILY MEAL: The meal that the staff eats before a shift. Ideally a time to bond between kitchen staff and front-of-the-house staff, or for me and Harry, time to check our TMZ app for the day.) I hate wings without blue cheese.
  6. I found a tutorial on Pinterest for how to do the Katniss Everdeen braid and did a damn good job considering how french braid impaired I’ve been for my whole life. I did it over 3 times to get it perfect, didn’t move my neck for an hour and put 35 bobby pins in it for stability. Nevertheless, it fell out before the dinner rush even started.
  7. At exactly 7:05pm, I was all ready to watch the Syracuse game when a series of men over 6′ tall blocked the TV for the entire first half.
  8. My hostess and I were bullied by a hungry asswad who didn’t understand that sometimes on a Saturday night at an amazingly delicious and popular restaurant, you’ve got to wait a few minutes for your table.
  9. Syracuse lost, (or so I was told – I was crying under my desk when it hit the 1 minute mark) and my mom called me to tell me that one of the waiters at her restaurant was really happy, so it wasn’t all terrible. Really mom? Tell that to my Syracuse Cheerleader Barbie Doll, who now has nothing to do until next year except sit in a drawer in my office.

So that was my day. Broken babygirl. Epic Jello shot fail. Fallen Katniss braid. No team for which to root. A cop hot on my trail (let’s not even get started…).

Luckily I picked up 37 ounces of Frozen Yogurt (fine. 2 ounces of Yogurt, 35 ounces of Fruit Loops, Caramel Cups, Heath Bar, Hot Fudge and Fruity Pebbles) to make it all go away.

Hopefully it won’t give me brain freeze.

i am not on acid so please stop asking.

23 Mar

To my dearest readers. Hashbrown Harry’s opens (and closes) on Saturday, April 28th. You’re the first to know, and the first to get a seat. If you’d like to come indulge in 7 courses of farm-to-table late-night breakfast (you can bet your ass it’s going to be the dining experience you won’t want to miss) please send an email to hashbrownharrys@gmail.com and include your name, phone number, # of people and whether you’d like the 9pm or 10pm seating. I have no idea how much it will cost you so don’t ask me. Less than those douchey steak places, I can promise you that.

Anyway…..

A really really cool thing about my job is that I can make any type of Jello shots I feel like. Today I decided on pink velvet cupcakes with icing and sprinkles. I also worked on the iced tea layer of an Arnold Palmer Jello square but was way too tired from seeing The Hunger Games into the wee hours of the night to finish them. Tomorrow I’ll add the top layer, but instead of lemonade I’m making orangeade because Syracuse plays at 7:05 and if I like to do whatever I can to support my team.

 In addition to conceptualizing and executing my jiggly creations, I also have the grueling job of arguing with customers about what will or will not make a delicious Jello shot flavor. For instance, some guy told me that Guiness shots and dill pickle shots didn’t sound tantalizing, and I had to get all confrontational with him and threaten to never conversate with him ever ever again. Don’t worry. he came around.

Tonight an interesting thing happened. I was working the room, which is how I typically roll on a Friday night, when one of my waitresses cornered me. “Do you need eye drops?”

I looked at her quizzically.

“I’m just asking. Because I have some. I noticed how glassy your eyes look.”

“I’m not on drugs right now,” I told her. “Is that the word in the server station? That I’m on drugs? Because I’m seriously not.” I stared off at the blimp floating in the corner and the guy dressed as Glinda the Good Witch trying to shoot it down with a BB Gun, but quickly regained my focus.

I declined the eye drops and continued on my way. The hallucinations, in case you’re suspicious, areobviouslythe result of seeing too late of a movie at my old age.

Five minutes later I was chatting with a friendly couple, talking up my Jello shots and late night pop-up restaurant when she asked me if I’m on Acid right now. “Why does everyone keep asking if I’m on drugs?”

“I’m not judging you, I think Acid is great.” At least I know that if I decide to pursue my dream of being a weed dealer I’ll have one customer. Surely if she’s dropping Acid she’s good for a bag of pot every now and then.

The ironic thing about the drugs I was doing all night is that I don’t do drugs at work. Drugs and work just don’t mix unless you’re a pharmacist or a doctor or in the music industry. Instead, I participate in an alternative lifestyle that involves checking my TMZ app, drinking chocolate milk shaken with ice, dancing to the Neon Trees song with Charlie, and answering the phone in a British accent.

The chocolate milk caused my glassy eyes for sure.

 

 

questions we ask ourselves on girl’s night out.

22 Mar

20120322-224012.jpg

dreams do come true, sometimes in the form of poached eggs.

21 Mar

One of the most important things you have to do when you’re opening a restaurant is eat as much food as possible. Something I learned this week about Harry is that poaches a mean egg. Something he learned about me is that I’m a bottomless pit when it comes to perfectly poached eggs. We’re quite a team.

Today Harry made an andouille hash benedict topped with a bacon and corn infused hollandaise. If it wouldn’t have interrupted my eating, I would have fainted with delight.

We spent the rest of the day brainstorming ideas, (I want to devil a quail egg but can’t decide what to fill it with; he wants the t-shirts to be brown) arguing over the start time for the pop-up, (he says 10pm, I’m scared you won’t want to stay up that late, you boring suburbanites) and deciding how many courses the tasting menu will be (7).

In addition to eating, brainstorming, arguing and deciding things, we also conquered a few other totally vital steps. They are as follows:

  • Bought the domain name. That’s right, www.hashbrownharrys.com is officially ours, thanks to Danica Patrick exposing her bra at the Super Bowl. Do we have any clue whatsoever how to proceed with this little treasure? Absolutely not.

 

  • Hired a marketing chick and a business guy. So to speak. In actuality, Nicole is going to write a press release (known to many of us as a Facebook Status Update) and Charlie is going to count how many reservations we’ve taken and figure out how many eggs we’ll need.

 

  • Looked up what’s in season at the Farmer’s Market. Something exciting about the end of April is the abundance of rhubarb and absolutely nothing else. Get ready for an overwhelmingly thrilling tasting menu.

 

  • Designed the Logo. A fun fact about me is that I have a sick obsession with fonts. It took me approximately 125 hours to choose the proper script for my wedding addresses. I’m totally exaggerating, it was more like 150 hours. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Kindly ignore the horrible quality of this image, I’m really tired from being a creative genius all day…

Hashbrown Harry's Logo

  • Googled stuff. No restaurant could possibly exist without Google, and Hashbrown Harry’s is no exception. Today I looked up recipes for homemade marshmallows, read about the local egg farm, and checked to see if it is possible to make my own organic fruit loops. The answer is yes, if you’re a ridiculous hippie, which I just so happen to be.

 

  • Invited my therapist to dinner. I just feel like maybe she won’t think I’m crazy once she gets her hands on 7 courses of late-night breakfast excellence.

 

As you can see, we’re practically ready to open. The only things I haven’t figured out are how much this (priceless) meal is going to cost you and how I’m going to sell tickets. I’d say Live Nation but I’m mad at them right now for selling out of Phish before I could get seats. Perhaps I’ll just take reservations like I usually do. That seems to work. I also need find some old lumber to turn into art installments and candle holders, because I’m going for a vintage barn look. I really wish I had a rusty old watering can to fill with flowers.

That would really bring the whole room together.

save the date!!!!!! (after you read my poem)

20 Mar

Tonight the only thing I can think about is this dress, and how much I need to own it, and how I can’t find it anywhere, which makes me need it even more. It’s distracting me so much that I can’t write about how I booked the official opening (and closing) night of Hashbrown Harry’s, which is most unfortunate for you, because you have to make sure your calendar is marked.

A wise wise wise bar customer told me that I only want the dress because I can’t have it. I told him that’s bullshit, I really really want the dress, and I will do whatever I have to do to get it. This includes, but is not limited to, selling my stepson on the black market, moving to Texas to dig for oil, wearing a bathing suit to work and/or running nude through a college basketball game.

Poetry Tuesday (I’ve gotta go daydream about my dress…)

Almost Passover

(a belated st. patty’s day limerick)

The bartender working is new.

We hired him ’cause he’s a Jew.

It makes me feel happy

When he gets real jappy

So then I can act that way too.

Oh… and save the date.

Saturday, April 28th.

Hashbrown Harrys (a late-night farm-to-table breakfast joint) for one night only!

Seating is at 9pm. (midnight add-on is a possibility)

Stay posted for details (such as INSANE crispy chicken skin benedict and bloody mary jello shots)

 

how to not score free grub at a restaurant.

19 Mar

This past Saturday I forgot to wear a low-cut shirt at the door, which is really quite out of character for me. So when a customer asked to talk to the owner because he was unhappy about something, I got really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to quell him with my cleavage and charm, and have to buy him the house.

The guy’s complaint was that his meal took longer to come out than the table next to them, conveniently failing to mention that he had ordered a 4 course meal and the neighbors had 1. He went on to bitch that instead of buying him his appetizer (“which is what he should have done,” according to the gentleman) Manager Ryan simply apologized profusely, explained that we really don’t like to rush our customers and handed him a card for a free appetizer or dessert on his next visit.

This wasn’t good enough for the guy. He needed “the owner’s daughter” (biiig mistake #1) to make an appearance. He needed to tell me that Friday’s would have bought his entire dinner.

“We’re not Friday’s, sir.” I explained. “If we gave away as much food as Friday’s we’d have to go out of business. I do apologize for that, but we’re a small business. Our approach is to make sure you leave with a full stomach and if for some reason there’s a problem, we like to give you incentive to come back so you know it’s merely a fluke. I do hope you’ll come redeem your appetizer, I really recommend the Lettuce Wraps.” I had to really ham it up for the guy because I felt bad for not having exposed breasts he could glance at to make him feel better.

But the man was relentless. He went on about principle. That his wife was now cranky (are we shocked?). That she had to wrap up half her sandwich because she got too full. Maybe I would have given in (not true). But then the irritating Italian man busted out the stereotype that every nice Jewish restaurant girl loves to hear.

“I’m not trying to be a schnorror**. You know what that is? That’s not me.” And that was the end of that convo. I bid him adieu and skipped away to google what produce will be in season for the opening (and closing) night of Hashbrown Harry’s.

**For the gentiles out there:

Shnorror: (shnor-ror) A beggar; someone who always looking for a handout or a free ride; the guy who’s always in the bathroom when the check comes; the person who’s constantly borrowing but never returning; someone who’s continually sponging off others

In honor of the dude who was COMPLETELY UNSUCCESSFUL in getting something for free at my restaurant, here’s a quick guide to how NOT to score free grub.

  1. Treat every restaurant the same. Always take your environment into consideration. At a fast-casual corporate place, (like Friday’s) a simple complaint will probably result in a free entrée at the very least. Even if the complaint is that the air conditioning is blowing on you too hard. An independent restaurant requires a little more pizzaz. The most effective approach in a place like mine is constructive criticism. Painfully honest feedback is good for an after dinner drink, if not a dessert platter.
  2. Be an asshole. Cursing and anger have no place in getting free shit. Telling me that nobody in my restaurant knows what they’re doing, and that the food sucks and you’re never coming back makes me want to say “I DARE YOU TO LIVE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITHOUT ONE OF OUR PULLED PORK SANDWICHES. THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT, BITCH.”
  3. Say you’re in the business. This particularly applies if you’re sitting at a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night between the hours of 5 and 10. We’re pretty much positive that you’re bluffing and consequently hate you for being a liar. No dice.
  4. Tell me you can eat at a better restaurant but you’re choosing not to. There is literally a 0% chance that I am forcing you to dine with me. I stopped tying people to chairs way before I got married.
  5. Talk down to me until you find out I’m the owner, then be nice. As the owner(‘s daughter) I truly appreciate when customers are nice to my employees. For example, a few of my regular customers shake the busboy’s hand every time they come in. On a busy night, the busboy works harder than anyone, and nobody really pays attention. If I see that you recognize hard work, I’m going to give you calamari and wine. It’s as simple as that.
  6. Tell me I should be buying you a round of drinks because your table was missing a fork when you sat down. We restaurant people recognize it from a mile away when you’re looking for a handout. Complaining about minute details will get you nothing except a bunch of people talking shit about you in the server station. If you’re bitching more than 3 times in a meal, you’re either overdoing it or having a REALLY unfortunate experience. If it’s the former, edit your “complaint script. If it’s the latter, and you didn’t have a manager try to fix the situation (with a SINCERE apology and some free shit) you have my permission to give them a nasty review on Yelp, Google and OpenTable.
  7. Make zero eye contact and tell me that you don’t want anything else, and you don’t want anything for free, you just want the check and to get out of here. I never understand that passive aggressive behavior. If you don’t like something, and you decide to tell the server (which you ALWAYS should because it helps us run our business more efficiently) and we try to replace the meal for you, or figure out how to make you happy, LET US MAKE YOU HAPPY. Sometimes there’s an error in preparation, as we tend to hire human beings and not robots. We didn’t do it to personally insult you. Well, probably.

The moral of the story is, you get more (free)bees with honey.