Archive | October, 2012

a jew walks into a bar…

25 Oct

So today I found out that one of my new waitresses is a Jew and it was like big, shiny, dreidel-shaped fireworks going off when we made the connection. Because something maybe you don’t know about the restaurant business is that it isn’t necessarily overflowing with Hannukahs. It’s mostly you Christmases with your Lent and your pasta and your admirable height and athletic prowess. Perhaps it’s due to the manual labor, or maybe the fact that it requires working on the Sabbath, but for whatever reason, we’re in short supply when it comes to strapping on an apron and dishing out burgers. And when we find each other it’s just magical. Nearly as magical as when you discover that your camp bunk mate is best friends with her brother’s intern in a game of Jewish Geography (vocab of the day: Jewish Geography is the game you play to see how many Jews you have in common. Like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon but with the guy who asked you to the Purim Carnival instead of Tom Hanks). Now there are THREE JEWS AT WORK! It’s so very very very exciting. It’s nearly a minyan!

The reason that I knew she was Jewish is because she told my liquor rep that she looked familiar and asked if she had ever been a camp counselor.

Rule #1 for identifying a Jew (especially in this neck of the woods, not sure what it’s like in Michigan or whatever, where there are camps for Christian people and Mormons and shit): Camp. Not sports camp, just regular camp. There’s a serious difference and if you don’t know what it is, then you aren’t one of us.

Here are some other Tribal Traits:

  • We love love love rainbow cookies
  • We find many forms of fish (smoked, canned, gefilted, Swedish) both tasty and acceptable.
  • We have had at least one form of elective plastic surgery.
  • It is said what we do not enjoy giving blow jobs. I have figured out that this is most likely an urban legend. I wasn’t positive until today when a Tribal customer said the word “vagina” really really really loud, and if the prude Jewess ever existed, I assure you she’s long gone.
  • We don’t accept flowers whilst mourning a loved one, unless it is of t the Edible Arrangement variety. However, we much prefer rainbow cookies.

    My shiksa doppelgänger Nicole en route to a Shiva call. Thanks to me she has the perfect form of condolence! YUM!

  • We all play tennis or golf. Or got a Tiffany’s box for our Bat Mitzvah. Or all of the above.
  • We never wear the same outfit twice to temple. Or anywhere.
  • We all fear picking up a penny on the floor because we’ll be ridiculed for being “typical,” but we absolutely cannot resist a quarter.
  • We are all extra religious when it comes to leaving work early for holidays, buying new dresses for parties and eating at our mother-in-law’s house for a holiday.
  • We use the fact that we can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery as our reason for not getting inked, when in actuality we’re just really scared of pain.
  • We are all connected to Billy Joel in some way.

Interestingly, if I had used “they” instead of “we” on this list, you’d be totally accusing me of being a prejudiced whore (I threw in whore because I discussed oral sex and that’s not ladylike at all). Lucky for us I had a Bat Mitzvah so the same exact shit now comes off as educational.

Like seriously what’s the deal with this. Why is it that we can stereotype ourselves but not others??? My professor from college wrote this book or two or three and won some serious (Pulitzer Prize) acclaim. And it’s like basically just Spanglish and bitches. And it’s like, wait. Hold up, ese. I can totally write Spanglish and bitches! Where the fuck is my Pulitzer? Or at least where is like a paid advertiser on my blog? I asked a Spanish guy at the restaurant how much credibility I’d have writing a piece of fiction about a Guatemalan dude and you know what he said? NONE! Like, it’s fiction, Spanish guy! Am I not entitled to spout out stereotypes as though they’re complete truths even if I have pretty much no exposure to the private lives of Latinos except for Mexican Poker with the line cooks when I was in high school? Why do I have to stick with my people??? Have we not established that the highlight of our existence is colorful pastries and misshapen chunks of ground fish and ???? THAT IS BORING!

 A chick I know (FROM CAMP, HOW’S THAT FOR IRONY???) started writing this blog about her adventures around the boroughs wearing an afro wig and it’s catching a lot, like a LOT, of slack for being racist and [other mean words] and ignorant towards the deep cultural history of the fro, dating back to slavery. If she were a black chick (wait, do I really need to clarify that she’s white? I did just tell you that we went to camp together, did I not?) people would be singing her praises for talking about something REAL. But here’s someone thinking out of the box, and delving into someone else’s stereotypes for a change. Because honestly? Writing about the underworld of the New York Area Jew gets real old real fast (oh who are we kidding, it doesn’t get old because we’ve got botox for that). So kudos to you, Michelle Joni, for being bold enough to participate in some cliché other than bagels on visiting day.

Speaking of stereotypes, I miss Charlie so much. I have like no Asians in my life now except these random customers and some kid in my babygirl’s nursery school class who dresses way too well (no offense Chaz but he’s giving you a run for your money). And there’s this gay hole in my heart to boot! Now when hot guys come into the restaurant, I have nobody to talk to about it except Harry, and that gets like super awkward.

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i’ve got a bun in the oven!

20 Oct

Well, not exactly yet, but there are definitely going to be buns! Because it’s time for a POP-UP! Well, actually TWO POP-UPS!!!!! 

FINALLY!!!!!

Holy shit, you should be so excited. I know I am!!!!! Unlike last time when I decided on the T-shirts before I decided on the date, this time I have chosen dates for the following. Unless of course these dates change. Because Harry totally said “no” and I was like “Oh come on, Harry, be a sport” and he was like “Um, be a sport like as in let you exploit my name and make me cook your stupid dishes?” and I was like “Yeah. And this is when I want you to that” and he was like “Fine, just do whatever you want to do just like always” and I was like “Ok, I’m gonna,” even though I was well aware that he was being both sarcastic and passive aggressive but without further hesitation, introducing:

Hamburger Harry’s

“a pop-up journey between the buns” (or something)

Tuesday, November 20th at something o’ clock pm

Thanksgiving Eve Eve!!!

Here’s the T-shirt maybe!

 

~ and (hold on tight, this is a totally new one) ~

Hangover Harry’s

“SLOGAN PENDING”

Tuesday, January 1st at whenever you wake up which will hopefully be at like noon

Feel free to wear your clothes from the night before. In fact, we insist!

Ok, that’s all, just thought I’d share. I’d say you’re the first to know but these random people were sitting at a table and they were the first to know, but it was only because they were voting on like which popups to do and when to do them, so don’t take it to heart. I have to go to sleep AKA sit on Pinterest all night and obsess over creating new inspiration boards.

Stay tuned for the super exciting planning process, which will involve eating a bunch of buns and attempting to make french fries out of tempura battered Tootsie Rolls.

PS. I totally forgot to do this popup. Maybe next year?

thanks, yanks, for not continuing to fuck up my business. i owe you one.

18 Oct

Last night I was chillin’ with my entourage (which, ever since Charlie moved to Queens, consists only of Nicole) and we drove past the shopping center that housed one of my family’s restaurants (the one that inspired this very blog, in fact). All at once, these flashbacks popped into my head – learning how to carry a tray, steaming milk to make frothy caffeine drinks, developing a strong opposition to customers, falling in love with every waiter who strapped on an apron… Aah, the memories of a sincerely unique childhood, one filled with laughter, joy and a fuckload of spilled milk.

Perhaps some of you have considered dropping your well-paying job and (stupidly) investing in a restaurant in which to raise your children and give the a very (demented) special special experience. That’s all fine and dandy, but just know that you’ll be raising your very own Owner’s Daughter, and she’s probably gonna come out a whole lot like me.

So if you ever become the offspring of some fools who raised you thinking that a refrigerator is a room and a dishwasher is a dude, this post is for you, and here’s some shit you need to know:

  • You are the center of the universe, except during the dinner rush, at which point you are invisible. My babygirl runs around the restaurant like she owns the place, and usually my stepkid is chasing her. And even though they are being the typical annoying turds that everyone totally hates, they’re totally adorable according to everyone who works for me. They treat the kids royalty to the max. Like, if my stepkid asks for a soda, they say “how high?” and if my babygirl sneezes they’re cleaning up that snot in no time. And I fawn all over them too, so don’t think I just pawn them off on the hourlies. I move all the furniture in my office so my stepkid will have the most entertaining fort available. I blow up 3′ balloons for the girl, just small enough so she won’t float away. BUT. The moment the restaurant fills up and the dinner rush sets in, I literally forget they exist. This is not an exaggeration. One night my stepkid called the host stand asking for a drink and I told him to ask the babysitter. Because I really really really thought he was at home with her.
  • You are always rooting for the local sports team. To lose. Take today for instance, I have a Yankees hat and shirt and whatever, but the fact is, I would have cried had they won. (Go ahead, stop reading here, diehard fuckers. See if I care.) Tomorrow is Friday and this is like the 3rd weekend in a row that the Yanks are FUCKING UP MY BUSINESS by being on during dinnertime. Like SORRY WE’RE NOT A PIZZA PLACE, customers, but maybe you can skip the damn game and settle on some app with alerts, ever consider that?? I could suck it up and get TVs in the dining room, but I’m just not ready to go there, and encourage the public to ignore each other for yet another illuminated box. I’m not exclusive to dreading successful sports teams either. I also hate sunny weekends, holidays that fall on Friday or Saturday, the first week of school when everyone is trying to be a good parent and actually cook, and Halloween because apparently nobody eats anything except Fun Size bars and I’m too disheveled to plan a decent costume party.
  • People don’t necessarily like you. I used to take this really personally, especially on one memorable evening during which a middle-aged waitress approached me to inform me that the staff is only nice because I’m the owner’s kid. At that point, I was still under the impression that everyone thought I was totally adorable and fabulous, and that they weren’t simply attempting to score points by being sugar sweet nice to the boss’s snotbag superiority-complex socially awkward total wannabe daughter. But you know what I learned from that awful night? That you pretty much have to be nice to me if I’m in the family, and that just really sucks for you. Chances are, if you don’t like me, then I don’t like you (chances are also pretty high that if you do like me, I still don’t like you, but we’re not keeping score). The following people have disliked me: waiters, bartenders, busboys, (line cooks and dishwashers always like me. Go figure…) the computer guy, (but then it turned out he really actually really really liked me) customers, advertising people, a few people on Yelp, one lady who came to a murder mystery dinner we did dressed as a ladybug, a liquor salesguy, and this girl who lives in my neighborhood and is 9-years-old. 
  • You will have ample material to write a musical/novel/TV series for ABC Family. At least I hope so, as I am newly at work on developing this very blog that you’re reading into something that can generate enough cash to pay for a jolly trip to Disney World for the fam, and possibly a motor home. You also have a lot of material for frequent psychological analysis, but I’m really trying to focus on the writing thing, because I’d rather bestow my issues on the masses, as opposed to just one social worker. If you feel like maybe you would read a book form of this, would you please tell me so? And if you have any particular favorite posts or subjects, will you mention that too? If you’re nice and do as I say, (because I’m the owners daughter and therefore I get whatever I want, and what I want is your feedback so you have to do it or my daddy will yell at you) I will reward you by announcing a date and theme for our (FINALLYYYYYYY) next popup adventure. I know, I just got a little tingly inside, too.*

*Sidebar: My mom and I had a detailed discussion about 50 Shades of Grey today and I feel like it was a little uncomfortable. Can’t figure out why.

a panty for your thoughts.

16 Oct

Not sure if you noticed, but October is like totally Pink. Holy hell, it’s everywhere! Like, I have a Breast Cancer Themed pancake spatula. And tomorrow I’m going to a Breast Cancer Themed Sushi Party at some jappy place in Syosset where I will drink Breast Cancer martinis and eat Breast Cancer hand rolls and talk about which limited edition Breast Cancer bracelet I’m sporting. In a month that is packed to the gills with pumpkin carving and celebrating Hispanic Heritage and finding a slutty-yet-family-friendly costume and apple picking and watching the leaves turn to fluttering jewels, we are also expected to FIND A CURE. Like, wow, October. No pressure or anything.

Since I don’t like to focus on anything negative on my blog, I’m eliminating Cancer from the equation and instead celebrating Breast Awareness Month. Although this evening I’ll be referring mostly to my own particular boobs, this is really a celebration of all breasts everywhere. Even the ones that are so perfect that you’re a little bit bitter. Yes, Perfect Booby Chick, this one is for you….

Oh, also this is for my Aunt Babsy who is currently undergoing treatments and doing it with such finesse and optimism that she should be awarded free pink ribbon bagels from Panerabread for life, and then some. This particular side of the family is famous for our disproportionately large racks. And now, she’s suddenly got the littlest ones in town! I can’t even imagine what it must be like to wear a button down shirt without it gapping, but finally someone in my family (other than the dudes) can describe what it’s like. Kudos to you, my Dear Aunt!

Back to me.

Something that we’ve discussed in the past is that I am nothing without my bra. Mostly I’ve discussed my Friday and Saturday night knickers, but the rest of the week matters too!  You know what? I wear a bra every single day! And here is how I select them!!!:

Bra-natomy: A week in review

  • Monday: As this is typically my day off, I usually strap on one of those sheer and unsupportive numbers. Chances are it’s like a decade old and I’m clinging to it as though one day I’ll wake up and the girls will be as perky as they were when I was 20. If I do muster up the desire to hit up the restaurant, I throw on a whatever overthing and a pair of leggings and head over. The only time I ever run into a problem is in the winter, because I am too cheap/lazy/selfless to turn on the heat in my office and then I walk into the dining room to see someone and they’re all “Ooh somebody’s chilly!” or “Is that a cork in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”  or the classic “One of your headlights is out.” Otherwise I love, love, love Monday bras. Here is an example of a Monday bra. This one is Calvin Klein, which you can apparently pick up at Macy’s if you’re attempting to emanate me and my boobies. 
  • Tuesday: Logic might tell you not to waste good cleavage at the beginning of the week because it’s not when you’re gonna see the bulk of your customers, but this is the day that most vendors stop by, and a low cut shirt comes in real handy. My favorite approach with the Tuesday bra is to really play into the fact that you’re just any other dumb broad, do a lot of giggling and hair twirling. Then when the beer/liquor/coffee/newspaper ad guy gives you his “best offer, but just because you’re so sweet,” you slam them with your cutting wit and lethal negotiating skills. Here is a Tuesday bra. Have I mentioned that these are all photos of my body with other girls’ heads Photoshopped on? And I have had like little-to-no plastic surgery. Crazy, thanks Mom and Dad and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the great bod. Seriously, I owe you one.
  • Wednesday: I always dress extra professionally on Wednesday because I go to my shrink between lunch and dinner and I just love it when she commends me on being such a fabulous and serious businesswoman. On occasion I’ve dressed like my regular self and she has accused me of being a little too slutty looking to get the job done. After I had my babygirl she questioned whether my exposed cleavage was a way of me desperately clinging to my youth. She has also accused me of trying to use my breasts as some sort of scheme to take over the world, and I don’t really want her to know about that until after I have actually done so. So for this reason, head to Soma and pick up a boring ass bra like mine:
  • Thursday: On Thursdays I try to make my boobs look as small and perky as possible, because Thursday is Trivia Night and random people from my past keep showing up and I need to look better than I did in high school, because that is how life works. If there is a chance you are going to see someone from a long time ago, you have to look a)better than you used to, and b)better than said person. Thankfully I have discovered the pushup without padding, because it’s like SUPER CONFUSING to me as to how you can look skinny with literal extra padding on your body. Check out this one from Victoria’s Secret. I was extra tan in this shot! 
  • Friday: Rule of thumb for the first night of the weekend: Short skirt OR low cut shirt. Personally I’m a fan of the short skirt on Fridays because it isn’t as busy as Saturday, so I spend more time walking around the dining room and less time standing behing the host station. This means that I am seen from the waist down just as much as the waist up. So Friday bras are made more for enhancing than for highlighting. A larger problem is the choice of underwear, because if you have a panty line you look like a farty old mom, which means you sort of need a thong, but I am like really anti thong, because wedgies are NOT FUN and perpetual wedgies are JUST TOTALLY FUCKING STUPID. So I’m partial to the boy short, which covers the cheek pretty fully without any. Judge me and my granny panties, I don’t care. But if you ask me, G-strings are for violins and guitars, not girls with short skirts. This set is Hanro from Neiman Marcus, and if you haven’t been turned on to the joy of underwear that completely covers your ass, you truly haven’t lived (happily).
  • Saturday: Rule of thumb for Saturday night is like Friday, only instead of choosing between tits or ass, you choose tits AND ass. You have to do it, because it’s the only way customers are nice to you. Men are nice because you make them feel young again and you can distract them from the fact that their table is going to take 45 minutes longer than you told them it would. Women stay away from you because pushed up boobs make you look confident, and they’re scared of you, and you’re really fine with that because that means they’ll leave you alone. 
  • Sunday: Sunday is family day so on Sunday I wear an old lady bra. There are two types: one is the supportive old lady bra that looks terrific under a sweater but is basically a dealbreaker when your husband sees it. Wacoal makes the widest variety of this type of old lady bra. The other old lady bra is a Brigette Bardot-ish pointy balconet that gives you boobies reminiscient of Kim McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie or Sandy (before she gets super hot) in Grease. 

how to avoid pretty much anyone, even if you’re famous like me.

10 Oct

A frequent recurring trend among restaurant owners is that we eat at places other than our own establishment.

It seems fairly reasonable to us. Sometimes you don’t want to eat the same identical cuisine 35,430 meals in a row. Sometimes you want to be served by a waiter who you don’t know streaked across the parking lot the other night. Sometimes you want to steal other people’s ideas. Sometimes you want to let your kid make a huge fucking mess on the floor* and then leave the premises. Sometimes you want to tip 15% on poor-to-mediocre service and run for the door. And you know what? That’s alright by me. However to you, the customer, the act is completely inexplicable. For the past 20whatever years, every single time we run into a customer at a restaurant, (which is like all the time because we’re famous) we are greeted with a hearty “You’re not allowed to eat heeeerrrrrrreeeee!!!!!!”

Um, yes we most certainly are allowed to eat here. Really, shouldn’t it be the other way around? If you are MY customer, then you should be eating in MY restaurant. Unless we’re at Indian or Vegan food (which I assure you, we are not) then the only place YOU are expected to be is eating the many delicious dishes at my cozy establishment. I’ve got college educations to pay for and it’s all literally going to boil down to your ravioli 2 times a week.

That’s the thing about owning a restaurant like mine. I run it, so I have to really get to know my customers. It gets pretty deep. I talk to everyone, and pretend I think they’re funny/intelligent/nice even when I know very well they’re not. I also have to sometimes act like their husbands aren’t SO sexy or that their kids aren’t SO ugly. I also have to share things about my family (photos of my kids on my iPhone with random self portraits and drunk pictures, quirky stories about how UNFANTASTIC it is to work with your husband and parents, where I shop for my Saturday bras, whether or not Harry and I are trying to conceive) and I’m truly not one to share personal aspects of my life. I don’t know if this is obvious by my ramblings, but I’m actually like really shy and totally loathe human interaction in a way that many people would take medication for.

It is for this reason alone that I am currently hiding under a table in the corner of a Panerabread with a hoodie on, with my laptop open only enough for me to fit my fingers on the keys so as to not draw attention with the bright lights of the screen. I don’t want to get lectured for patronizing a foodservice establishment other than my own. And I DEFINITELY don’t want to chat. It’s way too early, and I forgot my lipstick and I should only have to fake enthusiasm with these duds when I’m at work. This said Panerabread is located only about half a mile from my restaurant, and 3/4 of the people sitting above me at chair level are customers whose faces I recognize. The other 1/4 are most likely either infrequent customers, too generic to remember or they hide under my tables so I don’t know what they look like.

Other than hiding behind furniture, there is one way of avoiding people that I find works every time. You can implement it into your everyday life, such as with the kiosk lady at the mall who wants to ask you if you have artificial nails or your high school English teacher who knows you cheated on the final and definitely recognizes you at the Indigo Girls concert you’re both at. Here it is. Don’t tell your friends or you won’t be able to efficiently ignore them. Ok here it is. Secret to avoiding people:

ONLY MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH INANIMATE OBJECTS.

I did this today at the supermarket when I nearly ran into a customer for whom I did a party. Under some circumstances, it would have been nice to see her. But I was in a rush, she’s definitely not the type to just wave hello and rush on by, and I just wasn’t feeling it. So I stared town that box of green tea like it was gonna run away. And VOILA! No convo needed!

OMG Sidebar. A girl just walked by wearing a little pink denim skirt, striped oxford, blue sweater tied over her shoulders and a bow in her hair. She looked adorable. Is there some sort of part time job that I can get so I can wear shit like that? Like the American Girls store or High School or H&M or something like that. Oh shit, she just passed again. Her shoes are adorbs too. If I weren’t deep in this important document I’d totally follow her and see if they’re hiring. Unless it’s the Gap. Been there, done that. Although they were playing country music there the other day so maybe I’d consider it.

Anyway, being famous in a small town is really tough. You get no privacy whatsoever. People are always wanting to talk to you. They ask such irritating things like “How are you?” and “How’s the family?” and “Is the skirt steak gluten free?” and, worst of all, “How’s your dad?”

My dad is famous too, only he’s more famous in Nassau County and I’m more famous in Suffolk County. Specifically only one town in Suffolk County, and really only one little part of that town. What I’m trying to say is that my dad is more famous than me. But I’m more potentially famous, specifically because of my blog (You know, the one I haven’t written in like a month ever since new TV started) and like maybe I can get some press as like “a restaurant owner who dresses slutty on the weekends so customers will be nice to her.”  I think if you were going to equate us to any father-daughter duo, it would be like Gene Simmons’s nobody daughter trying out for X Factor, except that my dad wears more makeup and I’m a better singer.

Unlike me, my dad never hid under tables . He stood on them (before his cardiologist told him to please stop). That’s what makes him way popular. In fact, already today like 13 people have asked me the dreaded “how’s your dad?” question. What am I supposed to say? “He’s good, right now he’s napping with the baby, and at 4 he’s going to watch Judge Judy.” No, that’s probably not a good idea.

Maybe next time I’ll stare at a very important document so the question doesn’t have to be an issue.

*Speaking of children making huge messes on the floor, I thought I’d share a lovely little story from last night’s dinner service. A little 2 year old comes in with her parents and grandparents. She’s cute. Obviously not as cute as my babygirl, but cute. Anyway, I’m in the other room putting glitter on some masks and doing other important stuff like that, and I keep hearing the kid making choking noises. They’re intermittent so I figure there’s no need to worry and yada yada yada, she threw up her mac and cheese all over the table. Her mother insisted it not be cleaned up because “She’s not done yet,” and the child ate her regurgitated mac and cheese (again). Lesson of the day: If your kid vomits in public and wants to eat it, kindly get a doggy bag.

how to be a really successful madame.

2 Oct

“I can’t believe you sold yourself and kept your clothes on. I’m so proud of you.”

~ Harry

Something really interesting about the restaurant business is that it can easily be confused with hooking. Bet you never knew that! Today I sold my party planning services for a pretty penny and voila! My husband equated me to a prostitute!

Really, you guys, I’m not a hooker at all. If you think about it, I’m more of like a madame, which is way more lucrative so I’m pretty happy. A couple comes in for a date and I set them up in a booth with a girl who will satisfy their every (dinner) need. And then, depending on how well that girl serviced them, she’s tipped accordingly! And I get paid a set fee. See? Decent analogy if I do say so myself.

This whole prostitution analogy crosses over to you, the lowly customer, so don’t think that you’re so innocent. It’s actually where the whole concept of “food porn*” came from. You thought it was Instagram but you were way wrong. It was because men began discovering that instead of paying for sex, they could buy a woman a meal and for the same price (depending on the venue, of course), they could get a steak and get laid because if the food is delicious enough and the vino’s dry enough, a girl will give it up for free! So it’s like a BOGO sort of situation.

Anyway, to show me how proud he was of me for selling myself to a woman, Harry cooked me sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter sauce and that was the first time we’ve used our stove in 6 years.

 

*Side bar: Food porn, Mom and Dad, is where you take photos of something mouth watering that you’re about to sink your teeth into, which also happens to be pleasing to the eye. Then you post the said photo to Instagram and all of your followers like it and say things like “omg did you make that yourself?” and “they serve brunch at that place?” and “#stoptakingphotosoffoodandshowussomethinginterestingalready” and “did you use Lo-fi or Nashville on that photo?”