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how the restaurant business can really fuck with your day.

18 Apr

So I noticed that Hashbrown Harry’s website got like way more hits today than my blog because the menu is finally posted. I’d like you to know that I think that’s some kind of bullshitty bullshit. Am I not far more interesting than some AMAZING 7-COURSE FARM TO TABLE POP-UP LATE-NIGHT BREAKFAST JOINT???? I didn’t think so.

Something really interesting about the restaurant business is that you never really know in what way you’ll be busy. For instance, one Wednesday you might do rockin’ lunch business and you’re running around bussing tables, occasionally schmoozing with regulars but really you’re far too busy bringing cheeseburgers and chicken caesar salads to their rightful owners to have any sort of meaningful convo. The next Wednesday might be slower, but there’s a book club draining all of their energy by complaining about the ambient temperature/server’s body odor/size of one salad compared to another. Or another day, the phone is ringing off the hook because the communion dates just got released and everyone is trying to beat their churchgoing buddies to the punch. Or there’s also the chance that you maybe forgot to put a party in the reservation computer and didn’t realize until they started walking through the door.

What I’m trying to say is that you just never know.

Today I made a modest list of things to do, hoping to complete it FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE:

  • Call in beer & liquor
  • Buy new first aid supplies and finger condoms
  • Replace 2 lightbulbs
  • Email a chick about a party
  • Print our new seasonal menu
  • Find recipes for marshmallows
  • Buy wicks for my egg candles

I later added a few things that I had already done so that I’d feel more accomplished:

  • Arrive at work
  • Buy cilantro for the kitchen because they ran out
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Print a list of upcoming party menus
I came soooooo close, but my fucking font obsession totally got in the way of printing the menu. I must have downloaded 305 fonts looking for the perfect serif to go with my really amazing seasonal menu. Plus it was busy, plus there was a party, plus EVERYBODY AND THEIR SISTER (literally) wanted to book a bowling dinner, plus I had to deal with an eager beer rep who wanted to know what was with our sick Jimmy Buffet obsession, plus I had to eat 3 breakfasts as per my One Week Happiness Diet.
Sufficed to say, I didn’t cross off every item.
PLUS (did you really think I was done?) on top of lunch being a little busy, there was a new server so it required a touch of babysitting. But she got compliments from every table she waited on. I’m convinced she’s paying them off, but either way I’m considering chaining her to the front door so she never ever ever ever leaves.

Oh, that’s another awesome thing about the business. Every time you decide you like an employee, it pretty much triggers a 72 hour countdown to them giving their 2 weeks. The ones you can’t stomach never leave (like Charlie, for instance).

Who is by the way BACK IN TOWN!!! See???

Note: Even though you can't tell from this photo, Charlie and I do, in fact, have the same number of teeth.

Thank heavens!!!!

Anyway, the moral of the story is, to-do lists are not for cool cats like me.

Oh, you know what? I bet you don’t necessarily know what finger condoms are. In the fun fun restaurant biz, when you get a cut you need to keep the bloody mess away from the food that you’re preparing/serving/eating. So you get these things that are little tiny condoms that you roll down over your wounded finger. They were most likely originally fashioned to be regular sex condoms for possums. They come in S, M, L and XL. In a world where we get sued for sexual harassment at the drop of a pin, how on Earth do these puppies still exist????

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do they still make vegetables? and other questions i often ask.

4 Apr

I’m no dentist or oral specialist, but I believe that as a result of my sugarful diet over the past couple of weeks, my tongue is beginning to disintegrate. At first I thought that maybe I was having some sort of allergic reaction to something I ate, but after yesterday’s food fest of a birthday, I have very little feeling between my bottom teeth,

I’m thinking that not having a tongue (or at least a whole tongue) might prove burdensome, so it’s obviously time to make some adjustments in my meals. Today I sat at the computer to figure out what I can possibly eat that is healthy, but also made of cheese and/or chocolate. I’m sure vegetables would be good. Do they even make those anymore? And if so, how might I prepare them that they would resemble a milkshake? I hit up Pinterest and entered “vegetable chocolate” to no avail.

In order to prevent myself from baking the pumpkin chocolate cookie recipe I found (surely that isn’t what my tongue has in mind) I shifted my focus to other questions that keep me up at night.

  1. Why is it OK for Harry to snore, but not me? I don’t know what’s up with the double standards these days. We girls act all empowered and shit, but in actuality we’re expected to be demure and not snort whilst in dreamland. That’s bull. When I was in camp we were all about sharing our bodily functions with the world. I feel so stifled these days. I can’t even say the F-word without cringing. (-art, not -uck. I think we all know I’m not shy about the latter…)
  2. At what age do I have to stop watching the Disney Channel? I’ve been asking this question for years, dreading the day that I have to choose more “suitable” programming like Anderson Cooper or the news or House Hunters International or Jersey Shore. Lately I’ve just been too busy to watch, and I figure by the time I do have enough time to sit down and veg and watch Wizards of Waverly Place, Riley will be a tween and I’ll have a perfect excuse.
  3. Why does asparagus make your pee smell? I found an excerpt from a book called “Why Do Men Have Nipples?” written by Dr. Billy Goldberg and Mark Leyner (who’s coincidentally one of my favorite writers of all time) that explains the phenomenon pretty well (or it’s totally made up, I didn’t fact check with Wikipedia so I really don’t know). “Asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan. It is also found in onions, garlic, rotten eggs, and in the secretions of skunks. The signature smell occurs when this substance is broken down in your digestive system. Not all people have the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan, so some of you can eat all the asparagus you want without stinking up the place. One study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that only 46 percent of British people tested produced the odor while 100 percent of French people tested did. Insert your favorite French joke here________________________________.”
  4. Who the fuck can afford to fly first class? For real, what am I doing wrong? I work both blue- and white-collarly, I peddle my words pretty consistently, I keep my house clean and stocked with toilet paper, paper towels and tissues at all times, I taught my babygirl to say thank you, I have fabulous hair, yet I can’t recline my seat more than 14° when I’m flying somewhere. Surely the system is flawed. Free headsets for all!!!
  5. What cereal should I use to make cereal milk for Hashbrown Harry’s? Last night Harry and I went to Momofuku Milk Bar (my best description: a gourmet, dive coffee shop sans coffee and chairs and a bathroom) and we ordered the cereal milk and looked at each other and we both shouted “Raisin Bran!” in unison. Which got me thinking about how much I love Cocoa Krispies milk. And Frosted Flakes, but only with 2%. Charlie said Fruity Pebbles (obviously) and Jordan (the bartender who is going to be soooooo psyched that I’m writing about him and probably frame this post right now but that’s just speculation and also he’s a Jew so he’s nice to have around when I’m DYING to talk about gefilte fish and Elijah) said Frosted Shredded Wheat with little bits of the cereal left in the milk for texture and I was like “EW FREAK THAT’S A CHOKING HAZARD” and I would have smacked him but it was over Bluetooth.
  6. When are you going to be able to smack people over Bluetooth? Won’t that be great?

Anyway, something you need to know is that you can’t come to Hashbrown Harry’s without a reservation. It’s going to be approximately $55, if that’s what you’ve been waiting for. Save up your Shekels, it’s definitely worth it. Also, there are no VIPs at Hashbrown Harry’s, so don’t get all cocky and think “Well I worked on the Harbinger with Shelby when we were in High School,” or “Shelby and I got drunk enough together in college for me to be assured a seat,” or “I promised I’d be a regular customer when Shelby finally decides to live out her dream of becoming a weed dealer.” No dice.You need a reso. hashbrownharrys@gmail.com or bust.

Also if you have a cereal milk preference kindly let me know. Me, Charlie and Jordan are going to have a taste testing session in the next couple days, as long as we’re all feeling highly lactose tolerant so we’ll give your suggestion a go.

OFF TO DINE ON LEFTOVER BIRTHDAY CAKE! Vegetables will still be growing tomorrow.

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.

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)

 

is that a pop-up restaurant or are you just happy to see me?

17 Mar

Last night I took a break from trying to convince a bar regular that Miley Cyrus has artistic integrity (based on the cover of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When I Go,” which you should do yourself a favor and download) to tell him about the t-shirts I designed for Hashbrown Harry’s, (a fictional late-night farm-to-table breakfast place that I invented earlier this week, for all you newcomers) and highlight a few menu items I had come up with, such as caramelized rosemary “hash” brownies for dessert and our signature hashbrown, cooked in a waffle iron.

“Hey I’d like to eat that right now!” he said.

“It’s going to take a while, my readers and I are still in the planning process. We’re currently scouting locations.” (Let’s face it folks, the lakefront dive bar is still in business and we just don’t have time to wait for the next big police raid or syphilis outbreak.)

“That’s a shame. It sounds like a great place with really awesome t-shirts.”

I agreed wholeheartedly that the t-shirts are incredible. Then, for the second time in a week, it struck me that I’m a Super Genius and I am pretty well equipped to sell t-shirts AND pancakes AND special brownies AND artisan cocktails. I’ve also got a bar, a big ole kitchen and a sometimes-vacant party room. All signs were pointing in one direction.

A pop-up restaurant!

For those of you who have been hiding under a rock, (probably also known as Blackberry and Android owners and/or people who have never used Yelp or a Google Place Page) a pop-up restaurant is basically a temporary restaurant (lasting a night, a week, a month… whatever) that’s opened just about anywhere – an open field, a gymnasium, a really awesome party room at an utterly delightful neighborhood restaurant… according to Wikipedia, it allows Super Geniuses like myself to “experiment without the risk of bankruptcy.”

My goal is actually quite the opposite. I hope to invest so much in the creation of this pop-up restaurant on fresh, local ingredients and cool glasses and mismatched flea market plates all for the merriment of my lucky customers that I do, actually, go bankrupt.

Perhaps, like my parents and my husband, you think I’m a nutjob. But I promise this isn’t so, or at the very least I’m not the only one.

In any case, Hashbrown Harry’s will be opening for business for one night only, and by invitation only, in the very near future. And the best part is that because you made it to the end of this blog post, you’re on the already-coveted list! (As long as you listen to the Miley Cyrus song on the Official Shelbytown Spotify Playlist) But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we’ve got a lot of planning to do!