Archive for August, 2008

Good Reading…

August 16, 2008

I urge you to get a copy of WaiterRant.net’s new book Waiter Rant: Confessions of a Cynical Server which you can order off Amazon.com or from his website http://www.waiterrant.net There is also a UK edition you can buy for same money but more postage which has a funnier cover art-the anon server is shown flipping the bird assumingly to the guests. Its a good read -cant say I see eye to eye with on everything like some of his manager/head server behaviors but he is an outstanding writer and I look forward to his next book which probably will not be on waiting. He got a very nice cover blurp by Anthony Bourdain comparing his book to be the Front of the House version of his book Kitchen Confidential.

I am a big fan of Waiter so I pre-odered back in March (published 2 weeks ago already #14 on NYT Bestsellers list for hardcover nonfiction). I also ordered Bourdain’s updated edition of Kitchen Confidential for a pittance used on amazon at the same time. I read it originally during split shifts at a Barnes  n Noble nearby an old job. He wrote it just before the celebrity chef trend got so huge.  He also has written a few other foodie books like Nasty Bites which I enjoyed. Plus his Gold fiction books which I believe are detective like novels involving a line cook. Bourdain writes from his heart in a true this is the way it was/is manner and doesnt mind if the truth is less than flattering personally nor professionally. Examples are his being a reformed herion addict which given his drinking is an impressive feat and why you do NOT want to eat a fish special on Mondays in NYC (its the fish they got last thursday that didnt sell).

I am also reading a autobiography by a former captain at Per Se which is very high end restaurant of Thomas Keller in NYC who also had the French Laundry in Cali and 2 Buchons one in cali and another in Vegas. Bourdain is a huge admirer of Keller (believe he has used the phrase ‘he is a God”  more than once). From watching him on TV appearances he is a very personable down to earth guy who excells at high end cuisine which is a rarity in a chef).

Basically I got this book to read about Per Se the restaurant and Keller but I have to complain a majority of the book so far is about her self inflicted love life. While in this industry the incestuous nature of the business rampant you expect a 25 yo to not be involved with 3 different guys in the initial months of training and opening of the place. Tho she never says how many months they trained prior to opening just that it was months.  It is also kinda of irritating how easily she got to be a captain iin such a high tier place given her lack of experience.  Note she did get hired as a back waiter and got promoted when  her captain quit.  But she is a foodie and charmed the NYT reviewer so she must have skills and some are folks are natural servers -one trained me to server at my first job.

Im back….

August 12, 2008

Ok business has picked up and I misplaced or lost my  napkin with a list of  some good tales from yesteryear on it so I am sorry those have not been published yet. For the life of me I can not remember any of them.

Main reason I have been avoiding posting is the work AC is working about as good as you can expect from a unit that needed to be fully replaced and not just patched up as it was 2 summers ago when this place opened. This place prior to us was a Vietnamese place which  had never been health inspected probably because it had no running HOT water which even in Texas rates an auto shutdown. It took over a year to get that fixed.
Not to the folks who never worked in retail or restaurants -it is very common in lease agreements that the lessee aka the tenant to be FULLY responsible financially for repair, replacement, and upgrade to the AC and heating equipment.  If a restaurant upgrades the kitchen in specific ways  this can greatly affect the ability of the HVAC system to maintian climate control.  Adding more equipment that vents lots of heat while keeping the same  amount of ventahood (system that sucks out the hot greasy laden air  to the rook when the grease is removed then air gets exhausted) can be an issue. Adding a large pizza oven when you barel;y have the HVAC capacity BEFORE  the oven goes in. I once worked in a place that added a ventahood to what was an old soup and salad place as they also put in flat grill , a few fryers, and a 8 burner sautee station.  The problem was the ventahood was able to suck over 60% of the HVAC system output when the HVAC was brand new.  Unfortunately the HVAC was very old (10-15yr) and it ran up 10 fllors to the roof of the townhomes above the restaurant.

Thus I have been sweating at a rate DAILY at work that would shock a medical doctor or trainer of endurance athletes. Let me explain most  nights the AC  does well enough if you arent constantly moving around in long sleeves its while not cool not so unpleasant  guests notice to complain about.

But all the back of the house spaces lead off the kitchen and are lined with rows of reach in freezers which exhaust the hot air from the bottom so that the non-public areas are range from high 90s to 105.  This is where we  servers have to go to  get a drink of something cold or roll silverware  so our  next table has something to eat with.  It is SCARY when the act of rolling silverware causes you to sweat like a whore in church who is next up to give her confession.
Also we have no atrium ie a little space as you enter so that you have to enter 2 sets of doors to get into the restaurant which allows ALL the nice cool air to escape especially when the numbnuts customers  hold open the door for someone else who is 15 feet away from the door. It gets really bad when large numbers of tables arrive or leave over short periods of time. Or when our back door is open so trash is going out or deliveries arriving as it creates with the open front door a wind tunnel effect.

SO  BASICALLY I have been so exhausted any attempt at posting has been too much to even attempt  or my efforts yielding incoherent gibberish. Most nights I have just passed out after scarfing down some food and copious  amounts of fluid.

WTF do people attending a birthday meal out bring in store bought cakes?!?!??

August 12, 2008

I had a long night last night got out at 130AM as I had a 13 top sat at 15 mins til we closed mind you the restaurant closing not the kitchen.  Kitchen closes when band stops playing with restautant aka the bar closing  30 -60 min later.

Thanks to my owners wife for seating that 2 top and delaying the 13 top from being seated. SO all in all the table isnt bad they order fast and eat quickly UNTIL I bring out their FREAKING store bought cake which they  do NOT bother to offer me a slice of.  This time I didnt mind as they had the nasty kind of cake-shortening based cheapo frosting and it looked like from the stickering they  attempted to pry off that it came off the clearance rack -it didnt even  have a name on it.

This policy of my employer drives me nuts since I lost out on potentially 13 dessert sales at a 20% grat and I am still having to find them 13 clean plates  and the silverware  to eat their cake. Getting bulk amounts of plates during rush periods is a bitch as our dish washer for some reason cant  clean that specific size plate well at all. Why only that plate size I have NO CLUE. Then the table proceeds to idle over their cake for a good 45 minutes. And thats the OTHER reason I hate people who bring in their own cakes. Plus its tacky as hell to bring in a cheap ass sheet cake made at a grocery store or walmart when the restaurant has nice desserts. I grew in a family that could be called redneck out in the country-our Idea of eating upscale was during  visits to a nearby city’s Livestock Show which we showed animals at. And by upscale I am talking Sizzler with their 2 pound monster baked potatoes and Red Lobster before they made their staff wear those god awful shirts covered in fish pictures. BUT my family and I cant remember even going to any one else’s dinner party brought a cake into a place of business that sold their own dessert.  Not to mention if they  were to bring a dessert they would have had the decency to bake the person in question’s favorite one.