Sunday, October 10, 2010

How Was Your Service Tonight?

So I went for dinner with my mother and sister to The Keg. Now if you've been a long time reader of this blog (which, HA! - you could have started reading this today and finished the whole thing in 20 minutes), but you would assume that I eat there all the time. The reality is, I've only eaten there maybe four times in my whole life, this specific dinner being one of those times.

Either way, we went because it was kid friendly and casual, but we certainly regretted it after. None of us ate well and it seemed like everything annoyed us. Now I don't know if it's because we have a restaurant and have certain expectations of how things should be, but we are never satisfied. It's true. It's a wonder why we ever leave the house. What I'm wondering though, is how long does it take you to realize you like/loathe your server? My sister and I got seated and the server asked what we'd like to drink and as soon as she left, we both blurted out: "I hate this bitch".

Now normally a server does something listed below to irritate me:

1. Too much enthusiasm: I appreciate enthusiasm, but don't act like you were waiting all night for me to show up. I know you weren't. Also, I don't genuinely believe that you are that excited about your daily features, so calm down. Let's both take a step back and you can talk to me like a reasonable person, instead of talking to me through a creepy smile. Also, don't even think about being so engaged with me that you bend down/crouch to a squat and lean on my table. I will be mildly annoyed. My husband will probably kill you.

2. Not enthusiastic enough: Of course it's a fine balance, and I've stated above, I don't need you to be doing cartwheels at my table, but please, act like you have a pulse, and I'm not a huge burden on you. I get it, no one loves their job every day, but everyone has to do their job every day, so grin and bear it.

3. They tell you their name: I'm not trying to sound like a snob, because I don't mean to say, "like your name even matters, peon", but rather, We don't know eachother -  I'm not actually going to call you by your name - ever!

In this instance though, she didn't really do any of the above (except #3), and yet we were done with her before she even brought us our drinks. Which leads me to believe that in fact, we may be the problem. Having grown up in a restaurant has ruined us. Our expectations too high, and our tolerance for poor service too low. Because I understand the world is fair, I am certain, that servers have a 10 point list about which customers they like/can't stand similar to my list above. So when they see me walk in and I pretend to listen to them as they go through their script of daily specials, always order a glass of water plus my standard Diet Coke, and ask for no lettuce or tomato on a clubhouse, I am certain when they walk back to the server station they mutter to their coworkers, I hate this bitch.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

In a never ending effort to get to that pesky list I threw out in the
universe, I was researching some recipes online one day when I came across
a local (to me blogger). She was discussing what she’d done on the weekend
and mentioned that a dessert bar she enjoyed was closing down permanently
at the end of August. Sidebar - as I write that, I realize how long I have been sitting on this 'story' for. I need to update this blog more consistently.
Being the diligent investigator that I am, I went to said dessert bars’
website and lo and behold, they were closing down after 4 years in
business. I’d gone once or twice before, and was less than thrilled about
it. I felt like it was trying too hard and took itself too seriously, all
the while trying to come off as an ‘indie’ restaurant. Give. Me. A. Break.
The rent they were likely paying for the location, did not scream ‘indie’,
but in fact, ‘numerous investors’ and ‘silent partners’ which I’m totally
okay with, of course, but please don’t misrepresent yourself. Whatever.

I was thrilled to discover that they were liquidating their assets and
selling all their kitchen equipment and supplies. So, I quickly ran down to
the restaurant at lunch and picked through the shattered dreams of a
disillusioned pastry chef. For the low price of $60 I walked away with  
5 commercial sized baking sheets. FYI – these don’t fit in my oven, because
I don’t have a COMMERCIAL oven. Sometimes I get caught up in the moment.
They fit in my moms oven though, so all is not lost. Plus, 3 cake pans – 2 standard and one "oversized" pan. Apparently the "oversized" pan (which the most expensive of the 3)  is custom made as it isn’t a standard size I call bullshit, but wasn’t about to nickel and dime someone whose dreams were crashing all around them.

I was disappointed that I didn’t find something better – I was hoping to
find pie pans or a pastry wheel – but this was still a pretty good score. I
decided that I would send my husband down to double check on his way to
work that night to see if there was anything else worth buying, or if they brought more stuff out. Well, it is a good thing I did, because he came home with this:

Yes, that is an 8 quart commercial mixer. In case you’re wondering it is
for professional/commercial use, it weighs approximately 70 pounds, and is
currently living in my garage because it doesn’t actually fit between my kitchen counters and cupboards. He bought it for $400 and after some online research , I discovered that they retail for approximately $1200. In other words, AMAZING!

I am so excited to actually use it though I haven’t had a chance to yet,
because I can’t lift it up the two flights of stairs to my kitchen by myself. I’m
thinking of converting a section of my garage into a kitchen/work area. A
renovation seems like a reasonable solution to buying a piece of kitchen
equipment I don’t actually need, that I bought to finish a task
(croissants) on an arbitrary list I made, for a blog that fewer than 10
people read. Am I right? Anyone? Bueller?