Last night, I was scheduled for my very first “Late Night” shift. From 10pm to midnight, the restaurant has a limited menu available for patrons at the bar and communal table. Each Saturday night when the new week’s schedule is posted, it’s a bit of a gamble whether or not you’ll have to do a Late Night shift. There are generally two — one to run the hot line and one to run the cold line. Pizza Guy and Pastry Girl stick around to help. Sometimes, if the night is slow enough, they will close up early. But Sous Chef and I were the lucky ones who were assigned to a Friday night Late Night shift (which rarely ends early).
The kitchen felt eerily empty after most of the guys left. Especially so because we had a new stage join us yesterday. Let’s call him Musician Stage for now. His background was like something out of a movie — packed up his bags and left behind his Midwest home to move out west to Hollywood. He played in a few bands and was hoping to make it big in the City of Angels. When that didn’t pan out as expected, he decided to get in the kitchen and found us. Station Lead assigned him to trail me for the day, 1) to get him out of his hair and 2) to get my opinion on whether he would be a good fit. (He seemed hardworking and listens to instructions… so far, so good.)
I got to spend more time on the Hot Line during prep, which is always a welcomed sign of progress. Since our immersion circulator broke, we had to replace our 56-degree eggs with poached ones. After poaching off over twenty eggs, I moved on to the deep fryer to finish some of our salad garnishes. It’s seriously hot on the well-named Hot Line, especially with this unusually warm winter we’re having, but I can’t wait for my chance to tackle the challenge of working service on the Hot Line someday. (The Hot Line, by the way, consists of the Meat, Fish, and Hot Apps stations.)
Service had its spikes… a handful would print at once and then a lull. Around 7 or so, someone gave us a heads-up that the front of the house basically just sat the entire dining room at one time and to anticipate being bombarded with tickets. And bombarded we were, handling at least 30 covers in the span of 10 minutes. Like the calm before the storm, I could see the quiet settle over the kitchen just before the second courses started raining down on the Hot Line. I overheard at least 5 tickets fired simultaneously at any given time. It was a mad house!
Station Lead and I worked well together today. Maybe he was in a good mood or maybe I’m getting better (I think it was a little of both). At some point the topic of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came up and he asked, “And the best Sherlock Holmes is….?” I replied with Benedict Cumberbatch and his response was a resounding “YESSSSS!” We bonded over watching BBC. Dishwasher-turned-Pantry was on the station with us too, but he expressed no interest in the topic.
Charcuterie Guy kept me company for part of my Late Night shift. Luckily the food orders on the Cold Line were fairly slow. I think I did three or four terrines, a salad, and a few orders of deviled eggs. In the downtime, I went over to keep Sous Chef company, who was a little more bogged down with orders of grilled cheese and fish & chips. He loves to talk about food, especially dishes that he misses from his homeland (Chile), so our conversations generally gravitate toward eating more so than cooking. At 11:50pm, we finally cleaned up and headed home.
Slightly limping as I hobbled into the house, Honey Bunny asked if I’d be interested in a late meal at this Brazilian place nearby. I hopped into the shower and we went out to paint the town red. I can’t remember the last time we stayed out till 2am, but that pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and an impromptu date night with Honey Bunny really made my night. Hence the delay in posting this entry until this morning.
Now it’s time to start a new day. Can’t wait to see what adventures await!