Week 16: Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride

Friday Night Family Meal: Homemade Lasagna (with traditional Italian bolognese!), Garlic Bread, Salad

Friday Night Family Meal: Homemade Lasagna (with traditional Italian bolognese!), Garlic Bread, Salad

Thank goodness the weather has been cooling down a bit these past few days, but Friday and Saturday in the kitchen were horrendously hot. Just before Friday night’s service, when all of the stoves were turned on at full blast and the kitchen felt like it had reached its peak, Singing Hot-Apps Guy grabbed the digital probe thermometer and brought it over to his station to conduct an experiment. Curious, I followed and saw that he was measuring the ambient temperature over at his station, indisputably the hottest part of the Hot Line because of the lack of air flow. The result?  Just standing around in that corner — 110 degrees. Standing directly over the plancha, as you would have to be to saute the pasta dishes — 135 degrees. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE. No wonder I was getting heat rash. Then we measured one of the bowls we use to plate the Happy Hour pastas and the fried octopus dish, the black one as we knew it would conduct heat the best — 190 degrees. That explains why my fingers would turn bright crimson when I went to grab a bowl during service.

While it was depressing to learn just how hot it is in that corner, Singing Hot-Apps Guy seemed incredibly proud to finally have a scientifically proved definition of what they had all simply referred to as “hot as dicks.” That’s right my friends. Hot as dicks has a precise temperature and that is 135 degrees. All in a day’s work.

Friday night, one of my friends (and Matcha Bunny readers) made reservations at our restaurant to celebrate her twelfth dating anniversary with her boyfriend. WOW! I was honored and reminded of why I wanted to go into the restaurant industry — food is fun to create and delicious to eat but most importantly, it makes people happy. And since our restaurant is mid-range (not particularly cheap but not prohibitively expensive either), we tend to get happy guests dining with us to celebrate something. Anyway, before any of the FOH had even told me about them, I saw a ticket check in that I knew had to be theirs. Chicken liver mousse and tuna tartare on the start, followed by Welli and squid ink capellini. During a brief lull, I flagged down the waiter whose name was on the ticket and asked him, “I know this is kind of a weird question but, is Table ## an Asian couple…?” “Yes! Celebrating their 12…” “12 year anniversary. Awesome, please take good care of them – they’re my friends!” :)

Saturday was a busy prep day as I was assembling my second salmon terrine that week and the slow-going process seemed to drag on even longer with the heat. As soon as I was done, I wrapped it, set it up in the walk-in to be pressed overnight, and then headed straight for the back fridge. Usually it’s my least favorite thing to discover that we had run out of eggs in the walk-in and someone (ie: me, if my next task required it) would have to go to the back and lug up a case of 15 dozen huevos. But this time, I welcomed the excuse to go sit among the dozens of kegs we kept in the very well-chilled back fridge. Sous Chef S found me there and ended up getting the case of eggs since he needed them to make mini quiches for family meal. I’d say I won on many accounts, especially when I bit into the luscious tart filled with creamy eggs, bright sun-dried tomatoes, smoky house-cured honey ham, and leafy spinach. What a delicious ten letter word for diminutive egg based torte (HIMYM, anyone?).

Saturday Night Family Meal: Mini Quiches

Saturday Night Family Meal: Mini Quiches

We had 120 on the books on Saturday night, a respectable number, until we realized that 50 of those guests would comprise three parties. We all knew what that meant — a roller coaster of a service with tickets coming in a wave and then radio silence followed by another pummeling wave, and repeat. Oy. I had gotten lucky with the first party, which only ordered cold dishes and pasta for their first course; I used my shiny Mac knife to slice the tataki tuna for the boys to build their six tartare dishes. The second party requested two charcuterie boards, which I built simultaneously with no help other than Pizza Guy K toasting my bread in his pizza oven (my mini toaster would just be too slow).

But the third party had a special request. One charcuterie board order but split onto two slates. Split? Chef called me over and said to just cut everything in half. Ummm… okay… but as I started slicing and splitting, all of the terrines just looked SO strange to me. I did my best to make it look nice, but it felt like applying makeup on an ugly person — you can only do so much. As I brought up my boards, I told Chef I wasn’t happy with the weird presentation and that I just did the best I could. He looked at them and chuckled, “They actually look pretty good!” I was pleased. In retrospect, I wish I had snagged a photo so I could show you guys. Because of the strange shapes, I tried to make them look artsy.

I knew Honey Bunny was going out with his friend again on Saturday night, but Bartender L came rushing into the kitchen and told me that he had arrived at the bar and wanted the special strawberry dessert. She asked me if I wanted to fire it to Pastry Girl or make it myself, and luckily she had caught me right between the two parties’ orders because I had time to make it personally. :) MADE WITH LOVE!

Strawberry Pavlova - made with love for my Honey Bunny

Strawberry Pavlova – made with love for my Honey Bunny

I didn’t want to do anything productive on Sunday, my first day off after a long week, much to Honey Bunny’s dismay since Sunday is actually Sunday and he wants to get things in order before the weekend is over. We’re working through that, but on the bright side, that means that I get my butt in gear on Mondays to run errands, clean up the house, and especially today — get inspired to cook. I planned out a three course meal for my Honey Bunny, and I can’t wait for him to get home. I’ll post photos later, and perhaps recipes on my other blog… the poor thing has been neglected since I started this new adventure.

(PS: I just got a brand new smart phone so my photos should start looking even better!)

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