Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Victory Shot

There are a few givens that can lead a man to drinking: divorce, death of a loved one, and the use a voice-activated phone menu system. Even the most tolerant will find themselves throwing the phone across the room after they have had to repeat “check account” sixteen times to hear the same voice repeat again and again, “I’m sorry. I didn’t get that.” Succumbing to screaming, “No kidding you didn’t get that. You are a goddamn voice without a brain - so how could you possibly GET THAT?” You walk to the bar because nothing cures a broken soul like a cocktail.

Sitting on your barstool feeling slightly ashamed that you are the only person in the bar mid-afternoon, you start to wonder whose idiotic idea was it to have you clearly shout your account number and password repetitively into the phone. What was wrong with pushing the buttons? Obviously there is a lobby by Identity Thieves of America to keep up this practice, as there is no doubt they are all over Washington doling out gifts and promising senators favors to keep this system alive.

It seems like a no win situation, but really you just need to keep control. Next time, just start saying random words so when she says, “I’m sorry. I didn’t get that.” At least you understand where she is coming from. Some of my favorite lexicons are shuttlecock, giblet, and haberdashery. I also like to ask certain questions like, “Do you know who shot Kennedy?” or “Where does your soul go when you die?” If you are lucky, you speak a foreign language and can ask things like, “Ertu alltaf svona pirrandi?” which is Icelandic for, “Are you typically this annoying?”

That way you have the upper hand in the situation, and isn’t this what it’s all about? Eventually, if you confuse the voice enough it will put you through to a real human at which point you are justified to spend the next ten minutes repeating, “I’m sorry I didn’t get that,” to every question they ask you.

After this tête-à-tête, nothing will warm your heart more than knowing the voice didn’t win. And a winner always deserves a victory shot.

Victory Shot
1.5 oz tequila
.5 oz blue curaçao
.5 oz fresh squeezed lime

Shake and strain into a shot glass.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Everything happens for a reason

My apologies for not writing for so long.

So the past six months - no entries. Well, here is the brunt of it. I tried to buy the bar I was managing, I loved that bar more than I’ve loved anyone except for my husband and my immediate family. I put every single extra minute I had into making it perfect, making it fun, making it inviting, and making it a place where people enjoyed coming night after night. It was mine except it wasn’t mine because my name wasn’t on the title, I didn’t sign the paychecks, and I didn’t own the tables or the glassware. I wanted it so much and it showed, one of my very good bar regulars approached me about helping me buy it and so we moved forward. After months and months of looking at numbers, talking to the owner, and putting together a new business plan - I thought it was a done deal. I had no doubts that I was going to own the bar, it was just a question of a time frame.

One night in September, my husband and I went out to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We had one of the best meals we’ve ever had and were also celebrating that we were going to own the bar soon. I came home to find a message on my voicemail from my boss (the owner of the bar). I was drunk and tired and decided I would listen to it in the morning. I called him in the morning to see what was going on and I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was just done with me, that he didn’t want me around anymore. He didn’t say this, but I knew it. I had spent the past three years running his business, I knew him probably as well as anyone does or ever will. I met with him and he told me that he wanted to change the direction of the bar that he wanted it to be more food oriented. He said that he still was hoping I could buy it, but he didn’t want me to be the manager anymore and that he was cutting my pay. So stunned, I left. I had done nothing but grow his business. I won five best of awards in the local paper that year. I ran the busiest bar in town, I always heard, “Everyone is slow compared to you. Everyone must be here tonight.”

I loved that bar soooooo much, I loved the staff I had hired, I loved the cocktails that I did there, I loved the space, and I loved my clientele. But I never did much like the man I worked for. I had never seen him end a relationship well and I knew that going into buying the bar that this could happen. I just never thought it could happen to me.

I went to work that night, I guess to try to piss on the territory that I thought was rightfully mine. But it wasn’t mine, it was his. And he made it clear by spending the whole night on his phone in front of me changing passwords, door codes, alarm settings, safe combinations, etc.

I knew that some good friends of mine were looking for a new bar manager at their restaurant - a beautiful restaurant where I knew I could still do my cocktail list and have some autonomy, so I talked to him the next morning and just like that - I left my baby. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and I cried for days and days about it. For weeks, I couldn’t walk by it without tears coming out of my eyes. I’ve never wanted anything as much as I wanted that bar.

But they say all things happen for a reason (which is a saying that I hate since people only say that when bad things happen). But the economy went to shit in the same week. I didn’t risk everything I had in a very unstable time. I work now where I am making more money and I am so much more appreciated. I forgot how it felt to be appreciated because it had been a long time at my old place of work. I also was lucky that my staff followed me to my new bar - so thank you girls. Every night they make work so much fun and so much easier. They are smart, beautiful, funny, charming, and witty and I cannot tell you how fortunate I am to have them work for me and be a part of my life. And now we have turned this new bar into the hottest place in town. We have broken all the records behind the bar and liquor sales are up 42% on the weekends and 23% on the weekdays. I’ve cut liquor costs by 11%. It feels good to have cleaned this new place up and it makes me see that what I did at my old bar - I can do anywhere as long as I am given the freedom to do so.

Next time something a little more light-hearted.

Making bacon infused vodka and bacon infused bourbon. Also doing fruit caviar - the presentation is sick. Can’t wait to break that out in the next couple of weeks. Otherwise, trying to figure out what to enter in the Vegas mix off contest - wish me luck.


Dear Wife:

I'm writing you this letter to tell you that I'm leaving you for good. I've been a good man to you for seven years, and I have nothing to show for it

These last two weeks have been hell. Your boss called to tell me that you had quit your job today, and that was the last straw.

Last week, you came home and didn't even notice that I had gotten a new hair cut, cooked your favorite meal, and even wore a brand new pair of silk boxers.
You came home and ate in two minutes, then went straight to sleep after watching all your soaps. You don't tell me you love me anymore, you don't want to have sex anymore or anything. Either you're cheating on me or you don't love me anymore.
Whatever the case is, I am gone.

Your EX - Husband

P.S. Don't try to find me. Your SISTER and I are moving away to West Virginia together! Have a great life!

Dear Ex-Husband:

Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter. It is true that you and I have been married for seven years, although a good man is a far cry from what you've been.

I watch my soaps so much because they drown out your constant whining and griping. Too bad that doesn't work. I did notice when you got a hair cut last week. The first thing that came to mind was, "You look just like a girl!" but my mother raised me not to say anything, if you can't say anything nice. And when you cooked my favorite meal, you must have gotten me confused with MY SISTER, because I stopped eating steak seven years ago.

I turned away from you when you had those silk boxers on because the price tag was still on them. I prayed that it was just a coincidence that my sister had just borrowed $20 from me that morning and your new silk boxers were $20.

After all of this, I still loved you and felt that we could work it out. So, when I discovered that I had hit the lottery for 60 Million dollars, I quit my job and bought us two tickets to Aman Pulo somewhere in Palawan. But when I got home you were gone. Everything happens for a reason, I guess.

I hope you have the fulfilling life you always wanted. My lawyer said that with your letter you wrote, you won't get a dime from me. So take care.

Rich and Free!

P.S. I don't know if I ever told you this but Carla, my sister, was born CARL. I hope that's not a problem. Change is good.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"But what is it?"

As much as I love my bar regulars, I have come to terms that no matter how interesting, how witty, how intelligent, or how wealthy they are that they are all socially retarded and thus the reason they have very few friends and thus the reason that they sit at the end of the bar each night.

Most of my bar regulars are men, and at first thought it would appear it is because I am a woman, but most bar patrons are men - so I don’t know if being a woman has much to do with it. But I do take on a matronly role for most of them as I am their confidant, their advocate, their shoulder to cry on, their favorite person to complain to, their fashion advisor, and their cheerleader. To many of these people I am their best friend, and for some the closest thing they have to a wife. Which is absolutely bizarre, but I understand this role and I play it well, so I let it pay the bills. Furthermore, I am a bartender and I truly believe that a bar is nothing without its regulars.

But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about these strange relationships as I had a recent break up with a bar regular M, who frequented the bar every night. He was not a great spender, but I still liked him because for the most part he was funny, intelligent, opinionated, and always up for interesting conversation.

About four months ago, he bought a new puppy and somehow decided that it would be a good idea for us to go for a dog walk together. I don’t do things outside of the bar with my patrons. If I happen to see them out I might sit next to them at the bar, but I don’t have their phone numbers, we don’t go for lunch together, and we certainly don’t go alone into the woods together so our dogs can become friends. I blew off the walking request and M let up, I think he knew it was slightly inappropriate. But I could also tell he wasn’t sure why I wouldn’t want to spend even more time with him (especially time where I wasn’t getting paid).

One night he came in and sat in his usual seat, ordered a beer, and asked about the absinthe. It was Friday and I was slamming jamming busy, but he sat in a place where I could talk to him no matter how busy we were. In reply to his question, I told him how absinthe was illegal but recently allowed on the market, that it was distilled from wormwood, and that it supposedly had hallucinogenic qualities. And he asked again, “But what is it?” And I didn’t understand what he was getting at, so I answered that it was it’s own thing, that it wasn’t a type of any liquor. And he asked again, “But what is it? What is it? What is it?” Fortunately, the guy next to him was more annoyed than myself and the guy answered, “It’s fucking absinthe, let it go.”

M is often times annoying, as are all socially incompetent people, so I didn’t think much about it. The next night he came in and asked if I had seen his friend and I hadn’t, so I replied no. He asked again if I’d seen him and again I said no. Again he asked if I was sure I hadn’t seen his friend, and once again I replied that I was absolutely positive that I hadn’t seen him.

He sat down ordered a beer and asked me if I have been to the Thai restaurant around the corner and I told him that I had. He asked me what was good there and I told him that I really liked the yellow curry. And he asked me what it was and I told him it was not as spicy as Indian curry with lime and coconut. And he asked me again, “What is it?” Once again, I had no fucking clue what he was asking me. I asked him what he meant and he said that he didn’t know how to order food there and I told him that it was very easy, especially at this restaurant that specifically caters to white uncomfortable people ordering foreign food.

I told M it was as simple as choosing a meat (beef, pork, chicken, or seafood), a sauce (in this case the yellow curry), and either noodles or rice; that it would be impossible to mess it up. That corporately trained servers would rush to his side and walk him through every single menu item. But this answer did not suffice, just like every answer I’d given M in the last two days and he asked again, “But what is it?” and at this point I wanted to pull my fucking hair out because I literally felt like I was dealing with a three year old, why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why?

I answered one more time with every ounce of patience left inside of me and again he asks, “But what is it?” and I couldn’t take it anymore. And I looked at him and said, “I’m not a fucking Thai chef I don’t know exactly what it is, but if you want me to I will go right now and buy a Thai cookbook and list off each ingredient word by word so that you can be ensured that you know exactly what you are getting before you ever set foot in there.” And he looked at me and replied, “Someone is cranky today.”

I seriously wanted to shoot him at this point. I replied that I wasn’t cranky, I unfortunately didn’t have an answer to his 60th why question being screamed in my ear. That if he spent $12 on a noodle bowl that all of his uncertainties would be answered. M drank his beer and has not been back.

About a week ago, he opened up the door to the bar and glanced in and I joked with him that I thought he and I were broken up and he looked at me, stomped to his car, and drove off.

And that is the fucked up thing about the relationship I have with these people is that it is absolutely one sided in every way because I am always in an amazing mood, I always care about their problems, I always will listen when they’ve had a hard day, I always tell them that they look healthy and well-dressed. And they think that they know me, but really they know only a very small part of me (which I would not have it any other way) but sometimes I’d like to scream, I’m having a shitty fucking day too for reasons much worse than your own. Or you are annoying the fuck out of me today - so if we could just give one another a little space that would be fantastic. Or seriously, just fucking get over it.

There’s no doubt it would take a toll on my loyal bar regulars but for a moment, just for a moment I might actually believe they care.

Pete and Repeat are on a boat and Pete jumps off. Who is left on the boat?


Pete and Repeat are on a boat and Pete jumps off. Who is left on the boat?


Pete and Repeat are on a boat and Pete jumps off. Who is left on the boat?


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Crazy is what Crazy be, I'm a Crazy Freak to be in love with thee

My job has been so easy for the past six months, everyone is happy at work. All of the guests are happy, the owners are happy. In our free time, I think many of us just wanted to hold hands and skip down the street whistling and singing. Then one day the kitchen manager noticed he wasn’t so happy and became very grumpy towards the wait staff. This became and issue, but not for long because he was offered another job and gave his notice. I don’t know if I’ve been writing on this blog for you to notice one thing about this restaurant, that being that we have very high turnover in the kitchen, especially kitchen managers. I account that to very poor management on behalf of the owner. As I do not hire or fire for the kitchen, I just make sure that make consistent quality of food in a respectful amount of time.

The person I work for is very manipulative and passive aggressive. Perhaps the reason I get along with him is because I am not manipulative and just aggressive. But no one else can seem to tolerate him in the restaurant, in particular in the back of the house. When the kitchen manager left, the pantry girl (who is crazy) asked to be promoted and she was. She shouldn’t have been or if she was, she needed guidance. But she was promoted into a position that she is not capable of carrying out. The man I work for has treated her despicably and is mentally abusive. Rather than helping her get to where she needs to be, he questions all of her actions - finally breaking down her confidence to a point where she is going crazy. This craziness carries through the entire restaurant and everyone has been a lot less happy than usual this past month. It’s been difficult.

Of course, she eventually decides to leave on bad terms. Which is what has happened with almost every single kitchen manager. This Saturday will be her last day and then once again, there will be turmoil in the kitchen as we try to get it to a point of harmony. The owner has asked me to manage the kitchen more, which I will be happy to do assuming that he stays the hell away and doesn’t harass my employees.

His wife used to harass the wait staff very similarly to how he likes to ride the cooks, and it literally came to a head one night over her wanting to fire someone over a nose ring. In this particular conversation I told her that she is mean and condescending to the servers. Typically one in particular, she constantly questions every move they make, tells them their shirt isn’t right, or their shoes aren’t black enough, or a million other petty things of this nature. After a very miserable evening where she refused to look at me and I know that she would never like me the same again, she interviewed every staff member to find out if this was true and we haven’t seen her in the restaurant since. Could I ever be so lucky with her husband?

Otherwise, I had an awful man come in the bar last night. He stood in the doorway with his hoody on looking around in a very creepy manner, not like he was looking for someone but rather he was just looking for trouble. I said hello and he didn’t answer. I asked him if I could help him with something and he didn’t answer. I finally said, “Are you not even going to say hello?” and with that he sat down at the bar. He ordered water and I replied, “You come here rudely and now you sit down to have a water. You can leave.” I expect someone to flip me off or tell me to go to hell when I tell them to leave the bar, but he looks at me and says, “You’re the reason I don’t date American girls,” and I replied, “fret not, I wasn’t interested.” And then he replies, “When you are sleeping at night, you have pleasant dreams of eating your own shit.” Jesus Fucking Christ, where did this one come from and why does he have to show up on my doorstep. After a couple, “Get the fuck out, he finally leaves.”

Five minutes later he is back at the door screaming about how he is going to call my boss and tell him how rude I was to him, how he owns three bars and he can’t believe how our bar is ran, all the while interjecting a fuck you just to keep it as offensive as possible. We were tempted to ask if he had a position for our crazy pantry girl turned kitchen manager, but one crazy + one crazy never equals anything good. He eventually leaves after we tell him we are calling the police. He first says, “Call the police, taser me, I don’t care.” But then he does leave.

I don’t really ever expect to see him again, but tonight who shows smoking three cigarettes in his mouth at once. Yes, the crazy man. He comes in declaring that he will be accepting my apology and I told him that there wasn’t a chance in hell I would apologize to him, but he definitely could apologize to me. He sat down and apologized three times and then asked my name, which I replied I would not give him. To that he said I was coy and sullen, which regardless of him being completely obnoxious I found slightly fascinating. Not often described as coy and sullen. He kept trying to talk and I looked at him and said, “I don’t know what to say to you. You come in here telling me that I dream of eating my own shit. If you really own three bars, you must understand why you have been kicked out. We are never starting over. You are never being served in this bar. You will never be welcome here. You will never set foot in here again. I accept your apology.” He got up and said he would be back, which scared everyone around me more than myself, but it made me call the police to keep an eye out for him. Because you just never know, any crazy can buy a gun in this country.

Otherwise, I’ve got some things brewing about having my own place. I don’t want to jinx it, so enough said.

First Friday coming up and we are hiring someone new. One of my servers is moving to Minneapolis to be with her girlfriend. I wish her the best of luck and we will miss her.

A guy dies and is sent to Hell. Satan meets him, shows him doors to three rooms, and says he must choose one spend eternity in. In the first room, people are standing in shit up to their necks. The guy says "no, let me see the next room." In the second room, people are standing with shit up to their noses. Guy says no again. Finally, Satan opens the door to the third room. People are standing with shit up to their knees, drinking coffee and eating danish pastries. The guy says, "I pick this room." Satan says okay and starts to leave, and the guy wades in and starts pouring some coffee. On the way out Satan yells, "O.K., coffee break's over. Everyone back on your heads!"

Monday, February 25, 2008


Oh yeah, and we just received top 100 bars in the country from Nightclub & Bar and we were mentioned in Sunset magazine as the place to be at night.

Booty Clap

Oh Oh Oh, What to do. The last two weeks have proven to be quite uneventful. The owners of the bar left for Hawaii on Monday. They have been speedily becoming crazier and crazier with the last phone call before they left to ensure that there hadn’t been a party in the kitchen the night before because there were dirty dishes. I reassured them that the dirty dishes were because of the new fear of paying anyone for more than exactly the amount of work they contributed, thus the pantry cook and dishwasher were sent home at 11 p.m. and there were still dishes in the dining room. Protocol has always been to leave these last few dishes for the prep on Monday, but in my boss’s new found paranoia he is sure that everyone is dancing on the prep tables, getting naked while drinking the kitchen wine and brandy, and throwing knives at one another as it could be nothing less than some sort of circus freak show.

With my restaurant plan on hold until my husband gets his shit together, I have had some time to think about what I really want. I really believe in my restaurant idea, but there is obviously some downturn in the economy and where I live has seen an overabundance of new buildings and in particularly new restaurants. In the last three months, six new restaurants opened within three blocks of where I work now and it is only a town of 70,000 people. Although our business has not really seen much of a change, there is definitely an overwhelming fear amongst the restaurant owners as to who is going to make it and how lean it will get before it gets better. There is a reassurance right now that I can leave, pick up, and go where the money is if that happens to be the case. Although, once again I believe the money will be where I am at because I work my ass off to keep that bar busy and thus far it has worked and I have no intention of not keeping busy. But once again, knowing that I could leave is somewhat reassuring. Especially from a serious commitment phobe who has a meltdown about every six months about being married and owning a home.

So I guess I will wait for my husband and see what goes out of business and then make a decision. Overall, I assume it is a good time because there will be a lot of open restaurant space in the next year. Furthermore, I have to get away from the people that I work for. They are slowly but surely becoming more and more crazy each day. Which in turn makes me become more and more crazy each day and more and more sensitive to the bizarre situation around me which will no doubt

The only real excitement of late is that one of our regulars, a Mexican business man (who drinks cuba libres and is always slightly on the prowl even though he has a wife and two children waiting for him at home) decided that he liked one of our guests enough to follow her into the bathroom, go into the stall next to her, and try to look up at her while she was peeing. Yeah, let’s just say that he’s not coming into the bar anymore. Fortunately, she had a good sense of humor about it because seriously, what is fucking more disgusting that trying to pee in a public bathroom, only to find that some jackass pervert is trying to get splattered.

Otherwise there hasn’t been any mayhem, even our constant source of enjoyment, our pantry cook, has been trying to get her shit together by applying for college and paying down her debt. After a recent excursion to the strip club, we thought that might be a perfect career for her. She always is broke, has an incredible body, a very energetic dance she calls the booty clap (where once on New Year's we swear we heard the slap of her ass cheeks as she worked it), and a kooky yet dynamic personality. She replied, “Don’t think that hasn’t crossed my mind. I was blessed with a lot of tits and ass, but I was also blessed with a brain to know enough not to bear it for money.” On that note, I’ll call it a night.

What’s new cocktail wise.

I decided to pour through some stuff that I am sitting on, like a white port. I am mixing it with lemon juice, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and it is absolutely delicious. I named it Puerto Blanco and the name however is not delicious and no one has bought it. It needs to be renamed. Next menu change.

The hot drink however is Yumm Cocktail, which is really just a cherry lemon drop made with Three Olives Cherry Vodka. I don’t put any sugar in it and instead put a homemade sugar candy that makes for a perch to put a ball of cotton candy. The presentation is incredible and everyone adores it. I want to do some cotton candy experimenting, but I am going to wait a month, I need to sell through the bagged cotton candy that I already bought. I’m excited about the cotton candy, as you can flavor it and I think it could really push the envelope on what I’m doing with cocktails. Furthermore, it screams fun and it really is beautiful.

Otherwise, all the drinks are doing well. I have trouble selling that elderflower liqueur, even though it is so delicious. No one knows what it is, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it will take over like pomegranate has in the next year or so. We just need Oprah to endorse it.

Dave works hard at the plant and spends most evenings bowling or playing basketball at the gym. His wife thinks he is pushing himself too hard, so for his birthday she takes him to a local strip club.

The doorman at the club greets them and says,
"Hey, Dave, how ya doin?"

His wife is puzzled and asks if he's been to this club before.
"Oh no," says Dave. "He's on my bowling team."

When they are seated, a waitress asks Dave if he'd like his usual
Budweiser. His wife is becoming uncomfortable and says, "You must come
here a lot for that woman to know you drink Budweiser".

"No, honey, she's in the Ladies Bowling League. We share lanes with

A stripper comes over to their table and throws her arms around Dave.
"Hi Davey," she says, "Want your usual table dance?"

Dave's wife, now furious, grabs her purse and storms out of the club.
Dave follows and spots her getting into a cab. Before she can slam the
door, he jumps in beside her and she starts screaming at him.

The cabby turns his head and says,
"Looks like you picked up a real bitch tonight, Dave!"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Four Stars

Just got a great write up in the local newspaper’s food magazine:

“The small, warm room blanketed in red bustled with people, noise, and music. This bar is a classy spot with a bit of a twist. Our delicious cocktails came with names like oxymoron and hucklepeary and each arrived with a plastic monkey hanging from the rim. The souvenirs were a big hit with my crowd; we’re big fans of monkey business.”

Continues on about how good the food and service are. And another picture, although this one is of the back of my head!!!!!