Dishwasher Shopping

I hired a dishwasher a few weeks ago.  He was supposed to start on a Friday, but he called and said a family member was rushed to the hospital, I told him to start the following Friday.  He didn’t show up.  He said that he thought I said Saturday.  He worked on Saturday then the following Thursday.  He did a pretty good job.  On the third Friday he explained that he had been sick all night and couldn’t come in. Must be something about Fridays.  He doesn’t work for me anymore.

I hired a dishwasher who was supposed to start Wednesday.  He never showed up.

Dishwashers.

I don’t believe in any God, nor do I believe in Santa Clause.  I do not think there have ever been any wars fought over the belief in Santa.  Given the choice, I’d take old St. Nick as his impact on the world has been far less destructive.

I’ve mentioned in the past that it’s hard for me to be out in public, especially at a grocery store.  I just think so many people there forget that there are other people in the store trying to shop as well.

I starts when I walk into the store behind someone and stop just inside the door so they can organize their list and coupons without leaving enough room for anyone else to get by.

People with their cart and 4 kids up against the meat display taking 10 minutes to pick out a package of pork chops at that moment when I’m there to buy pork chops.

When stopping your cart while shopping ask yourself if other people can get by.  Just be aware that Dominic might be shopping too and he’s unreasonably irritated by life’s simple occurrences.

There’s no grocery bagger, the cashier has no idea why there’s a rack of bags directly behind her (or him for NPR fans) so they just let the groceries pile up down at the end, and the shopper is above bagging their own items.  Said shopper waits until the cashier (who could have bagged while scanning) has bagged up your groceries to take out the checkbook, find a pen, and ask who to make the check out to.  Or, for the progressive shopper who uses a card, but still waits until the end to jam the card into the slot like they’re trying to get a dagger through an enemy combatant’s breast plate, then push the buttons like they’re typing on a manual typewriter from 1956.

I love the Red Sox.  Red Sox fans not as much, they’re too damn anxious.

The cashier was instructing an 85-year-old couple to download the app so they could track their rewards program points.  The look the couple gave the cashier was one of utter bewilderment.  It appeared the elderly couple was clueless, but I contend that it was the Hannaford employee that was clueless, as she flaunted her obliviousness to the situation.

I get it, apps are how we work now, but we’re no longer able to service folks who are beyond today’s technology.  This is not a new concept, I’m sure the horseless carriage caused similar issues.  We just tend to leave people behind in a sink or swim situation.

You can serve people too much food and charge them for it, or you can give reasonable portions and make going out to dinner a better value.

Recently the tight-assed group 1 Million Moms put enough pressure on that horrible Hallmark Channel to move them to remove a commercial that featured a same-sex kiss.  Shame on the Hallmark Channel for buckling under the pressure from a group of people whose purpose in life is to direct others how to live.  If they wanted to do some actual good in the name of the greatest and most popular work of fiction created, then they would go after con men like Joel Osteen and the other preachers of fables and fantastic stories who make great sums of money preying on the fears of misdirected believers.

While writing some of this I’m listening to The Highwaymen live at Nassau Coliseum recorded in 1990.  These guys are American icons who sing honest songs.

Just a lot of ranting, I know.  Thanks for listening.  Chef’s day is looking good so far today, but it’s early.

Old Flavors are New Again

There’s nothing new about the flavors I’m presenting at Amuse. In fact, they’re quite old, most even ancient.  I’m not looking to be overly innovative with most of what I’m creating as of late, but I am seeking to use the spice of Northern Africa, Spain, and the Eastern Mediterranean in to introduce new flavors to Saratoga Springs.

I don’t feel the need to recreate traditional, and dishes of specific countries or cultures, but instead use the spice blends in applications that I as a chef deem culinarily fun and of course, delicious.  My “non-traditional bouillabaisse” is a great example. While the dish and many like it are classics in the Mediterranean region, this specific preparation is not.  I try to blend traditional ideas from one culture but use a flavor profile from another in the area.  I could not necessarily label anything on the menu as specifically Turkish, Moroccan, Spanish, or Syrian.  I can however call my cooking inspired by all those cuisines and others that have such a long food history.

So, if you’re looking for recipes to be exact to any country of origin, forget it, I’m gonna mix them up and see what shakes out. My way

I will tell you this:  It’s going to taste good, It’s going to challenge your taste buds, and it’s going to be new it these here parts.

I have so far excluded Italy, and mostly because I’ve done it, and so has everyone else.  I want something new and you should as well.

I am going to start making some hand-made pasta soon and see if we can do something interesting with it for a change.

Some cumin and a dollop of yogurt does not make it Middle Eastern.  The cooking in that part of the world may seem simple and developed from poverty, but it’s a very culinarily complex region with such a long history, multitudes of religions, cultures, and ethnic groups.  I’m doing my best to understand it and recreate it in my own way.  It’s a good thing I have no rules.

Our industry only moves forward with flexibility, innovation, and culinary license. Oh, and limited rules.

Well, Amuse is open and I’m having a great time.  We’ve got a long way to go before we become everything we’ve set out to be, but the start is very encouraging and I’m confident Amuse will shape up to realizing its potential in the coming weeks and months.

In the past four weeks I’ve lost 28 lbs.  I have drastically reduced alcohol and almost eliminated junk food. I’m also ending meals at the point when I’m comfortably full, no further.  I feel better than I have in a long time.

At this juncture in my restaurant career, I find far more pleasure in enjoying who came in vs. how many came in. Sure, I could count covers, but at this point I’d rather relish in the fact that I’m drawing people who are in to enjoy the food and flavors rather than just be fed.

The servers at Amuse are top-notch, I’m lucky to have them.

Alan has made significant strides.

I’m going to serve goat soon, perhaps for New Year’s Eve.

Pride

My last dishwasher found waking up for a 5:00 shift difficult.  Now he can sleep in.

Jenn and I purchased a new stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator from Lowe’s.  On the day the appliances were to be delivered we were informed that the fridge that was previously seen in the warehouse was nowhere to be seen.  The sales department and the shipping department gave us a bullshit story about their inventory to explain their unintentional error. We suspected that our fridge had been desired by another party and was sold to them.  The delivery guys fully supported our theory and advised us to seek more than the 10% discount offered.

My son came home from a birthday party on Sunday with a punch balloon. As much as it would upset him, I somewhat hope each day that it pops.

I’m almost done with the New Year’s Eve menu which I’ll post on amuseonbroadway.com on Sunday.  It will be fun, full of small tapas and mezze, and the prices won’t be inflated for the holiday.

There will be 7 seafood dishes on the menu for December 20th and 21st with a special price for those that may want to enjoy the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes in a series of 5 courses.  They will also be available individually.

A Catholic tradition done with flavors that are typically enjoyed in Muslim countries?  Who says food can’t bring the world together.

See you at Amuse.