Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Sorry I haven't put up a real post in a while. I've been busy working on this, which ran on the front cover of the SF Weekly today. I've also been packing up, giving notice at The Restaurant, and preparing for a 2.5 month jaunt, again. I'll be with Che in Buenos Aires for 6 weeks, then back in SF for four days, then with the 'rents in Europe for three weeks. Stuff is going into storage, the cat is going with a co-worker, I'm drinking way too much to cope with the stress of it all (which ISN'T working), and stuff.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I am a robot

Someone just posted a comment on the blog asking, "Are you a robot?" I'm not really sure what that meant but I liked it a lot.

This morning, ie 1:30pm, I was at Trader Joe's getting a few things: a Judy's breadstick, a bottle of green juice, a blemish stick, and kitty litter. Pretty typical waitress morning stuff to get. I was shuffling around in my furry parka and flip-flops because I'd just gotten a pedicure and sipping on the tiny cup of free coffee they give you while you shop.

After the checker finished ringing up pre-made sushi for the fit lesbian couple in matching red fleece vests, army green cargo pants, black messenger purses, and Oakleys, he took one look at my purchases, and me, and asked, "You just wakin' up, girl?"

"How did you know that?" I asked. "It's one-thirty pm!"

"You know, you just all quiet, sippin' on your coffee," he smiled. I told him I was a waitress and as I left TJs (after telling him he should come to The Restaurant sometime; I just can't help myself!) I heard him say to the person in line behind me,

"I knowed she worked nights. I could just tell."

The conversation and the bustle of the grocery store fading behind me, I padded home with my bag in hand, smiling to myself because I have a secret existence here in this busy city: that of a night owl.

There are plenty of us, and you'll recognize us as the ones in the bar at 1am who aren't drunk, but chatting with the bartender sincerely about how his night is going. We're the ones in the sunglasses at the coffeeshop at 2pm, lingering over the New York Times and a bagel. The streets of San Francisco are my domain at lunchtime and before, I share moments with bike messengers and homeless people as I wander the streets just for a look (I can't get enough of this city, even though I've known it all my life), corporate types bustling through their mornings with eyes wide shut.

Coming home at midnight on a Sunday, my whole neighborhood is asleep, and once again I have the streets to myself. I never guessed working late at night would make me feel that the city belongs to me, personally, because I see it during off-peak hours.

Sometimes I have weeks where I'm sick of serving people, jealous of their shiny Christmas presents exchanged in cozy booths as I open yet another bottle of expensive Burgundy for people who are paying to ignore me. Today, though, walking calmly through a city that felt like it belonged exclusively to me, I sipped my tiny coffee and relished my existence.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It seems The Man has as good of taste as the people I work with: Bourbon and Branch (one of whose bartenders works with me at The Restaurant) was named NUMBER ONE new bar in America by both Citysearch and MSN. Yeah! I knew that those strong Derby Manhattans had to reach a powerful editor somewhere. My boy Neyah is an amazing bartender; he's an alcohol intellectual that really gets off on stirring the rye the perfect amount of times so that it reaches the most exact temperature, flaming an orange rind just a half inch above a quivering surface tension of alcohol so the oil catches fire and when you drink the drink you fall off your barstool. I may be an elitist service and alcohol geek, but I love it when the things I love get recognition for being as awesome as they are. Holla! (Image unwitting courtesy of

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stewey Stewerson

One night at The Restaurant a couple weeks ago, I noticed an extremely tall and attractive young man sitting at the bar. He was glued to his Blackberry, and I thought, "Sweeet! an out-of-town business-type guy, dining alone? Purr-fect prey."

About ten minutes later, a girl came to meet him and they had dinner. I thought no more of it (I don't bat my eyes at boys who are on dates) and went about the evening's busy service. The next night, though, this guy came in with a different girl, and sat two bar stools down from where he'd sat the night before. Two dates, two nights, one restaurant? C'mon!

Two nights later, in with a different girl! When I came in for dinner the night after that, I had a hard time keeping a straight face when the only available bar stool was next to this fella and yet a different girl, but I had a great time telling my date about how many times I'd seen him that week.

MySpace,, Hot or Not? Where was he meeting these girls, and why was he bringing them into the same restaurant, night after night? Was he clueless or just a playa?

A couple of days later, I had to wait on him. The hostess was cruel enough to tell me the MySpace dater's name, and we had a hilarious time making fun of him, and speculating the personality-type his poor date (she was an eager one, she seemed to like him. Oh, how we wanted to warn the girl of Stew's history!).

I realized after one particularly loud explosion of laughter that we might be within earshot of his table, and told the hostess we had to keep it down after that. She pointed out that anyone who'd bring in eight different girls to the same restaurant in two weeks deserved to hear the staff of the restaurant making fun of him, and that our restaurant also has a menu item of the same name as the MySpace dater. This shouldn't really have assuaged my unprofessional, smack-talking related guilt, but it did.

And ol' Stew had the nerve to:
1) ask me what The Restaurant was known for on the menu--as if he hadn't already eaten everything on it!
2) step into the waiter station (which is tiny), very close to me, and whisper huskily: "Is this where the restroom is?"--as if he hadn't been to the restroom sixteen times here in the past two weeks.

He must live in the neighborhood, but c'mon Stewey Stewerson, find a new restaurant! The staff of ours cannot keep our faces straight any more!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dining like a Diva

Here's something for you to do next Wednesday:

The quirky folks at the Barndiva in Healdsburg will be hosting a winemaker dinner. Winemaker dinners feature different wines from one winery, paired with an extended menu created especially for the occasion.

The winemaker dinner at the Barn Diva is sure to be a decidedly entertaining event.
First, it's hosted by the irrepressible Lukka P. Abramski Feldman, he of numerous accents and extensive wit. Also the host of Sonoma County public access TV's newest show, What Lukka Likes, Feldman will deliver as many stinging intellectual barbs as he does glasses of champagne.

Second, the meal's going to be served family-style. Gathering around the long mahogany table at the rear of the restaurant, guests will help themselves to luscious crabcakes while mingling. Yum.

Third, as opposed to being held in a posh, white-tableclothed establishment, the winemaker dinner will be Healdsburg's answer to urban chic this Wednesday. If you haven't ever been to the Barndiva, it would be worth going to check this out. I've eaten there and the food is good.

Here's the menu:

Esterlina Vineyards & Everett Ridge

~Fresh Crispy Dungeness Crab Cake, Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Aioli
Paired with: Esterlina Vineyards, Riesling, Cole Ranch, Mendocino 2004

~ Barndiva Chicken Pot Pie
Paired with: Everett Ridge, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2004

~ Grilled Petit Filet Mignon Foraged Wild Mushrooms, Sautéed Chard, Pinot Noir Demi Glace Paired with: Esterlina Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 2004 & Everett Ridge, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2004

~ Molten Scharffen Berger Chocolate Cake
Paired with: Esterlina Vineyards, Porto, Sonoma County 2004

$85 (this is a steal for one of these events)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tripe Tacos

I've just arrived home from the party of the year (according to a Restaurant Boy); Boulevard chef de cuisine Ravi's 30th. Renting a taco truck (the most reputable in town, according to gal pal the Tablehopper) and parking it out front of Wish on 12th and Folsom, the birthday boy filled up the bar with 200 friends and chefs galore.

Highlights of the evening:
-Drinking a too-sweet Sazerac on the rocks (Pernot on ice with a splash of rye whisky, anyone?), which made me behave myself because I had to drink it really slowly.

-Getting convinced by Incanto chef Chris Cosentino to try a tripe taco. I did, but promptly handed everything after the first bite to the nearest bystander. I'll leave the offal to the "lips and assholes--the other white meat" chef.

-Hearing a fan of Cosentino's praise his restaurant as such: "Dude, I brought a date into Incanto the other night, and although she'd been a vegetarian for eight years, she broke her vegetarianism to try a plate of your calf's brains!" High fives ensued.

-Passing trays of cupcakes after an uproarious round of singing "Happy Birthday" at midnight.

-Watching two line cooks get taken out roughly by Wish's bouncer, and hearing the sweet-natured chef of Nopa offer to go "Be the big guy crying in the corner." I don't really know what this means, but it provided me with a hilairous mental picture. Maybe the sazerac and the cupcake had something to do with that.


Very different from last night's cocktail party, a ritzy affair Telegraph Hill. Highlights of last night's party:

-The libations. Billecart Salmon, Flowers pinot noir, and Hansel chardonnay were the respective sparkling, red, and white wines. The food was superb, although the slender society women did not eat much of it.

-The view. Right at the base of Coit Tower, the new home (for which the cocktail/housewarming party was thrown) had a stunning outlook of the lit-up tower and the bay.

-Talking to [one of] the owner[s] of YouTube (who is only a year older than I am) and getting out all three of the questions that my date had double dog dared me to ask:

1) "So, you're the owner of YouTube. What's it feel like to be you?"
2) "Do you read"
3) "Do you need a haircut? Because our hostesses hairdresser was invited and he's right over there."

Although my first inclination had been to rudely blurt out all three statements at once, I wound up politely inserting myself in conversation with YouTube guy, who turned out to be a down-to-earth and semi-awkward computer dude, just as I had imagined.

-Telling all of the people I spoke with that I was related to my date in different ways. I told several people that Jeff was my husband, others that he was my cousin, and a few that he was my brother. I plan to sit back and wait to see how long it takes before rumours of my incestuousness start to fly.

After the cocktail party (and admiring how lovely Jeff's sculpture looked in our hostesses living room), six of us dined at Zuni, which gets mixed reviews from just about everyone I mention it to. We had a nice experience, I think both the food and the service are kind of, "eh." but the oysters are always stupendous. Our bartender was ROTTEN, he shook my gin martini extremely hard, was generally surly, and forced us to close our tab instead of allowing us to transfer it to the table.

Afterward, beloved Hotel Biron (industry night tomorrow, anyone?) called and sure enough, we wound up talking to the kitchen staff as they got off work and popped next door to pop some corks as well as our waiter (who commiserated with us about the snooty French bartender) for a chunk of the evening as we were leaving.

'Tis the season for cocktail parties and I look forward to asking more inappropriate questions and lying about the status of my dates for many weeks to come.