Sunday, July 20, 2008

Supersized Sunday post

Wowza. Yesterday was quite the day. (Of course I mean "at work," do I really have anything else to talk about?) Long story short, our tiny kitchen was ridiculously busy and insanely hot last night - especially in my little grill corner, which holds a large oven rockin' on 500 degrees, an approximately 36 inch by 20 inch flat top (powered by three large gas strips and takes about an hour to completely cool down), a similarly sized grill, and four burners. My little thermometer on the line clocked the air temperature at around 120 degrees for most of the night. It's not a dry heat, like Arizona, or even a completely humid heat, like southern Mississippi. It's a disgusting mixture of the two (to which you might be saying, wouldn't a dry heat sometimes plus 100% humidity equal a lower percentage of humidity? - to which the answer is "not really"). It's difficult to describe - and when you've got the aforementioned heat sources plus steam from pasta cookers, reducing stocks, and assorted braises thrown into the mix, it makes for a very uncomfortable environment. Your best hope is to keep a gallon of drinking water next to your station - and avoid the temptation to ice it down (because if your body's temperature drops too quickly, you can hit some serious problems) - and to step off the line at every available moment to sit in the walk-in cooler for a minute or two - which can actually be worse, because all of the sweat immediately chills and makes you quite aware of how soaked you actually are. Oh, I haven't really mentioned the sweat yet. It literally pours down your face. Again, it's disgusting - and of course it gets into the food. (Did you know that before the advent of electric mixers, bakers avoided putting salt in their bread to make up for the inevitable salt their sweat would add to the mixture during the kneading process? True story.) And dehydration makes one a little loopy. We put a new fish on the menu this weekend - a cobia - to replace the way too popular halibut. At one point during service, I began to refer to it as the "cobra" - with the appropriate action-movie-preview-voiceover-accent - for no other reason than my heat addled brain had been cooked to medium rare by this point, and I thought it was funny. (It wasn't.) The joke evolved to "Ordering in - a short ribs and a (voice lowers two octaves) co-brrrrraaaaa," to which the confirmation of the order changed from "one cobia" to "Knowledge is power!" (an 80's GI Joe reference, for those of you who missed that one), to the final "maybe we need to drink some water and get off this line" step of convincing a server to screw with the computer so our ticket actually said "cobra." ANYWAYS. It was a goofy night.
Quote of the year from our extern, by the way. (And you guys know how I feel about externs.) He's a guy in his 40's who does flooring or something. He's slow and is the least proactive person I've ever met in my entire life. You can tell him to do one thing, and three hours later, he'll be done, and he won't look at the list to see what else needs to be done - he'll just stand there until you tell him what to do. We call him "Bad Dad" behind his back because he got tossed in jail over Memorial Day weekend because he missed quite a few child support payments. Anyways...he gets mopey and grumpy because frankly, some of the easy prep projects are long and mind-numbing - like cleaning the stems off of swiss chard leaves, then going back and cleaning the aforementioned stems, picking the stems off of a case of get the idea. But yesterday..."Straight A's in school and I'm working pastry." (Note - he's not really working pastry - our pastry station is more of a "pastry plate-up" station - we have a pastry chef who works mornings and actually makes the desserts - all the PM person does is put them on plates - and then they spend the rest of their time doing the aforementioned boring prep.) I was ready to go off on him, but didn't really have it in me, so instead I said, "Sucks, doesn't it? I need you to hurry up on that chard if it's going to get done by the end of tonight." Just because these attitudes kill me. Thankfully, he'll be done with his externship in three weeks and we're through with him.

So, aside from the boring work stories, I've got lots to share with you today.
First of all, Happy Moon Landing Day!.

And speaking of which, check out part four of "The Googling," in which two guys find out a little more than they should have about the moon landing.

If you liked those, I'll point you to the other three - Google Maps, Google My Maps, and Google SMS.
All are safe for work.

You've probably heard the news that Starbucks will be closing 600 stores in the United States - the official list has been released. Take a look and see if yours might be on there - I don't really go anymore, but thankfully, mine are safe. And now that the list has been published, here come the inevitable "Save Our Starbucks" campaigns.

From the article:

In towns as small as Bloomfield, N.M., and metropolises as large as New York, customers and city officials are starting to write letters, place phone calls, circulate petitions and otherwise plead with the coffee giant to change its mind.

"Now that it's going away, we're devastated," said Kate Walker, a facilities manager for SunGard Financial Systems, a software company, who recently learned of a store closing in New York City.

It's an unusual twist in the saga of Starbucks, one of the fastest growing retailers of the past decade. For years, Starbucks gained attention when a town didn't welcome it. Independent coffee shops complained about the big-muscled competition, and residents bemoaned the erosion of local character.

But ever since Starbucks announced this month that it would close 600 stores by early next year, as its business struggles, the rallying cause has switched to saving these endangered locations.

From the folks who brought you the internet sensation I Can Haz Cheezburger comes the somewhat funny Totally Looks Like, comparing celebrities to their doppelgangers. Bill Gates looks like Janet Reno, etc, etc, etc. If you've got five minutes to waste, take a look.

Hmmm...what else, what else, what else...

I'm tired of writing, so I suppose that's it.

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