You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘restaurant’ category.

I got some positive feedback from my crab-ravioli recipe so I thought what the heck I would throw another one out there. I am busy writing for a class I just started and only have a few minutes to spare for blog time. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to introduce another yummy recipe. Once again it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I am sure you could make it work.

Mmm Mmm Mushrooms

6 Portabella mushroom caps

1 bag of frozen spinach

-clove of garlic

-roasted red pepper from the bottle

-tablespoon or so of olive oil

-pinch or more of parmesan cheese

-2 or three slices of cheddar cheese per mushroom

Defrost spinach in microwave to save time. Once done fill cap of mushroom with spinach.

Place sliced roasted red pepper on top of spinach 

Top with fresh garlic(as much or little as you like)

Place slices of cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a small shake of salt and pepper to top it off.

Wrap mushrooms individually in foil and heat for about ten to fifteen minutes.

You can use a conventional oven, a toaster oven or the grill (my favorite) to make these.

I have received many compliments on these and you will too.

Enjoy-Let me know how they turn out.

Today what popped into my head was not a story but a recipe that I created (Though there may be similiar recipes out there they were not my influence). Once you get to know me you find out quickly that I am organized in an unorganized way. This is exactly how I cook- A little bit of that, a dash of this and maybe a few pinches of whatchamacallit. But to my surprise and my family’s liking somehow it always turns out edible and actually quite delicious. You won’t find exact measurements for what I use but if you are anything like me you will make this recipe work.

Here we go…

A bag of your favorite frozen ravioli’s-any will do-cook them according to package.In a Sautee pan put a nice amount of olive oil-We like ours oily so I put more.

Slice roasted peppers (the kind you find in a jar) and imitation crabmeat (or real if you want to splurge-I never do:)). I usually like the peppers and the crabmeat slivered but still chunky-Again your choice. Throw both into the oil and add fresh garlic (as much or little as you like). You can use minced garlic in the jar if you don’t have fresh- A dash of salt a pinch of pepper and a handful or two of parmesan cheese.

Sautee all together for a few minutes, pour over ravioli and serve. Voila gourmet made simple. And if your kiddo’s aren’t into gourmet just butter their ravioli’s and they will be just as happy.

I’m sure you noticed by now this is my first attempt at putting a recipe up and it is not very organized. I apologize for this but I am pretty sure you will forgive me once you tried this dish. Next up my famous portabella mushroom recipe.

Enjoy!

The one thing I enjoy the most about getting older is discovering me. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what it is that makes me, Me. I’ve taken many tests (color tests, personality tests, numerology-you name it) to try and come up with a sense of who exactly I am. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised at the end of one of these tests. Because they helped explain the person I already knew I was but couldn’t put into words. When you understand who you are and what makes you tick or smile, you live life a bit fuller. Recently, I realized that I am a true competitor. It’s not other people I enjoy competing with, it’s, myself. For as long as I could remember I always competed with myself. I challenge myself with the silliest unimportant things. An example of one of these situations happens while I am waiting tables. When I notice the customer is finished eating, I immediately ask if I could take the dishes away. Partly because I was trained to this (at the higher scale restaurant) and mainly because when they get up to leave the game begins. If I cannot clear the entire table with one swipe I get annoyed with myself. It’s not because I’m lazy and don’t want to return to the table to clear the rest. It’s because I know there’s a system that will allow me to completely clean the clutter in one shot. The cups we use are plastic and are easily stackable. The dishes all place inside each other neatly and silverware can be placed inside the red plastic cups. All seasonings can be placed in the bread-basket. If the basket becomes too full, I can stick a ketchup bottle or salt shaker inside my apron pocket. I bend my left arm and tuck the cups into the inside crease, which acts as a pocket. My left hand balances all dishes and with my right hand I gather all of the place mats, empty straw papers and any opened sugar packets. I throw all extra debris on top of one place mat and roll all of the garbage into a tube, which I then carry away with my right hand. When I see the table absolutely cleared I get a feeling of perfection. I walk away with a grin on my face. I just won the competition. Sometimes I even feel a bit smug. The times I begin to get over confident are usually shattered when one of the dishes fall to the floor turning every person’s eyes on me. I smirk then laugh at myself out of sheer embarrassment. My inner voice taunts me telling me I should have paid more attention to the way I balanced the plates. The funny thing is, I remember stacking the dishes and thinking I should probably fix this but then thought nah I’ll make it. The only thing I ended up making was noise. But I did learn another thing about myself. Sometimes I take shortcuts when really I should be enjoying the drive.  

 I am not embarrassed to say I love to waitress. I don’t feel inferior to those who have careers rather than jobs. I have the ability to carry on an educated conversation without sounding like I am pretending to know something. Which I have to say is a pet peeve of mine- A person who knows a little bit about something but tries to incorporate their knowledge of that something into most conversations. All that shows me is, they don’t know much about anything else. I know a little bit about a lot of things. And I have learned from the people I have waited on. They have taught me things I would have never learned in school. Lessons they learned from living life. A sweet man in his eighties instructed me to cherish all moments with my children. He told a story about dates he took with his daughter when she was a little girl. First he would take her shopping for a pretty dress. She would come out of the dressing room smiling. She would twirl around and loved a dress that would fan out and spin. From there they moved on to dinner. I could see the adoration in his eyes as he told the story. What I didn’t foresee was what he would tell me next. At eighteen his daughter was hit from behind by a Mac truck on a highway and she was killed. Remembering those dates with his daughter is what kept him going. When I get mad at my children and find myself annoyed I think of the lesson he taught me. He also advised me that my son will treat his wife the way he sees his father treat me. He said the best thing a father can do for his children is love his wife. I love that, and you better believe I passed that lesson right to my husband. An older woman who comes in solo most of the time educated me on the love a child has for their parents. From her I learned you are never too old to love your Mommy and Daddy. She is well into her seventies and loves to tell me stories of her youth and the time she spent with her parents. Her father taught her to garden and every time she speaks about him she refers to him as– my daddy. At first I thought it was odd that a seventy some year old woman would refer to her father as daddy. But then I saw in her eyes a little girl. The little girl she once was told it. I have waited on well educated people and people with no or little education. I am not knocking education because lord knows it is important to have. But education does not make you a good person or a smart tipper for that matter. I have had doctors tip me less than the men who mow their lawn. I have had teenagers tip me more than two of their teachers. I learned a lot about people from being a waitress. I know when to walk away or approach a table cautiously. When I see a certain glare in a woman’s eye directed at the man across the table. Every once in a while I am still fooled. And it can go either way. The couple who is dressed impeccably and speak so kindly and compliment the service I give hand me the bill with an embarrassing tip. I was sure they would have tipped well. Why you ask, because I fell for the polished well spoken version of a customer. In the end they didn’t pay well. I am ashamed to say I have looked at the man with dark blue mechanics uniform, dirty fingernails and thought “This one won’t be good.” It happened to be the best tip of the night. Most restaurants don’t require a degree upon hiring but I can guarantee by the time you leave a waitressing job you will be well educated in life.I do have a degree but waitressing is what allowed me to be home with my children and that is what is important to me.A friend of mine directed me to the writing below a while back and I loved reading it. It is about a Genius Waitress written by Tom Robbins. I wish I wrote it      

Of the genius waitress, I now sing.Of hidden knowledge, buried ambition, and secret
sonnets scribbled on cocktail napkins; of aching
arches, ranting cooks, condescending patrons, and eyes
diverted from ancient Greece to ancient grease; of
burns and pinches and savvy and spunk; of a uniquely
American woman living a uniquely American compromise,
I sing. I sing of the genius waitress.

Okay, okay, she’s probably not really a genius. But
she is well-educated. She has a degree in Sanskrit,
ethnoastronomy, Icelandic musicology, or something
equally valued in contemporary marketplace. Even if
she could find work in her chosen field, it wouldn’t
pay beans–so she slings them instead. (The genuis
waitress is not to be confused with the
aspiring-actress waitress, so prevalent in Manhattan
and Los Angeles and so different from her sister in
temperament and I.Q.)

As a type, the genius waitress is sweet and sassy,
funny and smart; young, underestimated, fatalistic,
weary, cheery (not happy, cheerful: there’s a
difference and she understands it), a tad bohemian,
often borderline alcoholic, frequently pretty (though
her hair reeks of kitchen and bar); as independent as
a cave bear (though ever hopeful of “true love”) and,
above all, geniune.

Covertly sentimental, she fusses over toddlers and old
folks, yet only fear of unemployment prevents her from
handing an obnoxious customer his testicles with his
bill.

She doesn’t mind a little good-natured flirting, and
if you flirt with verve and wit, she may flirt back.
Never, however, never try to impress her with your
resume. Her tolerance for pretentious Yuppies ends
with her shift, sometimes earlier. She reads men like
a menu and always knows when she’s being offered
leftovers or an artificially inflated souffle.

Should you ever be lucky enough to be taken home by
her to that studio apartment with the jerry-built
bookshelves and Frida Kahlo posters, you will discover
that whereas in the public dining room she is merely
as proficient as she needs to be, in the private
bedroom she is blue gourmet virtuoso. Five stars and
counting! Afterward, you can discuss chaos theory or
the triple aspects of the mother goddess in universal
art forms–while you massage her swollen feet.

Eventually, she leaves food service for graduate
school or marriage; but unless she wins a grant or a
fair divorce settlement, chances are she’ll be back, a
few years down the line, reciting the daily specials
with her own special mixture of warmth and ennui.

Erudite emissary of eggs over easy, polymath purveyor
of polenta and prawns, articulate angel of apple pie,
the genius waitress is on duty right now in hundreds
of U.S. restaurants, smile at the ready, sauce on the
side. So brush up on your Schopenhauer, place your
order–and tip, mister, tip. She deserves a break
today.

Of her, I sing.

Tom Robbins

My second waitressing job was in a pancake house. I learned quickly that most of the customers were regulars. Many of them were older couples. There was the woman who was a psychic and her very quiet husband. He hated when she would talk about her gift. It made him feel uncomfortable. She did read my palm once to his dismay. She told me I would marry the guy I was with. I was only seventeen so the thought of marriage was way off. She was right, I did marry him. She also said I would have three children and I do. Even though her predictions came true, I take them very light heartedly. There was the school bus driver and his wife. I loved this couple. We would talk for hours about trains and the Amish country and anything in between. He had the brightest twinkle in his eye and she had the warmest smile. They were the type of people who made you feel safe. The type you could call from anywhere at anytime and they would come to your rescue. When I left the pancake house to go to a bigger chain restaurant they followed. My heart always soared when I saw their faces. My heart broke when I found out the husband died. I still receive a card from her on occasion more than a decade later. Many of my regular customers were older so I had to endure the heartache of losing them forever. I was touched by all of them, but there was one couple that will forever occupy my mind. I called them my grandparents. They were the cutest pair. We had long chats about their life. She couldn’t have children because of a tipped uterus. Back in her day there was nothing that could be done to fix the problem so they had to accept they would be childless. I explained to them that I never met my father’s parents and wished so badly that I did. She offered to be my grandmother and her husband my grandfather. I fell in love with them. They were precious to me as I was to them. We lived in a small town, so when she suddenly died of a heart attack word reached us quickly. I remember going to her wake and seeing him there and thinking how sad he must be. How alone he must feel. No children, no siblings that I knew of. All he had was his girls. We were his girls, me and another waitress. The first time I saw him after his wife died I almost cried. He tapped his heart and smiled. Immediately I thought he was telling me his heart was broken. I was shocked when he pulled out my senior picture. He said “here you are, close to my heart.” I gave him the picture months before and he did tell me he would keep it in his pocket close to his heart but I was shocked to see he still carried it.  He still placed it inside the pocket of his shirt each day to remind him of me. I told him, “We’re going to visit you and keep you company.” I made good on my promise, my husband (boyfriend at the time) stopped for a gallon of ice-cream and dessert and trekked up to his home in the mountains. We spent a wonderful night with a beautiful man. As we pulled up his driveway the first thing I noticed was a Beware of dog sign. He opened his side door and excitedly waved as if he couldn’t believe we actually came. “Come in, come in, I have been waiting for you.” We sat at his kitchen table and talked. He took out my picture and explained to my husband how he always has it close to his heart. I asked where the dog was and burst out laughing when he told me there was no dog they just put up the sign to scare off intruders. He gave us a tour of his modest home. He tearfully told us how he found his wife in the bathroom the day she died. My soul ached for his loss but I admired how strong he was. “I have a surprise for you guys wait right there.” My husband and I looked at each other puzzled. We could hear him in the next room fiddling around with something but had no idea what it could be. “I’m ready,” he called out. We went in to find him dancing in the living room, twirling about. His arms fluttered in the air like wings. A record on an old turn table played a melody from the fifties. I have to be honest, at first I was like-what is he doing. But then I realized he was so happy to have company that it made him want to dance. We ended the night with a big hug and another promise to return. Soon after that night life changed for me. I was a senior in high-school. With less than a month left to graduation my parents house caught fire and we lost everything in it. My priorities shifted, I was busy helping my parents and consoling my family. My already hectic schedule became even crazier. I had class night (a senior skit), prom, senior day, graduation, the all night party and many trips to the laundromat to try and salvage whatever clothes were left. The smell of smoke was so strong even after three washes that we ended up throwing most away. I left the pancake house and went on to the bigger chain restaurant. After everything settled I started thinking of my grandfather (aka-my regular). I couldn’t believe how I forgot about him. When I saw my other regulars walk in to the restaurant I instantly asked them if they knew how he was doing. (They lived close to him). “I’m afraid he died honey,” was not the words I wanted to hear. I was also informed that a nephew (I didn’t know he had) of his was robbing him right before he died. I wanted to throw up. I still do every time I think of it. It’s a heavy stone upon my heart. To think I was the one he carried close to his heart and he died without me telling him how much of my heart he had. It is one of my biggest regrets in life. To honor him, I am letting everyone here in the blogging world know-Once I met a couple- an extraordinary man and woman who offered me a part of their life. And the part I took will be forever incomplete because I never got to say goodbye to either one. I never returned and now I never can. I wonder how long he kept my picture in his pocket and was there a point he took it out and thought she broke my heart.

Tonight I wish to address the people who cannot control their urge to throw another’s drink away prematurely. You know who you are. You’re the neat freaks, the cleaner-uppers, the-I think she’s done with this type of people. I am pleading with you to ask before you dispose. I know, it only looks like there’s a mouthful left, the ice cubes are just about melted and the drink appears to be watered down. The average person may not wish to finish this diluted drink. I am not the average person. I am the person who loves my last sip. In fact I anticipate the last sip. I have to say my favorite beverage to experience the last sip with is fresh brewed iced tea. There is a merger that happens at the end of this drink than cannot be compared to the first sip or anything in the middle. The tea, water from the melting ice and the few small tic-tac size cubes left, creates a perfect encore. Imagine my disappointment when I go to take that last sip and my cup is gone. My eyes frantically search the area. I hope that I simply misplaced it. I check every corner of counter, every table’s edge; I even quickly look atop the microwave. I don’t’ want to ask the question because I don’t want to hear the answer. So again I look, expecting to find my glass in the same place I swore I left it. But more times than not it’s gone. “Did someone take my drink?” I ask. Growing up it was always my mother. She liked a tidy house and hated when glasses were hanging about. If you saw her coming you better grab your drink or kiss it goodbye. Usually she was too quick for me and it was too late, my last sip was gone. It didn’t only happen at home. It seemed to happen at the restaurant just as much. It would be a crazy busy night. In between waiting on tables, punching in orders and trying to stay in the zone, I would pour myself a glass of tea. When my mouth became parched I would whiz up to it take a quick sip and carry on my way. I knew once I got caught up with all of my tables I could enjoy it to the last drop. Yeah, that never happened. Whatever shift I worked, there was always that one waitress who went into her own zone and cleared the clutter. Little did she know my last sip was amongst that clutter. It hasn’t only happened with tea, my coffee mysteriously disappeared several times and I had many glasses of water go M.I.A.. Countless times I found my glass empty in the sink. But there was one drink that never seemed to get thrown away. The soda I got at the drive-thru, which sat in my car’s cup holder for hours on a hot day. I got  distracted before I made it to the garbage can and set it on the counter. Three hours later there it was just as I left it. The bottom of the cardboard cup was now deteriorating from the sweat of the melting ice. A puddle of soda/water circled the cup and dripped down the side of my counter. It’s funny how no one thought to throw this one away.

I have always loved being a waitress. I enjoy seeing what other’s will tip me. There is a thrill in the anticipation of receiving the money. I wonder what they gave me. They seemed friendly. The moment comes and you are delightfully surprised when customers exceed your expectations. When you receive less than you should have it’s a bummer of a feeling. It wasn’t worth the wait. That’s where the fun lies. In the wait, in the end a waitress wants to get tipped. There’s lots of funny moments in this career. I could tell you a thousand but tonight I will only tell you about last minute people. Whoever out there worked in a restaurant knows exactly who I’m talking about. The people who walk up to the window check the closing time. They give a quick glimpse at their watch, look at the person joining them, shrug their shoulders and say “We still have time.” They have no idea that you just ran four hours straight, did another sixty-minutes of clean-up and still had silver to roll. You were just about to marvel in the thought of the night being over. Instead you grab two menus, force a smile and attempt to sound pleasant. You would think these people would harbor a little guilt. There are some that know it was probably a bad idea, but stay anyway. There are other’s that become somewhat defensive and feel the need to talk really loud and explain why they came. You know the one’s that yell out, “I know it’s late but I’m starving.” The best ones are the people who take their time ordering. It’s like they enjoy rubbing salt in the wound. You approach the table and ask to take a drink order. No answer. They stay focused on the menu and don’t give a reply until you ask again. You bring the drinks and ask if they are ready to order. “One more minute,” they say. If only they  knew the waitress is thinking, “One more minute, we’re only open for one more minute.” By the time they leisurely finish their meal all of the silver has been rolled. Your purse is on the counter and your jacket is visible. There is no one in the dining room but you and them. You have no choice but to keep looking in their direction. Still, they remain. It’s obvious they are lost in conversation. They are oblivious to the worker mopping the floors two booth away from them. Not even a blink when bright lights are turned on.  At last you see them beginning to stir. You are hopeful this is it. One arm through a coat sleeve is a good sign. They rise to get up. You fill with relief. Trying to appear patient you nod goodbye. You wait for them to exit then run to clear the table. You scan the mess. You mean there’s no tip. Disgusted you clear the plates cursing all types of thoughts. Your mood goes from irked to down right mad. You grab the last plate and discover a folded up ten dollar bill. It was worth the wait.