Sunday, April 27, 2008

What a Send Off!

Last night, Saturday the 26th, was our final dinner service before we close for our annual spring holiday during the week of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. Each year, the city shuts off car traffic on the streets surrounding the restaurant early Thursday evening and for the parades Friday and Saturday. Because we are a block west of the pedestrian mall, our traffic is nil for our three biggest nights of the week. So, we close, deep clean and repair the restaurant, play a little golf, eat out at other restaurants, and join in the bacchanalia that is Apple Blossom.

And Apple Blossom generally cannot arrive soon enough, given that our last day off would have been for our annual summer vacation in August. In short, we're exhausted and happy to get the final dinner service behind us and to kick off our week without customers. And what a send off we got last night!

Dinner service was truly nuts. The first ticket hit the kitchen at 5:00PM sharp, the first table having arrived 10 minutes early.* And for the next four and a half hours, the tickets were relentless.

*It's not good form to show up at a restaurant before opening hours. We generally keep the front door locked so that we can finish our server briefing before customers come in, but we left the door unlocked last night so as not to strand early arrivers outside in the pouring rain.

To put things in perspective, we only have 18 tables inside and at most times, we were cooking for no fewer than seven or eight of them, all night long. Fortunately and because of the incredible August-like thundershowers and downpours, we were only seating inside, so the twelve outside tables were missing from the mix. That would have been sheer chaos on top of chaos.

To compound matters, 90 percent of the entrée mix was on my station, the sauté station. When we plan a menu, we try to balance the dishes so that if they are ordered randomly, the dishes will divide equally among all the stations in the kitchen, balancing the work load among all the chefs. Not so last night. I got hammered all night long. Truth be told, I live for that, but at the end of a long, long week, I was exhausted. I kid you not that I was beat by the time the last entrée left the kitchen at 10:15.

But, it was a hell of a send off into our week of vacation!

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