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Showing posts from 2011

My Vodka's not strong enough!

One of the fun things about many restaurants is that not only do they have a creative, seasonal, and fun food menu, many of them also have a drink menu to compliment the food menu. (I'm not talking about the Cheesecake Factory's drink menu! Too many choices. And the poor bartenders who have to learn all of those ridiculous recipes. (One word that you should NEVER associate with bartending is "RECIPES.")

One shift, I had a table of seven people who all ordered drinks.  Everybody ordered some sort of fluffy cocktail, while one girl ordered a Grey Goose Vodka martini. There are three ingredients in this martini: 1. Olives. 2. A glass. And, 3. Vodka. There is very little of the first two, and a lot of number 3. So basically the whole drink is Vodka. Perfect for any lush who thinks that she is still attractive, even though her attractive ship sailed ten years ago. After the first drink, she waves me over... "I love this martini, but I don't feel buzzed…

You Got Yelped!!!

Now it's time again for one of my favorite things to do, call people out who enjoy writing long, ridiculous, and pointless dissertations on the website Yelp.  I've purposefully kept the names of the establishments out to protect the innocent, and to bring more attention to the colossal waste of time these people put into writing these reviews.  I've made my comments in bold italics.

This one goes out to Katie L. from Valley Glen, CA.  Katie writes:


Huge Disappointment! And I've been sick for the past 18 hrs since eating here....   (Hard to believe since food poisoning takes over 24 hours to start to make you sick.)  Had a TravelZoo voucher, which unfortunately did not make the meal any better...  The restaurant is located inside the beautiful (omitted) LA hotel. The design of the hotel is beautiful. The $8 valet fee WITH validation at (restaurant) ... not so beautiful.  It was 7:30pm on a Sunday night. The restaurant was dead.  (Why do people always have to comment on…

Happy Future Holidays!!!

Today we give thanks.  Thanksgiving is upon us.  I will be working, serving "holiday people."  Remember, those are people who are so horrible, that they weren't invited into anybody's house because they're assholes! (Thanks to Joe Kelly!)  But if you happen to be some of the few families that are dining out, please remember that it's your server's or bartender's holiday too. 

Tomorrow is "Black Friday."  Originally the meaning of this horrid day was the start of the Christmas shopping season, and the point when retailers would start to turn a profit, and were "in the black."  Now I feel it is called "Black Friday" because of the color of people's hearts that venture out to conquer the best deals possible, at the expense of their souls.  And not just the shopper's souls, but retailers as well.  (Apple's deal on iPads today saves you a whole $45.00!  Woo Hoo!  Now I can finally buy that iPad AND fill up my gas …

Gateway to the Service Industry

I have written quite a bit about my battles with customers, tipping, and the way people behave in restaurants.  I have put up with a lot, (and to be honest,) some customers have put up with a lot from me.  What I haven't talked about yet is how I was introduced to the wacky world called the "Service Industry."  The high of getting my first gratuity, and the low of getting stiffed.  How I learned to give good service, and how I learned to get back at customers who didn't tip me.  This, my friends, is an origin story.  So, to be cliche, it started when I was eleven years old...

                                                                                                                                                  FADE IN:
I wanted to have a way to make extra money.  The extra chores that I could do around the house didn't excite me.  Mainly because the only choice I had was to pull weeds from the front hillside.

"What's the point?"  I cried.…

I'll have the special and have you seen my kid?

McDonald's has had tremendous success incorporating playgrounds into their campaigns.  There is a reason why they work:  McDonald's has happy meals, dollar menus, and the playgrounds are outside.  
The same is not true for restaurants.  You are seated by a host, handed menus, and you are waited on by a server.  When the hell did it become a good idea to let your two year old run around a restaurant, bothering other customers, and having waiters avoid running into them like a game of "Frogger?"  
"He'll calm down after he tires himself out."  Said the mom to me after I almost, (I said, almost,) stabbed her kid with a steak knife that I was bringing to another table.
"If you need to tire him out, he can bus Table 23 for me, and take the drink order for the couple on the patio."  In other words, get your kid the f@*k out of the way.  Your child may be cute, but he won't be cute after he's been run over and step on by servers, food runner…

BOOBIES !!!

My buddy Lou Santini says that when you "say the word 'boob,' you can't help but to smile."  Well, when you see one pop out of a woman's dress sitting in your section at a restaurant, you can't help but giggle your ass off.

That's right.  An unintentional, non-breast feeding, in-your-face boob popped out to say "hello," and I was there to wave "hello" back.  But let's not rush into this.  I am still under fire from co-workers about what should have been said during the ordeal, so let me present all of the evidence, and let you guys pass down judgement.

A husband and wife are seated in my section.  I heard some sort of accent, so I think that they are European.  The husband is looking at the cocktail menu as I approach the table to greet them.

"Welcome.  How are you doing this evening?"  I said.

"Hello."  The husband muttered.  "I want champagne.  What would you recommend?"

At this point, I went i…

A little PDA goes a long, long, way...

Many of you have asked me to blog more often about the things that people do in restaurants and bars.  I try to write about what happens as much as I can, but sometimes, I am so shocked about some of the things that I see and hear, it takes awhile for me to digest it all, and transcribe it to you.  Now that I've finished digesting, here you go...

I've noticed in many fine dining establishments, that to cleanse the palate in-between courses, they will bring you a scoop of sorbet.  It's refreshing and gets your taste buds ready for the next course.  Here in Los Angeles, some customers have a better way of cleansing their palates... by jamming their tongues down the throats of their dinner guests.  And why not?  Don't birds do the same thing?  One evening, I had a table of three people, one guy and two girls, who were eating on the patio at the restaurant I was working.  To say they were having a good time is an understatement.  I went out to check on them, and the guy w…

Stronge' You stink therefore you are!

Dress for success.  First impressions are lasting impressions.  I understand all of that.  But keep this in mind when you are going out to eat; I should not be able to smell you, your perfume or cologne all the way from the other side of the restaurant.

I respect my elders, but I believe it's fair to say that the older you get, the less you can smell.  Especially if you are dousing yourself in Chanel no. 5.  Please ladies, even if your sniffer is out of order, at least count the number of spritzes you depress upon yourself.  It will not only save you money, but save the people around you and the people in the surrounding counties as well.

And for the guys.  The pimps, the players, but mainly... the Persians.  (This is not racist.  I have Persian friends so I am allowed to say this.)  My buddy Lou told me that he asked a Persian why they wear so much cologne.  They said, "My friend, it's because Persian men like to stand out."  Not only do you stand out in a resta…

The Freshmaker!

I always loved the old "Mentos" campaign which showed that you could get out of any of life's dilemmas simply by taking a step back, popping a Mentos into your mouth, and immediately be struck with a creative sense of resourcefulness to get what you wanted. If it were that easy, I would've been popping Mentos throughout my entire service industry career.

 I understand when your food comes out wrong you're upset because you are hungry and now we have to find a solution to what should be a small problem, but what is it with these people who suddenly come up with a case of the "I'm not hungry anymore, or I'll just eat off of my friends plate" plague? Yes, sometimes a small hair drops on the plate, or a tiny bug manage to escape it's death by not getting washed off, but does that really dampen the good times that you came to have in the restaurant? And if I was the friend sitting at the table with you, and you said that you would just eat of…

I'm nuts! And I'm also allergic to them.

Harry Potter should stop chasing evil wizards and put on a chef's coat and get in the kitchen. That is the only way these evil "menu changers" would be able to get the food that they really want to get.

"Since I'm allergic, I'll have the peanut bar but without peanuts... I'll have pecans instead." I didn't know there was a choice of nut for this dessert. News flash... if you are allergic to peanuts, and you're looking at a dessert menu that has an item called "the peanut bar," you probably should decide on something else. (Right, Irene?)

"I'll have the 'beet and goat cheese salad' but I don't like goat cheese, what would you suggest?" I suggest you order one of the dishes that doesn't have a main ingredient you don't like.

Or better yet, "Is there a lot of crab in the 'crab salad?' I'm not a huge fan of a lot of crab." If the main ingredient is in the title of the…

a la Jerry Seinfeld, "Who are these people?"

I talk a lot about the annoying things that I have encountered with customers throughout my illustrious service career. People with allergies. Splitting checks. The tale of the tip. So, I think it would only be fair to spend a little time talking about the other side of the coin; People who work in the service industry.

I try not to judge other people in the industry. After all, to some, I'm just as whacky and bitter as the rest of them. But sometimes, I can't help but wonder how some people got hired to work in the service industry, when the main focus of the job, is SERVICE oriented.

This one place I used to work, this girl from the Eastern block of the world was hired as a hostess, the first line of defense in a restaurant, but the girl doesn't use English as her first or even secondary form of language. One of the most amusing things I saw this girl do one night was when she sat a party of four, and it turned out that it was only going to be a party of three. …

My parents neglected me as a customer.

There aren't too many places you can go in the world, where you are constantly stroked, hand-held, and paid attention too as you are when you are sitting as a customer in a restaurant, and your server is taking care of you. For that amount of time, your server treats you as if you are their only child. Whatever you want, it's brought to you. If you don't like something, they will get you something you like. And even in some instances, if you don't like your server, a new one will be brought to you and you can start anew with that one. It's like a perfect little customer universe that was created with one thing in mind... to please the customer. You are basically allowed to pick and choose the family you always wanted to have, at least for two and a half hours. But even then, it's still not enough!

I remember this one unforgettable Saturday night, (believe, it's not like I haven't tried to forget it.) It was a table of three ladies. They were g…

The Only Birthday in the World...

Birthdays that are celebrated in restaurants are apparently the only birthdays in the world. (At least for that day.) Don't get me wrong, birthdays are fun, and it's great to get together with friends to celebrate a birthday at a restaurant, but keep this in mind... there is a strong possibility that there are other people celebrating birthdays that same day as well. I know, hard to believe, but it is possible that there were multiple births on that day.

And we've all seen this happen. Out at a restaurant and one of the friends get up from the table to go to the bathroom, this is the universal signal that they are going to tell their server that it's their friends birthday, and they would like them to do something special. Oh, and of course, make it a surprise. A surprise?

"Surprise! Happy birthday!" Says the server.

"Oh my God! I had no idea it was my birthday." Shrieked the surprise birthday person. Apparently they used to be a Jehovah…

Money Can't Buy You a NEW ATTITUDE

The Countess LuAnn was right when she sang, "Money can't buy you class." And I know, who the hell is The Countess LuAnn? Subject for another type of blog. But the people who think that because they are spending a lot of money at a restaurant/hotel, entitles them to become part-time owners of the establishment.

"I've spent over 25,000 dollars at this hotel, I should be allowed to smoke inside if I please! That's the least you could do for me." --Of course. We'll get the Governor on the phone and change the law for you right away. In the meantime, perhaps you could light yourself on fire so you could get that warm feeling from smoking. Let me know if I can help. :)

Or the people who spend a good amount of money for dinner with 8 or 10 of their friends, (thankfully only 1 person paid the check, not 8 different forms of payment--see my joke about "paying the check.) The restaurant closes, and the people are still there like they're &qu…

Sample Winers

UHG!!! Enough with the people who think that they are foodies and wine connoisseurs. Believe me, I am a huge fan of "Top Chef," but that doesn't make me go into a restaurant and question every ingredient of each dish, and the complexity of each grape that goes into every varietal of wine.

One night, I have this couple in my section, and they begin to ask a few questions about some wines they had the last time they came in to eat. FINE, but then they suddenly need something "fruity," but "smooth." "Wait. Maybe not smooth, but more fruit forward. Yes, we want a wine that is a fruit-bomb."

"Fruit bomb?" I confirm. Getting hard to control my smart-ass tendencies at this point.

"Yes." Said the woman. "Something that will please my palate, then explode in my mouth." (Not kidding! Actual words.)

"A fruity, palate-pleasing, mouth exploding wine. Sir you are a lucky man. I have just the wine for you.&q…

My Favorite Customer Quotes !!! PART I

The 1980's gave us such great things like MTV, the Apple IIE, and the saying..."the customer is always right." With that being said, here is a list of some of my favorite customer quotes from my career in the service industry. Of course, I will be adding some comments to justify why they said what they said, but the list will be as true today as when they said it to me the first time. Feel free to comment and add some of your own favorites as well. Without further delay...

"Are you our server?"
--No. I a regular customer just like you. Except I enjoy wearing all black with a black apron and hanging around your table for the past 45 minutes.

"We thought you forgot about us."
--Trust me. If ever a time when I'd want short-term memory loss, it would be to forgot that you were sitting in my section.

"Can I get a new water? There's something gross in mine."
--(An ACTUAL porn star said this to me) More things have gone in and out of yo…

And my cat will have the veal.

You think you've seen it all in restaurants and hotels. Think again friends! Now menus are available for ALL of your children. Not just the human ones, but for your animal children as well. The best place to get take your furry friend for a birthday dinner, none other than Beverly Hills, CA. I'll never forget working at this restaurant in the heart of Beverly Hills, one of the nicest customer's to eat there was Vidal Sassoon. Yes, the guy who doesn't look good, if you don't look good. He and his wife were super friendly, great tippers, no egos attached to this couple. But, whenever they would dine with us, their two dogs dined as well. The restaurant went as far as to keep the dog bowls in the restaurant for them. Nothing was too good for their canines. Chicken breast. Egg whites. Apparently the dogs were on Atkin's.

And now I've seen many luxury hotels catering to the animal clientele. And not just Charlie Sheen. (BAM!) When you order room s…

Can I warm up your caffeine for you?

Throughout my illustrious career serving the lucky people who have walked into the establishment that I was employed at the time, I have served drinks ranging from the "Long Island Ice Tea," to "Soy Vanilla Extreme Ice Blendeds." The difference between the two? Serving drunk people is much easier than serving caffeinated. People who want booze like to "sit and stay." People who need their coffee want to "grab and go." Of course, most towns don't let you order alcoholic drinks to go, unless you're in Vegas or New Orleans. Or if you are courageous enough to have your server put your alcoholic drink in a to go coffee cup. And if you do the latter, double the tip for that server, and admit to him that you are an alcoholic.

I worked at The Coffee Bean for five months one year, and that was the longest five months of my life. All of the bartending gigs I have had seemed to be a blur, (not just because of the booze,) but seemingly beca…