Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Subjectively Corked



As a comedian, it's true to say that comedy is very subjective.  As a servant of the service industry, the same can be said for wine.  Depending on your palate, your taste preferences, and the strength of the Earth's gravitational pull that day can determine what you taste or smell in a glass of wine.

One particular shift, an older man and woman were seated in my section.  They began their meal by presenting me with two drinks tickets given to them by the front desk of the hotel.  The tickets entitled them to two glasses of house wine, or champagne, or two well cocktails.  The husband felt he needed to educate me on what he should get for their FREE drinks.

"Do these two tickets get us two free drinks."  He started.

"Yes they do."  I professionally replied.

"Me and the Mrs. would like two glasses of your best Chardonnay.  The best that you can give us.  What is your best Chardonnay?"

"The best house Chardonnay?  That would be the Trinity Oaks from Napa."  I said, trying to steer him in the direction that these drinks were complimentary, meaning you get the cheap grapes that were fermented into a cheaper wine, thrown in a bottle and slapped with a cheesy, cheap label.

"Is that the Napa Valley?"  He asked.

"The world famous Napa Valley."  Are you serious?  No, it's the Napa Ravine.  The grapes grow on the side of a mountain like Bonsai Trees.

Meanwhile, his wife is reading through our extensive wine list.  "I'm looking for an "oaky" Chard."  She stated.

"The Trinity Oaks is pretty oaky."  I answered.  Hence the name... Trinity OAKS.

"Are the drink tickets only for two glasses of wine?  Or can we use them for a bottle since the two of us are drinking?"  She innocently asked.

(When people would ask me questions like, I seriously have to take a look around the room to see if Ashton Kutcher is hiding somewhere.  --"You've been Punk'd, biaatch!")

"It's a complimentary DRINK per drink ticket.  The number of people drinking don't factor into the equation."

"I guess we'll have to get two more tickets so we can get a bottle."  The husband joked.

"Great idea."  I quickly responded.  "While you're working on that, I'll get your two glasses of "oaky" Trinity Oaks Chardonnay from the Napa Valley."

I bring them the two glasses of wine, they each take a few sips, while husband continually tells me, "My wife knows her wine.  She's what you call a wine expert."

No, that's what you call a "Wino."

CUT TO:  

They order a bottle of wine.  (Oaky, of course.)  They tell me to take their two half full glasses of Trinity Chard to the front desk person who gave them the drink tickets, and "make him drink them."

Then, things took a turn for the weirder...

"First of all," the husband started off, "that Trinity Chard was the best Chard you have available by the glass?"

"No, sir."  I explained.  "It is the ONLY available Chard we have by the glass when you are paying with a drink ticket."

Then the wife chimed in.  "Well, I've had boxed wine that was better."  Really?!  I'll have to refer to my parents on that one.  Franzia anyone?  "And the bottle of wine you suggested, wasn't that oaky.  In fact, it wasn't oaky at all."

"I guess that's why wine is subjective, Ma'am.  But if you'd like some more oak in your wine, I'd be happy to break off a piece of wood from the decor."

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Waited in College



Over the years working in the service industry, I have come across people who have empathized with my plight of bartending and waiting tables to make ends meet.  These people feel the need to want to reach out and tell me how hard it is to do what I do, and that even though they have a "career job" now, they know what it's like to work for tips because they used to wait tables in college.

This has become almost as bad as the customer who tells me at the beginning of the meal that they are "going to take care of me."  That never happens.  It is the "kiss of death," and the people who waited tables in college, did just that... waited tables in college.  There is a huge difference working to make money to use to go out drinking with your college buddies later that night, and waiting tables to make money to put into your bank account so you have enough to write a check to pay your landlord for rent at the beginning of every month.

"Sometimes I would not make any tips.  Then I'd have to flirt with the bartender to get my drinks."  Said an actual customer in my section one night.  "But you gotta do what you gotta do."

I think John Gotti said the same thing before he was ratted out by Sammy Gravano.  But probably not the flirting with the bartender part... at least, not until he was in jail.  (Allegedly!)

Believe it or not, (college waiters,) there is a huge difference between worrying about being able to have the funds to get wasted and party with the sorority girls, and not being able to keep the power turned on in your studio apartment.  Trust me, I understand the frustration of not being able to get hammered because of lack of gratuity, but when it comes down to it, you can usually work something out with your friends or bartender to help you out in that predicament.  (Just ask my customer from above.)  Whereas, the LADWP, or your landlord will not be as helpful and forgiving for customers not leaving you compensation for good service.  They will simply tell you, "No tipps?  Not my problem!  Lights out!"

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro