I spent my entire senior year at Emerson College in a turmoil of stomach pain before it dawned on me that I might have an allergy to something. As a rabid consumer of coffee, mostly in (iced) latte form, there were zero minutes in the day when milk was not in my system. Therefore, lactose intolerance never crossed my mind. Finally, a friend recommended I avoid dairy for a day. This was excruciating (hello, my COFFEE!), but I went with a black americano and voila! It was the most amazing feeling. Peace in my stomach!
Clearly, foregoing dairy was not a long term option for someone like me. I despised the chalky aftertaste of soy, and had absolutely no interest in venturing into the world of rice or almond milk. I NEEDED a way to get back to eating cheese, ice cream, and drinking iced lattes (believe it or not, I’m not obese).
Let’s talk about restaurant week in Boston. First: calling it restaurant “week” is something of a cruel joke on the restaurants of the city, as it’s really TWO weeks long. Two weeks is a long time, and a LOT of three course meals. The deal is three courses for $33.11 (for dinner), which, depending on the menu, can mean a bunch of diners making out like stuffed bandits, or still-hungry, disappointed, would-be bandits. It’s mostly a great deal.
What I really want to talk about is congealed cheese, and how much of it my coworkers and I have scraped off of soup spoons, skillets, and the floor in the past week and a half. Much as I, (and everyone in Boston) love(s) melted cheese, be it in French onion soup, rarebit, or mac & cheese, it’s pretty vile after it’s been sitting, cooling in its own grease for half an hour. Blech.
Sunday night is typically a slow one at the ol’ restaurant, and the staff is pared down accordingly. This can result in hairy situations. This past Sunday, when 7:30pm rolled around, it seemed that ALL the residents of Boston made the choice to dine out.
Following in Stephanie’s footsteps…my favorite things in 2010!
Annie’s cheddar Bunnies – cheezits got nothin’ on these, I think Kate Arding might agree
Daelia’s biscuits for cheese – so tasty! I especially like the hint of black pepper in these…quite delicious. They are available at Whole Foods, I believe.
In my travels up and down stairs and around tables at the restaurant, I get lots of questions about our cheese list. I’m often surprised by the cheeses people steer towards, and by which cheeses never get ordered. I can’t seem to unearth predictable patterns, and perhaps that’s due to the wide range of knowledge levels out there. The one standby rule, which is my favorite, is that EVERYONE likes ALL of our cheeses once they take a bite. Never have I had to make the terrifying, rejected-food-walk back to the kitchen with a cheese plate.
Although winter is finally upon us here in Boston, I was struck with the urgent and somewhat inappropriate desire for ice cream after working the lunch shift. I felt awkward about this quest, considering the weather, and was not surprised to find myself alone in the shop. I got myself a GIANT cone (with chocolate sprinkles), and took a seat to gorge myself and watch the world go by. Here I discovered the not-so-secret role of ice cream on a November day.
I happily work for (restaurant) people I both like and respect, but there’s a certain in-charge person at my workplace that I can’t bring myself to enjoy. The feeling is clearly mutual, and nary a day goes by without said PERSON telling me I’m an idiot (in one way or another), or whittling away at my self-respect with persistent condescension. Hmph. Curbing my rage and subsequent bitter responses is a great exercise in restraint. Luckily, interactions like the following, furnish me with all the vindication I need.
Me: Where is the goat cheese we use in our [blahblahblah] salad from?
Evil Powerful One: Vermont
Me: do you know who makes it?
Evil Powerful One: Laura Chenel
Me: Oh really? Thanks. (silent interior victory dance)
Late one night a few months ago, at my place of (waitressing) employment, a British couple plunked themselves down at our little bar. The bartender that night (Josh, let’s call him) chatted them up for a little while, before, serendipitously, the conversation turned to cheese.
Sidenote: I find it incredible how often this happens without even a nudge from someone like me!
Anyways , this lovely (they were!) couple from across “the pond” said:
“Well you don’t have any cheese to speak of here, now do you?”
The other day, when I slipped in a puddle of olive oil while doing a rushed trot up the stairs at my “other” job, I was comforted by the knowledge that culture is part of my life. As I fell, the dirty glassware in my hands crashed to the ground in an epic display of noise. Menus slipped out from under my elbow and slid back down the stairs. As is typical in my life at the restaurant, EVERYONE was watching. Managers zoomed in for damage control, picking up debris as I got to my feet and apologized “wow, that olive oil slick is pretty serious…” etc. They asked me if I was alright (the only answer is YES), and told me to tuck in my shirt.
I pictured them all in a closed room, laughing maniacally as they crossed my name off of a giant list of “people worth keeping around.”