Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I hate to leave everyone in suspense, so here's what went on last night (I didn't work monday night, so I didn't have a chance to talk with the owner).

First of all, to dispell all fears: there was no drama. No throwing of chairs, no screaming. He completely understood my reasons for leaving, apologized for the whole thing, thanked me for being a gentleman about it and, at the end of the night, he paid me out for all the time I'd worked (at a median rate of $10.00/hr). We left with no hard feelings between the two of us. So, though I doubt I'll be back since the food really didn't do much for me, personally, I wouldn't feel uncomfortable or weird going there. I also got a chance to drop off my phone # with the sous-chef, who I'd gotten along with really well. He plays guitar, so him and I agreed to get together and jam for a bit.

Quitting a job can kind of be like breaking up with a significant other, so I am very glad that the last two jobs I've had, I've left on good terms.

I'll be sure to keep everyone updated with what happens next.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Thanks to everyone for their comments of support! I was going to put this in the comments of the last post, but it was just too long.

As Genevieve mentioned, I didn't walk out because I would not have gotten paid if I did. Also, I was at work, I was ready to go, I just thought it would be best if I simply accepted what he said and got on with my job (I'm bullheaded like that). There was stuff that needed to be done at work and I just felt I needed to get on with that while I got my head straight. It wasn't till I was biking home and had a chance to think that all the frustration and indignation started piling up on me.

And you're right, Susan, I could easily get something else for $8.00 a hour. Shoot, the job I turned down was 8 an hr, under the table. Right now, I'd be getting 8 - taxes and such. Getting another job isn't my worry, I've seemed to have no problems in that department. I just needed some time (luckily, I have today off) to think about it. Tofu, to his credit, I do think it's a disorganization thing. I knew he'd be like that from the day I came in to work and it turned out he thought he was talking to a guy coming in for an interview (even though I'd already interviewed a few days prior). I could also get into the mass chaos that has been trying to open the restaurant (it was supposed to open 2 weeks ago and is (supposedly) finally opening for more than just dinner today. I guess I'd hoped it would not be something which would effect me and my job.

Part of the reason I didn't quit there and needed time to think was that I really didn't know if I'd be quitting 'cause my ego was bruised. I mean, I'll admit it, getting a severe pay cut on my 5th day was a huge hit to the ego, especially since I'd considered myself working my ass off while I was there (even while many leaned around and talked). I did not want to walk away like a little kid because my feelings were hurt.

But, even if I can't deny the above will factor in, I have decided to quit simply because I can't trust him. From the get-go, I set up a series of rules: I needed 1 day off from school and work and I could only work 4 days a week. He set up a rule too: that I would be paid at a rate for $12.00 a hour. Right now, all of these have been broken. I just can't trust that he won't schedule me for a day I request off or, in fact, that pay might not come up again later. The place is going to have a hard time of it for the first few months, just trying to survive, and I can't trust that i will get paid as promised. I can easily see requests to hold off a few days on getting paid or asking to not cash a check until after a few days.

So, tomorrow, I am going to go in and tell him, make it clear that I will work out the week, provided he pays me for my time at the end of it and -sigh- begin looking for something else again. I'm not worried about finding it, just a look into Craigslist yesterday pulled up things I'd be qualified for and like to do. I just wish this place had worked out.


Sunday, September 25, 2005


So I get into work this afternoon to be told 2 things:

1. My boss hadn't well..bothered to check my resume before hiring me!! So, after finally getting around to looking at it, he determined that he was grossly overpaying me for my limited experience and promptly cut my already meager $12.00/hr pay rate to $8.00. Shit, one of the reasons I took that job was the pay rate! I told him so and he was very apologetic, but firm that he couldn't afford to pay me more than that.

2. Even though I told him, say, 3+ times that I wanted to only work a 4 day week, I come downstairs's a schedule posted (a first) and wow I'm on there for a 40 hour, 5 day week, including both Saturday and Sunday. What the hell?! I told him, numerous times, that I was in school and could only work 4 days. I said it when I first came in to interview, I said it when I came in a second time to make my schedule, I said it on Wednesday when he was making the schedule. So I confront him with it and he acts like it's news to him (he was the one who offered, even before I suggested, that I take Saturday off, so I can have a day off from school and work) and then goes on how he "really needs me" this Saturday, as everyone else is off. Well, whoop-de-fucking-do, I was supposed to be off too! And I don't know when they request it, but I did so the day I was hired.

Okay, I am done ranting. Sorry for all the cursing. Just a little ticked right now.


A few of my favorite local eats, so far. By "local", I mean "easy walking distance". I know that by sticking to my local stomping ground, I am missing out on the eats a bit farther from my home, but with dozens upon dozens of restaurants an easy walk away, it's hard to even get the initiative up to hop on a train. Anyways:

  • Little Red Hen Bakery - I can already tell that, when we move, I will miss this place. Just 1 block from my house, they make the best baked sweets I've found around. Their muffins, especially their fruit ones, kick all sorts of ass. We probably go more than we should ;)
  • Uncle Moe's - Okay, they're not the best Mexican around, even by far. But they're about a block and half away, have an excellent $5.00 Mole Poblano Enchilada special and their rice and beans are actually really good (not bland filler, like at most places).
  • Neidre's - They get mention for, among many other good offerings, the Woodstock. A yummy blend of chipotle spiked hummos, avacados, cheese and some veggies, the Woodstock is a veggie sandwich which beats out their meat offerings, by far. (Though their Farmer John sandwich, with turkey, apples and cheddar came very close). Oh, and we can see them from our window ;)
  • Mr. Falafel - With a name like that, you can guess the best thing on the menu. Their lunch special hits you with some awesome falafel, nice and creamy baba ghanoush and well...some overly tahini flavored hummos. But throw in some pita and a salad, all for about $6.00 and it's a deal I willl take them up on again.

In non-food related stuff, thanks to Lauren (the defective one) and Maura for coming by to visit!! it was awesome to see some Cleveland folks again :) We all grabbed some good sandwiches from the above mentioned Neidre's and munched them in Prospect Park. An excellent afternoon. Hope you both enjoyed your cultural trip to the Museum ;)


Thursday, September 22, 2005

My life in very short (as I have to go to work in a bit):

  • School has been going well. I got there a bit late today, as the F train (my sole ride into school) was having troubles, so we all had to leave and wait for the next one. It wouldn't be so bad, but we get knocked grade points off for being late and I have high hopes of graduating with honors, or at least trying to.
  • finally supposed to open today, after a series of false starts. Since, due to their troubles, I didn't work my regularly scheduled sunday or tuesday, I agreed to go in today and tomorrow. Then I get a day off (Saturday), before heading back on Sunday. I hope to resume a normal Sun-Wed schedule after that.
  • I've been having this horrible neck pain, which has only gotten worse over the days. Urgh

Hope all is well for everyone!


Monday, September 19, 2005

I know many of you are wondering about my first day of school and work and I wish I could post more about it, but I am just sooo tired right now. I had to get up at 5:30am for my ultra-early-orientation-day class (had to be at school at 7:15 and school is a 45 minutetrainride) and I had just enough time to come home, make myself some lunch, do my homework from school and wonder if I could really nap only 15 minutes before I had to head to work.

In short, school was mainly orientation. The do's and don't of the school, followed by a lecture on identifying veggies (which was terribly easy for me). Though we didn't do any actual cooking today, they did feed us (a plate of cheeses, fruit and bread). Big bonus there. Though the coffee was an even bigger bonus.

Work today was...interesting. It is the day before the restaurant opened and the owner was kind of flipping out because he wasn't happy with the menu or the direction he's chosen. Thankfully, he did not take any of this stress out on the staff (which was excellent and a very good sign) and, by the end of the night, had calmed down and was working out how he might solve his problems. As it was a massive effort to get the restaurant ready, there were alot of employees there, some of which probably work the breakfast/lunch shift and, as such, I might rarely see again. I did get to work with a close friend of the owner and co-chef who was an excellent guy and I liked quite a bit. I look forward to working with him. All in all, I was worried that, between school and work, I was going to have some sort of breakdown, but I leave today firmly believing that I will be able to do it and maybe, at times, have fun at the same time ;)


Friday, September 16, 2005

If there's one thing I love about New York, it's the food stores. While in Cleveland, speciality food shops are like these little jewels to be treasured. With so few of them, a trip to one was a special treat. Not so in New York. One needs only to look to find just about any ingredient imaginable.

For starters, there's the Green Market, a regional farmers' market (no middlemen allowed). Though the prices often make me wistful for the days of the West Side Market, the quality is very high. Plus, you have the satisfaction of buying from local growers and supporting small farms. Since vendors can only sell what they produce, it also spurs a reliance on seasonal products (which results in a better dish anyways, since you're mainly using ingredients at their prime, taste-wise).

Then, there's all the little shops out there. Unfortunately, not many are walking distance. Biking is a easy ride to most though.
My personal favorite is the White Eagle Provisions, a medium-sized grocery with a heavy eastern European tint. In addition to lots of fresh made baked goods, they also have a *huge* selection of beers, including some obscure brands from Poland and Lithuania (which I want to try, just for novelty value). Their prices, though not dirt cheap, are well priced, especially when compared to other grocers around.

If I'm looking for cheap, right across the street from White Eagle is Lopez Bakery, a small bakery who sell homemade bread for prices better than any I've found in town (I managed to walk out of there with a loaf of sourdough and some treats for about three bucks). Though the bread was not the best I've had, it had a certain lingering taste which made the loaf disappear fast.

Then, today, I found Sahadi, a grocery located in the predominantly middle eastern area (if one were the judge by the deluge of such stores) of Brooklyn. It's kind of a hike, even on my bike, but it was worth it. Their selection of olives, dried fruit (including dates...mmmm), and nuts is the best I've found and even manages to beat the West Side Market, price wise (kind of a feat around here). Plus, their pitas are extremely cheap. I managed to pick up a bag of small pitas for $0.60. They also sell a ton of speciality middle eastern items, including a very large selection of cheeses and yogurts. The only thing that keeps them from beating out White Eagle is that, at that White Eagle, I can get more standard food items as well....and they sells lots of beer. That's always a big plus ;)

I could go into others, like PS Spice (very cheap quality spices, teas and coffee), but I'll let it go for now. I'm sure I've bored everyone enough already.

Sunday is my first day of work in about a month. Who, me, nervous?


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh, for those of you (hi Mike) who watch Food TV, I had my "yes, this is New York" experience today. As I was wandering through the Union Sq. Green Market, I happened to notice a bunch of tv cameras and a guy who I kind of recognized. On second glance, it struck me that it was Tyler Florence, of Food Network fame. The experience was that nobody seemed to notice/care (well, except for a select few, who seemed inclined to stare).

I looked around for Rachel Ray, to give her a little kick, but such luck.


Oh to be young and wanted...

As all of you know, since the move to New York, I've been on the lookout for a restaurant gig. One of my earliest hits came when I was hired in to work at a new restaurant, opening up just a short 15 minute bike ride away. I got along with the owner and his take on food (think simple and seasonal) jived with my own. In short, it looked like a good gig. The only problem was that I was, at the time, hired on nothing but his word and there was no definite date for the restaurant to open.

So, I kept looking.

I ended up next talking with another restaurant, literally a 2 minute walk from my house. It was a great little place which mainly does a lunch crowd, who were looking for someone to take over the PM shift. The owner was very nice and I even worked a (free) test shift, to see how I liked it and how they liked me. I really did like it. The people were nice and the food was really fun. The only problem was that it would be 6 days a week. The shifts would be short (about 6 hours),but only day off would be monday, when I'd have school. So I would have no days without school or work.

Not fun.

So, to help with my decision, in the meantime, the 1st restaurant called me back, wanting me to come in and set a schedule (to start next week). After much thought, I decided to go with my first choice. Granted, there are some disadvantages. For example, I'll be working longer hours ( 8 hour shifts on weekdays, 11 on Sunday), but then I will be only working 4 days a week, leaving me Saturday free. The main entrees are also, though interesting, not as much my schtick (all meat and fish, no veggie entree options). But, the owner also has a very open ended menu system, leaving lots of chances to experiment (if I get to that point where I want to try and voice my opinion).

Anyways, that's been where my mind has been at for the last few days. Not much else going on. I waited in the hell that is the New York State DMV for over 2 hours today, to be given a paper slip that's supposed to be my new driver's license, until I get the real one mailed to me (granted, I knew this was happening, as Genevieve went through it a few weeks ago).

Saying that ("a few weeks ago") is so weird to me, as it reminds me that we've really not been here that long. It seems like, with all the life changes, that we must've been here soo much longer. But, in truth, all of this craziness has happened within less than a month. I haven't even started school yet.

Well, until next time.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Yah! My geeky, but beautiful, wife got the wireless working. So, we are now flying free and wireless on our own connection.

Not too much has been going on the last few days. I was supposed to work today, but that didn't pan out. Apparently, all the times I was calling him, asking questions like "when do you want me to come into work?", the owner thought I was someone who was coming in for an interview. Yes, it turns out they won't need me until "the middle of next week." So, with the vagueness of this whole gig, I am on the lookout for other things. I will keep this place as a backup, if someone doesn't pop up, but I can already see this being the schedule-less just-call-me-everyday-to-come-in situations that drove me mad with my first restaurant job. Again, I am not ruling it out, just looking to see what else is out there.

Other than that, Genevieve's mom has been visiting since Friday, so we've been showing her what little of our city we know. We went up the Green Market this morning (where we got some wonderful Artisanal cheeses, a first taste for me), then walked around the lush Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, which certainly transport you out of the busy city. Oh, we also went up to an awesome Indian place last night called Banjara, thus breaking the streak of bad indian places we've had since moving here. Living in a city like New York, with an impossible number of options for going out to eat, it's hard to cook at home, even for someone who loves to cook. For, as much as I love to cook, I love to eat just as much, especially new things. I did make some awesome pickled jalapenos last night though (which I then used some of this afternoon, served over homemade refried black beans. yummy)

That's about it for now. Hope everything is going well back in Cleveland. I miss Tremont quite a bit still, even though I am increasingly comfortable in my new surroundings. It's just tough to go without a loaf of Christopher's Bakery bread, or City Roast coffee..not to mention all my friends. When one of you all come to visit, please bring one of the above ;)


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

This post will be short, as I'm currently sapping wi-fi from a neighbor, which they could catch on to any moment and shut me down.

Anyways, I have a new job. It'll start this Saturday...or this Thursday. Not quite sure. You see, it's a restaurant "startup". They haven't opened yet and the guy's not quite sure when they will, though he's shooting for this Saturday. But there might be a party on Thursday for it that he might need me for. I should know more tomorrow. It sounds like it could be alot of fun (the owner is about my age and wants to do American Bistro sort of fare), providing everything takes off. We shall see. Saturday, I will be working, though I don't know if it'll be cooking or helping clean up the place.

I also got a chance to bike around our neighborhood, which was really fun. For being such a populated place, New York (or, at least, our neighborhood in Brooklyn) is suprisingly bike-able. Not once was I skimmed by a car or subject to an intolerant driver. Pedestrians, well, they're another story, as most of them feel comfortable basically walking into an oncoming bike. I did encounter a few a**holes who thought the bike lane (and there IS usually one :) was just another place to park. Seeing as parking is a nightmare around here, I didn't mind this too much..except for the jerkoff who thought it was time to move from his "space" right as I was passing him. I got to have my first experience cursing someone out loudly in New York. I feel like a native ;)

That's about it for now. Our new furniture is being delivered from Ikea tomorrow. I am looking forward to finally getting some of these boxes of books and cd's off the ground and onto some shelving.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and well wishes!
As Genevieve mentioned in her blog, things have been getting better. I've been cooking at home again, which not only makes us both feel better (to be filled with homemade food), but makes me feel good to be in the kitchen and cooking again, as that's where I'm (usually) at my most zen-like calm state.

I also got a chance to hit up the local green market (all local farmers, all organic), though it did make me miss the West Side Market (even if the green market was technically better, as you buy directly from the farmer, no middleman). But, either way, that made me smile.

So, yea, things are getting better. I miss Tremont and my friends quite a bit, but I'm not feeling like packing up and moving home anymore.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

As promised, a blog update for everyone. Actually, I am going to be kind of lazy and point you to Genevieve's most recent entry here. In short, it's been a horrible few days and we've often been wondering if we've made the biggest and most expensive mistake of our lives. We're really hoping it gets better.

By the way, due to a slight fuck up with the utilities, internet access (for about a week) is limited to our ability to tap into Wi-Fi hotspots (like the Barnes & Noble we're at now). So, if you e-mail either one of us and it takes awhile to reply, that's why.