So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Daily Archives: July 17, 2009

“How’s yer book coming”?

At a standstill.

Thank you for asking.

“The stuff that I wish I had written” for the day

From bitter waiter (see perma-link in blogroll.)

“And they never hesitated to ask me for water refills.  

In new glasses. 

With a side of lemon, dead puppies, and crushed dreams”.

I guess you have to read the rest of the post for this to resonate:
It’s too many syllables for haiku, but I wish I had written it nonetheless…

Marriott and Ritz-Carlton attacked by possible suicide bombers in Jakarta, Indonesia


JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN)— Indonesian authorities believe two suicide bombers checked into the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta and carried out coordinated bombings Friday morning, killing themselves and at least six victims and wounding more than 50 others.

A body is removed following the blasts at the Ritz-Carlton and the nearby J.W. Marriott hotels in Jakarta on Friday.

A body is removed following the blasts at the Ritz-Carlton and the nearby J.W. Marriott hotels in Jakarta on Friday.

It is unclear what group is behind the attacks on the Marriott and the adjacent Ritz-Carlton hotel, Indonesia’s National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso said at a news conference. He warned that the death toll could rise.

Indonesian authorities have detained several witnesses and others for questioning, and have sent forensic evidence from the scene for testing, a spokesman for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.

“It’s all being studied now,” Dino Patti Djalal told CNN.

Read the rest of the story here:

Both blasts targeted the restaurants at the hotels.

The incredible surveillance video can be seen here (at the time of this posting, at least):

Morton’s – The Steakhouse forced to close three locations

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From Nation’s Resaurant News Breaking News:

Morton’s shutters three restaurants

By Dina  Berta


CHICAGO (July  14, 2009) Morton’s Restaurant Group, whose namesake steakhouse chain has suffered dramatic drops in sales this year, recently closed three of its 81 restaurants.

Morton’s spokesman Roger Drake on Tuesday cited “a strategic assessment of trends” for the closures of restaurants in Southfield, Mich.; Westchester, Ill.; and Minneapolis. The Michigan and Illinois stores closed June 26 and 27, respectively, and the Minneapolis location closed July 3.

For the closings in Minneapolis and Westchester, a reported company statement alluded to those restaurants not meeting “base financial targets needed to support continued operations.”

Upscale steakhouse chains like Morton’s have seen falling customer traffic as corporate expense accounts shrink and consumers cut back on spending. In May, Morton’s reported that same-store sales plummeted 24.1 percent for the April-ended first quarter and said it expected same-store sales to continue to drop for the rest of the year.

“The recession affects convention business,hotel occupancy and air travel, which all have a direct correlation on our business at Morton’s,” Thomas Baldwin, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement in May.

Read the rest of the article here:

The high-end chain steakhouse segment hasn’t proved immune to the economic climate. Ruth’s Criss has reported large losses, Capital Grill has suffered crippling quarterly drops in profit, and even the Palm, which seems to be outperforming the rest of the segment, has had to close two under-performing restaurants itself in the past couple of years.

Steakhouses are trying to attract new guests and save regulars by offering such things as half-price wine on certain days, inexpensive bar menus, and prix fixe dinners at reduced prices.

This is not symptomatic just of the high end segment. Mass market casual chains have also been hit hard and are trimming their properties as well. They are also being aggressive with coupons, 2-for-1 entree specials and special promotions.

While restaurants are being far more accommodating to the dining public than before, it isn’t totally a case of the guest getting what they want at all costs. Restaurants are getting closer to what they should always be, i.e. welcoming and flexible toward the guests’ needs and appreciative of their patronage. But one unintended consequence that the guest might need to be aware of is that restaurants are occasionally trimming their service away from their posted hours, especially in high-end restaurants. If you are dining late, it’s more important than ever to make a prior reservation  because you might walk in at 10:15 to find that the restaurant that normally closes at 11pm has already closed their kitchen. If you make that late reservation, the management can plan accordingly. These days, if the last table is at 8pm and there are only one or two walk-ins before 9pm, many managers now have permission to close the kitchen early at their discretion.

So, while guests might rejoice that they seem to have the upper hand in their relationship with the restaurant, there’s another side to the coin.


Cookbook of the Day – La Technique


La Technique

by Jacques Pepin

Publisher Times Books (December 12, 1976)

ISBN 10: 0812906101

ISBN 13: 978-0812906103

This is a companion volume to Pepin’s La Methode, which I will review in a future installment of Cookbook of the Day.  Both volumes can now be purchased in one volume, but I’ll discuss each one separately.

This was the first of the two volumes and it’s exactly as the title describes – all about technique. It starts with holding the knife and finishes with making Cheveaux d’Ange (angel hair). No, angel hair doesn’t refer to pasta, but rather sugar gossamer “angel’s hair” used to decorate elaborate desserts.

There are recipes scattered throughout but only recipes that require use of a technique to accomplish. Filled with step-by-step matter-of-fact black and white photographs, Pepin takes you through the basics of breaking down a chicken, shucking clams and oysters, making terrines, poaching eggs and even folding napkins.

This was one of the first really practical volumes on technique that clearly showed the American chef step-by-step how to replicate the results of the top chefs of the world. It, along with its sister volume, is really a foundation book for any kitchen library. You should pick up the new combined edition if possible, but you can also find the two books in both hardback and paperback in selected used book stores. My copy of La Technique is hardback, while my copy of La Methode is in paperback. I don’t mind at all. 

angel hair A confetti version of  Cheveaux d’Ange  – imagine that it’s made of sugar and sits atop some elaborately constructed gateaux.