Thursday, September 30, 2010

Put Your Knife Bag Where Your Mouth Is, Part 3

It turns out that my most important contribution to Ludobites 5.0 is my husband.

After my total hillbilly introduction,  I am sure I am done. She must feel sorry for me, because Krissy has a few things for me to do. I haven't used a computer for anything but the internet for 5 years so I can barely remember what Excel is.  A few days later I get an e-mail. A project......can you......something about data importing and formatting.  Wha'???

Most people would not jump right up and swear they could deliver if they had no idea what in the Jesus the words being said even meant. But I knew Krissy had been on the Apprentice and you wouldn't tell Mr. Trump no, you'd say yes and figure out a way to get it done. I thought she would appreciate that initiative. So I called Nick.

For 7 years we've chuckled when people ask what he does. It's very convoluted but at it's essence, it's compiling huge amounts of data into one place. Which, coincidentally, is exactly what the instructions said is needed. Score!!!!

My honey makes me look like a superstar and I am invited down to Gram & Papa's on orientation day. I pee myself.  Almost. But still, a semi-retired granny who has never spherified anything is going to hop onto the hottest train in town. Dream Big Folks. It works.

After I jump up and down for 20 minutes, Nick gets lucky again. He doesn't know these Lefebvre people, but he is really starting to like them.

As a bonus, I get a reservation for our anniversary. I'll figure out the sitter thing later. I feel like I won grand prize of something because I get to be part of a truly extraordinary experience.

With Evan having cycled through camp (they "lost" his shoelaces, I said No Thank You), there is not much work I can do until Nick gets home, so my volunteering, for all it's sincerity, is premature and kind of useless. I help do some things from home and get ready for our big night out.  Checking the menu online becomes a ritual. I can't wait to see what will be there because it changes all the time. Things that sound delicious the first week are replaced by subsequent inspiration.

We started this story with me eating at Ludobites 4.0 with my friends because I was scared to bring the monkey-boy. We pause mid-point with Evan in a button-up shirt eating octopus on what has to be one of the best nights of my life. My beautiful family and I are sitting at a table in the hardest to get-in restaurant in town. We're eating amazing food. There is no pinching or threatening.  Nick smiles every time he takes a bite. Evan makes puppy-dog eyes at the hostess, and I study my food while I change my title from chef back to cook in my brain. I have never been so happy about being so inferior.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Put Your Knife Bag Where Your Mouth Is, Part 2


I left you at Ludobites where I am in such a good mood when I get home that Nick gets lucky. A scallop hooks him UP.

I get some Pop Rocks and throw them on top of Evan's berries & whip cream. Read all the blogs about LB 4.0 to see what I've been missing up here in the tower. Start randomly twittering Krissy about volunteering.

Then I twitter some more.

And some more.
I say I will do anything to work for them. I am doing what I consider to be grovelling but I don't care. I really want to get in that kitchen.

I keep waiting for her to politely decline my offer. I take not saying yes as not saying no. Think that at some point she will either cave or block me.
I have never done this for a man or a job, let alone for the opportunity to clean walls for free if that's what it takes.
The soup was THAT good.

I get a message from Krissy inquiring about my interest and hear nothing back. I read tweets about the staffing being done and I think, Oh well, if I can't work, at least I can eat there.

By the time the next set of reservations goes online, their fan base has tripled. When the announcement comes I get a sick feeling. Our internet is as slow as my dead grandma and there are people with their own servers determined to get a Golden Ticket.

I make Nick come home from work early so that he can take Evan to the park and I log on to all four computers to try my hand at the lottery. Failure. EPIC FAILURE (KL- I kid:)) I go to bed angry and sad.

I wake up with a new message on Twitter. I see who it is and call Nick while I read:

Can I come over and help this afternoon? Of course, yes, of course. 

Oh fucking hell. Evan. Is awesome. And home with me right now because summer camp is still 2 weeks away. Honey? Can you leave work RIGHT NOW??? No? But she wants me to come today and I can't bring Evan. You really can't leave? Okay. Yeah. I'll figure it out.

You might remember from my last post that we don't dine out w/out our little cherub because we don't have a sitter. I have not often cared much. Missing a show is no big deal. The idea of missing the chance to work for the Lefebvres is bringing me to tears. I try everyone I know to see if I can drop him off for a few hours. No, no, no and no.

Out of luck and totally desperate I have the conversation with Evan that begins "If you're good, I......" and ends with me promising him ice cream for every meal and a few hundred more pieces of plastic. He has a Nintendo DS that he will play for hours at a time if I let him so I pin every hope I have on that and the baby Jesus and off we go.

I wish you all could see the look on Ludo's face when he opens the door and sees a strange lady and a child on his porch.  Priceless! I come in, briefly explain the lack of childcare and swear that Evan will be a perfect angel who will sit on the couch entertaining himself with the fully loaded backpack we have.... now dumped all over the floor thank you Evan.

It is to Krissy's credit that she doesn't bat an eye and points me to the kitchen table. I sweat buckets, praying that Evan will be good while she shows me what we're doing when I hear, Krissy, I have a DS.
OMGOMGOMG please don't you dare.

I have Lego Batman and Lego Star Wars. Do you like Star Wars.

You could add up the five most horrifying times of my life and wipe them off my shoe with this one.

Under the breath, clenching the teeth. Be good Evan, you promised. Just sit and color and don't ask questions.

Let's just fast forward to the part where he is reclined on the couch watching Twilight and I am wanting to kill myself.

next up - Excel Master. Nick Saves The Day.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Put Your Knife Bag Where Your Mouth Is, Part 1

*disclosure: My knife bag never gets anywhere near the kitchen. It sounds cooler than measuring spoons.

It starts with a scallop.
I don’t like scallops.
Choked so many times on the smell of a 5 lb. bucket while taking off the tiny little stomach muscle for catering, that the thought makes me queasy.

But here I am at Ludobites 4.0 and the girls love the damn shellfish.
I figure, this was all my idea, I can’t look like the candy-ass here.  I gotta do it and make a happy face. So I pick it up, pop it in, squint my eyes to chew and...
This is not a scallop.
A scallop sucks and tastes like sweet vomit.

This little lover is the size of a cherry, has a crust and I swear to God there’s bacon in there somewhere.
I start thinking about what they use to make that scallop taste so smoky and it hits me. Other than wondering if everyone washes their hands, or how long those eggs have been sitting next to the flattop, I don’t THINK in restaurants anymore.   

It didn’t use to be this way.
Chefs eat out. A lot. If you cook all week, you want time off from the tongs. When Nick and I started dating, we ate our way through the J. Gold guide and back again, dissecting each dish along the way.

Then Mama gets knocked up and gives birth to a baby orangutan who is incapable of polite restaurant manners.  No matter how many times spankings in the car are threatened or carried out, the table is crawled under, the forks are banged on the table.

We look for restaurants with the crayons, like those who have gone before us into this culinary wasteland. Chicken strips, grilled cheese. As many jelly packets as I can shove into that little bastards mouth to get him to shut the Jesus up until the waitress/food/check gets here.
We develop a system where we look online at the menu before we go so we can order and ask for the bill the second the server says hello.
Dijon mustard is as close to France as my mouth is getting.

 After 5 years of this, I am reading the Weekly when I see a blurb about a “Pop Up” restaurant at Royal T.  I have passed this place every day for 7 months and have quite often wondered what it was since seems so out of place on the block it’s on.
That tattooed  French chef from Top Chef Masters is doing it, it’s amazing, BYOB, blah blah blah blah......
Some wild hair goes up beyond my ass and onto my keyboard where I sign up for the mailing list so I can find out more.

Now, I was there kids, before the MASSES had masses.
I got my reservation easy as pie. 
An email came, I decided what day and time, and DONE.
If you ask me why I had to do this, I really have no idea. I didn’t know who I would go with, I just wanted to get out of the house and do something different. 

So there I am, fork deep in scallop trying to figure this mess out when a bowl of ham soup arrives. No you di’int.

This is probably the most amazing soup I’ve ever had. It’s an Everlasting Gobstopperer where the flavor keeps changing from singular to group. Hello ham, wait, where’d you go? Are you hiding behind the radish or the pickle? Or the cheese.  Or the Guiness. If God really likes you, you will get to taste this soup someday.

When the meal is over I feel exhilarated. Like Sleeping Beauty ate herself a macaron and woke up. Have I really paid that little attention to cooking for this long? My passion has been locked in the walk-in and was eating cool-whip out of the container until it got rescued. The nice people at Ludobites are kind enough to open the door.

I have Googled a bit about the kitchen and sort of joke with the chef’s wife/hostess with the mostest Krissy about being an intern next time. I don’t think she takes me very seriously...........

next up - Twitter is for stalkering........

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Love Hip Hop Like Madonna Loves Dick

 All this scratchin’ is makin’ me itch – DJ Qbert

1983 sucks hard.
Because I’m fat.
Because I’m poor.
Because my mom is bedridden and we live in a 1 bedroom duplex in one of the richest neighborhoods in Southern California.
In lieu of a car, I drag a shopping cart across the street to the laundry and grocery store. BIGGEST REASON I NEED THERAPY, btw.
No matter. I hear that first beat break on ‘It’s Like That’ and I am a different person.
Not the girl who started 9th grade with some bullshit B-52’s sticker on my Pee-Cee.
Oh Hell to the niz
I hear the calling. It’s War at 33 1/3.
The confidence I lack is replaced by a bass-line. I can’t find the nerve tell you to fuck right off for calling me fat, but you can believe that I am battling you in my brain. 
Leigh Anne Rutkin, I’m talking to you.

 Peter Piper picked peppers and Run rocked rhymes – Run DMC

In 1983, I love me some cheese-ass R & B. Solid Gold and Soul Train are my favorite shows. I have every Prince and Michael Jackson record and I’m totally into Freakazoid by Midnight Starr.
This new genre doesn’t have a name. Our parents have never heard of it. This is music with a nutsack.

Hello, LL Cool J. Shirtless and sweaty, pounding on your chest and talking about your dick FOR REAL. If LL wants to fuck me he’ll tell me. Or maybe grunt and grab himself.  He won’t waste my time whimpering about a Little Red Corvette.

I remember when no white boy wears shell-toed Adidas, only Stan Smith or Rod Lavers. When your pants are firmly pulled up over your ass unless you are homeless. There must be something broken loose inside my water polo-playing classmates as well, their fancy Vespas are replaced by huge radios that they carry to swim meets and tennis tournaments.
Everyone tries scratching at home. Everyone pisses off their parents who have to replace the needles when it doesn’t work.

 Eazy-E’s fucked up and got the 8 ball rollin’ – Eric Wright

At the end of the 80’s, the innocence of the electric boogaloo has been rolled over by the 20-inch rims of South Central and Oakland. Rap has a name now and it is a different breed of pitbull. This dawg comes with an Uzi and a drive-by. All of a sudden it isn’t safe to go to certain concerts or movies if you’re a white girl like me. We all hear about a new kind of cocaine that will turn you into Flavor-Flav if you even so much as LOOK at it. Strawberry gets a new definition and sales of malt liquor skyrocket. I made that last part up. I don’t really know if people bought more beer.

Trips are made downtown to 9th & Olympic where I buy schwag and gas from the Chevron on the corner. Straight Outta Compton is on the Celica stereo, fostering a swagger and a stupidity that only a 21 year old is capable of possessing. Nights are spent bent over a mirror. Everyone’s pants are eight sizes too big.

 Mowin’ down MC’s like we’re mowin’ the lawn – Beastie Boys

It’s around this time that I move to Seattle and I watch the riots on TV in my tiny apartment while I wonder how much Ice's Cube and T have to do with this. Between school and work I am in a kitchen 14 hrs. a day. My flannel-clad brethren at work is into Soundgarden.  Rap becomes a side-dish again. When a group like Arrested Development or Digable Planets come around, they’re embraced for a few weeks, they fade away and the guitars turn back up. Few original sounds and then God-bless-the-Jew-fro, the Beastie Boys pick up some instruments, and blow the world away with Check Your Head. Add Cypress Hill, Wu-Tang & Snoop and you get something people are now calling hip-hop and taking a serious as a heart attack. Now folks are using their vocabularies instead of their dicks. Work becomes fun again when Mudhoney is traded for Jazzmatazz.

Lollapalooza 1992.  I think my brain will explode with idea of Ice Cube, now AAAmerika’s Most Wanted, playing a show with Pearl Jam!!!!! Plus the drugs. Oh lord, the drugs. So much weed is being smoked, I wonder why Seattle only has 1 hip-hop group worth a crap. I have pee on my ankle (inside joke)

Until the Cash Money crew comes along, this new wave kills the terrible era of gangster rap where a single track gets looped while Too Short’s cousin’s uncle tells me how he shot a bitch and drank a 40. 

‘Cause I’m superfly when I’m super high on the Fu-Gee-La – Lauryn Hill

RCKNDY. The only thing that stands between me & every band I love on a 20 ft. wide stage is a long-haired man in a blue-plaid shirt. His name is Jesse. My nickname is “Plus One”. George Clinton grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze. He wears a caftan made of Mickey Mouse sheets. Flavor Flav’s clock is RIGHTTHEFUCKTHERE about 3 feet in front of me. Ice-T screams Cop Killer and I am covered in his sweat.  Name them. I see them. I cook fried chicken for lots of them. Chuck D. loves it. Wyclef thinks I'm making a racial statement. This is the time of my life.

Honeys play me close like butter play toast / from the Mississippi down to the east coast -  Notorious BIG

I have my heart broken twice in the nineties. A big black man from New York is my rebound. Christopher
George Latour Wallace. Keats in Karl Kani.  Guardian Angel. Greatest rapper of all time. It’s not twice as hard for fat people. It’s fifty times as hard. You don’t want to stand out because that’s one more chance for people to make fun of you. It’s hardly expected for an MC to hold his own in a battle when the easy target is the size of his ass. He becomes a Grammy-winning multi-millionaire. I hold my phone to my speakers to capture his daughter telling ‘all these hoes, stay off my daddy’s dick’. I don’t know what kind of message this is to leave and I don’t care. I walk to work in the snow up a hill 2 miles. All I need is my headphones and the bag of weed that is waiting for me at home. I'm Travis Bickle. I listen to Ready to Die until it wears out and by then I am invincible. None of you will ever fuck with me again.

And put one of those fingers on each hand up – Eminem

Marshall Mathers. Marisa Miller. You see how we’re practically married already?
When Eminem comes along I am coming into my own as a private caterer in Seattle.  I lose piles of weight from having my heart snapped in half (see above) and I decide the next logical step is to move back to LA and marry Eminem. We have so many similar viewpoints and the same initials and our spawn are going to be blue-eyed and foul-mouthed. I  am willing to settle for Ben Affleck if things don’t work out.

I get a job at Frank Sinatra’s beach house cooking for his widow. Danny DeVito lives next door. I get in my Saab and drive up to Oxnard listening to 8 Mile. I wonder where my boyfriend is. The grocery store is a Hollywood revelation. Pam Anderson and Kid Rock buy muffins. EddieVan Halen cuts me off then checks me out in his Rambo Lambo. Life is a Mamas and Papas song. Casa Sinatra is an iron fortress from which there is no escape. I watch my boyfriend win an Oscar. It will turn out that the girl he ends up with is a kind of homely tomboy who is good friends w/ some of my Seattle posse. Strange circles. And proof that anything is possible.  I don't ever meet him but I do cook for Guy Ritchie which is almost like fulfilling my dream of cooking for his ex-wife. And I end up falling in love with the nephew of two real live movie stars.

 I stuck my dick inside this life until that bitch came – Kanye West

I eventually move in with my 24 year-old boyfriend who doesn’t think it at all strange when his 35 year-old girlfriend quotes Tupac.  I get pregnant and for some reason I cannot get enough beats. I listen to the Game and 50 Cent all day long and this tiny shrimp in my tummy dances. When he hatches, it turns out he is incredible at handstands and can spin on his head by age 4. Coincidence? I think not.

I face a dilemma at 43 when I realize that I can’t get away with listening to songs with lyrics like the one above. Can’t have Evan calling his teacher a ho. Taylor Swift doesn’t cut it. As if she ever could.

My soul wears a tracksuit to it’s funeral.

We'll walk right up to the sun, hand in hand - Lauryn Hill/Nas 

I hope my son has a moment like I did. That he is witness to a revolution that moves his mind and his feet.

I was born from hip hop. I was there when it was born.