Today, as I sit in recovery from my second (and much less painful) stitch-removal this year, I'm prepping for a new tour of DUMBO, Brooklyn tomorrow and I'm excited about what's ahead. But because of how much this ankle injury has impacted my life I can't help but look back to what was going on 6 months ago, especially as it was quite a lot. So, in honor of the throw back Thursday trend I peer back into the first week of March, 2015.
Sunday, March 1st: I was rudely awoken by some dripping onto my pillow, which was then splashing me in the face. It was very early. Like, 6am. I didn't want to, but I called my super because I couldn't sleep. He said he couldn't reach the apartment above, but because of where the leak was, assumed it was probably the heater so he'd shut it off for the time being. Luckily, it worked and I went back to bed. When I got up later in the afternoon and did venture outside I was greeted with a March 1st snow storm. And I was going to go participate in some strange discussion group in the West Village, that the organizer billed as a reality show. And while it was an interesting event, I can assure you this won't be hitting your TV screens anytime in the near future. Of course, foodie that I am I figured I would take advantage of being in the flush food scene that is the West Village, especially as I figured I wouldn't have an issue getting a seat in such crap weather. So, I stumbled into a little place, called Rockmeisha Izakaya. I walked into what is decorated like an outdoor terrace, in Japan with a funky little chef bar, which is where I plopped myself down. I was given a menu to scan, which was immediately intriguing with dishes like "Jampin Jerk Frog" and "Pinball Gizzards". I asked the server for his thoughts and went with the fish special, gyoza, and the fried duck tongue! I also asked for a sake suggestion for someone who doesn't usually like sake and he brought me the chef's family sake which was delicious. I chatted a little with the chef/owner who was so friendly and wonderful that he sent out a couple of extra bites to both myself and the other guy at the bar. Not only was the food and service worth going back for, but the decor is so kitschy and great that you could easily just get caught up in that!
Monday, March 2nd: Thankfully I didn't stay up too late the evening before as I had a full day ahead of me, which included two award ceremonies--1 that I was hoping to win and the other that I was helping to host. I headed down to the restaurant run by the catering company that I was working for at the time, Great Performances. The company was started by fellow creatives and works hard to make sure their employees have the flexibility they need to keep pursuing their passions. A few years ago they started awarding individuals with a grant to put towards their creative projects. All employees for the company are eligible, as long as they have worked with them for a certain amount of time. I had submitted a web series idea and unfortunately I did not win the prize, but was happy enough to get a free brunch and to cheer on those who did win. Either way I had to scurry back uptown as the awards committee had already gotten started with rehearsals for the first ever Guides Association of New York City or GANYC awards. I was a committee member, and I had the pleasure of presenting the award for outstanding achievement in food! We took a break shortly after I arrived and I ran home to grab my lunch, makeup and the dress I'd laid out to change into that evening. But when I got to my floor it looked like someone was moving or having serious work done to their place, of course the door to my apartment was wide open and that person happened to be me! The super was concerned about the leak from the day before and wanted to get in and fix it right away. So this was what I saw when I got into my bedroom:
Obviously there were lots of swear words and tears thrown around, as I was short on time. When my super moved my bed so I could get into my closet I quickly packed my things, including a backup dress in case I wasn't able to get all of the dust off of the one I was planning on wearing. I then removed the art from the room and covered the bed the best I could before heading back out and over to the theater so that I wouldn't be trapped with my rage. Luckily the evening well after that. The dust did come off of the dress and I received many compliments on it. The whole show was a spectacular success and included my presentation of a well-deserved award to the Russ & Daughters family for a true New York food institution. As a committee member, a presenter and as a tour guide I was very proud with the event we put together. We had a little after-party celebration at a nearby Korean restaurant and then I went to the local bar my sister manages as I didn't want to think about going home to the nightmare above, but eventually and after many whiskeys I did just that.
Tuesday, March 3rd: I had a catering shift at one of my two least favorite venues to work at, The Asia Society. With even more snow coming down, it was a difficult shift to get to and everyone was hoping that the number of attendees would plummet so we could all get out of there early, however, there was no such luck, although I do believe it was a pretty easy shift at the end of the day.
Wednesday, March 4th: The irony that my last two shifts were at my least favorite venues is not at all lost on me, and perhaps was very helpful for me in being able to leave the company. I worked my final GP catering shift at a venue that would make your body scream and cry in agony after long enough, as it's an old bank with painfully beautiful and loud marble floors. Gotham Hall's best attribute is its central location...maybe it's beauty, but I've worked there too many times not to be jaded by it. There was a lot of talk among the staff that shift. The company was adopting a new policy requiring all employees to sign an arbitration agreement. Most employees didn't have an issue with it, some had questions, a few were so important to the company that they just stopped harassing them to sign it, as they didn't want to lose them. Even fewer of us were so against the thing that we would refuse to sign it as it stood even if that meant our employment with them was no longer. I had a meeting scheduled the following afternoon with the head booking agent at the company, and had a pretty good feeling that this would be my last time walking the very obnoxious Gotham halls.
Thursday, March 5th: Finally the time had come to meet with Kyle. I went down to the office and presented the only version of the agreement that I would sign. Of course, I was met with arrogance and ignorance and was told that he could take the version to the lawyers but that they wouldn't go for it. I explained how, as a woman in the industry I couldn't sign such a thing, and was told good luck in finding a company that won't require such a thing as all catering companies would be moving in that direction. But I just laughed as I walked out of those offices because I knew that I wasn't planning to apply to work for other catering companies. I had been working with a restaurant in Brooklyn, Strong Place, and I had my own company that I needed to spend more time and focus on. I crossed the street and had myself a congratulatory drink at Westville before making my way to a fun little event called the Chef Showdown, put on by Komeeda and Peetix. I got to eat, vote and drink and chat with others into the same sorts of things and the high from leaving another unhappy work situation was enhanced!
Friday, March 6th: Well, if I had a feeling that the Gotham Hall shift would be my last, I certainly didn't have any idea that this would be the final winter tour that I would be running myself...especially as I had a couple booked for just the nest week. But this was a good one. I had 12 people booked, so I hired an assistant to help me dole out the yummy winter-appropriate treats. Kady was a great assistant, and she was then able to help out again when I was incapacitated! Following my food tour I would then head out to Brooklyn to help with a Brooklyn Bowl concert after party at Strong Place. I didn't stay out too late though, since I was doing a Box Office Cover shift the next day.
Saturday, March 7th: As I said I had a cover shift at the UCB East Village. It was a daytime shift so as soon as I was done I went and met up with my college friend who'd come in to attend the International Restaurant and Foodservice show with me the following day--or rather I was going with her. I was only just starting to work with Strong Place, so she was the one with the free tix connections. We decided to do dinner at a place called Kingside, and then we had a couple of cocktails at the Park Hyatt, since I happen to know one of the bartenders there from my Hyatt Jersey City days. Fernando took good care of us with some very tasty cocktails, but Heather and I took off before we could do any real damage since we had a long day of wondering a convention center ahead of us.
Sunday, March 8th: Heather & I ventured out to the Jacob Javitz in the late morning and started getting our information on. We saw and spoke with tons of vendors and drank many samples. It was great! I was telling people about Strong Place and was learning about a lot of great local companies. Eventually we wore ourselves out, and although there were many bites along the way, it wasn't really filling enough. We went to the nearby new outpost of Friedman's for brunch and were very happy with our adult-sized drinks and brunch items. When we got back to my place we were both exhausted and I shot out a quick email to my restaurant buddies about how many people I'd met and looked forward to passing along to them. Heather headed home and I headed to sleep...because Monday would be my first day back into the groove of early morning workouts and full and crazy days! The beautiful weather had me in good spirits and excited about upcoming spring. Of course, the day after that I found myself with a whole new path ahead of me...leading me to right here, right now. Cheers to the past, but much more to the future!