Hey Everybody. So I'm sitting here at the bar, as the guests chatter. I'm spotlit in the corner by the specials board which makes me feel like a decorative object, and I'm wondering when the heck it'll be late enough to have a beer. I've learned a lot of things in the five weeks that we've been open, and one of the more important things is that just because you feel like you ought to have a beer in your bar doesn't mean you really should. Wait it out. Hold on. Keep an eye on things. Drink some water, fool.
I thought I'd write a post today about today. Or any other day. Because I have fallen into a routine.
A few weeks back I was drinking beers and bitching with another restaurant owner/chef (as we are wont to do). That chef has some pretty successful Thai restaurants around the world, and with sharp and cynical insight he said something that perfectly summed up what it's like to run a restaurant. "It's like running on a treadmill, you just keep sweating and running and growling and you never go anywhere but there." He's right. Really. It's all very stationary.
Each morning I wake up and look at my numbers. If I'm feeling brave I break them down and try to figure out what they all mean. Then, there are calls to the accountant. And the lawyer, on occasion. Then I make menus if we're doing a special menu for someone. I cuddle with my dog for awhile, stare into my empty fridge, suck down some coffee and head to the restaurant. Usually won't see my house for another 12+ hours after that.
I'd forgotten how empty empty restaurants feel. It's eerie being downstairs in my dining room so I usually head up two flights of stairs to the kitchen, where I can hear the clop-clop-clop of the stone mortar making paste from herbs and spices. I am met with the smiles of my five cooks - and then I hang with them. Sometimes, I show them tricks, like how to make yogurt for the samosas. Sometimes, they show me tricks, like how to wrap a fish in a banana leaf.
Next comes my favorite part of the day -- my trip to the market. I gossip with the fish monger gals at On Nut market, sticking my fingers inside the gills of sea creatures, smelling bags of crabmeat, and still staring with wonder as a coconut husk becomes shreds of coconut, like snow, and then how that becomes the thick, fatty, luxurious cream that drips from the stainless steel press. At the market I wander and wonder about what to cook. Sometimes its a free-range chicken soup with herbs. Today I bought some gelatin and made coconut panna cotta with crispy/sweet/salty candied peanuts. Sometimes I just leave it to my team. They are pretty good now.
Then I return to my shop with seafood and whatever else, peel off my sweaty tee-shirt, put on something with a collar, make a playlist perhaps, feed the ghost outside, look up at King Rama V's photo, and wonder how busy we'll get.
Then, I open the door. Showtime.