I’m only just now getting started with the regular work portion of my day, as the phone started buzzing at about 8:30 this morning with news from the electrician. Ed’s a great guy- sweet and kind, and full of dad jokes- but the nature of our relationship dictates that almost all of the news that he gives me is bad news. Even the good news is pretty much just less bad than it could be, which thankfully was the case today. After a battle last night with various sections of the track lighting in the second dining room, Ed came in to tell me that the *good* news was that the transformer wasn’t bad but that the power supply rod was, and that it should take about two weeks of people sitting in the dark to get the parts we need to rectify the situation. Lucky Us, I say.
I wouldn’t have meant Lucky Us had I not headed over, after an hour of back-and-forth and part-searching and part-ordering, to Sister Jose Women’s Center immediately afterward. One of the multitude of reasons I’m glad we’ve come to the regular practice of bringing food to people who need it more than we do- apart from leaving feeling good about all of you for your generous contributions, feeling good about us for contributing our own chunk, and feeling good about the people who volunteer at each of these places day after day after day- is that it puts my own very first-world problems in perspective: I have a roof over my head, which is more than a great many people can say, and last night the people whose tables were in that darkened slice of dining room were gracious and pleasant about dining by candlelight, which beats the tar out of a surly Yelp review. So thanks- you know who you are, and I really appreciate you.
Then it was back to more logistical problem-solving: We can’t get more Tete de Moine cheese until the middle of next week, even paying extra to overnight the cheese, because the Chicago warehouse that feeds the Phoenix warehouse didn’t get it in in time to get it to Phoenix and therefore to us down here. So it was a trip to Whole Foods to pay a fairly draconian markup, even on sale, for Petit Basque, the closest approximation to Tete de Moine that’s available in Tucson at this late juncture. So if you’re coming in for the beef tenderloin tonight, you’ll have to suffer through a sheep’s milk cheese instead of cow’s milk, though I regard that as a first-world problem as well, or in fact a bonus, as I happen to be fairly fond of Petit Basque myself. Though I’m amenable to most cheeses.
Dave, who’s worked in the kitchen here on and off for well over a decade, has put in time at the prestigious Cowgirl Creamery, and we talked at one point about doing cheese here at Feast, which I still wouldn’t put past us in spite of the fact that it’s way too late to build a creamery on site. He also talked about being a cheesemonger, and I was rooting for him to put the title, “Cheese Whiz” on his business card, which he snubbed, in favor of the slogan, “you’ve got a friend in cheeses.”
I followed that with a certified letter from the company that picks up our used cooking oil telling us to cease and desist using a second company to pick up our oil or there’d be legal hell to pay, even though they skipped up for two solid months and we had buckets of cooking oil that wouldn’t fit in the brimming drum out back and called someone who, well, did their job. Add in the linen company issues that have rattled out collective cage for the past four months, the drip pan that’s stuck in the griddle, and a laundry list of other tiny first-world issues, and you’ve got a glimpse of Late Pandemic Restaurant Work.
How is that I set out to send out a chatty little email time after time, and each email sounds like a steady stream of whiny complaints? Let me make it clear right here that I’m acutely aware that we’re the lucky ones: we’re still open, we have a crew who’s in large part been here from ten to twenty years each, and we’re chipping away at finding a new bunch of people who are, little by little, proving to be an excellent fit and a pleasure to work with. So please regard most of this email as some harmless nattering that you can ignore or delete so that I don’t feel compelled to tell you all about it at your table when you join us. You can come feeling safe in the knowledge that I’ve already gotten the majority of petty grievances out of my system, and that you’ll be able to enjoy your meal in peace.
So thanks for your contributions, thanks for ignoring the majority of this email, and thanks for coming in, be it to contribute to our donation runs, through which you and we have now donated over 8,000 meals.
Thanks for picking up a wine tasting and joining us tomorrow on Zoom if you’d like,
and thanks for picking up or enjoying in our dining room our special menu for Ferragosto this Sunday.
Now it’s back to the more enjoyable part of the restaurant biz, the food an drink part. I’m off. See you shortly, I hope.