The juxtaposition

Dear Feastlings,

I’ve been teetering. We’re still on the precipice of being less open than we have historically- maybe we’ll close an extra day each week, or maybe we’ll curtail our lunch service, or if we’re really, really lucky, we’ll find the staff we need and get them trained before this last wave of departures overwhelms us all. We have a few interviews scheduled for waitstaff, cooks and dishwashers, after losing one of our number to a move across town that made the commute a dealbreaker; another to personal choice; one to sudden opportunity; and a last one to the Great Beyond. Before you fill my mailbox with concerns for your favorites, it was weeks ago, and it was someone you likely didn’t know- Gene was a saute cook who, despite his recent arrival at Feast, was someone we had all already developed a fondness for, and we’ll miss his calm and steady demeanor in a stressful position. I’m sad that I don’t have years of stories to honor him with here, and sad for his son, whom I’ve been talking with since I called Gene’s phone to check on him and was dumbstruck to be told he was hospitalized, and ten times as dumbstruck to get the message from his son saying he had left us all two weeks after his accident.

He’ll be missed as a person, as well as as a coworker.

Meanwhile, today for us is a surreal amalgam of the absolutely beatific day outside and the perilously empty dining room inside- empty of guests who’ve sought out a beautiful restaurant patio on which to soak up the sunshine during lunch, and empty of coworkers who’ve made their way elsewhere. It’s all a bit numbing, but it’s slow enough that we can take an odd moment to step outside and enjoy the fleeting perfection of Tucson weather that will undoubtedly become oppressive heat in another month or so. We’ll take what we can get, when we can get it.

For now, I’m sending out confirmation emails to the people who’ll be joining us tomorrow to talk wine with us at our tasting- my suggestion: put the laptop on the porch and soak up another undoubtedly beautiful day tomorrow whilst you taste four wines that aren’t the varietals you normally get to taste. If you’d like to join us, you can call us at (520) 326-9363 and we’ll set aside samples for you.

Lash yourself to the mast

I’m also getting in touch with some of the people we’ll be bringing food to as we catch up with our staffing situation- with yesterday’s delivery of corned beef and cabbage to St. Luke’s Home, we’ve found ourselves nearing the target we’ve been aiming for since last fall: in another two or three donation runs, we’ll have fed ten thousand people with your generous help. We’ll be posting more about our upcoming runs as the scheduling shakes out, both of our crew and of the organizations we’re bringing food to.

In the meanwhile, patio or not, it’s Friday, and a Friday night means people are out and we’ve got something to occupy us. We’ll have corned beef and cabbage from overshooting our estimates yesterday, and fish for those of you observing lent, and wine for those of you who’ve experienced enough news and stress to need a drink. Know that we’re well over here, despite the stress (though I’ll admit that the stress does beget typos, and a few of you have written back in my grandmother’s spirit to let me know when my reflexes have taken over (win= wine; Arizona Public Media= Arizona Publish Media.) Whatever hassles there may be here, we’re usually at our best when we’re having our nightly dinner party with you as our guests, so come join us and we’ll smile out from under our masks, welcome you, and make you something special.

Your friend and neighbor,


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