I’d speculate that my notes coming fewer and farther between is the result of both impermanence and a settling that’s both welcome and unbidden.
On the one hand, things continue to change: we still have staff joining and departing at a rate much like that of other businesses, so when I see signs in windows and posts on social media, I ashamedly breathe a sigh of relief that at least it’s not just us.
On the other, I take some solace in the fact that we’re starting to be able to enforce a little regularity among what staff we have. The person who’d previously managed only once in five weeks to arrive on time to work has now officially made it to work punctually for a week straight; the one who leaves without cleaning the prep sink or the slicer now checks out before hitting the bricks.
For well over a year now, we’ve been constrained to keep people around who’d simply not show up for a shift and then return two days later to behave as if nothing had happened, and although we still don’t have quite enough staff to open at our former capacity, we’re able to inch toward even a fraction of the selectivity we once took for granted. We’ve still got ads out, and we’re still replacing the steady trickle of staff who comes and goes- I’m still embarrassed every time a longtime guest says they don’t recognize all the new faces- but every now and again, we find someone who’s worked in a restaurant before, maybe even for a couple of years, and we rebuild our awkward foundation.
That said, we’ve still got more than a short way to go, and so I find myself on the line, trying to figure out which orders have already gone out despite the tickets not being pulled, or realizing that we have everything ready but the quail that was my responsibility for that party of six who’s been waiting with ever-decreasing patience for their dinner. Or I’m trapped in the office paying bills or on the phone with the workers comp adjuster who’s conveniently ignored my emails for days. Whatever the case, I’m an already scattered individual who keeps finding himself with less and less time, so each new wine tasting gets posted a little bit later-
and the note I’d meant to send to say we have only three seats left for the Rogue Theatre’s Babette’s Feast benefit dinner we’re reprising this Sunday is going out only now.
In the meantime, however, things are getting done- truffles arrive tomorrow for that dinner, and caviar is already on hand, and plans are being made for another benefit dinner to help with the Sister Jose Women’s Center’s imminent expansion in a few more weeks. The February menu still has a couple of blank spots, but it’s over two weeks away and we’re making progress there, and our Last Sunday wine tasting will be finalized this afternoon. Before you know it, I’ll find myself again with the time to scratch my chin and fill your inbox, each time with, I hope, slightly more hopeful news about Feast- and everyone else, for that matter- getting caught up after a three-year atmospheric river of obstacles, slights and misfortunes.
In the meantime, at least we’re in the right industry to eat and drink our feelings. Those brown butter triple chocolate chip cookies are looking pretty good.