Spring ahead, fall back.

Dear Feastlings,

There’s a luxury in being Arizonan, in that we never have that uneasiness that comes with remembering to move our clocks forward and back like the rest of the nation does. While those of you reading this from farther afield have to wake up as I undoubtedly would, unsure that I adjusted the time on the right day, nervously considering that I might have woken up an hour late and need to scramble off in a panic.

The spring ahead, fall back dictum, while it has little application to Arizona clocks this Sunday, has been heavy on my mind these days- while only a couple of weeks ago I felt certain that things were changing for the better, I spent the better part of Saturday evening making the round to apologize to guest after guest: “Thank you so much for your patience; I’m sorry your food took so long.” “My apologies for the wait for your cocktails.” “I’m sorry about the seasoning of your scallops.” “I’d be happy to get you something else instead.” And on and on.

It’s frustrating enough to make a mistake and need to apologize for it; it’s even more exasperating to have others make mistakes that have your name plastered all over them. I’d be a lot more willing to have a guest tell me how a quail should be properly cooked if I’d overcooked it myself, but I’d imagine it would be equally galling for a guest to explain how a quail should be cooked and have the chef reply that he knows how it should be cooked. If he knows, then why didn’t he make sure it was cooked correctly? (Answer: because he can’t see what all 45 people who work here are doing simultaneously. No chef, despite what he or she would have the staff believe, is omniscient. We can’t even be omnipresent. About the best I can do is to be omnivorous.)

So Saturday evening was spent feeling very much like I should have one of those pullcords installed in my flank so I could repeat my apologies to table after table like a Chatty Cathy. We may have sprung ahead on the staffing front a few weeks ago, but we’ve unmistakably fallen back.

I had two interviews scheduled today, and one of them showed up. He seems like a good kid, but one whose background has its limitations . He beat out the guy who didn’t show up, regardless. We’ll see what he’s capable of in the upcoming week, and while I’m hopeful, I won’t be shouting anything about it from the rooftops just yet. In the meantime, I’m hoping that rather than installing a pullcord, I’ll be pulling it together, at least enough to make specials for this weekend with the chorizo that our friend Feng-Feng Yeh brought us for the Chinese Chorizo Project


and cobbling together the food pairings for the end-of-the-month wine tasting

End of month tasting! Trust your importer: North Berkeley Imports

and finishing the November menu- I’m grateful the first Tuesday of November isn’t until the 7th. And then, come hell or high water, we’ll get enough bodies into this kitchen to return to critical mass and act like it’s a normal world again. Until then, we’ll be just like the rest of the world this week, and fall back.

See you soon.

Your friend,


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