Catching up again

Sorry about the lack of posts, and thanks for the kick in the booty to get back on the blog. I’ve been busy.

So. The season pass party went off without a problem. Everyone had a good time, the staff from the mountain was on the ball, and nary a line formed that was more than four people deep. We did  15+  more transactions than last year, and it went really smoothly. Last year, I was quarantined in my folks’ condo with the swine flu, and the crew had to do it themselves. Now that I know it really wasn’t that difficult… I’m slightly ticked off that I was told how chaotic it was the previous year.

Bah.

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Kris and I drove to Boise recently to go shopping for the restaurant. It was a great day trip — leaving bright and early and getting home after dark. We played Risk with the gas gauge, sputtering into town on fumes:

Filled ‘er up and the receipt showed that we had received exactly the capacity of the tank. We win.

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One of our on-again off-again employees came over for a haircut. He’s a really, really nice kid who happens to have autism, which is why he ends up being on-again off-again in our employ. Anyway, his hair had become crazy big and I told him to get it cut; he responded that it was too expensive. I called him one morning and told him to ride his bike over to my house and that I’d shave it bald. See, the last time I gave an employee a hair cut, I did just that, with a disposable razor even!


HAH!

So he couldn’t stop laughing when he showed up, thinking I was seriously going to shave his head.

Before:

I cut his hair, and pretended I was done. When he looked in the mirror, he looked at me as if I were crazy:

I feigned ignorance, and gave him a bottle of hair gel with some vague instructions on how to spike his bangs up.

“C’mon Kina,” he yelled. “Fix it!”

Finally I gave in and left just a tad of bangs to spike up, showing him photos in a few magazines on how cool it would look. Barkley approved.

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Balsamic reduction is a fickle thing. Cooked too little, it’s runny and the flavor of vinegar is too strong. Cooked too long and it’s rubber cement.

This one, for instance, was cooked too long:

Ouch.

No bueno.

This stuff isn’t cheap, so I tried my best to salvage that which wasn’t burnt. I added a bit more balsamic and did my best to bring it to a slow boil, mixing it into the thicker product slowly.

The end result of this batch was a tad thicker than usual, which actually makes it taste sweeter and look nicer as a garnish on the appetizers it’s paired with. But, it would have taken forever to scrape the pan into a bottle. Hence, the brilliance of our kitchen staff when I walked out of the office:

They used masking tape to adhere the pan to a rack, and were slowly scraping it into a funnel. It only took about 30-minutes to fill the bottle. Genius!

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The Packers played the Bears not too long ago, and one of our newest employees showed up wearing a Bears t-shirt. It wasn’t even a Chicago Bears shirt, but I was fired up. I told him (in jest) that I had some floor drains for him to clean, and he disappeared in the walk-in. He walked out with his shirt on inside-out and backwards.

I haven’t seen him wear the shirt since.

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We still haven’t had a winner for our Pizza Challenge. We’ve had over 75 people try so far…

Some have come very close to finishing, but I truly think that it’s impossible to fit that much food into one person’s stomach.

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I’ve been working nights more often than not, and Whitey has been continuing his day shifts. I think it makes our relationship easier when we don’t work together. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy more than anything, but there’s that old saying that rings true about “Too many cooks in the kitchen.”

Plus, I’m always right. 🙂

I’ll call him in to work about once a month to back us up at night if it’s ridiculously busy, but for the most part the crew can take care of everything. The day shift is so much different than the night shift. It’s almost as if it were two completely different restaurants!

I also need to say that right now as of this very moment, we are staffed with some of the best people we’ve had yet. I haven’t always been able to say that. We have wives, a mom, high-school guys and gals, a rancher’s daughter, a father-to-be, two preggo gals, a youth pastor, and young adults who impress me daily. It’s a big blend of top-notch, respectful, good people. It makes a difference when you surround yourself with people who care about their friends, co-workers and themselves. Honest people. Familia. Paizanos.

I don’t have enough photos of the day crew. I need to get on that.


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