Gypsy Thanksgiving

Gypsy ThanksgivingThis is the first time in a long time that I am home for Thanksgiving. My home, the home I grew up in, with my blood relatives all around (making a lot of racket at the moment). I’ve missed this. And I’m grateful for it.

But I would be remiss to overlook my Thanksgivings past. There was the South Carolina Thanksgiving where my cousin and I woke up to Kahlua cake. This was the prototype for a wedding cake that his mother was making, and in our favor, this first cake didn’t turn out. We sat on the floor and feasted on cake that had been tossed into a cardboard box. The second cake turned out and we were not allowed to touch it.

And in all my years of working in restaurants, in five different states no less, only one, Söntés in Minnesota, offered itself as a gathering place for Thanksgiving for its far-from-home staff and for any regular guests who wanted to enjoy a gourmet potluck. It was not a work day; the doors remained locked. But a wave at the window got everyone in to warmth, food, and laughter.

In the last few years, I have been privy to dinner at the house of some very good friends. Four generations, including in-law relatives and those of us not related, would gather around the table and enjoy traditional (local and foreign) foods and camaraderie as one, big, crazy family. After dinner, we all did the dishes together, which to me, is the mark of true family inclusion. Guests get waited on, and are treated to the spotless areas of the house. Family tells stories in the messy kitchen and snacks on leftovers straight from the pan.

I have so much gratitude, not just today, but every day for my home and family, and for all of my second families who’ve welcomed me in over these wandering, writing, gypsy years. May I pay this love forward, with my every step.

Happy Thanksgiving, to you and all of “yours”!

~
Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see JodyBrown.com/writing.

The Love

resumesOver the weekend, I put together an Art Resume for myself as part of a grant application I’m completing. I’d never done an Art Resume before. I have a variety of resumes, and until recently, I thought everyone did.

So I started asking around, and I found that my friends with “practical” careers have one resume, while my “artsy” friends have multiple. (That’s one distinction, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. One missing piece is whether these friends are comfortable in a job that serves them well or whether they’re still looking. Some of us are always looking. But that’s another blog.)

My list of resumes: The Secretary highlights my office manager experience along with the secretarial and personal assistant work I’ve done. The Bookkeeper talks up my work and knowledge of payroll systems and accounting. The Writers (a whole family of these resumes) focus on the different kinds of writing I’ve done from journalism to fiction. They’re all resumes about me; all include the same employers and the same timelines, just highlighting different skills. Over the years, the Writers are the only ones I thought included anything important.

But this Art Resume is my own artistic Curriculum Vitae, a sprawling list of writing I’ve published, awards and honors I’ve received, talks I’ve given, degrees I’ve completed, and continuing education in all things written, imaginative, travel- and language-based. Unlike the Secretary and Bookkeeper resumes, this one includes anything that feeds the soul. It’s a comma by comma breakdown of lifelong learning, artistic endeavor, broadening of the mind, and taking things in through all senses and turning them into something tangible and creative. Unlike the Writers, which are bullet points of my written work experience employer by employer, this Art Resume is me on paper–not just what I do, but a picture of me as a person, what speaks to me, what drives me. It illustrates heart of what I’m about. stairs

Follow me on this: Since Upside Down Kingdom came out, I get asked more and more about my writing process. Lately, my writing process is something I call Waiting for the Love. I figure out what I have to say, and I say it. When re-reading, sometimes it says exactly what I want the first time. Other times, it’s just words on a page. They’re spelled right, lined up in full sentences, they impart a message, but there’s just no love. Skeleton, no flesh.

So, I leave them and I write something else. I re-visit, minutes or months later, and this time as I write, I feel the excitement, saying something new and relating it to the bony framework I’ve already written. Flesh. Then comes the moment when I ask cliffmyself, “Can I really say this?” This is the moment, regardless of whether I’m writing an Art Resume or a poem or a blog about making reservations at Söntés, where I feel as though showing this piece to another person would leave me exposed. That’s The Love: I love what I’m writing about, CVs and poems and reservations alike, and I can pour my heart into them.

When you ask a poet, by training, to write a technical manual in human-speak, like the Service Training Book I wrote for Söntés Restaurant last year, you get poetic tips along the way, things like “Always smile when you answer the phone. The person on the other end can hear it.” It’s absurd to think you can hear a smile. But with those small words, you instantly know the elevation I’m talking about.

That’s similar to The Love. You know it when you hear it, when you read it, when it walks in the door.

My resumes to this point have all been skeletons. Framework. This new Art Resume,tuscany my little art CV, has not only been a wonderful walk down memory lane, it’s been a walk finally feeling the wind in my hair, smelling the flowers along the way, absorbing the sunshine, and tasting the wine. It’s a portrait of me, with love.

~
Join me this Friday, June 7 at The Salon in Rochester for the Cracked Walnut reading. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, available on Amazon.

Putting Upside Down Kingdom on the Roof

Belated Happy Earth Day, All! Here’s a little thinking outside the box… Upside Down Kingdom is sponsoring a straw bale this summer! Söntés Restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota, where I work, write, and because my office is there, essentially live, is creating a rooftop garden this year.

A rooftop garden means that the Chef can literally pick fresh produce and serve it immediately. The Söntés summer menu will be created around the herbs and veggies that they grow. This coincides precisely with Söntés’ From Farm to Table motto. logoThey’ve talked about doing their own rooftop garden for years, and this year they’re marching forward with intrepidation.

Some of the challenges a rooftop garden presents have been eradicated with the Straw Bale Gardening technique, honed by Joel Karsten and overseen by Daniel Heublein and Söntés staff member Bekah. Söntés is the first in the nation to attempt the Straw Bale Garden on a rooftop—the results of which could be boundless for urban gardening. They plan to reduce water runoff from the building in order to irrigate the garden, and to use food waste as compost. At the end of the season, area farmers have already offered to take the straw bales to use for their fields. Recycling, Söntés style!

The Straw Bale Gardening technique is a really interesting concept. Essentially, straw bales are placed onto the roof, and plants are plugged into the bales allowing for a nearly dirt-free and thus weed-free garden. Here in Minnesota, the roof is already structurally sound enough to hold the weight of snow (actual analysis was done by a structural engineer to ensure the building’s health), so adding the straw bales won’t require structural upgrades to the century-old Söntés building.

Söntés will need to build the irrigation system, pay the structural engineer, and provide shade cloth and the bales, which is where Upside Down Kingdom comes in. skyline[1]Söntés is looking for donations to help cover these start-up costs, and is offering the public a chance to sponsor a straw bale or to write their company name on the shade cloth. As the restaurant is downtown, the rooftop garden will be visible from multiple hotels, parking ramps, and even from the Mayo Clinic.

Upside Down Kingdom will be named on my bale, and though it may not be visible to the public under the shade cloth, Söntés will feature whatever my bale grows as a UDK herb or veggie on its summer menu and Facebook page. I’m drawn to this not just because Söntés lets me keep a shelf of UDK books for sale in the restaurant, but because it’s different, it’s green, and it’s innovative. No one has attempted a project quite like this… Yet!

I’ll keep you posted and bring you updates about how little UDK Bale is doing throughout the summer!

For more information about this urban garden project, or to donate (donations start at $10!), check out this link: Söntés Uprooted.

The rooftop garden schematic was done by 9.Square architect Adam Ferrari.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, available on Amazon.

Inspiration Behind Library Talk March 28

[Repost of March 27 blog that didn’t import to jodybrown.com]
I’ve been invited to speak at the Rochester Public Library at 7 p.m. this Thursday (March 28) as part of the Library’s Visiting Author Series.

Months ago when we set this up, I thought when the day finally came I’d be terrified to speak. But I said yes. I try to always say yes. Years ago, I met Aleksandra Kasuba, the artist, who told me that whenever anyone came calling for her work, she’d say yes. She said there were times when she’d agree to something she didn’t even know how to do, then hang up the phone and look around at her small children, the house that needed some cleaning, a full schedule of plans, and realize she had no idea how she was going to get done what she’d just promised to get done. Yet, she stressed, she always said yes. Then she’d set out to teach herself the skill she needed.

cropped-book.jpgWhen Katherine from the Library asked me to speak, I said yes. And, as of a few days ago, I still had no idea what I would talk about. Upside Down Kingdom, of course, publishing… Me, I suppose… But I’m hit or miss. I’ve been telling my friends, “Sometimes I wake up and I’m interesting. Other days, I’m dull. We’ll see which Jody we get!”

And then I received two emails on Sunday from guests who’d come into Söntés and bought the book. The first was from a man who said the book gave him a whole new perspective on Washington, D.C. I daresay it opened his eyes on restaurant servers as well. He told me that he finished the book while sitting at an Outback restaurant, and though his tab was $30, he left his server a $100 tip and left before the server could discover it. “That,” his email said, “Was for you.”

His pass-it-on gesture was done in honor of me. How amazing! I just sat and smiled at that email. (And I wrote back that I remembered his table, the conversations we had, and what they ate. A server usually remembers what a guest liked to eat.) Days later, I’m still smiling over that email.

The second email I received was from a woman who gave me her perspective of meeting me. She came into Söntés with her friend, was sitting at the bar when she noticed my bookshelf. She wondered why the restaurant would endorse a book. The bartender, Annie, told her the author worked there.

Then I came over and talked with her, and that conversation made her want to know more. She bought the book, read it in two days, and emailed me. She said she was finishing cancer treatments and that my book reminded her of her adventurous spirit, and how she’d put her life on hold lately. Now she was going to set it back on track again with some traveling and anything necessary to “track down her happy.”

Wow. I took a few days before I wrote her back to really let that sink in. Last night, I wrote her and thanked her for reminding me why I do what I do.

Both of these emails remind me that my passion is for writing, in all forms. They remind me that what I do is important. There are days that I question myself—usually those are the days a bill shows up in the mailbox. Or when the house is a disaster and I’m behind on seemingly everything in my life. But everyone has that. This thing that I love to do, love to practice, has an effect on others. A good effect. I continue to say yes to opportunities, no matter how large or frightening they may seem. I teach myself something new.

Even the worst days writing are better than the best days working at something I’m not passionate about doing. Thank you, Chris and Michelle, for your emails and for inspiring me.poster

Again, I talk at the Rochester Public Library tomorrow, March 28, at 7 p.m. I’m going to read a little from my book and I’m going to talk about some stuff. It might very well prove to be inspiring, now that I know what I want to say.

In addition, (and just one of a million reasons why I love Söntés) Söntés Restaurant is offering a 10% discount off your entire check this Thursday and Friday (March 28 & 29) when you bring your copy of Upside Down Kingdom in to the restaurant. Nook, Kindle, and various E-readers count, too. Bring them in. Eat, drink, and read.

~

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, available on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4

Inspiration Behind Library Talk March 28

I’ve been invited to speak at the Rochester Public Library at 7 p.m. this Thursday (March 28) as part of the Library’s Visiting Author Series.

Months ago when we set this up, I thought when the day finally came I’d be terrified to speak. But I said yes. I try to always say yes. Years ago, I met Aleksandra Kasuba, the artist, who told me that whenever anyone came calling for her work, she’d say yes. She said there were times when she’d agree to something she didn’t even know how to do, then hang up the phone and look around at her small children, the house that needed some cleaning, a full schedule of plans, and realize she had no idea how she was going to get done what she’d just promised to get done. Yet, she stressed, she always said yes. Then she’d set out to teach herself the skill she needed.

cropped-book.jpgWhen Katherine from the Library asked me to speak, I said yes. And, as of a few days ago, I still had no idea what I would talk about. Upside Down Kingdom, of course, publishing… Me, I suppose… But I’m hit or miss. I’ve been telling my friends, “Sometimes I wake up and I’m interesting. Other days, I’m dull. We’ll see which Jody we get!”

And then I received two emails on Sunday from guests who’d come into Söntés and bought the book. The first was from a man who said the book gave him a whole new perspective on Washington, D.C. I daresay it opened his eyes on restaurant servers as well. He told me that he finished the book while sitting at an Outback restaurant, and though his tab was $30, he left his server a $100 tip and left before the server could discover it. “That,” his email said, “Was for you.”

His pass-it-on gesture was done in honor of me. How amazing! I just sat and smiled at that email. (And I wrote back that I remembered his table, the conversations we had, and what they ate. A server usually remembers what a guest liked to eat.) Days later, I’m still smiling over that email.

The second email I received was from a woman who gave me her perspective of meeting me. She came into Söntés with her friend, was sitting at the bar when she noticed my bookshelf. She wondered why the restaurant would endorse a book. The bartender, Annie, told her the author worked there.

Then I came over and talked with her, and that conversation made her want to know more. She bought the book, read it in two days, and emailed me. She said she was finishing cancer treatments and that my book reminded her of her adventurous spirit, and how she’d put her life on hold lately. Now she was going to set it back on track again with some traveling and anything necessary to “track down her happy.”

Wow. I took a few days before I wrote her back to really let that sink in. Last night, I wrote her and thanked her for reminding me why I do what I do.

Both of these emails remind me that my passion is for writing, in all forms. They remind me that what I do is important. There are days that I question myself—usually those are the days a bill shows up in the mailbox. Or when the house is a disaster and I’m behind on seemingly everything in my life. But everyone has that. This thing that I love to do, love to practice, has an effect on others. A good effect. I continue to say yes to opportunities, no matter how large or frightening they may seem. I teach myself something new.

Even the worst days writing are better than the best days working at something I’m not passionate about doing. Thank you, Chris and Michelle, for your emails and for inspiring me.poster

Again, I talk at the Rochester Public Library tomorrow, March 28, at 7 p.m. I’m going to read a little from my book and I’m going to talk about some stuff. It might very well prove to be inspiring, now that I know what I want to say.

In addition, (and just one of a million reasons why I love Söntés) Söntés Restaurant is offering a 10% discount off your entire check this Thursday and Friday (March 28 & 29) when you bring your copy of Upside Down Kingdom in to the restaurant. Nook, Kindle, and various E-readers count, too. Bring them in. Eat, drink, and read.

~

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, available on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4

Distracted

On a January Monday, a table of three came in for dinner–a couple with their adult daughter. For drinks, the mother and daughter let me choose, telling me only what grape they’d prefer for wine. The father knew his drink, down to the rocks-and-splash-of-soda specifics. The daughter told me she couldn’t eat certain things, doctor’s orders, and I told her I’d confer with the kitchen to make sure we got it right.

As their drinks were being poured at the bar, I talked to the Sous Chef about the daughter’s restrictions. The restaurant owner overheard the conversation, and as a former nurse, understood what the doctors were testing. Between the Sous Chef, the owner, and myself, there was agreement on what few dishes should be avoided, freeing up the majority of our menu as fair game for the table. The owner discussed the menu options with the guests as I stopped at the bar for their drinks.

A moment later, pleased with their drinks, the father said, “You know what I’d really like? If everyone’s up for it…” He looked at his family and back to me again, “I’d like you and the Chef to choose what we do tonight.” He made a very deliberate motion of handing me his menu, while looking from his daughter to his wife.

“Oh, thank goodness!” his daughter sighed. If ever I’ve heard a sigh of relief, this was one. She, also, gave me her menu. “After the day we’ve had, if I have to think about one more thing…”

“I’m in,” her mother said, with a big smile.

“We’ll make sure everything is within doctor’s orders for you,” I assured the daughter. Then I looked at the three of them, “Ready for an adventure?”

“The challenge is on,” the father said.

The mother handed me her menu, and with that, they handed me control of their evening.

I alerted the Sous Chef, who was in the middle of plating a 22-person dinner. He quickly arranged for another chef to send out some snack dishes for the table until he was freed up to concentrate on them. I brought out the snack. The 22 dinners went out, and Sous Chef Trevor got down to business. He made them a second, vegetable snack that included a truffled dwarf peach for each of them. (They’re phenomenal!) foieThen he sent out foie gras with chardonnay gelee, followed by an ash-rind goat cheese and local dandelion honey. I explained all of the flavors to the guests, who couldn’t get over the combinations.

By the time I brought them a second round of drinks, they were gushing to me about how much fun they were having. They admitted that they’d spent the entire day at the [Mayo] Clinic, enduring rounds of tests and questions, with few answers. It had been stressful to say the least. This dinner adventure was their reaction to that stress—they wouldn’t make any more decisions, wouldn’t choose anything, but preferred to settle back to be pleasantly surprised.scallops

As I brought out caramelized scallops and brioche bread pudding, followed by smoked duck breast, followed by pork belly and carrot-ginger waffle with anise syrup, the guests were in heaven. pork bellyThey marveled at the flavors and thanked me profusely. They admitted they’d thrown down a challenge to the Chef, and he’d answered the call.

At one point, the father marched himself into the kitchen when I wasn’t looking and introduced himself to the kitchen staff. After that, Sous Chef Trevor sent the table a stack of Korean BBQ ribs and pickled mushrooms.

During dessert—a slate filled with chocolate, homemade caramel, toasted meringue, baked Alaska, and Italian sponge cake filled with pistachio semi-freddo and Chantilly cream, the guests asked me to buy a drink for the Chef and his staff, anything they wanted.

With that, Sous Chef Trevor and the Chef beside him, his brother Joel–who were manning the kitchen by themselves at this point–both came out to talk to the table. They all chatted together for a good fifteen minutes.

When the Chefs returned to the kitchen, I brought the check. The daughter told me, “This is the first time all day that I forgot how miserable we were. Being here, eating dinner, I felt like we were healthy, happy people again. Normal people, having dinner. Thank you so much!”

This was the compliment of a lifetime. It took me a moment before I could respond. “It was entirely our pleasure,” I managed to say.

“Thank you,” her mother and father said in unison.

“Thank you,” I said, “For giving us a chance to do what we do.”

I wished them well as they left that night. I hoped the Clinic would get to the bottom of the situation quickly, and grant them leave to return home. The bittersweet irony of serving in the shadow of the Mayo Clinic is that if these guests were to come in again, that would only mean they were still stuck here, still awaiting answers as they dealt with being poked and prodded. As much as I’d love to help distract them again, and as much as I’d love to just see them again, the best news for them would be that I don’t.

For more life-altering experiences, check out my book Upside Down Kingdom on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4book

Disclosure

The following is what I wrote for the final phase of our ServOlympics contest at Söntés, read yesterday to the waitstaff:

I didn’t write a poem. What I’m going to say isn’t funny, & it doesn’t rhyme. But Tessa’s guidelines for this part of the contest included telling everyone something interesting about our team. As you know, Paul and I have consistently had a lot of points. I’m going to tell you how we got them.

I got 200 points for painting upstairs. But I didn’t paint by myself. There was a whole team of us, including Bekah, Barbara, Darrell, and Dawn.

Teqhe night Paul got 315 points for selling Earthquake—I was working a party in the basement and I ran food for the floor so Paul could pay attention to his Mayo group. Yes, it was a party, but they ordered off the house menu and could order any wine they wanted. With poor service, they may have ordered 2-3 bottles. They ordered five.bekah

Bekah and Jose were the ones who set up the table for Paul, so that when he got here, he could focus on the details of his group. Lunch crew consistently does that for dinner crew.

The night I sold 268 points in wine and beer bottles, Dawn ran food to my tables, and she explained the dishes to the guests so that they felt taken care of, even though I was across the room opening wine. And Darrell had to get me another bottle of beer every time he turned around. I sold 14 bottles of beer that night.

Kiwi & Darrell consistently send out drinks in a timely manner. We rarely wait for anything from the bar.

Annie stepped up when we needed a bartender. It typically takes 2 weeks, at least, to get a bartender trained so they know where everything is and how to make the drinks. With Annie, there was no two week period–we didn’t miss a beat.

Sometimes Paul and I worked hard for our points, timing our tables well so we could sell desserts and dessert drinks. Other times we made efforts not to lose points: triple checking that we closed the safe at night, triple checking that lights and candles were out.  And sometimes, we just got lucky.

For the Paul and Jody Show, this was never a contest of two’s, this was a contest of one. One restaurant, trying to elevate service.wine barrel One serving staff, trying to help each other and find camaraderie.

For that reason, most nights I worked, I tried to write down things that other servers did. Things that were helpful or just plain impressive:

Kiwi is cheerful and always ready to help.  So is JR. So is Stacey.

Stacey always organizes the server station for us or we would all be in a world of hurt.

This month, Angel moved the creamer cups after we discussed it at a meeting.

Barbara sold 18 bottles of wine at lunch on a Friday.

Annie cleaned bird poop from the alleyway. She cleaned poop for crying out loud!

This is still anybody’s game. It’s entirely possible that Tessa will give 1000 points to the team with the best poem. Everyone’s still in this. But the points my team has, we got because of all of you. If the Paul and Jody Show happens to win, whatever we win, we’re sharing with everybody.

UPDATE: The Paul and Jody Show DID win the ServOlympics! Let the sharing begin!!

For more restaurant guts & glory, check out my book Upside Down Kingdom on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4

Awestruck

Last week in German class, we were grouped into partners to ask each other basic questions: how are you, what do you do, etc. My assigned partner, Bill, and I chatted away in a sort of German/English (Germish?) and he mentioned a writer who worked at Söntés that has now published a book. He wanted to know if I knew her.

Instead, I said, “I think that’s me.”

We were both amused by this, and he said, “She wrote the book, it’s behind-the-scenes to waiting tables–I’d love to read that! She came through town to do a book signing and I missed it, but maybe she’s speaking somewhere else, and there was an article in the paper about her…”paper

I thought about it (I really did! But I couldn’t think of anyone else he could be thinking of) and I said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re talking about me.”

At this point, we were both getting a really big kick out of this conversation. And I was able to fine tune a few of his points: I continue to work at Söntés, Upside Down Kingdom is available there and at Barnes and Noble at Apache Mall, I’ll be speaking at the Library in March…

I love that he remembers it as I “came through town” as if it’s an event. I kept thinking, “I’m so normal, he’ll never believe me.” (I didn’t tell him I came through town earlier that day and bought kitty litter.)

Now really, how often do you get to say, “I think you mean me,” to someone as they say wonderful things about you?

If this ever happens again, I hope I’m just as fascinated. It would be a real shame on my part if this ever got old.

To find out what all the fuss is about, check out my book Upside Down Kingdom on
Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4

ServOlympics

We’re entering our final week of the Söntés ServOlympics—the contest Tessa invented so (we do her bidding) the servers will clamor to outdo each other in cleaning, polishing, and serving, all for the golden prize of an hour-long massage at a local spa. (There are other prize options, but this is the one we’re elbowing each other to get.)

We’ve been organized into teams, and Tessa allowed us to create our own team names (silly, silly, Tessa!). See for yourself:

Spoons Full of Fruit

(Angel and Kiwi)

Named for Kiwi’s first name and Angel’s last name.

Points: 84

The Paul and Jody Show

(Paul and Yours Truly)

Name is reminiscent of Looney Tunes’ silliness.

Points: 870.5

Southern Comfort

(Jose and Babs)

Name chosen because their southern birth places.

Points: 233

Satanic Mule

(Dawn and Stacey)

Named after a downtown drink.

Points: 155.5

Raging B* and Blithering Idiot

(Bekah and Darrell)

Named after two bottled beers available at Söntés.

Points: 617

All Shift All Stars

(Annie and JR)

So named because they cover lunch and dinner shifts.

Points: 287

securedownload[1] (2)(The picture is Jose, polishing glasses. Not pictured is Jose juggling fruit a minute earlier.) The team tallies are posted in the Server Station—usually nightly, but looks like we’re still working with Tuesday night’s numbers. Lazy pollsters. So, the above totals do not include the last two nights’ heroic efforts, which could change the standings quite a bit… Again, we get points for the usual magnificent serving feats, acrobatics with trays, and sprinting to clean tables the fastest. Or, by explaining ingredients and cooking techniques in our dishes, suggesting wine pairings, and by not knocking anyone over as we sprint to clean tables the fastest. Cleaning, painting, and the like also rack up points.

With one week to go, come in to cheer us on! Guests can contribute by polishing mountains of silver (okay, not really, but it’s something to strive for, right?). Guests can truly contribute by filling out comment cards located in our check presenters or by reviewing us online. Yes, you can write up your Söntés experience on Yelp.com, OpenTable.com, UrbanSpoon.com, and TripAdvisor.com. Make sure to include your server’s name as Tessa checks all these places to make sure we’re well-received!

Next week the winning team will be announced!

For more serving feats, check out my book Upside Down Kingdom on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4

OmaGoodness

Want to know what the restaurant staffers do on their day off? Here’s a conversation that took place on Sunday, the only day of the week that Söntés is closed, via Facebook Messenger. The part of Chef will be played by Söntés’ own Chef Bryce Lamb. The part of the Server is played by yours truly.

Chef: New game. Menu changes: You have to guess the menu changes and explain them correctly to the guest.

Server: Do we get hints? Like on Iron Chef when they’re told a secret ingredient?

Chef: No, it’s a game. Kinda like Life.

Server: Life is way too fun to be a game.

Chef: No hints. You have to guess what is in the new menu item.

Server: Cinnamon.

Chef: No.

Server: Perhaps you should consider adding cinnamon.

Chef: No cinnamon. No.

Server: Cinnamon makes everything better.

Chef: No, that’s butter.

Server: A new dish with cinnamon AND butter? Yum!

Chef: No.

Server: Cinnamon and butter. You’re a genius. I can’t wait to try it.

Oh, the things our Chef must tolerate! However, as you can clearly see, he started it. What’s no secret is this Friday’s Omakase menu: TWENTY courses prepared by Chef!! (Rumor has it there are a couple spots left. Söntés.com has all the info. UPDATE: optional wine pairings have been created! Now you can enjoy the twenty courses with wine! They’re listed in italics.)omakase

Omakase Dinner, January 25 at 6 p.m.

Razor Clam & Apple Salad with Lemon Foam   pair: Miner Viognier

Lobster, Truffle & Caviar

Celery Root Gratin

Gingerbread with Blue Cheese Fondant & Beet Chip

Lardo with Pretzel & Grain Mustard

Beef or Buffalo Tar Tar with Quail Egg, Parmesan & Grilled Bread  pair: Van Duzer Pinot Noir

ABC Foie with Celery Leaf & Chardonnay Gelee

Seared Scallop, Tempura, Soy & Citrus  pair: Brogali Gavi

Roasted Marrowbone & Grilled Bread

Smoked Wagyu Beef & Kohlrabi Cream

ABC Duck with Persimmon, Clove, Cinnamon & Saffron Rice Cake  pair: Ramey Claret

Champagne Sorbet with Pomegranate, Pear, Mandarin & Walnut Sabayon

Cheese from the Cellar  pair: Cune Resado

Yuzu Curd Tart with Blackberry

Apple Granola, Whiskey Ice Cream & Buckwheat Honey

Mango Soup, Citrus Sorbet & Puffed Black Rice  pair: Sake

Chocolate with Grand Marnier & Peanut Brittle

Spiced Bitter Chocolate, Nuts & Chocolate Crumble

Oranges & Chocolate Truffle  pair: Royal Gingersnap made with Willet Potstill whiskey & chocolate orange bitters

Plus a special treat from Chef!

 

Annie and I are serving! See you Friday!!

For Söntés reservations, visit Sontes.com

For more restaurant behind-the-scenes, check out my book Upside Down Kingdom on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4