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Friday, October 21, 2005

Fall Off

My favorite saxophone player is back on the street, wailing away for mere dollars and cents. I think he must have been in jail this whole time. He's a pretty angry guy.

It's Fall and, for some of us, this is the time we fall off the radar. Retreat. Go into hiding. Vamenos.

"It's a good thing to disappear every now and then." I think a wizened sage must have uttered those words in one of his/her many simplistically short anecdotes on life and the cosmos. Either that or I'm just flashing back to the Weather Underground documentary.

You may not have noticed, but yours truly has also been in self-imposed exile from the blogosphere for some time now.

Don't worry. Nothing happened.

To tell you the truth, I've been somewhat absorbed in other aspects of my life lately. Something I never thought I would say, but yes, one of those aspects is my job. Much of my creative and physical energy has been put into my job as of late, which no doubt is satisfying to my co-workers and boss.

"Hey, you gotta bring home the bacon before you can use your bacon press." I think a wizened sage must have uttered those words in one of his/her many simplistically short anecdotes on life and the cosmos. Either that or I'm just flashing back to, uh, nevermind.

Anyway, it's paid off. No, I mean, it really has. Just yesterday, I had my review where my boss finally announced I was getting a raise. I'd been waiting for this moment for months, and after a year of being a broke mo-fo, I now feel a great wave of relief sweeping over me. I'm in blue cheese heaven.

You know, the bossman could've just given me the raise and skipped the formality of a review, but then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to be wined and dined for 2 hours at Piperade, which is like a second-home to my boss, and where he always takes employees for their review. And your boss just calls you into the conference room….

OK, that wasn't nice to say. Sorry.

I won't go into detail about the food (Pacific snapper) or wine (it was a nice Chardonnay); I'll just say it's very good and if you want more info there are about a thousand reviews floating out there.

I would like to point out that while in the midst of having obscene heaps of praise piled onto me, I had to interrupt and point out to my boss and co-worker that we were in the middle of witnessing a major celebrity chef convergence at the next table.

It all started while we were on the subject of "building permits" when the lady seated next to me chimed in. She said her husband and her just went through the same process (I won't bore you with the details) with their restaurant.

Normally, at least not in my experience, folks sitting at another table don't just chime in to your conversation. Perhaps this is due to my eating almost exclusively in restaurants that are either too noisy or are dominated by a clientel that only speak one language…not mine. But she seemed nice enough, and so we began a conversation. I guess her husband had stepped away from the table for a while and she was just casually hanging out, drinking a glass of red wine of course.

When we asked her what the restaurant was, she said something in French. Um, ok. That at least sounded good. So then we ask her where it is. She says, "Polk and Green". OK, well, that narrows it down.

Come to find out later it's La Folie. The Chef/Owner of La Folie and his wife are having lunch next to us.

She was so friend-ly. Like that chick in Sideways.

I swear, I could have listened to her talk about the life of wine for hours until I was just a gelatinous mess.

So, the subject changes from building permits to Paris, as my boss is leaving with his wife to go there in less than a week. She says, "well my husband just got back from Paris and he could probably suggest some places to eat".

Had I known who her husband was at the time, I would've been all over my boss, threatening him that if he didn't find out I would turn in my resignation letter IN SHAME the next day.

When the husband comes back, he sits down and is just as friendly as his wife. These are good folks.

Soon after, Gerald Hirigoyen (whom I didn’t recognize when he seated us and not until long after we left the restaurant) pulls up a chair beside their table and begins to have a conversation. That's when the wife says to her husband that my boss is leaving for Paris in a week and wanted to know some places to go. My boss, being the unassuming yet always bold character that he is, actually gives them the piece of paper that he's writing my review on so that the husband can write down his recommendations.



You will notice, above, that it says "5. Raise > last see. Marketing: - word of mouth, -press release". Of course, right above, where it says "BISTRO – inexpensive", it gives his list:

- La Regalade
- L'Os a Moelle
- Aux Lyonnais
- Z Gallerie Kitchen
- L'Atelier de Maitre Albert
- Bofinger
- L'Epi Dupin

Besides bistros and brasseries, the table suggests a visit to the Palais Royal and a few other places that, when I hear French spoken, goes in one ear and out the other.

Sorry.

After my boss humbly obliges and thanks the table, the love fest continues with me practically begging for brutal punishment in the form of criticism about my work.

Instead, I'm given a tongue bath.

Hell, it's been a year since anyone's said "nice work, Kevin"; I'm not complaining. And to tell you the truth, that place was a shambles before I strolled in, so don't think I'm too big for my britches.

Later on, I look over and who do I see but Charles Phan standing next to me talking to the La Folie table. Holy shit! Celebrity!

In the one and only time I've ever been a celebrity freak in public, I stopped everything I was doing and practically embarrassed my boss by trying to whisper in his ear (oh, it was sooo obvious), "See that Asian guy! See that Asian guy!". At about this point, I look over and Charles has caught on that I'm talking about him. Gee, perhaps the classic hand-shielding-mouth-while-in-a-state-of-excitement thing gave it away.

My boss and co-worker are completely clueless. I don't know what they were expecting. I'm sure they must have thought that whatever I was getting all excited about must have been really important.

Instead, only a glazed-over look of confusion when they figure it out. Ironically, we were having a conversation just 5 minutes earlier where we were engaged in wondering what the Eff it was that people got by watching sports.

Uh, this is what they get.

Come on! This was like seeing Mr. So-And-So baseball having a chat with Mr. So-And-So football and then talking to…well, I can't make a good sports analogy.

After we left the restaurant, I tried again to explain who Charles Phan was to my boss and co-worker. I said, "He is the chef/owner of the Slanted Door. Which is, like, one of the hottest restaurants in the city!" Followed by an unspoken but loudly noticeable "Hello?! Am I speaking to wood?"

Instead, I get the, "oh, I had no idea. Kevin, where do you get these things?"

What am I to say? I defer. I make up some nonsense about how I know a million things about nothing and then change the conversation.

At least I got paid.

k.

3 Comments:

Blogger Cali said...

Welcome back! You have been missed!

What a great review, complete with what a friend of mine would call foodie *star-f***ing*! I'm excited just reading about it! Congratulations!

P.S. I'd still love to get together with you guys sometime when I'm in The City and do some chowhounding. :-D

10:47 PM  
Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Kevin has anyone told you lately that you are hilarious? Give that boy another raise.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous mark huffaker said...

I'd be with your boss about knowing what's what right now in SF, but reading your hilarious LUNCHEON experience was quite the treat, and NOW, I could visit SF and know exactly where to go have great food. THANKS for the fun read once again, and congrats on the raise (which now throws you into that higher tax bracket, right?)

9:44 AM  

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