Month: July, 2014

Its that time again!

Hel…Hel-lo…Hey folks. Sorry. I’m kind of full from the delicious meal I had earlier tonight. Most likely, I’m still satisfied from the dinner I had the night before. I’m in for a lotta days of unzipping my pants and giving loving/dirty looks to H from across the table. Why am I gorging myself on food for no reason? Well, fancy pantsies, this week is the wonderful (dreaded) Dayton Summer Restaurant Week 2014! Oh yeah, you heard me. Even po-dunk little Dayton has a restaurant week. And its pretty great, actually. Or at least, my tummy thinks so.

If you’re not hip to restaurant week, allow me to explain my dears. I’m not sure if its done similarly in other cities, but here at least, there are two weeks set aside every year (one in the Winter and you guessed it, one in the Summer) for local independent restaurants to gain some revenue in an otherwise slow time of the year. They offer three to four courses for a set price. It ranges from pizza and wings to high end dishes. And for the most part, it’s a pretty good deal. It gets a lot of people into restaurants they might not have been able to afford before. And for regular diners like us, its a chance for some restaurants to showcase specials that are unique to their regular menu.

(I mentioned “dreaded” earlier. You’ll have to excuse me, I’m still a waiter at heart and though patrons enjoy restaurant week very much, sorry to say, some people that go out to eat never do because they’re A) broke B) mean C) crazy. They choose restaurant week to spread their evil around and its generally hated by most foodservice professionals, both front and back of the house. Its surprising how demanding people can be even when the price of their meal is half what they would have paid. So listen up…if you decided to relax at your local eatery with a glass of wine and an awesome prix fixe menu, don’t be a dick. They’re working twice as hard for half the money.)

H and I take advantage of restaurant week. Especially now that I have evenings free! Last night we had pizza and beers at Pies & Pints. Its surrounded by an outdoor mall which is a strange juxtaposition. But even with sparkly sandals and shopping bags EVERYWHERE, the pizza is the best distraction.

What we shared at Pies & Pints:
Caesar Salad
Award-Winning dry rubbed wings with creamy Gorgonzola
Grape, Gorgonzola, and rosemary pizza
We also had Ohio brewed beers! Flyin’ RyePA from Warped Wing Brewing Company and a Revolution Anti-hero from Jackie-O’s Brewery.

BOMB DOT COM.

H was still hungry (he was mostly excited) so we went across town to Chappy’s Tap Room. Tons of craft beer, tons of fried chicken, tons of beer nerds. By now, I’m too full to talk so I sat back and watched my man eat. And boy howdy, did he eat.

What H ate at Chappy’s:
Cheesy Tortilla Soup
BIG DADDY COMBO (1/3 Slab BBQ Ribs, Beer Brined Pork Chop & Southern Fried Chicken Breast)
Chocolate Texas sheet cake

Wipe that drool, man. I know, it sounds just like it tastes. He said that chocolate cake was one of the best things he’s ever eaten. And he eats alot.

Cut to, this evening, we dined at Christopher’s Restaurant. One of our favorites anyway, we were pumped to see the different things they were offering. Not disappointed.

What we shared at Christopher’s:
Eggplant chips with cilantro-cashew pesto
Smoked salmon dip stuffed artichoke hearts with fried pita chips
Chilled tomato and stone fruit soup
Grilled peach & mozzarella salad with herb vinaigrette
Pork chop with apple berry compote and mascarpone polenta
Roasted zucchini stuffed with mascarpone polenta and mixed vegetables, drizzled with honey butter and fried sage leaves
Strawberry almond torte
Chocolate ganache bread pudding with caramel sauce

So #*%$ing good, dudes. So good.

If you need a reason to take out a gal (or guy) and get them drunk on local beer and food, this week is the week to do it. Experiment together, try new things, tip your servers.

Here is a link to Dayton’s Restaurant Week website. So many choices, let me know what you choose!

Dayton Summer Restaurant Week!

Do it.

Sunday Evening Roundup

Hey y’all. It’s been awhile. It’s far too soon for this blog to go neglected, so I am persisting in posting an “end-of-the-weekend” roundup! It’s really just a list of the happy, fun things I did for three days. I hope I can tell you about somethings and get you excited because, that’s just what I’m here for. 

First things first. 

Summertime is festival season. H and I typically try to attend at least half a dozen per summer (though my favorite falls in September). Catholic church festivals are ones not to miss. Little old ladies running gambling booths in which the prizes are the cakes and pies they made the night before? How could you go wrong!

Here is a link so some area Catholic festivals if you’re interested in having a blast with the locals. And it’s all for a good cause after all, keeping kids in Catholic school. (I went to a Catholic school and though I’m no longer a believer, I think my time in there has a lot to do with how I turned out as a person…pretty rad.)

Catholic Festivals!

This weekend was the 13th Annual Dayton Celtic Festival. Guinness, jewelry, food trucks, music… all of which make this the most successful of the festivals in the Miami Valley. If you haven’t people watched and gotten a little tipsy at the Dayton Celtic Festival, you’re betraying yourself. 

Second things second. 

Today, right now, yours truly is introducing the brand spankin’ new series here at A Quiet Joy. It was only a matter of time. 

Without further ado, I present to you faithful reader The Hidden Gem City! (Cute, huh?)

Let’s get real. You like food. At least, I truly hope you do. You don’t necessarily have the time or money to dine on fancy drinks and cured meats on boards made of walnut and maple. Sometimes, you just want some good eats in a greasy spoon that you can tell your friends or family about and make you feel cooler than them. Well guys, I’m here to help. Its a pretty small town so there aren’t thousands of these dives to speak of. When I find one, and enjoy it, it’ll show up here. 

Hidden Gem July 2014

Taco Loco
5392 Burkhardt Rd.
Dayton, OH 45431

I’ve been wanting to try this for some time. Small with 4 girls working the cash register and the floor, it’s not beautiful but it works. We ordered a Mexican Coke (duh) and horchata. I couldn’t believe I found “rice water” in Dayton. My life is changed forever. I ordered a chicken and Shepard’s Pie pork taco with refried beans. 

Multigrain tortilla chips, corn tortillas, cilantro…it’s sounding good right about now, isn’t it?

Beans were soupy and delicious. Double stacked tortillas (you KNOW one isn’t holding all that awesomeness). Good salsa. Good flavors. I have to say however, that if you ever find yourself sitting by the window with a Tamarind Jarritos, order the Shepard’s Pie taco. Pork in a sauce made with cinnamon, sauteed onions, it has a distinct aroma and it hits the spot like nothing else. H ordered a chili relleno taco (spicy!) and chorizo. Both solid. Service was spot on. 

The only negative is that the food took a little longer than I expected. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes longer than it should have been and I was probably just extra hungry.

(I would have taken some pictures but I’m still a beginner. Imagine in your mind’s eye though, it’s still mouth watering.)
Grade : A 

Well that was short and sweet. Just what I’m going for. 

Some cheese with that whine?

Well folks, the weekend is well underway and I’m already nursing a bit of a hangover. It’s an itty bitty one so, I don’t mind. And the wine that gave it to me was worth the risk. A night spent with friends and good wine is my favorite kind of night.

I am a wine snob. Not like a rich white guy kind of snob but a, “only half of the country drinks wine and mostly just Franzia, why people why” kind of snob. It started meagerly enough, playing drinking games with Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot instead of Pabst Blue Ribbon in my formative years. Then once my love of food and dining and living began, thats when my teeth turned REALLY purple.

Over time I’ve learned to enjoy the lushness of a Pinot Noir, the fruit-heaviness of a Bordeaux, even the most “boring” of the bunch, the Merlot. (That was sarcasm I want to point out, Merlot is one of the best grapes there is.) I worked in a French restaurant so most of my knowledge is based around Old World wines (meaning wines that have had grape vines in the ground for a very, very long time. Europe has most of these.) I don’t drink much American wines, though proud I am of our viticultural takeover of the wine world. Being that as it may, I’m of the mindset that I should constantly be learning. And when you’re learning about wine, the best way to take it all in, is to try every one you can find.

Lucy, making wine the old fashioned way.

Here is a short wine lesson for those who would like to experiment with me:

Wine – Fermented grape juice

Fermentation – The process of sugar turning into alcohol (naturally done in the old days, now a modern process)

Grape – There are many names for what grapes are in a wine (they vary from region to region in the world, not confusing in the least)

Vintage – The year the grapes were grown. The same wine from the same winemaker from two different years could taste completely different. This is due to the region in which the grapes grow’s terroir.

Terroir – Everything natural where the grape is grown. Temperature, soil, water, etc.

Reading a bottle – Pinot Noir is a French grape. If you buy an American Pinot Noir, it will say simply “Pinot Noir” on the label. Easy peasy. However, Pinot Noir in France is grown in a region called Burgundy. There are sub regions also so it can get pretty specific. A French label will say Burgundy (although, it will say Burgundy in French. Bear with me.)

Those are the basics. Like I said before, however, you won’t really know anything about wine until you drink it! Over the course of the evening, H, some friends, and I enjoyed an Australian red called 19 Crimes. Juicy and velvety, it was a good bottle for under 10 bucks.

 

 

Frankly, we were having too good of a time to discuss the notes of the wine in depth. I’ll make sure to at least write a few things down in the future. But for now, at least with this bottle, Australian wines are ok by me.

Tell me friends, what is your favorite bottle under 10 bucks?

Brewery Takeover, Dayton OH.

Good morning fellow beer lovers! Here in the Gem City, there has been a major outbreak of independent breweries. (Which is fucking cool if you’ve ever been here.) Last year, the state of Ohio, made it cheaper for brewers to make and distribute beer. Lucky us. Since this legislation passed, in the last year alone, Dayton has seen almost ten breweries pop up in and around the Miami Valley. And there are more on the way.

One of the first establishments to begin construction a while back is the brewery co-op, Fifth Street Brew Pub. The way it works is, if you’re a member, you get cheaper beer. If not, you still get beer. Its an ok system. (H was given a membership for Christmas last year. His mom knows him too well.) The project had three phases. Bar, kitchen, brewery. Now, we’ve all been waiting patiently for the last phase to begin. For awhile there, they were selling other brewer’s beers, which were delicious served with their salmon sandwich (YUM) but, I want YOUR beer. If I wanted everyone else’s beer, I’d go to a BAR. But finally, Fifth Street Brew Pub is serving their own beer. With this excellent news, I thought I’d showcase some other local breweries. Now I’m getting thirsty.

Of all the breweries that have opened recently, Warped Wing Brewing Company is my favorite. Solid beer, beautiful taproom, and their list of bars and restaurants carrying their beer keeps growing and growing. Starting next week they will begin selling canned beer. Pretty great for those of us without room for growlers in our fridge. I almost worked as a bartender for Warped Wing but decided it wasn’t the right fit for me (I was trying to get OUT of the business). The coolest thing about the beers for me is, each style is named after Daytonian History. My favorite beer, the Belgian wheat cream ale, Ermal’s, is named for Ermal Fraze, the man who invented the pop tab! Oh Dayton, you’re just full of surprises.

Yellow Springs Brewery, the first I had the pleasure of visiting, sits back in a neighborhood in outlying Yellow Springs, OH. Very laid back but passionate, you can taste the beer-makers’ respect for the brew in every glass. Highly recommended.

The next on my list is Eudora Brewing Company. Located in Kettering, OH, Eudora offers a plethora of styles of beer. And you can even brew your own!

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to try every beer at every brewery. (I’m hoping to change this in the near future.) Below is a list of some you and I can check out together!

Toxic Brew Company – Oregon District, downtown Dayton

Star City Brewing Company – historical downtown Miamisburg

Hairless Hare Brewery – Vandalia, OH

The Dayton Beer Company – moving downtown soon!

Lock 27 Brewing – Centerville, OH

There has been some local discussion as to whether any of these will stick around. Is the microbrew a passing trend? I think if it were, Dogfish Head wouldn’t be turning 20 years old next year. Do Daytonians imbibe enough beer for these breweries to be successful? Will Dayton contend with other, bigger brewing cities? I think so. Are these breweries capable of growing and expanding? Will California beer drinkers ever get to taste Warped Wing Ermal’s cream ale? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

One day soon I’ll discuss all the beer makin’ in Cinci and Cleveland as well. Damn Ohio, go on with your bad self.

What are some favorite craft breweries in your neck of the woods?

Wheat thicks.

I see you, box of Wheat Thins. I know what you want. You want me to grab a handful of you, crunch away then lick the salt from my lips. Your stupid yellow box is calling my name. 100% WHOLE GRAIN you say. 100% irresistible you say. Well crackers, I’m going to resist you. Ok, I may have had a couple crackers earlier in the day but, NO MORE! I shan’t be tempted.

Before you start to think my life is so dull I resort to picking fights with crackers, let me explain.

My body and I have a serious love-hate relationship. I’ve never cared too much about it to not eat or work out incessantly, but I get down about these love handles like any other human with a mirror. I have never been naturally slim but I was healthy after high school. I played sports in grade school but was too cool once freshman year started. I had moved school districts, I liked punk rock, I was too pale to be seen in volleyball shorts. All dumb excuses. I have vague memories of my mama in a local volleyball league and watching her games before life took her away from it. I wished she would have kept with it. The issue at the root of it, is that I don’t have too much self-discipline. It wasn’t until I hit 25, when all the beer and Penn Station subs turned my cute, youthful figure into this…cindy-chris-farleyIt’s wasn’t as bad as Cindy stealing Adam Sandler’s French fries but, it’s how I felt. It was time to get it together.

I started to make some changes. I joined Planet Fitness (not the best gym in the world, but cheap and open 24/7 in case I needed a late night workout). I transformed my diet. The restaurant I worked for fed us every shift around 4pm and it was almost always leftover pasta, overcooked green beans, and week old crème brûlée. Free food is free food, so I had for 5 years indulged in all the sweets and cheesy sauces that were put in front of me. Once I started to care, I started to pack my lunch every shift. No dairy (yes, I mean cheese), no sugar, no carbs. Lean meat, fruits, and vegetables ruled my life, and I was loving every second of it.

I worked out, an hour and a half a day, 4 days a week. 45 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weight training, 15 minutes of stretching. It feels so exhilarating. I lost 18 lbs in 3 months. I looked great. I felt great. And I still got to enjoy beers with my friends (Come on, I’m not crazy.)

Then, on a 4th of July trip to see my girl Amanda in Nashville, Henry proposed. And as soon as that happened, I said “fuck it”. All of our family members wanted to take us out to eat. Suddenly, I wanted to celebrate and of course, I thought there was no way I was going back to being a butterball. Duh, Molly. When you eat like a crazy person and watch Netflix all day…

The only thing that was keeping me afloat was waiting tables. Being on my feet all day kept my metabolism at a reasonable rate. I’m gonna tell you ladies waiting tables RIGHT NOW. If you don’t work out, and you stop waiting tables, your waistline will betray you.

After about a year of splurging on engagement dinners, Henry’s little sister Elizabeth graduated from high school. A few days after the ceremony, I saw some pictures of myself. And goddammit, I couldn’t believe it. Pudge-city. Time to start again.

(I will mention that this entire time, H, being my number one fan, doesn’t really know what to say in times of pudgy-ness. At this point in his life, he’s eating whatever he wants and not taking care of his mind or body. He says “go back to the gym” not to be cruel, but because he knows how great I feel overall when I go. However, he’s not concerned with himself and that is frustrating. And part of why I let myself go once again. It was not his fault, its solely mine. But I’ll admit, because I’m a person who’s alive, that living with someone definitely affects what you do and eat.)

For the second time, I began my fitness journey. I lost the weight again. I was feeling groovy. Then, after about 4 or 5 months, all hell broke loose. Thanksgiving, people. Pumpkin pie, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole. It’s all comfort, cold weather food, and I love it all. Since then, things haven’t been the same. Winter was hard. My relationship was hard. I was hating myself and my habits weren’t conducive to healthy living. I ran away and spent all my money. Mostly on fancy dinners and drinks. It was all delicious. And here I sit, with only fond memories of foie gras and chocolate mousse and the inability to see my toes. Sigh.

Its been 9 months since I’ve signed in at Planet Fitness. 9 months since I’ve watched what I was eating. 9 months since I’ve felt really good about my looks. I’m pregnant with self-hate.

Well, friends, I need to get back on the horse.

Once a week, I am going to record on here my progress. Guilt is a great motivator and I’m using this forum to get healthy again. I need to. I’m not getting any younger. I want to feel good when I get married. I want to feel good when anyone gets married.

Week One : Gym after work, diet change, visualize yourself in Iggy Azalea’s body, don’t get discouraged.

I’ve been work, work, work, work, working on mah shiiiiiiit.

 

Monday morning reviewsies!

I’m awake, I’m awake! Alright folks, its that time. Time for yours truly to write her first review. Lord knows I talk trash daily but, to keep it here seems so official.

Over the weekend, Henry and I spent a lot of time in Cincinnati (a place we LOVE, don’t hate on the Queen City). We attended the 3rd Annual Bunbury Music Festival. The first year for us, we were open and excited to see what the festival had to offer. Before I proceed, I’ll give you some backstory. (I really, REALLY like backstory, but I promise to keep it brief.)

Fact : Henry and I both love music. Not like, oh I love this new Lady Gaga song. I’m talking about weeping within the first few minutes of seeing our 16th favorite band. Just, an obscene amount of happy tears. I know, emotional right? You’re not kidding. Luckily, in my lifetime, I’ve only met a handful of people who don’t  listen to music, other than what is playing in their car on their drive to work. On the other hand, even those that are paying attention, still lack that bone deep lust for a certain harmony or chord progression. My parents are both huge music lovers, as are H’s. Between us, our music collection is pretty intimidating. I can’t fill myself up with enough.

Fact : Last year, Henry and I were asked last minute if we wanted discounted tickets to Bonnaroo Art and Music Festival. With hesitation, we agreed it would be a once in a lifetime experience. And boy howdy…it was. We went with a group that had been the previous 5 years or so which made it pretty easy, considering the enormity of it all. It had such an impact on us, that we became lifers within the first few hours of the festival. If you ever, EVER have the opportunity to go to Bonnaroo, take it. You won’t regret it. (Just, don’t get too carried away, hippies.) We were hooked immediately.

Henry, especially, caught the festival bug. He and I were having a few problemos over the Spring (I have have yet to go into detail about this, you overly curious readers). While things were distant and strange, H still bought tickets for us both, just hoping that we’d work it out. (Pretty good guy, IMO.) Well guys, its obviously working out (woohoo love!) and we attended again in June. Shortly after, H bought us tickets to Bunbury AND Buckle Up Music Festival, both hosted in a beautiful park by the river in downtown Cinci. When Henry gives, he gives music. Is there a better gift?

Fact : I told you I really like backstory.

So, cut to, Friday afternoon. I left work early, a little ballsy in my first month of being here. But like I said, MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC. Yeatman’s Cove, where the festival was set, is gorge. A park by the water, with tents of craft beer, craft liquor drinks, food truck galor (Quan Hapa from Over-the-Rhine’s tofu bahn mi sandwich? They were baking their own bread people, that’s some serious food truck commitment.) Six tents with bands and solo acts abound! Compared to the middle of nowhere Tennessee, a festival right next to the baseball stadium is pretty strange. But the stage with the river in the background (people in their boats would float up and listen along) is pretty fucking cool.

Cage the Elephant, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Empire of the Sun filled our Friday. Saturday meant Paramore, with others we hadn’t heard before. That’s the best part about it all…discovery.

Below are some of the bands I wasn’t hip to before this weekend. I’m already starting on my new playlist.

(Sidenote : I miss mixtapes and cds. Playlist just doesn’t sound right, man.)

Bands to Check Out

Haerts

We had some time to kill between bands and I had seen their name on the bill at Bonnaroo but didn’t think twice. Woulda coulda shoulda, yaknow? I’m pleased I got to see them with a small crowd. Plus, she’s a babe.

Little Daylight

Tequila shots and this. So fun! Their debut record comes out tomorrow, get at it!

Fitz and the Tantrums

These guys killed it. You already know them but, here’s their newest single. So good.

Festival Rating – B+ (points taken for unlit port-o-potties and Fall Out Boy for headlining.)

I should mention, before I get outta here, that before the show on Saturday, H and I wanted to sit and eat something Dayton doesn’t offer (which, lets be honest locals, that’s not difficult to do). A friends’ recommendation led us to Tom + Chee, a fancy grilled cheese spot with a couple locations around the city. Holy shit, THIS place. We both ordered awesome sandwiches and some homemade creamy tomato basil soup for dipping. Now, my favorite part about eating out, no matter the price point, location, cuisine, whatever…is when people take care of their guests. It could be a pay-at-the-counter joint like Tom + Chee, but if they do you right, you remember. The tattooed GM approached us and politely asked us where we get our work done, that he admired it, and do we want a free donut. (Donut ie. grilled glazed donut with marshmallow mascarpone, chocolate and graham crackers, WTF.) That’s service babies!

I’m still tweaking stuff around here so pardon if anything is under construction.

I’ll leave you with a short hate list.
1. People who try to cross the street in the middle of lunch hour traffic and there’s a crosswalk RIGHT THE FUCK THERE.
2. People (especially weird, blue collar, old men) who when asked how their day is, go on a rant 45 minutes long about their shitty employees and their shitty life. We don’t care man, that’s what your crazy chain-smoking wife is for.
3. Seeing more than 3 people without teeth before 2pm. Yikes.

Happy Bastille Day, au revoir!

Eh, lets try this again.

Well, as first blog posts go, I have to admit mine was a little lacking. Usually, at least in my experience as a blog-reader, the blogs purpose and/or author’s really interesting reasons for starting it are listed in the first post. I don’t have too interesting a life and my reasons for starting A Quiet Joy are : I wanted a place to write; a place to chat about food, restaurants, records, film, and recipes; a place to organize my thoughts and get my mental shit together. I’ll try to be funny on the way, folks. That should bring my readership to a solid 7 humans. And maybe a couple bots.

In my last post, I briefly mention a breakdown of sorts. Don’t worry, I will inevitably explain my mental, physical, and emotional collapse. Grab some popcorn, it’ll be a good story. Today however, instead of diving into that romp, I will instead focus on the positive…

I’m tired of losing my shit, guys.

I’m ready to rid my life and brain of insecurity and doubt. Ok, I’m probably not ready at all, but mind over matter, right? Knowing is half the battle. Baby steps. Etcetera. Whatever.

Right now I’m watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on DVD. I’m typing on my 7 year old laptop. I look fucking adorable. Drinking coffee with French vanilla coconut milk creamer and eating cinnamon rolls my man put in the oven for us this morning. What is there to complain about?

Oh, a Storm of Swords (book three, for you non Game of Throneys) is practically sucking out my will to live AT ALL. But that’s a different entry for another day. SPOILER ALERT : I hate it.

For anyone who needs a visual, behold Henry and myself:

Just kidding!

IMG_0306

Real life, ya’ll.

To stay alive.

I never imagined I’d have a desk job. I’ve always been drawn to the restaurant industry. When I was younger, because I could talk and smoke whenever I wanted. Being the most talkative person in my life, I fit into the server lifestyle well. As I grew up, I found my love of food and drink and dining. The first time the flavor of a perfectly seared sea scallop graced my palette, I knew something in me had changed. From then on, it was a constant learning experience.

I worked in restaurants while in school to have “fuck off” money while living at home. I finished after 5 hazy years in community college with an associate’s degree, which is nothing to shake a stick at, I finished after all, but I never felt a “calling” or anything like it. I wasn’t feeling much at all, drinking shitty wine and smoking dope with my boyfriend every day. I worked at the local Steak n’ Shake for a couple of years. I left when I realized I was old enough to serve alcohol which would only increase my tips, of course. And I was sick of being sticky all the time. My good friend from grade school had moved a half hour away and in the last few years, discovered his love of baking. Really, it was mostly a love of sweets which, in the lucky country we live in, you can turn into a career. As the pastry chef at a local independent restaurant, he got me the job as a server. My first “big girl” job. I worked with people who were in the industry for life, and they seemed to enjoy all of the ups and downs that come with the territory. I loved them instantly.

My favorite part of working in a place that wasn’t a carbon copy of the other 204 restaurants of the same name in the tri-state area, was the food and the dudes (and sometimes ladies) making it. These folks were real chefs. Over cigarette breaks between rushes, the boys wearing white would casually discuss a new gastronomical presence in their worlds. Whether it be a new technique or some chef that was making crazy things with hog skins in Utah, they always seemed genuinely inspired and enthusiastic about the topic at hand. These conversations mostly led to dick jokes and what drugs they were imbibing over their days off (these were fun stories to listen to also). But what I took from every 5 minute break was that, these people gave a shit about what they were doing. Yes, they complained. Yes, they smoked way too much. Yes, they weren’t polished. But they could cook some amazing food.

I wasn’t a big seafood lover until I started waiting tables there. If there was a mess up with an order, instead of pitching a perfectly good dish, they would let the new girl have a taste. At first, my hesitation probably annoyed them. Eventually though, the pressure of appearing willful against trying new things turned my attitude around pretty quickly. I learned so much from these guys I can’t even tell you. Not only to try a crab cake without making a face, but to try new things in all aspects of my life. These people had heart and loved what they did. If they didn’t, they sure went through a lot of 7 o’clock hell to make their rent.

I remained in restaurants after I received my degree. After the first independent spot taught me to try new things, my appetite for learning increased ten-fold. I left there to work for an award-winning Chef, about 20 minutes from home. There, they taught me about the care and love it takes to present a guest with a truly perfect meal, how responsibly a cocktail should be made. I had a list of regulars that I could spout off to about the newest dish the cooks had created. About the locally grown produce we so lovingly involved in the menu. About the Italian wine vintage we JUST got in yesterday. My love of food and drink and people, all in one neat little job. I couldn’t get enough.

And then suddenly, it was enough. I was 27, thinking about my future and my career. I was becoming unhappy in my relationship and my life in general. A number of things cause this “breakdown” of sorts. I knew however, that the drinking and drugging and sleeping in until 11am everyday was starting to wear on me. I received a promotion and over the following few weeks, I knew it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t talking about food anymore, I was trying to keep my co-workers happy. That’s not what I signed up for when I decided that restaurant life was for me. I realized that I wanted to be the one listening to the server pontificate about the charcuterie plate. I wanted to be the one drinking fancy cocktails and relaxing the best way anyone can relax. I wanted to spend my holidays with my family and friends, not serving hors d’oeuvres to strangers. I liked the strangers, they paid my bills. But I got to a point where I could no longer enjoy my work. So I here I sit. Behind a desk. In an office. Where nobody in the office has seen “The Office”. No one really cares for good food or music or film. I’m almost embarrassed to tell my co-workers that I spent $100 on dinner the night before or that I’m heading to an all weekend music festival when I clock out. I’m embarrassed because I’m slowly realizing that I’m the weird one. I’m the one that cares about my senses and the way that life makes me feel. I had no idea this could be so droll.

Eventually I will adjust and enjoy my time here. It’s not the bustling, emotional working world I’m used to. There are pros and cons to every job I suppose. I don’t work every weekend. Its not pulling teeth to request off for a wedding or a birthday party. I am the one that can enjoy dining out and attending parties or tastings or whatever I want. That was the choice that I made. And its going to take some time to discover that because you don’t throw a tantrum in a kitchen every other day, doesn’t mean you don’t care. Maybe.