Monday, January 31

The "what a silly gringo" smile

I was reminded this week that I had promised (while writing about a pizza adventure) to rant a bit about restaurants that name their dishes things that I can't pronounce.

First, I am all for funky named dishes.  Want to call your triple bacon pizza a Porky the Pig? Fine.  Want to call your vegetable pizza a Vegotarian? Go for it.  Mama's special? Awesome. Bloopbleepbloop? Silly, but whatev.

My problem comes in when they try to teach me other languages through the menu.  I get it! You're authentic Italian food!  Exciting! I would like to be able to order without provoking that "what a silly gringo" smile from the waiter/counter person.  I bring as an example Mandola's Italian Market.  We ordered the Pugliese.  It's a pizza with mozzerella, tomato sauce, sausage, onions, and mushrooms.  I don't know what the fuck a pugliese or how to pronounce it, but I went with "puhg-lee-..........." trailing off into mumbling and pointing at it on the menu.  The counter man just smiled like everyone else mispronounces it as well.  He didn't repeat it back properly pronounced (can't decide if them doing that is better or worse), so I still don't know how it's supposed to go.

Living in Texas, I'm used to menus (and everything else) with English/Spanish translation.  Is it too much to ask that they put the Italian word (if they insist on trying to culturally educate me and/or remain "authentic") they translate it so that I can order using those words and not feel like a dumbass?

Thursday, January 27

Employee Eval

Over the last few days everyone has had their employee evaluations at work and I have to say that it didn't go badly.  Not that I was expecting it to, but as a bad liar, an occasional trouble-maker (never at that job, I swear!), and one who tends to run her mouth, I have the natural inclination to feel like I'm getting in trouble every time I have to talk to someone in authority.  My parents call me and my first thought is that someone died (I know, not really getting in trouble, but as a teenager when they called I thought I was in trouble.  I would have to say that thinking someone has died is not an improvement on thinking I'm in trouble).  I get called into the boss's office at Primary Job and I'm wondering if they've found something I did wrong (even if I can't fathom what that might possibly be) and now I'm going to get fired.  EVERYONE gets called to do employee evals and I still feel like I'm getting called to the principals office.*

We got gift cards (to a fabulous local cheese shop where I will pick up something delicious to make with my beau) and a bonus based on how many shifts we've worked.  I haven't worked a lot of them, so mine isn't that big, but I'm glad that everyone else that works more than I do gets a bonus.  The deserve it.  There was also a little drawing for some additional gift cards (I didn't win).

Miscellaneous stuff:
  • If our pizzeria was a horror movie, general consensus is that I'd survive.
  • We have a new beer that's kindof weak but would make a good introductory beer to someone who doesn't want to be overwhelmed**.  The brewery is doing their grand opening this weekend and I will definitely be there.
  • I'm glad that I didn't decide to pick up delivering again.  Every time I run low on cash I think about how much nicer things would be if I was still delivering and brought home a bunch of cash.  Then I remember how I didn't have any free time and didn't have a social life whatsoever (it sucks to build one from scratch, ask anyone who's not spectacular at making friends and moves to a new place, that's me except that I didn't move).
  • Pizza adventuring is going well.  I'm spoiled on sourdough crust for my Neopolitan pizzas.

*Funny enough, and perhaps this is the source of the problem, in school I never got called out on how much class I was skipping (my grades were still good) or any trouble we might have been making (it really wasn't trouble trouble, just kid stuff that I thought I should have gotten in trouble for but that my parents probably knew about and chose not to prosecute me for).

**On my recent beer adventures, which are less frequent than I'd like and more frequent than my waistline would like, I've decided that I fall on the malt side rather than the hops side.  I don't mind drink beers with a lot of hops, but I'd rather be punched in the face by malt than hops.  On a recent excursion with my father we tried a beer called Old Speckled Hen and it tasted a lot like fermented malt vinegar filtered through musty chicken feathers.  I, oddly enough, didn't mind it so much but my father made such a face that sent me into fits of giggles for several minutes.  He falls on the hops side.

Monday, January 10


It's nice to be back working both jobs.  Our owners close down the pizzeria for two weeks around Christmas every year, which is both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand it was nice not having to worry about trying to schedule off New Years Eve or being forced to cover a million shifts for people who were out of town; On the other hand, for those employees who rely on the job for income, a forced two week unpaid vacation is a source of stress.

Last night was pretty busy and it started off with a bunch of families coming in with their toddlers.  It turned out that they all knew each other and they stood around in the middle of the walkways chatting.  There was also several cases of runaway toddlers.  I'll admit that it was annoying, but one of our front of the house guys kept muttering angry things about "Breeders" and how "they think they're so special" as he carried dishes to the back.  It was amusing.  I don't come down either way on the families.  They should have moved out of the way, but I understand the necessity of setting the child down for a moment.  He has no perspective on just how impossible it can be to keep a child under control at all times.  Plus, we are a family-friendly restaurant, so there's bound to be kids around sometime.

I was having problems with dough all night.  Mine just would not work into a circle. Finally Basil showed me a few tricks to get rid of corners (the dough had proofed to where instead of nice round patties they were smooshed into squares).

I've decided that I really want to serve mint iced tea at my pizzeria.  I have no idea why more places don't do this.  I love mint iced tea.