Wednesday, December 27, 2006 by Ospite.
0 notations

She comes in with friends all the time. A stay-at-home wife married to a ridiculously wealthy man. Middle age. Very well-kept body. The gravity-defying body of a 20 year old. As if someone once told her she didn't actually have to age. Huge rock on her finger, as if someone once told the guy that if the diamond was large enough, love didn't matter.

"So, my friend here and I are going on a cruise in February."
"Yeah, sounds nice. Where to?"
"Mexico!"
"I love Mexico."
"Oh, you should totally come. You can bring your guitar and serenade us."
"That would be a total blast, but I think my wife would have an issue with it."
"Why tell her? I bought new lingerie or this trip." she flashed a wicked grin.
"Yeah, Victoria's Secret has gret sales this time of year." I may be married, but there're tips involved here.
"Victoria's Secret? Honey. Gucci. The things I could teach you."
"I don't doubt it."
"Well, I'm in here enough... you change your mind, you just let me know."

Needless to say, the tip was 50%.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

Dre was busy in the kitchen so I ran her food out to 61. It was a couple I recognized from a previous evening along with their mother who's got to be pushing 90. I've sung to them for their anniversary and they tip well.

"So do you have a holiday song for us?"

"Sadly I don't."

"Nothing?!"

"I really don't. I'm not very good at remembering the words to Christmas carols and I don't really have anything else prepared. I'm sorry."

"That's crazy. Ave Maria?"

"I've never actually taken the time to learn that. I suppose this might drive me to do so. Let me go get you some fresh grated parmesan cheese."

They were quite nice about it, even joking that it was pathetic a musician on any level didn't have any Christmas songs performance-ready. On my way to the island with the cheese, Dre passed me.

"Hey, I ran 61, can you cheese them? I have to do a greet."

"Sure. Thanks."

I carried out my routine, rang in drinks, then the order. They were my second of two tables for the entire night before I volunteered to leave the graveyard in Christmas lights. This time of year, office lunch parties are our bank. Dinners are dead.

Dre walked over as she saw me standing against the wall trying to stay awake.

"61 is pissed at you." she exclaimed, laughing with a wide grin and quinty eyes.
"I know, I know. I don't know Christmas songs! It's humiliating for me too. I'll learn something by next year."
"You better. They're calling you the Grinch."
"Me? But my heart's not three sizes too small!"
"That may be true, but I wouldn't touch you...with a 39 and a half foot pooooole." she finished her last line singing.

I stayed fr away from table 61 for the rest of the night.
Monday, December 18, 2006 by Ospite.
2 notations

They strolled through the door soon after the dinner rush was done and there was just a dribble through the door. Rosy cheeks, fur-lined collar, big black boots, snow white beard offset by the crimson suit. His wife was more casually attired. The Clauses had arrived. The host walked them straight back to my section.

As he passed me, he said, "I figured if anyone could have fun with them, it'd be you."

Ironic that I never believed in Santa.

I did a typical greet as I would anyone else, except this time, every eye in the place was watching my table...especially the little kids. You could see the astonishment on their faces. He was actually eating here. Of course, on some level, I think it shattered their reality, just a little bit. Here he is, The Man, The Myth, The Legend... and more than a week before Christmas.

Mrs. Claus is a bit of a picky eater, but nothing we couldn't handle. Besides, she was remarkably jovial the whole time. Kris Kringle himself was surprisingly laid back, and far less energetic than I expected. He was real chill. It was a pleasant evening in general and they wre a joy to wait on. I'm hoping for some good gifts in my stocking this year,

Santa's drink? Magic Hat #9

Santa's tip? 25%
Friday, December 15, 2006 by Ospite.
4 notations

I'm not big the whole "tagged" thing, but I'm tired and my post for tonight is in draft form. So this is to appease the blog gods:

1. I'm a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy once a year.

2. I once ran into Luciano Pavarotti backstage. Literally ran into. He was not a happy man.

3. I own more shoes than my wife does.

4. I started my first blog because I couldn't sleep and was bored.

5. I once went a month without sleeping. A disorder. Ask my doctors, freaked everyone out. I now know why the Soviets used sleep deprivation as a torture device. Worst month of my life.
Saturday, December 09, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

She had that slightly stoned and drunk look from right off the bat. 35 and still a party girl, you could tell. I mean, she was pleasant enough, but certain things confused her: Why I would pour oil onto a little dish. Why I would talk so loudly. Why I kept skipping her order (after I had taken it twice. That's right. Two different orders.)

"What can I get for you ma'am?"
"Why would you do that?"
"Do what ma'am?"
"Pour that in there. Now there's oil all over it."

At this point, her date, seemingly fifteen years her elder, jumped in with a huge grin on his face.

"That's for the bread."
"But we don't have bread!"
"He'll bring us some."
"But there's oil on there now... I need Citron and Seven.. yeah. mmm.."

More alcohol. Exactly what she needs. They clearly had done some social drinking before leaving for dinner. Who knows, maybe she needed to be loosened up before dating this guy.

"Don't worry, I'm driving."
"No worries. You want me to put that in and hunt down some bread?"
"Yeah, we'll get to ordering shortly."
"Certainly."

She wasn't slurring her speech, and there were no specific signs of total inebriation, so there was no reason to cut her off. Besides, they had been sitting for all of 5 minutes. When I came back with the bread and drink she exclaimed, "Oh! Bread. Gooootcha." I couldn't help but chuckle. You know you would have too.

She ordered a salad with seafood with a side of pasta. He ordered a steak, also with a side of pasta.

"Wait, don't leave. Why are you skipping me?"
"I'm sorry, ma'am, I had no intentions of doing so. What else can I get you?"
"Well, I need food. For dinner. So. give me. Hmm...pasta something. no, chicken, yeah chicken."

We finally nailed down a chicken dish to her liking and he decided he too needed some alcohol and I couldn't say I blamed him. Part of me felt like asking if her looks were worth the trouble. Instead I just got him his Bud Lite.

"Did you take our menus? I need to order food. I shouldn't drink this much without eating."
Rather than go through the entire ordeal again, I simply said, "Don't worry I've got you covered." and rattled off a particular chicken dish I was sure she'd enjoy.
"Oh, he's good." She leaned precariously over to her gentleman friend to say.
He laughed. Out loud.

With some food in her and water, she started to sober up a bit. They took their time eating and by the end, I think her buzz was gone. I noticed she wasn't getting lost on her way back from the bathroom as she had the pervious two trips.

"Would you like anything else to drink ma'am? Another Citron and Seven?"
"In a couple minutes... ok. Now. Yeah, thanks."

He had another Bud Lite (only number two) and I started clearing the table next to them.

"Hey, do you have a good bartender?"
"Yes, yes we do." She has, in fact, had ample traning in the industry as well as being a professional party planner at the celebrity level. Her annoyance for pricks in showbiz changed her mind for career paths and she bartends on the side of interior design. All that to say, she knows how to play the game, learned a lot along the way, and can sling alcohol with the best of them.
"Good. good good. It's time for shots!" she said with a particular vehemence.
"Really...and what shall we be drinking?"
"Mind Erasers!"

Seriously. Had to be almost forty years old. At an Italian restaurant, not a cub or a bar. But hey, I'm not going to judge. Besides, this guy is happy about the fact that she's warm enough that she's down to her halter top and having a good time. He's paying.

She was happy. He was happy, therefore I was happy...especially when I found a 25% tip left on the table.
Monday, December 04, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

Most waiters tend to hate children. They're loud, often messy, disruptive, and needy. Most of the time. Parents also seems to require their wishes immediately before anyone else in the restaurant.

I recently have had the joy of waiting on particularly enjoyable little people.

Today my last table at lunch was a grandmother, mother, and two young boys. Jack was the youngest. Propped in his highchair, he was quite adamant about getting french fries with ketchup and mustard. Sadly we have only honey mustard but his mother suggested I get it anyway. Upon receiving the honey mustard, he placed the tip of his finger in it, then put it in his mouth. With a spectacular grimace, he said, "Eeeew!" and clean his finger off...in his hair.

Jokingly, his mother asked, "Do you happen to have a kiddie bath? Or something I can scrub him down with?"
"Well, I think our dishwasher might fit him in it on the cold cycle, but I suggest the hose in the back."
Jack found all this quite humorous. Then his icecream came. Vanilla, with chocolate sauce. It was clear that he did not enjoy the icecream but certainly liked the chocolate. So he proceeded to separate them in his mouth, swallowing the chocolate and spitting out the icecream.

Saturday we were enjoying a leisurely push before the dinner rush started. He was about 2 and silent as a mouse. White-blonde hair and huge sky-blue eyes. He made eye contact like an adult and only stirred when he heard me mention chocolate milk, which he got and was quite excited about. He was one of the best-behaved customers I've had in weeks. His parents were pleasant also. As I dropped off the check, Gavin (as was the wee one's name), reached for the check, promptly opening it and pointing to his father the amount owed. I walked away with a chuckle. When I returned to pick it up, Gavin took the mastercard, placed it in the book and handed it to me with a matter-of-fact, "Here you go, sir." I'm expecting him to rule the world by the time he's 25.

At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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