So, for Antioxidant-Rich Food day, I'm posting a photo of something I haven't cooked. I washed it and trimmed it, but it's still in the fridge. It's a double-whammy in one single vegetable: Red Chard. Deep, dark green leaves and brilliant red stalks — it's just swimming in beta-carotene!
A NICE STORYAs an aside, here's a nice story. Cranky and I enjoyed a fantastic birthday-eve lunch at a "fine" Marin restaurant yesterday. There wasn't much of a crowd, so we were lucky to be well attended-to. (And in my experience, sometimes a less-crowded restaurant results in less-attentive service.)
The first person who approached our table looked — again, this is from experience — like he might be the guy who delivers the water and bread and clears away dishes. But Cranky put a question to him: "We're going to be ordering oysters, so is there a wine you'd recommend?"
This superb fellow, with the heavy South-of-the-border accent, did have suggestions, good ones. Apparently he was our server, not a busboy.
He disappeared into the kitchen and returned to tell us there were no oysters on the half-shell, only fried. We knew that; that's what the menu said. But he had taken it upon himself to, well, take a guess as to our desires, and to go find out if he could accommodate us.
Long story short: He dazzled us throughout our whole meal with knowledge, attention, decorum and warmth. He understands food; no, he loves it. He paced delivery of dishes in an incredibly intuitive way; after a particularly rich course, he held off on bringing the next so we could savor and digest for a while (it's true, we asked him about it). He told us interesting inside stories about the kitchen staff. He revealed "secret" ingredients and techniques.
We flipped for him.
And so when we asked how long he'd been with the restaurant, there was a slight hesitation on his part... And then he confirmed our best guess: He's been there seven years. But he's only been a server for the past six months.
We didn't ask him what his previous position was, but I think we were looking at the American Success Story: Smart, ambitious young man comes to this country, learns the language, toils at entry-level job, acquires a love for restaurants, kitchens, and — customers. He proved himself.
And he got promoted.
Bravo to the restaurant's powers-that-be for giving him a chance.
I don't think we've ever had lovelier service, and he's only been at it for six months.