Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Green Underwear

Leprechauns were plastered all over faces yesterday in this city.  In class I made my lemon cheese green; Chef Rivet was not amused.  I was.  I love it how in this city every holiday is blown beyond out of proportion.  Last night there was a group of full grown men dressed from head to toe in neon green spandex.  Girls wore everything from green vests, green dresses (most quite provocative), and multiple green accessories.   

I, however, did not have the opportunity to display my allegiance to such a grand holiday.  In school I don't have a green chef coat and at work I have to wear all black.  So what did I do?  I wore my green skibbies.  I bought this fantastic piece of clothing while living in London.  My friend Anna and I, who now lives in New Zealand, went to the H & M in Hyde Park and found them.  My main motive for purchasing them was not for their color or subdued sexual innuendoes, but because plastered across the butt was "Lucky Lounge, Downtown Memphis, TN."  Being from Memphis it deemed appropriate.  This also gave me an excuse to show them off whenever someone asked where my green was.  I was also asked multiple times yesterday if I was Irish.  Do I even look Irish?  My last name is Coleman and I don't have red hair or freckles.  Not like those attributes are consistent in every Irish being, but really?  

Work is going great.  I love my job.  I work with some really great people.  One of the girls who trained me, Kelly, is a fellow southerner from Atlanta, GA.  She even knows a few girls I went to Ole Miss with - seriously, small world.  The general manager, Rey, is legit.  He is the most encouraging manager - always making sure his staff is doing good and offering help if needed.  My other manager is Elena.  She's a feisty one!  She's from Italy, where her parents own a restaurant, and she returns on occasion to renew her Visa.  She's very particular, though, and that's what makes her great.  Everything has to be perfect; all about consistency.  She always makes sure at the end of my shift to say, "Michael, thank you have a great night see you soon."  Except she says it in a much more rapid fashion and adds her own little flair.  Love that italian accent.

Then, there's the kitchen.  Chef Jake Rojas has been the chef there for a little over a year and has done a great job with the menu.  We have a chef tasting option that people make reservations for and each time he conjures up something new and different.  Everything that leaves that kitchen is exquisite.  I've always said I've worked in the best kitchen in the world at Waltz on the Square, and we've had our busy days, i.e. Double Decker '08 lunch.  This kitchen team is great, intense.  I wish you could meet the girl who runs the pantry line, Amanda.  She reminds me a lot of my old Sous Chef Erika Lipe.  She is ferocious.  Always going fast, not afraid to put her foot down and she can be quite the ..... if you piss her off, but she's great at what she does.  Everyone needs to meet an Amanda.

I guess I should get back to my Menu by Management class.  We had a huge project due today, which I completed, but I lost my jump drive yesterday and I, foolishly, didn't back it up so I have to redo the entire thing by next Tuesday.  Thank you Ody Milton for understanding.  I'm sitting next to a really pretty girl, Leah, who is reading all of this, but she is getting married soon.  Hope everyone is doing well, I think about you daily.

Catch you on the flipside.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Clean Cut

Yesterday, I started my job.  It's not that I avoided the option of working, because it's instilled in me to always be productive doing something, but it's that I had to be patient and wait for what was in store.  I work, now, at The Sunset Restaurant in North Malibu.  It's the closest thing to a perfect job I could have ever imagined.  I drive my car for 15 miles going to work right on the PCH.  Every day I drive in I smell the salt water from the ocean.  It's absolutely magnificent.  

Saturday morning, after another circuitous night only filled with sleep depravation, I woke up around 6 am.  Of course I had set seven different alarms the night before in fear of my iPhone not changing for Daylight Savings Time, but that was irrelevant at this point.  I tossed and turned for another fifteen minutes and after realizing my eyes wouldn't close again I decided to go to the Pier and watch the sunrise.

I put on the one pair of jeans I like, which now have a gaping hole in an area that shouldn't be publicly displayed, tied my chucks, plugged my headphones into my phone, and lugged my bike down the stairs to make the short 2 mile bike ride.  Having recently made a new playlist I was deafened by Rare Earth's "It's Time to Celebrate" while passing Colorado and 20th.  The air was crisp around me, fresh.  I knew it'd be a good day.  

I flew down the bridge that connected to the pier and the sounds of the wood thudded over my tires.  No one was really awake yet.  There was a homeless man sleeping under a tree off of Ocean, and small mexican man fishing off to the side, and a skate boarder (random, I know, but he was probably doing the same thing I was).  I was almost to the end of the pier and stopped to turn around to see the faint glow coming up over my city.  

Constantly distracted and ADD derived, I only stared for about 5 minutes.  In those five minutes I decided I was alive and awake and wanted to continue my bike ride down to Venice.  I got on the bike, turned up Carolina Liar's "Show Me What I'm Looking For," and realized how much I loved what I was doing.  I sped down the boardwalk and the vendors were setting up their kiosks for a long Sunday of hopeful sells.  I went through a group of guys and girls kicking a soccer ball around, galavanting at such an early hour, and on occasion, may the scene have allowed it, I plowed through herds of pigeons to watch them scatter relentlessly away.  I went home, refreshed and ready.

The most surreal moment of my day was when I had just gotten to work.  I was helping my co-worker Kelly set up the restaurant.  We were listening to music, listening to Kim's debauchery of her previous night out, and then we heard helicopters.  It was odd to have those gnats swarming at such an early, desolate hour.  We looked at the front window, well, one of the front windows since the entire restaurant is basically made of them, and saw what the commotion was.  Just off the shore to our right a huge spew of water leapt into the air and fins began surfacing all around it.  Then to the right, almost instantaneously, it was deja vu.  The sprinklers of water came up every few minutes - they were grey whales.  Turns out, the helicopters were flying just above them, closer to sure, to try and scare them back out into the ocean so they wouldn't become beached.  Ha, I didn't realize that term was applicable in reality.  The dolphins were amazing though, watching them come up every ten or fifteen seconds.  It was definitely something I had never seen before.

This was my break, my cut from what I used to do in LA.  I used to be the partier, neglecting my responsibilities as a student and sometimes as a person.  Not that I didn't before, but now I have such great influences in my life.  I have friends that work and realize the importance of their being is told by how they live.  In nine weeks of school, I have gone every day but two at seven am for class - something I haven't done since high school.  I'm working a thirty to forty hour work week in a drama free environment.  Could I ask God to bless me anymore?  Never.