Wednesday, August 27, 2008

scenes from the SA-lon

SA-lon. Remember those Vidal Sassoon commercials from the '80s, where they would talk about SA-lon quality hair and SA-lon quality products. I always thought they were so silly. Now look at me! A total SA-lon addict.

Got my roots done at Escape yesterday. Here are some scenes from the crime...

Pre-blonding. My roots were pretty bad...

The fabulous Jason mixing up the stuff he uses to make me blonde. Here he's saying, "Kitty, let me enlighten you."

Look at all those foils; sweet jesus is this time consuming. It takes Jason about an hour to paint bleach on my roots and wrap it up into little tiny foil wrappers. Then I have to "cook" for 20 minutes or more.

Jason explained to me yesterday that he's very conservative with the color, which is why it takes so long. He uses the least amount of bleach he could possibly need to get my hair nice n' light, then lets the magic happen slowly. A lesser stylist might paint on some really crazy high-potency shit and leave it on for a shorter amount of time. His method keeps my hair healthier in the long run. As healthy as one's hair can be after bleaching it, dying it black, and bleaching it again.

Et voila! Roots are gone, looking good as new!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Restaurant week Day #3

Our amazing manager strapped on an apron and is waiting tables.
Several overbooked parties didn't show. All my customers are nice &
sweet. I totally love restaurant week.

Restaurant Week Day#3: Part II

We discover half way through set up that, thanks to a schedule
miscalculation, we have just 2 severs here to wait on 4 sections full
of diners. And we may be overbooked.

The weather forecast called for rain, meaning we should have been
spared the patio section, however at the present moment the sun is
shining brightly. It's totally mocking us, that sun.

This night is going to be awesome.

Restaurant Week Day #3

I arrive tired and cranky. I couldn't sleep last night and had to get
up early to make a noon deadline.

"Como esta, kitty?" Asks Monica when she arrives.

"Bien," I say anyway. It's the only response I know.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Restaurant Week Day 2: Part V

I am going through some of my charge slips at the end of the night, looking closely at the number of people in each party and at total cost of each bill. Most parties of 2 hover somewhere around $75 - 90 per check, not unlike our usual check average, and several of my parties of 4 are well over the $200 mark. And all of this is before tip.

Wait a minute...this is exactly like a normal night at Toro. And for even bigger parties, the checks seem to be way, WAY bigger than usual. Instead of ordering one pitcher of sangria and 8 orders of corn for 8 people (which would total $70), all members of these parties are forced spend $33.08 each (totaling $264.64 pre-tax, without any drinks included.)

Looks like RW isn't a deal after all at Toro: many people spend more under the illusion that they are spending less.

And I will laugh all the way to the bank. : )

Restaurant Week Day 2: Part IV

"SIX OF THESE TICKETS ARE ON THE FLY AND I HAVE TO MAKE CHURROS!" I hear one of the cooks scream from the garde marger station. The printer keeps spitting and spitting out ticket after ticket as though mocking the fact that the entire kitchen is in the weeds.

Hmm...guess we ran out of the only dessert we have on offer tonight. Not sure how that happened, since we knew almost precisely how many people to expect because we're actually taking reservations this week.

All desserts are taking like 25 minutes, as well as any other food coming off the garde marger station, all cold food that usually takes just a few minutes to prepare. The older ladies at Table 51 (my second Table 51 of the night) are growing impatient. They've only had water to drink all night and are completely uninterested in a digestivo or a coffee as they wait for dessert. I'm dying to check in with the chef, just to make sure their food is coming, but I'm pretty sure he'll stab me or shoot me if I get in his way right now. So, I simply pace, back and forth between the cold line and Table 51, feeling simultaneously anxious and totally bored.

Man, I hate Restaurant Week.

Restaurant Week Day 2: Part III

By now I have made amends with Table 51. I am delighted to note that we now seem to be friends again. They take about a zillion years to eat their tapas and leave me a crappy tip, but I'm still happy they managed to have a nice night, despite the oppressive structure of the menu.

Restaurant Week Day 2: Part II

I have just taken the entire food order for Table 48. "Great, can I get any of you another drink at the moment? Or anything else?"

"No, but I do have a question," one of the guests says, "And I'm only asking this for her," she says pointing across the table at her friend. "How do you get your hair like that? Do you do something to it? Or is it just naturally curly?

I am tickled. "Heaven's, no! My hair has been bleached so much it has like negative curl. All of this and more can be yours with the right tools and a ton of product. I use a roller set," I say, and launch into a lengthy explanation of how I styled my hair this morning, curling it around the rollers, wrapping it in a scarf like an old lady, letting it set for hours while I write and work on my PR stufff. The women look on in rapt attention.

Apparently my hair-do is exactly what the shy friend wants her wedding hair to look like. She has gorgeous delicate bone structure and is going to look exactly like Grace Kelly all curled up like this, I can just tell.

These people are cool. Maybe Restaurant Week ain't so bad.

Restaurant Week Day 2

Table 51 is fighting with me about the Restaurant Week menu.

At Toro, RW dinner for 2 people includes 1 pincho per person and 5 tapas per person. The amount of food scales per the size of the party. These ladies minsunderstood my explanation, however, and tried to order 10 tapas total. I explain to them that a normal meal at Toro is usually 2-3 tapas each, so this amount of food is pretty much on target. They then begin to argue with me about whether Restaurant Week is actually a deal, thinking they've been had.

I determine the best way to put this all into perspective is to show them the normal (more expensive) menu and offer to move them to the bar to order off the normal menu if they like. They ultimately decide to stay.

Then they tell me that they expect each portion to come out specifically sized for 2 people. "That's what you just told us," they said.

"No, actually, that's not what I told you," I explain. My tone is polite and soft but the minute the words are out of my mouth, one of the women looks like her eyes are going to pop out of her head. Oops, guess that was the wrong thing to say.

Sweet Jesus, do people hate to be told when they're wrong.

And I totally hate Restaurant Week.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Restaurant Week Day 1

While grabbing a bottle of wine from high up on the shelf above the bar tonight, the bar back fell down. Five or six bottles of wine fell down on top of him from like ten feet up in the air, landing with a low, guttural thunk and shatter on the ground below.

The bar back was fine -- he was walking just a few minutes after it happened, went back to the office to chill out for a while. We sent him home and when he said goodbye, he had a few cuts here and there but said he was okay. I felt sick to my stomach for the next hour in any case, it was so freaking scary.

Everyone in the restaurant saw it happen, and several of my tables asked me, "Is he alright? Is he okay?" through their martini haze.

"Yes, yes," I assured them, pretending everything was as it should be, acting like nothing ever happened. I wasn't quite sure if that was true though, and it wasn't until I saw him clocking out that I was sure that he hadn't been pummeled to death by half a case of Mencia fallen from the sky.

It's kind of thing that just doesn't happen at an office job.

Incidentally, a similar debacle occured last time we did RW in March. A different bar back broke about 30 glasses over our already scant Sunday night supply of Iggy's bread. We had to throw it all away while cleaning up, just moments after 20 people sat down in the dining room, all passionate about sopping up their soggy tapas sauces with bread that we did not have.

Did someone put a hex on the opening night of Restaurant Week? Involving bar backs, glass, and utter inconvenience?

I totally hate Restaurant Week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The other day I was chatting with a friend at work who recently realized that he is a serial monogamist. And during the conversation, I realized that I, too, am a serial monogamist.

It didn't start off this way. I dated a string of boys in high school and college but there was usually some space between each relationship. And there was a long-seeming dry spell between my break-up with this guy (now a famous actor) and the guy who later became the Ex.

The Ex and I were together for 5 years and engaged for 3 1/2 of them. Our relationship was so broken when we finally broke up I think I was the only one we knew who was surprised its demise. And I had my very first date with the Mathematician the day after I told the Ex, once and for all, "it's over."

All of this ads up to the simple fact that, for the last decade at least, I've had a significant other. Someone else to worry about, someone else to plan my life around...someone else to worry about me. And when I scale back and think about the question of solitude, owing the fact that I have a twin brother I realize: I've never really been alone.

Is this a good thing? Or a bad thing?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

(borrowed) blonde wisdom

It’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.
- Marilyn Monroe

Caustic Blonde
posted this little pic and quote on her blog last week, and it got me thinking about solitude and independence. I'll be ruminating on and writing about it this week. Check back for this blonde's thoughts on another blonde's wisdom.

Friday, August 01, 2008

No writing. And no pictures.

I got kicked out of Whole Foods today. Why? For taking notes.

I've been working on a culinary research project for the last couple of weeks -- just a short freelance gig that kind of fell into my lap. It involves vetting local menus and checking out local grocery stores to identify current Boston eating trends. So far I've conducted research at Lionette's, Formaggio, Plum Produce, and the Copley Farmer's Market. All of these venues have been extremely welcoming, gracious, generous with their knowledge and helpful. Today it was time to tackle some bigger markets: Whole Foods, Shaw's, and Foodie's in the South End.

I started at Whole Foods. I walked in, armed with my little notepad and blue ink pen, and started walking up and down the aisles, searching for interesting food stuffs. It's a big chain so there weren't too many surprises in store for me but I plugged away, taking careful notes about anything that I thought I might need to write about later: macadamia nut butter, for example, or the multiple different brands of agave nectar they have on offer that I suspect may not have been on shelves a few years ago.

Then I rounded the corner to the fish aisle and a manager-seeming type guy came up to me:

"Can I help you, ma'am?"

Yech, he called me ma'am. "No, but thanks!" I smiled.

"I see you're writing something down there. What are you writing?"

"Oh," I said brightly, ever the eager student, "I'm actually doing research for a food trends study. It's about what kinds of flavors and ingredients are most popular in the Bostonian palate." I was just about to ask him what items seem to be selling well right now and if he had any thoughts to contribute to this type of study, when he very sternly interrupted me:

"You can't do that here. You can't write down notes. Or take pictures."

"," I said. "Well, I just...I can't write anything down?"

"Nope. No writing. And no pictures." His tone was firm, as though THIS CLOSE to bringing out the heavy if I even tried to argue.

"Okay." Shit. Now what do I do? What about my deadline? "Well, can I look around, then?"

"You can shop," he said, giving me a stern don't fuck with me smile.

"Oh. Okay."

So I bought a tube of lip balm and left. I felt mortified as I made my way through the check out line, and I definitely heard a woman standing behind me on a walkie talkie as I was texting a friend of mine about the situation in disbelief. I can't be sure she was monitoring my movements you think she was monitoring my movements?

I have never shoplifted in my life. I've never been arrested. I never even got detention in high school. And here I was, indicted for the crime of taking notes in Whole Foods.

I tried to walk out of there with my head held high, but I felt totally shamed by the incident. And betrayed. I mean, Whole Foods positions itself as this earthy-crunchy pseudo-hippie bourgeois outpost where all the things that will make yours a greener, healthier, happier life can be found (at a slightly higher price point that your run of the mill grocery store.) Now I know that is mere posturing. In reality, Whole Foods is just a big, mean chain with a weird no-note-taking policy.

And it is strictly enforced.