Thursday, May 10, 2007

Daniel Patterson hates and detests visiting you; hired waiter with paranoid schizophrenia; has investors who are a little slow (if you catch my drift)

Daniel Patterson, a prolific magazine writer who apparently has his own restaurant, wrote today on Chez Pim about the burning shame of coming out of the kitchen to visit customer tables, where he feels like some kind of awkward mental case, which is not at all how any of us expect chefs to be, since they are known for their social graces.

Patterson much prefers the warm comfort of his kitchen, where a psychotic waiter almost killed everyone.

At least there he doesn't have to spend for-EVER at an investor's table and explain very slowly for the millionth time why the food keeps changing, as he did in his dining room on opening night.

The kitchen also keeps him away from what he calls his "bitchy neighbor," an architect who drives a baby blue BMW. (So best!)

Pim scored quite a coup by luring Patterson to her site. He normally writes for the New York Times' various magazines and glossy publications like San Francisco. When he wasn't writing articles or dodging Alice Waters' narco death squads he ran the restaurant Elisabeth Daniel (RIP) and the kitchen at Frisson.

Patterson says his opening day was "boring," but it's not so bad when you selectively quote his story out of context!!:
6:30 AM
Wake up. My blood has been siphoned off and replaced with barely molten lead.

The mechanical tech failed to start the [f--ing air conditioning]. This inspired me to leave a brief but colorful [explitive-laden and physically-threatening-to-the-point-of-illegality ] message with the contractor, encouraging them to pay a visit in the morning to finish the job [or, alternatively, take part in an impromptu seminar on what a well-sharpened chef's knife can do to human fingers]. There are excuses, which I break off [like so many sauteed contractor digits].

Our [a--hole neighbor] is a[n] architect of indeterminate ability [-- though his office is next to a strip club in a seedy part of town, if that tells you anything --] who owns a building in the back of the alley that abuts the restaurant. It'€™s a nice alley ... [considering the] two residential hotel buildings ... [and] Centerfolds[, which is exactly as classy as it sounds].

What is Mr. Architect most concerned about? [The strippers? The drug-addict-filled hovels next door?] Our garbage cans, which cannot remain outside during the day. It is a major obstacle in his grand scheme to turn the alley into the charming, tree-lined ... lane of someone'€s youth. [OK, of my youth. But you get the point.]

Our first sin had been ... forcing him to sit on many occasions for minutes at a time in his baby blue BMW M3 [(license plate: 'JERKOFF')], cartoon smoke rising from his ears, while a worker moved his truck.

9:30 AM
Having learned the painful way that an overly ambitious opening menu is the root of most quality and timing disasters, this time I'€™m playing it safe. This, as [so-called] friends noted rather sharply the previous evening, leaves the "€œinnovation" level a little light, but [they are jerks, and will not got invited to future preview dinners. I think I'll take that guy from Covers just to spite them].

I have ... voodoo ... we will ritually sacrifice innocent[s], ... invoking the devil. Of modernity, [but whatever.]

I stood on the top step of a ten foot ladder, reaching forward three feet while twisting to the left to apply another layer of matte medium to a corner pane. The fact that I have no health insurance is weighing heavily on my mind at this moment.

I make a horrible line cook ... pulled in a dozen directions, peripatetically moving around the kitchen in an attempt to see and taste everything. I would hate working with me.

One of the servers, who had never been involved in a restaurant opening before, and is used to more corporate environs, [thanks to the Department of Corrections' "work-release" program,] is becoming increasingly enraged by the chaos. He insists on keeping a list that he titles – I kid not – “Mental Notes,” of all of the things that are going wrong around him, everything from clutter in the service station to the other servers who jostle him as he works. Midway through the night there are two pages of increasingly scrawling and disjointed handwriting posted in the service station, which by the last line looks to be the work of either an anguished six year old or a long-term resident in a psychiatric ward. He decides to leave mid-service. With our blessing.

[Because having all our patrons physically murdered on opening night is not exactly good press. And the Chronicle automatically shaves half a star off the "ambiance" rating for each mass-murder killing spree in the dining room, as Chez Panisse learned the hard way.]

There’s a lull in the action, and I head into the dining room to say hi to our first guests, who are just finishing up their meal. I normally hate, hate, hate visiting the dining room, unless it’s someone that I know well. I feel nervous and out of place, standing awkwardly in front of the table muttering inanities. But it’s opening night and I feel obligated, so I trudge out.

Our first guests are from Sonoma, where I opened my first restaurant, Babette’s. I thank them for coming in, say hi to a few of my fiancées co-workers and head back to the kitchen.

A little longer of a visit at the investor’s table. He is surprised that the food is better than the pre-opening meal yesterday [, sort of like a small child is surprised by his own image in a mirror, or by the setting of the sun]. I explain, again, [, since my explanation to Smarty McMoneypants didn't seem to stick the first 10 times,] that it will keep improving at a rapid pace for months, and then slow to small incremental improvements – it will take at least a year until it achieves a level of performance I find remotely satisfactory.

Patterson's full articles at Chez Pim:
Opening Day, by Daniel Patterson
Opening Day (Part II)

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Corn is a sick depraved vegetable that will enslave us all, said (who else?) Michael Pollan

Speaking to an angry mob of local radicals who were probably looking to burn something down, author Michael Pollan may have taken his food purity crusade just a bit too far when he suggested corn, the vegetable, is a sentient collective being that will kill us all.

Pollan went on to say people should not sleep easy at night while demon corn is allowed to freely roam our streets.

From the Oakland Tribune:
"Corn is on a quest for world domination," Pollan said last week to a standing-room-only crowd at the Oakland Museum of California. "Corn has taken over our land, diet, and now cars with ethanol fuel."
"Politicians sleep easy when food prices are cheap," he said.
Pollan won plaudits for his previous argument about corn -- that it was an inanimate object wielded as a simple but effective tool by a mindlessly self-perpetuating cabal of agricultural corporations and rural politicians.

But while it's tough for activists to remove a sitting Congressman, it's relatively easy to go after an innocent little veggie guarded only by a green husk and shaggy brown strings of hair, limping along with sad genetic mutations like a complete nervous system and set of teeth.

So Pollan may have decided going after corn, not certain politicians, is the easier route. Either that or Pollan had been eating at Chez Panisse that night, wink wink.

Oakland Tribune: Corn aims to rule world, prof says (NOTE: This is the actual headline.)

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Alice Waters at Cody's tomorrow night; will get you high, kill us all

Alice Waters biographer Thomas McNamee will be at Cody's San Francisco tomorrow night, 7 pm, which means Alice will certainly be remote-controlling his every last word and gesture and will effectively be present herself. Should be awesome.

The reading starts at 7 and the tentative agenda is:
  • 7:05 pm Welcome and inconsolable sobbing from Cody's owner Andy Ross.
  • 7:10 pm McNamee hands out Waters' famous PCP-laced tarts to lucky first 20 guests.
  • 7:15 pm Reading begins with chapter on Waters' CIA training in Santa Barbara and how she came up with genius ruse of creating hippie restaurant in Berkeley to lure, spy on SDS and Black Panthers and free-thinking professors.
  • 7:22 pm Visibly intoxicated John Birdsall arrives.
  • 7:23 pm Waters "security detail" of Trotskyite drug lords moves to eject Birdsall, not realizing he has concealed a chef's knife under his apron.
  • 7:24 pm McNamee's batteries run out just as he was getting to something interesting on arugula, crowd becomes frantic.
  • 7:25 pm High off organic Columbian cocaine, Waters' "security detail" panics when a foaming-at-the-mouth Birdsall unsheaths his bloody knife. In the ensuing chaos, they spray the entire crowd with standard Chez Panisse-issue Uzis.
  • 7:26 pm Ross reminds survivors there will be NO REFUNDS on unsigned books.

See you there!

Cody's Stockton Street: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - Thomas McNamee

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Alice Waters is high RIGHT NOW, as a matter of fact

The last words in the April 2007 7x7 magazine are from an interview with Alice Waters:
What are your vices?

You mean in terms of food? Because I really console myself by eating and drinking.

Sex, drugs, rock and roll -- anything.

All of those things.

The reporter then transformed into a giant talking bundle of broccoli rabe, which Waters stabbed repeatedly with her chef's knife before curling into a quivering ball in the corner of the blood-soaked interview room.

Previously: Drug dealers bankrolled Chez Panisse; Waters dropped LSD; hippie waiters stole wine, smok--zzzzzz ......

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Drug dealers bankrolled Chez Panisse; Waters dropped LSD; hippie waiters stole wine, smok--zzzzzz ......

So according to this totally uptight Bloomberg money writer dude in snooty old "London," the new book on Alice Waters says her earliest investors were Marxist drug lords; her high-as-a-kite waiters stole $30,000 worth of wine and she personally almost went on a kill-crazy Zodiac-style rampage while high on LSD.

Channeling her longtime mentor Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, who invented gangsta rap after a stint in the Chez Panisse kitchen, Alice says something totally deep about the whole amazing scene and how everything is, like, connected:
"They (the drug dealers) were the only people who had money ... The only sort of counterculture people who had money. We couldn't get it from a bank. God knows."
Thankfully, we in the Bay Area don't get our "book reviews" from a Republican New York smear machine like Bloomberg any more than we get our dietary advice from "scientists" with "advanced degrees" from "accredited universities."

We have our own, totally unmedicated John Birdsall at the Express to speak truth to power, and he's not going to play the Man's little games. Tell him a story about drug-crazed restaurateurs who are frothing at the mouth as they hand satchels full of drug money to the criminal waiter gangs doping up patrons and plotting a communist revolution, and he'll calmly yawn, call your tale a boring, "incurious" "surface narrative" written by an obvious sellout and of course not mention any of this in his book review because it doesn't matter.


Thanks to the Express' Weatherman Chris Thompson for telling us which way the reactionary wind is blowing.

Bloomberg's story about drug deals, LSD and other things that put us to sleep in the Bay Area: Inside Dope on Chez Panisse, Complete With LSD, Stoned Waiters

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Alice Waters used biographer to get even with Jeremiah Tower. Supposedly.

The East Bay Express' lunatic chef, John Birdsall, can often be found ending careers and asking searing questions like "What's up with that, Bay Area?"

But when he's not knife-blogging, the guy actually writes some enlightening restaurant reviews and, now, a deliciously dishy book review about Alice Waters. So there's no need for John to hunt me down and skin me alive like a game hen.

Birdsall hungrily tears into Waters' latest biographer, Thomas McNamee, for being Waters' idiot parrot man, writing a bio that was not only authorized but suggested by Waters, that does not investigate deeply but instead seems "content with surface narratives."

Alice Waters It's no coincidence, Birdsall thinks, that the book lashes Jeremiah Tower, who was none-too-kind to Waters in his recent book California Dish. Birdsall writes:
It's tempting to think of this book in part as Waters' answer to Tower, whom McNamee presents as rather pathetic. Come to think of it, Waters may have chosen McNamee to tell her story precisely because she sensed he wouldn't probe too deeply.
Full review: Shallow Alice

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