Tim and Jeremy are both waiters at a restaurant in downtown New York City. During slow times at work, to stave off boredom when it is slow, the two young men draw pictures. These pictures are made using ink and what is called the "Triple Dupe Pad," a book of paper used to place orders in the kitchen. The drawings usually take about a week to make, all the while also being used by fellow employees to take orders; this sometimes leads to other collaborators or in a couple cases, to the loss of the work. The drawings are then scanned and colored in Photoshop where they come to life in stunning technicolor! The subject matter varies from piece to piece, as they are made over a long course of time and under various moods and states of mind. They all retain a playfulness that serves as a coping mechanism after spending a night catering to the endless needs of hungry patrons.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#72 "Gettin' the Band Back Together II" In Color! September 18, 2013

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Wolf Credo

Respect the elders
teach the young
 cooperate with the pack

Play when you can
 hunt when you must
 rest in between

 Share your affection
voice your feelings
 leave your mark.

This has been hanging in the Men's room of the Cafe Loup for as long as I have been working there. It has probably been up there for 20 years. Most people think it is a charming addition to the place, or at least, an amusing thing to read while you pee. Guys like it so much that they sometimes get carried away and steal it. This is unnecessary as we keep copies behind the bar for those same guys who love it so much as to steal it. The saddest time that someone heisted the Wolf Credo was probably about eight years ago. The Loup was being repainted, head to toe, and the guy who was painting was a friend of Lloyd and a fine artist. He, as a gift to Lloyd, made a beautiful hand-made Wolf Credo on a repurposed piece of wood. He hand painted the credo and even hand painted the wolf peeing on the tree. It was all lacquered and sanded down and looked incredible. He probably spent as much time on it as he did painting the place. Well, it was promptly stolen from it's place above the urinal, and so we went back to having the photocopied version in there. One hopes that it has a nice home now, but I fear that whomever stole it, did so in a drunken stupor and once awoken to the hungover light of day, looked at it with mild bemusement and then promptly forgot about it and now it's in some landfill in New Jersey. Truly a shame. And it goes against the teachings in the Wolf Credo itself.
I never really wondered about where the Wolf Credo had come from until recently. I thought it was some ancient saying, possibly stolen from the Native Americans of the plains or some other such place where wolves are held in high regard. I was wrong. The saying comes from a woman from California named Del Goetz. She wrote a book called "Life in the Pack," all about raising and living with Siberian Huskies. According to her website, she has raised over 25 dogs and up to 12 at a time. She says, “I chose to raise dogs instead of kids because you don’t have to buy them a car or send them through college — and, they don’t do drugs. They show their appreciation when you feed them and show their affection constantly rather than conditionally when they want something.” She seemed like an interesting person so I decided I would find out a little more about her, and see if I could get a connection with her and the Cafe Loup, if there is one. However, she has proven pretty hard to find. Googling her gets you her website and the Amazon link where you can buy her book. The rest of the results are Marin County board meeting minutes praising Del's community service in the Muir Woods Park of California. She seems like she is an outstanding member of the community and I wanted to know more, so I emailed her. She, sadly, has not written back. I figure she's out in the woods raising dogs and helping with the community fire department. If she ever writes back and I can set up some sort of dialogue, I will certainly add that to this post. 
 Del certainly did leave her mark. Although she seems to be living the quiet life somewhere outside of San Francisco, at one time she penned a poem that has lived on in the Cafe Loup Men's Room for at least 20 years. It is so popular that we keep copies of it behind the bar for the guys who come out laughing and talking wildly about it. Some guys have even memorized it. It's odd that we don't have one in the Ladies Room, although in the picture, it is obviously a male wolf leaving his mark on a snow topped pine tree. But it seems cruel to leave the ladies of the Loup out of the loop. It's always funny to see a guy come out of the john laughing and talking about the Credo to a woman who has no idea what he's talking about. The guy is usually a little tipsy anyway, and then rambling on about teaching the young and voicing your feelings clearly leaves no mark on his date. She's probably rethinking sharing her affections with this guy, until I come along and say how great the Credo is, and handing him a copy from out from behind the bar, thus saving this guy's night and sharing the Credo with his date as well. 
All in all, the Wolf Credo is pretty solid advice for humans. I hesitate a little with "Leave your Mark," but as a species, that has been done already what with man made substance that may never break down and mutating wildlife. As individuals, everyone does want to leave their mark historically. No one wants to be forgotten, and I think that this little poem may remind people, even very subtly, that they aught to get out and do something with their lives. 
Cafe Loup and the Wolf Credo: Always trying to help out humanity.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#72 "Gettin' the Band Back Together II" September 18, 2013

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I probably shouldn't write this post. Not because it's childish, highly unlikely, or even based anywhere in reality, but because I don't want to give away my plans. I don't want someone to read this and steal my idea so that when the day comes, I'm left out in the cold. Yes, I am talking about the Zombie Apocalypse. As a New Yorker, the Zombie Apocalypse is going to be a trying endeavor. There are 20 million people living in the TriState Area, and so when the outbreak comes and most of the population are turned into zombies, New York City is not going to be a great place to be. Unless you find yourself at the Cafe Loup.
A couple years ago, some friends of mine and I found ourselves at the Loup talking about this very scenario. We had all seen countless zombie movies and T.V shows, so we knew the risks of being in a big city. One of the best portrayals of New York during the post-zombie-apocalypse is in the movie "I Am Legend" in which Will Smith ends up being the last man alive on the island of Manhattan that has been overrun with zombies. He fares rather well, and I think anyone who has seen the movie would move to Washington Square North as well. However, before you can become "the last man standing," you need first to survive the initial scourge of zombies. That is where the Loup comes in. Some people are going to think that going out and fighting these undead former finance bros is going to be the way to go. I am here to defend the opposite stand; that of laying low and surviving. Battling zombies on the streets of New York is going to be difficult at best. There are not enough firearms in the city and there are too many variables. Zombies could get at you from literally any angle; from the sewers, dropping down from buildings, jay walking, or from behind the wheel of a large automobile. No, being on the streets after dark during these troubling times would be unwise at best. The better solution is to lay low, wait out the initial push, and then return to the world when the zombies have been starved out of Manhattan and have moved on to the suburbs. Hence, the Cafe Loup.
The defensive capabilities are pretty solid at the restaurant, although there will have to be some preparation, and you are going to want to have a couple people to help. With luck, the Zombie Apocalypse will happen at approximately midnight on a Sunday night. This way, me and a handful of good people will be there and we can keep the riff-raff out, e.g. you, dear readers (as zombies, remember; but you won't care because you will be undead). We have a steel door that will need to be pulled down and locked from the outside. Then, we will need to just go ahead and break one of the front windows. They will be broken soon enough once the zombies start realizing there are people with deliciously edible brains inside, so what's the harm in speeding along the process? Once back inside, the front windows are going to need to be barricaded. We will use as many, if not all, of the tables, chairs, refrigerators, and stoves from the dining room and kitchen as necessary. This barricade will hopefully keep out the undead hordes, but in the unfortunate event that this barricade does not hold, there is still hope! As a couple people are barricading the front of the restaurant, a second team will be taking all of the food, water, and booze downstairs into the basement. This is where everyone will be living for the next 6 months (or as long as it takes for the brain eaters to move out to Long Island). Once the front alcove is sufficiently barricaded, the basement door can be shut and the second defense can be started in the stairwell. Once everyone is downstairs and the two-system barricades are in place, everyone can relax a little bit.
But not for long. That's when siege mentality is going to have to take place. Now, if the Zombie Apocalypse does happen on that fateful Sunday night, we won't be as stocked as possible, but we will be stocked for a good 6 month, subterranean vacation of misery. Yes, we will be alive and that will be exciting, but the 6 months in the dark of the basement might not be what you would call a vacation. However, we will be well stocked with foodstuffs, clean and safe drinking water, and of course a ton of booze. I think on Day 1, you drink the best stuff you've got, as a celebration of surviving the initial outbreak, barricading the place and ending up in a safe spot underground. Then, on Day 2, you start emptying the well liquors and liqueurs, so as to save the good stuff for a couple months from now when the cabin fever and the rank odors of your co-inhabitants is going to be irritating. I think there would be enough food for 6 people to live down there for 6 months. Granted, we wouldn't all be eating "escargot followed by cassoulets and chocolate pudding for dessert" every night, but there is enough dry and canned food that we could all not starve. Yes, we will be losing some weight, a lot of weight, but we will come out on the other side alive and not zombies. And what a glorious day that will be! The day that we finally emerge from the basement into the Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia! We'll remove the refrigerators from the doors, and armed with knives and hammers, we will spill out onto 13th Street and greet the new world with squinty eyes and emaciated faces. But we will be alive!
(Wouldn't that be the worst if that in that 6 month stretch, a cure was found and New York City hadn't actually been overrun by zombies? We finally hack our way out of the basement and find that life had just gone on as normal, and people simply thought the Cafe Loup had closed? But, if New York had been completely consumed by the zombie horde, it'll be nice to know that we can get all the great apartments now.)
In all of New York, I truly believe that the Loup is my first choice of places to be when the Zombie Apocalypse happens. As for all of you, if you would like to be invited into the elite club of zombie survivalists on 13th street, I would recommend coming in every Sunday night, just in case "Patient Zero" tastes the first brain somewhere in lower Manhattan and plunges the world into total and utter chaos. Wouldn't it be nice to spend the next couple of months in a dark basement sipping on the daily ration of Creme de Cacao instead of roaming the streets in search of brains?

Friday, April 10, 2015

#71 In Color!!! September 10, 2013

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"Water World"

In any good restaurant, there should never be a dull moment. Actually, the only dull moment should be closing up for the evening without a hitch; locking the door, and peacefully walking away, leaving the space to breathe overnight to get ready to do it all again the next day. The rest of the time should be a non-stop hive of activity. Ordering, delivering and preparing the food, cleaning the place, making it look good for the guests, and eventually serving as many meals as humanly possible. All of this usually goes on without incident day in and day out. There are some days, however, that try their hardest to mess up the natural flow of the normal day in the restaurant. One of those days happened just this week, and I was there to witness it.
There have been a handful of times that the restaurant has closed because of natural disasters. The Cafe Loup was open on 9/11, and from I heard, they were packed. The place doesn't have a television set, and my guess is that people needed to get out of their apartments and be with other people on that day, and so they congregated at the bar and in the dining room trying to make sense of the events of the day. I started working there a couple months later and business went on uninterrupted until August 14, 2003. I was taking a shower, getting ready to go to work when the stereo went out. I didn't think much of it until I got outside and saw that the traffic lights were out. It was the Great Blackout of 2003. The entire Northeast was blacked out, the biggest power outage in American history with over 50 million people without power. On that day, though, we all thought the power would be back on in time for service, so I went to the Loup to see what I could do. I found Lloyd there that day sitting outside on the sidewalk with his little battery operated television set that we would watch the World Series on a couple months later. Sure enough, the entire city was without power. I went into the darkened restaurant that was being lit by the emergency floodlights, but the kitchen was pitch black. There would be no service that evening. A couple regulars came in and we gave them some drinks, and drank a couple beers, since they would all be warm in a couple hours and then sat outside on the sidewalk to watch the endless streams of people walking home. That little forced night off wasn't such a big deal, the power returned the next day and the restaurant went on with the usual business that evening.
The next time wasn't so easy. Flash forward nine years to October 2012. A storm people were calling "Frankenstorm" was making it's way up the East Coast. The closeness to Halloween was the reason for the name, but once it hit New York City, the humor of the name was quickly forgotten to the actual name of the storm, Hurricane Sandy. This hurricane, when all was said and done, ended up being the second costliest hurricane in American history, runner-up only to Katrina which essentially leveled New Orleans. To this day, there are still people in New York City living in hand-made shelters that they built after their homes were destroyed, and this is going on 3 years since the storm. I was lucky enough to be out of town when the storm hit, and although the storm water didn't affect the Cafe Loup, the aftermath certainly did. The water flooded the streets on the south and east side of Manhattan, causing one of the power stations to explode and shut off the power to lower Manhattan for a week. Just our luck, the power outage affected everything from 14th street on down to the southern tip of Manhattan. As you know, the restaurant is on 13th Street. Lloyd estimated that he ended up throwing out over $7,000 worth of food that started to go bad a couple days after the power went out. Then he had to buy all that food again and start over. And we were the lucky ones! Minimal to no water damage, and everyone survived.  Pretty good for a city where 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and 71 people died.
Finally, and this is why I even thought about this subject in the first place, are the events that took place this past Wednesday evening. The previous two events cost the restaurant a lot of money and stress, and so this little thing that happened on Wednesday is essentially a non-event, but it was pretty eventful anyway, and it made me think about how sometimes it's the unexpected events that make you enjoy the quieter moments. What happened is that at about 7 o'clock on Wednesday night, a water main broke on 13th St. and 7th Ave, flooding the subway and draining the neighborhood of its water. Our building still had hot water, but there was no cold water and no water in the toilets. I was working the door, so I would tell people this as they came in, showing them videos from Twitter, and letting them know that the toilets were essentially not working. Not one person was disuaded from coming in and enjoying some drinks and dinner. Every once and a while, Tim and I would go into the bathrooms and manually fill up the tanks, and rinse out the urinal, thus trying to create a sort of normalcy throughout the night. The kitchen guys filled up as many receptacles as they could with the water that was remaining since they knew it would eventually run out as it had in the smaller buildings on the block. For the most part, I was impressed by everyone who helped out to make a possibly disastrous situation completely reasonable and incident free. Some of the guests didn't even know anything was amiss until they were leaving. Writing about this night coupled with the previous stories seems like they aren't related in the slightest, as the other two were disasters on a national level, while this water main break only affected an extremely small amount of people and was essentially a nuisance rather than an all out life altering event. But it was exciting. To be put in a pressure situation and come out on the other end not only successful but also making such a small impact that many people didn't know there was a problem was pretty cool. It certainly makes you appreciate those nights that nothing out of the ordinary happens. Oh, to be boring!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#71 September 10, 2013

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"Garden of Eden"

As my loyal 8 readers know by now, the text in these blog posts really doesn't have much to do with the picture posted above.When I started writing this blog, it was more based on the pictures, but as the years wore on and I struggled with the meaning of the drawings and the meaning of the project in general, the text of the blog started looking inward at the restaurant that the drawings are made in. The space of the restaurant, and the inner workings became as important to the drawings as the drawings themselves. I mean, one could exist without the other, but without the restaurant, the drawings would never have come into form. In fact, these drawings represent a perfect storm of opportunity. The restaurant has gone through so many changes in name, ownership, and time, that if it hadn't been for the exact time and scenario that we were able to find ourselves at Cafe Loup, this blog would be about something completely different.
Which brings me to an awesome event that happened a week ago. We were having a normal Friday night at the restaurant, when a table of eight men of varying ages sat down at Table 8. They seemed to be just a normal table of eight, until they revealed who they really were. It turns out that one of the guys at the table was getting married, and this was his "bachelor party," even though his 12 year old nephew was in attendance and he was in his 60's. So, ok, they were having a tame bachelor party. Big deal, right? That sort of thing happens all the time at the Loup, so why was this party special? Well, the guy who was about to get married at one point tells Edie that his parents used to own the restaurant in the 1960's and that he hadn't been back to the restaurant since he was 11 years old! He had the idea to have the bachelor party at the same restaurant that his parents had owned 50 years prior.

Back then, the place was called "Garden of Eden" and it was a glorious downtown restaurant that seems like it thrived in the 1960's. It was then, as it is now, a family run establishment, serving delicious food and drink. The family goes by the name of Monasebian, although they spell it "Monas'bien" on the menu (as you can see in the picture above, depicting the front page of the menu). The Monasebians built the bar, and put a little pool with goldfish and plants in the middle of the dining room! The bar that they built is still that bar that is in the restaurant today. The pool, sadly, is no longer in the dining room. I am pretty sure that it was right in the middle, where Table 24a and 24B are today, and next time I am at the restaurant I am going to see if I can find some traces of the pool.

Mr. Monasebian in the dining room. 1965

The picture above shows Mr. Monasebian in the dining room. The column to his left is still there, although since the picture is so dark, it is hard for me to get my bearing on which direction we are looking. However, you can see the pool to his right, with flowers poking out next to him. 
When his son was in for dinner, they brought with them an old menu from the place and also a bunch of pictures from the dining room and kitchen. Those are the pictures I am showing you all here. We, as the staff, were so interested that we were all huddled around these guys looking at the pictures and menu while our sections sat patiently on a busy Friday night. Tomoyo even gave the guys a tour into the basement (so that she could photocopy the pictures and menu) and they said it was the same as they remembered. In fact, the picture of the kitchen looks incredibly similar.

In the kitchen of "Garden of Eden" 1965

The kitchen of today still has some of the same things in it, from 50 years ago. In this picture, you can see a metal structure hanging from the ceiling with metal hooks hung from it. That thing still hangs in the kitchen now. The shelf behind the head chef is still there and still in use today. You can see a server in the background under a stack of plates. We no longer keep plates there (we do keep pots and pans there), but it seems like that is where one would pick up food, which is the same as today. I admit, that when I first went into the kitchen at Cafe Loup, I was surprised by how small it was. I was then doubly surprised to see how much food could come out of such a small kitchen. But this being New York, you have to make it work with the space you have. Upon seeing this picture, I realized that they were working with the same size kitchen 50 years ago. Not only that, but it was set up the same way! So, these guys figured out how to make such a small space efficient, and it got handed down from owner to owner until today, where it is essentially the same setup now.

Some of the menu from "Garden of Eden" 1965

The menu was a real treat to look at. Not only for the things that they served, but for the prices! 
Prime Rib for $3.95! Coffee for $.35! 
I'm sure these prices were relatively high for the time, but this is New York! And this is Greenwich Village in it's prime (rib)! This was probably a place where you would dress up and take a special date or go with a group for family style dinners. You'd get some steak and some wine and have a grand old time. One of the great things on these menus, besides the food and prices, are the little sayings on the bottom: "Your Presence is a Compliment to Our Restaurant- Haste Ye Back!" That one is great, but the one on the next page, I think we should somehow incorporate into the current menu....

More menu from "Garden of Eden" 1965

"Dinner Without Wine is Like a Day Without Sunshine." 
Truer words have never been written. This whole page is incredible. When the guys showed us this page, it was literally like finding a treasure chest. From the warning that this new-fangled thing called curry is indeed very spicy to the "Shashlik" served on a flaming sword! This place must've been the best! I mean, you could get three lobster tails for $3.95, served with salad and a Baked Idaho potato! So amazing. 
It seems like they also had some special occasions. I don't know for sure, but the next picture looks like there was a buffet every once and a while. I know that at my grandparents place in the 1960's, they used to have a buffet every Sunday evening. It was that way until the 80's, as I remember having to dress up in a little mini suit and tie every Sunday night to dine at the buffet. It was quite an event! This picture certainly reminded me of that time, even down to the chefs tall hat. The only thing that's missing is the decorative Jell-o molds with lobsters in them.

The buffet at "Garden of Eden" 1965

Yes, it looks like the Monasebian's had quite a place. I don't know where this picture of the buffet table was taken, but I have a theory. It seems like the back wall of the restaurant, which would be where Tables 36-40 are now. Now, there is a large banquette there (and photos of Janis and Jimi), and I know that in the place that replaced "Garden of Eden" this was a live room where bands would play. This seems to be that back, and the wall behind the Monasebian's seems to be lined with marble, as you can see a slight reflection of a light fixture just about the chefs hat. I could be wrong, but no matter what, the place looks so 60's glamorous! 

View from the pool. "Garden of Eden" 1965

Finally, here is a picture from across the pool. It depicts Mr. Monasebian seated while his guests put on their furs and prepare to depart for the evening. The pool is in the foreground and you can almost see the goldfish swimming around in it. 
I am not sure when the Monasebian's sold the restaurant. The son, who was celebrating his bachelor party there two Fridays ago said that he hadn't been back to the restaurant in 50 years, so I am guessing they sold the place right round 1965, or so. Maybe not, maybe they kept it until the 70's, who knows. I don't know when it changed hands, as there is nothing about it on the internet that I can find. I even brought that point up a couple of posts ago, lamenting the fact that I didn't know what was in this space in the 1960's. "The Garden of Eden" must have been the first thing in the building, as the building itself was built in the 60's. What I find fascinating is that the place that I know of that replaced "The Garden of Eden" was called "The Bells of Hell." It's so poetic, and so New York. The owners of "The Bells of Hell" must have known the Monasebian's and known about the "Garden of Eden." They must have thought, "Well, we're not going to run a fancy dining room with live goldfish and flaming swords. We're going to run a honkey-tonk rock n' roll bar, so why not take the name in the exact opposite direction?" I think New York business owners of the past thought about that stuff more than they do today. I mean, Cafe Loup got it's name with the same sort of mind-frame, but that's a different story. I like to think that for the past 50 something years, the little space on 13th St. has been both Heavenly and Hellish, and now serves as a kind of space in between the two. A place with both qualities, and now it lives in the body of a wolf, an earth-bound creature that for centuries has been both feared and respected by all those who come in contact with it. A perfect middle ground between Heaven and Hell.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#70 "Feather in Your Cap" in color!!! September 3, 2013

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 We live in a time when people are obsessed with food. There's more than one network on television completely dedicated to different kinds of food. There are numerous cooking competition shows, even one that has kids competing to be the best chefs. It seems like people didn't even care about food before the millennium. Obviously some did, but if you look at history, it seems (to me anyway) that we live in a time when people think about the food they eat way more than they used to. I think that is great, as people should be interested in what they are putting into their bodies, but there are some downsides, especially as a waiter. One of my biggest peeves is the gluten allergy. I realize that it is a real thing, and a real horrible thing, but I also know that not as many people who claim to have this allergy actually have it.
When I first started working in the food service industry back in the 90's, I never heard of allergies, really. I would come across the occasional lactose intolerant person, but had some told me they were allergic to gluten in 1996, I would not have known what they were talking about. I would have made some joke about them mispronouncing the word "glutton" and then told them to maybe eat less next time and then they wouldn't be allergic. Or some other "deadly sin" joke. Nowadays, as a server, you hear at least one person a night say they are allergic to gluten. So, because of that and because of this blog post, I went down various rabbit holes related to food allergies and was very surprised at the results. There are, of course, one thousand and one conspiracy theories about what is causing this huge spike in food allergies over the past 30 years, and this being the internet, you really have to cross reference a lot to figure out what is true and what is pseudoscience. Even then, you are left pretty much right back where you started.
Let me backtrack for a second. Gluten allergies at the worst is called Celiac disease. When people with Celiac disease eat gluten, their body mounts an immune response and attacks the small intestine, causing horrible pain in the small intestine. This damages the small intestines and blocks it from absorbing nutrients, leading to larger problems, including anemia, migraines, miscarriages, and even intestinal cancer. The Celiac Foundation (which was only started in 1990) claims that Celiac disease is hereditary and is passed down from generation to generation. But the Foundation's website doesn't tell you how one develops a gluten allergy to pass down to your kids, like bad teeth and acne, so I had to wade through the muck and mire that is the internet.
I googled "Gluten allergies 1990's" because I figured it was in the 90's that things started spiking (as I had not heard of a gluten allergy in the actual 90's and the Celiac Foundation didn't start until then). One of the first articles to come up was a 2013 study by an independent scientist and an MIT professor that you can read here. It's called "Glyphosate, pathways to modern disease II" and I read a lot of it, although not all of it. In the article, it maintains that Glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, the common most fertilizer in America is the direct culprit in the spike in Celiac disease and gluten intolerance in general. The article goes on to say that this Glyphosate is not only the main culprit for Celiac disease but a host of other diseases from cancer right on down. This made sense to me, as RoundUp was introduced in the mid 70's so by the time kids from that era started having kids (the 90's) they would have had ingested tons of Glyphosate in their Wonderbread peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. Thus, they would have passed down their gluten intolerance to their kids, and thus a gluten intolerance epidemic is formed. However, upon further reading, I found out that the article is mostly false and filled with so many "ifs, "mights," and "could be's" that it is not be taken seriously. And yet, it is the first thing to pop up when you google "gluten allergies 1990's" and is published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information site, which leads me to believe that anyone looking for a good gluten allergy conspiracy theory (and aren't we all, really?) can find all they need to know about the horrors of RoundUp in one site, and have it be totally believable because the website seems so legitimate. Also, when you think about possible culprits for disease, fertilizer seems like a pretty clear evil doer, so when you read something like RoundUp is causing everything from Celiac disease to autism, no one would blink an eye. The problem is that Glyphosate is very low in toxicity and breaks down in the soil in an extremely fast rate, making contact with your Wonderbread  very unlikely.
So where is this spike in gluten allergies coming from? The internet is filled with contradicting articles and theories, and the food service industry simply waves it all off as a giant lie that difficult customers on a diet use as an excuse to eat gluten free so they can fit into those jeans they used to wear in college. And that's the sad truth about it. You might have Celiac disease, and I am sorry to hear about that. Beer is awesome, and so is bread, and so are a bunch of other things that contain gluten. I feel bad that you risk your health if you come into contact with something that is going to affect your ability to have kids. I also hope that science can figure out why this disease has essentially tripled in the last 30 years, and can figure out a way to stop it. Imagine if they never did figure it out, and one day the whole planet was gluten free, many generations from now. No more wheat, no more beer, no more bread, no more cookies, no more muffins, no more pasta, no more tortillas, no more gravy, no more cereal, no more soy sauce. Maybe we'll be better off. Until then, the next beer's on me!*

*Not true. I think you still owe me one from that other time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#70 "Feather in Your Cap" September 3, 2013

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One of the most popular desserts at the Loup is the Chocolate Pudding. Actually, it is the most popular, hands down. We have a great assortment of desserts, and most of them are fantastic, but the chocolate pudding stands head an shoulders above the rest. I am not quite sure why that is besides the fact that it is delicious. It is simply your basic, every-day pudding, but there is something else that elevates it to a magical plane. Maybe it's the giant chocolate cookie that accompanies it, or maybe it's the fresh whipped cream dollop on top, or could it be the sprinkling of cocoa powder? It could be a combination of all of these things, but I think the not-so-secret ingredient of "love" that Jose puts into every batch is the real reason this dessert is such a hit with the downtown crowd.
In the drawing above, the chocolate pudding is merely a bystander witnessing the scene lain before it. It was the last detail of this drawing to be added if I remember correctly. It stands proudly in it's parfait glass, complete with a spoon just waiting to be gobbled up by someone with a sweet tooth, or maybe someone who really likes dessert and has sweet teeth. The rest of the drawing unfolds before it, with all of the characteristic hi-jinx that are usually seen in this series of drawings. Including a severed head, and what self-respecting T&J drawing is complete with out one of those?
So, as long as I have been working at the Loup, there has always been the chocolate pudding. I have seen some desserts come and go, but the pudding is always going to be around. We used to have this great dessert that is sadly missing from today's menu. It was called Sabayon, and it was incredible. For those of you who have not tried this particular delicacy, it is essentially just eggs, sugar, and some wine. It can usually be found in Italian restaurants since it has Italian origins, but we used to have one that could stand up to anyone's. Light and creamy, served with berries, it was something to behold. But alas, we got rid of it! No one misses it though, not like other things that disappear off the menu. There are still people who call the restaurant on a regular basis asking if we have the brains back on the menu. I have talked about brains here before, and there's a great story about them over here in T&J #55, but they are not a consistent item on the menu. They are the very definition of "special." But people still ask about them. One thing that I am glad we no longer serve, either on the special list or on the regular menu is the Duck Liver Beignets. Those things were toxic (no offense to the guys in the back who made them every day. It was not their fault that they were nature's own heart attack inducer). These things were crazy. They were essentially crepes that were filled with duck liver (think Passover style liver, not fois gras) and then deep fried. Then, they were served with a sweet sauce and served like a pizza, essentially. They were my nightmare, and I stand behind the food that I serve at the Loup, so this was one of those things that was difficult to serve. But people loved them anyway! Who am I to say what people are going to find delicious and nutritious? People would get the Beignets and then still have an entree after eating their weight in duck liver and crepe. It was truly a sight to behold.
But I digress. We started this one off talking about desserts, so I guess we should finish off there as well. Not that it matters where we end. But dessert does come last, so we should stick to that. In the next post, you will see the pudding in color, then you are going to want it. This is the most reasonable response to the pudding. You see it, you want to eat it. I don't think I have ever served someone the pudding and them not like it. Some people can't eat a lot of it because they have already eaten too much rich things like Beignets and such, but they'll still try it out and fall in love all over again. And isn't that what dessert is all about?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#69 In Color!!! August 27, 2013

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The Cafe Loup art collection is pretty amazing. In the last post I wrote about the artists who are shown at the Loup with whom I had or have a personal relationship with. This time around, I am highlighting the more famous of the bunch, most of whom are no longer producing art on account of no longer being alive. I think only one of them is still among the living.
Talking about the art at the Loup, one must start with Brassai. He is essentially the image of the Loup (notwithstanding the Loup's shadow puppet logo) and his work embodies the spirit of what the Loup achieves to be. There are about a dozen photographs of his adorning the walls of the dining room. They range from his photos of transvestites, to the cops on the beat, to portraits of Picasso and Matisse. We have a couple different photos of his on the back of our dessert menu and on the front of our wine cards. [Quick side note: Sean Lennon used to live on the block and would come in quite often. One time him and Yoko came in and I waited on them. He drew a picture of one of the girls from the Brassai photograph on the wine card. When he left, I took the drawing home. So, I now own an original Lennon drawing (of a Brassai photograph, drawn at the Loup. So meta).] I like all of the Brassai's we have in the dining room. I like his style. Being a night person, I can relate to his fascination with Paris at night, especially in the 30's. Obviously, that is why he is so famous. Pre-war Paris is just about the most romantic thing you could think of, and Brassai captured it better than anyone. My favorite piece we have by him is just above Table 12. There are a couple pictures there. One of them is of a couple on a bed in a brothel. Above that is a woman relaxing at the opium den. Whenever I have a couple of people sitting there who are being indecisive or just slow at ordering, I look up at this photograph and I am instantly calmed. The woman is so stoned, it's amazing. There's a little cat with her that is probably equally as high just from the contact buzz. Compositionally, I think there are better ones, but I just like how mellow this one is. It is truly a comforting thing when I am completely in the weeds or stressed out. The woman is essentially saying to me, "This, too, will pass."


The most famous picture we have at the Loup is this next one, by the late Irving Penn. It is prominently displayed between Table 10 and Table 11 right up front. This is a great picture. It's called "Doug" and it is a portrait of the then leader of the Hell's Angels. I really love this piece and I look at it a lot. When you are surrounded by art all the time, sometimes you overlook it or take it for granted and it becomes part of the background. This one never does that. The steely gaze of this Doug character is so arresting, it commands attention. That, and dude's hair is epic. Penn did a shoot for Look magazine in 1967 photographing the hippies and Hell's Angel's of San Francisco's burgeoning hippie scene. He shot The Grateful Dead that day as well. His description is probably better than anything I could write about it, so here it is:

"During the photographing the hippies and the rock groups surprised me with their degree of concentration. Their eyes remained riveted on the camera lens; they were patient and gentle. The distracted quality which I feared would be typical of this new kind of person was not a problem at all.
The Angels were something else again. They were like coiled springs ready to fly loose and make trouble. Being inside a building with their precious bikes (and the wives and children I had asked them to bring) frustrated their natural tendency to smash up the place and do mischief. The delays and provocations were endless. Still, the hypnotic lens of the camera and the confinement of the studio held them in check long enough for the pictures to be made. When the experience was over and their screaming bikes went down the road, I breathed [the] deepest sigh."

Irving Penn "Doug" 1967

The next piece was bought by Lloyd himself, which is a little different, since most of the collection was bought by the previous owners, Bruce and Roxanne Bethany. As long as I have worked at the Loup, the front alcove has been adorned with a bulletin board where artists can pin up their gallery opening invitations. There are a lot of them on there from way back (I noticed one yesterday from April 2000!). But, on the board, right up front is a poster for the opening of an exhibit by the artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. This guy was an "outsider" artist and was never famous in his life time. He was a baker from Milwakee, Wisconsin. When he was done baking for the day, he and his wife/muse Marie would make art. Photo shoots, drawings, paintings, and essentially installations were constructed and executed. When he died, thousands of pieces were left behind, including thousands of these pin-up style portraits of his wife Marie. On the poster on the bulletin board, poor Marie's breasts have been poked though by a decades worth of push-pins, but she remains cheerfully staring out at all of coming and going guests. A couple years ago, Lloyd finally bought one of these photographs after being obsessed with them (and the poster) for years. I couldn't find the exact one that hangs in the restaurant, but the one below seems to be from the same time period/photo shoot. To see the actual piece, you'll have to come in sometime and sit up front at Table 11. It's proudly placed right beside the Penn. Lloyd was so happy when he brought it in and showed it to me for the first time. He was grinning from ear to ear and as he hung it on the wall he said to me , "Not bad for a baker's wife, eh, Junior?"

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein

This next piece is by the only living artist in this post. It is a print by the Irish artist John Kindness. Besides having an awesome last name, this guy's print is pretty sweet. It hangs in the back, by Table 36, so it has a soft spot in my heart. When I was new at the Loup, the back section was always mine. It is the easiest section, on some levels, so all the new people start out back there. I was back there for a couple years, and I got to know this picture pretty well. It's pretty simple; just a rubber ducky and the ducky's interior bone structure. Pretty simple, but that is what I like about it. We serve a delicious duck dish at the restaurant, so I think it's fitting that this little fellow commands the back corner. In fact, there is a little shrine dedicated to ducks in that back corner. There is a duck pull toy, and depending on the day, there is even a little duck toy that looks just like the one depicted in the picture. It may have been stolen though. That happens sometimes. Anyway, this guy lived in New York for a while in the 90's, so I bet that's when the Bethany's picked this one up. I could be wrong though. It is certainly the most playful of all the art at the Loup.
John Kindness

"Cocteau In Bed With Mask, Paris 1927" by Berenice Abbott hangs above Table 18. This is one of Abbott's early works, before she moved to Greenwich Village in 1935. She is most known for her work once she moved to New York. However, when she was living in Paris, she became famous, and her portraiture was a veritable "Who's Who" of the Parisian art scene. She had moved there in the 20's and started working with Man Ray. She must have known Brassai as they were working side by side at the time, and both in Paris. In this portrait, the artist, playwright, writer, and overall eccentric Jean Cocteau is seen "sleeping" with a mask. I've always liked this piece, as it is surreal without being over the top. I don't know what Cocteau's hands look like, and I have always imagined these hands to be someone else's. I am not sure if that is true, but they certainly look like they could belong to another person; a woman, perhaps? Anyway, I am also fascinated by the fact that she would have him "sleeping" like this, since he was such an active artist and socialite. Maybe it is because he never slept, and so it was funny to them to portray him in this manner. At any rate, it's an interesting piece even though at first glance it seems so simple. Another fun tidbit; this Cocteau character looks a lot like our handsome bar tender, Jay Milite! They could be cousins! Check out the similarities next time you are in on a Friday or Saturday evening.

Berenice Abbott

Dorothy Dehner's print hangs over Table 5 on the column right in front of the bar. She was an artist who lived in New York from the late twenties until her death in the 1994. She was mainly a sculptor, but she studied printmaking with Stanley William Hayter at Atlier 17. He was working on a technique he called "simultaneous color printing" which is what we see here, even though Dehner uses color sparingly. I studied printmaking in college and have given this piece the old college critique plenty of times. What stood out to me initially was the dirty edges. That was always such a sore subject in my classes that it was burned into my head to always, always, clean the edges of the plate before running it through the press. However, Dorothy never learned that lesson, or if she did, she ignored it and printed it with some filthy edges. Using the "simultaneous color printing" method, she inked up this plate (probably copper) with black ink into the grooves that she had etched, and then rolled on the red to the raised surface of the plate and then ran it through the press. This poor piece gets moved around a lot. It is on the blind side of the column, so when people come in and sit down at Table 5 with a bulky coat or backpack, the piece gets jostled. There are even marks on the wall that show the history of the constant movement, which is a bit of a shame since this woman has work hanging in MoMA.

Dorothy Dehner

Finally, we have "Mirror" by George Tooker. Another print in this same edition has a home in the Smithsonian, but you can see it just down the street at the Loup! Tooker was an American artist living in New York during the second half of the 20th century. He was well respected in his time as an artist and had shows (and work in the collections of ) MoMA, the Whitney and other prominent institutions. This lithograph hangs above Table 43 in the back of the restaurant. Unless you are sitting at Position 3, the print goes largely unnoticed, even though it is right there on the wall. I think this is because how the banquette at Table 43 is positioned. It's too bad that it's not more noticeable, although I like this place for this piece. It's a nice reminder of ones mortality while taking orders from a table of 25.

George Tooker "Mirror" 1978

The Cafe Loup has so much more art, and shows so many more artists than just these that I have mentioned. One of these days, I will find The List and give you more of a glimpse into the extensive collection at the Loup. I mean, I didn't even get into the sculptures. I guess I will leave that for another time. Until then, make sure you come down and visit. We'll have Jay Milite mix us up a couple grapefruit margaritas and we'll talk art!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#69 August 27, 2013

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This is a blog about art at work, and yet I have never really focused on the incredible art collection of the Cafe Loup. I have mentioned that we have a great photography collection, but I haven't gone into the detail of the fantastic works that are housed in that small section of 13th Street.
The majority of the collection was amassed by the original owners, Bruce and Roxanne Bethany. They had been collecting for some time, and put their favorites(?) inside the Loup. They bought some and some were gifts, by artists who frequented the establishment or who were friends. When they sold the place to Lloyd and Ardes in 1995, the collection stayed.
The first artist who is also a regular that comes to mind is Nancy Grossman. She still comes into the restaurant and likes to sit underneath her collage at Table 25. You have seen it if you ever came in to watch the jazz on Sundays; it hangs right behind the musicians. Grossman has worked in many different media, including leather dominatrix masks with horns and zippers. Her piece in the Loup is a little more tame, a collage made specifically for the Loup that includes the matchbooks we used to have. I can't find any pictures of it on the web, but it is similar to her collage pictured below. She even uses the circles seen on the bottom of this piece in her piece at the Loup. We used to have a large table there instead of two small ones and a piano. That used to be in my section and I spent a lot of time looking at that piece. The average amount of time that people look at a piece of art is 17 seconds. I looked at that one (and a lot of the work at the Loup) for a overall total of 17 hours. At least.

Another former guest who donated a couple pictures was the late Jim Marshall. He was a boisterous guy who would come in arm in arm with models two feet taller that he was. Broken nose, raspy voice and drinking scotch, he would control the room while at the same time being a very genial and respectful guy. In his day, he photographed all of the jazz and rock greats from the 60's until just before he died in 2010. You have no doubt seen his iconic rock 'n roll photography if you have ever opened a Rolling Stone, or just about any other publication dealing with rock. We have a couple of his prints; Janis, Jimi, Chet, Woody Allen (stoically watching over the bar), Elia Kazan, and Coltrane, but my favorite is Miles. I love that Jim got these pictures of Miles outside of the place where we usually are used to seeing him. There is no trumpet in sight, in fact, if you didn't know it was Miles, you just might think it was a picture of a boxer. But no, it's one of the greatest performers of all time. In a boxing ring.
In a fun "small world" moment, Jim and I shared a funny little story. My band, Project Jenny, Project Jan was on tour and we were playing a bunch of shows on the Left Coast. One of the stops we were playing was The Independent in San Francisco and we were staying with our friend Mike Winger. We met up with Mike as soon as we got into town and he brought us to his house. He lived in this big old San Francisco house on the upper floor. As we were climbing the stair of the front porch, I saw a sign on the mail slot of the lower level of the house that read, "Mail for JIM MARSHALL ONLY." I jokingly said, "Oh, I know that guy, the famous rock n' roll photographer." and Mike turned to me and said, "You know him?" It turned out that it was the same Jim Marshall! He and Mike were good friends as they had been living literally on top of one another for years. Mike had a bunch of prints that were given to him as gifts and Jim had even taken the Winger family portrait for their Christmas cards! I loved it. The next time I saw Jim in New York I told him the whole story and we had a good laugh over the small worldliness of it all. Now that I think of it, that may have been the last time the two of us spoke, as he died less than a year after that.

 Ken Heyman also gave us a couple pieces, one of them very recently. Ken is in his 80's now but still finds time to come in for lunch every once and a while. Him and Tim are good friends as Tim usually takes care of him when he comes in for martinis and oysters (and curiously sits under Nancy Grossman's collage). He has two pieces at the Loup. One is above Table 11, and depicts skinny-dippers at Woodstock. The other is of Ernest Hemingway, prominently hanging over the piano. I had the pleasure of waiting on him one time and he told me the story of how he got the photograph, as Hemingway was exiled in Cuba at the time and was very grumpy about people taking his picture. Ken was a youngster at the time (this being 1957) and was visiting his friend in Cuba. His friend in the U.S, when learning he was going to Cuba bet him he couldn't find Hemingway and photograph him. So Ken took that as a challenge, and upon arriving to Cuba, decided to seek out Mr. Hemingway. He found his villa after asking around and went up to visit him. At first, Hemingway blew him off, but the invited Ken to go fishing the next day. Ken didn't know where to find Hemingway on his boat, so he never went fishing, but the day after, Ken showed up at the house again and this time wouldn't leave without a picture. He hung out in his car, in which he had a transistor radio, which he was playing to pass the time. After a while, Hemingway came out and finally invited Ken to come inside. Ken asked if he could take some pictures of Hemingway, and he responded with something like, "All the most famous photographers in the world want to take my picture, why should I let you (some kid) get the chance?" But Ken had the transistor radio, and legend has it that he traded Hemingway the radio to take a couple pictures of him. The result now hangs over the piano at the Cafe Loup.

It also kind of looks like the current owner, and head chef, Lloyd. Many people think that it is Lloyd until you tell them that it is, in fact, one of America's greatest writers.
In the next post I will go into more detail about the collection, but I thought this was a good place to start. All of the artists mentioned here I have actually interacted with and have some sort of relationship with. The other artists in our collection are either dead or not having dinner with us that often.

Monday, February 23, 2015

#68 "Make Your Wish" In Color! August 9, 2013

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I am not a writer.
When I started writing these blog posts almost 5 years ago, it was really just to showcase the drawings. I was only posting the drawings on Bookface before posting them here, and in Bookface there was no description of the drawings, how they were conceived, or any information at all except the number of the drawing. We didn't even name them on there, it would just show up one day as "Tim & Jeremy's Mind on Loup #68!!!" Usually with three exclamation points. When number one hundred was posted, I used all caps. No one cared.
As the blog posts seemed to get longer and longer I also started thinking about them differently. Originally, I would make a couple comments about the drawings themselves, but then I started thinking about the restaurant more. Since these drawings are all done in the restaurant, during the operating hours of service, I thought that it would be more fun for my 8 regular readers to get a glimpse of life within the restaurant.
The Loup is, after all, a strange and magical place. It has been at 105 W. 13th St. since 1989, and was conceived a decade earlier in a different location also on 13th St. Since that time, it has become a neighborhood staple. Regulars know they can come in any time for comfort food and strong, delicious martinis. It is a safe haven for artists and celebrities, who know they can show up and dine unmolested by tourists or people looking for autographs. And then there is the literary aspect. When the restaurant was first opened in 1977 by Bruce and Roxanne Bethany, they decided to court the literary community. They decided that if the place was full of writers, the rest of the world would follow. They were right. Writers of all types have haunted, and still haunt the walls of the Cafe Loup. From Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens' wild late nights, to young unknown poets struggling to buy a pint, the restaurant has been a comfort zone and meeting spot to an entire generation (or two) of New York literati.
Of course I had no idea about any of that when I walked through the doors in 2002 and handed someone my resume. For me, it was off a convenient subway line, it was in a cool neighborhood, and it was a on a block with a bunch of other restaurants so it was easy for me to walk up and down the block dropping off resumes. At the time, I had been unemployed for months and so I would go out every day looking for jobs wherever I could. I was cold-calling places, like the Loup; I was going on mass cattle calls that I found in the back section of the Village Voice, and any other method I could think of to get a job; any job. So when I got the call from the Loup, I was just happy to get a call back. I didn't care if it was a Village Institution. I didn't care if it was a Writer's Bar. I was just happy to get a full schedule and the ability to pay my rent. It wasn't until much later that I realized the respect and admiration the people of New York felt for this little restaurant. I was always a little jealous of the regulars because they had this incredible place to go night after night and interact with all these interesting people. Later on I realized that I was not only part of that, I was helping to continue the tradition of making it people's favorite spot. Cafe Loup was my regular bar, and I got paid to be at it. It was a wonderful revelation, and even though I do have some favorite regular places outside of the Loup (aka work), I still consider it my regular place.
I went off on that tangent to let you know about the restaurant a little, although I am sure I have written all of that in some form or another throughout this blog sometime in the past. The original point of this blog post was going to be me going on a self deprecating rant about how I am not a writer, or how I don't describe myself as a writer. I write this blog out of a weird compulsion to continue writing about these drawings in relation to the restaurant that they were created in. It really is compulsory in that I have no motive, I have no goal in mind for the drawings or for the text that accompanies them. Tim and I have talked about making them into a book someday, and maybe some of this text could be included somewhere in there, but that is not the motivating force for me to continue writing. The truth is, I don't know why I keep writing these things. I think it might be a way of processing the work experience and trying to convey it in a clear and concise manner that helps me understand my past 13 years at this establishment. Not that it is important or even very interesting. Maybe I am trying to defend to myself my employment at a place for such a long period of time, even though working at the Loup has given me the freedom that I moved to New York for in the first place. I needed a place that was steady where I could work while pursuing my other interests, which have been incredibly varied in the decade and a half that I have called New York my home.
So, when you read these posts, I hope you enjoy them, but also know that I am almost writing them as a diary that I might look at some day to help me  remember this time and place in my own history. I always say that in an ever-changing world, at least the Cafe Loup stays the same. I sincerely hope that it stays the same forever, but I know that it won't. Some day it will be a Duane-Reade with a Starbucks kiosk in it, and the Cafe Loup name will be in every mall in America as a "New York style French Bistro." Then, you and I will be able to come back and read all of these blog posts and remember a time that was, of people that were, and a special place in the middle of it all. And we can all laugh at all of my typos, run-on sentences, and basic inability to write in the English language. Until then, I'll see you at the Loup!

#68 "Make Your Wish" August 9, 2013

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Bad Co-Workers

Everyone has bad co-workers. Maybe you have one or more at your place of business. Maybe you are the bad co-worker and you don't know it. Sometimes it is hard to see yourself as others see you, and when you do the same job over and over, you tend not to notice the small things that you are doing that can be incredibly annoying to the ones working around you. I was that guy once.

I had been working in New York for three years at that point. Working in any kitchen is going to be an education of swear words in at least two languages, but in New York it is brought to the next dimension. I could barely put an order in the kitchen without insulting someone or having to defend my girlfriend, mom, and all of my female cousins and aunties. So, I decided to take some time off and go work at my mom's restaurant where the pace was a little slower. I was working there for about a month, when my mom pulled me aside and said we needed to have a little chat. I literally did not know what it was about. So, we sat down and she said essentially, "I am going to have to fire you if you don't start treating the kitchen staff with a little more respect." Now, the staff at the time was my cousins and my brother-in-law on the grill. Not exactly people who I was aiming to piss off. As my mom was having this conversation, I looked back on my behavior from the last month and I realized I had been treating these guys like the kitchen in New York had been treating me. And I realized that I had gone full circle and was now the bad co-worker. These guys, my own family, had taken it upon themselves to complain to my own mother about my behavior. Then, my own mother threatened to fire me because of my bad attitude. I was amazed because I hadn't even realized what I was doing.  I had gone from one kitchen to the next thinking that all kitchens must run this way, and they run on insults and negative vibes. I mean, I should have known better, I had worked in plenty of kitchens before, and not all of them were so dysfunctional. And, to give credit where credit is due, that dysfunctional kitchen was pretty darn functional. We put out an insane amount of dinners with a small staff and an even smaller kitchen, and night after night, they went out without a hitch. These guys had the thing down to a science. And maybe that was why they were always so nasty; they were just bored. Yeah, they could serve up 200 dinners every night 300 days a week, but so what? Let's talk shit about your new haircut! What ever the reason, it had rubbed off on me and I was continuing the cycle of negativity. But I vowed to break the cycle and be more aware of my actions, and lo and behold I wasn't fired. That was the turning point for me to be a better co-worker though, that's for sure. Never again would I step into a situation thinking that I could get by on the actions I had been getting by with prior to that situation.

Not like I am always the greatest co-worker to this day. I am still a pain in the neck, like everyone else, but I try my best to stay positive in the work environment. The way I look at it these days is this: I am only at the job a finite number of hours in the week; why not try to make those hours as pleasant as possible by keeping a positive mental attitude. It's not always easy when you are stressed out, hungry, overworked, broke, and tired. In fact, it's hard to stay positive anywhere, and the last place you think that is possible is in the workplace; a place you don't really want to be but kind of have to be or else you'll be traveling the countryside with a polka-dotted bag tied to a stick. I find that copious amounts of coffee help, and then at a certain time of the evening, a glass of wine does wonders. We call it, "The Attitude Adjustment." So, what I'm saying is that I need medication to stay sane in the workplace. Haha. This entire project grew partly because literally keeping ones head down and pushing through the shift was sometimes the best way to cope with unsavory co-workers. It became so much more, but that was certainly one of the original reasons for the project.

Of course, all this talk about positive mental attitude goes out the window when you are working with truly terrible co-workers. It's hard to stay positive when someone you work with is actually costing you money. Once you cross the threshold of being annoying to the next level of actively harming your co-workers financially, then maybe it is time to look in to another line of work, or at least another place of business. And yet, people stay at the same job far after they've overstayed their welcome. I am probably one of them! I wrote in the last blog post about my brunch colleagues and I not getting along all that well. A sane person would've said, "Well, it's been three years and this person still doesn't like me, maybe I should look for a new job." But I stuck it out for another 10 years! I outlasted the people who didn't like me, or I grew on them so much that they ended up, if not liking me, than at least tolerating me enough to work alongside me for another handful of years.
So, I guess the takeaway is that there are always bad co-workers and you just have to try not to be one of them. As far as the guys in the kitchen are concerned; I still work with half of the original crew. We still go back and forth with each other, but after working together for 13 years, it has become more of a secret language than insults. When a new person is introduced onto the scene, all we have to do is say one word, and the whole crew ends up laughing. Except, of course, the poor new dude.