Thursday, July 24, 2008

I taught an Irishman how to drink

Our buddy Brad, he who is one half of the duo who usually helps get me tanked when I go visit him at 5 Seasons, is currently working a second bartending job at a new place in Dunwoody. Monday was their opening night, so a few of us piled into the car and strolled down GA400 for a visit.

They had the usual opening night mishaps, such as the credit card machine and POS system not working (these things tend to happen), and the A/C seemed to be on the fritz as well. One of the owners, a female who I am sure has never worked a food service job in her life, picked out the uniforms. Brad gets to wear a tuxedo shirt, which is fine. Kind of impractical at times, but fine. Oh, but the girls outfits are ridiculous. Picture this: a halter top tuxedo shirt which is unbuttoned a bit with collar turned up, complete with bow tie, cumberbund, the teensiest little butt-twicher of a skirt (so short that buttcheeks are visible even though the girls are all wearing teeny shorts under them - although i don't think the male patrons are complaining), baby doll socks and high heels. Yes, you heard me right. The woman has all the girls running around waiting tables in high heels.

I worked front-of-the-house in restaurants and catering for many years, and lemme tell you that at the end of a long shift, regardless if you’re wearing super expensive shoes which are made for food service folks, your feet will hurt. I saw those girls (none who look to be a day over 19) and I wanted to hug them. I knew they’d be in pain later.

When I was 22 and working at a restaurant in Florida, I pitched a hissy fit because Converse hi tops were not part of my boss' “vision” (she was insisting I go out and buy an expensive pair of Reeboks to compliment my ugly-ass uniform). I wonder how much whining it will take before this owner chick caves and lets them wear whatever they want on their feet?

Anyhoo – other than the ridiculous outfits, I like the place. They have raw oysters on the menu. OYSTERS! I love oysters. That’s one more thing that waxes nostalgia for me about Annapolis. We used to go to Middleton’s for oyster shooters (the boy and j would have shrimp shooters). An oyster shooter at Middleton’s is a shot glass with a bit of cocktail sauce topped with a raw oyster, accompanied by a shot glass of Bud Lite or Miller Lite. One slurps down the shooter then downs the beer. It’s more of a novelty thing than anything, but I love them. If you ask nicely, you can get the bartenders to make you a “real” oyster shooter, which is basically similar to a very short Bloody Mary, complete with vodka, and a raw oyster. I had Brad make me one of those. It brought back another round of fleeting bittersweet memories of Annapolis again, and for a moment there I thought I could smell the salt water.

One of the other owners, who is married to the chick with the bad outfit vision, was milling around and came over to talk to us. He’s Irish, but he sounds like he’s been here a while because his accent is rather Americanized (and I’m not one to talk, since I sound as American as apple pie, unless I’ve had a drink or two and then I can turn on that Savannahian or Parisian in a heartbeat). We got to talking about oyster shooters, something he had never heard of. I told him he ought to put them on the menu, that people would really go for it (I knew I would definitely have them when I come in), and we discussed how much he could charge for them. This was all a new concept to him, and I was happy to talk about something I do love very much. Brad made us each one, and the Irishman carefully watched me dunk mine back. Then he did his... and his face turned red, and he clutched his heart.

“What is this? You’re killing me!” he croaked.
“Are you okay? You’re not supposed to sip on it, just tip it back. You going to live?”

About a half hour later, as I was walking back from the bathroom, he grabbed my arm and wondered aloud at how I was still walking around without falling down drunk. “That vodka will kill you! And you had two of them!”, as he drank his Guinness.

Silly Irishman.

We’re going back on Saturday. I’ve got to plead my case to get him to put oyster shooters on the menu.

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