Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Another Saturday Night

Scallops with hand-cut pasta and clams
I must admit that I love my job.  It's true.  I. Love. My Job.  I get to spend hours every day socializing, smoozing and gossiping with all ages of all sorts of people.  I receive buckets of compliments; I bask vicariously in birthday and anniversary celebrations; I meet people from all over the country, the globe.  Sure, there is plenty of stress, plenty of "TripAdvisor" moments, but I try to remember that is the exception, not the rule. 

Let me give you an example - this past Saturday night.  It was one of those steadily busy nights, with a complex and friendly mix of locals and visitors - with more "regulars" than is standard for Saturday.  (I have found that weekend nights are generally divided between Friday being the "local" night and Saturday populated more with "out-of-towners".  That being said, every rule is meant to be broken...)  One of the first to arrive was my Mom, dining with my eldest sister, my lone surviving Aunt and her husband.  Mom enjoys the notoriety she receives in the center of the room, and talks with anyone who gives her half a chance - whether she knows them or not.  If she doesn't know them right away, it doesn't take long for her to make an acquaintance and for them to tell me proudly "I met your mom!"

Two of the new faces I enjoyed talking with were a couple from the Annapolis area, staying at a B&B in downtown Chestertown.  They were retired from running a Guest House in the Hudson Valley, and the conversation began over the bread we serve at BT: they deemed it among the best they'd ever had.  This led to a discussion about his job as Chef at their B&B and how her job was more like mine - coffee first, then meet the guests.  This gentleman also told me that he felt the mussels we were serving with Marvesta shrimp seemed to be overcooked - a bit of information that was important to hear, if I was to do anything to save future mussel eaters from the same fate: I carried the info into the kitchen for Kevin's immediate attention.

There seemed to be more than one married couple out on "dates" last Saturday.  One of the first I noticed was a young pair I sat on Table One.  She was dressed in a beautiful black cocktail dress, accented discreetly by a delicate necklace with pale green stones.  They were so engaged in one another, Table One was the perfect venue where they could isolate themselves from the crowds and focus on each other, and the food of course!  Later in the evening I greeted another young couple, who seemed in no rush for a table, and we chatted a bit while they waited.  I am always upfront about the wait - I mean, it is what it is and if you don't want to wait to be seated, I certainly don't blame you.  We do everything we can to speed it along, but there is only so much.  The table these two were waiting for was occupied by people who had been finished for a long time but were lingering over their conversation.  That was their privilege, and we joked about how we could hover over the table like vultures, waiting for their chance to sit. It was all part of the fun; they had a cocktail and seemed to enjoy the time together.  When I talked with them later, and learned they had five children - 13, 8, 6 and  3 year old twins - I knew they were definitely out on a date!  No wonder they were so laid back about the  wait for their table - take all the time you need!  They also got a gold star by catching a mistake on their check and bringing it to our attention.  And it wasn't a mistake in their favor either...

Among the regulars were the Carrolls from Centreville, who commented on the steady ebb and flow of business, which was a key element in the smoothness of a busy night.  We fed JR from the Lemon Leaf, who was in late for drinks and a bite to eat with his partner.  JR had flirted with the idea of renting our Kennedyville building a few years ago, but I think he's done the wise thing to wait for an opportunity in town - his Cafe on the corner of Cross and Cannon is contributing brightly to the downtown dining scene.  We also saw The Family of Hewes (a weekly Saturday night event), the Galts (two of my favorites, who show up many weekend nights, either alone or not, never minding the wait, just out to "chill" and eat some good fish), the Neffs with the Wrights (Tony never fails to give my chain a yank, and I yank his right back - it's part of my job description, and of course I love it!), Maria and Mike with several of their friends,  the Schumann celebration, the Sharretts back from Hilton Head, the Horseys with the Grasnicks. (Mr. Grasnick and I have a secret admiration for one another, I'm sure of it!)  The first party on Table 10 was a group of five, two of whom had been in for dinner the night before and morphed into this larger group for a second go at it - a serious compliment  in my book.  Several SnowBirds were back - heralding the arrival of Spring almost as certainly as Asparagus - as well as our second group of Bicyclists from the Vermont Bike Club.  There were many, many others whom I enjoyed quite alot, with plenty to talk about, and all contributing to the overall party in the dining room.  Even Mr. Grasnick got into the spirit of things, in his "audacious" way.

In the end it was one of those terrific (and, I must admit, rare) Saturday nights, with no major fires to put out, no distracting dramas to contend with; instead, we had the pleasure of  simply enjoying  many of our wonderful customers drinking and eating and relaxing. The dining room crew kept up the pace, the kitchen staff kept pumping out the food and before we knew it, another Saturday night was in the History Books.

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