I just finished reading a book called The Blue Bistro. I’d like to say that it was one of those deep, thought-provoking books that beckons to its readers to make some changes in their lives, but listen, people.
It probably wasn’t.
For most people.
Except for me, that is.
I adored this book, though, and I had a difficult time putting it down. It was a very well-written romance that takes place in a restaurant, of all the places. A very posh, very swanky, very upscale, very pricey restaurant on Nantucket, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world.
I think I’d like to own such a place.
And that statement comes from a girl who thinks scrambling some Eggland’s Best eggs for dinner constitutes decent eating. It also comes from a girl who made steak sandwiches for dinner last night, and who suffered through the full hit of her ADD while she waited for multiple batches of chopped-up cube steak to FINISH BROWNING ALREADY in a pool of hot fat that she created by melting eighteen sticks of butter.
(Hubs proclaimed the steak sandwiches to be fantastic, though, so apparently standing before my gas-powered cooktop for longer than it took our forefathers to write the Constitution was worth it.)
When I mentioned the fact that I’m going to look into buying a restaurant for eight and a half million dollars, Theresa said, “Well, that’s all fine and dandy, except for that small fact that you usually curse cooking sideways into a dark place and tell me, repeatedly, that you don’t understand why the world can’t be happy eating microwaved meals and cold cereal every night of the week.”
And this is where I showed Theresa my very superior knowledge, and how much I had researched the idea, within the pages of that delicious novel.
The cooking part?
Well, THAT, people, is why you hire a chef!
And I’ll do just that. I’ll hire the best chef there is, because my restaurant can’t be upscale with 250 reservations and 36 names on the waiting list and a bar with standing room only every single night during the summer, if I don’t have an outstanding chef. And after that, I’ll hire a sous-chef and an expediter and a pastry chef and a commis and a piano player and a cute bar tender and some busboys and a few waitresses who come with interesting histories and backgrounds, just to liven things up, because every classy restaurant needs some drama to unfold once in a while behind the kitchen doors.
See? I’ve done my research. Clearly. Because before I read this book, I didn’t even know what an expediter was. McDonald’s doesn’t have those.
The chef will crank out grilled herbed swordfish with avocado silk and roasted cherry tomatoes. There will be steak frites, pan-seared sea scallops with a vanilla cream sauce over angel hair pasta, sauteed veal tenderloin medallions topped with Portabello mushrooms and artichoke hearts in a Marsala wine sauce, seared foie gras with roasted figs, and a lobster club sandwich that will sell for over $30.
Yes, people, I will have a $30 sandwich on the menu. You don’t become upscale and swanky by serving cheap lunch meat sandwiches on Wonder Bread with a side of Doritos. (Although, we eat that sort of thing at the Jedi Manor fairly consistently, but after I open my restaurant, we’ll change our ways and lose our taste for Louis Rich honey ham.)
And then I am going to stand behind the podium near the door in a silk dress and Jimmy Choo flats, where I’ll make reservations and say things like, “I’m sorry, Brad and Angelina, but I simply cannot seat you tonight; we’re full, and I cannot bump the Kennedys again. We can fit you in tomorrow evening during second seating, though. Shall we say 9:00 at Table Nineteen? And you do remember that we don’t have a children’s menu, right?” After that I will gracefully float around the dining room, making small talk at every single table, because SWEET MERCY! I got an A+ in talking! I’ll introduce adorable college-aged daughters of senators to my cute, single bar tender, because I will want him to be even happier than he is making key lime pie martinis, and I will make runs to the wine cave for vintage bottles that I’ll sell for $450 each. And, people, I will know my wines! (I’ll have to do some research on Wikipedia for THAT.) I will talk, and I will socialize, and I will talk some more, and my restaurant will be a smashing success.
And, of course, I’ll make frequent stops at the granite-topped bar to check on Hubs, who will be sitting there, nursing his ninth Coke-over-ice of the evening, while he watches a televised baseball game and bemoans the fact that the NHL takes a break during the summer months. And Hubs and the boy and I will sail in the mornings and the early afternoons, before the restaurant opens each evening and I have the menu meeting with my staff, to go over the night’s specials, and I will not suffer from The Motion Sickness at all while I am on the yacht.
So yes, people, THIS is probably what I’ll be doing over the summer.
Tonight, though, Chef Hubs prepared grilled cod for us, seasoned with salt and pepper, exactly like your seafaring grandmother did it. I made some rather un-fancy steamed asparagus, and I used the microwave to zap some baked potatoes into submission, which received a healthy coating of butter and sour cream, because fats aid in brain development. Naturally, the boy took one look at his plate and said, “You know that I HATE asparagus!”
And all of it was accompanied by the loaf of Wonder Bread and the plastic tub of I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter, which sat on our dining room table.
I was just pleased that we’d managed something a little more exotic than the box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that I contemplated in the pantry.