New Years Eve 2006.
I was very excited about working, expecting a nice big crowd, lots of shots and fun behind the bar with serving a happy customer base and walking out at the end of the night with a thick wad of 20's from a job well done.
Once again my "situational unluckyness" kicks in. Here are some examples over the years of my bad luck:
1. Going to Vermont on the Villanova ski trip, and its a December heat wave, with 30% of the mountain open with conditions like "slush" dominating the headlines.
2. Going to Myrtle Beach for a golf trip. Brian, the organizer, telling me before the trip "I have gone 3 years in a row, and its always so nice out, we get 60-70 degree days in late March..." After I land I get how "Odd it was that this week was going to be so cold". The following year I got, "Well, this is unusually wet this year!".
3. First day of softball 2005! Broken Leg! Yay! Summer is over.
Those are just a few examples, but trust me there are more. I think it all started when I was 7 and I was at Victor's house in Richboro. His family had one of those budda luck statues, but it was easily 4 feet tall, and had little pennies on the palm of each hand. I picked one up and looked at the penny and he turned and said "Oooh! That's bad luck! You will have bad luck for 7 years!"
I think someone forgot to tell Budda to turn the bad luck off on me.
So, back to New Years. Chris is telling me how "Every year we get a great crowd, and its so much fun and we make a lot of money". This year? I think from 9pm to 11:30pm there were about 20 people total in the bar.
4 of them were friends a guy from the Eagles Club. 6 single girls were there, dressed to the nines, and a smattering of other customers. Along with the owner (Tom), myself, Billy (the owner's friend) and Chris.
Adding to our problems, our chef for the night, Noe, was missing. Hasn't returned a phone call all day. We have a $10 cover and planned to serve a 2am breakfast - but don't have a chef. We were charging people $10 for...nothing? Plus people were coming to the bar, looking in, seeing 20 people, no crowd and then being accosted for $10? They walked away.
Tom wasn't sure what he was going to do. I told him we shouldn't worry about a chef - "We don't have customers! Who is going to eat?"
I also threw in there, stupidly, that I can cook. I shouldn't have opened my big mouth because that immediately got translated to "I'll cook for everyone at 2am, Tom!"
So over the night Tom is still trying to find a replacement chef, like there is some South American illegal hanging outdying to cook for us on the streets of New Years. He is going to Benny's and to Sullivans trying to find anyone. He would come back in the bar and say, "Come on, we are like Band of Brothers we will do it ourselves!"
I turned to alcohol, my old friend, to help with this turn of events. I worked the bar and by 11:30 we got a moderate crowd, but far, far, less than I was expecting. A few drinks and shots later, by 1am, oh boy - was I ready to cook. Eggs? Bacon? No problem! Tom looks at his watch, turns to me, and says "Lets go!" Then heads into the kitchen.
I get into the kitchen and realize two things - One, I don't know how to operate this kicthen and two - I don't know where anything is. As luck would have it, the day shift cook left the grill, burner, broiler and deep fryer on. So everything was warmed up and ready to go. I started rooting around the freezer and found fries and chicken fingers. Tom had boiled chicken wings, cooked hash potatoes and sausage & peppers ready before the night began. I grabbed a few wings and saw my new favorite friend.
The Deep Frier.
Wow, these things were fun. You see how they do it at McDonalds - add fries, drop into the oil, wait a few minutes and BAM - you have some fried goodness on your plate.
I was like Mr. Fry Guy. I can see how McDonalds can stick a 16 year old on these machines and not expect even them to fuck it up. Billy and I were in the kitchen frying wings and he starts to make frittatas - eggs, the potato hash, cheese, fresh tomatoes...Billy was el fuego with that stuff. We turned on the music to the latino station and had some fun with this meng. I would slam the bell in the kitchen when I was ready to have someone pick up food. Plus we would have a few drinks to boot while we cooked.
I found out that people who were LOADED really liked fried food and I was getting a lot of demand for my stuff and from what I was told, it was delicious.
What did I do? Dip the wings in hot oil until they turned brown, added the pre-mixed sauce and made sure I took full credit for my cooking skills. It was sort of fun and sort of work at the same time. By 1am we had like 35-40 people in the bar and Chris could work it by himself while I played chef.
By 2:30, after the crowd chowed down on the food, and I sampled my own gut busting goodness. I was very sleepy. Everyone needed to go home (at least in my own mind). To my chagrin, we were open until 5am on New Years, a special little provision for that night only. They were the longest 3 and a half hours of my life. But I got through it and I was now trained as a backup fry guy.
In the end, it was certainly not what I was expecting for my first time bartending on New Year's Eve. I didn't make as much as I hoped, but interestingly enough, it was more than I expected with our small crowd. Big props to the Eagles club guys who showed up. They all know that they owe me one because they all hooked up with 3 of those cute single girls that showed up. Of course it helps that I was throwing cheap booze down their gullets. Heh.
Aside from New Years, i'm next planning a birthday bash. Yes. I will be 34 in about a month, and hope to hit up some unsuspecting bar in NYC for some drunken goodness.