Thursday, August 14, 2008

Waiter Rant

Photo of 21 Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA taken by Eating Orange (Flickr)

I read a review about a new book called Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica. It just cracked me up. He hits the nail on the head. Dublanica has a blog and it became so popular that he got a book deal. I'll paste the links below.

As most of you know, I worked as a waitress for many years, but my time at the five star dining establishment The Rex in Newport Beach came to mind while reading his blogs. We all new when our customers were from new money (recently acquired wealth), old money (royalty or born with silver spoons in mouth), or were wannabes.

The new money customers fifty percent of the time had chips on their shoulders and had to prove how "important" they were to us. For example, if they did not have a jacket, and we offered a jacket, they'd make a scene as if our dress policy didn't apply to them anymore now that they had money.

Old money knew to wear a jacket. And if old money had just disembarked from their yachts, they would not question our policy and just put the damn jacket on that we had in our coat closet for customers... and very nice Armani jackets they were.

Anyway, at The Rex, we did not spit in the food. However, if a customer spent too long at a table on a busy Saturday night, our matre'd would pass gas (fart) at their table while asking if they needed anything else.

One thing about wait staff at fine dining establishments, they take their work seriously and know their stuff. So when dining out, listen to their recommendation on specials and the wine.

Speaking of wine, at The Rex, where I worked for three years while living a life of glamorous debauchery, had a very professional wine tasting every Thursday. When I first came on board I was considered the peasant of the wait staff because my previous job had been at the Rusty Pelican whose wine list had a white zinfandel on it. A major faux paus.

During our first pretentious blind wine tasting, I filled out my wine rating sheet. The owner called on me to report what I had written. I read my ratings outloud to a room so silent you could hear a cork drop on the carpet. When he took the brown paper bag off the wine bottles, I had rated all the most expensive wines with the highest marks. The English girl, our wine steward, and our maitre'd made many errors on what was what. Moreover, they rated inferior wines with high marks. The staff quit calling me the peasant after that.

This was over twenty years ago, but man do I remember those days. Most of the customers were nice, but the owner a nut job. Why are all owners nut jobs?

We had the rich and famous in all the time. My favorite famous person I waited on was Neil Diamond. I just love that guy. He was so humble and kind. We all fell in love with him.

The Rex is no more and now called 21 Oceanfront. It was only 21 tables when I worked there, but they bought the space next door and it is huge now. The staff was the same for the 3 years I was there. No one left because the money was good and hours short. We became like family. We were right below the Doryman's Inn by the pier. We had the best wine list in Orange County and won several restaurant awards. Good times.

Here is the link for anyone, but especially for those who have ever waited tables in
their lives.

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