So you want great service....

Friday, May 27, 2011

Try'll like it!

Last night was just one of those after party...

the usual general craziness of serving...

I was almost done, when they sat me one older gentlemen, how hard could this be?

He was traveling, wanted something that had the salad bar included (notice how often the salad bar is the problem here?).

He was polite but very firm that NO he didn't like any of those.
  Not sure how you can't like ANY 12 of those but ya know those guests, they are always right!

I went away and gave him a minute, obviously I was not helping the situation....

Came back with his drink, he asked the same question...

What can I get that comes with the salad bar???!!

Again...I show him the combo section...and gently suggest that maybe he hasn't tried all the combo's and is their one that maybe he WOULD like???

He looks at me and says....


LMAO  Oh I would love to have a mirror some days to see the look on MY face!

Cartoon of a Stereo-type Waitress

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Menu? What menu?

Patience, patience and more patience is required to make a great server!  I like to think I've hit that mark, but every now and then on a rough day even I can be pushed over the edge....but wasn't ME that fell off the cliff into irateness....

grandmother stood sing precious memories pass smile gotta love ladies
I had a table of four older ladies, all probably in their late 60's. Fixed hair, makeup, jewelry on, pretty prim and proper. They all ordered martini's or fruity drinks so you know right off, it's a girls night out!  I'm a huge believer in silent service unless the customers want to talk, so I wasn't bothering them with chit-chat, they had their own thing going on.

After ordering drinks (THAT took a while, many questions), an appetizer (more questions), a demand to turn the sports channel onto Dancing with the Stars, (NOT a problem for me-hate sports!), it was time to order the main course........

Servers have a few pet of them one actually LISTENS when we talk!

Favorite case in point..
 Server "I'll be right back with some more tea for you, can I get you anything else?"
Customer in a snippy tone  "I NEED MORE TEA!"   
                                                        LOL  Ah well.....maybe next time....


Anyway, back to the real story! 
I started at pivot point 1, as required (yes, there's a system) got the first lady's order after many more questions....They get two sides with dinner...yes Mam this is the list right here....yes Mam I can tell you what they are...all l5 of them....

Second lady......

Yes mam, that's a fabulous dish...sides? They are right there Mam...of course I can tell you what they are Mam....all l5 of them....again....

Third lady...yes mam..which two sides would you like with that?
  Perfect, thank you.

Fourth and last lady....

What can I get for you Mam? Which two sides?  WHAT ARE THE SIDES?????????

Yes, at this point I am considering banging my head on the table!  
HOWEVER the most hysterical thing happened......the third lady looked at her and yelled.....


I couldn't help it, I had to sit down I was laughing so hard and so were they! 
Laughing Hard
So we laughed and watched Dancing with the Stars and they were one of the best tables I've ever had.

You never know what those little old ladies are going to say!  Made my day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pomegranate Dressing Recipe

The promised recipe for the Pomegranate dressing.
This was so easy even I could make it!
Thank you for posting it Sam!

You will need:

For the vinaigrette:
1 cup pomegranate juice reduced to about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 cup oil, preferably olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

For the warmed goat cheese garnish:
Goat cheese (Chevre)
3-4 Tablespoons chopped herbs (I used chives, but parsley, chervil, dill, thyme or an assortment thereof would work just as well)

You will start by adding the pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper to a bowl and whisking everything together.

Then, slowly at first, begin to add the oil while whisking. You should see the mixture thicken slightly.

Next, you will slice a log of goat cheese into rounds and press each side of the goat cheese into the herbs. It helps to put the goat cheese in the freezer for a few mins (approximately 10 mins) before slicing, it will be firmer and easier to slice.

Then lay the goat cheese in a lightly oiled pan and bake at 400 degrees F for 5-7 mins or until warmed, but not melted.

I used a handful of mixed spring greens, 1-2 tablespoons of vinaigrette (depending on how big your handful is and how much dressing you like), oranges, raspberries and pecans, but you can use any seasonal fruit or nuts that you like.

And you know I had some questions for Chef Sam!

What is reducing and why did you do it for this recipe?

Reducing is just bringing a liquid to a boil and letting the water evaporate so you're left with a more concentrated flavor. I did it in this recipe because the other ingredients will dilute the taste of the pomegranate and I wanted that flavor to be very prominent in the finished vinaigrette.

Can I leave that part out?


Can I substitute another cheese for the goat cheese? What kind?

Absolutely. I like the slight tartness of goat cheese, but Brie or Camembert would also be excellent choices!

Why did you heat the goat cheese?

When Chevre is cold it's a little bit crumbly, but as you heat it, it becomes almost creamy. By heating it, it provides not only a contrast in temperature, but also creates a pleasant textural contrast between the rest of the salad.

What can I do with this recipe besides using it as a dressing?

It also makes an tasty, unusual sauce. If I plan to reuse the vinaigrette, I will double or triple the recipe above and then whisk together an egg yolk with a splash of water or, better yet, more pomegranate juice. Then I'll whisk the egg yolk mixture while slowly pouring the vinaigrette into the egg. It makes a creamy sauce that goes surprisingly with game (lamb, squab, quail, etc...), as a condiment, or even as an accompaniment to desert!

This was fabulous dipped in fresh baked bread! Greg and I ate the whole loaf before we could get a picture. Whoops! Ah time...

Chef Sam and The Wilted Magnolia team up!

 My fabulous friend Chef Sam graciously agreed to be my first guest blogger!  Not quite sure he knew how much work it was going to be...but he does now....poor thing...

We worked together years ago in a Mediterranean restaurant (not saying how MANY years ago!), he went on to graduate from Cordon Blue School in Atlanta and I have to say my birthday dinners have greatly improved since then!

Although, he did laugh when I told him what I wanted for my birthday dinner this year...
fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans!  I'm such a country girl.
(If I don't ask for something simple, Sam won't sit down and eat, he just keeps cooking and creating!)

I asked nicely for a re-creation of the pomegranate dressing I loved so much and got way more than I asked for!


 A mixed green salad with oranges, raspberries and warm chive goat cheese.
Isn't that GORGEOUS???

A platter of assorted tea sandwiches...oh just wait till you get the recipes for THOSE...I wish I had snatched some to bring home!  A glass of White Merlot wine, some antique roses and Homer Laughlin china and a gourmet picnic on the cliff over looking the river.

Can you tell what's missing from this picture???
Oh nooooo....we forgot the dressing!

No worries...we just had to keep smacking Greg's hand (our photographer) who was starving after taking tons of pictures and pop it back in the picture!

I'm assuming everyone knows who drank the wine? Somebody had to do it....

So much fun you guys!
Huge thanks to Chef Sam and Greg for a fabulous evening with friends and food.

The recipe is in the next post, give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Funny you should ask...

I'm working on a tip list of how you can get excellent service wherever you go.....

(OK, yes I know, sometimes the server is just BAD, we'll talk about that in another post!)
Trust me, servers hate getting bad service just as much as you do!

First rule to getting great service at in a restaurant. 


Communicate. Yep, talk to me. I know you've had a horrible day....

your daughter/son/ex/cousin ran over the neighbors dog...(the dog is fine, by the way)
Your boss/co-worker/teacher asked you for an unreasonable amount of work/meetings/affairs in 8 hours...
The husband/ex/wife/girlfriend/lover/boyfriend is cheating with your sister/boyfriend/girlfriend/ex....
You've got a headache and you just want something to drink and eat...
How HARD could that be????
LOL  Sometimes that seems impossible doesn't it?

So let's go back to when you sat down, your server (who has a 30 SECOND rule to greet the table or be reprimanded) is there already...OMG you just don't want to hear the spiel...
They say "" and never looking up you growl... "Water".

OK, we know right there you don't want to chat! Got it, not a problem, we have bad days too.
Of course, you could look up and tell us..."I've had a horrible day, could I please just have some water."

Same results, but the server instead of thinking "How RUDE" is thinking "Poor thing..I know how you feel!"

I'm gonna let you think that one through and tell me which scenario means you're going to get more attentive service!

Oh wow, I haven't even made it to the second course...but I have to go get someone some water!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pass the salt please....

Considering how long I've been in food service, you'd think nothing could surprise me anymore!

And we'd all be wrong! :)  This little happening amused me, so it's going to be the first post on the new blog!

Old Fashioned Woman Pouring Salt - Royalty Free Clipart Picture
My restaurant has a full salad bar and of course that's one of the main attractions.  I had the section next to it Friday night, and I saw a guest leave the bar with a salad and go over to one of my tables (nope, I was NOT their server), climb over the booth, grabbed the salt shaker and salted their salad.

Always willing to help, I went over and apologized and asked him if I needed to bring a salt and pepper shaker to THEIR table...since obviously they seemed to be missing...why else would someone go to all that trouble?

They looked at me like I was the crazy one, and said.....

"I'm using yours because there's no salt on the SALAD BAR!!"
There was absolutely nothing to say to that! Seldom am I speechless. LOL