How was your day?
Mine was very long and extremely tiring, but fulfilling and enjoyable nonetheless. I'm currently laying in bed listening to music and cuddling with my Marcie. I have about an hour and a half to kill before I go to sleep, so now is as good of a time as ever to chit chat about my day......
I would first and foremost like to give a shout out to Victoria Secret for an interesting morning.......
Last week when I went on my shopping spree - I made it a priority to stop by Victoria's Secret to buy bras, underwear, and a new bathing suit. I spent about 1 1/2 hours in the dressing room trying on a TON of stuff (I swear I haven't taken my undergarmets off so many times in one day lol) and by the end I was so jazzed about all of my findings that I actually agreed to sign up for a newsletter via e-mail. I usually decline giving my e-mail away because stores tend to junk up my mail box with a bunch of useless shenanigans, but I was in a good mood so I just gave it away like nobodys business.
Let me start off by saying that the every morning I have a specific routine prior to getting out of bed. The routine goes like this: I turn 6-10 of my alarms off until I'm actually awake, then I pet Marcie and scratch her belly for about ten minutes, once she's all calmed down after all of the excitement of my finally being awake - I grab my phone and proceed to answer texts I missed, check social media outlets, and then check/answer e-mails. It takes me about thirty minutes from waking up to actually getting out of my bed. Playing around on my phone seems to wake me up more than actually getting out of bed. But I digress.... this is my routine.
This morning when I checked my e-mail - this photograph was the very first thing I laid eyes on. I'm pretty sure I literally said aloud "Are you kidding me? Really? Thanks VS." Sheesh- they get me all jazzed up about my bodacious bod, I give them my e-mail, and how do they repay me? By putting me to shame first thing in the morning with photographs of hot models. Build a girl up and shoot her down why don't you lol. They always get me with the whole "Buy our bras and you'll feel like an Angel!" type of stuff. And I always get jazzed like "Wooooo! Yea! hottie patottie over here! " and then I get an e-mail/reminder of what the real Angels look like and it's like "Oh...damn. Nevermind." Lol.
I have to give props to the VS models. It's hard work staying in shape. I'm sure it's much easier to stay in shape when your job is to actually BE in shape. My job isn't to have a hot bod, it's to make food and taste food all the live long day. It adds up. I mean I have to be super careful - it's quite easy to gain substantial amount of weight working in the food industry.
But no matter the case - I'm not discouraged by any means, I still feel great and like the way I look. I just thought this irritating way to start my day was also a hilarious one at that, and a reminder as to why I should continue to take care of my body. It's not my job to look like a VS model, but I sure as hell can eat my heart out and try at the same time can't I?
I'm shooting for the stars here lol - this I know.
Breakfast this morning looked a little like this......
Actually.... it looked exactly like this lol.
Sliced strawberries topped with nonfat greek yogurt, a wee bit of maple syrup, and total cereal. Accompanied by....
Breaking the yolk is my favorite part :)
I always have a big breakfast before going to work so I stay energized and relatively full/satisfied until my shift is over. Seeing as I'm constantly surrounded by food, this also helps me to refrain from grazing about and taking samples of everything throughout the work day. Granted I do have to taste what I am making to be sure that everything tastes right - but at least my breakfast keeps me sustained long enough to have bit of self control lol.
Whilst eating my morning feast I like to read the funnies/comics section of the paper.......
I prefer a lighthearted start to my day instead of reading about the latest shooting, suicide, death, etc. I am honestly the kind of person that tends to get deeply deeply upset and utterly disturbed when I hear about injustice, poverty, death, etc. Don't get me wrong - I'm not naive or in the dark about what's going on in the world, and I certainly don't try and pretend like people aren't struggling abroad. That being said - morning is my favorite time of day. It's my "Jenna time" if you would. If that makes me selfish then so be it!
There is a time and place for everything - the morning just so happens to be when I laugh at various comic strips... that and when I read the "Dear Abby" advice column. I like how she puts people in their place lol.
I love how Marcie follows me around all morning long right up until I'm walking out of the front door for work.....
(She is an extremely rowdy little girl. It takes me at least twenty photos to get a clear one, because she won't sit still!)
I go to the bathroom - she comes with me. I eat breakfast - she tries to sit in my lap at the table (I'd be lying if I said I didn't let her do it every now and then lol). I walk to the bathroom to put my contacts in - she sits on the floor next to me. I head to my room to get dressed - she sits in her bed and gives me the "please don't leave me again" look. AGH - it's like a dagger to the heart every time I leave lol. I wish I could take her everywhere with me!
Marcie lives at my parents house, so the past six months or so I've rarely seen her, because I've been at my apartment more often than not. But seeing as I'm going to be moving back into my parents soon (which is a story I'll get to another day lol) I've been with her a lot more. I almost forgot how much I adore this little dog. She is love of my life I tell you.
We were meant to be!
The drive to work was absolutely beautiful....
D0 you remember when I made these flowers for my car way back when I lived in Orlando? (If not then I suggest you click on the link and check it out! It is one of my favorite posts of all time.) I had so much fun doing so! The whole flowers hanging from the rear view mirror thing might be silly to some of you, but you'd be surprised how many Camrys there are on the road that look identical to Gertrude (yes my car has a name). A majority of time these flowers are the only way I can differentiate Gertrude from other Camrys in various parking lots.
The rest of my day (and the focus of the rest of todays post) was spent at work......
The view of downtown from the restaurants panoramic view is always a good one......
....minus the occasional unpleasant view of various questionable folks wondering about. But lucky for us they tend to keep to themselves lol.
Coffee was an absolute must this morning. I stayed up about an hour later than I should've last night blogging....and it would appear as if I'm going to be doing the same thing tonight lol. Coffee is the true fuel in the kitchen :) One cup each morning is all I need to get by!
Our pastry chef - Justin - was busy as a bee working alongside us for a bit this morning........
I of course hovered over Justin taking snapshots of his delicious delights for a good while this morning.
Justin is Olives award winning pastry chef. Check out the plaques hanging on the wall in the restaurant behind the bar Or are they sitting on the bar? Hmmm. I'm not quite sure....either way they're there lol!
When you come in for lunch (which I'm assuming you will eventually.... I mean how can you look at all of this and NOT want to come in?) I suggest you order one of his deserts, or several, and pair it with our delicious coffee! You won't be disappointed :)
I'm super excited that our back patio is open again!
The patio being open means there is room for more people! YAY! I really saddens me when people have to look else where for food because the restaurant is jam packed, and they're on a short lunch break. I just want to feed everyone!!
The patio was closed for the winter season, but it's back open just in time for spring! Er...summer? The weather in Ohio has been crazy the past six months or so. We didn't really have much of a winter, and it seems as if we skipped spring all together! It feels more and more like summer outside every day! No complaints here - aside from the unbearable heat in the kitchen - I really enjoy being able to wear dresses without tights :)
Did I ever mention that my boss is beyond awesome?
I've been working in the industry long enough to know this. I mean I've never worked at a restaurant where the owner would buy random rigamarole from the store and tell you to "have at it". Last week Kim, my boss/restaurant owner, brought in a huge bag of goodies and told Lee Anne and I that she thought her findings were cool and that she thought we might like to play around.
Play? Who? Me? I'm allowed to play with cool food? I'm allowed to use these really cool noodles? This oil? You're not going to tell me what to do with it? I get to be creative? Giiiiirl quit playing with me lol.
How awesome is that!! I'm super grateful to have the job I do. Every day is just a reminder for me to continue to do my best, because I am extremely lucky. I really enjoy going to work every day (aside from the days where I just want to sleep lol) I've never worked anywhere even close to this before. Olive is a gem I tell you.
Today's random challenge ingredients.....
What is the challenge exactly? Well as I stated previously - Kim purchases cool little this and thats from the store and we have to try them out in way way or another in any of our specials throughout the week! We don't have to use all of the ingredients in one dish, but we do have to try our best to be creative and fun with what we do with them! Sounds fun, eh? Lee Anne and I are so jazzed about this! We've already tossed back and forth some pretty cool ideas as to what we're going to do with the Borscht, pistachio oil, or the little pasta balls.
I can't wait! Working here has gotten me so pumped about cooking again. For a while there I was afraid I lost it, but I've successfully gotten my drive/passion back! Thanks to little challenges like this of course :)
Today was a good day in terms of Special and Soup of the day......
Sounds wonderful right?
Wait until you see the finished product :)
First the special&sod making process......
Lee Anne was happy as ever to be whipping up pesto aioli for the chicken sandwich special!
What is aioli exactly? A fancy way of saying delicious garlic mayonnaise. We serve aioli with our sweet potato fries and leeks!
Exactly the way you would think.....
Time for the soup of the day prep........
Lee Anne tends to make our soups of the day in their entirety every single day. Reason being I don't really have a very good understanding of how exactly to make soups from start to finish. I mean I'm not dim or anything lol I know how to make soups, but I tend to get intimidated by things I've never done before. Not that intimadation is stopping me from making our soups, but I'd much rather learn side by side with Lee Anne than be thrown into it all by my lonesome. But we've been soooo busy the past few months that I haven't even been able to really help Lee Anne with the process of making the soups. So instead of learning how to make the soups I've kind of been watching her do them as I prep other things.
Well as of lately the kitchen has settled down a bit and things are running smoother so I've been able to help her more. Today I played a lot larger role in the process than usual, which was totally awesome. I'd be lying if I said I didn't fuck something up along the way (we'll get to that in a moment lol). It was a great soup to take part in because it was so simple to make! Perhaps in a month or so I'll be able to take full reign over soups, but for now I feel more comfortable playing a larger role in the preparation of the special of the day.
I'm still a young budding chef within this giant industry.
I can't expect to be this wonderful thing over night.
It'll all come in time! I'm just enjoying the process......
Todays soup prep went like this.....
The onions caramelizing on the left were for the chicken sandwich, and the onions on the right were to be blended into the roasted bell pepper and sweet potato soup!
::Side note:: roasting peppers is one of my absolute favorite things to do in the kitchen. Why? I have absolutely no idea lol.
Filled the blender with roasted peppers....
A bit of milk, greek yogurt.......
And a bit of a roasted red pepper and greek yogurt sauce we used earlier this week!
Cue Jennas fuck up and Lee Annes stern words lol....
So we had sweet potatoes boiling in water that were to be added to the soup. When Lee Anne was busy sorting things out on the board (where we write our specials, what needs to be prepped, ordered, etc.) I decided to be helpful and deal with the sweet potatoes seeing as they were ready. Here's the thing.....
I'm so used to mixing sweet potatoes in the mixer and adding butter and what not because this is the process I've done so many times for a variety of specials - so dumping the water/straining sweet potatoes is basically second nature for me. So I strained the water per usual -without even thinking about it. By the time Lee Anne realized I dumped the water it was too late. She just looked at me and said "Did you dump the water?" I immediately knew I fucked up and that I was in trouble with mama Lee Anne lol. I of course slowly said "Yyyyeeesssss????" Turns out I'm a nit wit and dumped all of the flavorful water that was to be added with the soup. When I pitched the water I pitched a lot of flavor too. I was scolded. Lesson learned lol.
Of course Lee Anne tried to make me feel better later on by saying that it was her fault and she should've been watching me closer because I'm new to making soups, but I know that I should've asked questions before running around all willy nilly like I knew what was going on lol. In the end all was well I can assure you.
Lee Anne and I had ourselves a nice chuckle at our little argument later on (if you can even call it that....more like stern words due to my jumping the gun. We don't argue...but stern words are exchanged, and apologies are made if not daily then every other day. No biggie. Just another day in the hectic kitchen with friends!)
::Soup of the day::
Roasted red bell pepper & sweet potato garnished with feta and chives!
Lee Anne and I loved the soup so much that she added it to her personal recipe book! I (being the smart ass that I am) made some sort of remark like"Be sure to add 'strain sweet potatoes' to the recipe. The soup would've been horrible had I not messed up like I did! You might as well add it to the recipe." Lol - she is a good sport to say the least.
Grilled chicken sandwich on ciabatta bread with a pesto aioli, caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato!
Not long after I photographed this special and sent it to Kim for Olive's facebook page - we decided it'd be best to add havarti cheese to the sandwich as well. The special was good without the cheese, but it was GREAT with it. Good, or great? I'd go with cheesy delicious great any day :)
Lunch service photographs......
Seeing as the lunch service is so busy it's almost impossible to take photographs. All of the pictures I've posted up until now I took between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. - which is the moment I get out of bed up until the moment the restaurant opens. From 11 - 3 it is really hard to find time to do anything else but cook and drink heaps and heaps of water. But today I managed to make it work. Lee Anne and I decided we could spare an extra ten seconds or so for me to take pictures of an awesome plating, or something educational/neat to show my readers.
This is something I'll try to do daily so I can share with you guys! I mean up until now the only pictures I've really shared are the finished products (i.e. special and s.o.d.) but Olive is WAY more than a restaurant that runs on specials. I think it's important to show other dishes as well, and even the preparation of some. I'm sure there are at least one or two of you out there who have never had a job in an awesome restaurant before, so here is your chance to live vicariously through me! :)
Lee Anne making socca's....
A socca is sort of like a thin pancake/crepe made with chickpea flour. It is gluten free and vegan which is a big hit with a lot of our cliental. What do we do with our soccas once their cooked off?
Above is our italian socca which consists of: pesto, feta, marinated mozzarella, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, sweet garlic, lemon zest, kalamata olives, grilled chicken, and a balsamic reduction.
We also have a greek socca and a vegan socca on the menu as well!
I love the mixture of the colors.
Fried leeks served with a side of aioli. You might be asking yourself "is there any other dipping option aside from aioli?" Well I'm glad you asked hypothetical question asker! You can also opt for a bleu cheese sauce.
Time for what I believe to be our most popular menu item...
Tuscan grilled cheese sandwich! A tuscan is served on focaccia bread topped with pesto, pancetta, tomato, and mozzarella marinated in a balsamic reduction then baked to perfection!
Not only did we have lunch service today but we also had a catering event to prep for......
A second cup of coffee was most definitely needed, followed with half of a banana that I shared with Lee Anne and this little guy......
You might be thinking "Half of a banana and, coffee, and odwalla for lunch. That doesn't sound very filling Jenna." But you must remember - throughout the day I taste anything from 5-20 different dishes - multiple times mind you.
I have to taste the s.o.d. Is there enough salt? No it needs more salt. Taste. Time to taste the special. Then I have to taste chicken salad several times throughout the process of making it. Greek salad - does the vinaigrette taste right? No, more salt. Taste. The taziki tastes off? What's wrong? Taste. Does it need salt? Taste. Oh you're right, lemon juice. Taste again. See where I'm going with this?
Now do you know why it's so difficult for me to even look remotely like a VS model? Haha. Tasting is my JOB. At the end of the day - it's as if I've had a small meal in taste testing alone! So yes I am hungry when it comes time for lunch, but nothing that a nice smoothie and a banana can't fix!
Totally not complaining about having to taste all of our food haha. Sooooo happy to be paid to do it! My job continuously baffles me. Being paid to cook for people is so awesome.
The first time I was able to sit down ALL day long.....
Clearly stoked to be doing so haha.
(I think I was supposed to be giving the thumbs up, but for some reason my thumb looks a little....odd lol.)
Ignore the fact that I'm sitting in a chair by the recycling bin lol.
::Side note:: Those of you that work in restaurants - Why is it that it is somewhat customary for kitchen staff to hang outside around the trashcans/recycling bins at restaurants? I'm assuming it's because it's the only place to smoke (I don't smoke cigarettes mind you) away from guests. I'm sure those of you who haven't worked in restaurants before are like "ew, what?" Lol -we aren't rolling around in trash or anything lol. We're totally clean I can assure you. But for some reason, in every restaurant I've ever worked at, that's primarily the area where breaks are taken. I'm sure those of you who work in restaurants know what I'm talking about. What is your stance?
So there you have it boys and girls - my day in a nutshell.......
Perhaps not the most exciting day I've ever had, but as I stated at the beginning of this post - it was quite fulfilling and enjoyable nonetheless! Most of you already know this, but for those of you CCH newbies, I'm generally a very happy person. So even the dullest and most ordinary of days always end up being totally awesome in my eyes. I'm very grateful for everything that I have in life - great friends, awesome family, amazing my job, etc. It's almost impossible to be phased when you don't allow negativity in your life. And when you focus more on the good then the bad. Instead of saying that my friends are great I could point out their annoyances, instead of saying my family is awesome I could tell you all the reasons why they drive me crazy, and instead of saying my job is amazing I could state why I'm so exhausted after every shift. BUT. That is pointless and nothing but negative. As I said - when you focus more on the good then the bad, it is impossible to be phased.
But I digress......
I hope you all enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together :)
Have a wonderful day!
xoxox - Jenna B