Holiday Greetings from the land of ice and snow… actually, I’m not in Indiana anymore. I’m writing from Bozeman, Montana, where it is a balmy 42 degrees. But at least we have mountains jutting up into clear blue skies and authentic cowfolk splashing around town doing their last minute shopping.
Nothing much to report… I’ve just been sleeping in and trying to help my mom out around the house while she’s at work. We have one tree mostly decorated… just one more to go. I think.
I’m excited about tonight, though, because we’re going to my favorite restaurant in the whole world – the Cafe Internationale, where I worked for 3 1/2 years in high school. I’m just not sure what I’m going to order – I’ve been craving so many of their specialties for so long! Should I go Thai stirfry? Or filet of Madagascar, cooked medium rare? Maybe cashew-crusted halibut with rasberry chipotle sauce. Or that one pasta I used to love with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, broccoli and button mushrooms… ~sigh~ This is going to be hard! And I’m really hungry.
When I worked there, it was one of those great “undiscovered” local places in an art gallery. I think it seated maybe 50 people and the dining room chairs were these executive office chairs on wheels. The prices were ridiculously low and our patrons were mostly resident artists and maybe a few politicians… now it’s moved to a more central, busy location between a gas station and a video rental store. Blech. But I am happy that they’re finally getting more business and are able to charge more for their amazing food.
It’s funny when I think back to my days working at the Cafe. I started the summer I got my license, the summer I was 15 years old and had never had a real job. My coworkers were mostly college aged guys who were incredibly fun… and who also taught me some very bad habits, the main one being eating leftover food off the plates that came back into the kitchen. I know, it’s disgusting, and I can’t believe I did it! But even my boss, a quirky chef from Kenya, would fight us over a juicy bit of steak or lucious morsel of escargot swimming in garlic butter. In retrospect, I wonder how I never got sick off of our patron’s leftovers… but I also know I never would have learned the menu without getting to taste everything! Ha ha! Anyway, it was a great first job and I cried when I quit. Those guys knew I was naive and gullible as get-out, and often took advantage of it. I’ll never forget being told to turn the fountain on in the middle of the lunch rush – but I was fooled into thinking it was a “clap on, clap off” model. Or the time I asked about Lava Rock Chicken and my boss spun a whole story about these free range chickens in Hawaii that were buried under mounds of hot lava, only to be dug up, fully cooked, later on. Crazy thing is, I might still believe it now if I didn’t know better.
But most of my old Cafe friends, like me, have moved on… so tonight, I will toast to The Kian, Obnoxious Truxton, Hot Sebastian, Really Hot Stuart, Scary Aaron, Aloof Aaron, and Blue-Haired Pierced Pete. And, of course, my boss, Andy.