Last week, I was invited to lunch at a restaurant while it was being reviewed. I was really digging in - hummus, baba ghannouj, tabbouleh, typical Sicilian fare. I think it was the strong coffee with cardamom that sent me over the edge, along with the garlic that had been embedded in the eggplant. For the next 10 or so hours, I flailed around like a walrus that had swallowed a boulder.
Yesterday, I went for a souvlaki chicken dish, and again I was snarfing it up like there was no tomorrow. This time it was the thinly sliced onions and a bitter espresso.
OK, so I cannot eat garlic if it is raw. Or onions. In fact, the rock above, from Beaucastel, or the razor blade, would be easier for me to digest. But those restaurant folks keep jabbing me with too much garlic and onions.
This week, I was talking to some of my colleagues. A few days earlier, I had put out a trade offering on all the Brunellos our company had available. Erroneously, I had listed an item that had been set aside for a national restaurant program. We had cases listed, twice, of the same wine but one was almost double the price. One of our clients called in and wanted all of the wine at the lesser price, and wanted us to assure them that they would have an exclusive on those wines. Oh, and by the way, could we sweeten the deal by offering a further discount? So a wine that is normally $57, but might be $31, you’d like all of it, and you’d like a better discount?
How about no, and hell no?
I was driving around a fashionable area of town, looking for a new wine store. After circling the area about 3 times, I finally phoned a division manager and asked him to tell me where the place was. There was no sign. On one of the orbits, I got a call from another salesperson. It was regarding a special offer I put out about 10 days ago, on a producer of small-lot Riserva wines from Piedmont. The total allocation for the state is really about enough for one good account. Several accounts from across the state had called in, wanting all of the wine. One guy even wanted most of the wine, even though he didn’t really buy wine regularly. I guess the press got him excited about making money. You’d think he would be over the lottery-ticket fever of getting something for nothing? But, I digress.
Back to the salesperson who called during one of my orbits trying to find this cool new groovy wine shop. It seems this salesperson had a customer who wanted to buy some of that wine, too, but wanted to send an offer out to his retail clients to see if any of them “wanted” any. I explained to the nice salesperson that we probably wouldn't be able to help that person sell something on “consignment,” but that if he was interested in some of the wine to put their name in the hat. It was my impression that he didn’t really want to commit to buying any of the wine unless he got some customers, beforehand, to collect the money from. Meanwhile, all these groovy wonderful Italian wines in the photos are already in the warehouse. They stand waiting their turn to empty themselves all over the goblets and chalices of the urban wasteland. Poor little Barolos and sad little island wines.
A spell of rain and cold, some ice in the past week. The freeway pass in the picture has been in the news a lot. It’s high and not so dry, and people, in good weather, like to jump off it intentionally. During ice even more people's lives are imperiled. It makes the news folks feel like they’re doing a service to the community. Get me some warm soup without garlic. That would be a bigger help to me.
Winters here can be mild. Not so lately. Just 2 weeks ago I was taking out the Christmas tree, in NYC, from the apartment, in short sleeves. Union Square was lively, lots of apples and potatoes in the open market. Jackets were on sale at Filene’s Basement. Coats, too.
Yesterday, an appointment at a new and groovy steak house near the sports arena. The Stanley Cup was on display. We were there to work on a new Italian concept wine list. One of the partner/chefs was there, and we talked about the idea of embracing local sensitivities while pushing towards a greater expression of an original and truer kind of Italian menu. Sounded real good to me. Hmm.
Maybe it's time to bring out the picture of Modano, when we made pasta and served it in the said Stanley Cup, back in the last century. So long ago, it felt like the last millennia.
One of my colleagues was coming over tonight so we could finish up a quick turn-around proposal for the Italian concept we had met with earlier. He was running late. One of his customers ordered wine at the last minute for a party, and the truck was late. Now the truck had 47 delivery stops because a computer scheduled the poor driver to do so. Of course the client knew about this event more than a week before. The salesperson asked them to order it then, and the client procrastinated.
Before the salesman finally made it to my place, I got a call from another of his clients. It was now past 7 p.m. 'Seems the orders were all screwed up, keeps happening. He wanted the poor guy to come over. So I called the sales guy and tell him I can wait. He goes over to the client to make things right. He picks up a case of wine wrongfully ordered and sent. About three blocks from the client on his way to my home, the salesman gets a call from the account asking him to bring the wine back. He can use it now. Wtf!
Another client calls this poor guy up while we are trying to finish up this proposal. It is now 8:30 p.m. We still haven’t eaten dinner. Eggplant is in the oven (no garlic). Anyway, this client wants two cases of wine for his children’s school for a function on Feb 14. Hmm, donations for wine right about Valentine's Day. What a coincidence.
OK, so now we have finally gotten the first draft of the proposal done. The eggplant is ready, the salad is ready, we pop open a really nice bottle of Valpolicella and proceed to eat. My friend, his phone is still ringing. Another client is asking him about some menus that need to be laminated. It is now 9 p.m. This is more fun than being Jack Bauer.
And I have gone way over the 1,000-word limit this morning. Ain’t we got fun?
Just for fun, if you're still with me, I've embedded a fun little Lambretta commercial, which reminds me of the last week or so. Ciao for niao!