As I reminisce about the good ol’ days when I served in a restaurant rather than a bar/nightclub/theater/etc I begin to miss a certain thing that doesn’t happen when you work in a place without a kitchen. I miss shift meal. You know shift meal? It’s that cozy time before work starts when you share a plate of food with your co-workers and strategize on on how to make the day ahead even better than the day before. Or maybe you would just sit there and read the paper, whatever. When I worked the lunch shift at my previous restaurant (the evil and hated VYNL on the Upper East Side), each day the kitchen would prepare us a lovely meal to start our day off right. I mean it is the most important meal of the day. My favorite was when they would make something that was actually for breakfast, like a big plate of scrambled eggs and bacon or maybe they’d make you an omelette. Sometimes they would miss the mark though. Keep in mind, even though the servers wanted breakfast it was 11:00 and the cooks had been there since 8:00 and they ate their breakfast four hours ago or something. So sometimes, I would drag my sleepy ass out of bed, throw it on the 6 train and pray to God they would make me a biscuit when I got there. But no, every once in a while, they would throw me a curve ball and make us steak fajitas or beef stew. Once they made us a plate of fucking shrimp quesadillas. Love me some quesadilla, but not with shrimp and peppers when all I want is a goddamn scrambled egg. I’d bitch and moan about it and then shut the fuck up and eat my fried chicken sandwich for my breakfast.
When I worked at The Marriott, we had a cafeteria. I worked the late breakfast shift and would get there and have to look at oxtail fucking soup or curry goat as I daydreamed of a waffle. By 11:00AM it was already lunchtime for everyone else. And seriously. Ox and goat was a staple in that cafeteria. It was like a fucking barnyard breakfast freakin’ buffet up in there.
Houlihan’s on 49th and Seventh never made us a shift meal. You had to order off a certain menu and then you’d get it half price or some shit. And it was crap like chicken fingers and french onion soup. My favorite shift meal was from the deli downstairs. An egg and cheese on a roll for a $1.25. And then some stolen orange juice from the bar. Once at the deli, I ran into Carol Channing. I said hello to her and she said hello back and that day my egg and cheese on a roll tasted extra special. And now that I think about it, my shift meals have gone steadily downhill since then. Thanks, Carol Channing. You really made shift meals suck.
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