Decaf Americano

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Keanu, Sparrow Coffee americano, whoa. Decaf amerikeanu.

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Mezcal tasting notes-
Edgar “Bananas foster. Browned butter plantains. Smoked banana.”
Brien “I’m still tasting the wood.”
Todd “Did you just say booty butter?”

Polisher Again

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I am sending out this appreciation for Yo-Yo, Anthony and Octavio (as well Gabriel) the best PM dish team we ever had at 900. Last night we had a polisher call out last minute with flu, and being Saturday the best option to maintain full staffing was to jump into the position myself. But i did not have to do it alone.

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The dish team saw what was happening and rode in to save the day like the cavalry. Yo-Yo helped me polish silverware and restock the dining room through the whole night. Octavio covered for Anthony who was working through a touch of the seasonal bug going around. Anthony refused their generous offer of going home early to get some rest and powered through with fighting spirit.

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At every turn these guys were asking how they could help, or just jumping in to assist. The PM dish team we now have Anthony, Yo-Yo, Octacio, Gabriel have taken on the most responsibility and get the job done the fastest and most thorough, with the most care, day after day.

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I have worked with every team in the dish station since we opened at 900, and i have never seen the operation fire on all cylinders with the extra support that we had last night.

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Thank you dish team: may the respect you give 900 thru the integrity of your work shine back on you. We are only as good a restaurant as our dish team, and with these guys anything is possible.

Beauties

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Raven Beauty had me over her mom’s place for Christmas. I couldn’t believe how many presents they got me, all with a lot thought and good eye behind them. We had a spread of food and when they announced George Michael had passed it turned into a dance party. My gift for the Harpers came later when I had them in the restaurant for dinner. They were the first friends and family I had as guests. Jada said I can have Raven, but the dinner was so delicious they still owe me more than that. I wrote an appreciation to the staff on Facebook:

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“I am getting emotional thinking about the love you showed my family – i can’t think about it’s my third rail. Lynnea, Jason Martinez, Allie, Leslie, Chad, squad, you guys i got too close to the hit and it clipped me at the heart. Thank you guys for creating the kind of restaurant that nourishes with love above and beyond the amazing food and drink. I’m slow to emote because when the feelings start they don’t ever stop. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now guys. Seeing Raven’s aunt who is fighting serious health battles get up from the table after dessert and start dancing in the dining room. Damn, you got me. Crying in the uber. #squad2017 #bass2life #bass2reality”

True Champion

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Sunday funday at Lena Brava meant that we survived the cold weekend with great cheer, minimal cancellations and still committed to going above and beyond for our guests’ Lena Brava experiences. LLL and I believe that the lower PPA may have been impacted by the number of large parties ordering to share, and also we have seen lower PPA as a trend on Sunday night in general, however this took nothing away from the staff’s commitment to hospitality.

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SG / Mood Scale / Shoutout: LLL tailored so many personal touches for Matt Morin, dining with his SO Kappy, her sister and sister’s friend. From the crown she had Todd fashion, to the surprise gifts, to the seamless working with Chef Fred to keep Matt safe from finned and shell-dwelling danger (he is allergic to seafood.) LLL continues to lead the team with servant leadership, showing the entire staff the true meaning of hospitality, which begins with how we treat each other. Speaking of being the light to lead us on the path out of the dark wilderness… today was Kelly’s last day as an LB server.

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True Champion: Kelly Seim, the kind of person that comes along only once in a long, long while, who brings positive balance to an entire team in the middle of a stressful whirlwind of a restaurant opening, simply by being herself. Things fall apart, and entropy may well rule the universe, and there are still people like Kelly in the world. For her audacious grace under fire, we raise Kelly’s jersey to the rafters as one of the original true champions of 900.

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Tom Skilling says… core of polar air heads east.

Thick Fresh Winter Snow

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First all day snowfall mellowed but did not wash out the bold colors of our golden end of week sunset, painted by the masterly hand of teamwork that was this close-out FOH crew. Great comraderie and teamwork from the squad, and great of our guests to come out in the weather.

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Mood Scale: In the case of the guest saying the shortrib was overly fatty (we prefer “rich” as in yes this cut is abundant with delicious richness), their server Allie let me know that these 2 guests loved eating spicy chiles, and had no allergies or dietary restrictions. Allie’s attention to detail with these guests allowed us to serve enchiladas a la plaza to replace the turned away shortrib. Not only was this a lighter dish, it was the big chile flavor they loved. 10/10 recovery, way to go Allie.

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Shoutout: LLL filled in for Hector running food today during the big push she was charging those stairs making me feel just about a hundred years old. Great effort LLL, I’m still hearing phantom footsteps behind me and pulling over to let the fast cars pass.

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True Champion: Chefs Fred and Glenn, for securing striped bass again in the wee hours, taking turns expediting through the more hectic Sunday push, and great communication with the FOH team, crushing it.

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Tom Skilling says… “for the first time this winter, thick, fresh snow covers the ground.”

Poopsies

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I’m sick and tired of being tired
I can’t pick a side, the Gemini
Prophesize if we living, I
Promise momma not to feel no lie

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Seen black turn ’em Burgundy
Hundred of them, I know I’m greedy
Stuck inside the belly of the beast
Can you please pray for me?

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Get God on the phone
Said it won’t be long
I see jiggaboos, I see Styrofoams
My hood going brazy
Where did we go wrong?

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I see jiggaboos, I see Styrofoams
Get Top on the phone
Tell the squad come home
We gon’ ball again ‘fore he call us home
World is going brazy
Where did we go wrong?
It’s a tidal wave, it’s a thunderdome

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Get God on the phone
I just got a raise (I just got a raise)
Spent it all on me (I spent it all on me)
Diamonds all appraised (diamonds all appraised)
And I’m bossing up (and I’m bossing up)
Bitch get out the way (bitch get out the way)

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I’m the only way
We can fornicate
Ah, pimping and posing
Look what I drove in, ah
Having these hoes and I know that I’m chosen, ah
I live by the code and me and my bros and
Ah, my dollars ain’t foldin’, you was never the homie

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Who doing the drums?
Man put that nigga on the drums man
Yep all day, mortal man and Kunta
Alright, from the top!
-Lyrics from untitled by Kendrick Lamar

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Poopsies,
Hope you’re having fun and enjoying each other. Any pictures? Love love love
AJ

In the Atlantics

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Kate and Peter invited Raven, AJ and me to the end of the world the tip of Cape Cod for the dark holidays around the winter solstice.

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My standard winter solstice line… darker inside.

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Aunt Judy got to hang out with her friend Nancy, while I got in touch with Marcia, Genevieve and Hoota, and then we spent most of a week together in a cottage with a fireplace next to the ocean.

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There was snoozing and long walks on the beach in more or less equal measure. Joking!

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Love means sleeping in.

5 Years

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We had the holiday party at 900 with the staffs of all 6 restaurants invited to bring a plus one. The real purpose of the party seemed a baptism by fire for the newest property in our restaurant group.

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It was the kind of party where JF was presented with a 25 year award, I received a 5 year lifetime achievement award. Dog year lifetime. You’re the man now dog.

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The dish team presented me with this piece of art on wood, an Indian in sunglasses.

Stronghold Climb

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The Stronghold is crushing it, giving the LA climbing community a base of operations. The place was built by climbers for climbers. When I walked in and confronted the massive boulders, a cave and the mountainous climbing walls towering beyond, I was like whoa.

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The indoor climbing facility was way bigger than I was prepared for: photos do not really convey the height of the climbing walls, which are nestled into every nook and cranny of the historic Edison power plant building. All skills levels are welcomed, even somebody like me that has no experience a total noob.

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The helpful people at the front desk were totally welcoming to this first timer and their professionalism and friendliness put me at ease: I was a noob in the capable hands of the pros. They even got me laughing talking about fun items (like the number 2 most important thing to bring climbing – a portable toilet system.)

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Route setters post the Stronghold’s latest routes up the walls (changed every few weeks) on vimeo (see below for link) a really cool touch that made me want to check out their new creative challenges. The managers and staff are down to earth and involved in all aspects of the climbing world. Non-profits store adventuring gear behind the walls, to take underpriveledged LA youth on backpacking trips to nature. There is a wood-floored canopy-covered yoga room, for climbers to take classes that improve coordination, balance and flexibility.

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The smokestack visible from the freeway is now home to a lookout on the upper walls, as well as an art installation. When I visited the smokestack housed this amazing magnetic pendulum. There is a lot going on here, but the strongest feeling is the love and passion for climbing at The Stronghold, and it’s contagious.

The latest videos of climbing routes and bouldering puzzles: vimeo.com/strongholdclimb

Blueberry Honey Lavender Coffee

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Wait a second. What are all these people doing hanging out on the street. It’s after 9PM and there’s crowds of people at this ice cream place that does vegan ice cream cash only. You know they doing something right, and that something happens to happily be flavor. HELLO FLAVA. I can’t believe it’s vegan ice cream. I am a cosmopolitan city dweller and a black hole for artisanal ice cream, and even I was impressed with their flavor creative and creaminess. I had a two scoopa, one blueberry honey, one lavender coffee, damn I wouldn’t have ever thought of all that together. It was delicious and I would go back, even if it meant braving the nightlife and more bunches of millenials.