Tag Archives: Roly Poly

Family New Havening

Family New Havening

Family time at the around the haunts of New Haven such as the Chetstone gothic Victorian mansion, Georgie’s Diner, Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary, Pepe’s Pizza, East Rock, Lenny and Joe’s, Fairhaven Heights (Dragon), Lighthouse Point, Ragged Mountain in Meridan, and more fun along the CT shoreline. October 2018. Big thanks and love to Kate, Peter, Raven, Aunty, Roxie, Ruby, Cobra, Pink Lady and all who were in on it!

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Tilted Grid

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The Great Fire of 1871 never blazed south of the river. To walk through Bridgeport today is to glimpse part of a city as it looked a century ago. Many streets defy Chicago’s quadrants with their own private logic (all streets are designated “south” even though they might run east/west). My neighborhood is on the “tilted grid” set up in 1836 by Col. William Archer.

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Where I stay, I am aligned with the former buffalo path which is now Archer Avenue. The tilted grid, patterned when the canal digging began, does not follow what Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago calls the “rectilinear street system.” Rather, it follows the logic of the river and Indian trails.

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Via Crucis

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It was a particularly interesting and beautifully brutal week of Easter. Large crowds began to line 18th street early the morning of Good Friday, selling crosses made of palms and steaming hot cups of champurrado. Around noon a procession of Roman soldiers walked Jesus to the park, where he was crucified before the thousands assembled.

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I worked Saturday and Sunday with no busser, no food runner, no support whatsoever, doing hundreds of covers, sometimes even needing to run the dish machine, never having enough of anything: we have a lot of work to do for our service! The unexpected moments, like Roly Poly sitting for tacos with Raven, or a mariachi singer just showing up and belting out requests in the middle dining room, brought pleasure along with the pain.

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Fuí A Ver Al Gitana

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It was a table for 2 with the 2 both being latinas. I said hello and asked how I could be of assistance. They let me know right away that nothing was wrong: they had seen Chef and I taking photos and just wanted to introduce themselves. One woman asked how long I had been the manager, to which I replied I was actually moving to California soon.

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Oh well, take my card anyway, she said, slipping it into my hand. As the woman and her friend got up to leave, she touched my arm and said, “See you later.” That was kind of weird, I thought, standing in the middle of the empty dining room. I looked down to read the woman’s business card. The header was “tarot, spiritual reading,” and the job title was, “bruja.”

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Get Lucky

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Tom Skilling Forecast: Wet Wednesday, flurries mixed with light drizzle.

Door: The all-day rain (knock on wood – at least wasn’t snow!) meant that web orders more than doubled in-house to-go. Looking out of the front pastry windows, it was like Xoco was going through a car wash for much of today. Our hosts, Nayeli and Miguel, were warm and extra welcoming for our dine-in guests who braved those conditions.

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Service: Great day for service. Maria and I had an hour in the AM to go over training on ADP adjustments. We will have another pay period to review together before she is ready to take over. Tomorrow we will make a schedule together (which we will also get to do a second time) and put in the orders for to-go supplies (we will do this 4 times together!) Maria and I will be at the vision meeting (we have worked on the Xoco 2016 vision together with the chefs) tomorrow as well. With the slower pace, we went with a 6 person team (including hostess) in the AM, and again in the PM. One of those 6 was Guadalupe, on her first day on the floor she did a great job, not just with our customers and the sidework, but also I got about an hour of menu knowledge and testing with her and Giovanni tonight. They are both building on a great foundation of Xoco knowledge.

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Guests: 3 Chicago police officers, including Officer Dan (check out our Facebook photo together!) Linda Berg. Older guest, friend of Linda (they ate at separate times.) Regular commuter from NYC. Kyle Patterson.

Mood Scale: This afternoon, while I was training with Maria on ADP, a guest called the HC about his web order. He was ordering for pick-up, planning on reheating the dish (ahogada) for dinner. We showed him how to order the meat and onions on the side, so that they did not sit on the bread until dinner time, and gave directions for reheating all the items separately. The guest really appreciated the extra care and instructions!

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Mama Futura

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Tom Skilling Forecast: Chance of remnant flurries early, then clouds and some mixed sun.

Door: Big day for to-go! We sold to-go at a 1:1 ratio with dine-in, and that boost (especially from one big order) made for $1000 over the same day in 2015. Warm, lovely energy at the door by both Nayeli and Miguel.

Service: Ismael (who now works FG service bar every Wed and Sat lunch) and I touched base about where we are with margarita prep: we have all needed ingredients and will be batching up Pear Mezcal and Cider Marg tomorrow, with already a good par on Xoco marg for the weekend. One guest who had ordered lunch on Caviar sent us two emails about the seasoning (not a fan of the salt.) I got in touch with the guest to apologize. They did not want a credit but we insisted. I said the bottom line for us was that he was not happy with his Xoco experience. Chefs Julio and Glenn confirmed the line was seasoned to our standard. Valeria (PM to-go) gets the MVP for taking orders at the table, going out into the dining room when she had down time and checking in. Valeria’s all-day focus on our guests Xoco experience was amazing even though it’s her 8th month of pregnancy!

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Mood Scale: We had a $700+ order for 11:30AM pick-up. Chef Julio and the AM team crushed it! We had asked the guest to provide feedback about the food and experience if possible, and in the afternoon received this email: “Thank you so much, Arthur. People loved the food – it tasted great! And everything was there – labels, food – very complete. Please thank your team. Thanks so much, we look forward to working with you again in the future!”

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Vegan Jerky

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Tom Skilling Forecast: Blast of subzero arctic air brings frigid start to the week.

Service: In the AM, co-MVP is for Lupita and Ismael. Lupita was very helpful giving me an inventory of hot cider, café de olla, and beer. Ismael, who batches both Xoco and seasonal margaritas, was also on top of things, making the Xoco margarita for the week today, and getting all of his materials ready to batch the seasonal margaritas on Thursday. In the PM, Vanessa made almendrado while Raven and Jose put away all of our to-go supplies (we ordered early because of the week off). MVP of the PM goes to Miguel, who was taking care of the door tonight. When he hosts, the entire restaurant is his section, and anytime he sees a guest has finished their beer or margarita he offers them a replacement (all of his margarita/dessert shifts paying off!)

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Mood Scale (one for the road edition): We had a guest waiting for the rest of his party for the better part of 15/20 minutes. The restaurant was not yet half full, so we had him sitting at the table holding it for them. The guest received a text saying his friends were at the Xoco in Wicker Park, and came up to explain this to Miguel and me. Miguel asked if he could get the gentleman a cab, and he said he was getting an Uber, so I offered him an Aztec hot chocolate to stay warm for the ride over. The guest accepted and hopefully that gave him some good energy to bring to his dinner!

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Frankfurt

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Frankfurt is a big airport, important hub for Lufthansa, where I connected from Chicago to Portugal. Frankfurt is also something like the Philadelphia airport of Europe, well run but perhaps lacking in design for its size, leading to some WTF headscratchaz.
The upshot at Frankfurt: pretzels and hotdogs!

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The first WTF moment was in passport control, which began with 4 active agents and then arbitrarily dropped to 3, and then 2, creating an hour plus long bottleneck (but hey, could always be worse.) The second headscratcha, the one that spiritually tied Frankfurt to Philadelphia, utilized Philly’s signature move: the shuttle bus.

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It was already a cold gray afternoon when it started to rain, leading to a small delay at the gate. The airline reps finally began scanning tickets. To my surprise, instead of a sky bridge to the plane, we were herded downstairs to the subterranean basement, to board a shuttle bus. I was not very trusting of this: after all, I had bought a plane ticket to Portugal, not a bus ticket.

I grew concerned that I had F’ed up somehow (typical of me.) But the shuttle bus eventually got us rolling, under and around two terminals, and out onto the tarmac. We disembarked in the rain, choosing between stairs at the head and tail of the plane. Everyone climbed aboard.

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Joy Machine

 roly poly cat chicago west town sunrise dawn december new 3rdarm years 
COLBERT: I started off as an improviser in Chicago. And so, to me — I learned — and this is what I really enjoy — is I like discovery more than invention. Any discovery I can make is always going to be superior to an invention because discovery you don’t know what you’re going to find, whereas invention you are just presenting to the audience something you’ve already made. Discovery is always superior to invention.  
   

roly poly cat chicago west town sunrise dawn december new 3rdarm years DICKERSON: What would you have asked the pope?

COLBERT: I would have asked the pope about joy, you know, we call the show “the joy machine” and — because if — unless you do it with joy, it’s just a machine. And in less than five minutes a week, it will grind you up and spit you out and there have been nights.

But I would have asked him about joy and where he finds his joy, like how did he become St. Peter?

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DICKERSON: I’m a downer.

COLBERT: You’re not a downer. You’re not a downer.

DICKERSON: You know, the other thing about comedy, though, is we need to acknowledge this horrible thing that happened, we also need the catharsis of the comedy to get us back on the road to controlling what seems like a time of total chaos.

COLBERT: You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time. It’s like physiologically impossible to laugh and be afraid at the same time.

-excerpt of John Dickerson’s interview with Stephen Colbert from December 27 episode of CBS Face the Nation

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Yes, the Fish Music 

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A trout-colored wind blows through my eyes, through my fingers,  3rdarm arthur mullen chicago xoco holiday party casey cora roly poly cat dawn sunrise  

and I remember how the trout used to hide from the dinosaurs  3rdarm arthur mullen chicago xoco holiday party casey cora roly poly cat dawn sunrise  

when they came to drink at the river.  3rdarm arthur mullen chicago xoco holiday party casey cora roly poly cat dawn sunrise  

The trout hid in subways, castles, and automobiles. 

 3rdarm arthur mullen chicago xoco holiday party casey cora roly poly cat dawn sunrise  
They waited patiently for the dinosaurs to go away.

-“Yes, the Fish Music” by Richard Brautigan

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