My current workplace was amazing enough to give me time off right after I started working there to sit my ass on a beach in North Carolina for a week with my lovely family. Besides doing a lot of lounging, napping and catching up, we cooked every meal and ate and drank like spoiled kings thanks in part to the fact that my aunt owns two restaurants and my cousins are the front of house managers and wine buyers for one of them. I've surpassed my filet mignon quota for the year.
Also on hand, thanks to the great fishermen of the East Coast and the most amazing shanty of a fish market on a dock in Topsail Island: blue crabs. Lots of them. Cooked in beer and Old Bay. Maryland would be proud.
The only dreaded part of the trip was the actual traveling; 8 hours on planes and in airports is totally not awesome. I touched down at PDX at 11:30PM on Tuesday and got right back to work Wednesday. In a way it's been great to jump right back into it, but I'm just now kicking the last of the jet lag. Hitting a wall at 9PM during dinner service is far from ideal.
What has been great is knowing I'm finally on a solid schedule. While I was extremely fortunate and happy to take this time off, I like having set hours and days that I can rely on. Is it part of getting older, craving some stability? While the job itself is refreshingly unpredictable in many ways, knowing where you're going to be and when you're going to be there is a small comfort.
Not to say it isn't a little rocky at first; I remember when I first started working at my previous restaurant, the most frustrating thing about the first few weeks was figuring out where everything was located, and my new restaurant is no different. The hotel pans, the China caps, the pint containers, all your various and sundry utensils and every individual ingredient you needed for your station--like an old cat lady who keeps her hair pins in tidy rows on the bathroom counter, every kitchen has its small idiosyncrasies into which you eventually step in line. Most of all, I hate pestering people to ask where things are, but as they say, it comes with the territory.
I can report that even though I'm still very fresh meat, my new job so far has been refreshing and fulfilling and slightly terrifying; in short, all the things I was hoping it would be. I miss my old coworkers a lot, but in my humble opinion, opening the doors to new opportunities and experiences is one of the best parts of cooking.