There's a new book that should be required reading for every
restaurant employee. Two restaurant professionals and one professional journalist
wrote The Waiting Game (Ten Speed Press, $16.95) as "the essential
guide for wait staff." Beginning with a breakdown of restaurant hierarchy and
concluding with chapters on how to manage tips and how to keep a wait staff
position, the book addresses waiting tables as a credible, professional, dignified
and often difficult way to make a living; servers and diners alike could benefit
from this reminder. The 198 pages take waiting tables so seriously that they
even include exercises for practicing essential skills -- like balancing a tray
and describing dishes -- at home. Ten chapters also cover tip-earning advice,
beverage service, timing a meal, rules of setting and clearing the table, how
to read a wine label, obscure foods, sanitation, and handling complaints.
If you're in search of an unusual, inexpensive
gift -- or a plant you would have to grind in the food disposal to kill -- check
out the lucky bamboo vendors on Saturdays at the Crescent City Farmers Market.
They sell the shiny green bamboo as individual stalks or cut to various lengths
and arranged in squatty Asian-style pots. Lucky bamboo is said to attract happiness,
wealth, good health and general luck; at the very least, the arrangements are
charmingly tidy. They will live for years on minimal sunlight and water. The
Tuesday market is at 200 Broadway St. and runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Thursday
market is at 3700 Orleans Ave. and runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Saturday market
is at 700 Magazine St. and runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 861-5898 or visit
The Crescent City Brewhouse (527 Decatur St., 522-0571) is holding its ninth annual Brewmaster's Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29. Brewmaster Wolf Koehler and Chef Mark Latino have collaborated on pairings for the five-course dinner; local radio host and food critic Tom Fitzmorris will play master of ceremonies. Proceeds from each $40 ticket benefit Bridge House, a private, nonprofit chemical-dependency treatment center. Call Will Webre at 522-3901 for reservations.
Cornering the Market
Bull's Corner (316 Hammond Hwy., Metairie, 832-0017) is pouring Merlot for its Toastin' Tuesday wine tasting this week. Sample four wines for $5 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Or pay $25 to go on a tasting tour of Southern France, also on Tuesday, at Martin Wine Cellar (714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 899-7411/896-7300).
This week's column powered by a $6.99 bottle of Whole Foods' own 2000 Nominee Chardonnay.