Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta dinner. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta dinner. Mostrar todas las entradas

martes, 20 de diciembre de 2016

Christmas dinner

   As always for that time of the year, Adele had to out on her best clothes when working. It wasn’t really well seen if the hostess of a very prestigious restaurant dressed in any kind of clothing. She had to have some nice dresses for every single type of occasion, as she was the face of the hotel on the evening people had chosen to come. She represented everything for them and was the go to person if anything were to happen during one of the many dinners the hotel hosted all along the year. It was always vey busy, a successful business.

 Christmas time was especially hard on the hotel workers. For example, Adele had to wake up very early in the morning every single day leading to Christmas. For a week or so, she would have to put on her best coat to resist the fierceness of the weather and also because she really needed to get warm as soon as she arrived at the hotel as many things had to be checked. And in Christmas this was done in the most exact way, as everything had to be in line with perfection that night, as they always promised their guests the most lavish dinner ever.

 The kitchen staff consisted of several men and only a few women. There weren’t many women trying to breakout in the business and she was only closely related to everything they did on the actual restaurant. Adele was only a hostess and she would never be able to grow much more than that in her line of work. It all depended on very well paid jobs in certain events and parties, which he had hosted occasionally but not as prolifically as the events held on the hotel. There, she knew she was prepared to resist anything and everything.

 In the days leading to the Christmas dinner, the menu was checked several times and many testing lines were done. It was Adele’s job to taste everything and determine if she needed to change something in order to have some more time or make it a more successful menu. Two days before, she even thought it was going to be necessary to change the dessert because it wasn’t very well achieved but the person in charge of confectionery convinced her that he could make it more attractive with some superficial design.

 The day before Christmas he presented his corrections and he was lucky enough to be congratulated by Adele. The rest of the dishes were done and they only needed to cook them early on Christmas Eve in order for everything to be on point for the dinner. Many cases of wine were ordered from around the world, as well as many other alcoholic beverages. They also bought lots of cheese for after dinner and had to go to the market to buy the best and most fresh products in order to cook everything they needed for the menu.

 The night before the party, Adele was not able to sleep properly. She had gone to bed intentionally early but it didn’t work out at all. Not only was she worried about the dinner and the results the hotel was going to get with it but she also doubted her personal capacity to resist everything she was going to be held against. After all, the dinner was practically her show and if anything went wrong, it was her skill which had to come to work in order to fix whatever that needed to be fixed. All those thoughts did not let her sleep for a minute.

 When she arrived in the hotel, she checked every produce than had arrived and gathered the staff around her in order to tell them a few things before beginning. Not only the kitchen staff was present during the speech but also the rest of the hotel employees, as most guest were going to stay the night after dinner. Adele asked for everyone to do their best, to make it an experience that none of them could be able to replicate anywhere else. They needed to make that night one of the most special nights ever for every single guest.

 Rooms began to be cleaned and final details were being put on all over the hotel as flowers in every floor to make it smell divine. The kitchen went into full gear from very early in the morning, as they also had to cook for the rest of the guests in the hotel that were not going to participate in the dinner. It seemed to be chaos in the kitchens but the chef, and to a lesser extent Adele, knew how to make it all seem so peaceful, to always have a certain order that may not be obvious but with which every single person can work with to achieve the goals.

 Adele also had to check every single bedroom in order to personally see that the other workers had done a good job. She had to check first the ones where people had the intention to arrive earlier and then she moved on to the rest, checking for the bed to be perfectly done and for the furniture not to have a spec of dust. She also checked the bathroom, as that had always been very popular after dinner. People loved to have a bubble bath at some point so it was better to be prepared. Anything people wanted while staying had to become a reality.

 As she was checking the top floor, Adele received word that something had gone wrong with the dessert. Apparently the ingredients had been on a refrigerator that wasn’t working very well and they had become useless. Many melted and others were simply not the quality needed for the dessert. Adele ordered for all of that to be stored away and demanded the pastry chef and the confectionery guy to come up with something very fast as her customers couldn’t go without desert.

 Dinner was scheduled for nine o’clock at night. At seven, some of the guests begun to arrive and the desserts were not really done yet. Adele was very pleased to escort the first couple upstairs and tell them everything about the dinner, the usage of the bathroom and of the rest of the hotels features such as the swimming pool, the steam room and the spa, among others. She was lucky enough to check that room beforehand because she had discover dirty towels in the bathroom, so she changed that before anyone noticed.

 She didn’t join everyone to their room as, at eight o’clock, many more people started to arrive and she certainly didn’t have any time to waste. She used that moment to go back to the kitchen and see what they had come up with for dessert. As expected, they weren’t having many ideas. The people in charge were not as imaginative as they needed to be and they were really relaying on clichés to make a proper dessert. But the same old pastries and ice cream were not nearly goo enough for Christmas dinner. It would be an insult to the guests!

 Adele decided to come up herself with a new dessert. She knew they didn’t have much time, so she decided to reuse some of the ingredients they had from past parties. She decided to reuse the chocolate balls that melted when hot chocolate was poured on top of them. She decided to change the liquid chocolate for caramel and told the staff to come up with some sort of truffle at the center of the ball, in order for people to have a nice surprise when having their last dish. She put everyone to work and told them they had minutes to come up with a tasting plate.

 She decided to visit the lobby as they prepared, in order to let in the first guests. It was decided they should wait at the lounge bar, as she preferred to know first if the dessert was a go or no. She returned to the kitchen briefly to taste her idea and approved it when she realized it was good enough. Half of the kitchen staff had to help do all the desert plates needed for the evening. Adele left them again in order to open the restaurant and let everyone inside. The music had been carefully chosen as well as the design of the menus.


 The dinner started with applause when the guests saw their first plate, which was absolutely gorgeous. Then came the other dishes and finally the dessert. People didn’t say much about it but, when coming out of the restaurant, they praised the idea for being “simple but effective”. As some guests headed towards their beds and other towards the bar, Adele went to the kitchens and declared the night a complete success. She wasn’t going to sleep much that night either but at least she wasn’t going to be worried.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2016

Ghosts of war

   Paul pulled the potato plant and some dirt feel into the ground, with a beautiful soft noise. The potatoes had grown decently big and so had the rest of the food he had grown in the back garden. From there, he could not see anyone else, only the shadow formed by the house and the hills that created several ups and downs that got to the sea itself. But the sea was very far and in this inland territory only the cold wind that remained from the past winter swept the land, as if washing away any impurities in this world.

 He pulled a basket, put the potatoes inside with other fresh products, and took it inside the house. There he washed them carefully, cut off the parts that didn’t have any use and then started cooking. Adam got there just in time with meat from the market on the other side of the valley. He seemed tired so Paul told him to sit down and relax as he finished preparing dinner. Outside, the sun had already left the sky and the night was dark and silent except for the snoring of Adam who had fallen asleep in the couch.

 Paul wasn’t in a hurry with dinner, especially because he had to prepare everything enough time to kill all the bacteria and because the meat was thick and took some time to cook. When he was finally done, Paul went to Adam and softly kissed his forehead. As if it had happened in a fairy tale, Adam opened his eyes and smiled because of the kiss and because of the fabulous smell invading the small house.

 They sat down to eat some delicious steamed vegetables with thick slices of fried meat and a side of mash potatoes that tasted different from the one they had known in their childhood but it was still good. As he always did, Adam grabbed one of Paul’s hands, his left one, and kept on eating like that all night. It was something he had started doing when they first moved there and it was just a way to ensure they would never be separated. Adam was extremely serious about it and once they had a fight over that, because Paul had told him that he couldn’t eat properly like that. That night, they didn’t sleep together.

 But this time it was different. When dinner was done, Adam helped Paul wash the dishes and went to bed at the same time. They took off their clothes; each one tired of their day, and just hugged to sleep. But differently than all other nights, a horrible sound woke them up in the middle of the night. It was a sound coming from a machine and there were not many machines in this region. They felt the ground shake, which was what woke them up, and the horrible sound of a plane going over the valley. They had heard planes before but this one different, much worse, as if the plane was a horrible beast of some kind. They held each other after the sound had finished, thinking of what it could mean.

 The next day in town, Adam talked to many villagers and even to some fisherman that travelled daily to the coast and the port to sell their products. Apparently most people had heard the same thing and everyone had been awaken by it.  The first thing they said was that the country was neutral, at least officially, and that they didn’t allow one of the factions to use their territory to do nothing. So either the plane came all the way from one of the continents or their government had just betrayed the neutrality that had been their main characteristic for so long.

 The truth was that no one really saw where the plane came from or where did it go but it was flying really low. The following days some more things happened: many witnesses saw red lights, balls of fire, over the ocean but very far at the same time. It was like a weird light show and there was a sound with it but because of he distance it was hard to say what it was. Then some farmers found tank tracks in their fields but they had never heard any of them passing around. Actually, the army didn’t even have tanks or planes or anything.

 Adam decided they should keep living their normal lives, not minding a lot about these events. Or at least that’s what he told Paul. But at nights he would often wake up sweating from nightmares involving tortures and lights like the ones over the ocean and Paul would ask what was wrong and Adam wouldn’t say. They fought over it a couple of times but mostly they just held each other and tried to be supportive and close, because anything could happen.

 The explanation to everything was written in pieces of paper that had been distributed all over the country. Their nation had accepted the use of several bases by one of the factions and they would use the country to fight a battle against the other faction, to finally crush them for good. Their land would not be caught under fire, only been use as a previous layover for every plane, boat and other war vehicle, even tanks that did target practice in a wasteland north of the valley. That explained the explosions many people had heard.

  So the war had never ended and it was apparently on an important stage, on a decisive point that made even change the face of the world. This secretly excited Adam because even after so many years away from the fight, he was still eager to fight for what he believed and for what he had done so much so many years ago. But Paul just didn’t address the subject. The only thing he said was that if they all wanted to keep on killing themselves, it was fine by him but he didn’t wanted nothing to do with any of that. He didn’t want the war to come to the village and that was it.

 Adam didn’t told Paul but he started to have meetings with many people from the region and they were already discussing if they should also join the fight and how would they do it and why. They had the tremendous chance that the authorities were so busy these days that a meeting in a farm wasn’t important enough for them to attend and tear apart. They would have done it but now the government was using all the resources it had to make their “guests” feel at home. Everyone knew the situation was a disguised invasion and that their country had kneeled without even the chance of fighting.

 Paul kept to himself. He started concentrating only in his garden and in fishing in the lake nearby and doing all these things to make his home the best part of the world. He would share with some villagers his discoveries about how diets could be better so to keep everyone strong during the winter and during the summer too. And what he started to do was to take long walks, always when Adam was about to come back from his meeting in town. He knew he would want to tell someone about it and he just didn’t want to hear about it. He’d rather have their neighbors or their dog help Adam with that.

 Their relationship became very tense and that was very strange for both of them as they had never been in such tension. They had been living together for over three years now, year in which they had build a home together and had found the other to be that person they wanted in their lives forever. They had been through hell and back to get to that valley and have everything that they enjoyed in their daily lives. They had fought together and suffered together and now it was supposed to be a time of peace for them, even if the world was falling apart.

 But the sense of responsibility in Adam was too strong. So one day he followed Paul to the lake, where he went to take a walk and get away from everything, and tried to talk to him. He told Paul, almost yelling, that he needed to go back to the fight because he felt he had to finish what he started, he had to make the west faction pay for what they had done back home, for what they had allowed to happen to them and to the world. They were destroying everything everyone held dear and the world would never be the same if someone didn’t stop them.

 Paul answered that he didn’t wanted the world to go back to what it was. He didn’t want the past because he hated it. He reminded Adam than in that glorious past they would have been hanged if they dared to live together, in that past people were also deprived of everything and lacked so much. Fighting for revenge wouldn’t change anything, no matter who won or how they won. Everything was always going to be the same, war or not.


 For a whole week they didn’t talk to each other and Adam even chose to sleep in the couch. But they loved each other. They couldn’t do that for long because it tore them apart slowly. The war raged on and they were trapped in the middle of the fire, not knowing what to do or where to go.

domingo, 1 de febrero de 2015

Unwind

    It felt stupid, just waiting there as if I had nothing better to do. Besides the person that had to give me the documents was late so if the job seemed easy at one point, had now became annoying beyond imagination. I had drunk a cup of coffee and was tempted to leave after waiting for fifteen minutes. Just then, a man in a white coat arrived. It was impossible to miss her: her coat was made of fur, fluffy and beautiful and, beneath it; she wore a red dress with a deep cleavage.

 What kind of agent was this? I had never seen someone so obvious! Or maybe it was her technique, to look completely out of place in that park. She waved her hand at me and I just nodded. She sat down next to me and opened her purse. Silly me, I thought she was going to extract the papers from there but I was wrong. She grabbed a lipstick and a small mirror and began a routine she must have done twenty times a day, at least. When she was done, she put her things inside the purse and looked at me.

-       Girl’s got to be ready at all times.

 I stared at her, confused. I was sure she was the one I had to talk too but she didn’t seem to know what she had to do.

 I cleared my voice and asked, looking at a family pass by:

-       Do you…
-       I’m hungry. I haven’t had one rice for hour. That plane food… I don’t know how someone eats that. I couldn’t afford first class this time so I was under deep stress for all those hours. You know those flights.

 She clearly thought she was making sense. Or it may have been the fact that she was a very good actress because I had no idea what she was talking about. She glanced around, apparently looking for something.

-       There must be a nice restaurant in this area… Town Hall is just across the street, right?
-       Yeah…

 I stood up and offered to take her to lunch. She was thrilled by the prospect of eating and didn’t shut up in the long walk to a restaurant. Seoul was a beautiful city and I wanted to see it just as much as her but I considered myself on duty. The thing was Agent Volnal appeared to have a very different attitude towards her duties. She pointed and practically screamed at everything she thought was odd or peculiar. Being a little obvious wasn’t bad but this was a bit too much.

 We finally got to a nice little restaurant. They seem to serve every traditional dish but also other popular Asian foods like sushi or fired rice. Ms. Volnal took her coat off when seating at a table by the wall and I noticed how physical she was. What I mean is she looked like a person who goes to the gym pretty often.

-       Ms.…
-       Mirna. – She said, barely moving her lips or her eyes from the menu.

 There was a long silence in which both of us decided what to order. I wasn’t feeling too hungry myself but I preferred to go along. This was too strange to leave it at that and, most importantly, people were expecting me to have important documents by nightfall.

-       I think I might have the sashimi. I love fish.
-       Good.
-       What are you having? Maybe we can order like many small things and then share. What do you think?
-       Sure, sounds fun.

 It didn’t sound fun because time was scarce and I had been advised not to stroll for too long away from the hotel or the airport. No one wanted me to be caught by the enemy or by some foreign police. But I needed the documents and I was sure she had them.

-       We would like a sashimi plate, and some kimchi and the “kaboom” sushi you list here. And…Let’s see… What else you want honey?

 For a moment, I was too shocked by the fact she had called me honey. But then I recuperated and ordered two more plates of traditional meat and vegetables. She looked around the restaurant, admiring every single piece of the décor. I, for one, was starting to get worried. Even if we decided to eat fast, which I wouldn’t bet on, nightfall would catch us there, in a small restaurant in downtown Seoul. I had to have the info fast in order to travel early the next day.

-       Have you ever been in Asia before? – She asked.

 I jumped a bit, being to immerse in my own thoughts.

-       Yeah, I’ve gone to Japan and the Philippines. And have been in Singapore too.
-       I went to Thailand last year. Phuket. You know, the place where the tsunami happened. You wouldn’t believe; they have all working and it’s so beautiful. You should totally go there.

 As a matter of fact, I had always wanted to be there. And then the waitress came and I realized I was really hungry.

 As it happens, Mirna was a delight. For the following three hours I absolutely forgot whom I was or what it was that I was doing. We talked about everything single shallow and silly thing. We laughed at some celebrity news and also about some funny things that had happened to us in the past.

 We never said a single word about or jobs. It seemed to me we didn’t need to talk about that, seeing we worked so often and for so many hours and in so many places.

-       God, this is delicious! – Said Mirna, having some kimchi.
-       I know, right? Who would think a bunch of stewed cabbage tasted this good?
-       It’s crazy. Although, I’m more of a sweet tooth.
-       Really?
-       I just love chocolate. Any guy who gives me a box of chocolates, has a very good shot at being my husband.

 I laughed. I had never felt so at ease with a woman, at least not too recently.

-       You know, there’s a store in my hotel. They sell these Belgian chocolates. Maybe we could have some.

 And we did. After eating, we took the subway together, still laughing and pointing and smiling and talking. We must have looked as best friends all the way to the hotel. There, on the ground level, there was a large chocolate store. They even created custom made orders. Mirna and I tasted a whole bunch and we each came out with a big box for our journey back home.

 Then, it came the moment to say goodbye. I had forgotten all about work until, when she kissed my cheek and hugged me goodbye; she put her lips near my ear and said:

-       Bathroom wastebasket.

 We smiled and each other and, as she walked towards the subway station, I entered the hotel and went up to my room. I didn’t even close the main door to check in the bathroom. As she had said, there was a small flash drive beneath the plastic bag in the wastebasket. And attached to it, there was a note:

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED DINNER.
I GET BORED DOING THESE THINGS
SO I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND I NEEDED TO UNWIND.
GOOD LUCK.

M.V.