A Lot Less Top Chef Than I Was Hoping

I mentioned that this would be a “Home Alone” weekend for yours truly, and I held to that by and large.

Friday Night Going Away Happy Hour
No, not for me.

I sometimes wonder why I continue to be a Taco Mac patron because it seems to be a one-sided relationship. They tell me that they don’t want to do the things I ask, and I pay more money for the same things that I can get elsewhere, but I continue to return.

Last Friday a very popular employee had his last Friday with the company, again, not me, so we set up a going away happy hour at Taco Mac. By Thursday it was clear that we were going to have at least twenty people attending.

On Thursday afternoon I hoofed it over to see if I could secure us a corner of the outside patio, away from most of the televisions (I figured many people would be there to watch basketball for some reason). My request was met with a “Well, we don’t do that so you’ll need to show up early and we will see what we can do.” response.

On Friday a trio of us arrived early to warn them of our impending party’s arrival and from the reactions of the people we dealt with you’d think that we had asked them to shut down the establishment entirely for us. I might add at this point that at 4:45pm on a Friday this Taco Mac was virtually a ghost town. “Oh, that’s a big group.” “Well I’m not sure that we can turn the heaters on out there.” “The problem is that each of those tables may have a different server, so I can’t sit you all there.” The bullshit, from at least three different levels of employees, went on and on. Fortunately for Taco Mac one of there better servers arrived for her shift and took control (she knows the boss and me fairly well, and knew that she wouldn’t be getting shafted on tips too, I’m sure). She went out to the patio; she started moving tables together (actually, I hate long tables for large crowds but at that time I wasn’t going to put up any additional hurdles); she started the ball on getting the patio “walls” rolled down to stop the wind and the overhead heaters turned on. She was a pro, and while I only know what I tipped her, I think that she made out well by serving us.

Saturday: Hector Santiago?
As I lay in bed on Saturday reading Twitter I saw that former Top Chef cheftestant was going to do a popup restaurant inside Urban Cannibals on Saturday while they are performing some Spring cleaning. I never made it to Santiago’s restaurant in Poncey-Highland, nor during his stint at the newly-closed Abattoir, but I did accidentally come across one of his popups in Castleberry Hills years ago and liked what I ate then, thus I was excited.

Apparently a lot of other hipsters and wannabe-hipsters were also excited as there was a line fifteen minutes before the popup was to open. When I drove by thirty minutes later there was still a line. I’m no fan of waiting in line for food, especially when it’s around 45°F outside. So I didn’t. Instead I went to Tomatillos where I went inside and sat down immediately and then commenced to fill myself with some chips, salsa, and a brisket burrito. Was my meal Top Chef quality? No, but it was delicious, cheaper, and I didn’t have to wait in line to get it.

One final note about Urban Cannibals — they are expanding. Apparently the owners are going to open a full restaurant near Piedmont Park (by ONE Urban Kitchen) and another bodega where Las Palmeras used to be on 5th Street. I’m happy for the ladies, but as with Holy Taco and Deliah’s Chicken Stand I am a little saddened to share what has helped make East Atlanta a unique destination. What can I say, I’m greedy.

Laying The Foundations Of Change
When I have my mind made up to do something I usually follow through. However, making up my mind can be an incredibly arduous and lengthy task (see also: agonizing over getting plumbing fixed).

On Saturday, after my big lunch, I started the ball rolling on a new project in the house, one that involves moving things (see Jeannie, I can change the way the house looks, just give me eleven years!) some of which may not be moved very easily by a soloist due to their weight and/or size; the furnitures’ weight and/or size, not the soloist’s. We’ll have to see how long this project takes me to finish and how many times I get frustrated with the ITP estate in the process.

Sunday: Kevin Gillespie
What I didn’t mention late Friday afternoon was that I purchased a ticket to former Top Chef cheftestant’s book release party at his restaurant Gunshow in Glenwood Park on Sunday.

The invitation read that there would be food present and drink specials available in addition to having the opportunity to get your book signed by Kevin Gillespie.

Apparently I’m not the only one who wanted in on this action. The party was from 2pm-6pm, and since my book signing block didn’t start until 4pm I saw no reason to get there too early. I arrived a little after 3pm with many people milling about.

As I walked up to the door I just missed out on getting a serving of food from the man walking around with a serving plate. This was to become routine, as servers were sent out with plates of food and were subsequently mobbed as if they were chumming a shark tank. I was pleased to see the drink line was almost non-existent only to find out that I had to buy the drink first, after waiting in a long line, in order to pick up my beer via the shorter line. The “special” price was $5, not exactly “special” in my book. While waiting in the drink-buying line I jumped out to attack a waiter in order to get what was to be my only tasting of the afternoon before jumping back into the drink-buying line.

With one delicious appetizer in my belly and a beer in hand I got into the relatively-short book signing line and waited my turn. It was a good twenty minutes before my book-signing block was to begin but I had been told that if the line was not short that I could enter at any time.

I’m the worst fan ever, or perhaps the best. I never ask to have my photo taken and I really don’t hold much of a conversation with the celebrity involved either. While waiting for Gillespie to sign my book I mentioned that I was there for the Christmas Feast and how much I enjoyed it. He thanked me, signed the book, and like getting soup from the Soup Nazi I dutifully stepped aside.

I hung around alone the restaurant finishing my beer hoping to score another morsel of food all the time watching the happy groups of people around me. When failing twice to get into the fray soon enough to get something off a server’s plate I gave up and went home. I was home by 4:10pm.

Hey Man, Watch This
Tonight I will be attending an Apple Watch “Hackathon” at Big Nerd Ranch‘s headquarters. With fewer than two hours of experience with developing Apple Watch apps under my ever-expanding belt I’m not sure how much contribution I will proved to those hacking the SDK, but I’m willing to find out. Hopefully this will be an opportunity to reintroduce myself to the iOS development world in Atlanta, since I’ve not been able to attend a single iOS Developer Meetup since starting my German courses last September.

Paulie [eat/ga]

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8 Responses to A Lot Less Top Chef Than I Was Hoping

  1. Barb says:

    Weekend was fairly busy for me.

    Friday night had a bike fixing dinner – we think Mike’s bike will now be working much better.

    Saturday went for a hike up Kennesaw, haven’t done that section in a while.
    Went to a newer place for dinner on the Marietta Square, another expensive burger joint, but it was good. Went over to Johnnie Mccrackens for a beer after, that place was packed, but there really aren’t any nightlife places on the Square.

    Sunday a was mountain biking day, it was a gorgeous day.

  2. Steve says:

    Let’s see… measuring for the fence on the neighbors’ pasture and buying some of the supplies was Friday’s adventure. Also Friday, I was able to get the hot tub in place with fairly minimal hassle. Once I got it pickup up by the front end loader, I got it onto the patio, but then wondered if It would slide into place… I got a couple of bags of ice and spread under the tub. Once I lowered it, I was able to puch it into place fairly easily. Cleaver.

    Saturday was more unloading the pod, while Debbie got the house more in order, then I was off to Stone Mountain for a meeing on the field about the changes we are proposing, then the annual “We Fooled Them Again” party at the FOP in StMtn. A good crowd and fun evening.

    Sunday we were able to finally empty the pod, and still have room in the mancave to park the tractor!! Many boxes to sort through, but plenty of time for that.

    Hopefully we can get the posts in the ground that we will attach the Electrobraid to, and can get the ponies home soon.


  3. Steve says:

    And while riding the trainer yesterday, managed to break a spoke! Ugh.

  4. Forgot to mention. My calendar showed this past weekend as being Black Rock Campout weekend for Black Sheep. With that freezing weather I am so glad that I did not go (again).

  5. bob says:

    We have had that problem with Taco Mac before too, try to reserve a large table or back room and they just wont. They would rather “deal with it” when it happens, pretty shitty in my book. For large parties I look elsewhere.

    This weekend was absolutely insane and fun! Charlotte is a really cool city, sort of like what Atlanta used to be before the population exploded. Our host decided it was too cold to camp so invited us all in to set up mattresses and sleeping bags on the floor. Brent (our host) fit right in with the hooligans and was cutting up with the best of us within an hour. I rode my bike on the interstate, through parks, through some really bad neighborhoods, and all around Charlotte. Critical mass was more of a pub crawl, and the tour de charlotte put on by faster mustache was way too much fun. More stories came out of the weekend than I can remember. Great times!

    Although I got a call Saturday evening that Travis broke his arm while jumping on the trampoline. Radial fracture so not too bad but he said it was pretty painful. Making an appointment with an orthopedist this afternoon.

  6. Oh man, a broken arm? That sucks for the little guy.

  7. Steve says:

    Poor Travis!

  8. Barb says:

    I was reading some FB updates about Black Rock, I can just imagine how many hasers slept inside that little cabin.
    I wasn’t too bummed about not going after seeing the temps.

    Bummer for Travis. I’m sure he will have fun with the cast though, look out Snoop!

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