Friday, February 04, 2005

japanese habachi

Today was the first time I've been to a Japanese "habachi" place since sophomore year of high school when I worked at one. It was pretty odd. Thankfully, it wasn't the exact same place that I worked at before, but I totally got this feeling not unlike hanging out with an ex-girlfriend after breaking up. The kind of feeling that surroundings are familiar, but you're playing an unfamiliar role.

Even though it was a different restaurant, the setups of the tables were the same (they always are). Not only that, but the plates were the same size and weight as the ones used at the Samurai. The only difference is that the plates didn't have the gigantix Samurai logo glazed onto it. The sauce containers were exactly the same. Plus, I could see clearly under the table from where I was sitting. Probably no one else paid any attention to it, but I recall clearly that I spend a good amount of time chucking stuff under there while at work.

So instead of being the busboy who cleared the tables, I was one of the customers sitting at the tables chatting away like an idiot. I saw the busboys there doing the same stuff I did... clearing tables, setting up tables. They even wore the exact same stuff as I did (sans the bow tie).

Then there was also the hot surface in front of me. My memories consist of me burning myself while packing up people's food. I passed my hand over it just to remind myself of what burning myself feels like. Nice... I still have the tolerance for it (mental... I haven't become superhuman -- yet).

Then the hostess came by with some warm towels for us to wipe our hands with. Finally, something that was totally different. Funny thing was that after I got the towel in my hands, that along with the hot surface in front of me promted me to think about wiping the cooking surface. I don't even remember that as being part of my job. Looking back now, I do *vaguely* remember that I was responsible for wiping those before (or after?) the restaurant opened. The sidework that we did at that place was awful.

We then got our soup. You would think this would be uneventful, but when I started having the soup I realized that I have *never* had the soup that way before. The soup is usually served with mushrooms and fried onions. But as an employee, what we would do is always mix the soup with rice, or better yet, have the soup with a huge amount of fried onions. I had the soup, but it was definitely better the other way. Just not as pretty.

That was about it. After a while it settled in, and thankfully, things weren't exactly the same as the other place. The tricks the chefs did were different, the food was a bit different, and most importantly the shrimp sauce was *way* healthier than the stuff I was used to. I was actually disappointed. After eating healthy for most of the week, I was totally OK with eating sauce that was almost 100% butter. Too bad it wasn't. Fat's tasty.... mmm....

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