:: Life on Planet Dan-E ::

Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Thursday, November 15, 2007 ::

:: Server Stories: Southern Style ::
There's a NASCAR event at the Miami Homestead Speedway this weekend, so tonight, we were treated to our first wave of customers from the flyover Southern states. Chuck and I worked a party of twenty and when I checked IDs, I noticed a lot of them were from North Carolina. If you followed by blog for any time, you know that I follow NASCAR as eagerly as I'd follow a guy with dysentery and a corn fetish. I thought maybe there might be a college football team coming here this weekend but as it turns out, the party was the sports marketing team for driver Tony Raines, who drives the Texas Instruments car. "Oh yeah, I've heard of him," I replied when making conversation with a cute little blonde. I really haven't but I figured I'd play along.

We get Southerners in every now and then, depending on what's going on in town. Sometimes it's football, other times it might be a convention of some sort. Last year, we were overrun with people from Kentucky during the Orange Bowl. When the Jaguars played the Dolphins, we saw nothing but Jacksonville jerseys that weekend.

People from the South are unfailingly polite, mediocre tippers, and aren't afraid to be, um, different. There were three guys, at least the ones I noticed, that sported some rather impressive mullets. They all wore denim shorts and had mustaches that would make Magnum P.I. jealous. Their tables also involved at least one woman who looked like she just climbed out of a sequin mine.

A few other things I noticed:

- Like I said, they're all very polite but can sometimes be a little demanding if we don't carry items they're accustomed to. And politeness doesn't always go with generosity, since they're not always the best tippers. "Thanks for everything, the food was great; here's 13%." Wow, thanks ya'll.

- For example, they LOVE Ranch Dressing. Our house salad is served with balsamic vinaigrette. That's it. We don't have options like other chain restaurants. But half my customers asked for Ranch. At one point I contemplated asking the manager to buy a tub of Ranch just for the weekend just so we don't have to explain what balsamic vinaigrette is.

- They also love their Caesar salads. If the vinaigrette was too exotic for them, they went to Plan B, the Caesar. Everyone else just went straight to the Caesar.

- They also love ketchup. I remember watching Standup Comedian Ron White (of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour) talk about how ketchup "makes everything taste better," which resulted in a loud ovation from the crowd. Not being very Southern, I limit my ketchup intake to when I have fries or onion rings. Tonight? I saw it applied to potatoes, calamari, fish, and (ugh) steak. I'm of the belief that a good steak needs little more than salt and pepper - maybe a pinch of paprika - to taste good (I haven't used A1 in over a decade) and I felt real, physical pain when I saw someone pour ketchup over a perfectly good filet mignon.

- They absolutely LOVE gin. Good gawd do they love gin. Actually, they generally like drinking (we served a lot of mojitos, too) but if they're out, they want gin. We went through an entire bottle of Tanqueray and half a bottle of Bombay Sapphire.

- And if they're not drinking gin, they want Sweet Tea. I've never had Sweet Tea but I guess it's a bit more complicated than just brewing iced tea and adding a lot of sugar. I'm not sure what it invovles but we don't do it. Last year, one couple who never visited Miami asked how we could possibly not have Sweet Tea. "We're from the South and Miami is even more South!" "Ma'am, Miami isn't the South. It's more like North Cuba."

- They love their NASCAR. People from Georgia all the way to St. Louis were here tonight and I can only imagine what it'll be like once the weekend starts tomorrow.

And that's just the people we saw in our restaurant. The night started slow so I stood outside for a little bit enjoying the mild weather and I saw quite a few trucks - Ford F150s, Chevy Silverados, Dodge Rams - with out of state license plates out cruising. But still, we were busy and yet the night went very smoothly. I'd imagine we're in for more of the same for the weekend.

I just hope we stocked enough gin.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 11:48 PM [+] :: | 0 comments

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