So, we went out for dinner. Cochon. We had been dreaming of this place since we first heard they were even going to do this place. Cochon is the conception of Donald Link and Stephen Stryidnfksd.d,fidfoncekjkdlfjs. Stephen Stryjewski. I looked it up online. It's so easy to open up another tab and do research. It's a little too easy. I can't believe people get paid to do shit like this. I should get paid to do shit like this. People would pay for my take on food and life, right? BTW, I'm using their real names, because once again as mentioned previously, I use real names for public figures.
Anyhoo, getting back to Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski. I have an embarrassing part of my past that I must bring up. I worked for them at Herbsaint. Herbsaint was the collaboration of Donald Link and Susan Spicer. So a while after I left Vega, I applied for a job at Herbsaint. I had heard lots of negative stuff about the place, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Everyone needs their baptism by fire, right.
Well, it was the hardest kitchen I'd ever worked in. The prep was overwhelming, precise - it was fast paced and there were too many cooks in the kitchen. In this teeny place, there would sometimes be like 10 cooks in there. So I was the newbie, the rookie. I got told 5 different ways to do one dish by all the different levels of authority. I worked lunch, so Stephen was like my direct superior. There were others - Kelly was the other sous chef who worked days sometimes, and there was another guy whose name eludes me who was like lead line cook and was going to be promoted to sous chef as well. And of course there was Donald - the chef. So basically I had to be taught how to make this sauce and that sauce by 2 people, and then someone else would tell me another way and say forget what the last person told you. Then it came down to Donald who said, don't listen to what anyone else said, make it my way. So I would make it Donald's way, and the first guy would tell me I did it wrong, and I'd have to say that Donald told me to do it that way. Then the first guy's reply would be, yeah, but he doesn't work the line, it's easier if you do it this way, and you get more orders out of it.
And then there was the knife skills. Stephen would watch me cut mirepoix for like shrimp gravy. The veg was going to be cooked down. He would pick up a handful of onion and point out the longer rectangular strips and say it wasn't good enough. He would take the whole batch and dump it in the stock veg pile and make me do it over. And I had this crappy thin dull Forschner knife. Meanwhile, the guy next to me who was several steps above me in the line of command and one step below Stephen would have just as imperfect mire poix. But it was all about breaking down the individual, right?
So this was a hard job. I cried a lot. Embarrassingly, I cried in front of them. In front of all those... men. Embarrassing. I cried all the time, back then, before Hurricane Katrina. I don't cry nearly as much now. It's weird. I hold my feelings in much more than I used to.
Anyhow. I think I could have stuck it out. I could have molded into their male dominating french military kind of way of thinking. I could have gotten beaten and beaten. Every single day during shift change I was the lunch cook who pulled up the dirty ass mats and swept the floor. I didn't bitch about it. I just sucked it up and did my job. None of the men ever did it. If they needed me those few times to stay 3 - 4 more hours, I did it. I didn't take a break. I didn't eat.
But I gave up after 2 weeks. I didn't want to become one of those arrogant cooks who think they know everything just because they worked for Donald Link. Donald Link is a great cook. Stephen is a great cook. It doesn't mean working for them will necessarily make one a great cook. Some of those guys learned how to put the food out fast enough by making things easier in a way that Donald might not pick up on if he weren't paying attention. That's not how I roll. So I left. But I always respected those 2.
So, after my brief personal introduction, let's get back to present day. We went to Cochon for dinner.
The FP and I got there early, and we sat at the bar. The place was all wood. Panels. Not like tacky dark fake outdated stuff - light panels. The seating was the same kind of wood. Hardwood. What does that mean. Hardwood floors. Nah, I'd like to go with softwood flooring for my house. It will be easier on the feet. And when I drop my glass of red wine because I'm wasted, it won't shatter. Anyway, I like the feel of the place. Kinda stark. There was a chef's bar that was cool.
The cocktails looked good, but it seemed like I wanted wine. Just with the fatty pork that we were about to eat (on the first Friday of lent, mind you) I wanted wine. So we waited for Dieter. He got there. We got a table.
Our server greeted us. I wish I could remember her name. I forgot to take a picture of her and her apron. She had this collection of rainbow colored pens. All lined up on the pocket of her apron. Hanging in a perfect row. The FP commented on them, of course. She said that she was always losing pens, so this way she could keep track of them better because her pens were unmistakably her pens and no one else's.
So the FP and I had discussed the menu while we were waiting at the bar. The server told us about specials, but nothing really distracted me from what I wanted. So Dieter, the protestant of the group, gets the special roasted redfish.
Here's my crappy picture of it. He does have a very lovely embroidered shirt on, though.
He asked for the special redfish with only a side of greens. I think it came with something else, but Dieter was still recovering from Mardi Gras, so he wanted fish and veg to counter all the meat, beans, starch, beer and more beer he had consumed the past week. It was good. The redfish was delicious. The greens, cooked with bacon of course, were yummy. The redfish had a pickled onion garnish, though that didn't match the fish. I didn't taste it, but Dieter and FP agreed. It kind of on the crunchier side, I think, it was a white or yellow onion, and there were big slices of it. It was too strong for the fish. I think that was the only complaint. A small complaint at that.
So what did we get? Some pork dishes. It was good.
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