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  1. #1
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    Dec 2011
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    Papapoopski needs therapy and food

    NSFW

    I'm going to dump random stuff in here in no particular order. Some of this may be entertaining to you, some may be difficult to read. I'll put a title at the top of each post so you know which is which.

    Edit to add - For those that have asked, I prefer to remain anonymous here. With what I have been through I don't have the courage to have people know who I am which is then tied to the business and my family.

    For now tgr is my therapy.
    Last edited by papapoopski; 10-28-2020 at 05:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    Dishwasher at 14, led to prep cook by 15, by 17 I was running the kitchen.

    The waitresses would take me out with them to bars after work. I was 15 when this began. To roll into a bar with 8 hot older women at 15 was heaven. I went with them at every opportunity. One morning I missed my school bus for final exams because I was hung over. I took my dads road bike and pedaled 12 miles through the rain to get to the exam. I puked on myself on the way but I passed.

    Lost my virginity in the restaurant parking lot with one of the hot older waitresses while listening to slayer in my car. By older waitress I mean like 27.

    The kitchen always had pitchers of beer, hunting rifles and ammo on the kitchen counters, dead game animals hanging somewhere, the bosses baby crawling around and many, many black labs. The place was wild but the food was really fucking good. They let me cook whatever I wanted. I worked my ass off for them. Those were great years. And holy fuck there are soooo many stories to tell. Tractor jousting with potato guns at 3am with the crazy dairy farmer down the road, hanging out with a pig in a hot tub and cooking said pig a few weeks later, driving a deuce and a half around with me grilling in the back of it on the highway and on and on

    After high school the owners helped me pay my way through cooking school. Worked for them all through cooking school and stayed with them for a year after graduating to pay off my debt to them.
    moved to Hilton Head to cook

    moved to aspen to cook

    moved to nyc to cook

    moved north of nyc, bought a place to cook at

    still cooking at that same place, was managing a few others as well until covid

    My current place is the place that I began at when i was 14. Bought it from the owners that I worked for.

    I am the only one here at the moment. I make all the food and cook whatever I want, making everything from scratch. I set up a fermentation room where I experiment with god knows what at times - charcuterie, LAB fermentation, koji, , beer etc. I forage in the woods on my property and the surrounding farmland. I am working on the building solo as well, painting, carpets, fixin shit. This is my happy place. I ended my night last night mopping floors, just like I did when I was 14. The tiles were put down by me in high school. Some of this may sound shitty to some but I find it to be satisfying work. I take pride in every task in this building. I get a few panic attacks at what I am undertaking but fuck it, onward I go.

    I'm looking forward to rebuilding after this covid mess. I miss mentoring young chefs. When they come back to talk about what they've been up to, the food discoveries they've had, the insane chefs they've worked for, the Michelin stars they won, that lights me up on the inside. This place has been a springboard for many young chefs. It's been here for over 250 years, over 70 years as a restaurant. I'm only the fourth owner in those 70 years. I'm doing my best to hold the place until the next right person comes along.

  3. #3
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    Mopping the floors is a zen moment for me. I take pride in it and treat it like a core value. I don't look at it as shit work. That first family treated me like their own blood. I grew up under their wing and learned not just how to work but to create beauty from the chaos. I had some dark shit to deal with that noone should ever experience but growing up in this restaurant helped me to see the beauty in regular things and tasks. I learned how to work like a badass motherfucker because that's what I was surrounded by - loving, caring badass motherfuckers. I held that pride close to me everywhere I went and proved myself through my work, because of that first family that took me in. I like to think that I am a reflection of what they taught me and that I can best honor that by carrying that on to others.

    When I was helping my boss clear trees on the property and I got cut with his chainsaw on my kneecap, blood everywhere, bone exposed, lots o stitches. I still went to work that night because that's what I thought people did. That was a painful night of work. They wanted me to go home but I worked as long as I could.

    There is work time and then there is play time.

    One night after work we took GHB, spray painted my car silver and cut the roof off with a sawzall, then drove to NYC, met some friends, got roofied by a hot bartender that was way out of my league, woke up sleeping on a sewer grate at 10am and had to get back to work by noon. I didn't sleep that weekend.

  4. #4
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    As a young cook in Aspen I worked my way up from the lowest position in the kitchen. I go the job by calling every day until they got sick of me.

    One of my first rungs of climbing up the ladder was breakfast shift. There were two of us on plus a sous chef doing expo that did not want to be there at 5am. We served about 150 meals during the snow season of some really nice food. House made pheasant breakfast sausage. Lobster omlettes with caviar. One day the other cook came up behind me in the walk in and grabbed my junk, said he’d give me a bag of coke and cash to let him blow me, which thinking back was weird - wouldn't he pay me to blow him? That's just shitty bargaining. Anyway I punched him in the balls and left him on the floor of the walk in. It was a quiet shift after that. I was afraid to lose my job so I never told anyone.

    That same guy flipped out and punched the sous chef in the back of the head one day and got fired. Sous asks if I can handle breakfast alone that day. Fuck yes I can. That shit with Cokey Mcblowjob lit the rocket fuel in my veins. Fuck that guy. I’m going to do your job and my job mother fucker. They moved me onto dinner service shortly after that.

    I had never cooked and assembled food with that many components before. The pressure and intensity was turned all the way up. I sucked at first but found my way, then excelled. I stayed on the dinner line as saucier after that which put me at leader of the line guys which felt strange being the youngest in the kitchen. I just kept my mouth shut, did my job as best I could and made sure to observe everything around me. Each day I was responsible for up to 30 different sauces for both AM and PM crew, multiple sides that changed a lot as well as my entree items which changed with each season. The place was getting a lot of media attention and it seemed every table was VIP. I made 8.25/hour but I didn’t even think about the money as I was living the way I wanted. All the sous chefs were ass holes.

    In my time there I cooked for Julia Child, watched one of the few Master Sommeliers in the world and was on the crew behind the exec chef winning a James Beard award. I was hooked. I started reading through cookbooks when I wasn't drunk or stoned. I was starving for knowledge. I went riding every day with the line crew before work in the winter and mountain biking any other time. The line guys and I were as tight knit as could be. We were inseparable, always had each others back at work and after work we let loose like wild animals.

    Coming back to my apartment from work one night during the christmas week (in which the place almost doubled the covers we did). I was thoroughly worked over. It was insanely high pressure. I walked in and my roommate was playing strip twister with a bunch of nannies from Sweden, New Zealand and Australia. They all gave a drunken cheer when I walked in the door, and all were at various states of undress. My roommate's shit eating grin was priceless. I immediately forgot about work and woke up the next day to 3 of the foreigners in my bed. One of them told me that Hunter Thompson paid her and a few others to was his car in a bikini. He lived nearby at the time.

    During the company xmas party I ended up riding lunch trays with a female couple down buttermilk mountain. They gathered some of their friends and we made our way into town to keep the party going. Most of the people dropped away as the night went on leaving just myself and a guy that I just met that night. We got really fucked up and went to his place to smoke. As soon as his door closed the dude jumps me trying to kiss etc. Oh fuck no. I thought we were just hanging out. I am so fucking naive. I was pissed and told him so. He tried to block the door to prevent me from leaving. I threw his TV at him. I threw a chair at him. Then I left and walked for what felt like forever through the snow with nothing but a collared shirt on in February in the rocky mountains. God damnit I can be dumb. The guy tracked me down at work and tried to patch things up. The line crew threatened to kill him for me. I just let it go, I had sauces to make.

    I had to leave that town. So much sin. I saw some of the guys that never left, looking haggard and worn, doing the same thing over and over and over. That would've been me. I had no self control at that time. I wanted more for myself than that. The exec chef left the restaurant making it the perfect time for me to go. We all left. My friends and I scattered across the country. I went back to NY.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2011
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    Cooking on Hilton Head Island

    So this was an externship while I was in cooking school. My timeline is all fucked up because so many things overlap. “You said you were here but now you’re there” Yes I get it. I’m all over the place.

    I drove my grandparents giant ford ltd station wagon from NY to SC with everything I owned which was a bike, a duffel bag of clothes and my knives. Three days prior I was at CIA (the cooking school) and didn’t have an externship picked out. Shit guess I’ll go to the beach. Opened up a binder, I picked the first place I found and that was that. Prior to that my boss at the restaurant knew I would be away for a while but neither he or I knew where.

    I had never lived away from home before for long periods, had only been to cooking school and a small family owned restaurant. The hotel was the largest banquet facility on the east coast with 6 restaurants that did banquets for 10,000, plated dinners for 3000, room service etc. This place was big. My first day was spent picking through crab meat for shells. I stood in one place for 10 hours, no breaks accept for the bathroom. When everyone left I was alone in this monstrous kitchen. And starving. I snuck mouthfuls of crab, afraid I was being watched. A 747 could’ve parked in there. I had seen The Shining and not gonna lie it was kind of creepy being completely alone in that massive place.

    I saw a guy saw off his thumb trying to cut melons on the Hobart bandsaw. The exec chef yelled at him before helping him. The bandsaw was used to cut frozen boxes of chicken bones into strips so they could go right into a stock pot. Noone understood why he was cutting melons on a bandsaw.

    The food there was industrial sized and mostly bad for the big events but I saw how to serve 10,000 people at a time. I was fascinated at the process and the equipment. When the giant rotating oven opened it felt like looking into the gates of hell. A giant glowing red room with a ferris wheel of death inside it. I imagined the arms of the dead trying to grab at me as I walked by.

    I made minimum wage, had an apartment with a roommate. Most months I didn’t have enough money to eat outside of work after rent. I would fish for crabs on the beach with bread taken from work. We would drive my giant station wagon onto the beach, build a fire and maybe drink beer if we had enough money to pool together.

    My drivers license showed up in the mail one day. I wasn't the best driver with regard to speed, so I lost my license. It was a restricted use, NY drivers license with a SC address and in place of my photo it just said, valid without photo ID. I got pulled over for chasing gators by the swamp with my car and the officer didn't know what to make of the license. He let me go. Later on when exchanging for my full license the dmv stared at the license and asked where I got it. "The mail". They'd never seen one like it before.

    Off the island I had some really good BBQ that was cooked on the side of the road in the bed of a pick up. The bed was chopped off of a truck and had a make shift grill grate layed over it. Coals were shoveled into the bed. Redneck as fuck. Damn good bbq

    At the hotel there was a security booth that checked bags on the way out for stolen food etc. It was usually staffed but not always. Even if food was to be thrown away we couldn’t take it. I never stole what they would use but if you're going to throw it away? Fuck that, I’m hungry and your throwing away focaccia. Down the pants it goes. If I broke bread with you then I’m sorry, but yes the bread was in my pants.

    Most of my friends were from England while I was there. When they got off the plane theytold me they were greeted with a sign that read “Free shag lessons”. The shag was the state dance of SC. Shag meant something entirely different to them. They instantly fell in love with the US.

    My friend British Ben and I were making a drive to Savannah to get tattooed. We stopped at some run down side of the road store in Beufort county SC. My friend Ben asks if they “have any fags”. My head shot around to Ben, “now is not the time and this is not the place”. The store clerks eyes squinted toward Ben. Fuck your snack Ben, we’re leaving now. I later learned that a “fag” in British terms was something entirely different than what I had heard.

    I was moved up to the fine dining restaurant in the hotel where there was a crew of 4. The sous chef of that kitchen and three of us. This was what I was used to. It was an open show kitchen and cool as fuck. I could see the beach and palm trees from where I worked. The executive sous chef (2nd in charge down from the exec chef) was constantly arguing with my sous chef. The exec sous was an ass hole. His wife was a waitress at that restaurant I was at and constantly flirted with me. You better handle your home life there boss. My sous chef was awesome. She was tough as fuck but really helped me to stay focused and grow as a cook. I ate up the discipline. I needed the stability in my life.

    A saying I once found - “discipline leads to stability. And where there is stability one can find refuge.” That sentiment would come back again and again for me while working in kitchens. Give me your broken and lost, come with me, I know a way.

    As one of the newest guys and lowest in the ranks it was decided by someone that I would be a key person in deciding the exec sous fate on his last day at the hotel. They made it my job to tell him that my chef needed to speak with him right away. There is a long hallway off of a loading dock that I was to lead the exec sous down, making sure that I closed and locked the door behind me before he came through. The baking dept made about 200 cream pies and put them on rolling racks. The 2” hoses for cleaning the loading dock were at the ready. I went to get him and led him down the hallway, sped up at the last moment and slammed the door on him. There was a small square window that I was able to see through. I saw an army of staff enter the far end of the hallway and then the window just turned white. I could hear screaming and thumping. When the hose water hit it sounded like someone threw a watermelon at the door. A goopy white puddle oozed under the door at my feet. Bye bye dick head.

    There was a gator that lived outside our apartment that we called Tony. We fed it bread when we had it. Don’t fuck with Tony. I would talk to him on the wooden bridge leading out to the beach about girls, missing family and such. Tony was a good listener.

    When it rained really hard the apartments where I lived would flood. Luckily I was on the second floor. The elevators would float in that shithole. And then the gators came into the parking lot. We were on the lowest point of the island and I learned taht should a major storm come through we would be first to go. That explained the cheap rent and why all the help lived there.

    I returned to cooking school. They graded my extership with C+. Wtf. You weren't there. I had learned a lot. I got A's in every other class I took in school so it bothered me. I knew what I did.

  6. #6
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    Dumpster ramming's

    I discovered by chance that a warm beer duct taped to the front bumper of my car would erupt violently when rammed into a dumpster.

    I decided to up the ante. In the basement of the restaurant I had inherited a bunch of #10 cans (the really big ones) of pumpkin puree and tomato puree. I had no intention of using them.

    I duct taped one to the front bumper of my dodge omni and rammed the dumpster. It erupted like a volcano. Pumpkin puree was still falling when I got out of the car. It was glorious.

    There were a lot of cans so this was a regular thing.

    We were down to the last 10 or so cans so after work we decided to create the grand finale. We taped all 10 cans to the front, stacking 6 and 4. I put on a helmet. We pulled the dumpster out a few feet to avoid hitting a solid wall - safety first. I backed up about 200 feet. I topped out at 45 mph, no brakes. I let the dumpster stop me. The front wheels of my car came up and onto the dumpster as the dumpster wheels dug into the gravel. It rained canned puree everywhere. The dumpster looked like a Pollock painting. It also really hurt. Thank god for the helmet. My buddy AJ had a new leather jacket on and hid behind the restaurant. He was pissed. Nobody escaped the rain of food. The garbage company was not amused.

  7. #7
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    I learned to milk a cow while high on the blood of a nuclear physicist.
    Hanging out at the dairy farm down the road I was introduced to Ted the nuclear physicist. Maybe Ted can handle atoms but he couldn't handle a knife. He cut himself pretty good and bled all over the weed. We thought it was funny so we smoked it. I wanted to learn how to milk a cow so we went out to the barn. I like to think that I got smarter smoking Teds blood. Probably not.

  8. #8
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    Navy Seal Neighbor

    One of my neighbors at the restaurant was a navy seal from Louisiana. If this guy cooked something you needed to eat it. Some people just have a touch and this guy had it. He served in Vietnam and told me how to cook an iguana on the engine block of a deuce and a half. He suggested not wrapping it in foil as the other guys liked to do but rather let it get a good char which left a soft smoky flavor under the skin.

    I learned how to blacken foods properly, how to roast a pig from him and how to use spices. He was a master with fish and meats, just knew what to do without thinking. His partner in crime was an old Austrian butcher who lived a little further up the street. The shit talk between these two was legendary. As a teenager I was in awe. And the food they made together was perfect.

    They showed me how to roast a pig

    My first knowledge of a pig roast was that you fed the pig all of the food scraps from the restaurant for a while. Get it good and fat. And by the way don’t get in the pen with them in the dark with food because they’ll eat you too, fuckers. At the end of the summer the pig is shot, gutted and hung for a few days. Dig a hole and buy 5 times more beer than you think you can drink. Place rebar across the hole to hold up the pig. How deep is the hole? Deep enough. Have a burn barrel nearby. Cut out a square from the bottom and ram a few pieces of rebar through it to hold up the logs from the bottom. Make a raging fire in the barrel with oak, maple, hickory etc. Rub the pig with salt. Start the pig after work by shoveling coals under it. Cover with a tarp. Stay up drinking all night, shoveling coals in there when someone yells coals!! Watch someone feel the temp of the pig with their hand and nod knowingly, knowing full well that they are so drunk they don’t know where they are. Fuck with each other all night. Get out the potato guns. Chop down a tree for no reason. See how many people it takes to lift the front of a dodge omni. Stumble through a field under the moon. Eat clams non stop. Don’t sleep. Keep drinking through breakfast. At about noon the pig comes off to rest. The entire neighborhood, restaurant staff and family come by. Find the drunkest people to put the pig on a piece of plywood and carry through a crowd to a table. Put out vinegar sauce and a couple sets of tongs. Tell people to eat. And that’s how you roast a pig.

    I have since found other ways to cook a whole pig but none of them felt as good as that first method.

  9. #9
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    Subscribed!
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by papapoopski View Post
    NSFW
    Are you planning on posting NSFW pics? Or just NSFW words? If the former, the thread title should be edited to reflect that.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    Are you planning on posting NSFW pics? Or just NSFW words? If the former, the thread title should be edited to reflect that.
    I don't think I have any NSFW pics so just language.

  12. #12
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    This thread is the best thing out of 2020.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by papapoopski View Post
    I don't think I have any NSFW pics so just language.
    NSFW language is the standard here, not the exception. You may feel free to change your name to papashitski now.

  14. #14
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    And I thought I did some shit. Dude!

    Where's your restaurant? I'm coming for a visit next week.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    And I thought I did some shit. Dude!

    Where's your restaurant? I'm coming for a visit next week.
    Why? He already turned down coke and money to blow him.

    You got more to offer?
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    And I thought I did some shit. Dude!

    Where's your restaurant? I'm coming for a visit next week.
    For those that have asked, I prefer to remain anonymous here. With what I have been through I don't have the courage to have people know who I am which is then tied to the business and my family.

    It's not all fun and games for me. That part will come.

  17. #17
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    My first consulting gig

    I picked up a consulting gig on the side for a failing restaurant. It started out with me meeting the owner. His details were shaky but he was an acquaintance and I could always use the money.

    Day 1 - Meet owner. He has three partners. He is the only one with restaurant experience. Not the best scenario but ok. There is no staff, left in the kitchen or front of house - red flag. There is one dishwasher that cleans the whole place which is massive. I ask about vendors for food ordering. He doesn't have any that he can use - big red flag. He wants to open in three days as he is hemorrhaging money. What? Fuck it, let’s do this.

    Day 2 I called in favors to cooks and waitstaff that I knew, I used all my vendors from my own restaurant, stating carefully that this was not my place. Proceed with caution. I write out menus, inventory guides, prep sheets and recipes. This might actually work. I have to balance my own place with this.

    Day 3 I’m typing away on my laptop to get this done. I see the top of a head moving quickly past me. Owner says “uh oh”. I think its probably and vendor looking for money or something. He tells me to call 911. Wait, what? The front door is kicked in. I know what angry looks like and this guy embodied it head to toe. He had a baseball bat. The owner runs into the kitchen. Baseball bat guy comes straight toward me. I don’t see a word and just point to the kitchen. Bat guy kicks open the kitchen door, I see the owner frantically dialing. The door swings shut and I hear screaming and pots hitting the floor. Great, there goes my prep for tomorrow. There is a silence and then the owner bursts out of the kitchen. I don’t think I saw his feet hit the floor. Bat guy comes out next and throws a pan at him. Misses. That was an All-clad. That would have fucked him up. They are now both running down the street. It’s about 2 in the afternoon. Bat guy is screaming to the owner that he’s going to bash his head in, that he’s going to kill him and his family, he’s owes money yada yada. This area is a center for local government so it’s full of lawyers offices, the dmv, state police barracks, a prison etc and they are running right down the middle of the street.

    Welp, back to work for me. Figure I’ll finish out the day and wait to see whether or not the owner was murdered.

    From there on out I worked with car keys in my pocket, car backed in within sight of a big window. I made sure a chair was positioned by said window should I need to break it to jump out. In the kitchen I only worked at the end of the line, putting a good couple of fridges between me and a possible shooter. I could hide in one if need be and there was plenty of stainless steel to stop a bullet. I’ve told this story before and am asked, why did I stay? Well they paid me to do a job so I did it.

    I got them opened. I took back some of my crew that helped out and left them with their own crew, trained them and bounced between his place and mine.

    After three weeks a great local review came through. I was pretty proud t have pulled this off.

    I tracked down the previous chef to find out what was going on. The place owed him 3 months salary. You stayed for three months with no pay? Fuck that. Baseball bat guy was working there too with the old chef. We shook hands. He apologized for the scene of attempted murder. Whatever, no skin off my back.

    Things got weird and went south quick. I could see the string of bad decisions being made before me. One of them was hiring a bartender named Bunny. Yes that was her name. One may think that this tall blond bombshell would make work more interesting. She was so bad at everything that I couldn't stand seeing her. Ringing induplicate food orders 8 times in a row, by accident. There was so much wrong with her. I actually felt bad for her. I don't know how she got through life.

    The owner was only interested in flash. Everything was "look at me" and there to be a prop for his ego. It wasn't about hospitality or good food. It was all a show. I made sure the food was good but it all felt like such bullshit.

    The owner would disappear for days at a time. I caught him in the basement once with a gas can, an old rag, a tipped over lawn mower and a bbq lighter. Two of the beams in the basement were soaked in gas. Dude really? The restaurant was on the bottom floor with about 10 floors of apartments above it. Was he really going to try to burn the place down? I asked him what he was doing and he said he was looking for files. With a bbq lighter?

    Parties were booked that never showed. This happened on a regular basis. I cannot imagine what the game plan was with booking fake parties. To keep the staff on? To show money investors that you don’t want to disappoint that there was business coming in?

    One week they didn’t pay me. I said I will come back if they give me the money. They did so I came back. Happened again so I left.

    I kept in touch with the crew, getting them ready with other jobs for the inevitable demise. Which came about 2 months after I Ieft.

    I have no regrets about being there. I wasn’t beaten, shot or burned alive in a structure fire so that was a win for me. I learned a lot about what not to do.

  18. #18
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    I hope the crooked owner at least got you some exciting referrals for your sweat and blood.

  19. #19
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    ...If I broke bread with you then I’m sorry, but yes the bread was in my pants.
    My new favorite thread. Subscribed.

    ETA: So good.

  20. #20
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    i feel like these stories are best shared with a bourbon in hand, but subscribed nonetheless...
    (it's almost 5)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ::: ::: View Post
    i feel like these stories are best shared with a bourbon in hand, but subscribed nonetheless...
    (it's almost 5)
    As it happens I’m drinking bourbon as I read this. Knob Creek Select SB 120 proof, recommended.

  22. #22
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    Where the climate suits my clothes.
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    Keep it coming..
    Last edited by JayPowHound; 10-29-2020 at 02:59 PM.

  23. #23
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    Thank you for sharing!
    It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. –Ernest Hemingway

  24. #24
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    [QUOTE=papapoopski;6111218]As a young cook in Aspen I worked my way up


    I had to leave that town. So much sin. [\QUOTE]

    Little Nell, early 90’s?

  25. #25
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    Thanks Papapoopski, happily subscribed.

    The wife and I always gravitated towards industry people, hanging out well after close for bit of action like yours, even after fantastic nights of incredible food, drink and company. Y’all are just more fun.

    Keep it up.
    I still call it The Jake.

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