There’s a feeling most/all of us have had, as though we were the only ones working, doing the job of many. Where is everyone? And sometimes maybe we actually have been.
There used to be a Thai restaurant that friends and I would visit almost weekly for lunch, wherein there was almost always just one server for over a dozen tables, sometimes more. She was in a constant state of movement — meaning, she literally jogged around the restaurant taking care of everyone. I wondered what her situation was — owner? Overachieving server, wanting to earn as many tips as humanly possible? Victim of a manager who was unwilling to hire more help? In any case, she must’ve raked in the money. But it was occasionally hard to watch, and after being there a few times, my lunchmates and I learned to make things easy on her: seat ourselves, get the menus ourselves, and be ready to order when she came around with water. We automatically left payment without her having to bring a bill. She liked us.
The last time we were in Breaux Bridge, we decided to skip Cafe Des Amis that we’ve been to previously, and try Chez Jacqueline’s instead, which is just a bit further down the street. Not knowing this beforehand, Jacqueline was there by herself, and she single-handedly played the part of server, kind entertainer to our boys, conversationalist, and chef.
Jacqueline is from France, and she came to Acadiana, a place different from home but no doubt must hold comforting nostalgia.
Av and I have been to Paris (ah, once we went to Disneyland Paris where we arrived starving from the train and ordered a room service pizza at our hotel, the Disney Newport Bay Club (which I know is wrong on so many levels) the minute we checked in, and I promise it was one of the great pizzas of our lives. Or maybe it was just that we were crazy hungry…) but I don’t recall, of the little cafes in Paris, the real cafes in the city, that we saw any with license plates patching the floors. This isn’t the only place that does it though.
On that trip, we stayed at another hotel in Paris when we wanted to do more things inside the city, and learned that people weren’t kidding when they say that hotel rooms there are tiny.
Ohmygosh, back to Chez Jacqueline, it took forever to get our food, likely due to the fact that sweet Jacqueline was completely charming in the dining room and doing everything in the kitchen. But when it came, good grief, never really mind what I had (a forgettable crab salad with an amount of mayonnaise that would make Eugenia Duke herself fall out with the vapors) that on the left is Av’s gumbo and have-you-ever-seen-in-all-your-days a meatier gumbo? That is her gumbo. It could have fed us all, and it was delicious in eighteen thousand different ways: