Yes, I recently worked for 20 hours, all in a row. Those of you who know Davina and I may have realized that we occasionally bite off more than we can chew. What can I say, we like a challenge. We have been trying to do more private events at the cafe. You know we do kids birthday parties but we also do adult birthday parties, holiday parties, book launches, art exhibits, etc..... We can de-kidify the place pretty well. Continue on for a snazzy pic of Playful Grounds, adult style. Anyway, I digress. The point here is that we want to book lots of different types of events. So when Sean, one of the owners of the Comic Book Lounge down the street asked if we could cater an event for 100 people on August 18th, we of course jumped at it. Then when my friend Jeremy of Cafe Taste Events asked if he could use Playful Grounds to host a Cafe Taste event on August 18th, we of course jumped at it. Two events. Both adult. Both requiring high end food and drinks (one wine and one martini). One at the cafe and one a block away. This is exactly what we need for the cafe. It's perfect. I think most people have staff, but there's no reason we can't do this. Gotta love us.
Cut to August 18th. I arrive at 8:00 am and we open at 9:00 am. We are open until 2:00 pm to our regular customers and then we close and really start running. Jeremy has done all the food and booze shopping and marinated and prepped a lot of the food. We need 300 pieces for the Comic Lounge and 75 pieces for Cafe Taste. Some of the dishes were only for one or the other but here's a general overview of what was served.
- Cheese stuffed mushrooms (to die for but didn't get a pic)
- Skewers of espresso-marinated beef with local mushrooms (so good and the sauce was amazing! Also no pic - don't worry, you can't eat pictures anyway)
Goat cheese, caper & Ontario leek brushetta
Wild Salmon w. red pepper, cream cheese & cucumber
Sausage crostini's in VQA wine w. aged cheddar & onion
Look good? Wow, it was. In addition to prepping 375 individual appetizer pieces we also had to close up and clean the cafe properly and make the place look like this....
You like? We like. So from 2pm until 7pm, 5 hours, to close up, clean and transform Playful Grounds and prep parties with hundreds of appetizers, clean ourselves up (no easy feat) and put on our game faces for the night. Piece of cake. Cut to 6:55 pm. The client just walked in the door and both me and Davina are in the wee women's bathroom ('cause the large family bathroom is filled with every kid related item we own), stripping down and changing into nice clothes and slapping makeup on, giggling maniacally because we can't believe we always cut things SO close and are ALWAYS running.
Davina goes to the Comic Book Lounge, I jump behind the bar and the night shift starts. All goes splendidly. Everyone is eating, drinking, raving about the food and the space.
Davina comes back around 11:30pm or so and our party wraps up with everyone gone by about 1:30 or 2:00pm. We then begin the task of re-kiddifying Playful Grounds and we head out by 4am. Davina drives me home and I'm in bed by 4:15am. Of course I can't fall asleep because I've had ten thousand cups of espresso, but finally I crash by about 5am. At 6am Kai climbs into bed with me and I continue dozing until about 7:15, when I drag my 42 year old ass out of bed (At this moment I feel every minute of my age which is why it's there). I arrive at the cafe at 8am and we open at 9am.
At this point I'm a total zombie. I'm pretty sure that only sleeping for an hour or an hour and half is actually a nap and not a real sleep. I realize that I may be too old for all-nighters. :-)
So in addition to finishing putting the cafe together when I arrived, the espresso machine started acting up and my poor brain just couldn't figure out how to deal with it (we've since had it serviced and it is happy again). We also decided to keep a few of the changes we made to the cafe in 'adult mode'. One of them is to keep the cash register on the back counter, giving us more space on the front counter. So a customer comes in and has a coffee and is trying to pay for it and I swear, I stared at the counter for about 2 minutes, totally zoned out, trying to figure out where the cash register was. I just stared at the empty counter. At one point a woman came in and initially wanted a skim milk cappuccino. I had to deny her because the machine wouldn't froth milk, so she asked for an americano instead. Then she ask for an americano with skim milk. I just stared at her. I was thinking 'but you don't make an americano with milk'. I just couldn't process what she meant. Wow. You really need those neurons to fire. I was practically drooling on myself.
Anyway, now it's Monday. I'm home. I slept for 11 hours last night and it's my day off and I'm writing this blog. Time to go to something else I think.