Valentine's may be my least favourite night of the year to work. I should qualify that by saying that if I had to work on Mother's Day there would be a challenger but my status as a parent, plus the fact that Sunday is my regular day off, have precluded my working Mother's day for many years.
Valentine's Day is the "Mother of All Made-up Occasions", and is a night fraught with peril. Too many guys out trying way too hard to impress their significant others for two hours rather than taking care of them all year long. At one of my former gigs we had to call the police on two separate Valentine's to stop "lovers" from killing each other. At another restaurant we used to set an "over/under" line for crying women on Valentine's (always take the over).
The problem is too much pressure to have that one night be so special, my advice:
Take your lover out earlier in the week, have a great dinner, buy flowers on "The Day", rent a movie order a pizza and crack a very good bottle and enjoy the evening in the comfort of your own home.
That being said this year was a breeze at work. Rather than take chances we underbooked, then turned away walk-ins so the night was slow paced and easy, if not particularly great for the wallet.
Some notes of interest:
My first table was a 4 top, unusual on Valentine's, and when I commented "You don't look Mormon" they actually got it and laughed.
My second to last table was a guy celebrating the occasion by dining out with 2 hookers, I had to admire his ingenuity.
An Australian tipped me 25% ........ I'm assuming he was just unfamiliar with the currency.
But I save the best for last. At 10:30 or so a gentleman approached the hostess asking if we had a table available for two, when advised that we did he dashed back to his car and returned with his female companion. The couple were seated in my section, and after a minute I approached, greeted them and asked them if they would care for something from the bar.
The gentleman replied "No, we don't drink alcohol, just some ice water please", I turned to leave and he grabbed my arm "Please. I'm starving and I know what I want" he says.
"Great" I reply "what would you like sir"
"I'll have the steak thing" he says, I probe with a couple of questions before determining that he wants the Beef Tenderloin.
"And how would you like your steak done, sir?" I ask.
"Not so much" he replies
"Not so much?" I enquire "Do you mean rare sir?"
"Mmm, No just Not so Much" he answers, with a hand wiggle.
"Medium?" I ask
"And for the lady" I query
The lady hasn't opened her menu, and appears to be unaware that she is on planet Earth.
"She doesn't know yet" says the guest "Can you wait here while she reads the menu ?"
No, I cannot.
I return with water and a bread basket and the gentleman says "She'd like something light", I suggest a couple of lighter appetizers or a salad.
They converse in Taluvian and he says "Do you have Calamari ?", (why yes I do, it's right there on the menu, in fact Madam's finger is on it).
"Yes, sir" I reply, and point it out. They jabber away in Alpha Centauri before the woman looks up at me and asks, "Is there any pork in the Calamari?".......... "No, Madam" I reply..........."What about in the sauces ?" she asks.......biting down on my tongue I assure her that the sauces with the Calamari are pork free, which meets with her approval.
I swear the next time I go out for Dinner I'm ordering my steak "Not so Much" just to see the look on the server's face.
On a final note, I served 12 tables (27 guests) on Valentine's Night and did not use my corkscrew the entire evening, Enough said.