Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Things You Think Are Useless I Can't Understand

P doesn't like festivities around his birthday.  Some people say that and then secretly want a big fanfare but not this one.  He is strong in his convictions.  He does not like to celebrate his birthday.  Proven fact. Okay.  Fine.  So without going to major trouble, I worked up a dinner that was not too showy, but required attention and would be enough out of the ordinary where I felt a bit of a party was going on in my stomach if no where else.
Roasted Beets with capers and pickles.  I thought it was odd too but it was really good together.  Course grain corn meal masa with salsa and garlic.
This skinless chicken thighs were marinated in buttermilk and hot sauce overnight and then coated with corn meal and whole wheat flour and lots of Cajun Seasoning.  Then baked to a crunchy perfection that tasted like a high end Shake and Bake.

I roasted turnips, mushrooms and red onions until caramelized then topped with a few shakes of Balsalmic vinegar.

But the best part for me was the 3 giant slices of assorted flavored cake I picked up from A Piece of Velvet on Fulton Street.  So many flavors to choose from all displayed in a glass case, individually contained.  A solo employee behind the counter, no line, rows and rows of cake slices, one more incredible then the next.  Then it gets better.  He actually names me all the flavors and I feel this must be part of what heaven might feel like.  Cute young kid, and he advises me which to get.
This place has gotten a lot of bad press on Yelp.  I think these are some of Cake Man Raven's old employees.  I hated that place.  I worked for Cake Man in this very same location for a month and never got paid.  I walked off the job and ended up throwing money I had collected in his face in front of his shop.  Okay, throwing is stretching it, I handed it to him but with the disgust of handing off a big warm pile of poop.  He was not cool to me and by the way he didn't even refrigerate the slices overnight.  I was desperate for a job and wanted so much to join the food industry in an area where I might thrive.  I loved the idea of this African-American guy from the south making the best red velvet cake and starting a business in Fort Greene, which helped the neighborhood.  He hired mostly young males, which was also cool.  He ran some ridiculous Craigslist ad for a cattle call and I was the first one in a line of hundreds that morning.  They interviewed as if we were to join some amazing growing company with excitement and drive.  I still don't understand what the hell happened.  I think I was hired.  I never signed any paperwork but I was handed keys.  All I know is he was havin' none of me even after I sat in his non-heated shop that was temporarily closed for renovation for a month in order to hand out pre-ordered January.  Every day I took in unrecorded amounts of cash and handed it off to some random ranking disciple of his at night.  I could have pocketed half of it.  I needed that money.   In hindsight, I don't know what I was looking for from him.  A way out of my personal recession.  A career path.  An opportunity to learn a start up business, I don't know.  Yeah, all of that actually and that S.O.B. just looked at me like I had three heads when I asked him to consider me for running his shop.  
Maybe I wasn't what he had in mind, being a woman and being non-African American but I showed up every morning and I was honest, could be trusted.  I was engaged in everything from how fast the cakes got to the shop from the bakery and how they were transported.  I only noticed one other candidate in the running. But Cakeman hated me.  Or actually it was worse, he never even noticed me or how hard I was trying to be a part of his little cake world.  Bastuhd went out of business and was sued by employees for not getting paid years later.
But when I read the bad press on this shop I somehow felt a switch.  It's weird that a shop isn't open when it says it is or when they don't have any cupcakes but all they sell is cupcakes and slices.  Or that the offers aren't clear on signage when you go in or marked with prices.  I don't know, in some way it felt refreshing.  I hope they succeed.

I got what I wanted and it was pretty fabulous.  Even P who doesn't eat sweets dug right in and stayed there in that gorgeous frosting for way longer than I've ever seen him with a dessert.

Years go by and stupid shit you put up with and did is now just a bad embarrassing memory.  I think birthdays should be celebrated and we need to jump at the chance to honor even our slightest evolution.

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