My second restaurant job, and my first in the city, was at an upscale tavern. Its money guy was an elusive cable billionaire, who I never met. His physical presence was his longtime driver, whom he made a millionaire and would occasionally stop by wearing garish silk shirts and several pieces of jewelry. He was a source of endless fascination to our Cuban exile dishwasher, recently released from prison, who on payday would stare at his paycheck, shaking his head while regaling us with stories of being a Miami drug dealer in the seventies. The only thing that fascinated him more than the former driver was his young mistress, more specifically her ass. He insisted we call him “Papi.”
The opening chef was a compulsive liar and percoset addict. Papi once insisted he saw her kissing a short-haired woman in the basement.
Upon the cable billionaire’s death, the restaurant closed and the managing owners fled the city.
The restaurant afforded me my first city apartment and an education in the circumstances that may lead to you arriving at work to chained doors and unemployment.
I also remember a fine sandwich, the creation of the opening chef, which remained on the menu after her dismissal. It was renamed–the restaurant had a nautical theme–as a catty parting shot at the chef who bore a resemblance to a certain action-movie star.
This is the sandwich as I remember it, several years later, with a few changes.
- long, hearty sandwich rolls, wholewheat, rye, or pumpernickel
- thinly sliced smoked turkey
- thick-cut bacon
- thinly sliced tomato
- thinly sliced green apple
- butter lettuce
- crumbled blue cheese mixed with mayonnaise and several dashes sweet paprika