Back in action, vamos 2015!

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Buen dia!

That’s right, it’s a good morning.

The neighborhood is quiet which is a massive turn on as we are surrounded by construction that never seems to stop.  Momo rests in the shade and I catch up on the Nisman madness that is happening in Argentina.  This country….

I write from the cursed couch, home alone,  while snacking on a peach and mate and listening to Lost in 60’s Paris playlist.  I realize it’s the first piece of fruit I’ve had in over a week and remind myself that I need to start eating better.  Where’s the time?!  The bag of kale in the fridge isn’t going to cook itself, Liza.  Fried chicken sandwiches can’t be your only food group.  But the idea of cooking outside of work just seems like torture.  Cooking, then cleaning… I just want to sit with my legs elevated to help alleviate the concrete bricks my feet have turned into.  I feel like such a beaten down granny.

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Unreal how fast my body left from vacation mode.  My tan is quickly fading and the bags under my eyes have oh so kindly returned, ya.  My hands resemble crab claws in the morning and I stretch back my fingers and roll out my wrist while my brain slowly wakes up.

Ticol and I were a bit concerned how things would be at Nola after being closed for two weeks.  Other restaurant owners told us not to do it, it’s the worst thing you could do for your business.  We didn’t take their advice.  After the year we had between construction, the puerta cerrada, the opening of the ‘new Nola’ and getting it on it’s feet, the thought of no vacation for another year just seemed unfair.  Plus it’s January.  Ghost town in Buenos Aires as all the porteños escape to the beach near and far.  AND the fear of electrical outages was a massive stress factor.  We are working our asses off, two of our employees quit in December, we’re going on vacation.

BEST DECISION.

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The two weeks flew by and before you knew it we were back in Buenos Aires.  Back at Nola receiving beer deliveries, ordering a trillion pollos, making the damn brioche, gumbo, red beans and sauces for days.  NOLA clients were kept up to date while we were closed via Instagram and Ticol and I had no idea what to expect when our doors reopened last Friday.  I was scared.  Friday, our biggest night of the week, but who knows after closing and being in the middle of January, and it’s just me and the new kid in the kitchen.  We shall see…

SLAMMED.

Slammed slammed slammed.  Every night since we’ve been back.  Like easily over 50 people outside since all the tables are full.  And I must admit it’s been freakin’ great!!

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The biggest joy for me has been seeing our clients.  So many of our regulars popped by as soon as we reopened.  Big smiles, “feliz año!!”, everyone asking about Chile, just so much Nola love.  I’m so thankful for that.  I swear sometimes Nola feels like this little community bringing people together over beers, fried chicken, and gumbo.  Speaking of, taking gumbo off the menu for Summer, glad we didn’t go that route!  It’s been selling like crazy.  Like true New Orleanians, eating the warm spicy stew during the hottest time of the year.  I’m so proud of y’all!

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Another thing-  it feels really good to be back in the kitchen.  That is something I definitely didn’t expect to happen after the trip.  I’m not sure if it’s the ‘rested two weeks’ or the fact that we have a new kitchen team, or what, but I’ve got a pretty positive attitude and feeling a bit creative and strong considering I’m back to 12 hour work days.  Physically strong.  Like an octopus frying chicken machine.

Friday night we served over 250 portions of food, all of which I started, finished, and executed on my own.  There was a table of guys sitting near the kitchen and I noticed them watching me call out orders during the rush and on their way out they stepped up to the kitchen and thanked me while shaking their heads in disbelief.  Those interactions are great.

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What’s not?! When you’re in the weeds and some guy comes up to the kitchen counter points at the blueberry pies and ask if those are the beans and rice.  WTF?

Me-  You, YOU, really think that is red beans and rice?

And his response, ah no tiene queso (ah no, it has cheese).

WHAT?  WHAT WHAT WHAT?!!!!!!!!

Ticol happened to be walking by at the perfect moment and heard the whole thing.  It’s been an ongoing joke between the staff ever since….  hahahahaha  WTF, people?!

These special moments happen far too often.  Luckily they make us laugh and bring on a contagious smile that never seems to fade.

Speaking of staff, we have some new players here at Nola!

We conducted interviews the last couple weeks of December and told the chosen ones to be ready to work for the 16th.  Both are working in the kitchen and are our first Argentines to be working at Nola.  The lovely Maria is still with us and Otti will be returning in less than a week and jumping right back into Team Nola.

We’ve also decided to hire another kitchen (and possibly salon) person and that we will be opening 7 days a week sometime in the near future.  When this will happen, I don’t know!  But it’s a goal and we will make it happen.  First we need to get our new kitchen team to be the rockstars that they need to be and then we’ll get that ball rolling.  One obstacle at a time…

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I asked Ticol what his goals for 2015 are.  The biggest (and shared goal) is to have Nola running on it’s own, without us doing everything, every damn day.  It will be hard, but we’ll get there.  No doubt about that!

So now we focus on work.  Work work work.

Yoga lessons will continue.  Vegetable and fruit intake will increase.  And I really want to print some photos from our travels and frame them for the apartment!  I’m so in love with our apartment.  I want to buy it.  Not that I have any money, but maybe one day it could happen.

We bought a colorful hammock & rug in Chile, fancy new towels and a few other goodies during our trip.  Last Tuesday I spent the whole day getting the apartment together and we had a few friends come over for a naughty merienda, our first time hosting in the new place.  I’m happy to be home.  Thankful that Dad came for the holidays and everything went smooth.  Thankful for my Argentine family, our amazing clients and friends, Ticol, our staff, and for all those who have taken the time to listen to my concerns and help me figure things out.

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2015, I don’t know what to expect.  But after surviving last year I’m feeling confident that I wont drown in anxiety and stress.  I’ll focus on being mindful and hopefully will have some more time with my friends that I love more than anything.  I also would like to work on my ‘leader’ role.  Being a boss is not easy!

So cheers to the unknown!  I wish you all a happy and healthy year.

Come and stop by Nola if you’re in the area, that’s where you’ll find me 6 nights a week.

¡Vamos 2015!

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