College graduate turned Barista

Times are tough these days. It seems I just keep stumbling more & more upon people who are unemployed. I thought this economy was getting better? From my eyes I can’t see it yet. So what does one do when they are on unemployment and that amount of money isn’t enough? Its simple…you turn to part time work.

So here I am – a 34 year old Barista at a cafe. You can call me a Barista, but really I’m just a slave to the food industry. My cafe makes coffees, smoothies & food. Its not rocket science but let me tell you something – some days its the hardest job I’ve ever had.

I have days where its easy and all the customers are great. Then you have days where everything just goes wrong and you think some of these people are going to throw their 180 degree lattes in your face. It can go either way. Its the bad days when I take a moment to think of that Bachelor of Science degree that hangs so perfectly on my wall (its staring at me as I type this blog and I know its judging me for ranting instead of job searching).

I schlep drinks & lunches to make ends meat. I deal with crabby people whose coffee just isn’t perfect. I get the demeaning looks from kids younger than me because I’m an adult serving them their expensive smoothies. Is this what I have become? A college graduate, once with hopes and dreams of getting a professional job, turned into a food & beverage server? (Thank God my Bachelor’s degree can’t see me at the cafe. I wouldn’t want the judgemental glares from it.)

The answer to the question above is quite simple – HELL NO! I am still that professional person. A proud college graduate who knows that one day I will find a new full time job that I enjoy and will allow me to leave my coffee grinding days behind. Right now I’m a barista, living my life and thanking my lucky stars that I have part time employment because many people don’t even have that. Its not a dream job but I can go to work a few days a week and interact with people. I’d probably be losing my mind if I didn’t have that. You also never know – working at this cafe might provide me with a networking opportunity I may not have had otherwise. Maybe this place could lead me to my next full time gig. Life is funny that way sometimes.

**I just want to take a moment and make sure I let everyone know – in no way am I trying to look down on anyone for being a barista & working in the food industry. I applaud you for all of the hard work you do. I don’t know how anyone does this work full time. It amazes me the people that slave away to places like this 40-60 hours a week. Those people are much stronger mentally & physically than I will ever be!  These words above stem from my own feelings working as a barista & from having paid a ginormous amount of money for an education that isn’t being put to use right now.**

End Rant 🙂

PT Brooklyn

I love Italian food. I could eat pasta every day of the week. And don’t even get me started about my obsession with basil (I seriously eat the leaves on their own). So when my sister told me about this quaint little Italian restaurant that she found where she lives, I knew I had to have her take me there when I went to visit. Consider this my love letter to PT.

PT is located at 331 Bedford St. in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. As a bonus, you can walk down Bedford and browse the funky little shops they have which will help you work up an appetite! We walked into the restaurant, past a few tables right by the open windows, and down a couple of steps into the establishment. I immediately fell in love the with place (and all without seeing the menu yet)! Its dimly lit with small candles on each table & the bar. The tables are all a dark wood which fits in nicely with the rest of the place. There is a brick walll and a fireplace that has tiny Christmas lights lit in it. The bar is sleek & clean and very inviting.  You really can’t help but feel at home in this establishment.

So lets discuss the most important thing – the FOOD! All I can really say is OH MY GOD. I don’t think I will ever have Italian this good, unless I actually decide to hop a flight to Italy. The meal always starts with imported, organic goat cheese flown in from Italy. You also get a basket of bread & seasoned oil, along with these wafer crisp, almost potato chip like things that I have yet to ask about but I should because they are addicting! Between the cheese & bread, I could easily fill up quickly on just that and wine.

I’ve actually eaten at PT 3 times in the past 3 months (yes, I visit NY as often as possible)!  Each time I’ve had something different and each time I’ve been completely floored by the excellence of the food. On my first visit I had the rigatoni bolognese. I’m picky about my sauce and this did not disappoint. The sauce had a nice zest and you could tell the meat was very fresh! This isn’t sauce that sits around for months on end. I’ve also had the spaghetti pomodoro, which comes with fresh mozzarella & fresh basil (refer back to the first paragraph and know my excitement of this feature). Perfect dish and I ate the whole thing, leaving satisfied but not feeling disgustingly full! Last dish I tried was the tagliolini all’emiliana – a nice homemade pasta with ham, peas, parmigiano & a cream sauce. It is so rich and creamy with flavor exploding on your taste buds from the first bite to the last!

I’ve also had the caprese salad and the calamari. Both excellent starters that will not disappoint. If you save room for dessert, make sure you get the tiramisu. It is one of the BEST tiramisu’s I’ve had…period. The sweet flavor isn’t overbearing and I believe they use something other than lady fingers in their recipe. Its light & fluffy yet decadent with that lovely espresso soaked kick. Trust me…get the tiramisu when you go.

The food, the service, the ambience – you couldn’t ask for a better place to eat. I am taking my husband there in a few weeks for his first time. I almost feel guilty that I’ve eaten there three times without him. With food that good though I can try to erase that guilt though.



Losing a friend

It was on July 5th, 2010 that I got a phone call no one can ever be prepared for. A good friend of mine, that I’ve known since I was 14, had been killed in a motorcycle accident. I couldn’t believe it. How was this possible? He was such a loving, caring soul who would have done anything for any one of his friends & family. It just didn’t seem fair.

A year has past. Events have come & gone. Lives have gone on.  That loss of a friend though still lingers throughout all of these things. It has taken the place of what once housed the existence of my friend. The group of friends that I have, that he was part of, are very, very special and what we have is rare. We’ve all pretty much been friends since we were in our early teens. Some of us longer than that & some of us shorter. Yet we somehow formed a bond that couldn’t be broken. We’ve moved apart and sometimes don’t talk or see each other for quite awhile. Some of us have married. Some now have families. Yet every time we do get together its like nothing has changed. We all still love each other just as much as we did when we were younger. A bond like that doesn’t come along very often.  So with that type of connection, the loss of one of us feels like a link is missing in our chain. It will never feel the same again.

As today marks the one year point of our friends death I found myself out of sorts and pondering my own life. I feel like we all have a guardian angel looking down on us now and I want to make him proud. I want to live my life the best I possibly can. I want to be able to make my friend proud when it comes time to meet again. All I feel I can do is love my friends and family & treat everybody as I want to be treated. He was an awesome human being who saw the good in so many. He will be forever missed and I can feel his presence every day. Rest in Peace Roma. You’ll always be a great friend to me even if its from a different plain of existence. XOXO.