Monthly Archives: December 2017


I’m at a cigar lounge in Chicago, Illinois, I get into a conversation with a guy. Mexican dissent, good-looking guy, tells me he’s an “Artisan.” I like art, I ask, what’s your medium? And he tells me. Painting, sculpture, etcetera. I say, you have any pictures on your phone? He pauses, then says, yeah.  He gets out his phone, looks for pictures. He’s across from me, with a big coffee table between us. He finds pictures, I get up, we meet halfway around the table, sit down. I look at his art, it’s legit. We’re talking museum quality. I don’t ask him how much, bc it would be uncouth, and I know I couldn’t afford it anyway.

We get to talking, he asks me where I’m from, of course, we know some mutual people. Insert: It’s a small world. We talk about our mutuals, he knows an ex-girlfriend of mine. His wife worked with her at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City back in the day. I tell him a fond memory, Nell taking me to Prairie Lights before prom, it’s closed down but she has keys, and set up in there, is candles, rose pedals, champagne and strawberries. Nell, if you’re out there and reading this, thank you for a wonderful night I’ll never forget.

We get to talking about the art world, he name drops famous artists he knows. It’s ok, bc I’m eating it up. So I ask him the big question:

Have you ever met Banksy?

He says, actually, I have.

I say, please tell me more.

If you don’t know anything about Banksy, you live under a rock, with a lot of moss growing on it.

Fine. I’ll tell you what you need to know to appreciate this story. He’s a famous graffiti artist, and no one knows who he is. Ok I’m sure some do, but no one like myself, some random dude who bartends in Iowa.

My new friend says, so…my art dealer picks me up for lunch, and on our way, he says, I have to tell you, we’re meeting a friend of mine for lunch. It’s Banksy. Please don’t ask him any questions about his work, he won’t like it.

Holy shit. For me, this story is turning into the Holy Grail of stories. I’m about to find out who Banksy is. A HUGE interesting GLOBAL mystery for years since his brilliant work started showing up on dilapidated walls in England.

He says, we get to lunch, I meet him, and he’s just this regular guy. Looks kind of unkept, with long hair. He seemed very blue collar. Working class. And I thought it made sense. He didn’t seem like this revolutionary guy.

I say, but his work is very revolutionary.

He says, true. And I’ll put something to rest for you. He’s NOT the Massive Attack guy.

This is a HUGE thing for him to reveal, bc if you read up on the Banksy mystery, there’s been researchers that are convinced that Banksy is a guy from a band called Massive Attack. We’re talking, a guy wrote a BOOK on this, and his conclusion was such. I’m here at this cigar lounge that’s MET HIM, and in one stroke, debunks the whole theory.

My mouth is salivating, I’m getting goosebumps, I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, and I ask the million dollar question, as nonchalant as I can muster:

So…what’s his name?

He takes a pause, then says,

….THAT I can’t tell you.

Now don’t get your panties in a bunch fine people. Bc there’s a little bit more to this story.

I say, actually, I’ve done a bit of research on this subject, and I have a theory on who Banksy is. He says, is that right?

I say, what if I show you a picture of this guy I think is Banksy? You don’t have to confirm it, just, maybe, give me a smile.

He thinks for a second, then says, …maybe.

I get out my phone, find a picture of the possible Banksy, hand him my phone.

He looks at it. Then touches the screen with his fingers, to expand the picture.

He looks closely at the picture, looks up after a moment, hands me back the phone,

And smiles.




What Is The Proper Etiquette When Serving Wine?

I had an enlightening conversation with one of the servers at St Kilda last night, and I’d like to share it with you. Besides servers and bartenders, I think anyone who has ever ordered a bottle of wine at a restaurant, or will do so in the future, will appreciate this info.

What is the proper etiquette when serving wine? By watching this talented server in action, and asking him some clarifying questions after, I was able to pick up a few cool pointers on how to properly do it.

When you approach a table, you will need to carry the bottle of wine, a wine key, and a serviette. A serviette is like a bar napkin that you will use if there are any wine drips. The serviette usually hangs neatly folded just above the wrist. This particular server holds the wine bottle in his right hand, with the serviette on his left wrist.

When you open the wine, the label should always be facing the customer who ordered the wine. The BOTTLE never moves. You twist the wine key. And here’s an interesting fact. When you pop the cork off, you should do it so there is NO SOUND when it comes off. I’m still trying to perfect this technique. It’s actually kind of difficult to master.

Now once you’ve got the cork off, many of you know, you pour a taste of it to the person who ordered it. At this point, stand up-right, almost aloof, with the bottle of wine in your right hand, and the left with the serviette behind your back. If the person says, “it’s not acceptable,” there’s no hesitancy or question. You figure out the next step, whether to get them a new bottle of the same, or something different. Wine does in fact “turn” so there is a chance this could happen. As the server, you should be ready for this to happen. Never ASSUME that the wine is going to be acceptable.

Here’s a cool part I did not know. When the taster gives you the nod that the wine is good, you always pour everybody else’s FIRST, then the person who ordered the wine and tasted it, LAST. This is one of those traditions I’m sure you could look up for the reasoning behind it, but it’s basically a show of respect via the person who ordered the wine.

And when you pour the first glass, always pour only a half glass in each glass, but when you come to “the taster” at the end, you give them a little more. With this technique, it gives everyone at the table the impression that they’re getting more than just one glass of wine out of the bottle. Usually, there are four glasses of wine in a bottle.

When you pour the wine, you pour, twist, then subtly wipe the bottle with the serviette.

Of course, the twist top bottle is becoming more and more popular, and will change a bit of the ritual. But you can always play off of that, and have fun with it.

One last thing. If there is a cork, you don’t put it back in the bottle. You casually place it by the person who ordered the wine. I believe most wine’s names are also on the corks, so they can take the cork home with them. The perfect way to remember a delicious bottle of wine for future reference.  I remember speaking with a couple a few months back, and they actually write a date on the cork, then keep them all in a glass container in their kitchen.  Once a month, they’ll pull one of the corks out at random, and reminisce about the evening the cork came from.  A ritual I found endearing.




The End Of Worrying About Where’s Your Stuff

OK, you know what I’m tired of?  Keeping track of all my STUFF.  I know you have to find a home for everything, but, c’mon.  Where’s my keys?  Where’s my wallet?  Did I leave my debit card somewhere, it’s not in my wallet.  Where’s my phone?  Where’s my sunglasses?  Where’s my watch? Where’s my stocking cap and gloves?  Where’s my CHARGER?!?  I had two damn chargers three weeks ago, now none.  (Thanks kids and wife).  I gotta go outlet to outlet looking for the damn things.  Kitchen, then den, then living room, then bedrooms, then basement.  It’s a constant struggle.

In Heaven, I imagine a place without worrying about where’s your stuff.  Where’s my phone?  No need.  You can read everybody’s mind.  Want to meet up with Marilyn Monroe for a coffee?  Hang on a sec, I’m texting her right now with my mind.  Where’s my keys?  No need, baby.  Climb into any DeLorean on the side of the road, start it up with a snap of your fingers.  House keys?  Again, no need.  Walk into any house, crash out in whatever fancy bedroom you want.  Who’s going to steal in Heaven?  Imagine your dream home, and in two secs, there it is in front of you. With all of the accoutrements.  How about clothes?  You don’t need clothes in Heaven.  You walk around naked.  It’s always 82 there, and check out my six-pack.  I just thought about it, and I look like an Adonis.  No gyms in Heaven, perfect health and awesome muscles with no effort.

Ok, maybe there are cell phones in Heaven.  I don’t know why.  But if there is, and you want to go old school, the phone doesn’t need charging, or a charger.  It’s always at 100%, baby!!!

And of course, you don’t need a wallet in Heaven, or a bank card you might leave at some restaurant, or gas station.  Everything is free in Heaven!  You want something, you think about it, it’s in the palm of your hand.

But until then…  my cell phone is on 10%.  Where’s my wallet, where’s my keys?

Oh, and who needs a car?  You fly everywhere!  Or close your eyes, imagine you’re on top of the highest mountain, with the most beautiful sunset,

And there you are, with Marilyn Monroe snuggled next to you, seeing you for the Adonis you are.



Where’s The BEEF?

I’ve got a bone to pick with my fellow employees.  First off, I’m chatting with my manager tonight, and he tells me he doesn’t like Seinfeld.  Doesn’t LIKE Seinfeld?  What the F?  Ok, I can MAYBE see saying, I’ve never TUNED IN to Seinfeld.  I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.  But don’t LIKE Seinfeld?!?  That’s some fighting words right there.  I’ve seen every episode probably six times each.  I don’t exaggerate.  Ask me Seinfeld trivia, I’ll answer it.  You can say I’m a fan.  So when you say “I don’t like Seinfeld,” that’s basically someone telling me “I don’t like you.”  Enough said.

#2 gripe for the day.  Tonight, one of the servers says to me, would you like to try some beef?  He does happen to be gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but he was talking literally.  He had scored some left-over beef from the kitchen.  I didn’t see the moment he received the plate of beef from the kitchen, but I ASSUMED that he had already had a couple slices of the beef.  Wouldn’t you?  You get a plate of food, you have a couple bites, then you say, would you like to try some?  I mean, if you didn’t, what are you trying to do?  Make me into your taste-tester to make sure the food isn’t poisoned?  So he leaves, goes to help a table, and I TRY THE BEEF.  Damn, it’s good.  Grisly on the top, rare inside.  Just like I like it.  He’s gone, ok, fine, I’ll have another one.  He’s already had two, three slices, right?  (You see where this is going).  Ok, I’m like a DOG, you put food in front of me, I’m going to eat it.  So I eat the fucking beef, I can’t help myself.  It’s there, sitting there, getting cold.  The server’s no where to be found.  From what I can gather, the guy is done with the beef.  Here you go, Clint, finish it off.  Well, 10 minutes later, he comes back, exclaims,


Well, holy shit, fornicate with a duck.  He tells me, you ate it all, I didn’t even have any!  What the hell?!?  How is that possible?  You try the food, you’re done with it, you offer the rest to your buddy.  THAT’S HOW THE SCENARIO SHOULD GO.  You don’t get the plate of beef, set it down in front of some starving dog without having some first!!!!

So after we’re done tonight, there’s the server, another server, and the manager.  I’m like, WHAT’S UP WITH THIS?!?  You don’t get a plate of food, offer it to someone, without having some first!!!  Then you walk away!?!  What the HELL do you think’s gonna happen?!?  The GUY is gonna EAT THE BEEF.

(I’m really getting into it here, with voice raised, mock horror, to show how dismayed I am, and to cover up how guilty I feel about eating all the beef).

I mean, WHAT DOES HE EXPECT!!!  And then HE WALKED AWAY as if he didn’t CARE about eating any of the beef!  This beef fiasco IS NOT MY FAULT.  IT.  IS.  HIS.

My manager looks at me and says,

You know what?  Shut the fuck up.  This is exactly why I hate Seinfeld.



The Best Way To Find Out If She’s Available Or Not

I came up with a genius idea tonight while bartending, and I’d like to share it with my dear readers. This will be helpful for the guys, and possibly the ladies, so listen up.

Here’s the scenario: you meet a girl at a bar, you’re interested in her, but there’s one major hurdle you have to get over, in order to feel comfy to make your first move. Does she have a boyfriend? If you’re an upstanding guy, you find out she has a boyfriend, you leave her alone. But how the HELL do you get that crucial info?!?! If you got any game whatsoever, you don’t just blurt out, uh, sorry, der…do you have a boyfriend? It’s the kind of question you can barely get away with in elementary school, let alone, when you’re an adult. So, how about this?

Let’s say you strike up a conversation cold with a young lady you’re interested in. During your convo, let’s say you start talking about favorite restaurants, you say, well…has your boyfriend taken you there yet?

Boom. Mastery of the game right there.

Now there are two things she’s going to say, and you’re going to get your answer, by being cool, casual, with a sprinkle of I don’t give a fuck. She’s going to say, 1. No he hasn’t taken me there yet. Or 2. Um…I don’t have a boyfriend. If #2 happens, it’s as easy as, good. I’d love to take you.

And ladies, tell me I’m wrong, please, but this approach also works COMPLETELY in your favor. Let’s say you’re looking at the guy, you’re not really interested, it’s an easy, non-confrontational lie. “No. He hasn’t taken me.” Of course, if you’re with someone, you can say kindly, no that asshole hasn’t taken me. The guy laughs, and you both know the score.

And best of all, if you’re not with someone, and you’re interested in the possibility of seeing the guy again, you simply say, I don’t have a boyfriend. Then, it opens the door slightly for the man to perhaps ask you out.

So next time you meet a lady at a bar, or the library, and you want to know the facts, say something casually like, what does your boyfriend think about that? Or, I don’t know, I bet your boyfriend loves it when you say that. You’ll find out quick if she’s available or not, and still keep your cool rep.


New Gig At St Kilda

I recently started a new bartending gig at St. Kilda in downtown Des Moines.  It was one of those serendipitous moments when I went in for lunch with a friend, and left an hour later with a job.  And I’m LOVING IT so far.  It’s a different kind of bartending gig.  I mainly work with the servers getting specialty cocktails to their tables.  I’m more like a chef, working behind the scenes, with less contact with customers.  The only thing I miss about my new job is having those wonderfully insightful conversations with drunk people (I jest).  Oh I don’t have to cut people off anymore, putting my life in constant peril?  Oh I don’t have to clean up puke anymore?  Yes please sign me up.

I implore you to check us out.  The food is true art, and I have to say, the cocktails are delicious.  The crew I work with are top-notch.  Most of the kitchen crew were recruited from 801 Grand, a classic steak house downtown.  The servers are PROS, and greatly add to the dining experience.  And I can’t say how great the management and owners are without sounding like a complete brown-noser.  I feel thankful to be a part of St. Kilda.

When beginning a new job, it’s always a daunting task to learn people’s names.  After the first couple days, I recommended we start calling each other the first name that came to mind.  The only challenge being you couldn’t use the same name twice.  The manager walks by.  Hey Larry, could you show me how to make a Chai Latte?  A server comes behind the bar.  Hey Joel, drinks are ready for table 7.  After the third day, everybody was joining in.  As I walked downstairs to get ice, one of the line cooks walked by me and said, hey Terrence!  For a moment, I forgot the game, wondering why this guy was calling me the wrong name, and the next moment, I busted out laughing.

Come in, check us out, I’ll be behind the bar shaking and stirring Mondays, Wednesdays-Saturdays.